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Old 10-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #1
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2004 28' Classic
Boonville , Missouri
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 15
1500 gas VS 2500 Diesel?

Fairly new to this Airstreaming thing and have not really towed far. Just sold our 92 and heading to Oregon next week to pick up much newer 28' Classic. Currently have a Chevy 1500 4x4 with Heavy Duty tow package. Have opportunity to buy a new (2011) Chevy 2500 diesel at a very good price. Can my 1500 adequately handle the 28' Classic or should I really look at the 2500 diesel? My 1500 has the 5.3 gas engine and pulled 29' Excella okay but never went to mountains or any long trips. Fuel mileage was a billfold breaking 9.6 MPG even at a reasonable speed on Interstate. Would diesel give me much better mileage to justify spending extra $$ and upgrading to diesel even with diesel at higher cost than gas?
My wife says it is up to me!! But we all know how that goes

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #2
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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You will be pushing the 1500 hard...if not overloading it possibly.
With my 30' Classic and the 2500HD Duramax I have right now, I average 12.5 mpg towing. All of that has been "between the mountains". I have seen a low as 11 mpg and as high as 13.5, but 12.5 is a good number to expect overall. I tow at 60 mph on 2 lanes and 63 - 65 on interstates.

HOWEVER, set aside mileage and cost, I have never had a more pleasing tow. it is effortless, with all kinds of reserve power.


"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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2005 25' Safari
North Las Vegas , United States
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Ditto on dznf0g's response. As a previous gas pwr owner and now a diesel owner, there really is no comparison! It truly is a "pleasing tow". Infact, I keep looking in my mirror to make sure I'm towing my Astream!

Oh, I get on the average 14 on streets and 19-20 on freeways.
2007 Dodge Ram Quadcab 6.7L Diesel w/jakebrake

"Better to have more then you need, then need more then you have because you don't have enough!"
AIR #: 8129
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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Really look hard at the diesel. You will get 14-16 mpg pulling, it will handle the trailer better, brake better, and you will have enough payload to carry some stuff too. You will really like it better in the mountains and at altitude also. It might or might not be cheaper depending upon how much you use it, but it is a much more pleasurable towing experience.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Fairbanks , Alaska
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Put me in the diesel camp also, they handle whatever you throw at them and the 3/4 ton trucks are generally built much heavier duty with bigger axles, transmissions, frames etc. As for cost there are lots of threads on this issue you can search to get an idea of mileage then just figure out the cents per mile at those mileage figures with the prices of fuel in your area. If you trade vehicles often you probably won't pay the difference but if you keep it for lots of miles it will pay off. Cost aside I concure with the view that it is a much less stressful experience to tow with a vehicle that can easiely handle the trailer you have.

Be prepared to hear from the folks that advocate towing with smaller lighter vehicles also including many negative comments about diesels. However, in reading those it is my opionion that most of the negative comments about diesels come from folks who never owned one.

While we own a brand "D:" it gets something over 11 pulling a 9000lb toy hauler at 60-62 and I am hoping for much better when we pick up our 25 Eddie Bauer. I will know in a few weeks. Around town I get 16 on summer fuel and just about 19 on the highway (haven't quite hit 20 yet). All are calculated mileages, the computer displays of mileage on most brands are not very accurate, at least that is the feedback I get.
"When you find yourself in a hole - quit digging!"

2012 1/2 Eddie Bauer, Dodge 3500 SWB 4x4 6.7L Cummins 6 spd manual
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:35 PM   #6
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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I wonder what they were pulling Airstreams with when that 1992 Excella was new?

doug k
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I wonder what they were pulling Airstreams with when that 1992 Excella was new?

doug k
454 big block Suburban or a 6.5 L turbo diesel.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:43 PM   #8
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1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
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I recall towing a 19.5 foot SOB trailer with a Chev Sportsvan 350 gas engine and getting about 8 mpg. When I picked up my current setup ('87 32-ft Excella & Dodge 2500HD Diesel) I got 16 mpg on the trip from Jackson Center back home at 55 mph.
AIR 12148
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1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:09 PM   #9
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Originally Posted by dkottum
I wonder what they were pulling Airstreams with when that 1992 Excella was new?

doug k

A Dodge Ram with a Cummins turbodiesel, as they've made them since 1989

- Jim
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Louisville , United States
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Diesel has served us well, but also recommend the following:

Longest possible wheelbase
Four wheel drive
Top-of-the-line cab appointments

That said, if I had it to do over again, I'd go with what was recommended as "The best towing combination ever" for your new rig: The Mercedes R series diesel with all-wheel drive. For the same price or less than you're paying for the 2011 2500HD (a very good choice too!) you could get a used Mercedes R series diesel, have a wonderful traveling/towing combination, and classy ride too. Better diesel miles-per-gallon when you're not towing, too, and decent when you are.

Someone on these forums said "Choosing to go diesel is like choosing to get married--it's a commitment and a special relationship". I think they we're right. I'm both a diesel owner and married for 42 years. Like 'em both a lot!
'94 Excella 1000; '03 Silverado 2500HD
Louisville, Tennessee
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:56 PM   #11
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Vernon , Texas
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Diesel all the way.
As said:
Longest wheel base possible
Once you have committed you will never want to go back. Haul one time up an 8+ grade and pass an over loaded struggling gas engine with a "lightweight" white box you will breath a lot easier...
1975 Sovereign
"The Silver Bullet"
2013 F350 Super Duty 6.7 Liter Diesel
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:08 PM   #12
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1962 19' Globetrotter
1974 25' Tradewind
1973 31' Sovereign
Charlottesville , Virginia
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Having towed everything from race cars to horses to Airstreams to flatbeds loaded with all kinds of crazy stuff I can tell you diesel is the way to go with something that size. I now tow with a Dakota, V-8 gas, just pulled my Tradewind through the Blue Ridge yesterday and it is a very delicate balance to handle that kind of weight. My truck is a champ but it is definitely not the ideal vehicle. I will be looking for a diesel to tow my new Excella with, no question. Safety first!
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:12 PM   #13
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2009 34' Classic
Birmingham , Alabama
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I think the best question to ask is "what is the safety of your family worth?" My Duramax 2500 is more than I need to pull the 34' AS, I choose to have more than enough truck to pull my trailer. I used my Suburban (1500 4x4) to pull my 32' AS and almost lost it once, and that was enough.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:13 PM   #14
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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Another happy diesel owner. When we bought our AS in Ohio, I towed it home with out GMC Sierra 1500. it was Ok - sort of - but since we travel a lot through the SW US, and since you only live once (I think) I decided to spring for the GMC 2500HD.

No regrets whatsoever when towing our Classic 30 - extremely relaxing to drive and nothing seems to phase it.

I can't say that it is necessarily cost effective considering the price premium, in a pinch i suspect we could have gotten by with the half ton gas - but the diesel
sure is a pleasure!


Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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