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Old 01-27-2016, 11:36 AM   #1
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Question Best Tow Vehicle for a 27FB?

My wife and I are planning to purchase a 27FB (Dry wgt. 5868 lbs.) in the near future, but do not have a tow vehicle. We are not interested in Diesel. We plan to full time throughout the US and Southern Canada for 2-3 yrs. We would appreciate some guidance/recommendations. Some questions that come to mind (we're first timers, if you couldn't tell...):
  1. For those with a 27' AS, what is your tow vehicle and how do you like it? How does it do on hills (up and down), etc...?
  2. So far, we have thought about Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado... (we're open to non-Chevy if better...)
  3. How much Tow Rating, GVWR and GCWR should we aim for?
  4. 5.3 L, 6.2L or some other engine?
  5. We would like to carry a canoe on top of tow vehicle, any cautions, suggestions?
  6. What rear end ratios do you recommend?
  7. If we need to carry a generator where should it go?
  8. Other things to consider???
Thanks!
Bill
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Old 01-27-2016, 12:17 PM   #2
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This will get interesting!

I'll start by saying you'll want something over 2,000 lb payload capacity if you can get it. That puts you at a smartly equipped F150 or any of the 3/4 tons. I don't know that you can get there with a Chevy/GMC 1500.
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Old 01-27-2016, 12:38 PM   #3
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Dry weight means nothing unfortunately. You need the GVWR, or in other words the max weight the trailer will be. Take that, the tongue weight and then start shopping for a vehicle.

SUVs don't do too well with payload. My Expedition EL is about 1300lbs payload and I am maxed out with my 25ft. We only have 2 humans and 1 dog (total weight 420lbs there) prob 200lbs of crap in the back and some portion of the ~900lbs tongue weight . On the scales my rear axle has about 50lbs of spare capacity and my front has about 200lbs of spare capacity when we are at max load...

We are weekend warriors so not a huge issue.. longest oneway trip has been 400miles so far.

I would definitely want 2000lbs payload for the next tow vehicle. I like the F150 but needs to be configured right.
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Old 01-27-2016, 12:45 PM   #4
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Bill,

There are *many* existing threads and opinions on Air Forums on this topic. I would suggest searching for them. They include actual real-world experiences on tow vehicles and Airstream size.

You will find that some tow with a 1/2 ton just fine and others would not go below a 3/4 ton. It also depends on how you plan to travel and what else you will be taking with you (e.g. generator, etc),

Good luck and welcome!

-Scott
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Old 01-27-2016, 12:45 PM   #5
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You should talk to forum member "DC Bruce". He has a 27' and tows it with GMC Sierra 6.2 with Max payload package (~ 2000# of payload per door sticker).
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:17 PM   #6
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Hi and welcome!
There are probably 100 questions you'll have to answer before anyone can give you good advice. Are you sure you want an SUV? Are you brand loyal? How much stuff do you need to carry that must be kept out of the weather? and on and on....

There are many ways to get the job done.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill2017 View Post
My wife and I are planning to purchase a 27FB (Dry wgt. 5868 lbs.) in the near future, but do not have a tow vehicle. We are not interested in Diesel. We plan to full time throughout the US and Southern Canada for 2-3 yrs. We would appreciate some guidance/recommendations. Some questions that come to mind (we're first timers, if you couldn't tell...):
[LIST=1] [*]For those with a 27' AS, what is your tow vehicle and how do you like it? How does it do on hills (up and down), etc...?[*]If we need to carry a generator where should it go?[*]Other things to consider???
My advice is geared towards the fact that you want to full time. Make sure you buy the truck you feel most comfortable in the seat. Becuase full timing means lots of seat time if you want to see America.

We tow a 27 with a half ton; 2010 Ram 1500 specifically. Lots of stuff is not a problem I have like others.\_(ツ)_/ YMMV. Our truck does fine up hills, we don't struggle. But we travel light however. It took me some time to dial things in and multiple trips over the cat scales.

As for where to store the generator, I store the generator, 4 water cans and 2 gas cans all at the front of the bed near the passenger cabin.

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Old 01-27-2016, 01:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill2017 View Post
My wife and I are planning to purchase a 27FB (Dry wgt. 5868 lbs.) in the near future, but do not have a tow vehicle. We are not interested in Diesel. We plan to full time throughout the US and Southern Canada for 2-3 yrs. We would appreciate some guidance/recommendations. Some questions that come to mind (we're first timers, if you couldn't tell...):
  1. For those with a 27' AS, what is your tow vehicle and how do you like it? How does it do on hills (up and down), etc...?
  2. So far, we have thought about Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado... (we're open to non-Chevy if better...)
  3. How much Tow Rating, GVWR and GCWR should we aim for?
  4. 5.3 L, 6.2L or some other engine?
  5. We would like to carry a canoe on top of tow vehicle, any cautions, suggestions?
  6. What rear end ratios do you recommend?
  7. If we need to carry a generator where should it go?
  8. Other things to consider???
Thanks!
Bill
Why...
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:17 PM   #9
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Agreeing with Lance "(Top), there is no "best" tow vehicle for any Airstream, evidenced by the wide variety of vehicles used successfully by members of this forum. It is the best tow vehicle for you and your Airstream that matters.

There are three elements to consider equally for successful travel. Travel trailer - Airstream's low center of gravity, independent suspension, and aerodynamic shape are as good as it gets. Weight distribution Hitch - Choose a high quality hitch with sway control or sway elimination and have it set up professionally. Tow Vehicle - Thousands tow successfully with minivans, thousands tow successfully with SUV's, and thousands tow successfully with trucks. When the travel trailer and hitch system are exceptional, the trailer will follow; if the trailer and hitch setup are poor it will take a big truck to mask (not cure) the underlying handling issues that are present.

An easy way to travel successfully with an Airstream is to travel light. Airstreams are all tiny, have limited storage, and are fragile. Heavy truck suspensions, rigid hitch assemblies, and heavy truck and trailer loads may not be kind to the Airstream structure. It can be surprising how little you need for extensive travel. Light loading gives better efficiency, handling, and braking.

With loads and lifestyle in mind it will be easier to pick your best tow vehicle. A preference for full-time SUV travel may lead you to a Suburban, Expedition, Durango, or Sequoia (the last three have the better handling advantage of full independent suspension) if you can manage your load. Airstream hitch weight must be between 10% of loaded trailer weight and never more than 1,000 lbs (Airstream Owners Manual); load management within this parameter will help your tow vehicle selection.

Keep in mind full-time use means your tow vehicle is also your daily driver.
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:29 PM   #10
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GReetings from the Florida Panhandle

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

over the years, we have had two 25FB's, a 2005 and a 2015. We have almost 1,700 nights in them, and have towed them about 120,000 miles all over the United States. Ready to camp, they weigh-in at over 7300#.

A 27FB will weigh north of that, especially if you are full timing. Full timing will also dictate more of a payload in the back of your tow vehicle.

WE have had three tow vehicles over the years. Two were 3/4 ton Suburbans and the third is a one Silverado Duramax. The Suburbans have been very ample tow vehicles. They do have a couple of soft spots. Severe grades can give them some trouble. They can struggle on the upgrades and can be a little squirrelly on the downgrades. The Duramax has no such issues.

Since you are going to full time, I would recommend at least a 3/4 to pick-up with the largest available gasoline V-8. When you crunch the numbers, you may even want to consider a one ton to get the higher truck bed payload capacity.

Brian
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

over the years, we have had two 25FB's, a 2005 and a 2015. We have almost 1,700 nights in them, and have towed them about 120,000 miles all over the United States. Ready to camp, they weigh-in at over 7300#.

A 27FB will weigh north of that, especially if you are full timing. Full timing will also dictate more of a payload in the back of your tow vehicle.
Not to challenge you Brian but our 27FB has a max GVWR of 7500lbs and over the cat scale weighted 6898lbs full propane tanks and full fresh water. Two adults + two kids and all their gear and modifications.

Payload is really dependent on how much stuff you need to carry around. A lot of variables in ones decision to consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post

An easy way to travel successfully with an Airstream is to travel light. Airstreams are all tiny, have limited storage, and are fragile. Heavy truck suspensions, rigid hitch assemblies, and heavy truck and trailer loads may not be kind to the Airstream structure. It can be surprising how little you need for extensive travel. Light loading gives better efficiency, handling, and braking.

With loads and lifestyle in mind it will be easier to pick your best tow vehicle.

Keep in mind full-time use means your tow vehicle is also your daily driver
.
Great point Doug! It was a factor in our decision!
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:42 AM   #12
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There are 3 variations to your question: an adequate vehicle, a mo'betta one, and a really mo'better one. Some people throw caution to the wind and never look at gvw, towing capacity or anything else. They just get someone to "set it up" so a passenger car can tow an Airstream. Others go the "really mo'betta" route and have a 1 ton diesel, way overkill but what the heck. In reality, a nicely equipped 1/2 ton coming from the factory with the right gvw and gearing, will do fine. The towing rear end ratio's are now all set with the type of transmission for each brand, so what is a low ratio for one might not be right for the other brand. Another question regards how much you are actually going to tow vs using it for a daily grocery getter. Comfort for you and your companion is an important issue. Since you want to also carry a canoe, a long bed is vital.
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:42 AM   #13
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Why no diesel

My first AS was a 23' ft FB. We traded up to 27fb. I was using a ram 1500 with the hemi for my 23. The 27 was too much trailer for this truck. Many people think just because it can pull it, your good. It has to be able to STOP it as well. This is where the 1500 was weak. It only took one panic stop in traffic with the 1500 to make me realize that it wasn't cutting it. I went to a Ram 2500 diesel. The diesel shines for towing and stopping. It gets, on average 6 mpg more than my 1500 got towing the same trailer. Also, if your planning to be one the road a lot, the reliability of diesel cannot be beat. Today's diesels are nothing like the diesels of 5 years ago
No smoke clouds, not much noise either. You really should check one of before ruling it out. Just my opinion
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:52 AM   #14
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Just one more idea to consider. I had a 2014 Chevy 1500 4X4 with 5.3 and 3.08 rear end when I purchased a 2015 Classic while in CA. Towed it from Las Vegas to San Diego for a 3 month visit and then back to SC. In addition to hitch weight I had a custom in-bed fuel tank built while in CA to carry an additional 70 gallons. With 95 gallons on hand l didn't have to stop every day to fuel up. Usually we would unhook 2nd or 3rd day to make refueling very easy and I didn't sweat the potential tight fits of an unknown fueling location. Just topped off at rest stops or the campground in the evening.

We climbed mtn's in both directions with absolutely no problems. Fuel milage was in usually about 13-14 mpg on the flats and 11-12 with mtn's thrown in.

Hope this helps.
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