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Old 05-28-2015, 08:57 AM   #57
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The tongue weight issue gets cloudy when looking at the literature number versus reality.

Our 2013 25FB International had a literature tongue weight of 833 pounds. After mounting the Hensley hitch along with street side and rear awnings and a solar panel, the tongue weight blossomed to 1,150 pounds. I had reinforced the hitch on our 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel and the numbers were all okay at the scales on the way home basically empty. Loaded for camping the tongue weight increased to 1,175 pounds and the axle ratings were exceeded.

Thus we purchased a 2012 Dodge Ram 2500HD with Cummins diesel engine. Their 1,200 pound rated round bar hitch assembly had some reports of weld failure, so I installed a Curt 15049 hitch rated 2,550 pounds tongue weight and a 17,000 pound trailer. We also cut the factory receiver off the truck. Another advantage was the receiver was about 4" lower than the stock one. Coupling all this with a level ride Kelderman air suspension system fronting rear really helped with the softness of the ride for the trailer.

After a major battery/solar conversion, the literature tongue weight of 773 pounds on our Classic mushroomed to 1,375 pounds. We just completed a new battery conversion that will have reduced thereby 300 plus pounds. I plan to weigh this weekend on my individual wheel scales to get actual numbers.

The factory payload number reflects a 150 pound driver (they need to update that number to reality) and a full tank of fuel/gas. So a 1300 pound payload could mean a 1000 pound tongue weight would allow the driver's weight above 150 pounds plus passenger plus very little in the bed of the truck. Then the axle and tire ratings come into play as the rear axle could be overloaded despite a weight distribution hitch.

The turbocharged diesel will perform at altitude just like at sea level where the normally aspirated gas engine will be gasping for air. At 10,000 feet elevation, that gas engine is putting out less than 50% of it's rated power.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:11 AM   #58
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I personally would go for the f150 with the Eco Boost engine. Hate dodge interiors and there climate control system sucks. Last 2 rams my buddy had needed the entire dash removed due to cheap broken blend doors. You have the noisy fan on full blast and feel hardly anything out of the vents.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:24 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by theflash44 View Post
I've narrowed down my TV search to stick with a half ton and am leaning toward a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel and a GMC Sierra 1500 w/ max towing package and EcoTec 5.3 V8.

Could I get by with the Ecodiesel....reaaaally?
I think you'll find that the answer is no. If you stick to the payload numbers.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:11 PM   #60
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I think you'll find that the answer is no. If you stick to the payload numbers.
I guess I'm just trying to make it work. I can see where the numbers may get dicey, but the fuel economy daily driving and towing occasionally is a hard thing to come by and substitute.
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Old 05-30-2015, 10:33 AM   #61
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A small tow vehicle (as contrasted to a semi tractor) will last longer if continuous operation is not at the maximum weights shown on the door post. Brakes last longer and most likely so will the transmission and differentials.

In the name of progress, most of the gears in rear ends and transmissions today are made of powdered metal rather than machined from a larger piece of steel. Thus the loss of trained machinists jobs in the auto industry and elsewhere.

Set up my individual wheel scales yesterday and weighed the trailer. Tongue weight is now reduced to just under 1,200 pounds without food in the fridge but full fresh water tanks and all our stuff aboard. The factory literature tongue weight is 733 pounds. Our 25FB had a tongue weight of 1,175 pounds camping ready and it was 1,150 pounds at the dealership new with full tanks versus the 833 pounds in the factory literature.

Our 2012 Dodge Ram 2500HD came with a hitch rated 1,200 pounds. Thus the factory hitch was cut off and a Curt 15049 hitch was installed rated 2,550 pounds tongue weight and capable of towing a 17,000 pound trailer. The truck is rated 20,000 combined weight. Our Classic and loaded trailer weigh close to 19,000 when connected.

We are more than 10% below the maximum axle and tire ratings on the truck when towing.

The front bed models storage space under the bed can hold a lot of items which are mostly impacting the tongue weight. We compensated in our 25FB by putting all the tools in the back in the cabinets street side.

Diligent research is required to get the proper tow vehicle for the job.
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:35 PM   #62
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Just as a comment, there is nothing wrong with powdered metal parts. In many ways, they are stronger than machined parts, like mdf can be stronger than wood.
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:00 AM   #63
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It's really tough to get good advice on a tow vehicle in this forum.

The light duty truck users will offer advice how it can be done and what a good combination it makes for them. Then the heavy duty truck users will tell them why they can't do it, even though most of us are doing it safely and comfortably, in many situations with a favorable edge over the heavier trucks. As a group, they are also enjoying a softer ride and so is there Airstream. They have an easier daily driver when they get to their destination, or when they use it at home. And some money is still in their pocket.

The only advantages the heavy duty truck has is ability to carry heavier loads and a choice of more powerful engine. With a mid-size Airstream those issues are more about the owner of the truck than the need for the trailer.

Methods of dealing with excessive payload, tire and axle loads have been covered and then ignored repeatedly in this thread and many before it. Hitch weights can be reduced, some by moving loads and more by relocating heavy equipment. Still thousands of dollars less than a heavy truck. Weight distribution hitches transfer some hitch weight to trailer axles, and a couple of them also completely eliminate any sway from occurring. Even the very important factor that we are pulling the easiest towing, best handling trailer brand on the planet is completely ignored.

Yes, a light truck driver may have to look in the mirror to know the trailer is behind her because the truck drives as nicely with the trailer as it does without when properly hitched with great equipment and set up by a knowledgeable person. It's well worth the reasonable cost to have it done well.

The o.p. asked if he might use a 1500 series truck for his 27' Airstream. I think he wants to know if and how he can rather than why he can't.

cheryl
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Old 05-31-2015, 01:51 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by ckottum View Post
It's really tough to get good advice on a tow vehicle in this forum.
I think if one knows how to read a wide range of comments, filter out the zealots, do their homework, that they can easily draw a good, self-reasoned conclusion as to what tow vehicle suits their particular situation well.

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The only advantages the heavy duty truck has is ability to carry heavier loads and a choice of more powerful engine.

cheryl
As if the ability to carry heavier loads or have a more powerful engine are unimportant factors for many who tow RVs? Some value these enhanced capabilities, even if they are not necessarily required.

And, let's not overlook the considerable braking capability of the diesel engine braking feature. Those with heavier loads, longer trailers, who travel mountain passes typically find this enhanced braking capability to be a very significant feature.

I would say that while many Airstream models can very reasonably be towed with a 1/2 ton pickup, many others (depending on length/weight, where and how an individual tows, and what cargo capacity a particular family requires) would be better suited to a 3/4 ton diesel.

Many are content with the match up of their 1/2 ton pickups (or SUV) and their shorter, lighter Airstreams. And many are content with the match up of their 3/4 ton diesel pickups with whatever Airstream they happen to have.

The best advice one can offer is to lay out the MANY various factors that are to be considered in this decision and then let the individual decide which choice they are most comfortable with.

Clearly, there are a variety of tow vehicle choices that may be suitable to a particular individual's situation. The best we can do is to each offer education on the factors involved in the decision making process and what our unique considerations were.

If we do that, then I'd say that it is not really tough to get good advice around here.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:07 AM   #65
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DHart, it IS really tough to get non-selective advice here.

For example, you brought diesel exhaust braking into the conversation, but did not mention engine compression braking and how it can be adjusted manually with the transmission or is automatically adjusted to speed with tow/haul features on many gasoline truck engines.

You stated

"The best advice one can offer is to lay out the MANY various factors that are to be considered in this decision and then let the individual decide which choice they are most comfortable with."

Absolutely, lets lay out the many various factors, and not lose sight of the o.p.'s original question. A 27' Airstream with a preference for a 1500 series truck.

cheryl
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:14 PM   #66
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One should not expect to receive non-selective comments from anyone on any forum. Personal bias and limits of knowledge and experience are at the heart of virtually anyone's comments on the internet. I'm certainly not the be-all, end-all, non-selective expert, by any means. And not prepared to offer every possible feature and possibility that might suit an individual. Few who post here with advice truly are!

Your urging the OP to go with a 1/2 ton truck for his situation, also discouraging the 3/4 ton diesel, may suit their situation well. Or, the 3/4 ton diesel may actually suit their needs better for reasons beyond your awareness, such as needing greater payload, desiring greater braking capacity, other uses the OP might wish to have for the TV, or possibly just simple personal preference.

When one reads enough, from enough different sources, and does additional homework elsewhere... I think the intelligent person can confidently come to a sound conclusion for what will work for their unique set of circumstances.

The smart reader here will know that as with all internet forums, a heck of a lot of people will chime in cheering for whatever their personal choice happened to be, pronouncing it as the bee's knees. And while many of those choices may well suit the individual making the recommendation, the person seeking advice needs sort through it all to filter out a lot of junk, or just un-applicable advice, as well. Anything posted on the internet is considered suspect to me until confirmed time and time again from a variety of reasonably credible sources - until my level of confidence rises to a level where I'm comfortable with it.

Few have the time, nor willingness, to examine every particular element of someone else's unique set of circumstances, therefore, we offer up what we know -or think we know- might be helpful. Hopefully, across numerous posts, the benefits and disadvantages of all options will ultimately be put out there for consideration, with minimal personal bias. It's up to the reader to take each of these contributions with a grain of salt and put them into their pot full of info to consider.

My comments here are mostly directed at the OP, as I think these considerations form the basis for beginning a good personal analysis of choice. None of us here can truly recommend what would serve his needs best, but we should offer up how he can go about making that decision for himself.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:14 PM   #67
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This is why one needs to understand logic, debate and most of the fallacies people use when expressing their opinion on a given subject. Including recognizing your own fallacies (because we lie to ourselves). To learn that, is a rare thing.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:33 PM   #68
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This is why one needs to understand logic, debate and most of the fallacies people use when expressing their opinion on a given subject. Including recognizing your own fallacies (because we lie to ourselves). To learn that, is a rare thing.
Yes. I am often reminded that whenever people are involved in something... there are going to be problems! Take it all in with at least a few, if not more, grains of salt.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:09 PM   #69
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We tow our 73 Overlander with 2 vehicles. If we are climbing or I just want the comfort, we use an F350 Deisel. If we are traveling mostly flat highways or my wife takes the Overlander without me, we use her Hemi Durango. I use anti sway with the Durango but I have not needed it with the F350. And no, I didn't buy the F350 just to tow the AS, we also use it for a 12' cabover camper for short overnights or gatherings. The PO used an older Toyota Tundra and pulled to most of the western state parks with it. As someone stated earlier in this thread, we own the best towing trailers one can buy.

Just my two pennies
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