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Old 07-15-2006, 09:45 AM   #1
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1966 20' Globetrotter
St. Augustine and Denver , Florida and Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Unhappy brand, spanking new

Hi Everyone ,

I've been dreaming of owning an Airstream for years and thought I couldn't cause I had no place to store it. Well, I just found a place I can work on it for a reasonable fee and there's no stopping me now. I work on a private jet and can fly out of airports all over the country. I plan to sell my condo and live on the road for a year or two and save as much money as possible so I can then pursue artistic endeavors and leave my job.

Since I'm new to all of this, I'm starting at square one. I plan to buy no bigger than a 24ft travel trailer and would like to know what kind of vehicles can tow it (the smaller the better) since I'll have to buy that as well. I'm trying to keep my costs low. Also, I don't know how complicated it is to hook up the hitch. I've read about different types of hitches and don't really understand the importance of the height of it and other things. I'm a woman and want to know how much strength it takes and whether or not I can handle it alone. I would like to know how difficult it is to do mountain driving with a travel trailer since I plan to spend some time in Colorado

I live in Connecticut and plan to attend the Rochester, NH rally on Saturday Aug 19th for the vintage open house. I would love to hear from anyone near me and learn all that I can so I can make this dream come true.

P.S. Any good Airstream campgrounds in St. Augustine, Florida and Colorado?

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2006, 10:10 AM   #2
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1993 25' Excella
Beautiful , New Hampshire
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Welcome! We'll see you at the R1R Rochester!

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmtn
Hi Everyone ,

I've been dreaming of owning an Airstream for years and thought I couldn't cause I had no place to store it. Well, I just found a place I can work on it for a reasonable fee and there's no stopping me now. I work on a private jet and can fly out of airports all over the country. I plan to sell my condo and live on the road for a year or two and save as much money as possible so I can then pursue artistic endeavors and leave my job.

Since I'm new to all of this, I'm starting at square one. I plan to buy no bigger than a 24ft travel trailer and would like to know what kind of vehicles can tow it (the smaller the better) since I'll have to buy that as well. I'm trying to keep my costs low. Also, I don't know how complicated it is to hook up the hitch. I've read about different types of hitches and don't really understand the importance of the height of it and other things. I'm a woman and want to know how much strength it takes and whether or not I can handle it alone. I would like to know how difficult it is to do mountain driving with a travel trailer since I plan to spend some time in Colorado

I live in Connecticut and plan to attend the Rochester, NH rally on Saturday Aug 19th for the vintage open house. I would love to hear from anyone near me and learn all that I can so I can make this dream come true.

P.S. Any good Airstream campgrounds in St. Augustine, Florida and Colorado?

Thanks!
Welcome to the forums!

There many woman in the New England Unit (not me, I'm a big baby) who hook up and tow their Airstreams - some have pretty large trailers to boot. When you are in Rochester for the R1R Vintage Open House stop by my Airstream and I'll introduce you to some of these folks. I have a 93 Excella and my WBCCI number is 7032, it will be on plexiglas on the front window of my camper. You'll also know it's me when you see the tacky outdoor lighting and tiki bar (for the Alumination Celebration lighting display that happens on Friday night).
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Old 07-15-2006, 10:34 AM   #3
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1997 30' Limited
1972 23' Safari
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Transmtn, You will do fine,trust me.. Nothing to it..Just make sure you buy a Airstream!! Lots of nice 23 ft Safaris out there to buy. I cant tell mine is behind me at all.. Wt is about 3500 lbs. Its has been towed with a Mercury Mountionier with no problem at all...
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Old 07-15-2006, 11:20 AM   #4
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1973 23' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4201KW8G
Transmtn, You will do fine,trust me.. Nothing to it..Just make sure you buy a Airstream!! Lots of nice 23 ft Safaris out there to buy. I cant tell mine is behind me at all.. Wt is about 3500 lbs. Its has been towed with a Mercury Mountionier with no problem at all...
well...I have a 73 safari, and according to the service manual, the *empty* weight is 3800..."with typical options", its around 4000. (some slight differences between single and tandem axle, "twin" and "double" bed configurations). But the GROSS weight is 5800lbs. I see in your profile, you list a '72, which can't be much different. But newer models will be significantly heavier.
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Old 07-15-2006, 11:46 AM   #5
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Welcome to the Forums transmtn! Trailer weight data (online or in manuals) will give a tongue weight that will be up to 200 pounds short. These provided weights are for base models without options. My explanation is that you (or previous owner) will install a heavy hitch bar and ball in your receiver, will add weight distribution gear to the A-frame, and put propane in the tanks -- and all of this before you put any personal gear in the trailer. To decide on a tow vehicle (TV) you'll need to determine hitch weight. A scale is best but a rule of thumb is about 12% of the gross weight. In chuck's example of a 5800# gross, that would give a hitch weight of right at 700#. Your TV feels this as dead weight payload.

I've done this analysis so many times and want to get outside .... but here is a post I did just this morning with details on how to figure what a TV should be towing. I'm not saying that the analysis in that post pertains to your specific trailer or TV -- follow the post as an example of math you have to do in your case. Eyeball some TVs you'd like to drive, look at the mfgr's website to find payload under their model specs, and figure if your trailer tongue weight leaves any passenger load in your preferred TV.

Please ask questions back at this thread if this is too abbreviated an explanation.
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transmtn
I plan to buy no bigger than a 24ft travel trailer and would like to know what kind of vehicles can tow it (the smaller the better) since I'll have to buy that as well. I'm trying to keep my costs low.
hi transmtn and welcome to the forums......

the clipped quote above is so common
to potential buyers and new buyers
that it should be a thread in itself.....

length matters
but not as much as
living space arrangement, storage needs and intended camping/travel usage....

also understand that a/s fudges on all length issues since the tongue is included in the measure...
that's 3 feet or so LESS living space...
also a stated size may be 9-11 inches longer or shorter than the designated length.......

when it comes to selecting tow vehicles it's a little unfair because folks with the greatest experience towing and who've owned the most trailers and tow combos, see a larger range of towing options and don't need to rely entirely on published figures or other peoples dogma....

as a newbie, safety should be a top issue,
again along with travel locations, days/miles on the road and so on....

for example lots of folks end up with a 4x4,
which gets poorer fuel economy,
has a harsher ride AND
has less towing capacity......
just because they think they might, perhaps, maybe, could, sorta.....
see snow somewhere....
when in actual usage,
they never travel in cold weather or the slightest hint of foul weather,
and seldom leave the pavement......

there are many ways to succeed at this airstream game....
and not break the bank.....
-one way is find a trailer/tv/hitch matched combo for sale and just jump in a buy the whole works.....
now all ya need is learning to drive and tow!
many happy newbies have taken this route.....
and some not so happy.

-another way is attend lots of rallys like the one planned,
visit every airstream 'for sale' seen anywhere,
stop in every dealer and scour their inventory,
talk to everyone you think might be helpful...
do all this while keeping a notebook with your needs......
sort of like buying a first house/condo......
then start searching the classified ads for a trailer that meets your needs.....
there will be an endless number that are 'perfect'...honest.

there are plenty of ways to waste money toooooo.
-buy new
-buy too small
-buy new and too small
-buy the first one you see.....'it's a rare, yadda yadds'
-buy a fixer up'er that may take years to finally go camping..
-buy someone elses project......'we didn't have time to complete it'
-buy vintage that has been professionally restored/upgraded...
this can be a great way to buy but isn't thrifty
-buy any older trailer that needs floor work....which is buried, but critical
-all older trailers may need floor work....that is critical....

and so on.......

proably the least exciting
but most thrifty approach i
s a 70s-80s 2 axle model in the 25-28 foot range...
that has been used, keep current, most things are working,
but the plasticcoat outer finish is peeling or shot....
and the interior/color scheme is horrid, or the shag carpet stinks!

this sort of trailer is plenty common,
can usually be 'remodeled'
with new flooring, upholstery, window treatments...
and an appliance or 2....
oh and new tires, brake shoes and batteries...
and then be ready to go camping!

we love our diesel trucks and big suvs.....
but even 10 year old diesle models are holding prices well now,
so a mid 90s gas truck, or van from ford, dodge or the other guy
is the best 'value' right now...
as much as you might like a toy/onda/niss/vw or rover....
these will cost more and be less friendly for real trailer towing needs like
(brakes, trans, brakes, power, brakes, hitches, brakes, storage.......did i say brakes?)

then after you've paid the price of entry into the airstream world......
and enjoyed the camping, travel, freedom and attention airstreams are know for....
you can decide to upgrade to a brand spanking new 'everything' or
buy a vintage jewel, restore and kick back to the 50s......

good luck in the journey.......
and get inside a lot of airstreams soon!

dream the dream
and live the dream
that IS airstream

cheers
2air'
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