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Old 03-04-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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New Airstream, New Airstreamers

We are Mr & Mrs Toad, formerly of the UK and now resident in Southern Ontario.

We're six weeks away from picking up our new 28' International Serenity so thought it was time to introduce ourselves in the AIR forums.

We've been canvass campers for some time but with advancing years decided that we'd go for some comfort and luxury in the form of a travel trailer and Airstream was really the only way we wanted to go.

Being customers of Ontario's CanAm RV, we're going to be using a "controversial" tow vehicle but, with Andy Thompson's expert hitch fitting service, we're completely confident that we'll be safe and reliable. More of that in future posts.

We have a trip to Florida planned for the summer (Mrs T is a teacher so we're stuck with school holidays) but our shakedown trips will be local; fortunately we're well served by Provincial Parks and other friendly RV sites so we'll treat Ontario as our nursery before heading to the US.

We'll keep scanning these pages for tricks and tips and we'll also have a full blown blog once we take delivery of our Airstream, which will be known as "Towed Haul"; perfect for a couple of toads with a pair of tadpoles.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard! What are going to tow with? I love what Cam Am can do!
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
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Can Am Set Me Up Also

Can Am RV and Andy Thomson are good people. I bought my 2002 ASCL 31 foot from them. See my avitar. Got more than 32,000 miles on the assembly with just over 100,000 on the 2001 BMW X5 tow vehicle to date.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:18 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:24 PM   #5
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Welcome Mr & Mrs Toad from the UK. Wishing you the best on your new purchase and your first towing experiences. My wife is a teacher also. Florida is probably the last place that I would think about going in the summer. I have not been there in a long time, but I think that a trip to Niagra Falls would be in order and then go up to the tip of the Bruce Pennisula to Tobermory- now that is a neat place!

Dan
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:52 PM   #6
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Thanks everybody for the warm welcome.

In order, the tow vehicle is a 2011 3.5l Toyota Sienna, FWD Mini Van. At this point I can hear the collective gasps and "You can't tow a 7000lb trailer with a Mini Van!" but I think that with Andy Thompson's skills applied, that TV is more than sufficient for the task. Indeed, CanAm operates a FWD Town and Country in its test fleet and it deals with Airstreams very well.

Yes, Florida in the summer isn't the greatest prospect but we're on a promise to the tadpoles. We will be breaking the trip up with stops in Kentucky and Georgia on the way down, as well as Grayton Beach, New Orleans, Memphis and Knoxville on the way back so we'll not be in theme park hell for too long.

We'll be going to Niagara in July (almost as bad as Florida only not quite so hot) and to Tobermory (which I love) at some point later in the year. Possibly.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:44 AM   #7
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Here is a great blog one of our customers made about their trip to the North West Territories and the Yukon this summer. They tow with a Sienna as well, Theirs is a 2004 with the 3.3 Litre and 5 speed transmission the new ones have a 3.5 litre and 6 speed.

Not@Home: 8/1/10 - 8/8/10
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:03 PM   #8
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How can a van be used to tow a large Airstream? Wouldn't the tongue weight alone be an issue, and doesn't the tow capacity max out around 3500lbs?
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Congratulations Mr & Mrs Toad! You chose a fabulous trailer. Enjoy!
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:11 PM   #10
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Welcome Mr and Mrs Toad,
Enjoy your new trailer. My wife and I are recently retired teachers. Stop by if you change your minds about Florida and go west instead. Take the ferry across Lake Michigan to avoid the city traffic at the lower end of the lake.
Tim
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:20 AM   #11
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Thanks again for words of advice and assistance - this is a great group; forum even!

We'll head west next year although weather that will be west in Canada or the US remains to be seen; maybe out one way, back the other; the world (or rather, North America) is our oyster. I guess it would be possible to ship the Airstream to the UK but apart from it being a bit wide for British roads, we've spent all our money buying the beast!

Google Maps did an alternative route via the ferry from Leamington, ON to Sandusky when I was looking at going to Penn Wood; we might just try that!

I'm honoured to have Andy Thomson reply on here, given that I'm a big fan of his work at CanAm RV. I have read Anne-Grethe and Einar's Blog (JW passed me the link) and it's one of the reasons that we're very happy with our choice of tow vehicle.

Manufacturer's tow ratings are arbitrary and bear little relation to the vehicle's other specifications. I'm no expert in the field, although I have read extensively about it, but even a cursory glance at the Toyota Sienna's 2011 statistics will show that it outperforms it's stable mate the Tacoma in almost every (significant tow related) respect and yet has a tow rating some 2000lb less; how does that work? Sure, CanAm RV will provide a bespoke hitch and sway control as well as tweak the Sienna a little but the evidence of extensive testing at CanAm and the experience of many other customers prove that towing with a reasonably specified Minivan is not only possible but actually very practical. Of course, towing an Airstream helps, given it's aerodynamic properties. You'll note that I have this speech prepared as I'm certain I'm going to need it frequently as many fellow Airstreamers will tell me that I can't tow the beast with a Minivan - not that I mind, of course, it's a great talking point.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:35 AM   #12
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I think it's great that you are able to make it work with the Sienna. Do you expect any problems going over mountainous areas, such as the Rockies?
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:10 AM   #13
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I'm not expecting problems, other than having to take steep grades more slowly than those towing with big trucks. Overheating is a potential problem but there's been no reports of those issues with the Sienna, especially as one of the tweaks to the vehicle that I mentioned earlier is a big oil cooler. Anyway, I'm told that any time lost on the big gradients is usually made up for by having fewer stops at the gas station!
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:17 AM   #14
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Mr. Toad

I used to tow with a conversion van, where the acceleration was leasurely at best. However my biggest concern was the inadequate braking- I just had very little confidence in it. Hopefully your Sienna will have adequate braking. Leasurely acceleration is acceptable, inadequate braking is not. I am confident that you are in good hands with CanAm.

Dan
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