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Old 12-14-2019, 12:47 PM   #1
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
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2020 FC FBT/1500 Suburban XLT/Blue Ox

Brand new Airstreamer here, and just learning what I need to know. Picked up my new 2020 25í FC FBT two weeks ago, and currently on a shakedown weekend at a WA State park. I need advice on how to setup my TV/TT correctly.

My 2008 Suburban 1500 XLT has an air ride suspension that appears to be complicating my fine tuning my Blue Ox (1,000 # bars). I had Airstream NW set me up for the tow home, but after learning my XLT does not have a large payload and axle margin, Iíd like to make sure I optimize my setup.

Although it was raining, I stopped off at a CAT scale to make sure I would be at least not not overloading on the rear axle.

My first weigh: Steer axle 3,060, drive axle 4,340, trailer axle 5,660. Blue ox on 7th link (as setup by Airstream NW). My front end steering felt lighter than usual so I knew the front wasnít heavy enough.
I tightened the BO chains to the 9th link ( which appears to be the BO recommended link), and reweighed.

The second weigh: Steer axle 3,200, drive axle 4,160 , TT axle 5,720. The weight did move fwd on my TV, but not significantly.

Because of time constraints and rain, I wasnít able to weigh my TV by itself. I felt safe enough for the 30 minute drive to the park.

TV specifics: GAWR 7,400; GAWR (steer) 3,600; GAWR (drive) 4,200, curb weight 5,595, towing capacity 8,100.

When at ASNW, the TV was level as was the TT when ball on TV was installed (2Ē above hitch on TT. The air suspension on the TV pumps up to get level, even with the tongue load on the hitch, so Iím having difficulty figuring how to move more weight to the TV front axle. The TV does have a tow/haul function is activated by a push button, and it was activated.

I believe the solution would be to get stronger bars (1,500#) to allow greater weight transfer ( in other words, the wrong BO hitch selected/installed has too low of capability). I was careful to try to keep the tongue weight as low as possible, but it probably pushing 1,000#. Base hitch weight of TT is 823#.

Recommendations appreciated (new TV not in the short term plans, but I realize that would solve the issue with a 3/4 ton TV). Tighten the BO to the 10th/11th link? Get stronger (1,500# bars) BO?

Thanks

Henry
Seattle WA
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:19 PM   #2
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Hello Henry

Just a couple of things.

Your ball height should be the same as the trailer height before hooking up. So about 20.5" from the ground. When you connect with the Suburban your front bumper should be 1/2 - 3/4" lower than it was without the trailer.

You will definitely need the 1500 bars but honestly I have never been able to get adequate weight transfer with the BO on a combination such as yours.

A 3/4 ton does not actually help since it is a longer vehicle and even harder to transfer weight on. The suspension may not sink but the weight is still coming off the front axle reducing stability.

If you would like this in a little more detail feel free to send me an email andy@canamrv.ca and I can send you a couple of sheets with more information.

Do you have 18 or 20" tires on the Suburban? Conventional shocks or automatic ride control?

Andy
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:28 PM   #3
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Thanks Andy,

I know my TV/TT will be challenging. Iíll need to see if I can trade my BO bars for stronger ones. I have both the air suspension and 20Ē tires. Iíll send you an email separately also.

Thanks, Henry
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Old 12-14-2019, 03:12 PM   #4
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I have a 2010 Yukon (short wheelbase) with rear air suspension, and a 25FB.



I have used a Blue Ox SwapPro, and an EAZ-Lift Elite with friction sway bars.


With both hitches, the steering feel and sense of stability does improve as more weight distribution is dialed in. You said you gained 160 pounds on the front axle going from 7 to 9 links on your hitch. You said that seemed not significant. I think it is significant and that you would be able to feel the difference at highway speeds, especially with wind or large trucks passing. (The 9 links also gets your rear axle within GAWR)


So I would say the first thing would be try going to 10 or 11 links on the BO, and see how it drives.


A more difficult considerationis to reinforce your hitch. If you watch as you hitch up and tighten the bars, your hitch will rotate some--actual flexing in the receiver/bumper assembly. The more it flexes, the less actual weight you can transfer to the front axle. At the recommendation of Andrew_T, I went to his shop when I was traveling and had them strengthen my hitch with a couple lengths of angle iron.



As far as the air suspension, I don't find it a problem in doing the set up. The CAT scale is the ultimate key to getting the WD set right. And the hitch ball height will be the same regardless of WD setting, so if your trailer sits level today, it will sit level even if you adjust the bars or change your trailer loading.


I've been using the same hitch for 5 years. I only visit the CAT scales about once every year or two now.
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Old 12-14-2019, 03:35 PM   #5
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You'll want at least 1,700 lbs of payload (and preferably more) on your TV for it to be happy towing a FB25. See the door sticker. Your real world tongue weight, loaded for travel and with some waste water, will be at least 1,000lbs, maybe even 1,100. By the time you get your TV loaded with people and gear the weight goes pretty fast.

Plenty of people tow a FC25 with a carefully chosen half ton pickup, I pull my FC25FBT with a F150 with 1,800 of payload capacity. It's happy enough though I did upgrade the shocks to Bilstein to deal with porpoising. Would a F250 be better? Sure. Would I want one as a daily driver when not towing? Too much truck for me.

By the way, I use 1,000lb bars on mine. 1,500 is pretty stiff resulting in more jaring of the trailer. i wouldn't use them unless there's no alternative.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:18 PM   #6
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I have a suggestion....
Try towing the trailer on the ball....YOur vehicle is capable of towing that TT....It has air leveling.....You may find that it tows just fine right on the ball.....If it does, you can add some friction anti-sway and you are off, and no fuss with a wd hitch.....The real acid test is to drive it and see how it handles. I am towing a 26', about 5300 lbs, with no wd, and it is impossible for it to be any more worry free.....
Your TT is heavier than mine, but only by about 1000 lb.....
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkcurtiss View Post
I have a suggestion....
Try towing the trailer on the ball....YOur vehicle is capable of towing that TT....It has air leveling.....You may find that it tows just fine right on the ball.....If it does, you can add some friction anti-sway and you are off, and no fuss with a wd hitch.....The real acid test is to drive it and see how it handles. I am towing a 26', about 5300 lbs, with no wd, and it is impossible for it to be any more worry free.....
Your TT is heavier than mine, but only by about 1000 lb.....
With my BO installed and adjusted with 7 links, I was already 140# overweight on my rear axle. Removing the BO entirely would increase my rear axle weight even more. To use my Suburban, Iíll definitely need a WDH. The handling was fairly loose before adjusting to 9 links. The rest of my drive the combination behaved well. Iíd like to move a couple hundred pounds more to the front axle (but stay under the front axle GAWR of 3,600#).

Iím planning on trying 10 links for my drive home tomorrow to see if it handles better.

Henry
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:46 AM   #8
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I noticed an improvement just going from nine links to ten
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by m rafferty View Post
I noticed an improvement just going from nine links to ten
Unfortunately, I was unable to use the 10th link. Even with the tongue jacked as high as the jack would allow, I couldnít get the 10th link to engage. I suppose the only option if I stay with the BO is the stronger bars.
Iím wondering if a small bottle jack would be an option to lift the bar just enough to engage the 10th link. It doesnít seem that safe though.
Henry
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indycanard View Post
With my BO installed and adjusted with 7 links, I was already 140# overweight on my rear axle. Removing the BO entirely would increase my rear axle weight even more. To use my Suburban, Iíll definitely need a WDH. The handling was fairly loose before adjusting to 9 links. The rest of my drive the combination behaved well. Iíd like to move a couple hundred pounds more to the front axle (but stay under the front axle GAWR of 3,600#).

Iím planning on trying 10 links for my drive home tomorrow to see if it handles better.

Henry
You know, it sounds like this is a great time to upgrade your vehicle....if you can swing it....Your suburban is maxed out obviously, and thats never good.
It is amazing how much heavier the new Airstreams are than the old ones....Especially the tongue weight...holy cow.
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Old 12-17-2019, 06:32 AM   #11
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I was in your shoes recently. My new TV wasn’t as capable as I would have imagined. Sticker payload = 1394lbs. My 2016 28 FC has high tongue weight. The Blue Ox hitch seems to work.
From CAT scale no passengers:
F GAWR 3900, measured 3300.
R GAWR 3800, measured 3320.
Ignore payload and worry about axle ratings.
The F-150 porpoises a lot, so I put on Roadmaster suspension before weighing. Now it is stable and smooth and level.
I can’t load my motorcycle into the bed, but I won’t worry about a few hundred pounds in the cab.
My wife and I are 300lbs (total). I think we’re good to go.

Ignore any suggestions to skip the WD hitch. I don’t know what they might be thinking, but I disagree.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFH View Post
I was in your shoes recently. My new TV wasn’t as capable as I would have imagined. Sticker payload = 1394lbs. My 2016 28 FC has high tongue weight. The Blue Ox hitch seems to work.
From CAT scale no passengers:
F GAWR 3900, measured 3300.
R GAWR 3800, measured 3320.
Ignore payload and worry about axle ratings.
The F-150 porpoises a lot, so I put on Roadmaster suspension before weighing. Now it is stable and smooth and level.
I can’t load my motorcycle into the bed, but I won’t worry about a few hundred pounds in the cab.
My wife and I are 300lbs (total). I think we’re good to go.

Ignore any suggestions to skip the WD hitch. I don’t know what they might be thinking, but I disagree.
I’m assuming you have the 1,500# BO bars, right? Looks like you have good weight distribution on your TV.
Henry
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Old 12-19-2019, 07:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFH View Post
I was in your shoes recently. My new TV wasnít as capable as I would have imagined. Sticker payload = 1394lbs. My 2016 28 FC has high tongue weight. The Blue Ox hitch seems to work.
From CAT scale no passengers:
F GAWR 3900, measured 3300.
R GAWR 3800, measured 3320.
Ignore payload and worry about axle ratings.
The F-150 porpoises a lot, so I put on Roadmaster suspension before weighing. Now it is stable and smooth and level.
I canít load my motorcycle into the bed, but I wonít worry about a few hundred pounds in the cab.
My wife and I are 300lbs (total). I think weíre good to go.

Ignore any suggestions to skip the WD hitch. I donít know what they might be thinking, but I disagree.
Hi Kevin

If your bike is 400 pounds or so you can carry it while towing. You might need a stronger weight distribution than the ox but we have done it many times. Basically you use the weight distribution to help compensate for the weight in the back of the truck.

Andy
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indycanard View Post
Iím assuming you have the 1,500# BO bars, right? Looks like you have good weight distribution on your TV.
Henry

This hitch was sold to the previous owner with the trailer.
I didn't look at them when I bought the trailer, but they are 1000lbs bars
(three dots on the bars)

I get 3300#s on both the front and rear axles at the scales.

I assume with the 1500# bars I would get axle measurements like
F 3400#
R 3220#
Say 100lbs more tranfered to the trailer too.

I don't think making the rear lighter makes sense at the point where the front is already as heavy as the front.

Kevin
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Old 12-19-2019, 06:20 PM   #15
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Read a post om another thread about a guy that is pulling his 25' 2009 Airstream with a Volkswagon Toureg......I cannot wrap my head around how he could be pulling his Airstream with a VW, and you are having trouble towing with a Chevy Suburban? There is a skunk in the woodpile somewhere.....
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Old 12-21-2019, 09:14 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mkcurtiss View Post
Read a post om another thread about a guy that is pulling his 25' 2009 Airstream with a Volkswagon Toureg......I cannot wrap my head around how he could be pulling his Airstream with a VW, and you are having trouble towing with a Chevy Suburban? There is a skunk in the woodpile somewhere.....


We have set up hundreds of Touaregís Porscheís and Q7ís for towing. They are actually much better handling a Suburban both towing and solo.

Having said that 10ís of thousands have towed Airstreams everywhere with suburbans. In the 80ís and 90ís a 1500 Suburban was hands down the most popular tow vehicle for Airstreams.
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Old 12-22-2019, 06:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkcurtiss View Post
Read a post om another thread about a guy that is pulling his 25' 2009 Airstream with a Volkswagon Toureg......I cannot wrap my head around how he could be pulling his Airstream with a VW, and you are having trouble towing with a Chevy Suburban? There is a skunk in the woodpile somewhere.....
Most people not familiar with the Touareg and sister vehicles are surprised by their capabilities.

We had a 2016 Touareg TDI and got 16 MPG towing our FC23FB. Four wheel independent suspension, 6 piston caliper brakes and short overhang, 1180 lbs. payload and 406 lb. ft. of torque makes it a great TV.

We moved up to a 27í Globetrotter and were not comfortable doing the hitch mods vs. insurance and exceeding payload limits in case of an accident so we went the truck route.

Andy at Can-Am has years of experience with all kinds of vehicles. If I wasnít risk-adverse with the insurance I would have taking the trip to Canada and had them do it.
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:45 AM   #18
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Most people not familiar with the Touareg and sister vehicles are surprised by their capabilities.

We had a 2016 Touareg TDI and got 16 MPG towing our FC23FB. Four wheel independent suspension, 6 piston caliper brakes and short overhang, 1180 lbs. payload and 406 lb. ft. of torque makes it a great TV.

We moved up to a 27í Globetrotter and were not comfortable doing the hitch mods vs. insurance and exceeding payload limits in case of an accident so we went the truck route.

Andy at Can-Am has years of experience with all kinds of vehicles. If I wasnít risk-adverse with the insurance I would have taking the trip to Canada and had them do it.
Pretty cool !
Does that Touareg have air leveling suspension? It comes with tow package amenities?

I am shocked....
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:46 PM   #19
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Pretty cool !
Does that Touareg have air leveling suspension? It comes with tow package amenities?

I am shocked....
Mkcurtiss, my Touareg did not have air suspension but it was available on earlier generations as was a V10 Diesel. Thereís a YouTube video of the V10 towing a 747.

Mine was a 3.0 V6 Diesel and had a hitch and factory wired for a brake controller which I added. It was the most comfortable TV Iíve driven.

Too bad VW chose not to bring the new generation to the US - itís available with a V8 Diesel (419 horsepower, 664 lb-ft of torque). https://jalopnik.com/the-surprising-...las-1833200733

The guys over at Fast Lane Truckís bought a 1st Generation Touareg V8 gas for cheap and did off-roading on Jeep trails in Moab. Theyíre having a blast with it! https://youtu.be/dS2vUaGthUo

Just goes to show you canít judge a book by its cover!
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:33 PM   #20
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2020 FC FBT/1500 Suburban XLT/Blue Ox

Similar situation as you, I pull a
25 with a Tahoe, no $70,00 for a 350/3500, maybe in time. All the Germans seem to pull their ASs with Touaregs and GLKs (presumably diesels). I also use the Blue Ox, although there was a learning curve with me and I will go nowhere near that little black wrench it comes with. I like photos, here are some:Click image for larger version

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