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Old 11-22-2015, 08:18 AM   #1
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Jupiter , Florida
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Another rookie towing question

First, hello all. We have been reading the forums for a bit as we research and get ready to buy our first Airstream. We know the one we want, but we just want to get some thoughts on if we would be pushing the capacity of our tow vehicle too far.

Tow Vehicle: Chevy Colorado with trailering package. Rated at 7000# towing capacity, 1547# cargo capacity, and 5800# GVWR. We already have this truck, and aren't wanting to make a vehicle change right now.

We would be traveling mostly east of the Rockies (we live in FL), but would also love to be able to go west as part of a National Park tour.

The model we are wanting is the 25FB, which has a base weight of 5503#, and a GVWR of 7300#. We would be planning on traveling fairly light, meaning not carrying a lot of water weight, and would likely keep the trailer <= 6500#. We would plan on getting a WD hitch.

Are we dreaming, or is it feasible to tow the 25FB with this setup?

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Old 11-22-2015, 08:33 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, an Airstream 25FB may overwhelm your Colorado. We have had two 25FB's (2005 and 2015) over the past ten years. We have towed our Airstreams primarily with 3/4 ton Suburbans which have done a very good job. We have also towed with a half ton Tahoe which we considered marginal. Many members here tow 25FB's with 1/2 ton trucks and find them satisfactory.

As to small trucks like the Colorado, you are likely to find this towing combination unsatisfactory.


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Old 11-22-2015, 08:37 AM   #3
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Agree, I tow with a 1/2 ton just fine but I think you would be too close to the limits of the Colorado.
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Agree, I tow with a 1/2 ton just fine but I think you would be too close to the limits of the Colorado.
My understanding of a 1/2 ton truck is one that is capable of around three-quarters of a ton payload. 3/4 of a ton is 1500#. My truck (it's not the older pre-2015 one) is capable of 1547# payload.

Does that change anything?
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:49 AM   #5
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The 25FB has an Airstream literature tongue weight of 833 pounds. By the time the Hensley hitch was installed along with street side and rear awnings, a 155 watt solar panel and full propane tanks, our basically new empty 25FB International Serenity trailer had a tongue weight of 1,150, pounds. Your planned tow vehicle would have less than 400 pounds of load capacity left for the driver and passenger let alone any "stuff" in the struck bed.

The literature empty weight most likely not agree with the legally required white weigh sticker that will be attached to the front of the street side of the trailer that is generated on the factory scales as the trailer comes off the line. That weigh process also generates a net payload number that is printed on a yellow label attached to the screen door.

We crossed the scales with the 25FB trailer loaded for camping and the trailer weighed 6,860 pounds out of the 7,300 pound GVW and the tongue weight had increased to 1,175 pounds. Our 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel was suddenly overloaded on the axles and GVW with the camping ready trailer which caused the acquisition of our Ram 2500HD diesel.

A more appropriate load and size for the smaller tow vehicle could be the 23' models with tandem axles or the shorter single axle trailers.

We also tow a 2015 23D International Serenity with the Mercedes mentioned above and the numbers work.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:31 AM   #6
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I agree with most of the above comments especially Moosetags saying your set up would de marginal. I use a RAM 1500 to pull my 25ft AS. My payload is low as that particular truck with the ecodiesel engine does not have the carrying capacity of one with the Hemi engine, I mention this as all half ton trucks don't have the same capabilities but are adequate to tow a 25 ft Airstream. People use lesser vehicles like smaller trucks or SUVs believing they are "rigged up' properly & good to go, I would call that a false since of security especially on the interstate with 18 wheelers buzzing you on both sides because thats when could find yourself in jeopardy. The Airstream 23ft would probably be a better fit for that Chevy Colorado. Good luck & happy camping.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:37 AM   #7
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I tow my 25FB with a half ton Tundra whose numbers are similar to yours. The towing capacity of the Tundra is closer to 10K though and I think that this is because of the power plant.

People on the forum are quick to criticize the Tundra for anything 25 or over. With the Colorado you will be at your limits for sure and keeping things as light as you can is a good idea. You will need a good weight distributing hitch with built in sway. The tongue weight on the 25FB is grossly understated. Mine has two batteries, two propane tanks and a spare tire up front.

If you are not in a place to upgrade your tow vehicle I would suggest you get it set up properly and use it. If you are going to be doing most of your traveling on flat ground you will quickly get a feel for the situation. The hitch will be important but you don't have to go with the most expensive out there. There many here that use others with great success. There are many to chose from.

Best wishes in your pursuit of an Airstream. We really enjoy our 25FB.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:43 AM   #8
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Simply based on the numbers you provided you are not legal to tow a 25' with the truck you now have. Not saying you'd go to jail etc, but if in an accident or stopped by some local who knows what he is doing the only thing that counts are the sticker on the drivers side of the Airstream with the stats and the door sticker on the drivers side frame of your tow vehicle.

Like has been said, legality aside, I believe your intended combination is marginal at best. It not so much towing that's an issue, it's stopping and sway that would concern me. In towing for over 45 years I've always error ed on the heavy side for tow vehicles when selecting one.

Like another poster said, you might want to consider a smaller Airstream for now or go to a larger tow vehicle. A 1/2 ton with tow package can very nicely tow a 25' AS.


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Old 11-22-2015, 10:07 AM   #9
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Hello and welcome to the forum.

We have a 23' we tow with our 4Runner. The towing capacity is the same as yours, 7,000. Over flat ground and rolling hills it tows quite well and handles (start, stop, curves, crosswinds, semi traffic) nicely over all terrain.

This past summer we went into the Appalachian Mountains and some of those hills dropped the speed on our 4.7L V8 to the low 50s. If you're thinking about crossing the Rockies or any other mountain ranges I'd advise you stick with 23' or less. Don't forget, rolling is only one handling characteristic, you need to worry about emergency stopping, curves, crosswinds, traffic etc.. We would have liked to have had the 25' but after towing the 23' for a couple of years I'm happy we have her. Eventually we'll move up to 25' but we'll upgrade the tow vehicle. Safety first!

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Old 11-22-2015, 10:09 AM   #10
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We faced a similar question. We towed our 16' 3500 lb. Bambi with a Tacoma. Since the Tacoma was our only vehicle, we wanted a smaller multi-purpose truck. When we replaced the first Bambi with a 19' 4500 lb. Bambi, the Tacoma was marginal; especially because we do mostly mountain driving. Replacing the Tacoma with a Tundra was a really smart move (despite the expense) because it tows like a breeze, even up major passes.

Also, for western desert driving, driving with a full fresh water tank is a really good idea. Many of the coolest national park and BLM campgrounds are dry sites.
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Old 11-22-2015, 10:13 AM   #11
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I know that some have recommended going to a smaller Airstream that can be more easily handled by your tow vehicle. Being a long time avid Airstreamer (ten years/1700 nights camping/140,000 miles towing), I would highly encourage you not to purchase an Airstream simply to accommodate a tow vehicle. This is almost always a mistake.

Remember that the right Airstreams lasts a very long time; tow vehicles, not so much. An Airstream that isn't right for your wants and needs will most likely end up as a very expensive piece of yard art. You will find reasons not to use it.

I would suggest that you get the Airstream of your dreams. Try out your Colorado as a tow vehicle. If it is unsatisfactory, replace it.

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Old 11-22-2015, 10:41 AM   #12
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Estes Park , Colorado
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My guess is you won't be happy with that setup. I tow a 22' International with a 2014 Ford half-ton 5.0L. It struggles on the mountain inclines and screams on some declines. I'm not happy in those situations and will go to a larger tow vehicle when I can afford it. If I were towing a 25', I would already have traded up in spite of the expense. And, like others have said here, it's the unusual emergency type situations that can get hairy/scary. It's not worth the risk to yourself and others.
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Old 11-22-2015, 10:57 AM   #13
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I tow my 2000 Excella 25 with a Chev Tahoe (2011) . Started with a 2000 and have had 5 over the 15 years. Longest trip was from Socal to Long Island NY and back. Never had a problem!! Patience and driving 55 to 60 on the open highway is the answer for me. Towing package is especially good on my current 2011, built in controlled, connection indicator etc. Good luck and drive safely. BG
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:49 AM   #14
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The Woodlands , Texas
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Better to ask the question than find out the hard way. Welcome to the forums!

What does the yellow door sticker on the drivers side frame of your tow vehicle say? I would be very surprised if it does say 1547#. Manufacturers are all guilty of overstating payload in their advertising claims. Don't forget - the number on the yellow sticker is without passengers.

Your truck may tow fine on a flat surface, but may be overwhelmed with the weight of the 25FB when traveling in the mountains or making emergency stops. My 25FB has a tongue weight of 1050# when loaded. Your truck may pull the trailer fine on a flat surface, but please consider the braking capability coming down I-70 if you do head west. Good luck.

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