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Old 07-03-2006, 07:03 PM   #1
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Wink Looking to buy first Airstream

I recently sold my 2003 32ft. Itasca with only 8,000 miles on it. Too many problems, too expensive. Oil changes, heavy and no freedom to explore!

Would like to try out an Airstream. Went to Airstream.com and I think a 23-25 ft would do. Do not know the diff between International, Clasic or Safari (why so many?)
I have 3 boys (15,13 and 7) and use it for a weekend each month. I have no knowledge on towing and would like a SUV so the kids could watch a movie.
Anny suggestions?
Thank you, God bless.
Happy Fourth!
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:42 PM   #2
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I'd say Classic 25', the Safari 25 Six Sleeper or the International CCD 25 SS would fit you. The International is a little too modern for me with its bright aluminum walls and halogen lights everywhere but it does have a lower bed/upper bunk option, a booth dinette (does it fold down though) and the front sofa. The Safari 25 Six Sleeper in the standard models has either twins in the bedroom or a queen bed in addition to the front fold down sofa and fold down dinette. This just might be the right one for you depending on how big your kids are. The Classic is the starship of the line but it only has a rear queen and front sofa in the 25' and is much heavier. Print out the floorplans for all the 25' models and select the one that best fits your needs.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:07 PM   #3
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what SUV are available to pull the 25fter?
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by adotutu
what SUV are available to pull the 25fter?
A 1/2 ton Suburban would do a great job towing the 25 footer. You may want to look at the Safari 30' Bunk model, great set up for a family, but then you would need the 3/4 ton Suburban to pull it.

They are some fair sized dealers in Florida, I would suggest you load up the kids and head off to investigate what floor plan you really like.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:54 PM   #5
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This is a good place to be for information...

I really like our 2006 23' SE....the size is "just right"
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:01 PM   #6
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Welcome to the Forums adotutu! In the Safari line is the 25' FB (front bedroom). We ordered our's one year ago next weekend and love it. We did get the Special Edition LS -- panoramic window at the back, larger air conditioner, open-from-the-top windows for better ventilation, and on and on. davidz71 would correctly observe we have the bright aluminum walls and halogen lights -- I kinda like the clean look

The twin bed version of the 25' FB has 2 beds up front, the dinette that can be converted to a bed for maybe one person, and a long couch in front of the dinette. It would easily sleep four. I've seen the six-sleeper and it has a double bed in the rear corner, the convertible dinette, and the fold-down couch (gaucho) up front -- sleeping six would be pretty tight! Some of the better online photos are at Colonial Airstream but actually visiting a dealer with models in stock will give you the best idea.

I got rid of a highly touted 1/2-ton truck when I stepped up to the new 25' trailer -- tongue weight is just too much for most 1/2-ton tow vehicles. So I'd say you should not consider a 1/2-ton Suburban or a Toyota Sequoia or a Nissan Armada. Navigator is too small. The Suburban does come in a 3/4-ton (and GMC badgemate, the 3/4-ton Yukon XL) -- or else there are full size GM vans in the 3/4-ton capacity.
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:53 PM   #7
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There is always the option of an Ford Excursion or possibly an Expedition.
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:03 PM   #8
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The safari is the lower end (the most affordable). The classic is the middle of the line and the internation is the top of the line.
Your best bet is a good dealer.
I did a lot of reserach here and with dealers. I bought mine over the phone from a dealer in North Carolina. Two minor mistakes. Should have ordered the 40 lb Propane tanks and vinyl from the front to the bedroom.
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:03 AM   #9
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Read forums and ask questions

There is a lot of detail involved in deciding on the right AS for your needs. With the crew you have, you are probably going to end up in an AS that sleeps at least 5. A 25' model would be the shortest you should consider, and in my opinion a bit too small for your tribe when all of you have to be inside. (I have a 25' Safari Front Bed and it is perfect for two adults and two growing teenagers, in my case daughters)

As stated the Safari is the lower cost option, but it is also the lightest and therefore a little easier to tow. Mosy AS buyers with families choose the Safari models, that is why there are so many. Sonetimes the final choice comes down to "style".

Read forums, read more, kick tires, sit in, lay down and just hang out in the different units. TAKE YOUR TIME....its your money. Many AS buyers visit a dealer(s) a dozen times or more before they pull the trigger. There are models that dont show up on the Airstream Website, as an earlier poster suggested, Colonial Airstream (dealer) has a great website.

After you have done some more homework, come back to the forum and ask detailed questions, you will get answers quickly, a lot of nice folks online.
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Old 07-04-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
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You might also look into the 28' line to see if the dinette option is fixed or goes down to a bed. The 28' would give you a little more room but does not fix your problem if the dinette doesn't serve as sleeping quarters.

As far as a tow vehicle, I would not consider anything less than a 3/4 ton Suburban, truck or an Excursion (tank) with the 28'. I am pleased with my current '01 2500hd ext. cab with 8.1, Allison auto trans and 3.73 gears with my '86 25' Sovereign. A step up in torque would mean going to the Duramax or a Ford powered diesel truck/Excursion. An Expedition or other short wheelbase SUV may be a little squirrelly and not near as safe as the above combinations. Heck, even one of the attendees at our latest rally was pulling a new '05 23' Safari with a Ford ext. cab 6 litre diesel truck. He said it pulled it as though it wasn't even there.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:39 PM   #11
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The other thing is to consider storage space. Dependent upon the length of the trips you take and the fact of having kids, storage is always an issue. You will find that the various models have different forms of storage that may or may not be to your liking. There is a big difference.

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Old 07-04-2006, 02:18 PM   #12
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Welcome!

A couple of minor comments on messages above, and some ideas...

You didn't mention whether you were looking for new trailer and tow vehicle, or would consider used.. That makes a large difference in options and prices... Assuming new, the Classic is the "High end" and Airstream have redone to make all Classic's "Limiteds" with more interior decor and pricier.. Lot of fabrics and elegant kitchens, not needed for young family. The International CCD's are mid-range, with designer interiors featuring modern touches, and now account for 40% of Airstream sales. The Safari's are entry level, with more basic interiors, and lighter weights.

A 23' to 25' with separate shower and bath should be a good choice, but they can come with variety of sleeping options. The Front bedroom models have both couch and dinette area, where most of rear bed models offer front couch for eating. Over 25' gets expensive, and more challenging to tow, and restricted for use in some state and country parks with length limits...

As for tow vehicle, a Suburban 1500 (Half ton) with a tow package can be rated to tow up to 7200#, and that should work for up to a 25' trailer pretty well, especially in Florida with few mountains... An Excursion or 3/4 ton Suburban (model 2500) has additional capacity for long trips an high alttude. Most of us warn about using Yukon/Tahoe/Expedition for long heavy trailers mostly due to short wheelbase of tow vehicle, and possible swaying problems, though they are lighter and have as much towing capacity.

Looking at used trailers or tow vehicles makes choices harder, as many versions and floor plans are out there, in many different states of care. Mid 90's Suburbans are very cheap, and even 2000 and up models are barely $10 to $15K... Look at used options in classifieds here or www.airstream.net for some idea of choices..

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Old 07-04-2006, 04:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
As for tow vehicle, a Suburban 1500 (Half ton) with a tow package can be rated to tow up to 7200#, and that should work for up to a 25' trailer pretty well, especially in Florida with few mountains... An Excursion or 3/4 ton Suburban (model 2500) has additional capacity for long trips an high altitude. Most of us warn about using Yukon/Tahoe/Expedition for long heavy trailers mostly due to short wheelbase of tow vehicle, and possible swaying problems, though they are lighter and have as much towing capacity.
For being about the same length, my newer Safari grosses out about 1000# higher than my Argosy. Remember that any published trailer weight is usually for that base model and does not include options -- like the LS package that loads a spare tire up front. A late model 25' Safari can put you right on the cusp of exceeding a 1/2-ton tow vehicle's payload. Airstream lists 25' Safari tongue weights (without options) from 720-750#. Once you put a hitch bar in the tow vehicle (TV) receiver, weight distribution gear and full LP tanks on the A-frame, other options and personal gear aboard, I believe it is fair to say that tongue weight could add almost 1000# to the TV's payload. Exceed that payload and you risk TV durability, emergency avoidance, and braking even without a trailer behind you.

http://www.chevrolet.com/suburban/specifications/ lists payloads of 1,593/1,657 pounds for 2WD/4WD 1/2-ton Suburbans. The numbers are 2,561/2,272 pounds for 2WD/4WD 3/4-ton Suburbans. With one adult, two teens, a 7-year old and other personal gear inside a Suburban, a new 25-footer really puts a 1/2-ton right at the line of payload capacity. If an owner stays within payload capacity they most assuredly be within tow capacity and GCWR limits. Even more -- my GMC's manual states that tow capacity and GCWR are determined with a single person in the driver's seat and nothing else aboard the vehicle.

New trailer vs. old? Depends on whether ready-to-roll is prioritized above I-can-fix-it. But going back 15-20 years or more will bring you lighter trailers in the same length. Advice that is being repeated in a few posts is to go to a dealer, walk through and determine what you would like, then balance that "like" with a possible need to step up to a beefier 3/4-ton tow vehicle.
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
Most of us warn about using Yukon/Tahoe/Expedition for long heavy trailers mostly due to short wheelbase of tow vehicle, and possible swaying problems, though they are lighter and have as much towing capacity.
The GMC Yukon and Yukon XL are re-badged Suburbans if I recall correctly, so the 1/2- vs 3/4-ton arguments are identical. And are the GMC Yukon Denali and Chev Tahoe the same model under different badges? Denali and Tahoe are definitely short of wheelbase for towing into the mid-20' lengths.

Being more knowledgeable about truck options, I can say you don't need the biggest gas engines (8 liter gas for Chev/GMC or 10-cylinder gas for Ford. Gas hogs!!), nor do you need diesel for any of the Airstreams mentioned. But think carefully about the smaller 8-cylinder gas engines -- that might not be the best way to go. Having a 4.10 rear axle ratio would be best. Absolutely nothing lower than 3.73 in any case!
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