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Old 01-18-2013, 08:16 AM   #15
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Consider "good enough" and "better" for a moment. Is a truck that costs more to buy and service, rides rougher, handles worse, uses significantly more expensive fuel "better"? When the "good enough" has more power and capacity than I ever need?

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:51 AM   #16
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Too many choices are making me crazy!

Originally Posted by Airstream330 View Post
I have been going around in circles trying to select the right TV for my future AS. Am looking at the 27-28' with GVWR OF 7600#. Have just read about two miles of very good threads which has me confused. Also just returned from the Ram shop and the Chevy shop. (Ford tomorrow) looking at half tons. Both show tow capabilities in the 9500-10,000# range so overall weight should not be a problem. The Chevy 1500CC with a short box and 6.2 engine is actually rated at 10,600 with 3.73 axle. They tell me it also will take a tongue weight of 1121 WHEN OUTFITTED WITH THE PROPER HITCH. The 27FB tongue is 791#. This seems to be plenty of truck as I would be 3000 # in reserve on tow capacity and about 130 # under the tongue weight before hitch and propane. I want to set things up responsibly and safely to tow in wind , mountains , etc. What is confusing me is that the more I read the more it feels like I need a Caterpillar tractor to safely pull even the smallest load. Am I missing something or would I have a safe rig as long as I stay inside the specs? Having read all the threads it seems there is a large contingent that believe you need to have lots of capacity in reserve. In this case i would have reserve tow capacity but marginal toungue weight reserve which i believe could be safely and honestly offset by a high quality hitch system as i have been reading about. Really appreciate any help I can get .
You are going in circles because there is no "ideal" solution. There are many, many compromises available, most of which will work. As you have read above there is a valid and useful point in every post depending - and this is key - on what you value most.

In general, to summarize above - lighter = lower cost to operate = occasionally under-powered/under capacity. Where will you tow most of the time and with what load? Mountains or on the flat? Is the vehicle a daily driver, as well, or a dedicated tow vehicle?

I agree with the observation of buying more than you think you might need since many - I sure did - add to the kit more than what we thought we needed. "Dear, look at this great picnic tent and bug fly." or -"Maybe we should bring a generator since we won't have electric in that State park." or - "This air compressor will be great . . . " Etc., etc. If you are thinking about 1/2 ton consider 3/4 ton. If you think 3/4 ton is the bare minimum give a look at 1-ton. For the trailer you are considering give the 3/4 ton a look.

As above, most factory specs leave out a lot. I seem to remember that truck weight doesn't include oil and fuel. Check it out. Trailer Life has just released its 2013 Towing Guide. You can find the previous Towing Guides on line. This will help a lot with terminology and most important, how to calculate realistic towing capacity for the truck you are considering.

How 'bout heavier? OK - more expensive to operate = gobs of power = now you can calculate your towing capacity from info above and other resources.

By the way - longer = more stable tow platform = slightly more difficulty to back.

Another compromise - 2WD = lower maintenance = higher towing capacity = Darn! I sure wish I had 4WD instead of this shovel and stuff to self-extract.

I tow our 25' Safari, 7300 lbs GVWR, with a 2WD 3/4 ton crew cab long bed diesel. (Sheesh!) Even with the stuff I put in the pickup we have plenty of safety margin but we would overload the 1/2 ton. My choice is to pay the higher cost to own and operate the diesel. I'm learning how to back The Beast but it takes me more time - I think - to do it safely. 4WD is attractive if we ever replace The Beast. Others would not recommend my choices. (After very little experience, I wouldn't entirely make the same choices.) You will choose your own compromises but don't let it make you crazy.

Last point - last year because of a "minor equipment problem" I towed our trailer out of the Blue Ridge with a rented 3/4 ton gasser of a different brand. The engine down-shifted often where my diesel - in cruise - would add a little fuel and keep rolling along. Is down-shifting unacceptable? Of course not - as long as that's not your primary operating area. The answer comes back to compromises.

Keep studying. Ask for advice. Buy a truck. Get a great WD hitch, brake controller, etc., etc. Load it. Weigh it at a CAT scale. Run it. It will all work out.

Speed is Life . . . guidance is optional . . .
The Traveling Circus: 2013 Flying Cloud 30A; 2006 Chevy Duramax Crew/LWB
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:53 AM   #17
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Nearly every vehicle discussed on the forums can "pull" the trailer. Just like helping "pull" a vehicle out of the ditch beside the road. But many vehicles capable of towing have a maximum recommended trailer weight. There is often a number for the total weight of the trailer and tow vehicle (GCW) added together. But the major concern for me was the payload capability of the towing vehicle.

My 25FB Airstream currently has a tongue weight of 1,175 pounds and it is not fully loaded for a trip. I coupled that with the weights of myself and wife and a few items we would like to take with us.

My Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel had no problem pulling the trailer (tongue weight for that trip was 1,150 pounds and just me in the car) from the dealership from Los Angles to Phoenix through the mountains. At that time. it was over the recommended trailer weight for my year car. After my wife and I loaded a lot of the stuff in the trailer and filled the trailer 34 gallon fresh water tank, we crossed the scales and were overloaded in both the tow weight of the trailer and the GVW of the Mercedes as well as the front axle weight rating. The car was working harder to pull the 850 pounds in new eight added to the bare trailer.

I found that there was little or no excess payload carrying capacity that would meet our needs in the 1/2 ton pickup arena. We could not put two additional people in a crew cab let alone their supplies in the bed or perhaps a couple of generators with gasoline.

I started researching in the 3/4 ton pickup arena. I am working on a tow vehicle solution in this arena that will have the excess payload capacity to take whatever we might wish with us along with people in the back seat of the crew cab.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:27 AM   #18
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Toyota specs for cargo capacity include a full tank of fuel. So you don't have to add another 200# to the curb weight for fuel.
The Trailer Life tow ratings are just that; "TOW RATINGS". They do not indicate the cargo carrying capacity of a specific TV.
For example: The Tundra Double Cab and Regular Cab models have the highest rating of all Tundra models at 10,100#'s. The cargo capacity of the Double Cab is about 1500#. They say the average weight of passengers is 150#. Don't know where they found such small people.
Based on these figures: if the tongue weight of the trailer fully loaded and ready to travel is 750#. That leaves 750# for all passengers and cargo loaded into the truck.
I for example normally have 3 passengers. Their weight totals 400 pounds. So that leaves only 350 pounds of wiggle room for items you may want to carry in the Truck.
Most if not all 1/2 ton trucks are in this ball park. So if you plan to carry a lot of extra stuff, a 3/4 ton may meet your needs.
I just bought a Tundra to replace my 3/4 ton Dodge. Wanted more horsepower and better mileage and don't carry a lot of extra stuff. Spare tire for the trailer a BBQ and 14 gallons of potable water. That's about it,
So for what it's worth.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:43 AM   #19
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Ram 1500 specs for capacity include driver and passenger. You don't have to add those either. The w.d. hitch puts some of that payload on the trailer axles, you can subtract that. My life is not in danger.

Did I mention that in traveling from one coast to the other with my Airstream and Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 4 x 4 my gas pedal has never been to the floor. $25k plus tax and license brand new, with nice options and factory brake control, trailer sway control.

doug k
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #20
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"Not knowing that the trailer is there" is a euphemism for "an easy tow". The only problem with the dually is the mpg....that's why if I had a mulligan I would opt for a one ton Ram ( no dually). My friend who owns such a vehicle and a similar trailer as I, reaches 14mpg while towing and 19 otherwise.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #21
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Since we're at the point of talking specifics we tow a 30' AS with an '06 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel. Single rear wheels and 4x4, 3.73 rears and automatic trans. With no tow on a good day of highway driving I've gotten as high as 22+ as recorded on the overhead. ( not known for it's reliability). Towing I get around 13.5 and better hand calculated. I'm happy with that.
Roger in NJ

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:20 PM   #22
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You are getting a lot of advice from this thread. In the end you will need to decide what you are comfortable with. Also, is there a possibility that you may move up to a larger Airstream in the future? When we purchased our Classic 30 we thought that it would be our first and last Airstream. We started with the 30 rather than a 25 because we didn't want to do the 2 feet itus that we experience with our boats. Well, it wasn't our last Airstream as we moved up to a 34. Fortunately we didn't need to upgrade our truck because the truck's capacity still exceeded our new Airstream.

We didn't buy our truck expecting to go to a larger Airstream. I bought a 3/4 ton diesel because I wanted to be comfortable having excess capacity. I didn't want to be close to the edge.

The 3/4 and one ton trucks today are essentially the same truck. Same engine, brakes, etc. The primary difference is the payload capacity because the one ton will have heavier springs and may have a dually.

Absorb all the advice being given and decide what you will be comfortable with.

Good luck in your decision.

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Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab CTD

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:20 PM   #23
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I have towed our present trailer with both a half ton gas and a 3/4 ton diesel. I have found towing to be a more enjoyable and relaxing with the latter in our case and have no regrets whatsoever in moving up.

Is it worth the extra $$? Probably not, but what the heck we only go around once!

Nice not to really have to worry about load limits no matter what I throw in the truck and trailer - within reason of course!

You will hear some folk expressing the opinion that heavier trucks can beat up the trailer.

I can't say that isn't so, but after four years use and four cross country trips and many shorter ones I haven't seen any evidence of this as yet.

When we first got the 2500HD, I felt the difference in size for sure, and also a slightly stiffer ride when empty, but soon got used to it. We use the truck as a daily driver, it is a crew cab short box with cap. I would have liked a long box for added carrying space, but think that as a daily driver it would have been not the best for car parks.

The short box has worked for us. Previous truck has the club cab with the half doors at the back and I much prefer the crew cab setup.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:25 PM   #24
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My details: 2007 27FB, stock 2012 F250 Diesel with 142" wheelbase 4X4, 400 horse power, 800ft lbs of torque. 16 MPGs towing, 21 MPGs solo. I won't go back to a gasser or 1/2 ton...
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:57 PM   #25
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Don't Forget Driver Comfort

I have towed various Airstreams with the following:
1995 Suburban 1500 (4X2) with a 5.7 gasoline engine and 3.73
1999 Suburban 1500 (4X4) with a 5.7 gasoline Vortec engine and 3.73
2003 Suburban 1500 (4X4) with 5.3 gasoline Vortec engine and 3.73
2005 Silverado Duramax Diesel 2500HD (4X4) 5 speed Allison
2007 Silverado Duramax Diesel 2500HD (4X4) 6 speed Allison

I did not expect nor was I prepared for how much less fatiguing it is to tow an Airstream with a 3/4 ton, diesel powered pickup. Though it was an unintended consequence of seeking the most capable tow vehicle I could find, it is now a very important criteria. I arrive at my destinations after a day of towing much less worn out, especially when running with the semi-tractor trailers on the interstates or up and down the 7% grades in the mountains of NM and AZ.
Only after I towed with the Duramax-Allison package did I realize how marginal my earlier vehicles were.
Ken L
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:05 PM   #26
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Two weeks ago in Florida we spotted a 34' Excella triple axle Airstream. The TV was a new Ford Flex. Based on the license plates, they were about 1500 miles from home!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:17 PM   #27
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This is great input. Without an official count I think it's about evenly split between the half and three quarter. It appears I can do either safely but there is a trade involved .... With a 3/4 ton I get the comfort of excess capacity while towing but in a vehicle that I think may be a little too big as a daily driver. With the 1/2 ton I get an acceptable tow vehicle without any excess capacity which most of you seem to value highly but a more convenient daily driver. Im lucky enough that expense is not the big issue here ... It's more a matter of what is the best lifestyle fit so I guess the rest is up to me. What I have learned is that no matter which way I go it's important to outfit the hitch ,tires,sway ,transmission, engine selection, etc. thanks to all for some great input and anything else is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:53 PM   #28
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Glad to help, that's why we're here to offer opinions based on actual experience.

doug k

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