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Old 12-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
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New to towing and airstream F-150/25ft Safari

We are new Airstreamers, having camped in teardrop for the last few years, we decided to take a leap for retirement and got a 2007 Safari 25ft. Paperwork says the Airstream has a GVWR of 7000# and a tongue weight of 860#.

Hoping to explore the country.

I have been reading all the towing and truck forums and to be honest it just becomes more confusing.


Currently we are about to purchase a 2010 Ford F-150 XLT crew cab, 5.4 V8, axle 3.55, Wheelbase 145", with tow package. I believe this will tow 9600#, but after reading the DATA plate on the door of the truck it states that the trucks GVWR is 7300.


Will we be OK with this??
Will it do the job?
Will I learn to back her up?



I was choosing the F-150 because I have heard very good things about its ride and driving comfort.

Thank you all in advance, these forums have provided us with such valuable information.




Tom
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to streaming.

Get a good wdh, good brake controller, learn by taking your time. Others have been there and will understand. Relax and have fun......

You are ok learn about gvwr, tow rating, two separate but not independent measures get some good tires visit the cat scales get level....OMG. THIS IS GONNA BE FUN!!!
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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I believe that is the GVWR for the truck itself, not its towing capacity.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:32 PM   #4
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That truck will pull the trailer, but whether it will be a satisfactory tow vehicle for you depends on many things like:
1. How much weight you carry in the truck - tongue weight and 2 passengers will take up a good portion of the payload capacity. Generator, tools, and other "stuff" may quickly max out the payload.
2. If you go into the mountains you will get down into the lower gears and maybe have to creep up steep grades. Though, if you have a 6 speed transmission, performance will be much better than a 4 speed.
3. The GCRW (gross combined rated weight) should be in a chart in the owners manual. You will have to look for the setup of your specific vehicle to see if it is adequate.
4. Etc, Etc,

With a half ton (Chevy crew with tow) I had prior to my present truck, I found I was not willing to get by with less stuff than I wanted to bring along, so I moved to a larger truck. I am not saying it is unsafe to use a lighter tow vehicle. But, my personal opinion is; I think it's safer to have a tow vehicle that is heavier than the trailer, with extra capacity, than to use a lighter vehicle and carry weight and/or tow loads right at the vehicles' maximum capacity.

You will get all kinds of opinions. Some will disagree with me. Only you can make the decision of what will work for you.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
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Tom,
We tow an '02 30' Classic w/slide w our '10 F150 S crew, 6.5 box and 5.4 eng and 3.73 gears. Trailer weighs 8,400 empty and 9,000+ w/ water and propane full. Hitch wt. is 890# fully loaded (weighed at my local coop scales). It may not be fast in the mountains but it does the job! We are headed for SW FL from SW IA on Thursday and it makes that trip easily!!! I think you'll be fine with your lighter trailer.
Dan
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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Yes, your F150 will tow a 25' just fine. Get a good hitch and brake controller. We tow a 27' International with our Ford Expedition with a Hensley hitch and Direclink brake controller. I wrote a blog post about our maiden voyage last month and our trip to Can-Am RV to dial in our Hensley! Good luck and Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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A good 1/2 ton, properly set up with a weight-distributing hitch and brake controller, is plenty for a 25'. The tow package will include a transmission cooler and oil cooler, so there are no worries there. As for backing up... all I can say is unless you are 100% sure of what is back there, use a spotter or get a backup camera. There are many that can be wired to replace one of the rear marker lights. Too many dented corners on Airstreams... top and bottom... from posts, trees, vehicles...

A corner panel replacement is going to set you back $5000... so invest the $200-300 in a backup camera.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:57 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the support. I have found a page, fordf150.net that pointed me in the right direction for the info I needed.
This will sure be a fun learning process for us. Fortunately for us, having lived on a sailboat for five years has us ready for some of the adventure.
Thank you all,
Tom

NOW to sell the Teardrop!
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

You're going to love the 25. We have a 2005 25FB, named Lucy, that we have used extensively. Lucy now has almost 1,200 nights and over 100,000 miles under her belt. We have not tired of her yet.

As to your questions about the half ton tow vehicle, it may somewhat depend upon how much you plan to carry and where you intend to go. Lucy weighs in at 7,400# ready to camp with an 850# tongue weight. If your half ton truck is loaded down with gear and passengers, you will probably be at or near the vehicle's load limit.

Check the tires that come on the vehicle that you are considering. Some half tons come with P rated (passenger car) tires. You are going to want LT rated (light truck) tires with at least a Load Range D rating.

You are also going to want to research quality weight distributing/sway control hitch systems. You also need to look at trailer brake controllers if your new vehicle does not come equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller.

We started out with a half ton tow vehicle. It was OK, but not really satisfactory. We didn't like the lack of pulling power on significant grades and the lack of payload capacity. We eventually moved on to 3/4 ton (gasoline) tow vehicles, and found these quite satisfactory. With the addition of a 3,000# truck camper, we now pull Lucy with a one ton diesel tow vehicle.

A half ton tow vehicle can probably do the job, but you will need to choose and set up carefully.

Good luck, and have some great Airstream adventures.

Brian
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Sounds as if you're on the right track. The advice given on this site will serve you well. The only thing I might add is to choose your weight distributing hitch carefully. The choice you make should be with you for a long time. So don't rush into something. You will read volumes here on the hitches available. If your checking acct. can handle it you may look towards the Hensely style hitch. The users seem to really like them after getting over the learning curve with hitching/un-hitching. Take a trip to Camping World and you will see a good selection of other brands and styles. After reading a lot I've chosen to go the Anderson route for it's reasonable cost and simplicity. I've kept my other one with the heavy WD bars so if I don't like the Anderson I can always go back. It's a fine hitch and has served me well.

Just do some homework. Ask questions because I don't really think you can return it if you try one out and don't like it.

Good Luck. Enjoy many miles of safe towing and See ya on the road sometime.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:54 AM   #11
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Pro-Pride Hitch and TT disc brakes. DIREC-LINK brake controller.

Set up the weight-distribution on a certified scale so that the trailer tongue weight is properly applied.

As above, if you carry too much junk you may want a HD pickup. On the other hand, a 25' is not too large too be pulled by a car (see threads/posts by Andrew_T [Andrew Thomson, of CAN AM RV) as we all of us did in the 1960's and '70's.

The best tow vehicle is not a truck, the best tow vehicle is the one that also fills solo duties economically and can pull the trailer.

How many nights aboard, how many annual miles, etc, are all determining factors.

The TT is the more important choice (which you've made), but there is no requirement for a pickup truck for this trailer type. The design advantages of the TT mean that a wide variety of vehicles can be used.

So, no matter the TV, the hitch, the brakes and controller will all do well in keeping the pickup truck on the road. The TT can -- behind the right TV -- get through a slalom faster than can the pickup truck while solo. Set it up correctly, and choose best equipment. Those who do never go back to inferior equipment or procedures.

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Old 12-26-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
As above, if you carry too much junk you may want a HD pickup. On the other hand, a 25' is not too large too be pulled by a car (see threads/posts by Andrew_T [Andrew Thomson, of CAN AM RV) as we all of us did in the 1960's and '70's.

.

I frequently see this reference to towing with cars in the '60's and '70's and comparing that to towing with cars today. As someone who spent 25 in the auto industry (product development and manufacturing) I think this statement while true is very misleading as to the suitability of tow vehicles today.

I'm not trying to stir up anything or pick on anyone, but after reading it so many times I feel I must speak up. The cars that were used as tow vehicles and the cars of today are just not the same. Most cars in the '60's etc used to tow were full size sedans or station wagons. These vehicles were actually much closer to todays pickups than todays cars. They featured such things as a separate frame and large axles and transmissions and they used engines with a lot of torque. When the oil embargo of the '70's hit, the industry was forced into making cars lighter and one way was to make the mechanical components lighter which ment they were not overdesigned as much as they used to be.

A quick example is that the axle used in full size Ford cars of this era is larger than any axle offered in today's F150. The standard F150 axle of today is just about the same size as Ford used in small V-8 midsize cars like the Fairlane and Mustang, and the super duper tow package axle is still smaller than the full size car axle of that era.

My point is that while the vehicles of today are much better than 40 years ago they are not designed with the same factors of safety on the mechanical components. Therefore when one chooses to overload a vehicle today you are putting a relatively large strain on many of the parts and may be much closer to mechanical failure than you think you are. Lots of comments can be made about offsetting features of todays technologies, like better lubes and I am perfectly aware of those. Just pointing out the difference in vehicle design over the last 40 odd years.
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:40 PM   #13
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I have a 2006 F150 with the 4.6 lit V8. It tows pretty good for the 3-4 times per year we use it, but it does seem to lack power. Once I hook up, load up all our gear, kids, dogs, and fire wood I'm pretty sure I'm maxed out. If we were going out more, I would want the larger engine or a f250. Right now it's not worth the extra cost.
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:51 PM   #14
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Back to the F150, it is about as good a match for your Airstream as any.

Payload. It's a half-ton, with the trailer on there keep the bed load light.

Hitch. You're new to towing, only the Propride/Hensley design can guarantee no trailer sway. Propride is about $2500 plus installation and tax, but worth it. Call Sean, Propride owner, he will probably answer the phone and help you select the right one and get it set up.

Backing up. Biggest problem with even the most experienced is backing into something, often a garage roof or tree branch. Have someone watch for obstacles, put one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn the way you want the trailer to turn. Practice.

Brake controller. The truck may have one built-in from the factory. If not get a good one.

Big truck people want you to get a big truck, SUV people want you to get a SUV, the F150 is in the middle, as is your 25' Airstream.

Retirement is fabulous. We spend 6 months a year in our Airstream, travel and as Snowbirds. We have a new Dodge Express 1/2 ton 5.7 regular cab 120" wheelbase. A bargain to buy, tows and rides great, and when we unhook it is very easy to get around with.

doug k
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