Author Topic: Towing with my motorhome  (Read 667 times)

Offline hotrodharley

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  • Posts: 4
  • Member since: 2018
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1990
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Ford
  • Engine: 460
Towing with my motorhome
« on: June 10, 2019, 01:37 PM »
I am a new rv'er..I just got myself a 1990 chieftain Class has a 460 big engine with the overdrive trans...I got MH to slow down in life and go camping and also would like to use it to tow my show car and golf cart on a 23 ft open trailer to car shows to cut down on having to try and find motel rooms and pay there $65 and up a night for a room plus try to find places to eat at all concern is if I will be able to make it over all the mountains I have to to over to get anywhere...I live in north part of surrounded with them...Also what kind of MPG I can expect to be ready for..estimated weight is 2000lb around 2600lbs and guessing 800lb golf cart..

Offline Froggy1936

  • 15 year member
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  • Posts: 1609
  • Member since: 2004
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1977
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Minnie Winnie
  • Chassis: Chevy G30
  • Engine: 5.7 1995
Re: Towing with my motorhome
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 05:24 PM »
Expect 4-5 MPG Then if more be HAPPY !  Frank
The Journey is the REWARD !

Online Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
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  • Posts: 5857
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Towing with my motorhome
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 07:23 PM »
2,000 lbs. for a 23 ft trailer is either an aluminum trailer or you are VERY optimistic! You might want to add 6-700 lbs. at least to that if it is a steel trailer and more if it has 10,000 lb. suspension. And 2600 lbs. is a really. really light car! My M-151 military jeep weighs that and it is a unibody with no frame. no top and no accessories and a 4 banger motor. I towed that on a 18 foot open trailer from NJ to Virginia for many years and got 8 MPG average BUT, This was with a 454 Chevy engine. Ford 460's are famous for drinking a LOT of gas. My trailer is a landscape trailer so it is not as heavy as a car trailer and even at that and only 18 feet long the trailer and jeep was 4100 lbs.

Something you will want to do if that Chieftain is more than 26 feet long is crawl under there and behind the rear spring hangers you will see where they added C channel to the frame to extend it. Check out those welds very well as they are usually total crap!!. That is why the hitch is only rated at 300 lbs tongue weight. And that was before 29 years of rust on the frame. I use a Trailer Toad to take the weight of the trailer tongue so there is no load at all on the hitch except for pulling load.

Offline wae

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  • Posts: 13
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1993
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser 32RQ
  • Chassis: Chevrolet
  • Engine: 7.4
Re: Towing with my motorhome
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 09:31 AM »
What he said!

The biggest problem is that the frame extensions that Winnie put on the chassis that the truck manufacturer provided are typically butt welded by blind men.  Mine were more tack-welded than butt-welded and it is a miracle that they didn't just fall apart of their own accord.

I measured the dimensions of my frame extensions and ordered up some C-channel from metals depot to fit inside the existing steel.  The reinforcements were mounted so that there was significant overlap across the joint and then bolted in to place.  With the new steel installed, the force from the extension that could have previously put stress directly on the butt "weld" is now distributed along the reinforcing steel to a much larger section of the original frame rails.  Being a tight fit inside the extension and the original frame also means that in order for the extension to pivot, it would have to bend one of the bits of C-channel that make up the original frame, the extension, and/or the reinforcements.  It took a day to fab up and install (well, actually three days - after cutting and drilling the reinforcements, I sprayed them to prevent rust, so there was some sitting around between coats) and my total cost was under $150.

Of course, you'll need to weight your rig plus the loaded trailer to make sure you're not exceeding your GCVWR.  You're not going to go very fast.  And it could cost you fuel.  My rig is a Chevy 7.4 and I haven't seen a significant drop in MPG - I think it drops from about 7.8 to about 7.4 - but I don't know how the Ford will react.

Offline uglydukwling

  • 9 year member
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  • Posts: 15
  • Member since: 2010
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Elandan II
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 354 (Perkins)
Re: Towing with my motorhome
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2019, 08:07 AM »
My '78 Elandan came with a factory installed hitch receiver (at least it says Winnebago on it). It also came with a sticker that says not to tow anything. The reasons have been discussed above. I'm not sure what they intended the receiver for, possibly a bicycle rack?

Offline Ericb760

  • Total Members
  • Posts: 64
  • Member since: 2019
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain 28
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Towing with my motorhome
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 01:44 PM »
I know for a fact that the PO towed an enclosed trailer with a dune buggy and a couple of quads and 100 gallons of fuel. That said, thanks for the tip about the frame rails. The RV has lived its life in the SoCal desert so I am not concerned with rust issues, but I will certainly take a look a the welds on the frame rails.
1989 Winnie Chieftain 28'


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