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Old 03-11-2017, 11:12 PM   #1
2016 28' International
Little Rock , Arkansas
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What vehicle to tow a 2016 FC 28..

I am about to purchase a 28 ft 2016 FC. It's my first AS. I'm asking for guidance on the proper vehicle(s) for towing. I would like to purchase a 1-2 yrs old considering Ford 150, Toyota Tundra, Chevy/ GMC 1500 SLT. Will be driven Ozarks and Ar-Tx.
Diesel pro and con? Thanks

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Old 03-15-2017, 10:58 AM   #2
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Washington , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 218
We've towed our FC 27 about 35k miles in the past 18 months. Coast-to-coast and back, all over the Mountain West, one end of coastal California to the other, from D.C. to northern Maine coast by way of Green mountains of Vermont and White Mountains of New Hampshire. Tow vehicle is a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT with 6.2 liter V-8 and max trailer tow package, which has been trouble-free for 51k miles and totally satisfactory. We're 2 people and a 100-lb. dog. Payload is the key number here: ours is 1960 lbs. Unless you need to carry over 2,000 lbs. in your truck, I see no reason for a 3/4 ton. It's less handy as a daily driver than a 1/2 ton. Although the diesel crowd will no doubt join this thread to disagree, I see no reason for the extra cost and higher maintenance costs of a diesel. Reported fuel economy for the 3/4 ton diesels is about what I get. Remember that the 3/4 ton truck itself is from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds heavier than the 1/2 ton, both empty. The diesel exhaust brake appears to be superior to the engine braking of a gas V-8, but in your service I wouldn't care about the difference. There was never a time that I wished my truck had more engine braking. The 3/4 tons will have bigger fuel tanks, which will give you more range. Again, in your service that shouldn't matter. Once or twice in the empty parts of Nevada I was down to my last gallon or two of fuel, but you can always carry a JERRY can. I carry a smaller can for my 2kw generator. I suspect that the smaller 5.3 liter V-8 in the Chevy/GMC will be adequate for your use, but be sure to get the 8-speed tranny. The 6.2 is great but hard to find. The F150 with the Ecoboost motor is a popular choice. I could never find a truck with more than 1750 lbs. payload and the seats just didn't agree with me. The smaller displacement Ecoboost engine may not provide as much engine braking as either of the two GM V-8s; I'm not sure. Be sure you get the trailer tow packages, which include extra cooling for engine and tranny and payload increases. Ram doesn't match either Ford or GM in payload in a crew cab 1/2 ton although I've seen folks who use those trucks to pull 27/28 Airstreams. Same with Toyota. If you need the payload of a 3/4 ton, I suggest the Ram with the optional 6.4 liter gas engine. Although fuel economy will be 2-3 mpg worse, you will save a lot on purchase price. I've met several folks who were happy with this combination pulling 27/28 ft. Airstreams. In my own test drive of this truck, it felt plenty powerful, unlike the Chevy 6 liter gas engine in their 3/4 ton. As for the small diesels in the 1/2 tons, I am very skeptical. Torque starts the load, but horsepower gets you up the hill; and 240 horsepower ain't much when you're moving 14,000 lbs of truck and trailer.

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Old 03-15-2017, 07:56 PM   #3
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2013 28' Flying Cloud
Central , Canada
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What vehicle to tow a 2016 FC 28..

Very well thought out post Bruce. Well done!
By the way we pull our 28' with a F150 Eco with HD Tow package and it has been great
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:50 AM   #4
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2016 27' International
Plymouth , Minnesota
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I'll be the first diesel guy to chime in. I owned a Tundra before my Denali HD with the Duramax. There is absolutely no comparison as the 3/4 diesel beats the half ton in every possible way by a far margin, especially fuel efficiency.

If you're wondering if the trucks you listed can do it, they can, but do you want to be operating at 90% capacity?

I applaud the first two posters for their consideration of Ford and GMs payload packages. Payload will be your biggest consideration, and if you mind it, the roads will be a safer place for everyone.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:43 AM   #5
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Tampa , Florida
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Originally Posted by MWL530 View Post
I am about to purchase a 28 ft 2016 FC. It's my first AS. I'm asking for guidance on the proper vehicle(s) for towing. I would like to purchase a 1-2 yrs old considering Ford 150, Toyota Tundra, Chevy/ GMC 1500 SLT. Will be driven Ozarks and Ar-Tx.
Diesel pro and con? Thanks
Welcome to the forums.

Having seen some of these discussions, it might help narrow down your choices if you add some additional information:

How much previous towing experience do you have?

Besides the AS, what do you plan to carry in your TV (additional people, carried equipment and the AS toungue+hitch weight all count as cargo)

How many miles a day do you plan to tow? (longer distances will favor larger vehicles with bigger fuel tanks.)

Will you be traveling up/down highways with significant (Interstates with 6% grades, secondary roads with up to 10%) elevation changes? (Flat towing will not suggest a diesel brake, however it is an advantage on hills)

Do you need to worry about overall fuel costs (i.e. running costs) or are you more concerned about initial outlay? (while generally better fuel mileage, diesels will likely cost more initially and may have higher operating costs for maintenance than an equivalent gas model)

What would you like to stay within as far as TV budget?

What is your budget for a weight distribution/sway control hitch?

IMHO a 28FC, paired with an effective WD/sway control hitch, can be safely towed by a modern 1/2 T truck. I would take the advice of those on the forum with experience, pay attention to discussion on specific weights, compare them to the numbers on the truck you are contemplating, then analyze your rig on a accurate scale.

Depending on your comfort zone, a 3/4 T truck, with or without diesel, will add additional margin to your towing experience, however getting the right answer depends on assessing what you need in your specific case, hence the 20 quesitons.

Good luck with your Airstream, and again, welcome! It really is a lot of fun.

2016 30' Flying Cloud / 2016 Ram 2500 Diesel 4x4

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” - J.C. Watts Jr.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #6
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Granbury , Texas
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Posts: 409
Get a diesel 3/4 or 1 ton...if you don't you will always wish you had.

Can the other 1/2 tons do the job..or the 3/4 gas? Yes, but not nearly as good. The exhaust brake is worth the price of admission.
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Old 03-17-2017, 11:32 AM   #7
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2016 28' Flying Cloud
Kennesaw , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 41
I love towing our 2016 FC28 with a 2014 Siverado 2500 Duramax. It gives me freedom to go anywhere I want and carry anything I want. I enjoy focus on destinations and activities without concerns about payload or mountain passes. The earlier comment about deisel exhaust brakes was spot on. The 3/4 ton truck has better suspension, brakes, power and capacity. All those factors make travel more carefree.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:16 PM   #8
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2016 27' Flying Cloud
Woodinville , Washington
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Posts: 389
Had Ford F150.
Now have Ram/Cummins 2500.
Glad to have made the switch (for all the reasons stated above) & won't go back.
For me, it was the difference between "marginal" & "(fill in the blank) to spare."
Admittedly, however, I don't use the Ram as a daily driver, and if I were limited to one truck as both a daily driver & a TV, I'd reconsider a half ton. The Ram is a big, heavy, powerful (and somewhat awkward) truck, which makes it great for pulling the AS, but not so good for driving in city traffic or parking downtown.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:32 PM   #9
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1968 17' Caravel
Fountain Valley , California
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Two things: I have a 1/2 ton Chevy and was able to successfully roll (over) a 27 foot AS. The truck and trailer were pretty loaded at the time, 6% down grade, going around corners, etc. etc. My point is even with the anti-sway bars, load levelers, etc. I felt things were marginal.

I decreased the size of my next AS to a 25 footer, and am very happy with it. I still have the 1/2 ton Chevy, but a major improvement was I put the higher pressure tires on it (same as found on the 3/4 ton and 1 ton pickups). Man, what a vast improvement that was. The increased tire pressure means less "swishiness" and much more stable towing, so if you do get a 1/2 ton I would spend the $1500 or so to upgrade the tires!

Now, diesel versus gas. The diesel has so many advantages, and a few disadvantages. I talked to an individual this last weekend who took his new 2017 (2 week old) 30 foot classic down to Mexico with an Airstream caravan (this is a $130,000 Airstream). He had a sensor go out on his diesel down there, and because Mexico doesn't have the same air regulations as the U.S., the dealers down there didn't have the sensor in their system they didn't know how and could not do the repairs. His truck would not run with the faulty sensor.

He had to have his truck and AS towed 900 miles back to the U.S. The tow truck didn't have a 7-pin connector such that the tow was done without being able to use the trailer brakes. (The tow was with the truck up on a flatbed, and towing the trailer). Five days couped up in the front seat of this old tow truck (not a crew cab) with the AS owner and wife and their dog to get back home. The brakes gave out on the tow truck so they waited in some small town for 6 hours while the driver fabricated replacement brake shoes from parts available in the small town. I didn't ask him what his tow bill was, but overall it was a sad testimony for having a diesel out of country. (It was a GM 3/4 ton pickup with diesel).
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:17 PM   #10
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2005 25' Safari
palm beach gardens , Florida
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No one with a 3/4 ton diesel has ever wanted to go back to a 1/2 ton for towing.
Daily driver, maybe, but if the question is; what is the best tow vehicle, simple.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:23 PM   #11
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2011 28' Flying Cloud
Eau Claire , Wisconsin
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Payload is everything here. The 28 ft. unit has almost 200 lbs. additional tongue weight compared to a 27 ft. unit (976 vs 791). That will cut into your available payload. With my wife, 230 lbs. of dog (two berners), me, and daily travel goodies, we are pretty much at the limit. With that said, I tow my 2011 FC 28 with a 2016 Tahoe 5.3 engine and heavy duty trailer package. It does fine. We just completed an 8000 mile jaunt from Wisconsin through Alabama, Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. While there were a few times when the additional power and engine braking would have been nice, most days were fine, even in some heavy cross wind (I have WD hitch, but not manual anti-sway). Make sure it is set up right and take the rig to the scales loaded as you would for travel - including the dog! Get accurate rig and tongue weights.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:28 PM   #12
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San Antonio , Texas
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Your 28 has the heaviest tongue weight of em all. So right there you are loading your 1/2 ton as much as possible. I towed our 30 FC with a 2011 Chevy 1/2 ton crew cab with the 6.2 gas engine for one trip only. Traded for a 2012 3/4 ton duramax when we got home. If you go with a 1/2 ton, get used to stopping a lot for gas. Plan on spending as much as you can on a weight distribution hitch and watching your TV load carefully. Also, check with your dealer about the 1/2 ton truck's factory hitch capacity. The above 2011 1/2 ton Chevy's receiver was rated 500 pound tongue wt. If you look back at TV recommendations for a 27 or larger Airstreams: 1/2 ton tow--some like just fine and some move up to a 3/4 TV. Nobody with a 3/4 ton moves down to a 1/2 ton. Finally, do not discount the safety afforded by the heavy duty suspension of the 3/4 or one ton tow vehicle. That suspension, 10 ply tires, heavy duty breaks, etc. all add to your safe towing.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:24 PM   #13
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2018 33' Classic
Newport , Pennsylvania
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I say a 2500 or a 3500 diesel or ford if you want to be safe.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:47 PM   #14
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Houston , Texas
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Go to
Big truck big rv
On you tube. He would say f150 gas if your TT is under 6500lbs. This guy seems to be knowledgeable.

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