Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: 1995 Bounder 36' increasing towing cap 3500 to 5,000 lbs
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 > 1995 Bounder 36' increasing towing cap 3500 to 5,000 lbs

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Starshipcommander

Vail, CO

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Posted: 09/08/20 02:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just bought a 1995 Bounder, should have it within a week. Vin starts 1GBLP37N1S plus xxxxxxxx. Not sure the model and exact length. I am thinking it's about 36 feet. It will be a nearly full time living out of it at least 3/4 of the time. I am a Rock Band Leader. I need to do two things. It's a 454 Chevy.
1....I want to increase the towing capacity from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds so I can tow my 4300 pound Explorer in the mountains of Colorado and beyond. I figured if I could add 1500 pounds of capacity, I might have a hope of making it over the passes and more important being able to stop heading down the other side towing the Explorer on a light trailer or front wheel dolly. I don't think it's safe to tow all four down with the full time 4WD and a transfer case.
2... Is it going to be possible to add heat to the tanks and plumbing and make it at least single digit temperature proof?
Thanks in advance for your advice.

jdc1

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Posted: 09/08/20 03:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Heat tape will help with your freezing issue. As for your towing issue? You might need to find a better option there....something lighter and towable 4 wheels down. The trailer or tow dolly adds weight too.

timmac

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Posted: 09/08/20 03:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What year is the Explorer, does the 4 wheel tranfer case have neutral, if so you would be better off flat towing.

You will need to add a new class 3 hitch with 5000 lb rating and have the rear frame extension beefed up by a welder, the biggest weak spot is the added rear frame extension from Fleetwood.

A 4 wheel car hauler trailer will add about 2000 pounds, you cant do that even with a bigger hitch, you could do a tow dolly..

Or buy a smaller SUV or car that can be flat towed that weights under 4000 pounds..

Lwiddis

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Posted: 09/08/20 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can’t increase a vehicle’s towing capacity...neither can I. The manufacturer sets the numbers based on suspension, tires, wheels, shocks, frame, engine, transmission, rear end etc. You bought too quickly and without adequate information. Get a lighter toad.


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Tax_Man

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Posted: 09/08/20 08:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Adding a larger capacity hitch will not increase the tow capacity of the MH. The engine, transmission, brakes, frame, etc go into calculating the tow capacity which is provided by the manufacturer. You can search how to increase tow capacity.

As for the Explorer, it cannot be towed on a tow dolly as it is a rear wheel drive vehicle when not in 4 wheel. Check the owners manual for recreational towing procedures. There are other factors to consider for towing. Year, transfer case, transmission, etc.

Just my two cent opinion..


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RLS7201

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Posted: 09/08/20 08:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your Bounder has frame extensions, installed by Fleetwood. The extensions are of lesser material and are usually welded pooply. Do NOT exceed Fleetwood's towing limitations without beefing up the frame extensions and welds. The transmissions in those old P32 MHs are problematic and will not tolerate extra loads very well.

All your storage bays, with water in them, are heated by the front furnace. Problem being, Fleetwood did a poor job on the return air. You are probably good to the lower 20s. If you are going to be in a campground in the cold, add a 100 watt light bulb to the two bays with the tanks in them. I modified the return airs on my 33 ft bounder and have survive -7°F.

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way2roll

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Posted: 09/09/20 06:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The easiest option would have been to buy an RV that met your needs. It's pretty hard to take an existing MH with all it's engineered tolerances/limitations and turn it into something with greater capacities - especially towing. Sure you can do it - anything can be done if you throw enough money at it, but at what cost and worth. Or keep the MH you have and get a lighter TOAD or, rent a car at your destination.


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Gjac

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Posted: 09/09/20 07:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That vintage 454 is TBI with only 230 hp, towing a 4300 lb vehicle would really tax that engine and the rest of the drive train even if you could reweld the frame extensions. They run hot anyways pulling a heavy vehicle will just create more heat. Are the radiator and fan clutch original? At the very minimum I would add Thorley headers, a FF muffler and CAI that will increase your HP to a little over 300 and reduce the number of down shifts on hills which creates more heat in the transmission. You may also need a larger transmission cooler. Look closely at you gvwr and what your MH weighs, you may be close to your limit now. Bottom line I would tow a lighter car.

dodge guy

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Posted: 09/09/20 07:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What year Explorer. If 2011 and later with the 3.5 they are towable 4 down doesn’t matter if it’s 2WD or 4WD! You can always add a higher capacity hitch. But you need to see how the frame has been extended, it can be strengthened! And you also need to know if you have enough GVWR and GCWR to handle the 4300lbs. Anything is possible!

If this guy can do this out west with what I think is a 460, then it should be possible with what you have in mind!

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Starshipcommander

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Posted: 09/09/20 10:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to all who weighed in. What does the gallery think of this? Beef up every system?
1. Go to slotted and cross drilled and ventilated brake rotors front and either convert the rear to disc or go to the next bigger size of drums.
2. Add say 25% more volume radiator
3. Beef up the Hitch to a 5 or better yet 10k
4. Install an oil cooler and transmission cooler
5. Lower the rear end ratio or replace the entire rear axle with something bigger, beefier and have a push button locking differential
6. Replace the fuel delivery system with state of the art in 2020 fuel injection
7. Replace stock exhaust with headers going into an oversized single pipe

I have so little money in this rig that I could add these improvements one at a time. Any comments on the ideas?

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