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Old 02-11-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle advice needed

thinking of buying a used 25' flying cloud or safari for the wife and I + dog. Just retired, and have concluded an airstream is the way for us to escape the winter in the northwest (3-4 months/yr ?). Idea is to see the good-old-usa, so we will likely be on the move every 4-6 days. I am "knowed up" on airstream/trailer pulling, etc, to maybe the 2nd grade level, so lots to learn. With that in mind, I have two general questions: (1) Is a 1/2 ton tahoe or ford expedition adequate + for towing, or barely adequate? (2) Is pulling a trailer while on tour a hassle, or once you get the hang of it, barely perceptible?

I thank all who endure the questions of newbies...got to start somewhere, no
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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thinking of buying a used 25' flying cloud or safari for the wife and I + dog. Just retired, and have concluded an airstream is the way for us to escape the winter in the northwest (3-4 months/yr ?). Idea is to see the good-old-usa, so we will likely be on the move every 4-6 days. I am "knowed up" on airstream/trailer pulling, etc, to maybe the 2nd grade level, so lots to learn. With that in mind, I have two general questions: (1) Is a 1/2 ton tahoe or ford expedition adequate + for towing, or barely adequate? (2) Is pulling a trailer while on tour a hassle, or once you get the hang of it, barely perceptible?

I thank all who endure the questions of newbies...got to start somewhere, no
Your first choice is fine.

AVOID over load springs.

Use a full sway control hitch like a Reese dual cam.

Install a transmission oil cooler and you will be good to go.

Make sure you have the running gear properly balanced or use some Centramatic balancers.

Travel with FULL water.

Andy
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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This question has been hashed and rehased so many times, but here goes. Yes a Tahoe and an Expedition can tow a 25' FC with a few upgrades on the rear suspension. Are they the "best" for towing? You will find a good argument on both sides for that questions. Is a 3/4 ton truck or SUV better than a 1/2 ton for towing? Probably but you will give up some mileage unless you go to a diesel then you give up additional dollars at the get-go and maintenance costs are alot higher. Best thing to do is to take your tow vehicle to the nearest Airstream dealer and have them check it out for compatability and what it may need to safely tow your AS. If you are not satisfied with your current vehicle, then work a deal for a better one. Good luck.

Pap
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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A late model Expedition is a near perfect match for a 25' Airstream. The independent front and rear suspension offer exceptional stability, and the relatively short wheelbase provides great maneuverability with and without the trailer attached.

But get the trailer first, just in case the size or style changes in the search.

doug k
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
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As for question #2--

Cruising and towing comes to be second nature after a very short time. You just kind of sub-consciously adjust to towing, you leave much more space between you and the vehicle ahead, you accelerate slower and begin braking sooner. You will find yourself anticipating needed lane changes and you will master backing up without much thinking about it.

That said, setting up and breaking down camp becomes very efficient but still complex enough that many of us usually stay put for a couple of days in a given locale before moving on. Not a great hardship at all.

If you want to rack up the miles with a "pre-dawn" launch every morning, a motorhome is better vehicle. A trailer is more of a "stop and smell the roses" kind of thing.

Enjoy!

Mike
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:23 PM   #6
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Once you get the hang if it it only takes 15 minutes and is easy. That is if you do not put out carpet, chairs, grill, wading pool, awning sunshade etc. etc. The less you put out the less you have to pack to get back on the road.

An expidition should be ok.

Just curious - escaping the winter and seeing the USA are two different things. Usually to escape winter you find a warm place and stay put. If you winter in southern Arizona you will not want to travel north until April. Even March is iffy.

I plan to stay put in the winter and travel in the summer.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:01 PM   #7
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ray' your second question is different for everyone.

We are retired, spend summers at our Minnesota lake cabin and winters traveling in southern states. Rather than pulling up stakes every few days, we enjoy planning an interesting destination, taking our time getting there seeing wonderful and sometimes quirky things along the way, then settling in for a few months to explore the area and meet all kinds of people.

This years trip (so far) has taken us from Minnesota to the east coast, to the Southeast, then Southwest, settling in Arizona. We have done New Mexico, West Coast, and Florida in past years. Thinking about California, Mississippi, and Texas in the future.

We have used a camper van and our Airstream. The Airstream wins for any length of stay, but the camper van is the way to see the country. So for our longer stays, we prefer the 25' Airstream, much more hassle than the van, but well worth it for the comfort. We wouldn't want anything any larger for our purpose, nor an oversized tow vehicle.

doug k
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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I pull a Vintage 5000# 25' with an Expy with the heavy tow package and rear air suspension. Works great and have never had a problem.
It's equipted with adjustable pedals so even my 5 foot wife can drive.
Once you've got the brake rates dialed in and the WD hitch set up you'll barely notice the rig back there.

Tom
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
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(1) Is a 1/2 ton tahoe or ford expedition adequate + for towing, or barely adequate?
Probably OK for a 25' flying cloud. For a 30' you would want something bigger

Quote:
(2) Is pulling a trailer while on tour a hassle, or once you get the hang of it, barely perceptible?
Depends on the road. On wide flat roads through the prairie you don't need to think much about the trailer except when changing lanes or making turns. In hilly country it takes more conscious attention.

Getting into and out of tight places and, especially, backing, require skill. About 10% of people run out of patience before they learn how to back up a trailer, so if you're completely new at this, you might want to find out if you're in that 10% or not before getting a lot of money invested.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies...very helpfull
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