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Old 09-15-2009, 04:39 PM   #85
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Good arguments on both sides. A frequent poster with years of Airstream repair experience states that anything over 1/2 ton is very hard on your trailer. That's an important consideration. Perhaps the 80-20 rule has had it's day, and modern hitches, engine/transmissions, brakes, and active suspensions are making the old rule unnecessary. Do we really care if someone passes us going up (or down) a hill, if we are driving safely?
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:26 PM   #86
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A frequent poster with years of Airstream repair experience states that anything over 1/2 ton is very hard on your trailer.
That isn't a universal statement. Even that person would say so. There is a big difference between a Bambi and a 34 footer. Using a 1/2 ton in front of a 34 footer may be hard on the TV and trailer.

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Old 09-15-2009, 08:16 PM   #87
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Spinout of Excursion - Post #71

In looking at the front wheels of that Excursion closely - I would say that any vehicle would handle about the same. The driver's reactions are slow and the vehicle is just following (what appears to me to be) ill-advised inputs. Several years ago I had a good whip on my 99 suburban (half ton) and an '86 31' airstream. But I steered the vehicle in a straight path down the interstate, used trailer brakes and then canceled the cruise. It was a bit harrowing, but everything settled down nicely. The whip was generated by a good wind from the left, a box-van truck in the passing lane, and a light duty tow vehicle.

The driver of the Excursion is not steering straight or close to it. I don't feel you can blame the vehicle in this case.

Ooops. Post #70

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Old 09-15-2009, 09:19 PM   #88
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Discussion here isn't dependent on counting up sides. We make a point, some agree, some don't, some change their minds, others just read it and quietly make up their minds. At some point everything to say is said, and the thread dies, maybe to be resurrected some time later.

There will not be total agreement on just about anything including a thread called "Do Airstreams Look Good?"

I think it's an interesting question and one I wondered about before purman posted the original question. The larger question surrounding it is about conventional wisdom.

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well said and I stand corrected
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:41 PM   #89
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I understand what you are saying and you are correct too to a certain point, but if your trailer wheights twice as much than your TV you will be in trouble earlier than a TV that's better 'matched' with your trailer... That's just physics...

Anyone living in the great L.A. area knows the 'grapevine'... Do you know how much brakes I use going down that thing? zero... My TV is braking my trailer perfectly and I am going 58mph. My brakes are cool and not smoking, now if there is an emergency my 14000lb rig will stop before yours at 10000lb... And even better, if my trailer brakes fail I still can stop this beast...



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Comparing 1/2-ton trucks to 3/4-ton trucks, the 1/2-tons typically have shorter stopping distances. Same goes for the typical car-based, 5000lb SUV vs a 5500lb truck-based model. Stuff like tires and suspension weight transfer when braking play a role, not just big impressive looking rotors and calipers.

Although your example is obviously extreme, stopping 10000 lbs of mass is easier than stopping 14000 lbs. A F-250 weighs nearly 2500 lbs more than a F-150, which doesn't help matters.

Properly adjusted trailer brakes are, of course, a help here - old Airstream brochures I have brag that the tow car + disc-braked trailer stopped in the same distance as the tow car (a 3500lb late-70s Chevy Impala) did solo.

There are so many variables here beyond tow rating: we passed a SOB (which is a lot higher than a typical AS) being towed by a newer Silverado 1/2-ton recently. No sway control, no weight distribution - it was wagging down the road, nose in the air, even at the speed limit. That rig was likely 2000 lb or so below the tow rating of the truck, yet was inherently less stable than my minivan towing my Minuet with weight distribution and anti-sway.

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Old 09-16-2009, 10:22 AM   #90
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I understand what you are saying and you are correct too to a certain point, but if your trailer wheights twice as much than your TV you will be in trouble earlier than a TV that's better 'matched' with your trailer... That's just physics...
I don't think overkill in and of itself is a bad thing. But I also understand why Inland Andy sayes heavy TV are hard on Airstreams. I pull my 1967 Tradewind with a 1994 1/2 F350 4x4 SRW 7.3 diesel. It is the heavest sprung truck I have ever owned, it is a bit uncomfortable to drive. But I owned it when I got the Airstream, didn't make much sense to change. So I ajust every thing from tire PSI to towing speeds to keep from beating my trailer. That being said I don't think I "need" that much truck( altho it is very stable).
I also pull a semi load of potates from Idaho to Phoenix every couple of weeks. The tracter weighs about 25,000 pounds, the loaded trailer about 55,000 pounds. Thats a bit over two to one weight. I cross numerous 6% grades and one ten mile 8% grade.Never do I feel unsafe or out of control. I pick the appropiate gear, turn on the Jakes and enjoy the ride down.
My point is if the rig is loaded and balanced properly and the braking system is doing its intended job the TV does not need to be bigger than the trailer to be safe. Adios, John
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:50 AM   #91
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Different 'taters . . .

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I also pull a semi load of potates from Idaho to Phoenix every couple of weeks. The tracter weighs about 25,000 pounds, the loaded trailer about 55,000 pounds. Thats a bit over two to one weight. I cross numerous 6% grades and one ten mile 8% grade.Never do I feel unsafe or out of control. I pick the appropiate gear, turn on the Jakes and enjoy the ride down. My point is if the rig is loaded and balanced properly and the braking system is doing its intended job the TV does not need to be bigger than the trailer to be safe. Adios, John
Hi John:

Like you, I too believe some overkill is a good thing. But I bet you'd have a much more "exciting" (or perhaps slower) ride from Idaho to Phoenix if your 55,000 lb. semi-trailer was attached to your 25,000 lb. tractor with a rear end pintle hitch instead of a fifth wheel. A fifth wheel hitch mounted slightly forward of the center of the (tandem) rear axle(s) is inherently more stable than a "bumper pull" or rear end hitch as used on most travel trailers. A fifth wheel tractor should be able to tow more weight more safely than a tractor (or tow vehicle) having a rear end mounted hitch. I appreciate your experience, but believe you are comparing apples to potatoes.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:48 PM   #92
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Hi John:

Like you, I too believe some overkill is a good thing. But I bet you'd have a much more "exciting" (or perhaps slower) ride from Idaho to Phoenix if your 55,000 lb. semi-trailer was attached to your 25,000 lb. tractor with a rear end pintle hitch instead of a fifth wheel. A fifth wheel hitch mounted slightly forward of the center of the (tandem) rear axle(s) is inherently more stable than a "bumper pull" or rear end hitch as used on most travel trailers. A fifth wheel tractor should be able to tow more weight more safely than a tractor (or tow vehicle) having a rear end mounted hitch. I appreciate your experience, but believe you are comparing apples to potatoes.
Morning Fred, (I feel like the two sheep dogs at the time clock on the old Looney Tunes cartoon) You made me laugh with the potato to apple thing. And you are very correct, that is why I ended my remarks with properly balanced, brakes...etc etc. If I did not scale my load and could run illeagally I could put a lot of the load on my trailer axles( potatoes are HEAVY) which would unload the drivers on the tracter causing physic's to take over in all sorts of unhappy ways. But since I am required by law to drive over scales at frequant intervals my load is balanced which mantains the inherant stability of which you speak. My point is you do not need the tow vehicle to outweigh the trailer even with a bumper pull. But you do need to know what your trailer weighs and what your tongue weight is. After that it is simple there are formula's that tell you how to arrive at proper tongue weight's, and do not exceed the GVW of the TV.Make sure the trailer brakes function as intended. Adios, John
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