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Gordon Watt 06-24-2002 10:53 PM

Ford Windstar
I'm looking for input on using a Ford Windstar Van to tow my 31 foot Airstream.

I have a fairly heavy stabilizer hitch.

I tow on the Prairies, so there isn't many hills over six feet high.

83Excella 06-24-2002 11:28 PM

Windstar for a puller
According to the 2002 Ford towing guide the maximum loaded trailer weight for the Windstar is 3,500 lbs., the empty weight of your trailer is at least 4,800 lbs.


Pahaska 06-25-2002 07:48 AM

Was this a troll?
Towing a 31' with a Windstar is so far from reason that I have a hard time deciding whether Gordon was serious or whether this was a troll.

If anyone does tow a 31' with a Windstar, I hope I'm not on the same highway.

Gordon Watt 06-25-2002 09:09 AM

Thanks for your reply. Sheesh, I only asked.

davidz71 06-25-2002 07:43 PM

This is the second post I have seen in the last 6-8 months asking about the Windstar. I have a '95 Astrovan with 4.3 and towing package. I would not consider towing my '77 31' Excella 500 because I think the vehicle is too light and in an emergency situation I do not think the Astro could control it. If wind blows me to the side sometimes, what would a semi do to the trailer and the van. Ditto for the Windstar. The seating capacity would be nice to have but the rest of the drivetrain would not be matched to the size of the trailer.

BobbyW 06-26-2002 09:43 AM


I'm looking for input on using a Ford Windstar Van to tow my 31 foot Airstream.

Thanks for your reply. Sheesh, I only asked.

You did ask for input, and in my opinion you received it, and very good input at that. It might not be what you wanted to hear, but you did request it.

Having a stabilizer hitch or towing on the planes or even down the street does not make overloading an underrated vehicle any safer to begin with. You might be able to pull it and get it up to speed, but that is only part of the towing equation.

•High speed control or lack of.
•The brakes will fail from overheating.
•The transmission will fade and fail.
•Maneuverability in a panic situation will result in loss of control.
•The frame of the tow vehicle can seperate.
•Overheating of the engine.
•Legal Liability to your self and others.

Please be Safe and reconsider what you are doing.

Best Regards;

norpentig 06-28-2002 06:24 AM

All these replies come from people who most likely do not have actual experience of towing a large Airstream with a Ford Windstar.
You need to call Can-Am RV in Ontario at 1-866-226-2678 and ask for Andrew. They are the Airstream dealer here and one of the best anywhere. Andrew has extensive knowledge of tow vehicles of all kinds and will explain what to do to set up your Windstar. Perhaps he will give you the phone numbers of some of the many happy Windstar/Airstream owners so you can talk to people with actual experience of this combination.

BobbyW 06-28-2002 07:15 AM

I stand by my Post.

Fords rating of 3500 lbs cannot be changed by simply putting an expensive hitch system on the vehicle.

I have heard of Can-Am RV and there practice of outfitting vehicles that are not Factory rated. It still does not make it right.

As I stated, there are many things that go into the equation of proper and SAFE towing. Safe towing is not just a matter of getting a vehicle up to speed and moving down the road.


All these replies come from people who most likely do not have actual experience of towing a large Airstream with a Ford Windstar.
As for this, I can tell you upfront that I will never get experience towing a large trailer with an improper tow rig. Also, as a Moderator on this site I have a certain responsibilty to assure that SAFE and ACCURATE information is posted. A Ford Windstar is a MINI Van. Its intended use is for hauling kids, pets and groceries, not 2.5 tons of steel, wood, water, propane, aluminum AND kids,pets and groceries down a highway at 65mph. The people who have replied to this Post know how to properly configure a vehicle for Safe towing.

Best Regards;

Action 06-28-2002 12:59 PM

My input is......


Could a given you lots of data however.....

83Excella 06-28-2002 10:27 PM

Windstar towing 31 footer?
Ditto what BobbyW wrote, There is good reason you dont see any "real practical experience" people towing a large trailer with a Windstar, it cant be done!! the figures speak for themselves it wouldnt matter if he had a hensley hitch pulling it the windstar cant pull it without ruining the engine, transmission, suspension, etc. that doesnt include the complete lack of safety not only for your own life and family but us that you share the road with you. So its not just an experienced thing its a safety thing, and safety is no accident it must be planned!.


53flyingcloud 06-29-2002 02:24 AM

Just read in the paper, whereas FORD is recalling over 250k Windstars? For, of all things, defective brakes system.
Might wanta check into this..

norpentig 06-29-2002 06:14 AM

This is a controversial subject to say the least, however I also stand by my post.

Manufacturer's tow ratings are BULL!

Try driving a Ford Expedition, rated to tow approximately 8000lbs, and you'll want to sue the Ford Motor Company for producing the most unstable tow vehicle out there.Short wheelbase, long rear overhang, high centre of gravity and sloppy suspension do not make a safe tow vehicle.

I will continue to trust my own judgement based on actual experience from the driver's seat, not an engineer's office chair!

Pahaska 06-29-2002 07:20 AM

Good discussion of tow ratings
Found this link on a newsgroup. I believe the 75% rule of thumb is a pretty good rule to follow. I am towing, at present, about 54% of my truuck's tow rating with the trailer loaded to maximum weight(never) and I am satisfied with the performance.

Netscape users may have trouble with this link since Netscape doesn't handle .asp links very well

Pahaska 06-29-2002 07:29 AM

Link doesn't work
I had some trouble getting the link in the last message to work. It works OK for me now. You might get some errors while loading that page... just ignore them. Some programmer's fat finger error, no doubt. The info is worth the trouble.

53flyingcloud 06-29-2002 08:12 AM

Impaired judgement
For a person to make a statement that it's okay to use a Windstar to tow a 31' A/S and, at the same time say,
"Try driving a Ford Expedition, rated to tow approximately 8000lbs, and you'll want to sue the Ford Motor Company for producing the most unstable tow vehicle out there.Short wheelbase, long rear overhang, high centre of gravity and sloppy suspension do not make a safe tow vehicle. " is totally beyond me. This is not to say that I endorse the Ford Expedition as a tow vehicle of choice but, If it were the 'only' alternative to a Windstar, then logic and, reason would prevail. I believe it's proper to ask the forum questions, after all, we've all been there before. But, to turn a blind eyes to logic, in favor of national pride, is abit too much.
All I can say to an unreasonable/irrational person is: Stay in Canada, for the life you save may well be mine~I've seen enough carnage in my lifetime without importing more~!!

53flyingcloud 06-29-2002 08:35 AM

ref:URL link
John, I don't use Netscape, so I'm not able to say anything abt your comments but..with MS internet explorer version 6.0.26 that I'm using, it worked just fine.~Thanks for taking the time to post and, share some very interesting info.~

Action 06-29-2002 09:41 AM

Tow vehicles
It is funning we are talking about tow vhicles and I am shopping for one too. However, I do not believe manufactures specs are BS. Most of the time in my experience the specs are right on. The details (and there is lots of them) are critical. The previously mentioned Expedition may only be rated to pull 6000 #'s. It depends on bunches of stuff. Besides engine, trans, (although there is only one choice for Expedition) axle, and 4X4 vs: 4X2, there is how I load up the tow vehicle, what options are on the tow vehicle (that adds extra weight). All those options are calculated by a towing vehicles manufacture.

Then there are items added by the consumer, such as running boards, larger tires, roof racks, bug deflectors, that have a impact on fuel economy and ability to tow.

So when I go to the dealership most of the salesmen (people - sorry Bobby's wife) and they tell me sure this will tow your load. And they don't even know what my trailers weighs much less what the tow vehicle will do. I usually ignor them cause I have done some research before. And it is more important for resale vehicles.

The manufacturer really wants you to come back and buy another, be it used or new. However, there is not any vehicle manufacturers that sell vehicles to the public. They sell them to a dealer. And they also publish mountains of data so you can make a decision. And that is what the forum is about too. Getting data so one can have a better experience in travel trailering.

"So honey could you hold this pin?" "I need to lob this grenade over the wall."


Pahaska 06-29-2002 10:27 AM

Tow ratings
Manufacturers tow ratings aren't BS. They are a by-product of competition and are set as high as possible to reflect ideal conditions and not break the bank with warrenty costs. I spent 35 years as an engineer and I can easily picture the meetings with sales pulling up and engineering pushing down. The result is a number that has no bearing on whether towing is a pleasurable, or at least bearable, experience.

There are two limits: what the tow vehicle can stand and what the driver can stand. I earlier posted a link to an article on the 75% rule which I think is a good starting point. Stay under 75% of the tow rating and the GCWR for reasonable performance.

Personally, I want to stay even lower than that. My current trailer at gross weighs just 54% of the tow rating of my truck and while I'm 100% satisfied with handling and brakes, I'm just barely satisfied with the performance on hills.

I once pulled a 3240# Scamp 5th-wheel with a Nissan with a 3500# tow rating. It was legal, but it was a pretty dismal experience.

83Excella 06-29-2002 10:26 PM

Ford towing guide
You can get the Ford towing guide I mentioned in any dealership on the brochure rack, its worth reading and has some good information in it.


davidz71 07-01-2002 10:53 PM

That doesn't look anything like a Windstar pulling your 34' Excella. It looks like something a little more suitable for the task.

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