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Old 02-01-2004, 03:29 PM   #1
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Airstream Shopping

I am new to posting on this forum but I have been reading the posts of it's members for a few weeks. We sold out 1994 Minnie Winnie 3 years ago because it wasn't getting much use, but we miss having a camper for occasions when when we do get the chance to hit the road. We had a 1966 Airstream 18 years ago but never towed it, we used it for a lake cabin in East Texas, and we loved it.

I am currently shopping for an older Airstream, something in the $10,000-$15,000 range. I found a nice 1981- 28' in Oklahoma that looks like something I might be interested in but I'm thinking something in the 24' or smaller range might be easier to pull with my F150.

I would like some input, does a 24' pull that much easier than say something in the 28' range? My truck has the 5.4 engine with towing package, but I want to put the least amount of stess on the drive train as possible.

Thank You for any input. I look forward to being able to post a picture of "my" Airstream in the near future.

KingRanchF150
Texas
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Old 02-01-2004, 03:50 PM   #2
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I use to tow a 29' Argosy with a full size Chevy Blazer 350 w A/T we had no trouble towing that unit. Went to motor home after that, but things changed with our kids and the MH didn't get used enough so we went back to a AS trailer. Currently towing a 17'. Your truck should be able to handle a 28' unless possibly you do alot of hills. Check this site http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p.../weights-1.pdf it lists the trailer weights. It might be of some help to you. Good luck with your search.

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Old 02-01-2004, 06:06 PM   #3
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Greetings KingRanchF150!

I have owned my Airstream since 1995 and have had several tow vehciles. My coach is a 1964 Overlander with a gross weight of 6,100 pounds with a tongue weight of 750 to 775 pounds. The least satisfactory tow vehicle that I had was a K1500 Z-71 Chevrolet Club Cab Pickup with full trailer towing package including 3.73 differentials and 5.7 Liter V8 - - it was at it limit and very near its GCVWR - - any hill of significance resulted in near full throttle in 3rd and it didn't take much to require shifts to 2nd on long grades - - not pleasant towing. A trip to Colorado (less than 20 MPH in low gear going through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70) brought about its trade on a new Suburban - - K2500 with 7400 VORTEC and 4.10 differentials - - the difference is remarkable - - the same trip that nearly did in the 1/2 ton pickup was a "cakewalk" with the Suburban - - 55 MPH in 3rd.

I agree with Whistler, check the Airstream weights and measures page before deciding on a coach. Remember that many of the weights are Empty which means that they do not include any options, fluids, nor personal posessions that you might carry - - the gross weight of my Overlander is nearly 1,500 pounds more than its advertised weight but it does have numerous options and accessories that weren't included in the factory weight and I nearly always have a full fresh water tank (35 gallons) and full or near full twin 40 pound LP tanks.

Determine the trailer tow rating for your truck - - it should be listed on the window sticker if you still have it - - if not, it should be something that can be determined using a table in the owners' manual. My suggestion would be to subtract approximately 20% from the rated trailer tow rating and look for a trailer with a GVWR very close to that number or lower. By keeping a reserve, I think that you will have a more enjoyable experience - - I know that I worry far less about my Suburban when towing than any other tow vehicle that I have had as it just doesn't work as hard doing its job. I am also convinced that a tow vehicle lasts longer if it is operated below its maximum ratings. The repair expense on my Suburban after nearly six years (delivered April 21, 1998) and 122,000 miles is still below the expenses incurred during 45,000 miles (and three years) with the 1/2 ton pickup (not including regular maintenance such as oil changes, etc.).

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:31 PM   #4
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Re: Airstream Shopping

Quote:
Originally posted by KingRanchF150
I am currently shopping for an older Airstream, something in the $10,000-$15,000 range. I found a nice 1981- 28' in Oklahoma that looks like something I might be interested in but I'm thinking something in the 24' or smaller range might be easier to pull with my F150.
Shucks, we pull our 67 Sovereign (30 foot) with our F150. The truck has the small V8 engine; we pull the rig around the mountains without great difficulty. When we do have a tough time pulling, so does everybody else. In other words, we're hardly slowing down traffic!

Lynn
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Old 02-01-2004, 11:07 PM   #5
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My '59 Trade Wind has a dry weight of 3300 pounds and a tongue weight of appr. 375 pounds. Of course, as Kevin mentioned, that is a dry weight and your loaded gear and liquids will add more weight. I've towed this rig on a few trips with one a 4400 mile round trip without any problems at all. I tow with a GMC Extended Cab with the 5.0 liter engine. The temperature gauge doesn't even move and I have to look in the mirror to see that its still back there. This truck and trailer make a good combination.

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Old 02-01-2004, 11:28 PM   #6
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The advice here is good. IMHO- The Ford 5.4 is a very capable engine and can tow 7000K+ lbs. Heck, I believe it can TOW more (pull-not control). But do you want to? How often are you going to tow, how many miles ave. per pull, what terrain will you be towing through? These are the questions I would answer before I made any decision. I don't know the 'empty' or 'max' weight of your prospective trailer but I would look into those numbers for my answer. As pointed out above, I also would not want to be near 100% of any of the tow units ratings.
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Old 02-01-2004, 11:39 PM   #7
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'new' airstream

hi, congradulations on your really new airstream....we just yesterday brought home our 1993 Excella 29' airstream so we are now officially part of the airstreamers...yay...from the lowcountry of SC....well, spent last night and all day cleaning it looks pretty nice now except we could not get the yellow out of the fiberglas stuff (shower, med cabinet, door latch cover...any help out there so we look forward to the rallies and all the other gatherings...and especially meeting you nice folks...
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Old 02-02-2004, 12:11 PM   #8
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Thank You for your replies Airstreamers, I hope you don't mind if I ask a couple more questions.

When calling about or going to look at a used Airstream, what problem areas should I look for and what questions should I ask?

Those of you using F150s and Surburbans, will the factory mirrors suffice or do I need to buy clip on extension mirrors?

Thanks Again

King RanchF150
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Old 02-02-2004, 01:10 PM   #9
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Greetings KingRanch150

With my Suburban, the factory mirrors are just not large enough for towing. Later models were available with optional Power Vision Rear View Mirrors that extended electrically to offer practical towing. I have used three different trailer towing mirrors - - the first two being the typical clamp-on versions, and they just did not meet my expectations for a clear view of traffic approaching from the rear (and both styles were prone to excessive vibrations) - - then I switched to McKesh Mirrors (almost twice the cost of either pair of the others) and have used them on both of my tow vehicles ever since. I even found a period set of McKesh Mirrors to match my Cadillac. You can find McKesh Mirrors at:

McKesh Trailer Towing Mirrors

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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