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Old 02-07-2017, 11:49 PM   #1
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Queen Creek , Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 30
TV decision for new FC 25 ... help, my head is spinning!

Weíve ordered our new FC 25 RB. Actually, that was quite enjoyable and the easy part! But now, my head is spinning regarding the appropriate tow vehicle choice - preferably a 1/2 ton (not a 3/4). Itís just my wife and myself wanderlusting with relatively light loads. Iíve vetted the big American four at multiple dealerships: 1) F-150 Lariat or Platinum trims (3.5L V-6 EB/10 speed); 2) Chevy LTZ; 3) GMC Sierra Denali (both Chevy or GMC would be 6.2L EcoTech3); 4) Ram 1500 Laramie or Limited (5.7L Hemi). I prefer gas. Iíve poured over your many threads on this forum and other TV inquires initiated by newbies such as myself regarding these subjects. So many opinions shared and much expertise! Together, with my own study, Iím aware now of the principle discriminators and criteria, i.e., tow capacity; TV payload; TV and AS GW limits, HP/torque; axel ratios; technology/safety; WD hitches/sway control, etc. So Ö can anyone finally offer me a succinct and compelling ďrank orderingĒ of the four brands above or a methodology to help me focus in on the best choice and, at the very least, eliminate some on my list. I want to build and order right away and presume that I will exact the very best rig from whichever brand I make this $$ purchase. In advance, thank you for your input!

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Old 02-08-2017, 12:27 AM   #2
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Five different people will give you five different answers. This isn't like years back, when there were good vehicles, fair vehicles, and bad vehicles. They are all pretty good. Five answers, because you listed four vehicles, and someone will advise you to get a 3/4 ton before long. More than five answers if you expand to consider Toyota, et al.

I would ensure that you have a reasonable payload capacity in the TV. That may be more of a challenge with the Ram. It can certainly be done, but the reported payloads seem to be lower.

Many seem to like the Chev/GM with the big V8. I wouldn't go with that powertrain myself. I am sure the truck is fine.

I would go F150, Ecoboost, Lariat to get a larger payload. Supercab, for some storage space in the cab. But it is all going to come down to a popularity contest.

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Old 02-08-2017, 06:43 AM   #3
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Jupiter , Florida
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You got the Ford vote, so now it's time for the Chevy/GMC vote. Just make sure you go with the Max Trailering (NHT) package to get the better payload capacity.

I'm sure they are all good trucks, so as long as the truck specs meet your needs, it just comes down to your preference for looks, comfort, etc.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:45 AM   #4
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I recommend that you get the one you like, My preference is the Ram Hemi, plenty of power and decent MPG towing or not towing, but picking a TV is very personal you should make this choice based on your preferences.
I will throw this out, last week I talked to a new owner of a Nissan 5.0 diesel with all of the options it was an amazing TV, just starting out I would recommend that you throw one of these in the mix before you lock in your final choice.
That should add some confusion, have fun!
2014 Flying Cloud 25FB
2016 Ram 1500
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:20 AM   #5
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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I think they are all very, very good these days. We noted a warning in our Airstream Owners Manual to avoid trucks with too heavy spring rate, it will be better for us and our Airstream.

We also noted the late model Ram trucks have full coil (or air) suspension for the softest ride and a little better lateral stability than leaf springs. We noted favoring soft ride also limits payload capacity when hauling or towing without a weight distribution hitch, there is then a good chance of overloading the rear axle and too light a front axle for good control and braking. When we use a quality weight distribution hitch and setup we can load the truck's axles evenly and within their rated capacity, and distribute 10-20% of our payload to the trailer axles.

The Ram comes with an efficient gas Hemi or turbo diesel (the diesel currently under ambulance chaser lawyer and EPA scrutiny) engines and a smooth 8-speed transmission. For towing a mid-size Airstream definitely choose the 3.92 axle, more power on the drive wheels, better engine braking, and higher combined tow rating.

The Ram has a comfortable ride and also comfortable seats. So we bought a Hemi and towed our Airstream all over the country with it many times. After 50,000 miles with zero problems we bought another, this one with the smooth super efficient and powerful turbo diesel. Again, zero problems and great comfort, we love it.

Don't underestimate the importance of weight distribution systems, they are the difference in a good, safe towing vehicle and one that is not so good and safe. We used two different hitches highly recommended by others, and finally spent the money on the ProPride/Hensley design. It is the only weight distribution design that eliminates transfer of trailer yaw (sway) forces to the truck's steering axle, rather it projects the pivot point forward to the truck's rear axle like a fifth wheel or semi trailer where any yaw forces are stopped.

All of the truck's mentioned plus a couple of others are excellent. Looking into the details and how we use our truck favored the Ram 1500 for us. It also looks good.
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Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 02-08-2017, 08:30 AM   #6
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One point not mentioned, but is a consideration for me. Will you spend most of your time near home or will you be on the road all of the time? The reason I ask is truck service. All of my truck service, so far, has been at my local dealer. Where we are, those in the know, put Ford and RAM lower on the list because of service. Both our Chevy and GMC dealers get very high marks for service.

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Old 02-08-2017, 08:39 AM   #7
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Can't comment on dealer service, never needed anything but oil changes in the five years we had our Rams, and that's gone well. We did need a new main bearing seal and alternator in our 2006 Tundra and that also went well.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 02-08-2017, 09:21 AM   #8
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Also consider the axle load ratings of your candidate trucks. Some consider this even more important than the payload rating.

2016 FC 25' FB twin
2013 F-150 Lariat CrewCab 3.5 EB 4X4 3.55 axle
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob662 View Post
Also consider the axle load ratings of your candidate trucks. Some consider this even more important than the payload rating.
For sure, I've seen broken axles but never a broken payload.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 02-08-2017, 11:53 AM   #10
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Denver , North Carolina
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Hi. I bought the same AS last August (2017 FC FB 25') and a 2016 F-150 with 3.5L EB and Max towing pkg and trailer back up assist. That rig has gotten me out of some hairy situations. I love the Lariat pkg for comfort. Towing milage is 16.5, but power is great with 3.55:1 ratio. So my vote is your option 1).
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:20 PM   #11
2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
Plano , Texas
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I purchased a 23FB two years ago, and tried to tow with my F150, 5.4L V8. Did not have enough torque in that engine. I am now driving a 2014 Toyota Tundra 5.7L. It has torque to spare.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:23 PM   #12
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2008 22' Safari
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Of these: 1) F-150 Lariat or Platinum trims (3.5L V-6 EB/10 speed); 2) Chevy LTZ; 3) GMC Sierra Denali (both Chevy or GMC would be 6.2L EcoTech3); 4) Ram 1500 Laramie or Limited (5.7L Hemi)....

I'd ask this question: Is this vehicle going to be a daily driver. If so, I'd select based upon comfort, mileage, and Consumer Reports/J. D. Powers guidance.

My daily driver is a 2003 Avalon XLS; my towing is done with a 2009 5.7L Tundra Limited (short bed). LOVE IT! It handled my 22' Sport AND 34' Panamerica (without a problem!). So, get whatever YOU will love driving. Just make sure your hitch and braking assist are up to the task when needed!!
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:54 PM   #13
2016 25' International
Deerfield , Massachusetts
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What I found was that any online discussion of towing vehicles eventually descends into the realm of religious debate. Devotees of the Ram, Tundra Tautologies, F-Series Fanatics… and even the titanic thoughts of Nissan “heavy halfers” weigh in the debate eventually.

Here’s the thing: psychology tells us that people want to think they’ve made good decisions—and they tend to only remember the positive in even bad relationships. (Wikipedia the "endowment effect" and the "positivity effect" if you’re trying to understand why you stayed with that last steady well past his/her expiration date. The opposite of these things is something called buyer’s remorse.)

Most online discussions compare the merits of specific vehicle models, brands, and years—and that isn’t very helpful since you’re stuck looking at a zillion options and a zillion biases. After MANY hours of comparing vehicles, options, weights, and measures, my analysis crystalized into three—and only three—critical questions that you need to ask yourself (and your auto dealer):

1) Will it pull it?

2) Will it stop it?

3) Can it carry the load?

If the answer is yes to all three, then you’ve got a suitable tow vehicle.

Seem too simple? Hear me out.

Will it pull it? This is a question of horsepower and torque, and it’s summarized nicely in the “tow ratings” of various vehicles. Tow ratings have more art (marketing) than science (engineering) until very recently (about 2013). If you are looking at late-model vehicles that have been rated based on J2807, you’ve got your answer. If not, you should lean heavily on online discussion boards and reviews, keeping in mind that big boys (Americans especially) like power in excess and you may not need such a haughty vehicle. Remember that there are online forums and discussions for every little thing in the world, I strongly recommend that you find a group associated with the vehicle you are considering and identify someone who is towing EXACTLY the trailer you’ll be towing: trust me, they are out there if you just ask around.

Will it stop it? This is also an oddly simple question to answer. Tow and weight ratings address pulling--but stopping needs are also considered in that rating. (Do remember to follow recommendations for when trailers need their own brakes.) The trick, in my opinion, is this: if you are buying a vehicle that comes with different engines, the pulling power will vary, but generally speaking the brake systems don’t change across trim levels. A particular Tundra, say, with a big engine, is rated to tow 10,000 pounds, and my smaller-engined version of the same truck can stop that same 10,000 pound weight even though it’s not rated to pull it. (Do take note that there are exceptions.) LAWYERS PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT AN AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEER SO THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Can it carry the load? This is the one everyone forgets. A trailer weighs down the back of your vehicle. (This is variously called hitch weight, pin weight, or tongue weight.) No matter what it’s called, your vehicle considers it “cargo” and you need to be able to carry it. So here you have to do some math, and the source for that math (addition, subtraction… no logarithms!) is generally found on a sticker insider the drivers doorframe of your vehicle. Look up the terms and run the numbers (really, do it!). BUT… keep in mind a couple things:

-- things you add or subtract from a vehicle add or subtract from its cargo capacity and

-- a weight distributing hitch (which is a requirement with sizable trailers) will lighten the load on your hitch by approximately 1/3 of the tongue weight of whatever you were planning to tow. For example, a trailer with a 900 lb tongue weight will only have a hitch weight of 600 pounds or so if you use a weight distributing hitch. (Yes, it’s magic. Many debate it, but I don’t question it.)

One last thing: YOU NEED A BRAKE CONTROLLER if you are towing something that has it’s own brakes! If you don’t know what that is, you don’t have one! And if you don’t have one, then any trailer brakes you might be counting on WILL NOT WORK.

Tow safe. Keep it below the speed limit. Take frequent stops to rest and see ridiculous roadside attractions that your kids will complain about—until they are forty or so and then they will remember it all with tears in their eyes.

Some (hopefully useful) Airstream videos here:
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:20 PM   #14
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1974 25' Tradewind
Lexington , Kentucky
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Consumer Report

We are looking also for a TV.
See Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2017 pg. 183.
It lists all the 1/2 ton pickups by make............ and the only one with a "checkmark" (recommendation) is the Tundra SR5 5.7L V8.
That's what we are leaning towards.

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