And we’re back. I haven’t actually weighed the thing yet but I finally figured out the stupid owners manual and things aren’t as bad as I thought. Basically the 1989 Ford Econoline owners manual was really unclear. What do you think this page means:
I’ll give you a hint, we have the 7.5L engine and the 3.54 Rear Axle Ratio (confirmed with the VIN). I was reading that page as, “There are 3 different versions of the chassis that shipped with that engine and axle combination, one with a GCWR of 10k, one at 11k and one at 15k.” Since I know the trailer hitch we have is rated to 3500 pounds and I know that there are 3 different lengths of chassis that shipped (138″ 158″ and 176″) this seemed like a reasonable explanation. I was assuming that we had the middle chassis that was rated to 11,000 pounds. But that isn’t what that table means at all.
A half a chapter away, I found this page:
Note the “Required Equipment” at the bottom. So if we combine this page with the first, what the first page is saying is that “without any modifications, the GCWR is 10k (which is oddly less than the GVWR); with Super Cooling, the GCWR goes up to 11k; and with Super Cooling and the Handling/Suspension Package, the GCWR is 15k (but if your trailer is more than 3500, make sure you get the Trailer Tow Package too which is just an upgraded hitch).” If only the first page had a note on the second and third rows that said: see page 145 for required equipment, this all would have been much simpler.
At 15,000 pounds, we can absolutely tow the car. Even if you subtract off 20% due to altitude, we’ll still probably be fine but we need to get an accurate weight for the Motorhome to be 100% sure.
As for those extras we’ll need to get to the 15,000 GCWR, I can’t find anything in any of the manuals I have to say that our rig was shipped with those systems, but even so, adding them isn’t that hard. I won’t be able to get the stock parts anymore since it is from 1989, but after market systems that do the same thing or better are easy to find. Aftermarket Transmission Coolers (i.e. the Super Cooling) are $55 on Amazon and I could probably install one in a full day or pay a mechanic 3 hours of labor to do it.
The Handling/Suspension Package is a little harder because I don’t know exactly what the stock one did. My best guess is it definitely included front and rear anti-sway bars (keeps the rig from rocking side to side) after that, though it could be anything. Probably improved shocks, maybe beefier springs, maybe lifted an inch, maybe airbag suspension, I don’t know. It already has an aftermarket front anti-sway bar:
And a rear one I can install myself in a couple hours will only cost about $275 on Amazon. The rest of the stuff though starts to get into things on a car I wont touch because suspension springs kill people and I try to follow the rule of, if I haven’t been trained how to do something, don’t tinker with things that can kill me or blow up explosively (so I probably won’t be doing my own propane work on the RV either). I could probably borrow a spring clamp from an auto parts store, but I still get nervous about it. So basically I need to find out exactly what the stock “Handling and Suspension Package” did and then see what I can find to re-create it. If I can do all the parts (including installation) for less than $1000 I’ll be a very happy camper.
At least we now know that we’re going to keep this rig and can go back to doing other improvements like the roof vents and electrical system. And I promise Allison is helping out too, she’s just finishing up grad school this month and is really busy. She’ll be posting something soon about some decor choices we’ll be making inside.