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Old 01-17-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
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2013 27' Flying Cloud
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New guy totally frustrated picking the right TV

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 .
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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On your hitch weight ... have you factored in full propane tanks / batts and the actual weight of the hitch, itself ... any additional weight from your payload in the rear of the PU as well as added hitch weight from payload in the trailer ... water, food, personal gear ?
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:29 PM   #3
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Just as point of reference, my 27FB, loaded for travel, has a 900 lb tongue weight, as measured at the CAT scale. A deciding factor for me in my choice of TV was the actual weight of the truck, when loaded with passengers, tongue weight, and equipment, relative to the GVWR of the truck.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:38 PM   #4
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There is no real answer to your question. In the old days we towed with much smaller vehicles, and seemed to get through just fine. Over 50 years ago Wally took a group from Capetown to Cairo over No Roads to speak of, with rigs that were a shadow of what we have today.

Now I read of people who think they have to have a F350 to tow a 19' Bambi.

I have towed probably 175,000 to 200,000 miles with various rigs. A '79 Jeep Cherokee (full size V8) a Suburban with the early 6.2 L diesel (145 hp), two Grand cherokee's with the old straight 6, one with a 4.7 L V8, and now with a GC and a huge hemi V8. All did the job, some slower than others but I never was unsafe, and never stopped, even in the Yukon with the Suburban and a 25' AS. The 145 hp Suburban even towed a 34' tri axle Avion on one trip.

Modern tow vehicles are very capable. I would not stress about them much. Get a good hitch (yes, even a conventional one) and hitch up and go. After a while you will find that you may want a different tow vehicle for some reason, but that the one you got to begin with did the job just fine.

Don't stress, stay in the manufactures recommendation range, and go camping!
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:43 PM   #5
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I believe we have all struggled with the same issues....

The best advice is to go bigger than you think you will need! The main reason is all the "stuff" you will carry in the truck bed and how it affects your "weight" specs.

The other main reason is stability with towing..the bigger the more stable..of course the WD hitch makes a huge difference.

We have a one ton Ram dually, BUT we had a fifth wheel before we became enlightened and purchased an AS 30'. ( Even with this truck, we were nearly over the weight specs! If we added our daughter, grandson and one suitcase--we exceeded the limits of the truck!)

Now, when towing the AS, the beast doesn't even know that the trailer is "back there"...we have a load of extras....air compressor, BBQ grill, tool box, First aide extras, washing materials, etc....a LOT of stuff!

My good friend tows his 31' with a one ton Ram. If I could have a mulligan, I would have a one ton diesel- no dually.

In your situation, I would suggest at least a 3/4 ton with a WD hitch like a Propride. Remember also you probably will at sometime be carrying extra people and luggage.

"They" will tell you that you can tow that AS with a given truck, but you still have to STOP it, climb grades, and control the down grade...I fell prey to that advice when we bought a 3/4 ton to pull the fifth wheel....bad advice....almost a disaster! The National Hwy Traffic Safety data notes that approximately 56% of towed RV's are UNDER trucked! ( sorry, not elegant prose )

Good luck....PM me if you wish to discuss further....Zigi
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:22 AM   #6
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We tow with 2012 Ram 5.7 and is has power to spare and is fully capable of our trailer, which has a heavier tongue load than yours. The purpose of a weight distribution hitch is to distribute weight among truck and trailer axles.

A late model half-ton truck with the large engine matches up to your trailer well. Unless you need to carry heavy loads in the bed. So the problem with half-tons is not power, brakes or stability, it's payload capacity. For example we carry bicycles, a small generator, and trailer hookup accessories in the bed.

Not much is said about the benefit of newer electronic trailer sway control systems that counter trailer sway by applying selective braking to the truck. I suspect it is at least significant when considering stability.

doug k
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:30 AM   #7
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3/4 ton, Nuff said. Brand, your choice. Fuel, diesel has more tork and will last longer, gas is cheaper and more easily found. Get a rig and go camping and enjoy yourself.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:30 AM   #8
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Real World

There are BAD drivers out there... and even the best of us don't tow a trailer every time we go on a drive. I've always believed that an expert at any trade can produce good results even with substandard tools, but a tyro can be helped immensely with top quality tools.

So your "right" decision will be determined by a number of factors.
  • how often will you be traveling?
  • how difficult will the terrain be? Rocky Mountains?
  • how much stuff do you want to carry along?
  • can you afford a separate "daily driver" or do you need your tow vehicle to do double duty?
  • what do you need in a daily driver?
  • size of Airstream - IMHO a 27-28 footer is 3/4 ton territory
  • Can you make money with a heavy duty tow vehicle (as a snow plow in Michigan?)

It's only my opinion and it's worth what you're paying for it - but I love my 3/4 ton and I have a 25 footer. I rarely "need" that excess capacity, but when I have needed it... I've REALLY needed it. I think you CAN get by with a 1/2 ton, but it will be a determining factor in the routes and grades you can tackle comfortably.

(Many people make a good case for going ahead and getting a 1 ton... simply because they're easier to find and it's easier to get good deals.) I would definitely get 4 wheel drive if I had it to do over. Oh and an OEM backup camera.

Paula
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:59 AM   #9
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Note that the folks using 3/4 - 1 ton trucks are pleased with them, and those actually using late model 1/2 ton trucks are equally content.

So flip a coin, you really can't lose, they all do the job well.

doug k
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Note that the folks using 3/4 - 1 ton trucks are pleased with them, and those actually using late model 1/2 ton trucks are equally content.

So flip a coin, you really can't lose, they all do the job well.

doug k
Ditto
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:27 AM   #11
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I have owned and towed with both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton pickup trucks. With the 1/2 ton trucks I towed three different 30' trailers that I previously owned and the 25' trailer I own now. This demonstrates that either truck size will pull the weight of the trailer, if properly equipped. Though, either size pickup might struggle in the mountains if the engine size is not adequate and/or it is not geared correctly. Either truck will tow the load safely, as long as the payload is not exceeded.

So it really depends on what you will carry in your truck and how you load your trailer. I suggest you make a list of items you will carry in the bed and inside the truck, then add up the weight of those items. Add that to the weight of passengers, pets, the weight of your hitch, and the tounge weight of the trailer. Remember that the tounge wieght varries each time you load the trailer, 10% to 15% of the trailer weight. Give yourself a little wiggle room for extra items in the truck that you do not anticipate. That should give you an idea of what size payload to shop for.

The reason I recently moved up to a 3/4 ton truck with my 25' trailer is because the payload of the 1/2 ton was not adequate for my needs. When I weighed my 1/2 ton truck and 25' trailer at the Cat Scales and did the calculations, I found that I had exceeded the truck manufacturer's rated payload when loaded to travel with all of my gear.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:48 AM   #12
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Question There are many opinions......

......on this subject.

IMHO the goal is NOT....."when towing the AS, I don't even know that the trailer is there".
Not aware it's there doesn't equate to safe.

The AS factory specs/weights are notoriously light, adding 300lbs to TW and trailer weight will bring you closer to reality.
FWIW>>>The loaded TW of our 25' is 1200lbs. (w/Hensley)

As others have noted payload is important when loading for camping.
Make note of the front and rear TV axle ratings, TV tire load ratings and trailer axle & tire rating. Those are the important "limits" as to what you can carry/tow safely.

Just as important....a quality hitch & receiver, proper sway & WD set-up..(CAT scale,level rig) and brake controller.

ps...Good Luck & Welcome Aboard

Bob
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
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 aren't too far from Can - Am RV Center up in London, Ontario. You can drive various combinations, also get some good advice from Andy. I have used a Suburban to haul a 28' Safari w/slide. But that heavier than the 27FB. I now use a Diesel, and don't regret it.
Jeff
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:48 AM   #14
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As others have pointed out, the "payload" question is just as critical as the other numbers issues. Figure out the weight of the people, pets and stuff you will pack along, and make sure the TV can handle it.

After the math questions are answered, in my opinion this becomes more of a personal choice. I think most would agree that a half-ton is "good enough" and that a 3/4 ton is "better". With no personal judgement here, the deciding question may be when it comes to vehicle issues are you a person to whom good enough is good enough, or do you tend to choose better? Neither choice is right or wrong.
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