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Old 02-17-2016, 10:11 PM   #29
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
Originally Posted by CruizinDux View Post
p.s. Seems I read (IDROBA maybe) that the 20 frame is 5 inch vs 3 or 4 of other models.
The 20' has a 5" full box frame. It is very stout. My older 20' Argosy (1974) has a 4" frame. I don't know the frame depth on other models such as the 16, 19, 22 and 23, but it might be interesting to find out. I have not seen any listing of frame depth from Airstream.

My 2014 Airstream FC 20 weighs in at about 5000# as I am loaded and ready to tow. My 1976 Argosy 20' is about 4000 #. Both have tongue weights in the 700# range. I have converted to 16" wheels and tires on both trailers.

I now tow with a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with the V8 hemi and full air suspension. I use an Andersen hitch system. Both trailers are very stable and a pleasure to tow.

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Old 06-04-2016, 02:57 PM   #30
4 Rivet Member
Boxite's Avatar

2008 22' Safari
Spicewood (W of Austin) , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 437
TT...careful how you take some folks advice (including my own). Just because someone has something to sell you doesn't mean they know all about everything.
For example: Towing capability of TVs are NOT "marketing". It's reality from several points of view including liability/safety issues...not simply the capacity to drag a certain amount of weight around.

As for the differences between the 20' FC and the 22' Sport, I can tell you a couple things as I have a Sport and our close friends have the FC.

The FC is heavier not because of the framework. They both have the same quality box-frames. The difference is in the FC heavy, pretty cabinetry and accessories. The Sport is a less-expensive, lighter-weight interior. (The LP bottles mentioned only amount to a very few pounds difference, in fact, my Sport has 30# bottles and I'm pretty sure you can add, so I'll not try to B.S. you on that matter.)

But a BIG difference is in "useability" in my opinion. While our friend's FC is a beautiful thing to see inside... it has some serious drawbacks. For example, their emergency exit is a farce. It requires one to climb over a sharp-edged formica cabinet top, and squeeze over a tall double-sink fixture....something only a small child could squeeze past. (Meanwhile, the bed is closer to the main door, and any kitchen fire is going to be directly adjacent to that useless emergency-exit. (Later models slightly improved the matter by moving it above the mid-cabin dinette...but again, why would anyone use that instead of simply walking out the much more convenient and closer main door?)
Also, the FC has the dinette directly opposite the television...which means one has to crane the neck and stare sharply UP to view television,...hard on the neck... while the head of the bed is oriented AWAY from the television, so one cannot watch it while lying down in bed unless one wishes to move the head to the foot of the which case the reading lights are at your FEET!

Topping that off.... there is no place to "lounge" on a sofa in the FC. (There is no sofa...such as the Sport has with it's much roomier dinette/lounge.)

Also, the bathroom/toilet directly adjacent to the galley (along with it's unique smells) and the bath door smacks anyone working in the kitchen in the fanny!

And, oh yeah, two axles and four tires on a longer AS are not necessarily better either. Notice that right-away many will tell you that you "must" buy larger wheels and tires, presumably for safety, ...and while some will also tell you that even single axle 20'FCs must also do that... it's simply not true. The single axle Bambi's do not suffer the tire failure rates that double axles do because the tires are not constantly struggling against each other in turns trying to tear their sidewalls apart. Bambis do just fine with original 15" tires when properly maintained, and that saves trouble AND money (not to mention making towing and maneuvering much easier as well.)

Are you sure you prefer the FC floorplan over (IMO) the much roomier and better organized 22' Sport FB with the much lighter towing weights?

Did I mention that in many states the weight of the 20' FC also require that they must receive an official state inspection and tax...ANNUALLY.... while the less-than-4K Sport does not?

2012 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Tradesman 4.7L 4X4
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:24 AM   #31
3 Rivet Member

1964 24' Tradewind
Lawrence , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 159
Hi Andrew. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the newer Pathfinders. I have a 2013 Pathfinder with tow package that pulls my 64 Tradewind nicely but someday I might move up to the 23 FB. One on the things that holds me back is going to a bigger TV. Thanks.

Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
Hi Tee

Just to confuse you completely think about the 23 FB instead. Compared with the 20 it gives you a tandem axle, walk around queen bed, dry bath, ducted heat. It actually tows better than the 20 does. For someone 6'3" tall it is a huge difference in livability with no real downside.

The reason I suggest this is your Airstream is a long term purchase, we have several customers that have owned the same Airstream for 30 years and 15-20 is quite common. Your tow vehicle you won't likely have anywhere near that long especially when it is 12 years old to start with.

There are two ways to go with towing, one is to make a couple of changes to your 04 Pathfinder. Tow ratings really have nothing to do with what a vehicle will tow it is largely just marketing. You could try towing a 2000 pound square box trailer and find it almost impossible, a 5000 pound boat with surge brakes on one axle would be dangerous to stop and not be very stable but an Airstream connected properly can be well over 5000 pounds and be very stable and safe with good performance.

Your 3.5 Litre is a great engine connected to a bullet proof drivetrain but the large tires to make your SUV look tough rob a great deal of its power. The wheelbase is relatively short on your Pathfinder but the overhang is also short which helps but again the big tires have huge sidewall sway making it much less stable than it could be. The live rear axle is not ideal but the suspension is firm which helps make up for it somewhat.

Back in the day we set up a lot of these. To turn them into a good tow vehicle changed the tires from the stock 245/65 17" to 235/55 x 17" performance tires. Bridgestone Comp's work well. You need to replace your shock absorbers with a premium shock such as a Bilstein.

We would always use a welded ball mount on this vehicle to keep the overhang as short as possible and it needs to be set up properly. That may sound like a given but only about 5% of Airstreams are actually set up optimally. It is not rocket science just don't think it will automatically happen. I can't remember if 04's had factory transmission coolers but if not you will need to add one, if you have not done so in the last 30,000 miles you should change the transmission and axle fluids and upgrade to synthetic oil. If the Radiator is original likely it is a good idea to replace it at the same time.

Once this is done your Pathfinder perform and handle very nicely with a 23' and take you anywhere you want to go.

The consideration though is do you want to spend this much on a 12 year old vehicle. If you are over 100,000 miles I would consider changing it.

The 05 -2012 Pathfinders are substantially better tow vehicles, they are only slightly larger but have a considerably longer wheelbase, independent rear suspension and a great 4.0 Litre engine also they have a 5 speed transmission. We did many of these and I have never had a customer not be completely satisfied with it. Many are towing 30' Airstreams with them. You can still improve the tire size when the time comes but it is not as critical as with the 04 (most SUV's and trucks suffer from tire envy so this is not uncommon on most of them). You might be able to trade up to a good one for not a lot of money and that might make more sense than putting dollars into the old one.

I hope this helps.

Andrew T

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