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Old 07-20-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
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2009 25' FB International
Carlisle , Massachusetts
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Tow Vehicle - Newbie

Hello all,
Newbies we are, to both AS and RVing. Appreciate all the info and discussion here. We have recently purchased a 2009 International 25ft. (7,300 GVW) but no horse to pull it... Have a lot of experience pulling a 10,000 lb. equipment trailer with a pickup but don't really want to travel in a pickup anymore. Interested in the Mercedes GL350 Blue tec but don't see much talk about it. Anybody have any good/bad experience with it? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

G and S.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:01 PM   #2
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I pull the same trailer with a 2011 Chevy 2500 HD CC 4x4 6.0 gasser, and it pulls like a dream.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
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A friend of mine drives one. It is, in my opinion, one of the very best towing vehicles available today. Once my kids are old enough for us to ditch the van, that will be my next car.

Fuel efficient, great built quality, a fantastic vehicle all round.I am a huge fan.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frausport View Post
Hello all,
Newbies we are, to both AS and RVing. Appreciate all the info and discussion here. We have recently purchased a 2009 International 25ft. (7,300 GVW) but no horse to pull it... Have a lot of experience pulling a 10,000 lb. equipment trailer with a pickup but don't really want to travel in a pickup anymore. Interested in the Mercedes GL350 Blue tec but don't see much talk about it. Anybody have any good/bad experience with it? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

G and S.
just got a new vw touareg with tdi diesel engine and love it....tows 7700 lbs
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #5
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I picked up our factory new empty 2013 25FB International (GVW of 7,300 pounds) with my 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI. Before driving from Phoenix to Los Angeles for the trailer, I spent literally seven days driving over to Andy at CanAm in London, Ontario and returning to Phoenix (4,400 miles) and had my hitch modified to do the job (see the photo images link under my avatar.

When I got to the dealership in late October, my Sherline scales informed me that the Airstream literature's 833 pound tongue weight was actually 1,150 pounds with the dealer installed solar panel, street and rear awnings, a simple power cord, Hensley hitch head and full propane tanks.

I departed the dealership at 55 mph and 1650 rpm and started checking the wheel torque every 25 miles. At the first roadside stop, I unknowingly acquired a screw in the right rear tire. When I stopped the next time to check wheel nut torque in a rest area and used the facilities, I found the tire slowly going flat. Since the spare is a donut tire, AAA roadside switched the spare to the right front and the right front to the rear. I spent several hours getting the tire fixed at Costco 40+ miles behind me. After getting the repaired tire back in place, I returned to the trailer, hitched up in the dark by myself (only the second time I had attached to the trailer and thankful for the reverse camera) and continued East on I-10 towards Phoenix. I continued to check wheel and tire temps with my hand and the lug nuts with a torque wrench.

Leaving Palm Springs, the mountain climb began and I dropped back to 6th at 1750 rpm and in the steepest part dropped back to 5th at 2150 rpm. The vehicle was not straining. I arrived in the east part of the Phoenix sprawl around 4:30am.

A few days later I took the trailer across the nearest CAT scales and the numbers all looked good except the empty weight of the trailer exceeded the suggested 5,000 pound trailer size per the dealer for this year ML320 (now just over 7,200 pounds). I was not too concerned.

Then my wife and I loaded the trailer with our "stuff", a full fresh water tank, the two of us and some equipment in the rear of the car. We took a trip to the CAT scales and there was a strong engine sound of being under a full load with the trailer at nearly 7,000 pounds on basically level roads. We found the front axle overloaded and the Mercedes GVW exceeded and I still did not have any generators, gasoline, or other personal gear in the car.

With our lawyer saturated society in mind, I acquired a 3/4 ton Dodge diesel pickup with the necessary payload, braking capacity, covered storage for generators with extra gasoline, and engine for our application.

The big issue with either Mercedes (ML or GL) could be over heating the transmission when driving in the mountains on hot days and exceeding the front axle weight rating, let alone the vehicle GVW.

Now that we are switching to a 2014 27FB Classic with a GVW of 9,000 pounds, we definitely needed the new truck to handle this much weight both braking and driving. In theory when all is working properly, the trailer brakes should be able to stop the mass of the trailer (Airstream parts catalogs suggest that Airstream uses the same 12" brake assembly on all wide body models). If the brakes happened to become inoperative going down mountain, the larger brake capacity of the truck brakes could save the day.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:09 AM   #6
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Would luv to have one too!

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Old 07-23-2013, 09:17 AM   #7
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Which TV?

You asked for suggestions and I am sure you are going to get a bunch.

I am towing a 25FB like yours and I am using a half ton Toyota with the big 5.7L engine. This thing is a brute and pulls it well. It also has a very strong transmission and over sized brakes. It is a good truck FOR US.

Here is the issue. There are many TVs that will do the job for you. It will come down to other issues like, how do you camp, where to you go, what will you do with the TV when not pulling your trailer and so on. If you use your TV as a daily driver your decision might be different than if you used it only when pulling the trailer.

We travel on the light side. No canopy on the truck, no kids in the back seat, only one generator, a little firewood on occasion, water tank about half full when on the road and stuff like that. Our setup is a good match for what we do.

If I were a full timer I would look into a larger truck since I would be taking lots more stuff with me. An earlier post today asked about what tools to bring. I have seen some that bring what looks to me like their entire shop with them. Those folks need big rigs.

Enjoy the new trailer. Find a TV that will do the job and one that you will feel comfortable driving. Get something that fits your life style. A big diesel would be sweet but.......the wife doesn't like them. Enough said.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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I know it's overkill, but as you can see in my signature, the SUV route was best for the wife and I. It fits in our garage and it has a relatively comfortable ride.

Our previous tow vehicles for our former AS (FC 23FB) was two different MB GLs; a 2008 blutec 320, and a 2011 450. They both did well (particularly since they were within the GL's hitch spec of 600 lbs.).

While it has been documented on many threads here that Andy@canam can work wonders with just about any hitch, I'd rather stay within the manufacturers specs, and retain a valid warranty.

Just my opinion, thought.

Good luck!
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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Truck guys tell you nothing better than a truck, SUV guys tell you nothing better than a SUV, and each may tell you the other guy is a fool.

These guys have been setting up Airstreams with all types of RV's for two generations. Ask them about the Mercedes, or what they recommend.

Can-Am RV Centre | Your Towing Experts

doug k
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:53 PM   #10
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I gotta admit - my diesel TDI Touareg had PLEANTY of engine towing my 2009 Classic 25FB up and over the Rockies, Appalachians, etc. - for me that was never a problem, it was that damn heavy as heck "Tongue Weight" of my Airstream, even though I could tow 7,700lbs - it was MAX PAYLOAD that was my limitation.

My daily driver is a 14 SRT Grand Cherokee that has almost the identical Max payload that my TDI Touareg had (it is rated to tow 7,200lbs) and even with its 465lbs torque (60lbs more than the diesel Touareg) I would NEVER tow my ole' 25FB Classic or my 2013 27FB Serenity (which actually has a few pounds less tongue weight), even for a short distance.

Not only engine, but even brakes on both these performance SUV's are adequate - but it always comes back to tongue weight and MAX PAYLOAD - every time....
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:13 AM   #11
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My 2007 Mercedes ML320 diesel had a 500 pound rated receiver. The selected 2013 25FB International Serenity trailer had a literature tongue weight of 833 pounds. I drove to CanAm in London, Ontario from Phoenix to have the receiver strengthened and have no idea what it's weight rating is now.

When I got to the Airstream dealership, the Sherline scale I had with me reported the empty tongue weight as 1,150 pounds with the Hensley hitch head installed. After driving the unit home alone through the mountains, I crossed the CAT scales and all weight ratings were under their maximum value, but not by much. We loaded the trailer with our stuff and full fresh water (tongue weight now 1,175 pounds) and we crossed the CAT scales with a few items in the back of the car. The front axle rating and GVW values for the Mercedes were exceeded.

I selected a diesel pickup that happened to have a 1,200 pound rated receiver on the back. A few forum posts reflected breaking weld issues at maximum loads on the receiver's frame cross member. My tongue weight was already at the maximum rating of the factory receiver. I installed a Curt receiver rated 2,550 pounds so the tongue weight issue was resolved. When I had the air suspension installed, we cut off the factory receiver from the truck cross member.

So, not only is payload a topic for discussion, but the tongue weight of the trailer could easily exceed smaller vehicle's receiver ratings. Also, the axle ratings along with tire ratings and GVW of the tow vehicle are design limits that should not be exceeded.

The truck can easily handle the new trailer on order that weighs 2,700 pounds more GVW wise and will probably have close to the same tongue weight. I can still take all the "necessary" equipment in the bed of the truck.

YMMV
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:27 AM   #12
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switz, we have a newer 25' Airstream and ProPride hitch as well, similar setup to yours. I am wondering where you positioned the Sherline scale to measure the tongue weight after your Hensley was installed?

doug k
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:30 PM   #13
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I lowered the trailer about 1/4" below level on the front onto a jackstand. I put wheel chocks on the trailer tires. I then retracted the jack and put that round jack foot on top of the Sherline scale and lowered the foot until the tongue just lifted off the supporting jack stand to level.

Some say there is a big difference in moving the scale a few inches in either direction. I am not sure the 25 pound scale weight increments are that close to accurate. But the information number serves as a reference number for future activities to see if the trailer "payload" impacts the tongue weight.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:53 AM   #14
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Thanks switz, I have been reading various threads about tongue weight as this seems to be the limiting factor in many light pickups and SUV's. As you mention, some report much less tongue weight when weighed where the trailer connects to the receiver, rather that closer to the trailer axles at the trailer jack.

Some hitches such as Hensley/ProPride put the tow vehicle receiver connection even further away from the trailer axles, effectively reducing the tongue weight actually carried by the tow vehicle.

When weight distribution is applied, some tongue weight is shifted to the trailer axles.

So a scale measurement of the tongue weight may not be the same as the weight actually carried by the tow vehicle receiver. It depends on the position on the tongue where it is weighed, and weight distribution when hooked up.

That makes me skeptical about the accuracy of tongue weight scales, relative to what we really need to know. As you say, it's a reference.

doug k
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