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Old 01-22-2013, 06:54 AM   #57
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The other thing to think about is the issue of tires and tire pressure. 1/2 ton tires are usually limited to "C" range tires, while 3/4 & 1 ton's are all at "E" rated tires. E rated tires are better for towing but when you air them to the max, the "ride" isn't like a C rated tire aired to 35 lbs. Safety factors on E rated vs C rated when towing are alot higher on the E rated tires. Just some more fodder to digest.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #58
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The other thing to think about is the issue of tires and tire pressure. 1/2 ton tires are usually limited to "C" range tires, while 3/4 & 1 ton's are all at "E" rated tires. E rated tires are better for towing but when you air them to the max, the "ride" isn't like a C rated tire aired to 35 lbs. Safety factors on E rated vs C rated when towing are alot higher on the E rated tires. Just some more fodder to digest.

Off the top of my head, I think the weight rating on the standard 18" tire on the F-150 is ~2365#. A 265/17 E standard on many of the 3/4 and 1 ton single wheels is ~3195#. Even higher in some of the optional E rated sizes.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:20 AM   #59
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A previous poster is confusing tow vehicle maximum tow weight as an indicator of tow vehicle tongue weight capacity of the hitch. The label on the vehicle's hitch will show numbers for tongue weight and maximum trailer weight and also the same numbers if using a weight distribution hitch.

My 25FB had a 833 pound tongue weight per factory specification and the real scaled weight is 1,175 pounds as it currently sits with full water tank. The trailer GVW is 7,300 pounds.

A 30' Classic has a factory tongue weight of 733 pounds and a GVW of 10,000 pounds.

Thus we have a higher GVW trailer weight with a lower tongue weight.

Using the 2012 F-150 Ford literature for a King Ranch SuperCrew cab, short bed 4x4, with Max Towing package (Max Payload package is NOT available for this model), the manufacturer says the vehicle will tow a maximum trailer weight of 11,700 pounds, BUT that is part of the GCWR rating of 17,100 pounds which means that with the heaviest trailer attached, the truck itself can only weight 5,400 pounds.

Turning to the next page, one sees that with the EcoBoost motor, 4x4 and Max towing package, the Maximum GVW for the truck is 7,650 pounds with initial payload of 1,900 pounds. Going to another Ford document, we find out that the 1,900 pounds is for NO installed upgrades from a raw base truck. The fudge factor for factory installed equipment and options is 427 pounds and a base curb weight of 5,687 pounds. That means the payload is REDUCED from 1,900 pounds to 1,473 pounds. Immediately we can see that with no other stuff in the truck, the curb weight weighs more than the net figure mentioned above at 5,400 pounds. In fact, taking the 7,650 pound truck GVW away from the 17,100 GCWR leaves the actual maximum trailer weight that can be towed at 9,450 pounds.

Thus the maximum size Airstream Classic that one should consider weight wise would be the 27FB. All models of the International trim line and Flying Cloud trim line weight are at 8,800 GVW or less. Interesting is the fact that the 28' models have the highest tongue weights of 976 pounds for Flying Cloud and 950 pounds for the International model.

Note that the F150 under discussion could have an optional 36 gallon instead of a 26 gallon fuel tank. The extra ten gallons of gasoline reduces payload capacity by about 62 pounds.

The front axle is rated 3,900 pounds and the curb weight for it is 3,206 pounds, so the payload for the front axle is 694 pounds. The rear axle is rated for 4,090 pounds with the curb weight of 2,481 pounds for a payload of 1,609 pounds. The net payload numbers total 2,303 pounds. The gotcha is that the axle ratings added together equals 7,950 pounds but the truck GVW is 7,650 pounds so there is a factory safety factor of 300 pounds or perhaps a handling issue.

Going back to our new net payload number of 1,473 pounds with the standard 26 gallon tank, we have to deduct the tongue weight of the trailer which is 1,175 for my 25FB. That leaves 198 pounds for the wife, the driver's weight above 150 pounds and other stuff. It would be 62 pound less with the larger fuel tank, or 136 pounds payload available. Even though one is using a weight distribution hitch, the downward force due to gravity on the back end of the truck stays at 1,175 pounds. The WD hitch may shift apparent weight forwards and rearward because of leverage, but the steel attachment point between truck and trailer always sees the total static tongue weight.

That is why the static tongue weight is referenced when looking at which hitch to acquire or if preinstalled at the factory, does it have enough capacity and/or does it need reinforcement? Also, if one has to use a drop hitch, the longer the drop, the more rotational forces that are applied to the hitch welds to the attachment points. Some brands of factory hitches have had failures at the weld joints at the end of the cross member supporting the receiver tube.

Just because the motor will pull the weight along on a flat surface, is not the primary concern. The specifications of the axles, wheels and tires, hitch etc limit the total load of both the TT and TV. Overloading means more stress on bearings, gear trains, braking capacity etc and reduces the factory safety margins that could have a tremendously negative impact on emergency handling or cause premature failure of expensive parts.

When selecting a more modest sized towing vehicle, a through exercise of working the numbers will allow the user to determine if this particular tow vehicle as fully speced would always be operated at it's gross capacity or even overloaded?

Take an identical model an a demo ride across the scales with a full gasoline tank and driver and usual passenger with their got to have stuff (like a 20 pound purse). Look at the actual front and rear axle weights and actual gross weight. Now you have a realistic set of numbers for a basis to do all the other necessary calculations to see if the your specific trailer and vehicle fall within the factory guidelines.

Then the decision to run at gross weight or over is based upon reality and not wishful thinking. The vehicle manufacturer's engineers can tell if a vehicle's part failure could be due to overloading and thus not eligible for warranty replacement.

YMMV
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:40 AM   #60
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Switz you are dead on.Unfortunately a lot of members do not do the homework before they buy a tow vehicle and then go into denial when you bring up the manufactures maximum tow specifications.It is what it is folks.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:31 AM   #61
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The interesting thing about numbers is they can be manipulated to "prove" any point of view. In this forum, usually by "folks" who need to justify the excessive cost and inconvenience of far more tow vehicle than they need.

We adore our new half-ton truck, it moves along with comfort and ease with and without the trailer attached, always a joy to drive. The repeated warnings that it cannot do the job or is uncomfortable, dangerous or a liability is b.s. We are towing Airstreams here.

If we were to "move up" to a better tow vehicle, it would be a Euro-style diesel SUV with full independent suspension. But the modern half-tons are so nice to drive and surprisingly low cost to buy and operate, that is also hard to justify.

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:08 PM   #62
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What is your Dodge 1500 factory rated to tow maximum? What is your axle ratio? What is your max tongue weight rating? I am curious just how you selected the right tow vehicle for your Airstream.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:46 PM   #63
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2012 RAM 1500 Towing Chart

I think if we just throw out all these numbers, then yeah, lots of vehicles can do the job. But if you want to make an honest attempt to stay within the manufactures RATINGS, then there is some math involved.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:50 PM   #64
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Play the numbers game with someone else.

We have invested considerable premium in the fact that Airstreams tow better and more safely than anything else. Truck numbers ignore that.

Weight distribution hitches and quality of setup vary in effectiveness. Truck numbers ignore that.

Driver skill and common sense aren't equal. Truck numbers ignore that.

Proper loading of truck and trailer are not practiced by all. Truck numbers ignore that.

Heavy duty truck suspensions can rough up occupants and Airstreams. Truck numbers . . .

Half-ton trucks have towed Airstreams effectively, comfortably, and safely for years. The new ones are even more efficient, have gears available to handle any terrain, load capabilities for most, and stability systems to keep things in line.

And when you are unhooked (most of the time), it's pleasant to drive.

If you need more than this, that's fine.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:06 PM   #65
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This a classic example of what not to do.You cannot ignore the manufacturers maximum published load numbers (not B.S) when pulling a travel trailer or any other type trailer.
Do your homework BEFORE you buy.And buy what was designed to do what you need,whatever that might be.

Flying by the seat of your pants will get you,your family or someone else hurt or worse.Not cool

Doug K please beleive me when I say I am not criticizing you.I am saying that it is easy to make a mistake in buying a tow vehicle I did the same thing myself I bought the wrong truck for my application.I then had to trade it for the right one after looking at the numbers.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:36 PM   #66
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Throwing out one more suggestion.... How about a van?

Both Chevy and GMC vans TOW and come in a 3/4 ton configuration. There is a diesel option available and lots of room for gear. Costs can be much lower especially if you are willing to consider a commercial style van (unfinished interior).

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:21 PM   #67
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Just wanted to add a couple of things here since I own a 2010 1/2 Ram 4x4 that has been on the scales. Again, no offense intended here, just stating some #'s from my experience.

My Ram 1500 has a GVWR from Dodge of 6800#. Base curb weight as listed on my registration paperwork is 5380#. On the CAT scale with a full tank of fuel (32 gal. tank) and me in it (~200 lbs) it weighs in at just shy of 6000# with my toolbox, bed cover, etc. That lets just 800# to that GVWR. It doesn't take too much in the bed to get to that point, even before the trailer.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:37 PM   #68
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Spare me the pity, Moflash.

After 50 years of troube-free camping, I don't do these things blindly. We considered and drove many vehicles, compared the spec's to our needs, purchase and operational costs. Our Ram 1500 is a near perfect fit, and a pleasure to drive with and without the Airstream.

As with our previous truck, which was lighter rated than this one, we consulted with Andrew Thomson at CanAm RV. Perhaps you fellows know more about towing Airstreams than they do. He has a website and written articles in Airstream Life if you would like to learn more about towing than charts and labels.

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:09 PM   #69
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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 .
First of all, Welcome to the forums!

Like you, I too have been struggling with the "Which TV is right?" question. I went out and test drove the 1/2 ton & 3/4 ton trucks from Dodge, Ford, GMC and Toyota. At the time, we were looking at a 25' Fly Cloud and then decided to look at the 27' FC / International Signature AS.

What made me decide on a 3/4 ton truck was when I went to add up the weight of the AS, stuff, people, more stuff, toys, hitch and so forth. I began to realize that the important number wasn't how much the truck could tow, but rather how much could the rear axle support?

In talking with dealers and fellow Airstreamers, it became clear to me that the dealers really have no idea what the parameters are necessary for safe towing and merely quote the max payload package and tell you that it will tow your trailer without problem. The Airstreamers on the other hand all warned me about being careful not to overload the rear axle.

The bottom line is that today's 1/2 ton trucks have plenty of power to tow any of the late model larger Airstreams. The question becomes who and how much you are going to take with you. From talking to people on the forums, it appears that there seems to be switch over point between the 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks at the 25' / 27' mark. Many towing 25'ers tow quite happily with 1/2 trucks while the 27'ers tow with 3/4 ton or bigger. I personally decided to go with a 3/4 ton diesel.

Good luck with your purchase and post some pictures of which ever TV you decide to get.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:47 PM   #70
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Doug we are all fellow Airstreamers.We are also a group that has learned by experience and trial and error.i have learned a lesson myself by buying the wrong tow vehicle. My back ground is 38 years in the automobile industry .i have learned that most car salespeople along with the sales managers that order the vehicles for inventory know very little when it comes to selecting the right vehicle and options for pulling a travel trailer.
A 1/2 ton pickup can be a great tow rig but as with anything they have their limits and in most instances it's payload capability.
My advise
Ask for a towing guide at the dealership and study it until you understand it.then look at the specs on your Airstream. Find the vehicle that more than meets but exceeds the required demands of your needs.Or buy a smaller trailer that works with a lighter duty truck.

But those numbers are not B.S
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