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Old 12-21-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
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Greetings and hello with questions

I am new to the forum and looking at purchasing an Airstream 23' or 25' in the near future. Unfortunately l am quite a distance from a dealer so I have to rely on pictures and specs to decide on a model. A few months ago I purchased my tow vehicle, a 2009 Ford F-150 V8 4.6L3V with the tow package. The combined weight rating is 14,900 lbs.; tow capacity 9500 lbs.; payload 1548 lbs. So I believe I could handle either length. Now for some questions.

Never having owned a TT I have some questions on fit for my expected usage. I have read pros and cons of others in the same dilemma on forums but I do not always hear a resolved decision. Naturally bigger is considered better but it costs more, is harder to pull and I do not want to just go bigger if it is really not needed. The new 23FB offers a twin sink as some complained about in early posts about the one round sink, queen bed, a large bathroom and nightstand - all things that early posters complained about not having in anything below 25'. The 25 has the midpoint bathroom, larger fridge, etc. I need some help.

EXPECTED USAGE: I plan to use the TT for two purposes - 1) two week trips or some shorter stays locally and 2) 1-2 month more remote locations in the summer - alone. Now, It is only me 5'8" most of the time. Two week trips may occasionally include older parents for trips - 5'2" and 6'.

Question 1: Those that have the 23FB, what is the actual depth and measurement of the dual sinks in the kitchen? Anyone that has the single round sink 23 or 25 model, how deep is it and what is the diameter?

Question 2: What is the square footage of the rear bath in the 23FB? Is there room to dress in the bathroom?

I am curious on the living area too. Airstream recommended that for my usage the 23D might be the best choice. Oh, and also one poster said you can make the dinette a mini couch? Anything you can tell me would be great and any comments on solo usage, accommodating guests once in a while and the layouts would be great. I am leaning toward a 23 model for many reasons including mpg and perhaps another TV in the future, but am still open to ideas to learn more about these Airstreams and, perhaps I will be joining you owners in the near future. Thank you for your comments!
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:45 PM   #2
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You up for a road trip? The Canopener Rally in Destin, FL (about a 9 hour drive) is the 6th-9th of January. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. There will be over 60 units there of all sizes and age. Lots of personal experience in one place. Maybe not the exact units you are looking at but there will be versions of all types there. Join in the fun - you will be welcomed by all. Open house is on Saturday.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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We went from a 20' Airstream to a 25' and could not tell the difference in towing mpg or handling with our 4.7 Tundra. The reason is there is not much difference in overall weight when you consider the whole package, truck, trailer, and gear.

You mention remote travel. The 25 has far more water, sewer, and grey water storage than the 23. The 25 is the smallest of the large trailers. It is longer, wider, and more spacious than the 23.

For what you are planning, the 25' would be a good fit.

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Old 12-21-2011, 09:35 PM   #4
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I honestly think that way too much is being made of the round vs. rectangular sink. It becomes very much a personal preference. In my case I removed a dual basin sink and replaced it in favor of a round one, much like AS puts in their new rigs. It is 20" in diameter and about 7 inches deep (from memory). The old dual one was too small to hold a normal dinner plate easily for washing. I love the new one, size and the way it looks. Again, personal preference.

I have had about every size AS, from a 16' Bambi to 25' ones. I think I have had 17 AS products, including two Motorhomes, a 24' and a 31'. One 25' TT I had was great, open and spacious feeling. It had twin couches which made up into beds. The other 25', which had twin made up beds in the center, had no living room space at all, and was cramped for living, dining, and kitchen access. On that rig, too much space was taken up by the fixed beds in the center, which were only used for sleeping. I had a 23' which seemed larger than that second 25'. My all time favorite is my current 20' 1974 Argosy which fits this single guy to a T. It also has a couch which makes up into a bed. It has been extensively modified and includes an easy chair, which I love.

Wish I could give you more input, but I don't know the current plans well enough to really make comments. I do know I like good countertop space in the kitchen, and do not care for made up beds. I like the dual purpose bed/couch system, which uses the bed space all day as a couch and the bed does not just sit there taking up valuable space in a small rig.

Last comment: I looked at a 19' Bambi about 2008 year I think. It had a horid made up full bed in the corner which was useless for anything but sleeping. It had no counter space at all for meal prep. It had a tiny refrigerator. It had no real place to sit, other than the dinette. It cost $50,000. My old Argosy, one foot longer, had far more counter space, a dual purpose bed/couch, and room for the easy chair. it was tired but with $6000 in renovations, including new axles, tires, furnace, refrigerator, hot water heater, carpet, plumbing and electrical systems I got a trailer which fits me very very well.

You really do need to visit a lot of AS trailers and get a feeling of how they might work for your life stile. Some you will like, some you will not like, but it is important not to spend a bunch of money on a plan you are not happy with in the long run.

Best to you on your decisions.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:53 PM   #5
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It really is going to all depend on you. You're the only one who knows how you travel and live. Some people would go nuts living in a 20' trailer, because it's too small. Some people think a 23' trailer is too small to vacation in, much less full time!

I spent a fair amount of time in the new models trying to figure out if I could live in a 19' trailer, and it was the ideal layout for us, due to quite a few things; not least that a bed where we have to crawl over each other to get out of it is not a possibility for us. I already knew from past experience that I didn't want to have to put the bed away every day in order to have somewhere to eat or sit. I don't need or want an easy chair, I just need somewhere to eat, sleep, and work.

I already know I'm going to use the full time bed as a lounge area during the day when it's two of us, because my partner will need most of the dinette area to work, and I can knit in comfort on the bed set up as a lounge. If I want a bigger place to sit and don't need the table, the dinette turns into a lounge, and also a bed for guests.

And after four years of traveling and living out of one 20" suitcase and a carry on, the 19' is going to feel roomy!

I also wanted a trailer with a small convection/microwave oven, because I intend to do a lot of thermal cooking and a lot of baking.

We could not afford a new one, and I lack mechanical skills/aptitude, so we got a 2008 19' Safari SE, and pick it up in about 3 weeks, we're so excited! And it has a convection/microwave oven. Not so new we couldn't afford it, but not so old that the first thing to have to happen is to strip out the inside and install everything new, either.

It's not quite perfect, as I still need to figure out the solar set up and wifi/net connectivity issues. I figure that'll be time spent getting to know the trailer.

Take Clancy Boy's advice and go visit a rally, go get into some trailers, go check out SOBs even if you're sure you want an Airstream, talk to owners in person and ask lots and lots of questions. People here are sooo helpful and lovely, as well, so ask away here; you can't ask any stupider questions than I have!

BTW, don't worry too much about mpg. An A/S is aerodynamic, and once you get moving, there's not a whole lot of difference between trailers except for the extremes of the lengths, from what everyone says.

Welcome to the forums!
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:57 PM   #6
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comments so far

Thanks for the tips and the invite. I have scheduled a trip the week after though not to a rally but a huge RV show in Tampa FL. I also was made privy to a new Winnebago One TT and a Galileo Trailer that a sales guy mentioned might be something to consider. Yes your 19' sounds nice. I have to say that I really liked the rear kitchen layout and all the counter space in the 20' I got to see in a brief visit to a dealer once. One concern I have is the weight of trailers and their vehicle requirements. The costs of fuel and other things can effect so much. When shopping for a tow vehicle I felt forced to go with a pickup for overall towing weight. I have always been an economy car owner so the 15/20 mpg I get with the truck is a WOW. One person owning two vehicles is an expense. My VW sportwagen tdi is 32/44 mpg but can't pull anything. Yes, I need to spend time in a 23 and a 25 to see the difference. It is hard to say. Cooking takes counter space. I stayed in a Britz Sprinter van camper for two weeks and it was ok. There was a 12x12 countertop I believe. That was rough and no place to sit and eat other than the drive section if I remember, or on the bed in back.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:06 AM   #7
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First off welcome to the forums, your in the right place for research and help, with that said everyone will have their own preference when it comes to the "best" size of TT. It sounds like you have narrowed it down to the 23" and 25", which are both very good sizes. I have a 19 Bambi CCD and love it for what we use it for, weekends and a couple 1-2 week trips a year. The 23" is one of my favorite sizes if I were to move up but it does have some limitations due to the smaller holding tanks. The 25" is the most popular size due to the bedroom and larger split bathroom as well as its wider and has larger storage tanks. The rv will be helpful but Bates RV in Tampa has a ton of trailers that you can sit in (without tons of people going through) and imagine how you can use the space, Lay on the bed, lay on the lounge, sit on the throne etc. it's a big purchase so it's important to do it right the first time. Also once you get a feel of what you want you might consider used, I saw (sold already) a used 2011 23 D CCD for sale for 42,000 and that was a great deal! The person selling it was taking a huge hit! As for the Winnebago its a huge trailer that looks more like a house and I have to admit I like the look of the Galileo, the 21 is nice but I still prefer a dedicated bed. Also price it out with the long list of options and check on their reputation and warranty repair history. Good luck and keep us posted in what you decided to buy!
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:27 AM   #8
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

"It is only me 5'8" most of the time."

If it's 6'+ the rest of the time I would make sure the sleeping accommodation's are sufficient in whatever size trailer you choose.

I'm 5'11" all the time and our 25' has been the perfect choice.

Bob
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:39 AM   #9
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Wow,I am not sure the 4.6 engine is up to the task.What rearend gear ratio does it have???
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #10
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Like others have said, it is up to you, but we are glad to give our opinions too. It is a good idea to go to an RV show, especially if there will be Airstreams there. Also go to a dealer and look around. After checking them all out, you will probably be overwhelmed with choices, so give it some time and then go back and look again. And bring a friend who will give his or her opinion because you may suffer an attack of aluminitis and want to buy one right away.

We like the double sink and they had them in the 25' FB Safari for '08, so there are probably used ones for sale. I'm not sure when they went to the round sink in the 25' FB, maybe 2009. Then the same trailer was called a Flying Cloud in 2009, but they are the same as the Safari. I can't remember what sink they had in the same years in the International. I think they had the double sink in 2007 or maybe before. We have a smaller dish drainer in one side (it just fits). With the round sink you need a drainer on the countertop, so you lose space that way. Our kitchen has a fold down/up extension shelf to the right of the sink which provides more counter space—good for dirty dishes about to be washed or other items. The round sink does not have this—I think that shelf is behind the sink, sort of in the way of the door. The shelf in ours narrows the passageway between the kitchen counter and the gaucho, but is not a big problem. The round sink is pretty, but not too practical we think.

We also added space by removing the gaucho cushion next to the wardrobe wall (under the TV) and putting in a small cabinet for the microwave and a printer for the laptop. This added more counter space too. This means the gaucho can't be used as a bed, but you'd still have the dinette.

Like everyone, we struggled to find the right size and checked out many trailers until we agreed on what was best for us. The 27' was tempting, but bigger than we figured was practical for smaller spaces at gov't campgrounds and cost $4,000 more (the difference may be greater now). When we first got the 25', we worried we would feel cramped, but we got used to it and last year we spend 8 weeks in it on a trip to Alaska and did fine. Sit on the toilet—some models felt cramped and my knees would hit the door or wall. Same for beds—the double beds are small (all RV beds are smaller than the same type (double or queen) for a house.

The bed length is too short for some, including me, even though Bob Cross is fine with it and an inch taller than me (he must sleep with his head against the wall). There's a trick to make the queen bed longer with very little money (maybe $10 and up depending what you have to use), so if you have 6' days, PM me how to do it.

You can buy from a dealer anywhere and they will bargain over the internet. Some will deliver, although I'd go there to pick it up and check everything out first. Or you can check classifieds until you find the right used one. Many Forum members will inspect them for you, but for a good deal, you'll have to move fast.

Moflash raises the same question I wondered about. I don't know much about Ford engine options, but a 4.6 L sounds comparable to the Tundra 4.6 engine. People tow a 25' with the 4.6 Toyota, but the 5.7 L Tundra is better suited to it. Perhaps other Ford owners with that engine will post about their experiences. The 4.6 may be slow going up steep grades since it has less than 300 hp and 320 lbs. of torque. I expect people tow 25's with this engine, but more use the bigger Ford engines and some are buying the Ecoboost V6.

Get it right the first time. Finding the one you buy is too small (that happens more often) or too big is very expensive if you have to sell it, probably at a loss, and buy a different one.

Gene
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #11
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Moflash said: "Wow,I am not sure the 4.6 engine is up to the task.What rearend gear ratio does it have???

According to the tow guide it is. I show a 4.6L 2V and a 4.6L 3V. I have the 3V. There is quite a difference in the two output-wise according to the guide. The 3V is H.O. 292hp/320 ft lbs. with a 6 speed tranny. the other 4.6L is 248 hp/294 ft lbs with a 5 speed. I have the 3.55 final drive with the 9" rear axle. The guide shows the towing on my model properly configured (and it is) at 9500lbs. with a payload of 1548 lbs on the door sticker. I haven't towed with it but it certainly is supposed to take the weight of either the 23 or 25' models. Yes, Gene you are correct in that it is similar to a Toyota powerplant but I actually looked at a Tundra to purchase and what I found was lower payload and tow capacities. My thought is that it will do it. See this video on the 4.6L3V and towing:

2010 4.6L 3V towing comparison - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

Still though, thanks for the feedback on the trailers. This is great!!
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #12
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Your truck will not know the difference of 23' to 25' Airstream, but you will when camping.

In Florida your truck will be as good as any. If you venture onto higher country plan to shift down and a speed reduction on steeper grades. No big deal.

I always disengage overdrive when towing with the 4.7 Tundra to prevent frequent downshifting and transmission damage. No difference in mpg.

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Old 12-23-2011, 09:58 AM   #13
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Tow vehicle

@moflash

When I was shopping for a tow vehicle I relied on towing guides and dealer info. The first almost purchased vehicle was a Tundra 5.7 liter 2007. It was powerful but when I pulled the tow and payload specs I was surprised at the lower figures. But more than that there was a shaking vibration feel. So, I tried another and found the same feel. Then I checked out the Ford. There are two 4.6 Liter engines - 2V and 3V. The 3V is like the Tundra 4.6L 292HP/320ft lbs. I have the 3.55 final drive. The tow weight rating is 9500 lbs. and the payload is 1548 lbs. It should be strong enough. The dealer told me that more is better but that if you buy bigger you are always burning more fuel and potentially not needing the extra power all the time. Again, I have not pulled with it and I appreciate you comment. The towing guide states that I should be more than fine though. It has a 6 speed tranny which is also different than the 5 speed 4.6 2V. Check this out on the 4.6L 3V and towing. I also have the trailer brake controller.

2010 4.6L 3V towing comparison - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:17 AM   #14
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@dkottum I am sure. One of the things that really sold me on the Ford truck, remember I was strictly shopping to tow, was the integrated towing features. The transmission has this tow mode, the truck has sway control and brake control too. I found these two videos later on right before I bought and then went and bought looking for issues the truck. I too think that I may be fine. It has the oversized radiator and tranny cooler, etc. On the trucks:



You can probably tell that I research heavily but where I have been able to find out info on trucks, I have not found much on trailers. I am certain that it is not all just opinion and preference on trailers. There is an optimum (not perfect) that I hope to find.
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