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Old 01-31-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Newbie towing question

Hi, I'm brand new to this forum. We are in the very early stages of looking at getting a vintage AS to restore. Once done the trailer will be parked pretty much permanently on a summer property. I have a Ridgeline with a towing capacity of 5000lbs. I've looked through some other threads and have come away a little confused. Can anyone tell me what capacity is required to safely tow a 27 to 31 foot average AS unloaded? One ad in the classifieds says a 31' AS weighs 3600lb, another says 6000?? Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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It all depends on the year, the model, and how equipped.
Check how much tongue weight your Ridgeline can handle.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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Since you are in TO, you should pay Can Am RV in London a visit. They are the towing experts. Can-Am RV Centre | #1 Airstream Dealer in Customer Satisfaction Worldwide | Your Full-Service RV Dealer I was going to have my Ford Flex set up by them but we traded it and didn't need any modifications with the new one.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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I find it very hard to believe a 31' Airstream with an interior would weigh 3600lb, maybe one that was gutted.

6000lbs sounds about right for a '70s-'80s 31' Airstream without your stuff in it.

My family has weighed a few '70s-'80s 31' Airstreams ready to travel 6500-6900lbs with the tanks empty.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:52 PM   #5
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Best bet is to look on the airstream website specs:
Airstream, Inc :: Specifications
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:43 AM   #6
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The towing can be hired out. Ask at an RV dealer (such as CAN AM) for references, as insurance, license, etc is important as well as reputation. The usual bid is on a per-mile basis (after a minimum).
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:02 AM   #7
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My 31' Classic weighs in at 9200 and hitch weight is 940. No way would I tow it with less than a 3/4 ton truck or SUV. Keep your Ridgeline to putt around town, but buy a good used 3/4 ton truck to haul your AS.

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Old 02-01-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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Fixing a vintage Airstream

I am not sure what you mean by "vintage". If that means in the 60's, they were pretty light, since they were originally pulled by passenger cars. The Airstream.com site has the specs. Since you intend to use this as a static unit, you will not need to do much to make it road worthy or tow at high speeds. If you want one out of the 70's, it will weigh a bit more, but still towable by a car. Anything after 1991 will have corian counter tops and full thickness hardwood cabinets and will weight a lot. Anything after 1995, will have a wide body and all the luxury items and weight a ton more. You will likely need a truck to pull it. If you intend to sell it in the future, the new buyer will likely want to used it for touring and the unit needs to have the running gear reconditioned to make it reliable.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:02 AM   #9
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I have not had it on a scale, but the info plate on my 2005 Classic 30 - which is actually 31' bumper to ball - shows an UVW (unloaded vehicle weight) of 7309 lbs.

It very much depends on what year you are looking at, earlier models are much lighter.

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Old 02-01-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
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Thanks to everyone who replied (very promptly!). I'm sure I will have many more questions as we move forward, it's nice to know there's a very supportive community out there!
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #11
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I am loving this thread...because I almost started the same one!!! After much research this week, it has been determined my Jeep will have a max of 5000 lbs (we haven't installed the hitch yet). To me, this means we are definitely going to be looking at something vintage and max 23'. I'm betting a Bambi, Caravel, Safari or Globetrotter is going to be our best bet.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:08 PM   #12
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lonewolf... A 23' Safari is what we have. Tow's great with a mid sized car.

The 23' is 3,700 dry. 4,500 trip ready.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:50 PM   #13
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Thanks Road Ruler! Narrowing things down sure makes the search a lot smoother.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:11 PM   #14
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(Hijack warning)


Is it just me or does slowmover's pic look like rednax?
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:30 PM   #15
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It's one & the same. Changed screen name recently.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover
It's one & the same. Changed screen name recently.
Oh! Didn't catch the name change but I remember when your avatar changed....sorry to the OP for the hijack :-)
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:39 PM   #17
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Question Here's a point:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nskinner View Post
Hi, I'm brand new to this forum. We are in the very early stages of looking at getting a vintage AS to restore. Once done the trailer will be parked pretty much permanently on a summer property. I have a Ridgeline with a towing capacity of 5000lbs. I've looked through some other threads and have come away a little confused. Can anyone tell me what capacity is required to safely tow a 27 to 31 foot average AS unloaded? One ad in the classifieds says a 31' AS weighs 3600lb, another says 6000?? Thanks.
If you are only going to tow it to your "forever" parking spot, why worry about your tow vehicle? If you wind up buying a TT (travel trailer) bigger than what you could tow, or if your new-to-you trailer has no hitch, pay someone else to tow it home.

And, IMHO, Airstreams are really only the right trailer for you if you are actually going to travel a lot. A "SOB" (Some Other Brand) will be cheaper for a comparable size and condition, and considerably roomier inside. Square corners are a "drag" (literally) if you are towing, but they mean more headroom and storage space when you are parked.

Walk around in two or more trailers that are the same investment to you, and see if I am right. I think you'll find that, unless you are regularly sailing down the road, the SOB is a better abode...
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf1977 View Post
I am loving this thread...because I almost started the same one!!! After much research this week, it has been determined my Jeep will have a max of 5000 lbs (we haven't installed the hitch yet). To me, this means we are definitely going to be looking at something vintage and max 23'. I'm betting a Bambi, Caravel, Safari or Globetrotter is going to be our best bet.
Don't forget to address your suspension on the Jeep ... if it is a Wrangler, check out American Expedition Vehicles for super suspension (and other) parts. My wife loves the new ride!
But aage above has the best suggestion for a tow and drop ...
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:06 AM   #19
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We have a '77 Safari, and love it, light, easy to manuver and we can fit on almost any campsite. The first used Airstream we looked at was a '74 31' and it had the exact same layout as our Safari, only bigger. Since there's only two of us right now the extra lenght of a longer trailer didn't benefit us and we can tow with the vehicles we have. When/if we have kids we can either buy a bigger trailer, and at that time it might be time to buy another vehicle anyway, or I may add bunks to the Safari.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
If you are only going to tow it to your "forever" parking spot, why worry about your tow vehicle? If you wind up buying a TT (travel trailer) bigger than what you could tow, or if your new-to-you trailer has no hitch, pay someone else to tow it home.

And, IMHO, Airstreams are really only the right trailer for you if you are actually going to travel a lot. A "SOB" (Some Other Brand) will be cheaper for a comparable size and condition, and considerably roomier inside. Square corners are a "drag" (literally) if you are towing, but they mean more headroom and storage space when you are parked.

Walk around in two or more trailers that are the same investment to you, and see if I am right. I think you'll find that, unless you are regularly sailing down the road, the SOB is a better abode...
Thanks for the suggestion. I certainly agree that for the same price we could get a roomier SOB and without having to tow it would seem to make sense, but, as I'm sure many on this forum can appreciate...then it wouldn't be an Airstream! We're more than willing to trade a little headroom for the timeless style.
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