Piston Slap: Say "Audi 5000" to Your Tow Vehicle!
TTAC commentator Trend-Shifter writes:
I have a 1984 Audi 5000S Avant that is used as the wife’s car and our traveling/towing vehicle. Here is my dilemma…
- The air conditioning works as designed in 1984 (still using R12) but it is not to the standards of a modern “Merican” car. It is only comfortable at freeway speeds and without too much sunlight in that expansive greenhouse. The wife complains loudly all summer!
- The engine is only 110 horsepower. So when the air is turned on it dramatically impacts drivability. If I pull any kind of grade I need to turn the air off as not to impact drivers behind me.
- Right now I tow my jet ski with the car. It pulls it great at any speed as long as the air condition is off. (Refer to item 2, Wifey is not happy when the air is off!)
- I also have an 18 ft boat that I will need to tow in 2~3 years as my Grandsons get of age.
So based on the fact that the Audi 5000 Avant will not pull the boat, I think my best plan is to replace the Audi 5000 Avant in the next two years to fix all the problems I identified rather than modify the air conditioning or the engine.
I have looked at various SUV’s for towing. I want just real RWD, not some wannabe FWD disguised as AWD. The big ole freighter SUV’s are really expensive, not good at high speeds, and suck a lot of fuel. So I started to lean towards a 2006~2009 Cadillac SRX with the Northstar V8. (engine issues resolved in 2005) I think a 2000~2010 low mileage (under 40,000 miles) Lincoln Town Car is the best choice for all my problems. (Can’t handle the Grand Marquis & Crown Vic styling)
The Lincoln Town Car is RWD, has a V8, sits lower, cuts the wind, is very reliable, and gets decent mileage compared to other RWD frame SUVs. A set of plus wheels, Michelin Pilot Sports, and a transmission cooler should complete the package.
Does this sound crazy –OR- crazy as a fox (I mean Panther). If you agree, what years are the best?
BTW… My other car is also an Audi 5000. It is an 1987 Audi Quattro. (I drive it 110 miles round trip everyday to work on the Deeeetroit freeways) So the RWD Lincoln can sit in the garage on those snowy days.
I’m impressed with your Audi 5000 collection (sorry I couldn’t do a Vellum Venom remotely) but I had no clue der avant was a tow vehicle! Good to hear this rig is saying Audi 5000 to THAT job! And your wife has the patience of a Saint to put up with situations that inhospitable for 110 horsepower. But I digress…
“The Lincoln Town Car is RWD, has a V8, sits lower, cuts the wind, is very reliable, and gets decent mileage compared to other RWD frame SUVs.”
I found this quote interesting, as I should also find it appealing. So you need a tow vehicle for bulky things, but you want one with a design aesthetic as your 5000. Longer, lower and wider than an ordinary truck? More fuel-efficient too, right? So why not?
This is a fool’s errand. You WANT a bigger and taller nose/face when towing to punch a bigger hole in the air for your trailer! A Panther can do the job adequately, but it will struggle more because the boat will make it its bitch. I’d recommend a full-sized conversion van to maximize the size of the hole punched for that 18ft boat.
Not that you NEED a conversion van to punch an adequate hole for a boat that small, but why the hell not? SUVs and real pick-em-up trucks lack the aero of a van, are overpriced, and vans are so frickin’ great for road trips. Keep the 5000 Avant for your wife’s normal commute, buy a nicely depreciated custom van for towing.
A 1994-2003 Dodge Ram Van, 1996-present Chevy Express Van and the 1992-present Ford Econoline are the proper successors to your Audi 5000 tow vehicle. Find one with a towing package and the options you’d like. I’d go with a mid-90s Econoline for it’s most Bauhausian Styling to appeal to your Audi-conscious style, get it with the torquey (but thrifty!) 4.9L big six, modernize/upgrade the brakes/wheels/transmission cooler for light towing duty and lose the conversion van paint job for a stark, Germanic gun metal gray. Yummy.
A perfect machine for one’s Piston Slap pragmatism and one’s Audi 5000-worthy Vellum Venom demands.
And for you Best and Brightest peeps who thought I’d take the Panther Love bait: I never did, son!
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Since towing is my business I think I might have some advice to offer here. The towncar is IMHO the better choice "IF" you have a decent boat ramp and don't intend to do long interstate pulls. Yes the van, suv, or truck are better options for towing but since this is to be your wife's daily and she apparently isn't into the bigger is better vehicle set, get the Towncar. Normally I'm the guy who defaults to "bring enough truck" but in this case it isn't necessary and the aero is at most a concern at speed in high winds. After almost 9 years in trucking (6 of which have been hauling oversized freight) I've come to realise the single most important towing feature is in between your ears base your decision on where your going and what your doing then just get a little more vehicle than you need for that. Now if your boat ramp stinks, if you need to spend a lot of time on the interstate, or if your hitting up a high mountain lake get the bigger better towing vehicle otherwise the Towncar is fine. If you do decide to go with a bigger vehicle though I'd let your wife pick out the style since she'll be stuck in it most of the time though I would get it in 4x4 since even if its only needed twice a year you'll be glad you have it. Also if you do go big don't rule out a pickup they've gotten much nicer over the years but then what do I know I'm just a stupid gear jammmer. :-P
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