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Old 01-12-2004, 06:36 PM   #1
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Possible towing vehicle?

I am not really ready for a tow vehicle, but my friend is moveing to Florida and wants to sell his 1981 Chevy Silverado model 20 4x4. It has only 30,000 mile on a rebuilt 350 ci.. It also has a tow package(heavier springs, brake and light plugs, and 4.11 gearing). He only wants $2,000.00 it is in pretty good shape except for needing paint. Would this truck be adequate for towing a 1969 sovereign 31', or would I be better off waiting for something better, closer to when I am ready to start towing?


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Old 01-12-2004, 07:30 PM   #2
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I have a big block 456 w/ 4.11 rear and tow a 31 ft. International.
Never go over 55 mph, but it does slow down appreciably going up hills.
I would offer your friend some $ to try towing your trailer, then decide.
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Old 01-12-2004, 07:47 PM   #3
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Why didn't I think of that. Maybe I will make him tow to Santa Cruz and back. If it can make those hills OK, there should not be much else it couldn't handle. I only hope my trailer could make the trip, time to kick those tires I guess.


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Old 01-12-2004, 07:53 PM   #4
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There aren't a lot of those left from that era - they had a tendency to dissolve. I believe that was the only series of trucks I ever saw rusting while still on the showroom floor. But if it hasn't rusted away by now, maybe it wouln't.

If everything is up to snuff - brakes, suspension, rear end, transmission, cooling system, etc., it should be a good match. Some people would insist on the big block, but a 350 in good tune should be more than adequate with the low rear end. And the 69 31' Sovereign is not all that heavy anyway.

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Old 01-16-2004, 06:36 PM   #5
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Look up the official towing capacities with these specs.

4.11 gears help -- but restrict your top speed, worsen mpg (maybe by 1mpg) and are noisier, but it may be worth it. I wish I had 3.55 instead, but 4.11 definitely increases your towing capacity. Easier to go up hill too.
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Old 01-17-2004, 11:03 AM   #6
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I'd wait on a 1988 or newer 2500 Chevy if it were me. The '70's definately had a tendency to rust around wheel well openings, front quarter panels and underneath doors. I know, I had a '77 Chevy K5 Blazer which did all this. As far as the 350 V8 goes, my '92 Z71 with 5 sp. manual trans, 3.42 rear end ratio and 350 V8 was a dream on the street but a dog pulling my empty 31' Excella 500 '77 model. The only way I would go with a small block with your trailer would be if the 350 had been built with a stroker kit ending up with 383 cu. in. OR a 2500 with the 6 litre engine. A 3.73 rear or 4.10 rear would be the only ratios to consider and a good source says the 4.10 with the 6 litre Chevy engine is a sweet combination with the 4.10. By the way, 1987 was the first year for the TBI fuel injection in trucks and it was a dog until they finally got it right. I thought the 350 in my '92 was good until I drove a '95 which was better power wise.

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Old 01-27-2004, 04:01 AM   #7
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Give it a shot

Hey, you lose 2 grand in depreciation driving a new truck off the dealer's lot! Figure on another $1500 to "fluff it up", brakes, exaust, good brake controller etc. and it should give you a couple years if not more. You could throw it away and be ahead money wise but you can always sell it after you really have a grip on what you need/want! Fog
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