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Old 07-10-2011, 11:28 AM   #15
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We tow our 1971 Tradewind w/ a 1996 F250 4x4 crewcab w/ the 7.3 L diesel. We get adequate power and torque from this early Powerstroke, but since we have 3.55 gears we still drop into second gear on the steepest hills. We get about 14 mpg or a bit better towing. I added Ride-Rite air springs as helpers; this allows us to trim the ride height depending on load in the pickup. Combined weight is about 12k lbs; we tend to run heavy on some of our expeditions and having the ability to trim the truck to proper ride height helps handling.

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Old 07-10-2011, 12:55 PM   #16
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There is a lot of difference in weight between a new 28' and a 31' and between trim lines. If you go back to the '90's, weights are a lot less than in the '00's. The 28' is actually one inch shorter than the 27', and its GVWR is less than than the 27'.

We tow a 25' with a 1/2 truck without any problems. Plenty of torque and HP; not as much payload as a 3/4 ton, but if you manage it carefully, it works fine. The difference between the 25', 27', and 28' are not that big and I think our truck could easily tow any of them up mountain grades.

Some people tow longer Airstreams with 1/2 ton trucks, SUV's and even cars, without a problem. I'm not saying I'd recommend that, but just reporting what has been said.

Gas engines can do the job. They are much cheaper, have less maintenance, and their fuel costs less. Diesel gets better mileage, but figuring in all the others costs, it takes a very long time to come out even. If you want to keep a truck for 400,000 miles, the diesel may be cheaper by then, though you'll probably have to replace much of the truck by that time.

You've heard from those who say bigger is better, but it isn't necessarily true. First you have to decide what trailer length and year and trim line you want and then you have to find it. If you want to buy new, you can know what you are looking for and think about a tow vehicle, but even then you may change your mind. If you buy used, who knows what you will find and buy? Your Suburban may be ok (though there are different Suburbans with different engines, etc.), or at least it can get it home. Buy the trailer first, then decide on a tow vehicle. Until the trailer issue is settled, you can't be sure what you need.

We bought our truck first because we were pretty sure what size trailer and trim line we wanted, so it didn't make a lot of difference. We did look at 27's and one of about 4 reasons not to buy it was that we were not sure how the Tundra would tow it, but after towing the 25' for nearly 4 years with the Tundra, we know it could easily tow a 27' or 28' and blow the doors off many other trucks. If you aren't sure what you want and can get (and afford perhaps), it is fine to explore trucks, but not time to buy one.

I think a good match makes the most sense. The truck and the trailer can be roughly the same weight and with a big gas V8 you can fly up the mountain passes although speeding up them will cost a lot of fuel no matter what kind of fuel you use.

As usual I managed to use 25 times more words to say the same thing Bob did in Post #3.

Gene
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:05 PM   #17
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My brother-in-law had an older Dodge 3/4 ton pickup with the Cummins diesel and loved that truck, until recently. Don't know the details, but something in the engine failed; and he was looking at having the engine rebuilt. He now owns a Toyota Tacoma. He said that he no longer needed the towing capacity (he changed jobs during the recession), and that the Cummins was too expensive to repair. It was more cost effective to just buy a new pickup.

I have never owned a diesel pickup, but this is a story I have heard from others before. Diesels are great if you need the towing power and intend to keep the truck until it's worn out. However, they can be expensive to repair. You just need to weigh your needs and make a conscious decision on whether a diesel is absolutely necessary; and whether you'll get your money's worth out of it before the expensive repairs come. Although, I guess this also applies to a gasoline powered tow vehicle.

Not really an opinion; just an observation.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:20 PM   #18
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You'll wish you had a diesel truck if you plan to tow your Airstream up to Mesa Verde National Park.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:15 PM   #19
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For me....diesel, 2.5 cents per mile advantage, Today $4.17 or $3.68

on our trip back from Ca.=$74.00 advantage for the big D.

no tanks.

Have no regrets with our Burb.... and it smells beter too!!! TETO.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:21 PM   #20
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We tow a 28' with a 3/4 ton Diesel, and couldn't be happier. Well, I'd be happier if fuel was a dollar a gallon, but wouldn't we all.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:15 PM   #21
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We had a popup that needed to have some work done and our tow vehicle also needed to be replaced at the time. We decided to sell the popup and buy an Airstream. We were not sure which model we were going to buy. I set up an Excel worksheet listing the GVWR for the Airstream, the GVWR for the tow vehicle, and the Combined GVWR. I did this because I never wanted to have a tow vehicle that was under capacity. It gave me different answers for a 22 vs a 25 vs a 30. We selected our trailer first which was an Airstream 30 and then purchased a 3/4 ton diesel. I am very happy with the decision and I didn't need to change tow vehicles when I moved up to the 34.

Good luck in your analysis and decision.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:42 PM   #22
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Tow Vehicle Advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel-2 View Post
Assuming that we find the 28-31 ft AS we like -- what do you consider as a great (as opposed to it works, but ) tow rig? From my reading so far it looks like gvwr's top out around 8500 lbs for this length trailer. That knocks my 1500 suburban out of consideration. We travel widely and want to be able to tackle the Rockies and secondary road 12% grades with confidence.
You have had much good advise in here, but here are a few that was not mentioned or I missed it. Here is my advise from experience.
You really need to find out what size of trailer you are getting first because that will dictate the tow vehicle.
22-27 foot- most of the 1/2 ton trucks can handle in most situations especially if you look into new ones as they are more set now for towing these size trailers, especially the F150 Eco-boost which has a tow capacity of 11,000 lbs and all I would add is the ride rites to help with level and handling.
27-34 foot- 3/4 to 1 ton truck definately and if you are going to have a truck/trailer combo that heavy you will definately want the diesel for the added torque and you wont wear out the engine like on a gas. Difference between a 3/4 & 1 ton is the springs only, body, frame, engine, trans, steering, all the same between the two. Of coarse most 1 tons have dual wheels and therefore an added cost of tires that you most likely won't need. Again you add the ride rites and the 3/4 is identicle to the 1 ton as far as load capacity.
Engines gas vs diesel- Gas may be cheaper, oil change is a little cheaper, but the gas engine has reached it lifes end around 125,000 miles, not saying they dont last longer but that is rule of thumb based on wear and tear and towing that kind of load up hills over 4.5% grade repeatedly does shorten the life of a gas engine. Diesel on the other hand generally have a 450000+ life expectancy and is designed for wear and tear that occurs from towing in all types of conditions, including hills.

I have been camping since I was 10, driving since I was 13 including with our camper, 25 years driving trucks everything from hotshots (pickups w/trailer) to triple axle semis for over size loads. So I do have a little experience.

Sarge
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:54 PM   #23
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I'm going to disagree with Sarge a bit. The newer 27' and 28' aren't that different in terms of weight. I think gas engines last longer than 125,000 miles as they have improved greatly over the years. And while diesels have a very long life, would you keep it for 450,000 miles? Diesels cost a lot more and maintenance is more than gas engines.

You have to decide how long you will keep the tow vehicle and that will help you decide whether a diesel makes economic sense. So far as horsepower and torque, modern gas engines will have no problem with most Airstreams.

But first, choose the trailer. You are much more likely to keep the trailer longer than the truck, so get that right the first time.

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Old 09-04-2011, 08:06 PM   #24
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I dont know about the chryslers but i am on road alot and asked around the fleet drivers (comcast, verizon, etc) their vans with ford 5.4 and chevy v8 go 200+ easy

Heck the gm 6.0 is in some some of the newer ups trucks and have 100-150k already with 100-200 start/stop cycles per day driven very hard. No motor problems there either
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:08 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Right now it looks like you've got a horse but no cart.

IMHO....I would get the cart and then decide how much if any you need to up-grade. What TV really depends on what your towing.

Good luck in your search...
Quote:
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I'm going to disagree with Sarge a bit. The newer 27' and 28' aren't that different in terms of weight. I think gas engines last longer than 125,000 miles as they have improved greatly over the years. And while diesels have a very long life, would you keep it for 450,000 miles? Diesels cost a lot more and maintenance is more than gas engines.

You have to decide how long you will keep the tow vehicle and that will help you decide whether a diesel makes economic sense. So far as horsepower and torque, modern gas engines will have no problem with most Airstreams.

But first, choose the trailer. You are much more likely to keep the trailer longer than the truck, so get that right the first time.

Gene

What Gene and Bob said.....
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:24 PM   #26
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What Gene and Bob said.....
And, just to square the circle, what Bob said. But, maybe we should round the square?

Gene
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:46 PM   #27
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Tarheel, 3/4 ton for sure, especially if you going to crowd the 30' range. But, unless you are going to spend A LOT of time in the rockies, skip the diesel thing. It doesn't pencil financially, and is completely unnecessary east of the rockies and gas is fine for any occasional trip west to the big hills. If you plan to move to Colorado....get a diesel. Just my professionally based opinion. I'm sure I'll hear about this comment, but I always tell the truth as I know it to be.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:36 PM   #28
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But before you get to 30', I think the 27' and 28' can be handled in the Rockies with a gas engine. Our 1/2 ton has no problem with a 25' Safari and the 27' and 28' don't weigh that much more.

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