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Old 06-29-2003, 10:25 PM   #1
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34' Slide Out and Factory Tow Package - 2002 Classic

Just got back from the local dealer where I saw a used 2002 34' slide out for sale. I've heard lots of comments from 34' owners who all seem to express the opinion that these trailers tow better than tandem axle units.

While I liked the trailer I noticed at least with the current models the hitch weight at 1,250 lbs. I'm guessing that 2002 was no different. If I'm correct this probably means that most if not all of the hitch receivers supplied with the factory towing package are insufficient to carry such a load. Has anyone bought one of these heavyweights? Even though I could handle the tow weight it would probably mean dumping my receiver for something bigger.

Jack
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:30 PM   #2
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Re: 34' Slide Out and Factory Tow Package

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Originally posted by jcanavera
While I liked the trailer I noticed at least with the current models the hitch weight at 1,250 lbs. Jack
Wow Jack...

That slide out must increase the tongue weight significantly. As I recall, and I'll have to check my specs for sure, but I think my 34' has a tongue weight of 850... I'll check tomorrow and verify it.

I have to concur that my 34' tows VERY easily.

Roger
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:32 PM   #3
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Current model year specs show 820 lbs hitch weight for the 34' model so you are right on.

I've also seen the 28' Safari slide out and it has a hitch weight of 900+ lbs.

Jack
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Old 06-30-2003, 06:55 AM   #4
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That 1250 is dry and is going to climb rapidly if you use all that storage in the front. I'd be thinking 2,000/20,000lb 90-degree Pullrite. Seriously! I've seen these trailers pulled with the 1400 lb Hensley, but they're probably getting close to the rating even after weight distribution.

[on edit]Nevermind. I see the HD Pullrite isn't available for Chevy vans. See if there's a 15K Reese Titan available and think hard about the Hensley.
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Old 06-30-2003, 07:07 AM   #5
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34 slide

I just got back from the international rally. The fellow next to me had a 34 slide. He was towing it with a half ton suburban, and a hensley hitch. Say's he goes slow up the mountains of VT. I just wonder what his defination of slow is.

In the row behind me there was an another 34 slide. He towed with a three quarter ton dodge diesel.

Airstream had some new models there, along with the 34 slide. It sure is a beautiful unit.
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:09 AM   #6
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I just saw a 34 foot with a slide out at Bill Thomas. The the 34 hitch weight is 1250, the GVWR weight is 10500, the UVW is 9050 and the NCC weight is 1390. For the 30 with a slide out the GVWR is 9100lbs. the only problem I see is that you have limited places you can go with such big trailer. But it sure was nice.
Chris
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:12 AM   #7
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"think hard about the Hensley."

Since the word "Hensley" seems to almost always start a war, let me make it clear that the following is a question in search of information, not a sneaky slam.

The Hensley is a seriously heavy hitch. This always seemed to me to be a problem in the situation described above where the tongue weight is already very high. Or is it?

Mark
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Argosy-1
I just saw a 34 foot with a slide out at Bill Thomas. The the 34 hitch weight is 1250, the GVWR weight is 10500, the UVW is 9050 and the NCC weight is 1390. For the 30 with a slide out the GVWR is 9100lbs. the only problem I see is that you have limited places you can go with such big trailer. But it sure was nice.
Chris
Chris, in our vast experience (all three times, count 'em... one, two, three) we have with taking the 34 out so far, I haven't had any trouble finding a spot for it. In looking around, though, there are parks where I will have to park the trailer, then move the Excursion to the overflow parking lot to park it 'cause there's not enough space at the site for the trailer and the 'bus'. Most of the regular sites will accomodate the trailer without problems tho...

I thought pushing 1000lbs tongue weight was really limiting on what you'd want to tow with. Pushing 1500lbs REALLY limits your tow vehicle. I'd probably be thinking about something with duals. Although I DID see a 1 ton Chevy van with duals the other day (it was NOT a pretty sight...) there isn't much other than the 1 ton trucks out there!

Roger
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:45 AM   #9
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is it worth the weight?

boy, a 30 footer approaching 10K!

is the slide out worth the extra ton of weight?

my '92 29 footer is 7,000 lbs., can't imagine a trailer of similar size with an extra ton of dead weight. is the extra tonnage worth the extra room?

perhaps.

any one out there got one? is it worth it?

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Old 06-30-2003, 08:55 AM   #10
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Re: is it worth the weight?

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Originally posted by john hd
is the slide out worth the extra ton of weight?

any one out there got one? is it worth it?

john
John...

it must be worth it for some folks or Airstream wouldn't be building them into their third model year. I suppose that if I were buying one to set up semi-permanently somewhere in a park and I wasn't going to tow it much, the space would be more of a plus than the weight being a minus.

I bought ours to tow, so I'm not too excited about a slideout model and it's extra weight. I've gotta say that I can't think of a bigger waste of space and weight than that electric fireplace option either!!! Is it being carried into the '04 models?

Roger
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:10 AM   #11
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An honest answer, Mark. Everyone talks about how heavy the Hensley is. The drop bar sure is a hunk of metal, but not much heavier than any other big adjustable hitch head. The spring bars are the same ones used on conventional hitches, and the tongue brackets are about the same. The screw jacks weigh very little. So that leaves the big orange and black hitch head as extra weight. I'm a 50+ year old, overweight old fart with a bad back, and I picked it up out of the box in the garage and carried it out to the trailer tongue in the driveway, and set it on the floor jack to install it. So it can't be more than about 70-80 lbs. Knock off the 20 lbs or so of a pair of friction sway control units that I'd use with a conventional hitch, and you have a net gain of 50-60 lbs over any other hitch.

So yes, it's heavier, and so is a Pullrite. Their extra weight is pretty insignificant at these tongue weights, especially when you consider they're head and shoulders above anything else when it comes to safety.
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcanavera
Current model year specs show 820 lbs hitch weight for the 34' model so you are right on.

I've also seen the 28' Safari slide out and it has a hitch weight of 900+ lbs.

Jack
The PO was kind enough to have saved a 1994 Airstream brochure with the owner's manual packet...

Here's the scoop on the '94 LTD 34' for comparison:

Length 34'10"
Exterior width 7' 11 1/2"
Capacities: Fresh water 50 gal, Gray 35 gal, Black 30 gal
Weight: Dry 7100lbs, Additional allowable 1800lbs
Allowable hitch weight: 800lbs

Roger
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:37 AM   #13
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With the 30 and 34 dinette slides, you trade off the credenza, which puts a smaller screen TV close to the couch, for a TV on a microwave cabinet on the other side of the dinette. I'd definitely want a 20" way back there and that would be much more inverter draw than a smaller screen, which could be 12V. Of the floorspace you gain, you lose some of it because Airstream angles the sink. And the dinette is no longer across from the galley, where it can be used as extra food preparation counterspace.

With the 34 sofa slide, you trade off the close to the sofa credenza and the dinette (that's a deal-breaker for us), for a small bar at the end of the counter, a microwave cabinet and the cabinetry across the front which includes a credenza but with the TV located where you have to turn your head sideways on the couch to watch it. It also has a "computer station."

OTOH, the "writing table" on other models is plenty big enough for a notebook computer and a Canon i70 printer which is also available with a cradle that will sit on top of the writing table cabinet, and a rechargable battery for printing while boondocking, without an inverter.

Some folks like the electric fireplace. Like slides, they're popular in larger SOBs. Airstream is just trying to compete in these markets.
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by RoadKingMoe
Some folks like the electric fireplace. Like slides, they're popular in larger SOBs. Airstream is just trying to compete in these markets.
I know, Moe... Airstream wouldn't offer them if they didn't sell. It's a consumer-driven market. IMHO I just think that an electric fireplace in a TRAILER is a little... well... unnecessary(?) I guess. For the weight, a second AC unit would be more practical...

Roger
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