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Old 05-26-2015, 02:53 AM   #43
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If the hitch question was for me....Reese dual cam sway control, weight distributing hitch. It has been on four trailers, never had a problem once set up is correct.

In fact with 30 - 40 mph wind gusts on my recent trip up to Sioux Falls, I never really noticed the wind except in fuel mileage. Dropped me below 11 mpg as it was between 45 and 90 degrees from my left.

One issue with non diesel is that an auxiliary tank requires a lot of cost, I.e., a fuel cell is required for safety reasons, and when properly installed will cost several times that of a diesel tank. Also lower mpg means more frequent fuel stops, not necessarily a bad thing except back in the days of a fuel shortage.

Your Tundra should tow almost any AS, but a diesel does it with extra power, more convenience. Also, the ride height of a 4x4 diesel may be taller, a feature I love, having come back to AS from a Moho.


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2015 Serenity 30 RB / 2008 Dodge Cummins 4 X 4
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:49 AM   #44
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When pulling my fifth wheels I always used an auxiliary fuel tank. I used Transfer Flow in my last three RAM Diesels and found their tank excellent Their system was safe and trouble free and approved for CA. Towed with a total of 95 gallons and planned ahead as to which state to purchase fuel in. I owned five RAM diesels (all purchased new) and used for heavy towing. I also was supervisor of a school transportation system. My recommendation would be to purchase a diesel tow vehicle only if it is necessary to tow the load you plan to tow.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:53 AM   #45
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TAO,
Several have recommended keeping your Tundra (especially, if you have the 5.8L engine). This is excellent advice, unless you just want to spend more money.

The most your 27FB should ever weigh is 7,600#. This weight should be easily handled with your Tundra.

Happy Stream'in
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:11 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by JKSophie View Post
TAO,
Several have recommended keeping your Tundra (especially, if you have the 5.8L engine). This is excellent advice, unless you just want to spend more money.

The most your 27FB should ever weigh is 7,600#. This weight should be easily handled with your Tundra.

Happy Stream'in
I wrote this Tundra as a TV for a different forum, but it applies in this case:

We just returned from a 2300 mile trip, Portland, OR to Southern Utah and back. Figured I would do a review on how the Tundra tows.

Tundra is a 4WD TRD dual cab with the 5.7L iForce V8. Route was mainly interstates (I84 and I15) with state routes (Utah SR28, SR24, SR12, SR89, SR20) mixed in. Travel trailer weighed in at 6600 lbs wet. Tundra weighed in at 7050. With the trailer attached, the Tundra rear axle was overloaded by about 150 lbs. All other measures were within spec.

Speeds were kept between 59-62 MPH, except on grades as explained below. Gas mileage averaged from a low of 9.4 MPG to a high of 13.5 MPG per tank. Wind and elevation changes were the most common factor for differences. Overall, the average for the trip was between 10 and 11 MPG.

On level terrain, cruise control was set and the truck chugged along with minimal effort. There was some jostling/pogoing and one definitely "knew" the trailer was there, but there were no oscillation issues (uncontrolled sway) even in heavy winds or being passed by semis. The truck is softly sprung (TRD package) and has P rated tires; this probably accounted for the pogo effect. At no time did I feel unsafe.

The route contained many long steep ascents and descents. 8% grades were not uncommon and I saw as high as 10%.
The Tundra was also effective at pulling on hills. Except on the steepest grades, 50-55 MPH could be maintained easily, albeit with the tach north of 3500 RPM. On the steepest grades, 8%+, I would let off the pedal at 40-45 MPH to keep the RPMs within a comfortable range. No, not for the truck, because they are designed to run as high as 5000 RPM, but for my sanity because north of 3500 the sound is uncomfortable.

Downhill was another story. One really needed to get ahead of the curve and slow down to about 40-45 MPH prior to the descent. Otherwise, it felt like a runaway freight train and no amount of downshifting was going to reign it in without using some serious braking. Now, mind you, I am talking about 6%+ grades that were 1+ miles in length. One really doesn’t want to be riding the brakes for 2-3 miles. But, when I downshifted prior to starting the descent, I was able to maintain decent control, as long as I kept the speed slower than 45 MPH with a combination of braking and low gears. These moments were work and not all that pleasant.

The Tundra cruise control was probably the most disappointing aspect of the experience. The cruise control would inexplicably cut out on any serious grade. Cruise set on 60 MPH, truck begins ascent, truck downshifts, tach goes to 3500 RPMs, no problem right. Wrong. Even though the truck was marching up the hill, the tach bounced and the speed started dropping like an anvil off a cliff. Sometimes the speed would drop 20+ MPH before any sign of shifting. If I cancelled the CC, I could manually drive up the hill no problem. Disconcerting to the point I would take it out of cruise control when approaching any grade.

Downhill was even worse. CC set on 60 MPH cresting the hill, truck would start accelerating to 65-70 MPH before any hint of downshifting to control the speed. By this time it was too late for engine braking to be effective. The result was like a runaway freight train with me looking for the emergency ramps.

Thus, the cruise control was only effective on relatively flat terrain.

My conclusion is that the Tundra is a good match for trailers this size or smaller. I would not want to go bigger. And, if you only tow occasionally where there are steep grades, i.e. east of the Mississippi. If you are a weekend camper or travel within a few hundred miles from home, the Tundra makes a great TV.

For me, living in Portland, and travelling long distances (2-3000 mile trips) at least once, if not twice, a year, I will be upgrading to a one ton. Not because the Tundra can't handle my trailer, but because I want a smoother tow experience, i.e. better downhill braking, less pogo effect on uneven roads, and a longer range. If I were to keep the truck, I would add the following: 1. LT tires, 2. TRD sway bar, 3. Timbrens, and 4. Maybe upgrade the shocks.
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:49 PM   #47
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MacPDX, your camper is not an Airstream but there are some things we do with our Ram 1500 5.7/Flying Cloud 25' to handle similar situations.

In normal towing in almost any hill country we keep the transmission in fourth gear, about 2200-2400 rpm which prevents repeated downshifts. Fourth gear is also a 1:1 ratio in the transmission which most probably is most efficient for overall towing, run cooler with less wear. Shift down as needed for steeper grades. The engine can run up to 5000 rpm safely finding the most power for climbing, and the most engine braking for descending. You can check your Tundra, I don't think the computer will allow it to rev above that range and damage the engine.

Never overload the rear or any axle (or tire), it may be unsafe. An overloaded rear axle may also mean insufficient weight distribution and account for a "pogo" ride, light steering and reduced braking ability.

On very steep downhill grades we lower our speed and gear selection to where we're comfortable using engine braking and truck/tailer brakes as needed when cresting and descending. It's a very effective combination, and becomes routine. I'm sure we would avoid a road with a 10% grade.

We have traveled the country extensively, many trips coast-to-coast and border-to-border and have found no need for a larger tow vehicle. That's only to say a light duty pickup properly equipped and loaded can tow a medium size Airstream nicely. A good match to the Airstream, not always a good match to the Airstreamer.

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Old 05-26-2015, 03:01 PM   #48
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ckottum,

All good points and pretty much where I ended up. The Tow/haul did well on level and uphill; manual shifting on the downhills. The payload (1450 lbs on the sticker) is the main issue. I thought I had very little in the truck and a relatively light tongue (670 lbs), but when I hit the scales I was still over on the rear axle. I can't imagine how an airstream with a 1,000 lb tongue weight and a propride/hensley hitch adding another 100 lbs doesn't overload most 1/2 tons.
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Old 05-26-2015, 07:26 PM   #49
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A properly setup weight distribution hitch will distribute the trailer tongue weight as follows: 1/3 to each of the trucks axles and 1/3 to the Airstream's axles. My 25FB has a tongue wt of 837 x .66 = 552. This leaves an additional 828# cargo capacity for my 2011 4WD Tundra Double Cab. I use a silver line WD hitch that I spent several days adjusting so that the truck and AS remain perfectly level when towing. Getting the WD hitch properly adjusted made all the difference in the way my AS pulls. As setup by my AS dealer, the WD hitch was all wrong with too much wt. on the tongue and the ball ht too high. The resulting ride was harsh and choppy in the TV with lots of pogoing. After spending time adjusting the WD hitch, I now don't even notice that the AS is behind me. I use my towing package, trailer brakes and gear down when going down steep grades. I get 10-11 mpg towing on average and I live in the mts of WNC in Asheville. Whatever TV you decide upon, plan to spend some time getting intimate with your WD hitch.

Greg
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:23 PM   #50
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[QUOTE=ashrink12;1627572]A properly setup weight distribution hitch will distribute the trailer tongue weight as follows: 1/3 to each of the trucks axles and 1/3 to the Airstream's axles. My 25FB has a tongue wt of 837 x .66 = 552. This leaves an additional 828# cargo capacity for my 2011 4WD Tundra Double Cab. I use a silver line WD hitch that I spent several days adjusting so that the truck and AS remain perfectly level when towing. Getting the WD hitch properly adjusted made all the difference in the way my AS pulls. As setup by my AS dealer, the WD hitch was all wrong with too much wt. on the tongue and the ball ht too high. The resulting ride was harsh and choppy in the TV with lots of pogoing. After spending time adjusting the WD hitch, I now don't even notice that the AS is behind me. I use my towing package, trailer brakes and gear down when going down steep grades. I get 10-11 mpg towing on average and I live in the mts of WNC in Asheville. Whatever TV you decide upon, plan to spend some time getting intimate with your WD hitch.

Greg[/

Unfortunately the tongue weight is a constant and does not increase your payload capacity as you have stated.This is a common error in calculating maximum payload.


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Old 05-26-2015, 11:39 PM   #51
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ckottum,

All good points and pretty much where I ended up. The Tow/haul did well on level and uphill; manual shifting on the downhills. The payload (1450 lbs on the sticker) is the main issue. I thought I had very little in the truck and a relatively light tongue (670 lbs), but when I hit the scales I was still over on the rear axle. I can't imagine how an airstream with a 1,000 lb tongue weight and a propride/hensley hitch adding another 100 lbs doesn't overload most 1/2 tons.
We have the Airstream you describe with a ProPride hitch, Ram 1500 and here's how WE look at payload, axle and tire loads, and how WE manage it. The payload figure on our truck is substantial (1340 lbs on the door sticker) for what we carry but we would have to load truck and trailer and then take it to the scales, weigh it attached and then each separately each trip to KNOW how much weight is actually added to the truck payload.

We know that the payload figure for the truck accounts for a truck mostly loaded in the bed, mostly over the rear axle. With a w.d. hitch that load is distributed among the front and rear axles of the truck, and the axles of the trailer. So OUR concern shifts from payload rating to axle and tire ratings; to ensure these are not overloaded.

We have weighed our combination together with an unreasonably high load for our usual travel and found we are well below axle and tire limits on the truck (and trailer) axles. Our payload actually added to the truck is most probably within it's labeled load as well but that is not our primary concern, we want to know the axles/tires are not overloaded.

We also make other considerations. Although the factory built our trailer with 835 lbs. hitch weight empty except for propane and no options (we then add options, w.d. hitch, travel gear), we are not bound by this trailer configuration and its weights.

We have replaced the front dinette furniture with recliner chairs that we slide 4 feet aft when towing. We load almost nothing in the front of the trailer, only a few lightweight items. We load most of the gear under the rear bed, the kitchen area (over the axles), and bicycles on a rear rack which unloads the hitch weight somewhat. We could permanently move the batteries aft, remove the Airstream spare tire (we have reliable 16" Michelins), reevaluate our travel gear needs.

Our goal is a hitch weight of 10-12% of max load trailer weight (about 730 lbs) and the truck bed loaded light behind its rear axle. That makes the task of the weight distribution hitch easier; thereby a less rigid connection with a better ride for the combo, a properly distributed load with better handling and braking, and closer to payload limitations of our truck.

We travel extensively and traveling with a light duty truck makes our experience easier, more comfortable, and more economical. Wouldn't have it any other way. Other Airstreamers need a heavy duty truck for their own experiences, sometimes just want one. To each their own, either way can work very well.

cheryl
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:07 AM   #52
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I balance my weight out using the Reese Dual Cam Sway Control hitch and the Active-Level™ Four-Corner Air Suspension option on my Longhorn 1500 2014 automatically adjusts and keeps the truck level. An option I would not do without when considering a truck for towing my AS.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:49 AM   #53
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"Unfortunately the tongue weight is a constant and does not increase your payload capacity as you have stated.This is a common error in calculating maximum payload."

Dear Moflash

Sorry you didn't grasp my post and you are misunderstanding the purpose of the WD hitch you have purchased and attached to your truck. The WD hitch does not increase a truck's payload rating as you incorrectly state, rather it shifts or redistributes 1/3 of the trailer tongue weight to the trailer's axles and away from the ball/hitch on your truck.

Therefore tongue weight is not a constant as you have stated but is redistributed by your weight distribution hitch away from the tongue to the trailer's axles.

You can measure this be going to a weigh station scale and weighing the front/rear truck axles and the AS axles with and without the WD hitch. This is well explained in the Towing section of your AS manual pg. 7-4.

When calculating the load on your tires/axles you will be adding 1/3 of the trailer's tongue wt. to each of the truck's front and rear axles (or 1/6 of the trailer's tongue weight to each truck tire) with the remaining 1/3 distributed to the trailer axles. This again is outlined in your AS manual.

As the previous poster suggested this can be checked/confirmed at the weigh scales. When adding up hypothetical weights to compare to the trucks stated payload capacity, use the trailer tongue wt. with no WD hitch less 1/3 as a best guess of how much truck payload capacity will be used by hooking up your AS when the WD hitch is employed.

Sorry for any confusion. The AS manual is really helpful in its explanation of the use of WD hitches and the redistribution of trailer tongue weight.

Greg
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Old 05-27-2015, 06:44 AM   #54
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Gassers are Thirsty, but then so are Diesels with a 7L V8 engine. There really should be a Diesel offering in the 3.6L range for these pickup trucks. With turbo, direct injection,modern transmissions and modern engine control this is more than ample power for these applications.

I can attest that a normally aspirated engine can get a little gaspy in the high mountains.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:23 AM   #55
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In the mountains you need a turbo diesel for high altitude torque. To get there without having to stop often you need an aux fuel tank. To get you or your wife in the truck you need automatic running boards by AMP. Now if you want the Airstream to really have a smooth ride you need Kelderman air suspension. After all this you have a truck that will last you a lifetime with comfort. My personal experience says that Ford's engine history and Dodge's transmission and body problems are over come in the GM products. GM has made 1,5 million Duramax/Alisons and their Denalli body beats all
others.
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Having just sold my 2nd Ford F-250 diesel, 5.7L, both truck engines, turbos and everything else were a cluster disaster. Owning a plane would be cheaper. If you buy a RAM 1500 order the German made ZT 8 speed, Rock solid. Best tranny I have ever owned. If you get a Cummins order the Aisen 6 speed they are in use in millions of commercial trucks world wide, rock solid. Yes, don't buy the old Dodge/Ram transmissions.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:17 AM   #56
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Would you diesel owners give us an idea of you MPG on average.
Thanks
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