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Old 09-11-2019, 02:08 PM   #1
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What do I need to tow a 27FB?

My husband is way too excited about getting a truck to tow our new Airstream. We are considering a 27fb Flying Cloud. He says we need more tow capacity than 8500. Is that true?
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:25 PM   #2
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You're probably going to get a lot of hits on this question.

I'm sitting in my 2019 FC27 right now...the GVWR is #7600...we tow it very capably with a 2018 Ford F-150 3.5 Ecoboost.

Great rig, BTW!
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:28 PM   #3
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This depends on too many x-factors. Most 1500 trucks will tow a 27FB - but the questions to ask are how are you using it and how much cargo do you carry when camping. If you’re traveling mountainous parts of the country or plan to carry lots of “stuff” for camping, you may want a 2500/3500.

Some would argue that having extra capacity is a good thing (don’t tax lower capacity vehicles by being at the fringe of their ratings). Others would argue engineers put a lot of fudge factor in the numbers so a truck with less capacity is fine - and has other benefits like better mileage, easier maneuverability, etc.

My $0.02 (as a FB27 Flying Cloud owner) is a 3/4T Truck - mine’s a diesel - tons of towing and cargo capacity I won’t ever use so I think it’s less of a strain on my truck. It’s not a good daily driver and I’m not sure diesel makes sense anymore - but that’s my $0.02. Good luck and happy camping.

Oh - and if I had it to do all over today - I’d go with the 2019 Ram Longhorn 3500 gas (without the dualie rear end). That truck is just amazing!!
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stef0597 View Post
My husband is way too excited about getting a truck to tow our new Airstream. We are considering a 27fb Flying Cloud. He says we need more tow capacity than 8500. Is that true?
I want my truck to be within "payload capacity" while towing. If I travel light, a half-ton truck will do. I need at least 1650# of payload capacity when traveling light. When I had my Titan XD Diesels, I needed to travel light because I had 1650# of payload capacity. Now that I have an F-250 Diesel, I can travel heavy using up all the truck's 2150# of payload capacity.

Will the truck break down immediately if you tow over payload capacity? No. I've towed many times significantly over payload capacity. You just must drive carefully without jackrabbit starts and stops. But you definitely should stay below maximum axle ratings.

So the question is what do you want to carry in the truck while towing. If only two occupants, a generator, gas grill, gas stove, and a few tools, you will be traveling light and a truck with 1650# of payload will do. If you have three or more occupants, 4x4, bikes, generator, loads of heavy tools, firewood, gas grill, gas stove, your collection of cast iron cookware . . . You may want to consider a 3/4 ton truck. Gasoline powered trucks have much higher payload's than diesels. It also matters how loaded the truck is with features. Sun roofs, leather seats, running boards, bed liners, toppers all add to the payload and therefore require a bigger truck.

I love my F-250 Diesel tow vehicle where I can easily stay within axle ratings no matter what I choose to take with me. I also can just stay within the 2150# payload rating of my truck.

I know this is confusing. Good luck finding your tow vehicle.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:43 PM   #5
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I’d go with a 3/4 or 1 ton, gas or diesel, for that.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:52 PM   #6
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I just bought a new truck in April to tow my 2015 27ft FC FB queen, and here is my take. IF you can afford a 3/4 ton diesel, and if it is pretty much a dedicated tow vehicle, go for it, you will love it. If, on the other hand, the price taxes your lifestyle excessively, and if you use the truck as a daily driver, not just towing, take a hard look at properly set up 1/2 tons. I wanted a F-250, but I could not justify the extra 9k.

I ended up with a decent F150. I have not weighed the axles fully loaded for towing, but it tows my trailer flat, handles well, and on our current trip, from the Pacific NW to Kentucky, we are averaging 11.5 mpg towing. (We are in Paducah tonight) That said, if my wallet was fatter, I’d have the diesel 250.


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Old 09-11-2019, 03:21 PM   #7
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I have a 28’ (which I believe is same body size as 27 but diff arrangement). It has gross of 7600 lbs. I tow with a Nissan Armada, 5.6L V8 rated for 9000 lbs. it has a tow package with trans cooling / temp gauge, and diff geared for towing.

I have over 20,000 miles on the combo and I am satisfied. I would prefer to have more margin, especially in big / high mountains, but I’ve managed just fine. When on flat to rolling terrain, it will tow our As all day long at 60/65 with no strain and no temp increase on engine or trans.

You should definitely not exceed the tow specs for your current TV. But depending on how and where you travel, you may find an 8500 lb capacity would suit you fine. My Chevy 1500 is rated for 7000 lbs primarily due to the rear end gearing of 3.08 but it actually tows our AS really well. I use it mostly locally or empty mot for extended trips as the Armada is better for these.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:29 PM   #8
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Background:
We have towed 6 different Airstreams since 1996. Before that a Prowler and a Sunline
We have owned the following tow vehicles:
1995 5.7L Suburban, 1999 5.7L Suburban, 2003 5.3L Suburban, 2005 HD 2500 Silverado Duramax, 2007 5.3L Suburban, 2007 HD 2500 Duramax
The only really good tow vehicles were the Silverados with the Duramax Diesel and Allison transmission.
We just purchased a 2019 Flying Cloud FB27
We tow it with a 2018 GMC Yukon Denali XL with 6.2L gasoline engine and 10-speed transmission. It does great, giving me 25 mpg highway not towing and 12-14 mpg towing in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico.
(But it ain't no Duramax)
But different drivers have different expectations. The tales of the F-150 Ecoboost are unbelievable. If true, that is the only vehicle anyone should purchase.
I loved my Silverados, but I did not enjoy them as daily drivers.
I got tired of having a 3/4 ton Silverado parked in the third bay as a dedicated tow vehicle.
Hope this helps.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:36 PM   #9
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Part of the reason that this topic is so confusing and frustrating is because different Airstream owners have such widely divergent expectations, and they load their Airstreams so differently. (At a rally in Colorado Springs some years back I met a lady who had three different sewing machines in her 1977 Sovereign 31. Other Airstreamers cut the handles off their tooth brushes to reduce weight)

The two main diverging expectations are:
Type1. Airstreamers who expect their daily driver to occasionally be a tow vehicle and are most interested in something that gets good gas mileage around town. These folks are happy to spend their Airstreaming trips in the right-hand lane going up La Bajada hill at 45 miles per hour.
Type 2. Airstreamers who want their excellent tow vehicle to also be comfortable as a daily driver but really don't spend a lot of time thinking about gas mileage or C02 emissions. We want to keep up with the trucks on the flat stretches and pass them on the hills. We especially don't want to see a string of cars stacked up behind us in the rear-view mirror.

When Chevrolet was still putting the venerable 350 cubic inch (5.7L) V-8 in Suburbans, I was always trying to balance daily fuel economy against the annual need to tow an Airstream from NC to NM. For seven years and two Suburbans my towing power was marginal, and then GM adopted the tiny 5.3L V-8 and my dilemma worsened. Six years and two Suburbans later, I finally purchased a new 2005 Chevrolet 2500HD with the Duramax Diesel, and in a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon towing our 2000 Safari 27, I found towing Nirvana.( I liked it so much I bought a 2007 Duramax to tow our 2007 Classic 30.)
But on that same trip we had Airstreamers in our group driving very marginal tow vehicles who started when I did and arrived at the same time and thought their vehicle did just fine and didn't mind that the entire caravan travelled at 55 mph in the right-hand lane so they could keep up.

So there you have it. Since trailer tires are only rated to 65 MPH, I rarely exceed 70, but I expect a tow vehicle to maintain 65 or 70 going up La Bajada. Other Airstreamers would never expect this of their daily driver and occasional tow vehicle.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:52 PM   #10
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So the operative word is “need.” People have different perceptions of that word.

I tow a 28’ AS with an F150 Ecoboost Super Crew cab combined with a Propride Hitch and added roadmaster suspension. It does really well. My towing capacity is over 10,000lbs., the daily driver use is excellent, the Propride hitch and suspension system gives me great stability, and I have a payload at 1800lbs. I feel very comfortable towing with it.

I probably tow 5,000 to 6,000 miles a year at this point. We don’t take long trips (mostly no more than 600 miles one way). Once I retire I will use it until it is time to get a new truck. At that point I would like to double my useage. Then I may consider a F250 or another 3/4 ton to increase the payload. Not sure.

The F150 is a really good truck. And set up right it does really well.

Now if your present TV can tow 8500lbs you will get by if you are limiting your towing. I guess I would look at other aspects of your vehicle’s abilities. And I would especially consider the kind of hitch set up you will have. That can make a very big difference in towing experience.

But don’t feel like you have to go out there and spend 60,000 (more like more) on a TV.
1. Think about how much you will be towing.
2. Think about the other use of your tow vehicle.

Remember a 3/4 ton is a very big truck to drive around, park, pay the gas bill, etc. Now if you are going to be out towing 3 or 4 months of the year the 3/4 ton makes sense. But if you are going to be out there 5 or 6 weeks a year maybe not so much.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post

Since trailer tires are only rated to 65 MPH, I rarely exceed 70.
Goodyear Endurance ST tires are speed rated for 87 mph. One of the reasons I was willing to buy them.

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Old 09-11-2019, 06:41 PM   #12
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Yes, I run Goodyear Endurance tires now as well. But after 45 years of towing at 65 to 70 mph, that is my comfort zone. I find myself cruising at 75 in those wide open stretches just to put some distance between me and the truck traffic. I really intend to learn more about your ecoboost.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:00 PM   #13
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The proper tow vehicle for a FC 27 is a 3/4 ton truck. Any lesser vehicle will not have sufficient rear axle capacity to handle the hitch load.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:55 AM   #14
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Thank you all SO much for all your help!!!! ��
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