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Old 01-29-2012, 10:12 AM   #1
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What size truck or SUV is best?

Newbe's... We are looking to buy an Airstream but also need the truck. We are looking at the 25-28 footers. Wondering if a new Chevy 1/2 ton pickup or Tahoe will pull the newer Airstreams? Or will we need to get a 3/4 ton?? Thanks for any & all advice.

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Old 01-29-2012, 11:06 AM   #2
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I have a friend that pulls a 34' trailer with a 1/2 ton ford. He claims that the truck is everything he needs for his trailer and he is very comfortable with it. I pull a 22' trailer with a 1ton diesel. I too think my truck is everything I need to pull my trailer. I think a lot has to do with your budget, and where you plan to travel. Many of the new 1/2 tons claim to be rated for a larger trailer. I do know that I feel in control when I'm stopping and I never think twice about climbing a mountain pass.

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Old 01-29-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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Yes, most 1/2 ton trucks or SUV's will pull the trailer but, once you load the truck and trailer for camping you may see the need for a 3/4 ton vehicle. The tow vehicle takes a beating on the road and personally I like the HD type.
I use a 1 ton dually and like it the best. It is not necessary by any means, just my preference.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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If you have the money you want the best

Dodge with cummins diesel in 4dr would work great and do it all. 2012 ford f150s have been beefed up may work. Diesels would be my choice for tow rig. I have CRD liberty jeep for small 16. Not everyone has money for diesel
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #5
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I use a BMW X5 to pull my 2002 ASCL 31' with a GVWR of 8,300 pounds. Been over the continental divide 3 times, no problem. For hauling stuff I have a Wells Cargo 12' utility trailer which cost me ~$4,000. My only regret is that I can't load my motorcycle in the X5 when pulling the AS.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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Think more truck than you thought you would need!

By the time you load that puppy up with all the ancillary equipment, from generator, tools, patio mat, washing supplies, barbecue, air pump, emergency roadside supplies, extra drinks, etc, you will be surprised how quickly you consume available weight capacity and room-don't forget spare luggage / toys for guests, kids, or yourselves.

We have a one ton RAM dually which we bought to tow a fiver, until we "saw the light" and purchased our AS. If I had it to do over again, I would buy at least a one ton Ram--because of the diesel engine and fuel efficiency. I never have to worry about unexpected road conditions with my truck, because it blithely tows the AS with what seems to be complete indifference!

BTW: LOVE those Airstreams! Zigi
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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After literally hundreds of thousands of miles pulling everything from cars to RV's, I can honestly say that I have never wished I had less truck. If you are buying both an Airstream and tow vehicle at the same time, you have the luxury of perfectly matching the combination. I'll also suggest something in the HD truck line. I personally drive Dodge diesels, but even a gas powered HD will give you a good base for a tow vehicle.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Marinablue View Post
Newbe's... We are looking to buy an Airstream but also need the truck. We are looking at the 25-28 footers. Wondering if a new Chevy 1/2 ton pickup or Tahoe will pull the newer Airstreams? Or will we need to get a 3/4 ton?? Thanks for any & all advice.

You should look at the gross vehicle weight of the trailer you want to buy. And then buy a tow vehicle that exceeds your trailer's gross towing weight. So, if you buy a trailer that has a gross weight of 7,000 pounds, you may want a tow vehicle that can tow 10,000 plus pounds. Many 1/2 ton vehicles have the ability to tow 7,000 pounds, but don't have the brakes one needs to stop in an emergency, or to go down a long steep hill. To be safe, your tow vehicle should always exceed the gross towing weight, by 20% or 30%.

Another, basic "Rule of Thumb" is... 1/2 ton vehicles can tow up to a 21' trailer, 22' and above should use a 3/4, anything above 31', one should use a 1 ton tow vehicle.

But, always look at the Gross Vehicle Weight of the trailer you're planning to tow. Because many of the older Airstreams are much lighter than newer models... so the the above "Rule" may not apply if you buy a 1972 Overlander.
"Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you." -the Stranger-

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Old 01-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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Modern pickup trucks and SUV's advertise the trailer weight they can pull. This can be very confusing. For example an F150 / 1500 truck may advertise that it can pull a 10,000 pound trailer. But, it can only handle a payload of 1800 pounds. So if you have a trailer with a loaded tongue weight of 900 pounds you only have 900 pounds left for you, your family, and your gear in the truck. Not much margin for loading. You will shift some of that tongue weight to the trailer axles with a wd hitch.

I have a 2500 crew cab that is dedicated to hauling our 25B Safari. It is not a daily driver so I can live with the fuel economy. I actually get a little better gas mileage with the 2500 while hauling the same trailer than I did with a similar 1500. The 1500, of course, got much better mpg when traveling without a trailer hooked behind than the 2500 without a trailer behind.

I just can't make the payload numbers work for me with an F150 / 1500 while hauling a 25B Safari. I know many people pull heavier trailers with 1/2 ton trucks. They must not haul as much other gear in their truck bed the way I do.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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You can haul a little load with a big truck but you can't haul a big load with a little truck. And don't forget wheelbase---make it LONG. John
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
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I wish I had less truck.

Pull our trailer with a half ton without a problem, but we spend six months a year often staying at a location for weeks or months at a time. A truck is an gas-guzzling pain in the rear as a daily driver, the longer the wheelbase, the more nuisance to drive.

Will most probably use a European diesel SUV when it comes time to trade.


By the way John, that's your flag holder in front of our Airstream. Terrific product. Thank you!
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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If budget is not an issue - then bigger is better.

If budget is an issue then you need to consider some basic principles in your choice of tow vehicles:

- never exceed 80% of your tow vehicles capacity
- longer wheel base is better than a shorter wheel base
- lower centre of gravity is better than a higher centre of gravity
- torque means more than horsepower
- the more marginalized your tow vehicle the more attention you need to pay to your hitch (i.e. Hensley or ProPride will help mitgate the challenges of short wheel-base and high centre-of-gravity).

Good luck - whatever your choice.

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Old 01-29-2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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More is always best

Originally Posted by Marinablue View Post
Newbe's... We are looking to buy an Airstream but also need the truck. We are looking at the 25-28 footers. Wondering if a new Chevy 1/2 ton pickup or Tahoe will pull the newer Airstreams? Or will we need to get a 3/4 ton?? Thanks for any & all advice.
It is always best to have more truck than you need and never need it rather than not have enough truck and need it. You can haul anything with just about anything if you are willing to make the necessary additions to do so but that does not make it safe! What ever you look at remember to add 2500 lbs to that weight of the trailer for all extras such as clothes, food, cooking supplies (ie Dishes, pans), camping gear.
Me personally I would tell ya to look at a 3/4 ton for the 25-35

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:16 PM   #14

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Originally Posted by Marinablue View Post
Newbe's... We are looking to buy an Airstream but also need the truck. We are looking at the 25-28 footers. Wondering if a new Chevy 1/2 ton pickup or Tahoe will pull the newer Airstreams? Or will we need to get a 3/4 ton?? Thanks for any & all advice.

As you can tell by the answers, everyone's got view's on this.

It is better to have more than you need, than need more than you have.

How much is what's hard to decide. Research the loaded weights of the trailers you like. Add 800-1100lbs for the total you'll be towing. The stated Factory tongue weights are notoriously light, our's by 250-350lbs depending on load. Make sure the hitch will handle it.

Take into consideration what you will taking with you in the TV.(tow vehicle)

A properly equipped 1/2 ton of any brand will work, but you really have to pay attention to payload and axle ratings.

Stop at a rural dealer with a good truck inventory, look for a lot filled with white trucks. A dealer that sells a lot of trucks is going to be more familiar with the towing requirements of their commercial customers.
Double check whatever the salesperson tells you.

We use a 3/4 Burb for our 25' Classic, (Classic's are considerably heavier than other models), very pleased with the results.

Sweet Streams....


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but Im the Husband, so we went to Cleveland. 😘

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