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Old 11-17-2007, 09:01 AM   #1
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Need Advice...Hope to soon be Airstream Owner

Ok here it goes...New to the site...Hubby & I have gained interest in one day obtaining an Airstream...looking at 16-20 ft trailers ...we have 2007 Toyota FJ cruisers (6 cyl.) that would be used as the tow vehicle...really like these vehicles... so do not want to trade for different type of tow vehicle...tow capacity on it is 5000 what would be the biggest trailer, that we could safely tow with them. Of course we are taking in consideration price, amt of use, there is only the two of us and our interested in what would be the best all around purchase for our size of tow vehicle...have read so many articles my head is spinning....we would be first time RV buyers...any advice would be greatly appreciated...

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:31 AM   #2
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FJ Cruiser

Personally, I would go no larger than a Teardrop. Eventhough the weight of the 18 ft. +/- Airstream is within your limit...remember that you will have a longer and much larger side profile "sail" pushing you along. You could be in for the ride......that first downhill run in with a crosswind or passing truck will convince you.
Its only an opinion.

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Old 11-17-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
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My tow vehicle is a 2004 4x4 Ford Ranger (6 cyl) with a tow rating of 5000 lbs. I have a 18 ft '61 Caravel. I use a weight distribution hitch with sway control that came with the trailer. I haven't had any problems. I used to live in Colorado at 9000 ft and towed from CO to MD when I moved. The sway control makes a huge difference. I wouldn't want to be on the interstate without it. I think 18 ft would be OK, but I don't know if I would go longer.

Kaye and Lynn
1961 Caravel
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:29 PM   #4
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Go to the airstream website and look at what they have and the weights of each and make an intelligent decision. Make certain you do not exceed the towing capacity of your truck.
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:41 PM   #5
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hi blue and welcome to the forums...

4 threads to get ya started...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:38 PM   #6
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2air covered the bases with the links.

the only thing i would add is make sure you understand that the newer trailers are a lot heavier that the older ones.

*by asking the above question,
i verify that i have already used
the search feature to the best of my ability...
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Read all of the links 2Air gave you. He's pointed you to the right stuff. As others have pointed out, vintage units are lighter than new ones.

The best advice I can offer after two years of fulltiming is that you don't just have to TOW your Airstream you have to STOP it. Downhill any trailer will tend to "push" the tow vehicle... and in a panic stop (deer runs in front of you, idiot cuts you off, etc.) you'll have to jam on the brakes and/or swerve... and pray. Your tow vehicle's size and wheelbase have a lot to do with your overall stability especially in tricky situations.

By all means try it out, you can always move up to a more robust tow vehicle, and a lighter duty one will work OK at least for a while, if you are careful about your speed, tire pressures, loads and choice of roads.

You'll also likely have your Airstrea for 20 years or more, so you WILL change tow vehicles eventually.

Have a great time looking, go to dealers and sit in the dinettes, lay on the beds and take a dry run in the bathrooms! You'll want to see a lot of Airstreams before you actually pull the trigger! Also check the "Rally" section below. Everyone at an Airstream Rally wants to show off their rig - they'll REALLY help you pick the right one!

Paula Ford
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:46 PM   #8
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Just got my new TrailerLife today and it shows a 23' safari being towed in the snow with a toyota. Its an interesting article, but he doesn't mention if he carried on board water. It would be nice to know how it worked in the low teens.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:03 PM   #9
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Welcome to the're in the right place to find the information you will need as you search for the perfect Airstream for yourselves... And there are many many threads and lots of input about tow vehicles, etc... (lots). I know with a FJ Cruiser you are going to want to go small and light... As others have pointed out, the older Airstreams are lighter than the newer ones, so that's a consideration... A good towing situation is critical to getting the most enjoyment and safety out of your make an informed decision...

You might want to check in with forum member CCD4US in a PM (personal message)...he tows a 16' CCD with an FJ Curiser and is happy with the combination... I'm sure he will be happy to share his ecperience with you...

Good luck, and hope you find your Airstream soon!
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:55 PM   #10
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You've gotten some very good information in the above posts. Keep in mind, the old you go, often the lighter the trailer. Get back into the vintage AS's and you'll find them much easier on your TV. Always keep in mind the total weight (trailer + TV), tongue weight, and all the other combinations you can think of. It will make you dizzy trying to remember all of them - check out the threads on weights and learn one of them each day - then, all of a sudden, you've got them. They are worth knowing.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:32 PM   #11
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Greetings from the frozen tundra of Northern Minnesota, and welcome to the forum. I do not have the time to read all of the posts but found your inquiry of great interest! We have a 19' safari (2005) and absolutely love it. The points raised about the "limits" of safe towing are of value... BUT... do keep in mind that the tow vehicle can be either a blessing or a curse regardless of your unit! The TV size & weight considerations lack a common snese approach. While I largely agree with them, the single biggest factor in your ability to tow successfully has more to do with your patience than anything else...

While I drive a large truck, the truth is, that if you can settle for slowing down on long upgrades, then you can tow with some confidence without investing a fortune, or suffering the pain of poor milage for the balance of the year when you are not towing your rig.

Our 19 footer is a joy to camp with and if I had to do it over again, I'd buy it all over again wihtout a hint of apprehension. Don't tow more trailer than you are rated for, but don't hesitate to pull close to your limit either. Just remember... If your on the outside edge of the TV rating... You have to exercise patience or you'll be miserable out on the open road.

Best of luck as you consider your options!!!

Again, welcome to the forum... This is the only place on earth where the strong opinions exceed the number of participants! Everyone is very passionate about their rigs and how to move them!

:-) Bill
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:56 PM   #12
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The generally accepted rule of thumb here is 80-90% of tow vehicle capacity is the maximum you should consider. So whatever trailer length you choose, choose one that weighs no more than 4,000-4,500 lbs. The closer you get to the 4,500 lbs, the smaller your margin for error gets. Bear in mind that the contents of the trailer counts toward that figure. You'll definitely need sway control and a weight distribution hitch. Good luck with your search.

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