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Old 01-24-2008, 01:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckeysor
I don't totally understand when Airstream owners talk about how nice the Airstream is too haul. They cite aerodynamics, alignment and balance only to go on and say you need a 3/4 ton or 1 ton dually to haul a trailer under 30 foot.
Welcome, you are smart by doing your research first. AirStream's do tow very nicely...the issue with 1/2 ton's becomes tonque weight versus payload. Some of the larger (30' and above) are balanced over the axles to result in low tongue. Some are not. The Classic's and Excella's tend to have greater hitch weight. The Vintage (pre 80's) AS's are almost 1/2 the weight of the newer models. The newer Safari Sports are narrow and lighter. You will really need to research which models(s) you may be interested in. You can quickly eat up the capacity of a 1/2 ton when you have 1000# of hitch weight. This does not leave room for passengers, bikes, kayaks, and all the other "stuff" we tend to bring on our voyages. An overloaded vehicle is an unsafe vehicle. You see it is NOT that AS's tend to like bigger TV's. It is more that AS's tend to be more experienced towers and have leared to appreciate the extra safety and capacity of having the right TV.
Your Dodge should be a great TV, for the right AS. Good hitches are not necassarily expensive; Equalizer= $399 delivered to your door.

Ask away, you are on the right track.

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Old 01-24-2008, 02:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzai30b
I few of the posters asked me to define what I meant by safe. Although morbid, I guess the best way to articulate it is how frequently travel trailer towing and motorhome use result in serious injury or death versus some standard like driving a car.
This is not easy to compare. Mostly drivers of motorhomes drive much slower and more carefully, than others. Therefore those vehicles seldom are involved in accidents and serious accident happens very rarely. But at any roll-over accident in basic motorhome there are fatalities.
I own vintage bus conversion. It lacks slide-outs and new generation electronics, but I plan to keep it forever thanks to high-quality materials and roll-over resistance. For similar reason I am restoring 43 years old Airstream trailer.
I know that keeping the children in Dodge for most of the day is going to be hard, but Dodge will protect them much better in case of accident, than any motorhome cheaper than 1/2 Mil.
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:10 PM   #23
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Safety was my primary reason for switching from a motorhome to the Airstream. It was either that or spend my retired years restoring a motorhome like the Bluebird, or a similar well-engineered steel-framed rig, that I would feel safe driving. There was no way that I could afford a modern diesel pusher that possessed most of the safety features of a commercial bus. Truth is, IMHO - and I'll rest my case without addressing the gory details - most of the lower-priced Class "A" motorhomes (i.e. - those that could be purchased for a price equal to or less than that of a new Airstream and tow vehicle) are rolling sticks and staples death traps. The Class "C" rigs are somewhat of an exception - but only for a couple wearing seat belts in the steel cab section. The Airstream is, in general, no less subject to damage from an accident than any other trailer - but, because it handles better, it just may be more capable of avoiding an accident when properly hitched to a suitable tow vehicle. The good thing is that trailers don't carry passengers!
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:43 PM   #24
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Just another couple of thoughts:

I have owned a small motorhome, it was easy to drive and park for me and my husband. Even though we have a small Airstream, I am not so good at the parking, driving with the trailer. Do both of you want to drive?

The motorhome required substantially more insurance... another seperate vehicle with a motor, many more tires (count 'em!) while a trailer is insured differently as they actually believe you aren't driving it daily 365.... You might also consider parking considerations. Will you have a place to store/park your trailer, how about a moho? How much rent will you have to fork out if you have to pay for parking? Moho's typically get really lousy mileage.... whereas many tow vehicles can do much better.

With a family, a trailer has some conveniences a moho does not (unless you are pulling a "toad" ~ a small car behind) you can park the trailer, you and the kids can go hiking, etc. and Mom can go to the market, etc. Or, if your tow vehicle needs repair, you can park the trailer at a campground and get the truck repaired and still have a place to stay!

With my limited experience of having a small moho vs small trailer I sincerely believe the trailer has been more cost effective for travel, and has definitely held up better than the moho that seemed to have something breaking or falling off every other day.

If you have never camped in a moho, try renting one and see what you think. It is harder to keep the kids in seat belts in many moho's which I believe is a important safety factor. In the truck, probably no problem.

Good luck on your quest. Let us know how you do.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:07 AM   #25
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I have a great deal of experience driving both motorhomes and towing trailers. I have taken motorhomes on some trips but generally prefer a trailer.

As well we have 10-15 motorhomes traded in each year. With most of them if they were a trailer and handled that bad we would not let them leave.

I have never felt a motorhome had any real safety advantage over a properly set up trailer and tow vehicle.
- The disadvantages are, much longer stopping distance.
- Much taller center of gravity
- Unless you get into very high end units they have a very narrow suspension stance.
- Far less structural integrity than a tow vehicle.
- If you do hit something or roll it there is an awful lot of stuff in there that is going to become a projectile.
- The noise level in a motorhome is usually much higher which tires you sooner.
- It is easier to be distracted while driving one.
- It is hard to keep kids in seat belts they always want to find an excuse to move around.

One way the motorhome overcomes some of this is great visability due to the tall seating position that allows you to anticipate situations earlier.

Beyond that the cost of ownership, maintinance, resale and fuel use are all much higher than owning an Airstream.

Your Durango will tow quite nicely and safely if you want to be extra certain use a Hensley. I would agree with a previous post that you might want to consider a 25' for the extra space.

If you ask your dealer they should be able to connect an Airstream to your Durango for a test tow.

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Old 02-01-2008, 08:57 AM   #26
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I know lots of people that would not even consider towing a trailer, and I know lots of people that feel the same way about driving a huge truck. It's just like suspenders and belts, a personal decision thing.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:53 PM   #27
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Towing Concerns

I've been trying to find a better way to do everything for 62 years now.
Here are a few observations:
If you have small kids (I have grandkids), you will want a motorhome simply because of the "are we there yet-I gotta pee-I'm hungry-papa, Riley touched me! syndrome. There, you'll have a table and chair with seatbelts. Not ideal, but a reasonable safety compromise.

I like a C because they are more like the familiar vans that most of us have driven. My wife won't even consider driving an A.
Plus, the overcab sleeping/storage is great.

A motorhome will park in most lots using two spaces, then just drive out. My trailer and truck take up over 50 feet. This also makes it frustrating when the wifee wants to pull into that little antique shop.

As a guy once said, you gotta pull something no matter what. On the other hand, some folks plan well and buy provisions on the way to the site. Then they never leave. If you do run around, as we do, then you'd better have a small, I said small, vehicle. Try to park my truck in downtown New Orleans. And at 12mpg empty, it gets expensive. Any whoever says that you need a 3/4 ton truck is just trying to justify their purchase. (I made the mistake of getting an HD2500 with the 6.0).

As for your concerns, I've never found towing to be a white knuckle experience. You just have to let your dealer set you up properly. In return, you'll give him about $500.
If you have a motorhome, expect to spend close to $2000 for your towing-brake setup.
You could find a used dollie for $1000.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. All through school, my son's teachers could tell that he was well traveled, and without camping, it would not have been possible on my teacher's salary.

Let the hate-mail begin
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:05 PM   #28
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Piece of cake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzai30b
I am a big fan of Airstreams, and I thought I had settled on buying an Airstream travel trailer (around 23') to tow with my 2005 Hemi Durango, but I need to admit that reading the towing threads on the forum has caused me to reconsider this. Because my tow vehicle is also my primary, i.e. family vehicle, I need an SUV. A pickup truck wouldn't work.
We've towed a 25FB for two years and 20,000 miles with a Dodge Durango Hemi with no problem except rear brakes that seem to warp a bit too easily. Search the Forum for other threads mentioning the Durango and I'm sure that you will find that others have had similar successful towing experiences with this terrific SUV.

A 23-footer to house 4 people could be more than a bit tight. Search the Forum for thoughts on size and you'll probably find a couple of threads about moving up from a 23-footer to something larger.

By all means, get out there and enjoy the Airstream experience. Your first trailer needn't be your last.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:34 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
We've towed a 25FB for two years and 20,000 miles with a Dodge Durango Hemi with no problem except rear brakes that seem to warp a bit too easily.
You do not have the boost/gain high enough. This should not happen.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:09 PM   #30
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Perhaps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
You do not have the boost/gain high enough. This should not happen.
I agree that it should not happen. However, I believe that the boost/gain is correctly adjusted. If I set it one notch higher, the trailer brakes lock up well before the TV.

Isn't it odd that the rear brake rotors are the problem rather than the front ones that actually bear the greatest braking burden?
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:48 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
I agree that it should not happen. However, I believe that the boost/gain is correctly adjusted. If I set it one notch higher, the trailer brakes lock up well before the TV.

Isn't it odd that the rear brake rotors are the problem rather than the front ones that actually bear the greatest braking burden?
Maybe you need a different controller. What do you have?
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:46 PM   #32
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I will add only what is the main reason we have an Airstream. When the kids were young we traveled the country in 3 different motorhomes. Cass c to class a and all were a hoot and built by Itasca. Decent build quality for the price, and they roll them over at the factory, possibly the only one for the money who does. Same as Winnebago. They all handle horrible and noisy.

BUT, if you are the type of person who HATES RATTLES IN YOUR CAR, then my friend any trailer will do. Our kids used to call them the rattle rattle motorhome. I even wanted to write a kid book about the damn things.Trust me, it sounds like total self destruction, and only gets worse as the unit ages.Add that to the road conditions we all experience and it is a nightmare.

Also, if you buy a recent A/S, say 2-4 years old, buy it at or around NADA, and decide to sell in say another 2 years your deprecition will be much less than a motorhome. I bought our 04 BELOW NADA in october, plan to tow 15k/year and dump it in 3 years for a newer model/ my guess is we will do well as we purchased for 48% less than his purchase price. The owner had to write a check for 9k to get out from under the rig. Now to be fair that was in Michigan and tons of good deals. Anyway, you have way more than you need to know, go with your gut and enjoy the kids while you can.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:09 AM   #33
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I see way too much worry here. just drive sensibly, keep the equipment maintained and have a good time. Life is short, so I would just get the vehicle I liked and get camping. My gut feeling is that there probably is not much safety difference between a trailer and a motorhome. Don't worry about it.
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Old 02-04-2008, 05:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauly g
I see way too much worry here. just drive sensibly, keep the equipment maintained and have a good time. Life is short, so I would just get the vehicle I liked and get camping. My gut feeling is that there probably is not much safety difference between a trailer and a motorhome. Don't worry about it.
pauly g:

Late model tow vehicle = steel enclosure, seat belts, air bags and proven crash protection ----- Class "A" motorhome, unless steel body similar to normal passenger bus (i.e. - as in "Bluebird" and other high-end units) = lightweight steel or aluminum tubing body with composite walls having little structural value, no air bags for passengers, no proven crash protection (--not required for licensing of vehicle) and a whole box full of loose objects or poorly attached furnishings ready to become deadly projectiles. The Class "C" - as I pointed out earlier, fares a little bit better due to the steel cab - but only for the driver and the passenger to his right.

I had a lot of fun with my Class "A" motorhome until I started to study the safety issues. This was prompted by a near loss of control, on route 1 in Canada, on an otherwise beautiful day with little traffic. I sold it when I returned home - ultimately becoming an Airstream enthusiast.

I certainly don't want to start an argument - but I believe the facts are self evident. Anyone who chooses to travel in a motorhome (---and, again, motorhomes are a lot of fun!) should be fully aware of the safety issues and make their choice with due consideration thereof. The average motorhome does not compare with a commercial truck.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:54 AM   #35
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Very good points, Cracker.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:31 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH
I know lots of people that would not even consider towing a trailer, and I know lots of people that feel the same way about driving a huge truck. It's just like suspenders and belts, a personal decision thing.

I love it! Suspenders & belts... cracked me up!
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:02 AM   #37
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Welcome Bonzai
Great times await you. As a child I was able to go through Europe with Wally. My father and mother did an article for National Geographic in '56 of that trip. My brothers and I grew up with Airstreams. We traveled all over the States, Mexico, and Canada. I now part time(6 months) and now see why people choose to full time. Just talked this morning with a fellow that owns a 39' MH. Remember that a number of campgrounds will not allow these large MH's. Enjoy the insight and humor Airfourms offers....a number of people buy Airstreams just because of the people involved. Happy trails and my vote would be the TT. Randy
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:28 PM   #38
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I based my decision on what I had grown up with. My grandparents had a lovely STREAMLINE with which the traversed the U.S., Canada and parts of Mexico after retiring in the mid-1960's. My parents had several small trailers, then a 29' Class A. That thing ate money, was noisy, etc, etc. Then, they switched to a SILVER STREAK in 1976 and only just sold it a few years ago.

Here is the way I ordered my thinking on it (with a wife for whom this was new):

First, a motorhome means I have to tow another vehicle to get around after parking. That now means two vehicles to maintain which have drivetrains. I can't afford to restore a mid-1980's BLUEBIRD (time or money), so any motorhome would be a compromise in design, build and reliability. Throwing away a LOT of money in depreciation. Not to mention the towed vehicle wouldn't likely be the car my wife or I drove for business when home. From two, now I'm up to four vehicles to maintain, insure, store and -- worst of all -- try to keep track of.

Second, they don't drive worth a hoot until you get waaay on up there in money. They're okay, but not that great. They're basically a converted furniture delivery truck. Proven systems, but, still, truck service shops are more expensive than even a car dealership. Okay to rent, but not buy, IMO.

Third, by comparison a well-built all-aluminum aerodynamic trailer is light, long-lasting and a heckuva lot cheaper to own. You can park them off the road for years and then spend the money to get them back into roadworthy condition for only a fraction of what a motorhome would cost. IMO, a motorhome that sat for five years is a great parts source. That's it. My folks parked their trailer at a nearby lake when things were tight for a few years (both my sisters in college, etc). Took a good-sized John Deere to get it out of the dirt, but took little past new tires, a brake job, etc, to return it to function.

With a nice tow vehicle that doubles as the family hauler a trailer can be a long-time faithful servant. In buying ours I knew that living on the Gulf Coast meant we could lose our home to Nature's vagaries. I'm not willing to live in rental housing anymore. The trailer is not only our escape from town to new or familiar places, but an instantaneous movement of our lives if need be. With next-to-no interruption.

When we get around to remodelling this mid-century house we just bought, the trailer also serves as temporary home during the worst of the work. Despite its length it is much easier to hide than a motorhome of equivalent living space, keeping my neighbors happier (which is only fair).

We will see improved vehicles to tow our trailers in the next half-decade, and can upgrade our "tractor" as desired. I cannot do this with a motorhome.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:41 AM   #39
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Well said, REDNAX!
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:57 AM   #40
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You know the other big issue is those damn rivets. Looking outside at the 28 and something about how it shines in the sun and those little dimples. I always wanted one and now even when a million dollar motor home pulls up in the park I have no wish for the complicated beast. Something about simplicity that grows on you.
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