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Old 03-12-2017, 12:12 AM   #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, 11:58 AM   #2
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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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, 08:56 PM   #3
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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, 05:50 AM   #4
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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, 08:43 AM   #5
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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

ďCharacter is doing the right thing when nobodyís looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing thatís right is to get by, and the only thing thatís wrong is to get caught.Ē - J.C. Watts Jr.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:12 AM   #6
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Granbury , Texas
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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, 12:32 PM   #7
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Kennesaw , Georgia
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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, 01:16 PM   #8
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Woodinville , Washington
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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, 01:32 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, 02:17 PM   #10
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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, 02:23 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, 02:28 PM   #12
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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, 03:24 PM   #13
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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, 03:47 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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Old 03-17-2017, 04:08 PM   #15
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Argyle , Texas
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We previously owned a 25 foot Sierra which we pulled with a 1/2 Ton Chev., Z71, with a tow package and a short bed. I don't load any more than is needed, in the TV as well as the trailer. That vehicle worked wonderfully with the 25 foot - in the mountains and on level land.

We now own a 28 foot Classic. The 1/2 ton will pull it. The 28 ' puts too much weight on the tongue for the 1/2 ton Chev. Our life work was with heavy trucks and equipment. Not myself, but my husband is very knowledgeable re: vehicles, weights, etc.

It is an overkill, but we pull the 28 ' with my husbands 1 ton GMC with dual rear tires, and the long bed - just because we owned it prior to trading up in the Airstream. I love to pull with that 1 ton GMC, as I can pull the 28 ft without hooking up the sway attachment. And that is simply due to the dual rear tires. I don't understand the statements referring to the length creating a problem. I have never experienced any more problems in turning, parking, etc of the long bed over the short bed. You certainly have to be very observant with either one. Depends totally on what you intend to put into the tow vehicle. I like having the extra length. If we see something we want to buy, I want the room in the tow vehicle.

I will eventually buy a 3/4 ton GMC, probably gas and it does not have the duallys available and will go back to hooking up that sway attachment. Happy traveling
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:11 PM   #16
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We just went through this process with a 25FB which has a heavy tongue weight. Payload will define the TV capability and your personal situation will define the truck setup. I broke-out the payload calculator from my AS specifications spreadsheet and you can see it here:

In my case, we had 4 people and I input realistic weights for them. I would be carrying one compressor and two propane generators so those were added and I had a cargo weight of 152# and a people weight of 710#. Absent actual scale measurements, I use a fair estimate from this forum that the tongue would be 1000# and the weight distribution hitch in practical use would return 200# back. So at a minimum, I would need a truck with a payload capacity of 1,761#.

Now, you need to decide the size of the cab. Crew Cab is the largest, cost the most and chews-up the most amount of your payload. If you don't need all the bells & whistles of a nice interior, seats & so forth, you can further expand your options. No problem finding F150's that can sticker out above the 1,761# if you are flexible on cab size and options. But ... if you start adding a bed top and other cargo items, then the payload requirement also increases.

So .. first use the calculator and be honest with what will go in the truck. Then, balance your budget with wants for cab size & trim level.

Then ... read the postings on 1/2 ton .vs. 3/4 ton.

In my case, using the spreadsheet you saw attached, I added 200# for a cap and needed a truck just about 2000#. For a variety of reasons, I chose the 3/4 ton for safety and practical considerations of oversizing. Since I was expecting to climb mountains out west, I went with the diesel knowing it was more expensive to buy and maintain plus would reduce my payload. Further, since the vehicle was already a 3/4 ton and the engine a diesel, I was comfortable being within a hundred pounds of the payload sticker because the truck had plenty of built-in overcapacity and in my opinion, was de-rated from it's 1-ton brother for non-engineering reasons. In my case, I went with a Ford F250 Diesel Crew Cab. If I didn't go diesel, I could have gotten more payload from the gas and while I debated it, that debate lasted about 60-seconds each time.

People will tell you here you can tow with a Cam-Am custom made hitch on a Ford Fiesta. My perspective is that life is too short to be spending any time fighting a legal and/or a health battle should the unthinkable happen and I have an accident. Doesn't mean I need a Kenwood Tractor but the 1/2 ton just didn't cut it from an overall heft/stability standpoint, the 3/4 ton was right there and the 1-ton was overkill. So while I normally go with overkill, keep in mind that the Airstream is riveted aluminum and doesn't want a lot of suspension stress sent backwards which is what will happen if your way oversize your vehicle.

Short answer; get a 3/4 ton within your budget on a relatively late model unit.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:42 PM   #17
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Buying a used truck for a question...go with the Tundra. Basically a 3/4 ton payload. Best reliability rating of any p/u and in rare cases you need parts or service, they are available everywhere...even in Mexico. I drove a new 2008 Tundra w/o tow pkg for 4 years, towing a tandem axle utility trailer loaded with tools and materials...heavier I'd wager than the 28"FC. Towed it everywhere, never had a problem. True, the engine worked hard maintaining 55 uphill, but so're not out there trying to qualify for the Daytona 500, and the Tundra engine/tranny can handle it...never overheated or rev'ed close to redline. Resale value after 4 years was also better than any other make.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:10 PM   #18
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1500 Suburban or equivalent GM product.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:25 PM   #19
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After reading the above posts, I still like my 17 2500 ram ,6.7 cummalong, crew cab and short box, no problem driving in town or finding a parking space , and it don't get scared when there is a long pull up the road and you don't go up the pass with the flashers such thing as too much horsepower or too much money......
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:34 PM   #20
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East Falmouth , Massachusetts
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I concur 100%. Exhaust brake is worth it all. I have a FC28. My TV is a Ram 2500 with Cummins. I can drive away from a stop on a hill. Used to tow with 1500 Ram Hemi. It was far from adequate on all levels.

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