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Old 06-04-2015, 09:45 PM   #1
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Getting started

We are beginning to do our research to begin our Airstream dream. We do not have a tow vehicle yet nor do we have an Airstream. Neither of us have any experience with towing a travel trailer, but we are very excited to learn everything we can in the next several months to a year so that we can make the best decision for us.

We have a few questions starting out:
1. Can we trade a current vehicle for an Airstream?
2. What model Airstream is great for beginners? We are wanting to live in it full time, so we are thinking about a 26'.
3. What are some ways that you guys make money currently? Do you find that it is a challenge? Do you change from month to month with temp work?
4. We are also getting conflicting information on a towing vehicle. Our first choice would a jeep wrangler; we've read some information that says that we could pull a 26' Airstream with that, and others that say we can't.
What's the most important thing to consider when looking for a towing vehicle? V6 or V8? Wheel base? If a vehicle has a "Tow package" does that automatically mean I can tow a travel trailer with it?

Any input would be highly appreciated!
Thanks,
JenandJes
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #2
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the wrangler is probably not a good tow vehicle.. a bit of a rough ride and not real wide, not sure the engine size but they tend to be smaller blocks

the larger jeep with diesel is a real nice TV for sure.

If you are going to be a fulltimer a diesel is the better bet.. a lot of the newer gas engine deal are also looking good.. nice power and good MPG.

The ford eco boost is making waves as well..

check out fast lane trucking Truck News, Views and Real World Reviews - All Trucks - All the Time! to see videos of loaded pickup hauling up the Ike tunnel in Colorado..

also check out RV.net and read the towing sections forums. READ READ READ and then read some more.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:27 PM   #3
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Greetings and welcome! I hope you find all your answers here. I once traded a used truck for a new trailer straight across through a dealer so it can be done if the logistics work out. When I first started with trailers back in the 90's I purchased a good used small 15' one to see if I would like it without making a large investment. Three trailers and 20 years later still going strong....
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:27 PM   #4
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thank you

Thank you both for your advice.
As far as a TV goes, we don't really want a truck (although we are open to it), but would rather a mid-size to large SUV. What are the options for that? Is a truck always going to be the better choice? Or would a 4runner, Tahoe, Suburban, Durango get the job done for a long term option?
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:48 PM   #5
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A truck is simply a tow vehicle that many find more practical for their lifestyle needs. Probably as many tow with SUV's because it fits their lifestyle better. Whatever you choose, the important thing is to match your tow vehicle capacity with the size and weight of your trailer.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:11 AM   #6
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Choices

A 25 to 26ft range is a good choice AS they are large enough to live in and not too large to park is tight spaces my wife thinks I can back our's in any space. I would say the TV needs to be somewhat larger than a jeep. You will be towing 3 to 3.5 tons thats a lot of weight to stop going down a hill or at hwy speeds or when a moron pulls out in front of you because he does not want to get caught behind you.Most of the new diesels come with a pac/jake brake system very nice to have. You will also get better milage and power up those hills. Its cheaper in the long run to buy the right TV the first time rather than buying too small and regret it. Good camping Rand
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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Tv

Wheel base is important the longer the more stable you will be. I have a 2500 dodge with crew cab and 8ft bed cummins diesel Its now 9 yrs old and still going strong.I put a cap on the bed to be able keep things dry and a bit more secure. There are quite a few camping items you will be taking along with you and you will need the space and weight capacity to carry them. Some things will be wet when its time move and you won't want them in the AS. I get between 13.5 to 15.5 MPG pulling my 25ft AS and 21MPG hwy without AS. The next truck will be one step up to the 3500 but not the tandem rear wheels.It would be nice to be able to carry a scooter to go into small towns or other areas where parking is hard to find. Good camping Rand
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:48 AM   #8
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We have a few questions starting out:
1. Can we trade a current vehicle for an Airstream?
Up to the individual AS dealer. Many will, some will not.
2. What model Airstream is great for beginners? We are wanting to live in it full time, so we are thinking about a 26'.
Full time I would not consider anything less than 25', my wife on the other hand is a 30' type person, so we have 30' and are out about 4-6 months per year.
3. What are some ways that you guys make money currently? Do you find that it is a challenge? Do you change from month to month with temp work?
Retired and do not work, cannot help you here.
4. We are also getting conflicting information on a towing vehicle. Our first choice would a jeep wrangler; we've read some information that says that we could pull a 26' Airstream with that, and others that say we can't.
I have a 4 Runner, love it, would never tow with it. Personally I only consider pick ups as they carry and do what we want them to do. Again, my opinion, a 1/2 Ton is on the small side for towing 6,000 - 9,000 pounds year round. But they can do it and many people love them. We started with one, now have a One Ton Diesel.
What's the most important thing to consider when looking for a towing vehicle? V6 or V8? Wheel base? If a vehicle has a "Tow package" does that automatically mean I can tow a travel trailer with it?
Torque, HP and payload. Payload is the weight you can carry, you, your wife everything in the vehicle as well as most of the hitch weight. This is found on the drivers side door sticker.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:20 AM   #9
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You didn't say, but it looks like you are looking for an older, used Airstream. Do some research - web search Airstream weight, and you'll find some charts that show weights for size and year. Older Airstreams weigh much less. You can't select a tow vehicle without knowing what you will be towing.
Consider renting a travel trailer for a vacation to make sure you enjoy the experience, then you can shop with some knowledge of systems, terminology, and some points of reference.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:03 PM   #10
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You guys are so wonderful! We really appreciate all the quick and thorough responses! We are definitely reading and re-reading all of your posts to use as we research more and more. Again, thank you! and keep the suggestions coming!
JenandJes
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Old 06-05-2015, 04:24 PM   #11
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If you have a dealer near you go by sit around a few different models walk around inside mimic making a meal see how traffic flows. Things get tight quickly. Take your time its something you will have to live with. The life style is outdoors but there will be weather that keeps you indoors so you will want to be comfortable. The sofa we had did not work for us. We pulled it out and replaced with two la-z-boys can't say how much more we like them. Makes for a nice afternoon nap. That will not work in many of the new models other than the 30ft units. Most have the converter or heater under the sofas. Take your time We came close to getting a 22ft so glad we went with the 25ft. We really like the new 30ft classic but $120000.00 is pretty steep.The only thing I wish we had in our current camper would be about 400 lbs more weight capacity the wife likes to have a few more shoes and clothes. Good camping Rand
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Old 06-05-2015, 04:44 PM   #12
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Hi Jen and Jes. Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, An Airstream dealer may take a vehicle in trade, but it's anyone's guess. If you want to spend a lot of time or live in an Airstream, I would start at the 25 foot size. This size Airstream would probably be too trailer for a jeep Wrangler. A late model 25' Airstream is going to weigh well over 7,000# ready to travel.

We have had two 25' Airstreams over the last 10 years. We have spent over 1,500 nights in them and towed the over 140,000 miles We have towed with two different 3/4 ton Suburbans and a one ton pick-up. All of these were up to the task. When you're lookiong at a tow vehicle, keep in mind that the towing capacity is not the end-all. You also have to consider the carrying capacity of the truck or SUV. In some cases the tongue weight of the trailer will consume more than half of the tow vehicle's carrying capacity. By the time that you add the passengers and cargo, you could be well over the maximum weight recommended.

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Old 06-05-2015, 04:52 PM   #13
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1. Can we trade a current vehicle for an Airstream?
Depends on the dealer. Some will do trade in's on any property you have. We visited one that said they'd even taken guns. They apparently own a pawn shop too, so they just pass stuff thru the business.


2. What model Airstream is great for beginners? We are wanting to live in it full time, so we are thinking about a 26'.

Used, is a good model for beginners. If you've never full-timed and you never owned a travel trailer, BUY USED. We are full-time and already know of one other younger couple that thought this lifestyle was for them, new truck, new airstream and 4 months later and they quit. Don't romanticize what it's going to be like. Try to stay realistic.

3. What are some ways that you guys make money currently? Do you find that it is a challenge? Do you change from month to month with temp work?

I'm a programmer for a french company and my wife works customer support for basecamp.com - online work is going to be the best form of income + mobility IMO.


4. We are also getting conflicting information on a towing vehicle. Our first choice would a jeep wrangler; we've read some information that says that we could pull a 26' Airstream with that, and others that say we can't.
What's the most important thing to consider when looking for a towing vehicle? V6 or V8? Wheel base? If a vehicle has a "Tow package" does that automatically mean I can tow a travel trailer with it?


No, No and No on the Jeep Wrangler, been hammered to death on this forum, but no. Not a good tow vehicle for anything over 19.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JenandJes View Post
Thank you both for your advice.
As far as a TV goes, we don't really want a truck (although we are open to it), but would rather a mid-size to large SUV. What are the options for that? Is a truck always going to be the better choice? Or would a 4runner, Tahoe, Suburban, Durango get the job done for a long term option?
Tahoe will handle up to a 23D - Suburban will pull a 25fter just fine. I would pass on the 4runner Durango personally.

A reality of towing is you will need a larger vehicle. You do not need a 3500 dually crew cab with 8ft bed like some on this forum just love to tell everyone they must have or death will follow.

But you also don't want to try towing a 35fter with a Honda Civic hatchback.

I exaggerate of course for effect, but you get the idea.



Good luck. And welcome.

*Authors note, this is all my personal opinion, others may disagree. Use your own judgement.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:12 PM   #14
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Have you considered an Airstream diesel pusher MH instead of an Airstream TT? You will not need to worry about tow weight restrictions. Then you can tow any vehicle you want.
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