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Towbars, Hitches and Braking Systems for your Toads, etc. Questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding what equipment to use to tow your Toad with are discussed here.

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  #11  
Old 12-21-2009
markusfmeyer markusfmeyer is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1derer View Post
Randy -
What am I towing? I'm still in the planning stages, partly because I'm in the dark on towing capacity, aside from answers provided here so far. Possibilities all depend on
cramming the most step van possible into a maxiumum 17 foot length, tongue and rail lift included:
1) entire step van if I can find one that doesn't exceed 17 feet, tongue and rail lift gate included
2) sawed off step van similar to above with all four wheels on the ground
3) sawed off step van similar to above with only the rear wheels on the ground and the front supported entirely by the hitch

In the case of 2 and 3, I'd remove the motor and tranny as well as the hood and windscreen stuff. In all cases I'd add a diesel genny probably 8KW, water, waste and fuel tanks sufficient to run a rudimentary sink/toilet/shower for 4 adults bunking in the van.

A naked step van without the amenities noted above but still with its motor/tranny/windscreen seem to generally have a GVWR between 14000 to 23000 lbs, and front axle weight on the order of 4500 lb for the 14000, to 9000 lbs for the 23000. Rear axle weight of 9000 for the 14000 to 17000 for the 23000. With possibility 3 above (with only the rear wheels of the step van present), the front weight of the trailer would all be tongue weight I presume.
Do you already have said van and are trying to figure out how to turn it into a 'trailer'? If you are looking for something to tow with room for people to stay in, here's a reasonably inexpensive alternative that doesn't weigh too much I had thought at one point of hauling behind my Class C when we had foster kids:

http://www.casitatraveltrailers.com/showroom.html
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2009
1derer 1derer is offline
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Default Need a bigger casita

Markus -
thanks for the lead but:
I think the interior height isn't adequate for bunks. I still prefer the step van idea because even at 17' it's roomy enough for 2 bunks of 2 people each (need plenty of headroom for this), and to allow for separate sink, shower, toilet, allowing privacy for 3 simultaneous activities. Of course this layout doesn't permit other functions (kitchen, lounge, etc) but the towing Wanderlodge would be dedicated to these. Thus you wind up with a grand total of 2 bathrooms, are able to separate sleeping quarters from the "chuckwagon", are able to park the noisy diesel generator at some distance away from the Wanderlodge it's serving, and can use the step van part as a truck, storage container or whatever at times when it's not being used as a dorm. The rail lift is meant to facilitate this use, though it could also be a porch for the dorm, or a floor for an outdoor shower.
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2009
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Turbokitty Turbokitty is offline
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1DERER,

Maybe I missed it but why the 17' max length requirement? By the time you axe off 4~5' for the tongue ya don't have much left?

My ultimate trailer desire is much like John F's trailer. I would like an 18~20' long plus tongue length trailer with 2, 7500# axles. It also must have 7' tall rear doors with a 8' ceiling height. It also must have an arched roof line like a Wanderlodge (donut wagon!). Side doors are a must on both sides and possibly a 4' X 8' concession type flip up window on the curb side. 1 roof air and a small diesel generator mounted on the tongue. Now thats a trailer to me!! O'h ya, matching paint...
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2009
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbokitty View Post
Great write up and pictures John!

I believe most if not all earlier FC's had a maximum towing weight of #7500?

I have read other places that have said #10,000 but I have never had that confirmed with a placard?

My 1983 FC with a factory BlueBird hitch and placard says #7500 max gross towing weight with a maximum tongue weight of #750.
I believe that refers to the standard hitch that came on some 'Birds like mine, but I had it beefed up some to handle the additional tongue weight.



If I had to do it over again, I would mount the hitch receiver tube on top of the original hitch beam, to go above the rollers, but I have added a roller to the hitch that has worked quire well.



Quote:
I have always wanted to get mine weighed to. Did I read right that the CAT scale charged you $9.00?
Yes

Quote:
An extra question or two... How many miles on your Bird. Any engine changes that you know of?

I think you bought yours from a b*#r distributor?

I basically bought mine from a bank who kept/provided all of the travel logs and maintainance records from day one as they were the original owners.

My Bird has about 312,000 miles on it (3rd speedo of which I have the first 2) and had a new factory reman. installed at about 265K miles FWIW...
145,000 miles on original engine and second Allison Transmission.

Additional four inch air intake and 12R22.5 tires all around





It was originally owned by Grey Eagle Distributing in St. Louis, MO and used as the Budweiser promotion bus.



Quote:
Hope your trip is going well too!

John, I wish you had a turbo 3208 moving 20 tons around. They say we should have a minimum of 1 horsepower per 100 pounds of weight. You are at 1 horsepower to 195 pounds of weight!! Whew!!

Merry Christmas!
It would pull the hills a little better, but on the flat I have no problems as it is, today I left Wellton, AZ and drove west on I-8 at 65 mph until I got to Telegraph Pass in the Gila Mountains just east of Yuma, where on the three mile climb I was slowed to 20 MPH along with some other trucks.



Once I got to the other side, it was back to 65 , (it will run faster than that) until I entered California where I set the cruise at 57 for the 55 mph speed limit and had a pleasant trip over to Brawley, CA where I am spending the night. I don't have to be in North Hollywood until Thursday morning, so I'm just taking my time, I will dry camp at the curb by my brothers until Saturday and then I'll head over to Point Magu NAS.

Sometimes the information that THEY SAY isn't what actually will work, I have many witnesses that have followed me on trips, such as leaving this years RATS when I was the last one of our group out of the campground and then eventually ended up in front, they have seen how well my 'Bird runs, not bragging (well kind of) just the facts, it's a great running FC powered by a CAT 3208NA.
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  #15  
Old 12-22-2009
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Thanks for the detailed info John! My hitch (I will get a picture of it tomorrow) has been added to also (I think?). It also will drag in and out of some drives.

We stayed at a CG in Ohio a few years back which had a very steep drive entrance. When we checked in I told the owner that I was concerned that I had dragged bottom on the way in. He said "don't worry" your BlueBird has "wheelie bars"... On our way out the next morning there was a farmers furrow 15' long up his drive from my hitch! Oops!!

Second Allison trans for me too.

Glad you are having a good trip, be safe.
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  #16  
Old 01-31-2010
1derer 1derer is offline
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Default Step van may be good for somebody, BUT HOW ABOUT A MOVING VAN?

Turbokitty asks: Why a trailer only 17' long?
Answer: Because where I'd like to park allows a max RV length of 50' Even with a 31' Bird, no step van made is short enough to make the total length under 50' while leaving the step van intact with all four wheels on the ground.

But I would like a bunkhouse/second bath separate from the Bird/chuckwagon/lounge. And I'd like to put the genny at the back of the trailer to minimize noise in the Bird during waking hours. Since I know of no under 17' trailer (that's including the tongue) that has a diesel generator aboard, and since it appears I've got to chop something that's longer to fit within the 17', I'm thinking of going for broke with 3 berths high (instead of 2), thus enabing the bunkhouse to sleep 6 (instead of 4). As in real estate, this has me building up, instead of out.

So my question to the forum is:
What hazards do you foresee with the following plan? Cut the rear 14' off a moving van trailer. Many such trailers have an interior height of 9' (This allows 3' vertical height for each bunk in a stack of 3 bunks.) Many such trailers have the floor of the van floating above the wheels. With 22.5 tires, this allows room to install a diesel generator under the floor of the van. The rest of the below floor level space could be for tanks and basement storage. - To increase the square footage available for bathroom stuff, the front of the trailer could be a V nose or rounded nose, the shower at the front of the nose, toilet and sink flanking it. -- I suspect the frame under such a moving van may have beams heavier than those under a FC, though the walls/ceiling are lighter than a Bird's.

So what I'd end up with is a trailer heavy on the bottom, light from there on up, where it's box is approx 12' high, 14' long + the tongue that has the nose built on it.

I'm wondering how such a trailer would pull with a ball hitch on a FC whose height ground to roof is about 10' (with the rooftop AC adding about another foot). As I've got a Cummins 8.3 in the Bird, maybe there's enough torque? Maybe the hitch should be a load equalizing type? Even if well balanced, the trailer may need a lift at the ball end. I wish I was an engineer to figure this out.

Any engineers out there? Or any trailer pullers with a gut feeling about this idea?

PS - Iamflagman: In looking at a pic of your FC/trailer combo, I saw you have a V nose on the trailer and a ladder on the back of the Bird. Could you make tighter left turns if the ladder was moved to in front of passenger or to the side? Would doing this be legal?

PS - Denny and Woody: I will post pix of the cummins install (which was done before I bought the Bird). I'm waiting till it's out of the shop and little more photogenic.

1derer, 1dering as usual
33'FC circa 1975 with cummins 6cta8.3
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  #17  
Old 01-31-2010
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rwoody rwoody is offline
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i have seen that old bird on 2 or 3 sites and thought it would do good to have a cummins in 1,,heck i sold freebird with a 8.3 in a box --dont know if it got converted or not

i need to see pictures of that trailer you want to build....

i have hauled heavy with a fc and this sp so,,,,,,,no problem with me
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  #18  
Old 01-31-2010
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I took a trailer to Q with two quads stacked on the nose and a Jeep on the balance. I have an extended tongue that supports a high heel shoe that rides on the back of my bus so I was concerned about tongue weight.

I balanced the weight over the tandem axle trailer by moving the Jeep back to keep the toungweight lite on the modified hitch extension. What I failed to consider is that the bus must lift and push the balanced trailer as the road level changes.

the force required to change the elevation of the trailer = .5 (gross trailer weight) plus or minus tongue weight (and some factor of the distance that the stability of the tamden wheels produce??????) . A wider spread distance between axles on the trailer like in a tripple axle trailer will require a greater force to change the elevation of the trailer tounge as it tries to follow the bus hitch.

more goes into the equation than static weight. I ended up with a broken heel
greg
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  #19  
Old 01-31-2010
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you should use pintle hitch..i am thinking the same now!
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  #20  
Old 01-31-2010
al perna al perna is offline
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i know you must have 10% trailer weight on the hitch as a rule of thumb.
I have a 8/92 and tow a 14klb trailer and i struggle going up hill.
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