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 Towing without the tow package

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swell ride charlie
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swell ride charlie




Posts : 9
Join date : 2023-06-10

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PostSubject: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeSat Jun 10, 2023 2:05 am

Hey there.

My 94 RMW (with tow package) just died. I'm looking for a replacement.

We towed a 1962 Airstream Bambi with the 94 RMW tow package with no problem. Up and over multiple 3000 foot mountain passes per day on month-long road trips in hot weather up and down the west coast. I would prefer a tow-package replacement. But none have emerged yet.

One option for replacement is a non-tow package 96RMW. I am hearing conflicting advice on towing the Bambi with a non tow-pack RMW. The Bambi weighs about 2800 pounds loaded, plus another 500 pounds of camping and surfing gear in the back of the wagon. Its an Airstream, so its pretty aerodynamic. But its still a big load - reduces gas mileage by 50%. And we end up going up and down some very steep hills. As far as I can tell the tow package has a bigger mechanical radiator fan, a higher final gear ratio, and limited slip diff. My question is can I tow the Bambi safely and comfortable without the tow package. Can the transmission cooler and cooling system on the non-tow package RMW handle the lower gear ratio and other features of the non-tow pack RMW? If not, what modifications might help? I will use air bags in the rear as that really helped the 94 suspension. I'm most interested in engine and transmission implications. And safety.

The owners manual on my 94 says don't tow anything over 2000 pounds without the tow package. I assume the 96 is the same. How realistic is that? Some say wits mostly a bigger stress on the transmission from the lower final gear ratio in the non-tow package, so just add a bigger trans cooler and drive conservatively and use manual shifting. What say you?

Swell Ride Charlie


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Posts : 587
Join date : 2020-04-21
Location : Andover, Minnesota

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeSat Jun 10, 2023 8:44 am

Could you just move the tow specific items to the new non tow car?

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Serendipity96

Serendipity96


Posts : 193
Join date : 2017-12-18
Location : Clearwater, FL

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeTue Jun 13, 2023 4:38 pm

not sure why so many people assume if a car has the heavy duty tow package that it also has posi - i've had 2 tow pack cars with GW9 rear end, not the G80(posi) rear end.
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Fred Kiehl

Fred Kiehl


Posts : 7194
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 75
Location : Largo, FL 33774

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeTue Jun 13, 2023 6:29 pm

If I were going to tow anything, I would install 3.73 gears, a 3 core radiator, external oil and trans cooler (trans cooler with fan, maybe both with fans), internal spring airbags, or air shocks, and antiroll bar on the rear. A posi is optional.

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silverfox103
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silverfox103


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Join date : 2008-11-05
Age : 75
Location : Littleton, NH & St. Simons, GA

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeTue Jun 13, 2023 8:25 pm

I had a 40 ft triple axle 5th wheel that I towed coast to coast and Canada to Mexico. I towed with a 3/4 ton GMC PU which was still a strain. I've also had smaller trailers.

For an Airstream Bambi, which I'm guessing is 16 ft, I wouldn't even worry about it. Most of the times, you won't even know it's behind you. Wouldn't hurt to install a auxiliary tranny cooler, you could also have your PCM reprogrammed. If your going up a pass, drop it down a gear.

My 2 cents

Tom


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Join date : 2020-04-21
Location : Andover, Minnesota

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeTue Jun 13, 2023 9:29 pm

The various length Bambi's appear to weigh between 3500 and 4000 pounds which I assume is unloaded, so probably close to 5000 in travel form. Airstreams have never been light weight trailers for their size compared to some others.
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94Woody

94Woody


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Join date : 2008-12-02
Age : 49
Location : Ocala,FL

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitimeWed Jun 14, 2023 11:56 am

Just modify the replacement wagon with a few parts for towing. The GM "tow package" wasn't all that much anyways.

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PostSubject: Re: Towing without the tow package   Towing without the tow package Icon_minitime

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