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Old 08-26-2015, 01:27 PM   #29
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In the midst of all of this discussion, there are some principles to consider. I have pulled trailers, large, medium, and small with cars, SUVs, 1/4 ton, 1/2 ton, and 3/4 ton diesels for about three decades. I have been part of the "road carnage" to which you refer once. That was once too many. I pulled a 30' trailer for years with a Suburban, but all the while I knew I was pushing the limits.

I have concluded that beyond paying very close attention to maintenance, tires, etc. there are two things I can control and which make a huge difference. One is the towing margin I have with a given vehicle and the other is the hitch. If you want a good margin for error and for the unexpected road event, select a tow vehicle with something approaching twice the GVWR towing capacity that you need.

Having "just enough" means that when things get outside the "normal" parameters, you won't have enough. I am now driving a 3/4 ton Chevy 4WD Diesel truck to pull my 27' AS Eddie Bauer. I also have a relatively high-dollar hitch. I won't go into the hitch debate, but I have concluded that whether you get an Equalizer, ProPride, or Henesy, they will put you well inside the envelope.

The key is to think about what you would do when going up a slope in the Ouachita Mountains on a curve if someone comes around the bend cutting into your lane. Will you have enough margin of power to accelerate and get out of the way? If you put one set of wheels off the road onto the gravel shoulder, do you have enough tow vehicle to keep things under control on that curve and steep slope? I prefer to have some margin of power and load capacity left when I am fully loaded, going uphill against a headwind! The "road carnage" occurs when one is towing in extremis!

I flew helicopters professionally for years, and noted that things tended to go from bad to horrible when people were operating anywhere near the edge of the envelope. I currently do a great deal of astrophotography and was surprised to find that the telescope and even the camera were not the critical elements. What was and is critical in getting good deep space images is the mount. Mounts loaded up to about 60% of their rated capacity tend to be very stable and turn out good images. Once the load gets to or above 80% of manufacture rated capacity, things go downhill fast. In my humble opinion, the same applies to towing vehicles and hitches.

I have yet to hear a single complaint of "Oh man, I wish I had gotten a smaller vehicle to pull my Airstream!" or "After getting that 3/4 ton diesel, I really found myself wishing I had kept my SUV!" That fact pretty much says it all.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:32 PM   #30
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I don't much care how much or how little stuff you haul with you.
But it goes without saying that every pound of stuff you haul with you is another pound that you have to include in your CGVWR equation.
Some people are able to travel light and so are able to use a lighter TV. The benefit to traveling light is a savings in the initial cost of the TV, plus increased fuel mileage. There may be other benefits to lightness too but those are harder to define.
But uncluttered, less to load and unload, less to lose or worry about come to mind.
The alternative to traveling light is needing a bigger TV. The benefit to hauling more stuff may be the level of comfort or preparedness you desire.
Some people opt for one. Some for the other.
I do think it's fair to address the amount of stuff someone else thinks is necessary to bring with them. If you are a heavy hauler it may color your advice just as being one who travels light has different requirements and advice.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:39 PM   #31
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Thank you all SO much for your input!

When we got this AS, we had not yet even uncovered the significance of payload and how impactful that would be in this scenario.
Hogfan! You're welcome.

As for not initially considering the payload space and capacity factors... don't fret. Looking at "towing capacity" and overlooking payload is a very common mistake made by many, when first looking at tow vehicle/trailer combinations. Most car/truck vehicle sales people and RV sales people often fail to bring up the payload considerations, as well, when asked about pairing.

Good thing is, now you know what to get schooled up on. That was the heart of my suggestions here. Learn well and then you will be able to confidently make a good, solid decision regarding what YOU need in a tow vehicle! Enjoy that wonderful coach!
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Loden View Post
I have yet to hear a single complaint of "Oh man, I wish I had gotten a smaller vehicle to pull my Airstream!" or "After getting that 3/4 ton diesel, I really found myself wishing I had kept my SUV!" That fact pretty much says it all.
This Airstream forum is loaded with folks disliking the ride, handling and expense of their 3/4 ton diesels, and looking or finding a suitable 1/2 ton or SUV replacement. Plenty to convince us to avoid the heavy duty trucks.

By the way, weight does not correspond to better handling of an Airstream; it actually works the other way if you know what towing features to look for. That's in the forums as well.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:51 PM   #33
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Well, the one think we HAVE learned for certain is to question question question the sales guys (both auto & RV) and never trust a word they say. Most of them know nothing and will say anything to sell a car or RV. On that I think most of us can agree. Not that there aren't good ones out there, but as a whole, they also don't know what they don't know. It's not that they are lying, they just really don't know the answers to the information I'm seeking.

So - that's why I love all of the different opinions here - this is a very educated group who are experienced in my exact situation. So, while opinions do vary, everyone here knows much more than we know and everyone has been through this exact debate for themselves already and have landed where they've landed for a reason. Many core reasons that we all share and many individual reasons too. But, it's a very valuable group who's always willing to share & for that we are grateful learners!
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:00 PM   #34
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The op has a Yukon and 27' Airstream. Couldn't be sweeter.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:03 PM   #35
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I don't much care how much or how little stuff you haul with you.
But it goes without saying that every pound of stuff you haul with you is another pound that you have to include in your CGVWR equation.
Some people are able to travel light and so are able to use a lighter TV. The benefit to traveling light is a savings in the initial cost of the TV, plus increased fuel mileage. There may be other benefits to lightness too but those are harder to define.
But uncluttered, less to load and unload, less to lose or worry about come to mind.
The alternative to traveling light is needing a bigger TV. The benefit to hauling more stuff may be the level of comfort or preparedness you desire.
Some people opt for one. Some for the other.
I do think it's fair to address the amount of stuff someone else thinks is necessary to bring with them. If you are a heavy hauler it may color your advice just as being one who travels light has different requirements and advice.
Ultradog... I agree with most of what you say here, except that none of us are in a position to "advise" what others need or want to have with them when they travel based on our own personal needs/wants.

We have no idea what the other person's lifestyle, activities, travel purpose, or weight requirements are, so how could we possibly advise them on "their needs" based on our own needs?

The best we can do is give them the tools to become educated on how to determine their own unique needs, for themselves. What suits any of us individually has no bearing on what may or may not suit someone else.
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:04 PM   #36
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If it makes you feel any better, even my husband and I can hardly agree on the topic of TV And yes...I am the wife! I am the car junkie in the household, always have been.

We actually pull with a 2005 Tahoe currently, which is OK. I think it is JUST ok. My husband thinks it is MORE than ok. I actually want the truck more than he does for towing and he wants to just get a new Yukon Denali for both a daily driver & TV, so the back and forth extends well beyond this board ha ha ha......
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:20 PM   #37
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I tow a 2013 25'FC/FB w/2012 Ram 3/4 ton Laramie Cummins Mega Cab w/Leer tonneau cover. Live in the Southwest towing all throughout the Rocky Mountains. The TV does not know the Airstream is behind except it can clearly be seen through the rear view mirror! It's hard to beat big diesels as TVs--especially since the price of diesel fuel now days is cheaper than gasoline.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:42 PM   #38
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Great Choice!

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Originally Posted by Hogfan View Post
To tow a 27'FB with a 2015 Yukon Denali?

Trying hard to convince ourselves of a truck (and actually getting closer) but keep looping back to SUV's. At 420hp and 460lbs torque there is no shortage of towing power. Primary usage for the next few years will be ~one weekend/month in Texas/Arkansas/Oklahoma primarily. Mostly flat to some small mountains such as the Ouachita forest, but no major cross country major mountain passes for a while.

But......want to sleep at night and do not want to be nervous about towing during each trip thinking we'll join the ranks of the road carnage stories
A Yukon Denali will make a great tow vehicle for you.

You should focus your sleeplessness to proper loading, hitch selection and set up.

With a max payload of 1554, you would realistically have around 500lbs of payload left after hitching up your fully loaded 27'FB.

Stay within the GVWR, GCWR axle weights and enjoy the tow!
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:49 PM   #39
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I keep rereading the OP's first line and wonder if he has or is shopping for a 2015 Denali .

That said , My experience towing with our '98 Tahoe 2dr has been pulling our 3 Casitas (2 17' @ 3250# 1 13' @ 2500#) since 2001 and my Car trailer ( Tandem axle with 18' bed 7000#), Cargo trailer ( 6'x14' tandem axle 7000#) and our '69 Airstream (25' tandem axle 4400#).

The Tahoe pulled and handled all of them great except the Airstream which felt a bit on the edge . The Tahoe has a 116" w.b. and super short rear over hang. Sure I could add a sway control bar and it might make it feel better.

But I wanted a new T.V. anyway so I wanted something with a longer w.b. and the capability to keep everything out of the weather.

The Suburban came to mind but I couldn't find a new one that was under $50k .

Then the Nissan NV came to mind . It's a 3/4 ton Passenger van with many rows of seating that I didn't need but are removable . The dealer had 3 in stock since Jan 2013 and this was May 2014.
They let me take it for a test drive with our AS ,It worked great even without trailer brakes .

Unfortunately The Sales manager wanted full retail and only offered $350 off to take it home, I said keep it and they still had it in Sept. But the sales manager was fired and they would make a deal . But I had already bought a Tundra.

The NV would make a great hauler. I've talked to a few people who tow with them and they really like them.

I drove the top of the line NV and loved it. If they made a deal that is what I would have now.

If your set on a Denali think about the XT for its longer w.b.

Here's a picture on my test drive (notice no WDH ) and a cutaway of the NV and of my Tahoe the day we brought home the AS ....
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:29 PM   #40
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It will do just fine. I have pulled with many a gas rig and it worked out ok in the short term. In the long term, I have moved up to a diesel, and in no uncertain terms, I will never go back to gas. Torque in king when towing, and having an engine brake to help slow you down will make your regular brakes last so much longer. This is just a few of the examples.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:35 PM   #41
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If it makes you feel any better, even my husband and I can hardly agree on the topic of TV And yes...I am the wife! I am the car junkie in the household, always have been.
I had to laugh when I read that-- it's the same situation in my house!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogfan View Post
We actually pull with a 2005 Tahoe currently, which is OK. I think it is JUST ok. My husband thinks it is MORE than ok. I actually want the truck more than he does for towing and he wants to just get a new Yukon Denali for both a daily driver & TV, so the back and forth extends well beyond this board ha ha ha......
It can take a while to really make sense of what you want and/or need for your Airstream. And in our situation, it made the most sense to select a tow vehicle to make the more cautious member of our household comfortable, and that would be my husband. He lives in the World of Worst-Case Scenario, and I'm sympathetic to his needs in that respect. He's been in a number of car accidents (none of which were his fault), and was very seriously injured by a drunk driver long before I met him.

On one occasion, the sales manager at the local Airstream dealership recommended a 3/4-ton diesel if we could swing it--because we live here in the high altitude mountainous west and would probably be happier with that choice over the long term. Well... that was good enough for Mr. World of Worst-Case Scenario. I was horrified at the cost, and tried to find a good used certified truck, but we eventually ended up ordering new.

Even though I do most of the driving and the truck is my daily driver, my husband is a lot more comfortable, and ultimately-- him being comfortable with our choice was what mattered most to both of us in this case.

So I respectfully suggest that your husband should get in line with your concerns about your current tow vehicle and agree to whatever minimum standards/specs you feel you require!

On a side note, because it is often brought up-- my father has been in both my brother's F150 and our Ram 3/4-ton diesel, and he says our truck is by far the smoother ride. Maybe that's due to the coil suspension, maybe it's due to the roads we drove on, I don't know.

P.S. Ironically... after the truck showed up and I got a look at the payload capacity sticker, I nearly had a hemorrhage. I thought it was entirely too low at 1919 pounds. Ever since then I've been arguing that we SHOULD have gone for the 3500. That World of Worst-Case Scenario thing is sometimes contagious, you know.

P.P.S. My husband claims that I am in fact wrong, and that his concern was actually that I should be the one comfortable with the towing and driving, and that I should not ever have to white-knuckle it down a steep grade. I call hogwash.

P.P.P.S. Okay, I admit it: that exhaust brake is pretty darned awesome.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:10 PM   #42
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How terrible would it really be

Tha problem with your blanket answer doug is as stated above we all use our Airstreams differently.Some peoples Idea is to travel to a RV park and plug in and watch tv.Others boondock,fish,kayak,hike,explore.
Others enjoy outdoor cookouts,family get togethers etc.
We enjoy real adventures atv trail riding in the Rocky's.Searching for gold in mountain streams.Surf fishing the Atlantic and Gulf coast etc...and we go prepared to enjoy what ever life brings us .So a blanket answer that you keep preaching to everyone that asks a question about their tow vehicles capabilities is just plain wrong.
The way you use your Airstream and your tow vehicle would definitely not work for me or many others on this forum.
We take things with us to enjoy our adventure that your 1/2 ton Dodge regular cab short box is not capable of hauling period.And yes that is a 800lb 2up Canam Outlander Max Atv in the 8ft box of my F350 pickup.It has 3 inches to spare.But that's OK

Your idea of fun and comfort,and mine are very different so are our tow vehicles..
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