Towing a Trailer

Towing with the B190
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elbundi
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 12:00 am

Towing a Trailer

Post by elbundi »

Hello all

I am considering buying a B190 as a tow vehicle for my 31ft 73 sovereign.
This would help during travel, and for extra space for our teenager who would appreciate time away from his younger sibling!

I have looked around for the tow rating of this vehicle several places but always end up being referred to the owners manual.

I saw one ad for a B190 who mentioned they towed a 34ft er but I'm not convinced the vehicle is up to it.

Does anyone here tow a trailer with their van?
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skater
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B190 Year: 1991
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Post by skater »

The GCWR is 15,000 lbs for a 1991 B190 with the 460. The van is about 9,000 lbs alone, leaving about 6,000 lbs for everything else. I don't know what a '73 Sovereign weighs, but I imagine the two combined are going to be pretty close to the GCWR.

That said, I've seen people towing large trailers with them, and the B190 is probably somewhat under-rated, so you'd probably get away with it.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
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bryanl
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Post by bryanl »

I am towing a 75 Ambassador with a 91 B - In the Sierra's.

With a full load, it is a bit over weight ratings. With the 3.73 rear, overdrive if often turned off as it is a bit weak kneed. A pass like Conway on US 395 is a first gear slog.

Image

This rig uses a Lindon Equal-i-zer hitch as there is a long overhang and the B is a bit squirrely to start with.

On the way to Salem for the I'Rally via Gerlach (Gerlach NV to Cedarville, CA) the cooling system did well despite record heat and significant grades and altitudes.
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skater
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Post by skater »

bryanl wrote:I am towing a 75 Ambassador with a 91 B - In the Sierra's.
Off topic, but my parents' first Airstream was a '73 Ambassador, IIRC. It was a 29' model.

I knew there was one or two people here that towed a trailer with their B190, and I was hoping you'd jump in. :) I think the limiting factor for the 15,000 lbs is the B-van's braking capability, so if you have decent brakes on the camper you should be okay.

Note - I don't want to get sued, of course, so exceed the GCWR at your own risk!
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
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bryanl
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Post by bryanl »

I think the limiting factor for the 15,000 lbs is the B-van's braking capability, so if you have decent brakes on the camper you should be okay.
Where are the weight police when you need them? ;-) Some folks go bonkers on these things.

Yes the Ambassador is a 29' Airstream. It has its own brakes. The tow vehicle brakes are very seldom a concern as far as towing limitations. (but do make sure to change your brake fluid on occasion and keep your brakes properly maintained)

In general, the most significant limitation is tires and wheels. They must be able to handle the load within rated spec as they tend to fail catastrophically. Everything else just tends to wear a bit faster with heavier loads.

If you wanted to up the towing ratings and capabilities of a B-190, start with a rear axle with the 4.1 differential.
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craigmar
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B190 Year: 1991
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B 190 towing package

Post by craigmar »

I was told that the towing capacity with my 1991 was 10,000 pounds. not knowing anything about towing a trailer etc. I can only offer the following. I am in the process of building a garage and needed to rent a trak hole or mini excavator (small Backhole). I picked it up with a 1989 econoline van that has a towing package and the drive was so squirrly that I had to use back roads and do about 15 mph. The steering was like being on ice. On the return trip I used the B190 and never knew it was hooked up, I had no problems with freeway speed, steering, brakeing etc, I'm sure that the backhole and trailer weight was at least15,000 lbs if not more
AirstreamSince1976
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B190 Year: 1996
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Re: Towing a Trailer

Post by AirstreamSince1976 »

Just came across this Airstream B190 Site. We own a 1996 B190 w/ 7.5 L engine, four speed E4OD Transmission, and 3.55 rear axle ratio with Towing package. We are always towing a 31ft Excella Airstream behind our unit. There has been several trips over 2,500 miles with a 4,800 lbs (empty weight) heavy duty “Load Master” flat bed trailer with a 7,800lbs John Deere Tractor loaded up.

The Excella with water, propane, Food, clothing and miscellaneous is approximately 9,000+ lbs (will vary by the length of time we are away from home). Please note the the Excella has heavier duty brakes than the BVAN. And in fact the Excella will Stop the entire rig using the manual control on the trailer brake controller in the BVAN, almost as fast by its self than both units braking together.

The BVAN with the “Load Master” hauling a John Deere Tractor weighs out at over 21,400Lbs. My BVAN Tow Hitch is rated at 12,000lbs which is fine for 12,400lbs trailer with load. Again; the same as above, the LOAD MASTER (its braking system is rated at 18,000lbs) will easily Stop the entire rig using the manual control on the trailer brake controller in the BVAN.

If you place the BVAN at approximately 9,000lbs plus the 31ft Excella at approximately 9,000+lbs; this puts us well over 18,000+ lbs. This 18,000lbs rig has made many many trips throughout the US and Canada with Zero towing and/or overheating problems.

What many people that tow do not take into account is that on heavy rigs as we tow; we are using a weight distribution hitch. What the hitch does is to redistribute the weight between the tow vehicle and the trailer being towed. For example; if my trailer is 10,000lbs by itself, the weight distribution hitch (depending on how you adjust the pull up bars) will place 8% to 10% of the trailers weight onto the tow vehicles hitch. At 10%; this means that 1,000lbs will be transferred from the trailer weight to the tow vehicles weight i.e. BVAN 9,000lbs plus weight distribution of 1,000lbs. So now the BVAN four tires are now carrying 10,000lbs distributed between four BVAN tires. BVAN tires should be rated at 2,500lbs+. Safer would be that the tires are rated 10% over what is being carried. Like wise the trailer tires are now carrying 1,000lbs less weight.

What I have not said above is that we bought our BVAN new and immediately after delivery; we installed a “USGEAR” Dual Range UnderDrive unit between the transmission and the rear end (we stored the original drive shaft and had a new shorter drive shaft made up). This push button mounted on the steering wheel allows me to downshift my 3.55 rear end downwards to the equivalent of approximately a 4.26 rear end ratio. This “USGEAR” UnderDrive / OverDrive (two different units giving -20% or +20%) gives me an original 3.55 rear end ratio for mileage AND an equivalent 4.26 rear end ratio for pulling power. I now have a must better time pulling heavy loads in the mountains. The best of two worlds. USGEAR’s Dual Range Under/Over Drive units are rated at 35,000lbs GVCW.
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Oldbagpipe
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Re: Towing a Trailer

Post by Oldbagpipe »

We tow an open trailer with our toys. We've only got the 350 engine but have traveled several passes here in WA State. Sometimes we have to slow down a bit, but it's not a race van, so we save our hurrying for the race track. As far as breaking, we installed trailer brakes (<$100), and I will never tow again without them! When the trailer stops, so does everything else....without a doubt.
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Harper
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B190 Year: 1992

Re: Towing a Trailer

Post by Harper »

New user here, hi!

I've had my 1992 b190 since July 2020 - going on three months now, full-time living in it, up in the Canadian tundra - winter is coming and Im preparing for that. I have my own business as a mobile fabrication artist, aka I travel to places to build cool shit, and I take my shop with me.

My current temporary trailer is a 16' steel flat deck, which puts me at roughly 38' long. I welded up some walls and an adjustable canopy support, spent $350 on a canvas to keep my stuff dry. With an empty trailer I weigh in around 12,000 lbs. I'm going to go to a weigh scale to measure the weight on each axle, but this whole thread is super interesting.

I've calculated my current fuel economy at 7.4 mpg which sucks in my opinion, but I'm curious to hear what everyone elses on here, while your towing, especially in the mountains, what are you getting on a good day?
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skater
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B190 Year: 1991
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Re: Towing a Trailer

Post by skater »

I used to tow a car on a dolly with mine, combined weight of ~3,200 lbs or so, and I saw as low as 7 MPG a few times. One time was 5.2 but I suspect that was due to a lot of generator running or something. Solo, 10-11 mpg wasn't unusual.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
silvertrooper
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:44 pm
B190 Year: 1996
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Towing a Trailer

Post by silvertrooper »

We've towed a small uhaul trailer (4x6) and now sometimes pull an old Bantam m-100 trailer; in either we're topping out at 1,000 pounds on the trailer and the van doesn't seem to know it exists. We heat up a bit more than normal over long passes in WA/OR/CA but that's about it for effects. Mileage is always bad, 9-11 is my norm, but have ranged from 6-13 in special circumstances (the low due to winter and running engine to top batteries and circulate fluids monthly or so).
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