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Old 04-11-2015, 10:47 AM   #41
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I can see where the higher center of gravity makes for somewhat less stability in terms of swerving and somewhat greater chance of rollover. I believe the difference between the 1500 and the 2500 is 8" in height... not a great amount. But enough to allow much better visibility of the conditions ahead and the state of traffic ahead and in that sense an added bit of safety. And in the event of a collision with another vehicle, I think being a bit higher can provide a little more safety for us, as occupants in the truck.

Any of the choices available involve compromises of this or that and each of us needs to determine what compromises we are willing to make to attain the benefits we wish to have. No choice is perfect in all aspects.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:40 PM   #42
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:58 PM   #43
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Well if you're planning doing chicanes while towing your Airstream consider this: a fully loaded (but not overloaded) FC 27 weighs 7600 lbs. So you're driving down the road and you decide to swerve sharply to the right to avoid a wreck. At that moment your Airstream becomes a 7600 lb pendulum attached to the rear of your tow vehicle, pulling the back to the left, causing your TV to want turn more to the right than you wanted or, possibly pulling so hard as to put your TV into a clockwise spin. Now consider which TV is more likely to resist this force: a sub 5000 lb. "crossover," a 5500 lb. half ton pick-up, or a 7000+ lb. 3/4 ton? Or an analogous situation: you're rounding a curve at 60 mph and something causes you to brake hard. Even with properly adjusted trailer brakes, that trailer is going to want to go straight ahead, thereby shoving the rear of your TV. That's also, by the way that the use of engine brakes or "grade logic" automatic transmissions on wet mountain descents is not advised: in that scenario, the TV is doing all the braking; and, going around curves, the TV and the trailer are not directly aligned.
Yes, it's true that semi tractors are much lighter than the loaded trailers the tow, (1) they're driven by trained professionals and (2) the brakes are set up so that the trailer does a greater share of the braking. Despite all that, low traction conditions, semis will jackknife if the driver is forced to brake hard.
No question, by itself a pickup by itself is, in most respects not as safe as a car. But towing a 5,000-10,000 trailer is a whole 'nother animal.😬
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:49 PM   #44
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Well if you're planning doing chicanes while towing your Airstream consider this: a fully loaded (but not overloaded) FC 27 weighs 7600 lbs. So you're driving down the road and you decide to swerve sharply to the right to avoid a wreck. At that moment your Airstream becomes a 7600 lb pendulum attached to the rear of your tow vehicle, pulling the back to the left, causing your TV to want turn more to the right than you wanted or, possibly pulling so hard as to put your TV into a clockwise spin. Now consider which TV is more likely to resist this force: a sub 5000 lb. "crossover," a 5500 lb. half ton pick-up, or a 7000+ lb. 3/4 ton? Or an analogous situation: you're rounding a curve at 60 mph and something causes you to brake hard. Even with properly adjusted trailer brakes, that trailer is going to want to go straight ahead, thereby shoving the rear of your TV. That's also, by the way that the use of engine brakes or "grade logic" automatic transmissions on wet mountain descents is not advised: in that scenario, the TV is doing all the braking; and, going around curves, the TV and the trailer are not directly aligned.
Yes, it's true that semi tractors are much lighter than the loaded trailers the tow, (1) they're driven by trained professionals and (2) the brakes are set up so that the trailer does a greater share of the braking. Despite all that, low traction conditions, semis will jackknife if the driver is forced to brake hard.
No question, by itself a pickup by itself is, in most respects not as safe as a car. But towing a 5,000-10,000 trailer is a whole 'nother animal.��
A very good post, here, Bruce. Thank you. This is where the expression "you can never have a tow vehicle that is 'too big'" comes from.

We're ok having a daily driver which sometimes calls for a bit of "muscling around" as compared to a 1500 gasser, in exchange for a heavier, more suitable truck for pulling a 30' Airstream with.

The Iridium Denali 2500HD Duramax/Allison comes in to our dealer mid-week and we're pretty excited about it. We will be trading in our only 3-month old Yukon Denali 6.2L, which drives like a luxury car, but are ok with the deal... given what we will have, in return, for towing.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:25 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by DC Bruce View Post
Well if you're planning doing chicanes while towing your Airstream consider this: a fully loaded (but not overloaded) FC 27 weighs 7600 lbs. So you're driving down the road and you decide to swerve sharply to the right to avoid a wreck. At that moment your Airstream becomes a 7600 lb pendulum attached to the rear of your tow vehicle, pulling the back to the left, causing your TV to want turn more to the right than you wanted or, possibly pulling so hard as to put your TV into a clockwise spin. Now consider which TV is more likely to resist this force: a sub 5000 lb. "crossover," a 5500 lb. half ton pick-up, or a 7000+ lb. 3/4 ton? Or an analogous situation: you're rounding a curve at 60 mph and something causes you to brake hard. Even with properly adjusted trailer brakes, that trailer is going to want to go straight ahead, thereby shoving the rear of your TV. That's also, by the way that the use of engine brakes or "grade logic" automatic transmissions on wet mountain descents is not advised: in that scenario, the TV is doing all the braking; and, going around curves, the TV and the trailer are not directly aligned.
Yes, it's true that semi tractors are much lighter than the loaded trailers the tow, (1) they're driven by trained professionals and (2) the brakes are set up so that the trailer does a greater share of the braking. Despite all that, low traction conditions, semis will jackknife if the driver is forced to brake hard.
No question, by itself a pickup by itself is, in most respects not as safe as a car. But towing a 5,000-10,000 trailer is a whole 'nother animal.😬

This is an excellent post and a must read. Thank you!
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:15 AM   #46
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If one truly wants to dot all of the safety "I"s and cross all of the safety "T"s, one should forgo Airstreams altogether and move straight to a one ton dooley and a big fifth wheel.

Or perhaps we should go the way of Europe and make it law that a trailer may not outweigh the tow vehicle...

Or maybe not.

Sorry, experience trumps theory. My little half ton Silverado and my wife's 1/2 ton Tahoe are plenty stable and sure footed, even descending a nice little 8% grade south of Globe, AZ today.

For those of you with big trucks, I am sincerely happy for you, but my trailer does not need a one ton or even a 3/4 ton, and neither do I.




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Old 04-13-2015, 12:25 AM   #47
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I think that for the most part, a 1/2 ton pickup will do an Airstream just fine.

And I think that a 1 ton or a Freightliner Sport Chassis is probably a bit much for said Airstream.

I think a nice compromise, with a moderate margin of safety, is a reasonably good course to take: the 3/4 ton and diesel.

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Old 04-13-2015, 05:05 AM   #48
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For those of you with big trucks, I am sincerely happy for you, but my trailer does not need a one ton or even a 3/4 ton, and neither do I.
To be fair, your 31' trailers probably came from the factory at 5,000 lbs each.

Today's 23' Flying Clouds are few hundred under that and the 25' Flying Clouds are a few hundred over that. A 30' Flying Cloud is 6,400 lbs and a 30' Classic is 7,400 lbs.

By the time you load these trailers up with 1,000 lbs worth of gear yours would weigh 6,000 lbs and a 30' Classic would be 8,400 lbs.

If I'm not mistaken yours are also narrow body trailers versus today's wide bodies.

6,000 lbs of narrow body is well within 1/2 truck territory. 8,400 lbs of wide body is . . . let's say not as well within 1/2 truck territory.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:52 AM   #49
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Denali 1500 w/6.2L vs. Denali 2500HD Duramax

I fully respect the decisions of those who choose a larger tow vehicle, and for folks who have a bigger newer trailer and camp heavy, a big TV may well be a good idea. What bothers me is when these threads begin to "mature" into a devise where it is stated that 1/2 tons are unsafe to tow with. This just isn't so.

With a WD hitch very little weight is transferred onto the rear axles, and tow vehicle stopping ability is mostly a matter of rubber on the ground.

Beyond this, the difference between my 6,500 pound trailer and a 30' Classic is more than consumed by the 8,000 pound vehicle weight when compared to my tv weight of less than 6,500 lbs.

It also should be stated that properly set up trailer brakes will do the majority of stopping the trailer.


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Old 04-13-2015, 11:21 AM   #50
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I certainly agree with your first point. My f150 was fine with the 25' trailer. Anything below that would be even better.

But start talking about 30' new trailers like the OP and dynamics change.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:36 PM   #51
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The Iridium Denali 2500HD Duramax/Allison comes in to our dealer mid-week and we're pretty excited about it. We will be trading in our only 3-month old Yukon Denali 6.2L, which drives like a luxury car, but are ok with the deal... given what we will have, in return, for towing.
You're going to LOVE it!!
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:53 PM   #52
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Hi Bruce

"Now consider which TV is more likely to resist this force: a sub 5000 lb. "crossover," a 5500 lb. half ton pick-up, or a 7000+ lb. 3/4 ton?"

The above would be the assumption but in our testing on the racetrack the two fastest vehicles towing a 34' Limited in the 100' slalom and the 50' lane change happen to be the two lightest we have tested. The early 194 Chrysler Intrepid at 3600 pounds and the 04 Jag with an aluminum body that weighs 3800 pounds. The slowest vehicle we have tested is a 2004 Duramax Diesel 3/4 ton 4x4 crew cab short box. I was really shocked how poor it was, I expected it to be at least the equal of the sedans. I figured it was me so I kept running it through trying to get it faster. Then I turned it over to a semi pro race driver that was helping us and he promptly annihilated a bunch of cones.

On the other hand in the big truck you really don't feel the trailer at all even if it is hooked up wrong (which most are) so that has to be a reassuring feeling for a lot of people.


Andrew T

The quickest convention truck type vehicle we have tested was a modified 2009 1500 suburban which had lower profile performance tires, Bilstein shocks. My educated guess is that a Porsche Cayenne etc. would equal or better its performance. It would certainly be better in rough conditions where the independent rear suspension will keep the tires planted much better.

It seems that the weight of the tow vehicle has very little bearing on the amount of control in our testing it has been the cars with the best solo handling that appear to handle the best and easiest. I am sure there are extremes in each direction, obviously something like a freightliner handles so poorly that whether the trailer affects it or not it is still going to be poor. As great as the Mini Cooper we were able to play with handled a 20' Airstream I find it hard to picture it in an evasive maneuver with a 34'.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:00 PM   #53
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Go with the Diesel - best thing you'll ever do.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:40 PM   #54
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@Andrew T-
Most of us don't drive on race courses with no other vehicles to worry about. The issue is not how fast a combination can negotiate a preset slalom course; the issue is how many degrees off a straight course can you turn in a very short distance without losing control of the vehicle due to oversteer. Or, put differently, how much steering angle will the vehicle's front wheels accept at highway speeds without the driver losing control? Back when SUVs were built on a pickup frame, the typical loss of control scenario usually happened after the driver made a sharp turn and was trying to recover control. As the driver applied opposite lock on the steering wheel, the compressed suspension on what formerly was the outside of the turn unloaded as the driver changed direction, often amplifying the drivers turn.
Of course the fastest way to negotiate a slalom is to stay on the throttle up to the point of under steer. But your typical Airstreamer faced with a developing nasty situation in front of him will likely lift or even brake rather than get on the throttle as he tries to avoid the problem.
So I don't think your test correlates with the real world situation that a person towing a travel trailer is likely to face.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:14 PM   #55
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So, this is a little off topic, but does anyone have any thoughts about the Nissan Titan XD diesel vs. the 2500 Duramax?
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:25 AM   #56
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So, I may be a bit biased. After about 1 1/2 years of reading and talking, I ordered an option-loaded 2500 LTZ Duramax. My first truck ever. In my case it came down to an EcoTech V8 or a Duramax. It was almost a coin toss, as the new gas engines really have lots of low end torque. In the end, though I opted for a diesel simply for "head room" towing. The majority of our mileage is, and will be, towing and our 27' is really in the low end of it Duramax's tow range.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:50 AM   #57
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Road Geezer... I believe that you will be very well-served with the 3/4 ton Duramax/Allison option. There is significant "headroom" with this option.

Numbers-wise, we could have stayed with our Yukon Denali towing the 30' Flying Cloud, but in the end, I believe it is better to go with more capability, rather than with less and that is why we, too, are choosing the Denali 2500HD to pull our 30' Flying Cloud.

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Old 04-14-2015, 05:09 AM   #58
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Hi Bruce

the issue is how many degrees off a straight course can you turn in a very short distance without losing control of the vehicle due to oversteer. Or, put differently, how much steering angle will the vehicle's front wheels accept at highway speeds without the driver losing control?

Basically this is what we are testing with the slalom and lane change test. I get a call or two from customers every year telling me how their combination was able to avoid an accident so it does happen.

A few years ago one of our customers told me about driving through Atlanta. His wife was driving their Astro Van towing their 25 classic. They were in the right lane when just ahead of them a driver in the 3rd lane made a lane change into a car in the second lane just ahead of them both cars started spinning out of control right in front of them.

He thought this is it were going to crash. All of a sudden his wife wiped the wheel to the left tires squealing into the left lane then back to the right around the cars. When he got his breath back he said, how did you know you could do that! She said I watched the video at Can-Am.

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Old 04-14-2015, 09:41 AM   #59
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Denali 1500 w/6.2L vs. Denali 2500HD Duramax

Most over correction accidents happen because the driver has not trained him or herself to always STAY COOL, and NEVER freak out.

Too many folks overestimate the size of the tow vehicle in safe towing, not quite understanding that tow vehicle mass is not superior to a well thought out and executed combination of tow vehicle and trailer.

Yes, there IS more than one way to skin a cat.

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Old 08-17-2017, 05:54 AM   #60
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I was in a very similar situation Ė owned a 2015 F150 KR with all the options. Loved it! Then bought a 30í FC. I was way within the towing specs (even the real ones for my truckís configuration, not the TV ad ones). While it towed ok, it did strain a bit on hills and depending on grades, I felt uneasy on downhills. But as mentioned in other responses the biggest challenge for me was payload. With a trailer tongue weight of around 1k, fuel, my wife and myself, we were at the vehicles GVWR limit. And we had not even added items in the bed of the truck. And I had to play a lot with the weight distribution to get weight off the drive axles since I had exceeded that. I spent a lot of time at the CAT Scales. I know the 150 wasnít going to just break, Iím sure I could have dumped 500 more pounds on it but I was already nervous, beyond my comfort level and could feel a strain on the truck as I towed. I ended up trading in the 150 for a new GMC Denali HD with the Duramax. Night and day! I could spend hours talking about the towing difference, the 3/4 ton made it a much better experience. I went through the Blue Ridge mountains with ease. Downhills were no trouble with the exhaust brake, at times I even had to give it gas to keep going! I could carry all the gear in the bed with no worries. The only towing issue I had was on highways forgetting at times I was towing something until I looked in the rear view and saw a trailer right behind me! Now, this isnít for everyone Ė the ĺ ton is bigger, harder to park in cramp areas. But the ride is not bad, not as great as the 150 but very nice. And the gas mileage is as good if not better than the 150 (I had the 3.5 eccoboost). I was getting 15mpg towing, 19-20 on mountain highways when not towing. Get around 15-18 around town. The higher cost is a factor but fortunate for me I was able to handle that (you donít have to buy new). I will say that the 150 had way more features including the one that I REALLY miss, keyless entry, start. But Iím glad I made the switch.
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