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Old 03-08-2010, 09:39 AM   #1
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lincoln town car tow car


Anybody know anything about towing with a Lincoln Town as a tow-vehicle? Last year, I pulled a 24' Argosy and this year it'll be matched to a 71' Safari. My main question is re the airsuspension and hooking the trailer up.

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #2
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Bill Kerfoot tows with a 1977 Lincoln. He may be of some help.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #3
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Hey there Rick. My sis had a the 2 door Lincoln with the air suspension. She didn't tow with the car but spent thousands on repairs with regards to the air susp,

There is a company that builds a kit that replaces the air suspension with I believe coil overs. Apparently an inexpensive way of getting around the high cost air susp repairs.

I once read that the air suspension on the older Expeditions was very difficult to set up with the use of a WDH and they found the only way to get it working right was to use a Hensley. This was info from Can Am. By the way you are in London. Why not venture over there and see what they have to say. I would guess they have set up a number of Lincolns for towing Airstreams.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:28 AM   #4
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I can't speak about the Lincoln air suspension, but can give you some info about hitching up with the air suspension we have (on a MB GL320). Ours is fully automatic, meaning that the computer will try to level up the vehicle no matter what load is in it, and it cannot be turned off.

We started by weighing the tow vehicle with our normal passenger and fuel load (full tank, three passengers). This gave us a baseline weight for each axle.

Initial hitch setting is done with the engine off and the suspension in the normal driving position. We measured the corners of the vehicle before and after hitching, and adjusted the hitch until the vehicle "drop" was approximately equal. This is standard practice for weight-distributing hitches.

Then we started the car and let the air suspension level the vehicle. Next step was to take the rig to the truck scale again to get new weights for the axles. These were compared to the Gross Axle Weight Ratings and the "normal" weight ratings taken earlier. We adjusted the hitch again slightly to optimize the axle balance, and then we were done.

Later we took the vehicle to Can-Am RV to have the hitch strengthened (I've seen too many cracked OEM hitches!) and optimize the Hensley a little further.

There is a myth out there that air suspensions "destroy" the weight distributing ability of a hitch. That is untrue in regards to a modern computer-controlled 4-wheel air suspension. It may be historical knowledge from the days when people would put stiff air bags on the rear suspension, to "level the vehicle." That practice can disguise an unbalanced load and potential handling problems.

With any air suspension, you need to weigh the setup to know for sure what load you are putting on the tow vehicle axles, since you can't just "eyeball" or measure the way the vehicle sits. A modern air suspension will level up the vehicle regardless of how unbalanced the load is, and this can lead to a false sense of security.

A '71 Safari or any 1970's Argosy 24 have about the same tongue weight. Expect at least 600 lbs, and possibly as much as 800 lbs. That's a significant amount of tongue weight, so take your time and set your hitch correctly.

You should definitely read the article in the Spring 2010 issue of Airstream Life by Andy Thomson about hitching. In my travels I see more incorrectly hitched vehicles than correctly hitched vehicles, and for that reason we're running a series of articles on this very topic.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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Hi Rick

The Town Car suspension can work fine. With any larger Airstream you definitely want a Hensley. If you change the tires sometime a stiffer sidewall works quite a bit better.

Once you get hooked up bring it by and I can let you know pretty quickly if it is set up right and I can show you how to preload the air suspension before you connect.

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Old 03-08-2010, 03:42 PM   #6
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lincoln town car tow car


Need info re using Lincoln Town Car @ Lincoln Tow Car. It's a '99 with touring sedan option and air suspension.

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Old 03-08-2010, 06:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rick myer View Post

Need info re using Lincoln Town Car @ Lincoln Tow Car. It's a '99 with touring sedan option and air suspension.


Then my information would not be of any use to you. I have a 1977 Town Car or as a friend of mine says "Townhouse". I have air shocks to start with a level vehicle and a Reese trunnion style hitch with 1000 bars.

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Old 03-09-2010, 04:26 AM   #8
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I've towed a 24'Argosy last summer. I hooked it up with the bags full and the car seemed to compensate. Some of the responses have been more to mechanical for me, So far so good. (I hope it stays that way.)

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Old 03-09-2010, 04:40 PM   #9
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The rear overhang is quite long (measurement from drive axle center to hitch ball), the motor has to wind up a good ways in rpm to get the weight moving, and, a '99 does not have the improved brakes, steering and suspension of 2003 and later models.

That said, the platform should work out. I second or third or thirtieth going over to Can Am to set it up. I'd follow the recommendations on tires/wheels and shocks that'll be provided. IMO, a sway-eliminating hitch is always best.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:01 AM   #10
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town car/tow car


It's has the optional touring package, (i.e. heavy duty suspension, computer, larger rims and factory dual exhaust.) On the road the three times I've towed, (approximately 800 miles) it pulled like a locomotive and only downshifted once. (It's got o/d as well.). Modular engine with 220hp but almost 300 foot pounds of torque.

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Old 03-10-2010, 05:30 AM   #11
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If your Lincoln has uni-body construction (IIRC, it does if current body style) it will need a special hitch or hitch modification. The factory tow capacity, again IIRC, is about 800#. I'd venture over to Can-Am and get it set up so that there would be no damage to the body/under body or accidents involving hitch separation/trailer separation. That wouldn't be much fun at all.
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