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Old 06-15-2015, 10:26 AM   #1
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New guy with a few questions

Hi everyone.....very new to the Airstream club and I need to ask an important question about my TV. I currently own a 2012 Ford Flex with the towing package. It's max towing weight is 4500 lbs and I think that is only with a weight-distribution hitch. The dry weight of the 1971 23ft. Safari Airstream we are going to purchase is 3,700 lbs. If we start adding the 1,000 lbs that most say you need to allow for, we will be over. I don't want to trade in the Flex, but I think I have to. How close is close for this engine/transmission and if I were to pack extra-light and get a hitch for the Flex, what is the best/easist to work with since I am very new to all this. I very much appreciate your responses (I need all the help I can get:-) Thanks!!!
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:34 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums!

I have stumbled across a few threads in the recent past regarding using a Flex as a TV. You can see the discussions and send a private message if so desired to your fellow Flex owners to ask them specific questions about their experiences. The built in search function in the Forums is notoriously marginal, so to do a Google search, open a new window, put in search terms with Air Forums included, and you should see results that are Forums threads.

Here is a rather lengthy one:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...eam-76419.html

good luck!
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:34 AM   #3
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Some people my tell you otherwise, but I'll say that you would be on the border of too much weight for the vehicle. Even with the proper hitch and towing equipment, you would be right at or above that 4500 lb weight limit.

Rather than the airstream I would look for an ultralight rig that comes in around 3k lbs dry so you have some margin of error.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:42 AM   #4
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Here's how I look at tow capacities of cars and trucks:
Body on Frame trucks and Suvs - Short towing distance, max tow capacity. Like if you're towing a flatbed trailer full of debris to a dump. For long distance towing, only load up with 3/4 of max capacity.
For Unibody suvs and cars - Short towing distance, max tow capacity. Like if you're towing a flatbed trailer full of debris to a dump. For long distance towing, only load up with 2/3 of max capacity. And always use weight-distribution. 2/3 of your Flex's capacity would be 3000lb.

That's just my $0.02. Many people will find that conservative.
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:41 AM   #5
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I think you will be trading the Flex.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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Unibody is stronger. And more popular for this kind of long distance towing in the 1960s and '70's than BOF Ford and GM as Chrysler products had superior suspension, brakes and drivetrain as well.

And there is no reason to assume that vacation travel will add 1k weight to the rig. It might, but it's not a workable assumption unless a family of four is involved.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:44 PM   #7
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The people who drive a Flex, and tow with it, tend to like it, especially with the Ecoboost engine.

Keep in mind that the towing capacity of your Flex is not based on any engineering standards - the same car in two different markets can have different ratings. A lfair few of people on this board don't understand this distinction.

The numbers to take seriously are axle rating, tire rating and payload. As long as you are within those, you should be good, especially with a good hitch.

Were I you, I'd get my hitch reinforced, invest in a decent hitch setup and go and enjoy my rig. The early 70's trailers were designed to be towed with early seventies cars. Your Flex is 100 times more capable than those ever were.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:47 PM   #8
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If you have the EcoBoost you have enough power. How durable it will prove to be, used hard, after five or eight years is something else. You don't say where you live; if you live in generally flat country like much of the deep South, it will be easier. If you live in Colorado or Wyoming it might not. Since you own the Flex, try it, you'll know soon enough if it is adequate. Some Airstreamers drive fairly slow, others near the speed limit, and some over the speed limit, and speed and grade, up and down are where the engine, transmission and brakes get tested. You'll know soon enough, but go for it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:31 PM   #9
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We have a 72 Safari. we gutted and redid added a few hundred lbs# (4000 lbs at scales empty). When we load up the truck we add approx. another 1,000 lbs of gear ( passengers included) and tanks empty. We pull with an 05 F150 5.4l and have no issues. I have rented Flexes in the past for work and they seam like thed be a great tow vehicle....As others suggested there are many posts on Flex owners....
BTY.....Do you have the dual axles....as this would be an additional benefit from a towing POV...
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:50 PM   #10
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Thank you for the quick advice! I am currently looking at the thread that was linked and it's very helpful. We always wanted an Airstream, but could never really afford it. This '71 came up and we had to pull the trigger. We have two boys, so we'll have at least those passengers and gear. We're in North Carolina (on the coast) so trips to the beach will be nice and flat, but anything west will have to go over some hills. My gut instinct told me after looking at all the numbers and driving my Flex, is that it might struggle some. We don't have the Eco-boost engine, so that might be a big factor. We we looking at the Ford Expedition as an option as well, but really never considered looking at an upgraded Flex (a good suggestion!). It will be my daily driver as well, so I do have to consider MPG verses how often a year it becomes the TV. I really do value experienced advice and want to make sure we do the right thing the first time. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions. Thanks again! Dave

(Also, it does have the dual axle)
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:17 PM   #11
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One accident using the Flex as your TV and the likely lawsuit that will result if someone else is hurt will more than balance out the lower MPG the rest of the time that you are using a more capable TV as your daily driver. If you want to be in the TT game, you got to have a vehicle that is more than capable of handling the GROSS (ie loaded with gear and all tanks full) weight of your TT... not only for your safety and that of your family, but also for liability purposes... just my $.02 cents... or... common sense... take it as you will...
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:24 PM   #12
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I have a 1972 Chrysler New Yorker 4 door hardtop. Engine is a forged crank 440 cu in V-8.
It will handle a 3000 lb A/S like it isn't even there.

A classic A/S being towed by a same era TV is AWESOME.

You could let me know by PM, if you are interested.

Let's Roll !
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:39 PM   #13
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Have you considered a F-350 diesel? Many consider this the minimum to safely tow a Airstream.

Kidding aside while the Flex will strain I'd use it for a while for the local trips in flatter areas until you are ready for longer trips. I tow with a Expedition a 6500 lb loaded trailer (27FB) over western mountains. The Expedition is a good vehicle with room to grow.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Have you considered a F-350 diesel? Many consider this the minimum to safely tow a Airstream.

Kidding aside while the Flex will strain I'd use it for a while for the local trips in flatter areas until you are ready for longer trips. I tow with a Expedition a 6500 lb loaded trailer (27FB) over western mountains. The Expedition is a good vehicle with room to grow.
The F350 is overkill! That said, it's what I use. Sometimes with a truck camper on. Sometimes with just a canopy. It's smooth, powerful and very comfortable.

There are lots of good tow vehicles. If it were not for the camper, I would look at either a good half ton, or something like the Expedition. My recommendation, which is on the conservative side, is to not exceed 75% of the towing capacity of the vehicle.
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