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Old 06-23-2017, 10:23 AM   #1
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Fountain Valley , California
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Choice of a Towing Truck

I am new to the Forum, so would like to get some general advice.

Dreaming about Airstreams for the past 10 years, and the time to buy is here.

Planning on a Flying Cloud M25.

Potential truck choices at Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, or Chevy Silverado.

Any recommendations?


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Old 06-23-2017, 11:38 AM   #2
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
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Look at some sub forums discussing tow vehicles, people here are not shy about telling you why you should buy what they bought.

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Old 06-23-2017, 11:40 AM   #3
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2018 27' Globetrotter
Hanover , Pennsylvania
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It's great to have you as a forum member!

There are so many threads about towing vehicles (TV's) it's a challenge to start another one.

It would suggest reading some of those threads and then ask more specific questions. And BTW, since I already have a RAM truck, I think you should include them in you potential truck list!
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:43 AM   #4
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Tundra!!!! I just got a great deal on a used one that's Toyota certified, meaning that it comes with a manufacturer's warranty.

There are a lot of great trucks out there. Here's a current thread that's discussing them:
Jim Breitinger, Salt Lake City
Former full-timer (2007-2009) Airstream tribute blog.
Brief revival in 2017, the year of my '62 Safari
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:48 AM   #5
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2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:52 AM   #6
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1976 Argosy 28
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Properly configured, any of those 3 will tow a 25' Airstream anywhere you need to go. Be aware, however, that there are lots of F150s and Silverados on the road that are configured for driving to the mall and don't make great tow vehicles. Recent Tundras in a given year all have the same engine/transmission/rear axle so the main thing there comes down to tires and options on how much it can haul and tow. It may be a consideration for you that Tundras are thirsty and I believe that until recently there wasn't a big fuel tank option for them, you should research that. (They're all thirsty when towing, by the way, but more F150s and Silverados have the larger tank.)

Once you find one configured well for towing, it's largely down to what your favorite brand is, or which truck fits your needs and tastes better.
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:14 PM   #7
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Ecoboost 150 or Expedition, cheap when not towing...
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:19 PM   #8
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2017 30' Classic
Kalispell , Montana
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The other great TV

RAM 1500 Diesel, best MPG.
James Mileur, HY80-2-Al,
2017 Classic Twin, 2016 RAM 3500 Megacab, ProPride hitch
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:23 PM   #9
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Asking the "which truck is best?" question pretty much is the same as asking "which truck do you have?".

On all of them one big question is "new, off dealer lot" or "new, order to your spec" or "used, what I can find". That's not as easy a question as you might think. My experience has been that trucks don't depreciate a lot. I've had several that I bought new and sold used for > 80% of what I paid for them (after several years of use). Off lot trucks around here are all 4x4's, that is fine if you want a 4x4. For towing a 2WD *might* be closer to your needs. Order in takes time, which some don't have ..... I bought the trailer and need to get it home *now* Think that part through at least as carefully as "which brand" or "which model".

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Old 06-23-2017, 12:37 PM   #10
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I recommend finding a used ECO Diesel Ram 1500. I have loads of power (torque) and get 15-16 mpg pulling my 30' Excella. Just my $0.02 worth.
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:05 PM   #11

2015 28' Flying Cloud
Berthoud , Colorado
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Tow Vehicles (TVs)

The below applies to my experience towing a Flying Cloud 28 (rear bedroom). Your 25 foot travel trailer (TT) should be much easier with most 1/2- or 3/4-ton pickups with the proper towing ratings/capacities.

We purchased a 28FC last November, and bought a 2013 Toyota Tundra Platinum to tow it. GREAT pick-up, loved everything about it--comfortable, large but not TOO large, gasoline (I didn't want a diesel at the time), great reviews all over the World Wide Web, and we and our dogs really liked the rear window which goes up and down--entirely. A friend who had purchased a FC 27 FB had purchased a Toyota Tundra and was very happy, so we thought it would be a good purchase. And, it was a Toyota, built in the USA, with less than 21,000 miles on it in immaculate condition. I added a trailer brake controller as it didn't come with one even though it had the "towing package."

We live in Colorado, and we love traveling in the West. One trip on US-50 across Colorado made me wish I had more power going up-hill and more brakes going downhill. The Tundra was PERFECT on most flat roads/highways, and even on rolling hills or mountain roads where the terrain or speed limit was less than 50 mph or we got stuck behind a slow-moving truck or travel trailer. Too much upshifting/downshifting trying to maintain 50 mph (70 MPH on I-17 North out of Phoenix was NO problem even over some grades that had tractor-trailers and other RVs slowing down!). Several downhill grades on two-lane roads had me using the trailer brakes a lot (not a problem) but the truck brakes more than I would have liked (and once I felt a little fading which raised the pucker factor a little as we hadn't reached the bottom of the grade).

I believe my weight distribution hitch was ideally adjusted for the Tundra (per CAT scale weight tickets), and the trailer brakes and controller were adjusted properly. The Tundra is technically a 1/2-ton pick-up (some call it a 5/8-ton!), and I was towing 7,000 lbs (truck payload, plus trailer) and I was just at the limit of the capability of the truck. And more-so on the brakes--in my opinion--and it's important to stress that: it was my opinion. If we were towing primarily East of the Rockies, it would have been a great vehicle and we probably wouldn't have considered changing tow vehicles.

It was with heavy heart and after much analysis I surrendered my Tundra and purchased a Ram 3500 Megacab (we need the extra room in the cab for our dogs (three standard poodles)). I drove an F-150 Eco-Boost--and nearly bought it, but was worried about the braking capability. It had LOTS of torque, and the promised fuel mileage was really enticing, too. But, the rear seat wasn't configured to maximize the area for the dogs (the rear seat bottom folds UP instead of the back folding down), and I had that nagging worry about braking.

I opted for the Ram because of: 1) the diesel engine for mountain towing, particularly uphill towing; 2) the diesel engine for mountain towing, particularly for downhill towing (engine brake); 3) the brakes (monster brakes); and, 4) the Megacab (nothing else we considered had the cab room the Ram had--it's bigger than the Toyota). And, the truck rides amazingly nice for a 1-ton--the wife LIKES the ride of the truck even when we're not towing the trailer.

We haven't done but a little towing with the 3500 on local streets/roads and on the local Interstate (adjusting the weight distribution hitch) and to get a feel for how the vehicle handles the trailer. All of the AirForum threads I read where people had gone from gas to diesel said the same things: "I'll never go back (to gas)," and, "I don't even notice the trailer." And, my initial impressions are the same: I hardly notice the trailer behind me (could be dangerous...), and I don't think I would go back to a gas-engined tow vehicle for a trailer this size (28 ft.). Again, I hardly notice the trailer behind me, when I'm accelerating, or when I'm braking. And, I've yet to "tax" the engine brake at all--but it does offer noticeable braking assistance even on relatively flat roads. Fuel mileage hasn't been great on these short tows, but then it wasn't great with the Tundra, either. But, as has been said in this thread, that's to be expected when towing.

Again, I think the 25 footer you are purchasing would be fine with most 1/2-ton pick-ups with heavy duty tow packages and a good weight distribution hitch. I would urge you to consider where you will be towing primarily, and what your experience is towing under those conditions. We bought the 28 foot trailer because it was a price/condition we just couldn't pass up; in hindsight, a 25 might be a better size for us, but with three large dogs, we need the "sleeping space" for them in the trailer.

If we had a 25 ft. travel trailer (TT), I would have definitely thought long and hard about the F-150 EcoBoost, and maybe even removed the rear seat for the room we wanted. It has great torque and mileage. And, it's a gasoline engine. And they get GREAT reviews here on AirForums and elsewhere on the Web.

If you go to the Towing sub-forums on AirForums, you will see some VERY heated and strong discussions/opinions about tow vehicles and weight distribution hitches. I'd had no experience with weight distribution hitches before--and I've towed a LOT of horse- and utility trailers in my life, and wouldn't do it again without a weight distribution hitch. We have an Equal-i-zer Hitch (with the "bracket jackets" to reduce hitch noises) and are very happy with it. And, the prices of weight distribution hitches can vary GREATLY.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:35 PM   #12
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2010 30' Flying Cloud
De Pere , Wisconsin
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^ This x 1000

couldn't write a more realistic response. !/2 ton will tow it and safely. HD diesel truck if you can/want to afford it and you will be grinning ear to ear. I have had two F150 ecoboosts and now have an F350 diesel...what an amazing difference and I'm paying $$ for the pleasure no doubt!
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:56 PM   #13
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Little Rock , Arkansas
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Welcome to the Forum; great place for about anything you ever want to know about AS, TV and everything associated with them.

You can definitely use a 1/2 ton pickup to tow your 25 and there is nothing wrong with a 3/4 ton and/or diesel, either. Before making that decision, determine what sort of camping you will be doing and what you may want to take along. It you are planning on boondocking and will need generator/s, kayaks, bicycles, etc., you may get close to the load limit of a 1/2 ton. Lots of people tow 30ft AS just fine with 1/2 ton pickups/SUVs. Not my choice, but it is done. As a person who grew up on a ranch and drove trucks for a college job, I would observe that there are more tow vehicles capable of pulling a load than there are those which can safely brake the load in an emergency or on a steep downhill. Engine brakes and robust wheel brakes are sort of like guns; you don't need them until you really need them.

No matter the TV choice, be certain you use a weight distribution/sway control hitch system. There are a number of threads on that subject as well. Several WD/SC systems out there are very good. We chose ProPride, but again, there are other very good systems.

We carefully weighed many factors in our choice of TV and towing accessories. We have towed our AS about 8K miles in our first 18 months and I can say it is much more pleasurable towing with confidence. BTW - before I had towed our AS 100 miles, we had an emergency stop on I-10 heading into the Mobile River tunnel; an 18 wheeler pulled out in our lane doing about 1mph as we rounded a sharp curve downhill into the tunnel. Yep, I was a dummy for being in the far right lane there, but still it required a full on application of brakes. Truck and trailer remained together and tracked where I pointed them. Without a WD/SC hitch system, the AS might have swapped ends and flipped us.

Again, welcome to the Forum and safe travels to you and yours.
Boogieshoes, DH of JudyJudy; AS "Rose"
WBAC 5932Arkansas Razorbacks Unit
2016 F250 KR 6.7 4x4 CC "Tex"
Members, NTAC
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:23 PM   #14
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2018 28' Tommy Bahama
san pedro , CA
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Welcome....just went thru this process. Traded in an F-150 for a Platinum Ford F-250 4x4 Diesel towing a 27' Tommy Bahama. Could not be more truck we have ever owned with more than ample power. probably could have done it with the F-150, but prefer to chug up hills without issue. Have fun with the process!

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