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Old 05-12-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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2012 30' Flying Cloud
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 15
Wink A Potential Owner

Hi folks,

I've been retired a couple years, and my wife will be retiring within a year or two - and we're starting to think about snowbirding, as well as doing some fairly long trips. A few years back we had a pop-up tent trailer, which worked well then, but living in the NW it was a constant challenge to luck out and get a dry day to take it down, or figure out how to dry out the tent part after packing it up wet.

This year, we talked about getting a trailer for bluegrass music festivals and art/painting trips, went to the Seattle RV show and came away with a 24-foot Jayco X-213 trailer. As Toyota people, I traded in my FJ Cruiser for a 2012 Tundra Crew Max 4x4, which I love and which pulls the Jayco quite nicely.

However...I've always been intrigued by Airstreams and after getting the box trailer started doing a bunch of research on better options for longer term. And quickly realized that Airstream is right at the top of the list. My wife isn't so sure, yet, but she's heading in that direction.

We probably won't seriously look at an Airstream until next year, but then again you never know, as I have planned a 6-week cross-country and back trip this fall (we've done very long motorcycle cruises when we used to ride, so a trip of this magnitude doesn't seem that daunting).

My big question now is whether I should have anticipated upsizing the trailer and bought a heavier-duty TV, as much as I love Toyotas and the new Tundra. I've fallen in love with the 30-foot Classic Limited at our local dealer (who wouldn't!?) but fully loaded that would exceed Toyota's towing max of 9,000 pounds (though I've been told Toyota is conservative in their claims relative to the other truck makers). But then I look at the pix and read about people pulling 30-foot Airstreams with an SUV and wonder if the Tundra would work if we eventually go with something as big as a 30-foot model. Of course, we'll look seriously at the 27's and 28's - even the 30 and 31 footers other than the Classic fall within the Tundra's rated towing capacity (though without much headroom).

Anyway, I'd be appreciative of any comments from you experienced folks who pull a larger Airstream with a Tundra and I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about Airstreams by browsing the threads in the forums here.


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Old 05-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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2009 27' FB International
LA LA Land... , California
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Posts: 290
There are lots of variables and you'll get lots of opinions here. I pull an '09 27FB International CCD (really 28') with an 2011 Tundra Double Cab 5.7 with ease. I have the tow package. I would suggest you email Andy at
Much will depend on what type of hitch set up you employ and he can give you solid advice about that.

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Old 05-13-2012, 02:29 PM   #3
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2012 30' Flying Cloud
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 15
Thanks much for the quick response and recommending Andy. I sent him an e-mail last night (very late) and had a response first thing this morning, and it was very helpful. Basically, from his experience (having several customers using the same TV as mine) I should be able to pull any of the AS trailer sizes, which is quite good to know. Now to convince the spouse...!
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:05 PM   #4
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1987 32' Excella
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Went on a unit rally this weekend. Two Tundra's. One towing a fairly new FB, either 25 or 27 feet. Not sure which. Other towing a 32' Excella, older model. The older Excella probably weighs a couple of throusand lbs less than the new ones? Both owners were very pleased with their Tundra's for towing and have done quite a few miles in their rigs. Both with the HA hitch and the newer Airstream has the disc brakes.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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Nellysford , Virginia
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JTMB - We faced about the same situation last year when we picked up our 30' Excella 1000 Classic. While our old truck (GMC Sierra 1500) had a 9,000 rating it just worked too hard in the mountains of the Blue Ridge, not to mention what it would have done in the real mountains of the U.S. West. We found a nice, used diesel and it makes ALL the difference. At just over 8,000 loaded the Duramax doesn't even know the Airstream is back there. Enjoy your 30 by not having to worry if the tranny is about to expire going up the Rockies.
Linda Heuer. President Shen. Valley Unit
Greg Heuer, 2nd VP Shen. Valley Unit
2011 31' Classic Ltd. - The Silver Otter III
2013 GMC Denali 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax - Sierra Blanca
TAC VA-18 | WBAC 1927 - Shen. Valley Unit 149 | AIR 53869
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:16 AM   #6
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2012 30' Flying Cloud
Snoqualmie , Washington
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Thanks Bill and Greg/Linda for the helpful info. We definitely live in a mountainous part of the country. I grew up in PA where there were no 'mountains' over 3,000 feet high. Here, our house is on a ridge at 800 feet elevation and a 3,000 foot peak is considered the foothills. So the point on hauling over a grade is well taken.

It's looking a bit like if we buy it will probably be next year, not this year, so in the meantime I'm going to look hard at 27-28 footers which would not push our towing capacity as much.

Thanks again folks,

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Old 05-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #7
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2008 27' International CCD FB
Visalia , California
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We started out just like you did. We bought a new Keystone Bullet box trailer to see if we like doing the RV thing. We pulled it from Calif. to North Carolina three times, on the way home the last trip it started to "kind of fall apart" roof leaked, slide out went out and never came back in (pulley system tore off the wall) Long story short, we liked the RV thing but wanted a better unit. Ended up getting the Bullet repaired and trading it in on our 2008 27' International CCD FB. We are on our third trip to North Carolina with our AirStream and so far everything is good! We did get a new Chevy 2500 diesel it pulls the AirStream with no trouble at all.
Toyota make a very good truck, after pulling an AirStream for a few years I have found that it pulls far better than the box trailer ever did. So was the diesel really a must have to pull the AirStream, not really, the full size Toyota with the largest engine would do just fine.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #8
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2008 30' Classic S/O
Allen , Texas
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The classics are built with higher quality materials (solid hardwood millwork, corian countertops, high quality residential carpet, etc.) and larger volume utility reservoirs therefore, weigh substantially more.
We have a 30' classic limited w slide-out & tow with duramax 3500.

I drive a 5.7 Tundra- yes, its one hell of a half ton truck, BUT its not a HD full size truck. There's a BIG difference-- It would be irresponsible and dangerous towing a full size load with it... not to mention costly in gas.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:22 PM   #9
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Denver , Colorado
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Call Andy for sure. We were told our Expedition EL 4x4 could not pull a 30' International. Andy spent lots of time with us and we CAN tow with our TV. We will be purchasing our AS from Andy. The guy is a genius, genuine and super knowledgable! Good luck!!
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:27 PM   #10

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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Hey Potential....take that iffy wifey to a Rally.

They'll be no stopping you then.

Good luck in your adventure.

Sweet Stream's....

“We were young and knew we're old and everyone else knows everything.”

"It is more wiser to ponder all things with diligent suspicion, than follow with blind assumption."

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Old 05-18-2012, 06:58 PM   #11
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We are also retired and have spent the many years snow birding in the southern states, traveling throughout the southern states, but prefer the Southwest.

It is good to have a tow vehicle to get over the mountains, but much, perhaps most of your time will be spent with the trailer parked and the tow vehicle being your daily driver.

We tow with an 2006 Tundra 4.7 and it does fine, I take it easy up and down grades. I hate a pickup as a daily driver. Poor handling, hard on fuel, clumsy in traffic, a pain to park. We plan to downsize, not upsize, to a shorter wheelbase SUV type vehicle with independent suspension. Your Tundra would be more than adequate for towing in my world as a snow birder doing months away from home.

There is a "dangerous" aspect to all pickup trucks because of their poor handling in emergency maneuvers. But the safety considerations have been argued to death in previous threads with no conclusions, and I expect this one will go the same direction.

Andrew Thompson of CanAm RV wrote an enlightening article on tow vehicle suspensions the the last issue of "Airstream Life" magazine, the problems with solid axle pickup truck suspensions, and the effects of heavy duty truck suspension as a tow vehicle. Read it before you consider a larger truck and you may decide your Tundra will do fine for now.

doug k
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:34 PM   #12
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Gig Harbor , Washington
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Welcome, We tow our 25FB Flying Cloud with a 2011 Chev Tahoe. This is a relatively new set-up for us, but so far everything is fine. We ordered the Tahoe with the KSL Heavy Duty towing package which changes the rear end gears, adds a tranny cooler, Beefier alternator and I think a bigger radiator. Thr GCWR is 14,000 lbs. We use a Hensley Hitch and I cannot evaluate others as I have only towed with this. I love the Tahoe for a DD and it performs well towing. For us, needing a vehicle for two uses we feel like the choice was perfect. The 6 speed tranny has a tow-haul mode that changes the shift points and acts as a brake for downgrades. Another dependable source of info is Andy R at Inland RV.

Hope is not a plan.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:03 PM   #13
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If you want to safely tow a larger trailer get a large tow vehicle. If you have any handling issues the trailer will throw the truck around. My trailer weighs 8,000-9,000lbs loaded. The truck around 10,000 with the transferred weight from the trailer.
the trailer is 30 ft long the truck 24.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:28 PM   #14
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Spokane , Washington
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I have an '08 Tundra with the 5.7 and I tow a 25 FB. I don't have any experience with a trailer in the 30+ feet range but I can tell you that the Tundra pulls mine without any problems. You mentioned looking for something smaller and I really do believe that a 27 would be a very good match for the Tundra. The 5.7 is a brute and I have traveled all through the northwest, the west and even the southwest and get up and over every pass we faced. No problems with power or stability. I use an Equalizer hitch and have never had a problem.

All that said, you need to remember that the Tundra is a half ton and you will be limited to what you can carry, not so much with what you can tow if that makes any sense. Those that want to steer you in the 3/4 ton diesel direction have some good points but you might not really need one of these if you travel light and don't plan on packing lots of stuff in the back of the truck as you move down the road.

My advice would be to stick with the Tundra and give it a trial. Depending on which trailer you end up with you might be pleased with the combination. If the trailer is a large one and you feel the need to upgrade you will know that your decision to do so is a good one. You won't have to look back and wonder if you should have kept the Tundra. Just my two cents.

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