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Old 07-02-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
Kd9
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Henderson , Nevada
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New Owner in Nevada

So new that our Airstream hasn't been delivered yet! I fell in love with the new Eddie Bauer edition online, but there wasn't a dealer that had one in the entire state. Our choices were to go to Irvine, CA or Pismo Beach, CA. We were going to drive to San Francisco for the 4th of July weekend, so we made a slight detour to Pismo Beach. Once we were there we were overwhelmed with all the terrific Airstreams, both motor homes and travel trailers, but when I sat down on the sofa of the 30' International I KNEW I was home.

Now only one slight difficulty. Our Ford Explorer V8 is not rated to tow a 30' trailer. So we need a REAL tow vehicle. We have been suggested everything from a Toyota Tundra to a Dodge with a Cummings diesel engine, Alison transmission and air brakes, but we are at a loss. We have two weeks before our wonderful new Airstream is delivered, so we will be frantically looking at TWs both new and used. Any suggestions? I can't wait to take this dream on the open road!
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:21 PM   #2
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You have an SUV so if you want to stay in that class, look at a 3/4 ton Suburban or Yukon XL. It will tow it and in comfort.
Congrats on your Airstream!
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:25 PM   #3
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If you will be doing a lot of mountain towing (like us) then you'll want a 3/4 ton diesel with exhaust brake. We love the way our Sierra 2500HD tows our 34' AS.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. Congratulations on your new baby!

As to your tow vehicle dilemma, a properly set up half ton will do the job, but you will be much happier with a 3/4 ton something. We pull our Lucy with 3/4 Suburbans. The do a good job with Lucy's 7,400# girth.

Ford has a new 6.2 liter gasoline V-8 that may be worth taking a look at. I believe that Dodge only offers a diesel in their 3/4 tons. Any of the diesel offerings are more than adequate for the job.

Do your research, and don't go with something that is not up to the task. Remember that an inadequate tow vehicle is the major cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

Brian
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
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Hey in Nevada ( We lived in Reno in the 70s)- We just went thru the same exercise as you. Our good old GMC 1500 Sierra was not up to the task of pulling our recently purchased 30' Excella up hill. I search CarMax and found a great 2500HD 6.6 Duramax Allison Chevy. We just got home from pulling 8,000 miles in 23 days with the "new" truck. WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

Brian is right. Get a 3/4 ton minimum and diesel if you want real performance. The Duramax didn't even know the AS was back there most of the time.

We talked to everyone in the neighborhood about Ford vs. Dodge vs. GM. The consensus was buy GM for long term reliability. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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If you are buying for towing mostly and have the funds a 3/4 ton is the way to go. I personally prefer a truck because I can put stuff in the bed that I would not want in a van or explorer with me.; Like the generator, gas cans, wet waders. etc.
Gas or diesel is a question. We have put 93000 miles on our 3/4 ton diesel in 4 years and love it. But we know people who understand these things that have bought gas engines in a 3/4 ton and like them also. Pretty much the 3/4 ton trucks are all pretty good. I think right now the ford diesel looks awfully good for milage. One friend bought the diesel and another the gas. Both are happy. We drive a Dodge Rides rougher, but a lot cheaper up front.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:13 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your swift information. We will definitely go for a 3/4 ton, as I do not want to waste money on an inadequate machine. I'm still a little leery of diesel as I know that not all "gas" stations carry it. But if it is the best choice, I will find the stations that do carry it. I want to USE the Airstream. In fact that is my deal with my husband. If it sits for a year, we will sell it. But I don't think that will be the case. Already our friends in San Diego want us to come visit as soon as possible. They really want to see it (and us).
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:03 AM   #8
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Here's what we got when we picked up our AS: Ford Excursion Limited (2001)

They don't make em' any more - 2005 was the last year...

We didn't want to take a chance on a used diesel, so we kept our eyes out for a V10 gas, and found a super deal - ours had about 111K on the 'clock', and we have about 145K miles, a bit over two years later - still going strong!

When we wear this one out (if ever), we'd like to get an 05, V10...

Our 2001 model is a great tow vehicle for our AS - with the long wheel base, 4X4, and heavy 3/4 rated frame, we feel in control all the time...no 'tail wagging the dog' here!

We do have to slow down a bit going up the steep roads in the Sierras, but with power to spare!

We get between 9.5 and 11 mpg on the road depending on the terrain, speed etc... totally acceptable to us for the comfort and (perceived) safety of the large chassis...

What ever you select, have a great time with your new 'toy'...!

BTW - we were up your way this spring after visiting Death Valley, we trekked North up through western NV to Carson for a few days visit...we had fun on several o'night stops in NV's 'outback' along the way...! Beatty, Goldfield, Lida, Dyer, Wellington - there's still lots to explore in Nevada!

And of course, Bonnie Claire Dry Lake:
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:55 AM   #9
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One more thought -- on our 2500HD (diesel) the fuel filler accomodates the big truck diesel nozzles which allows us to use the truck lanes at a truck stop. This eliminates the problem of trying to get a long trailer into a regular gas station. We fill at the truck stops at least 1/2 of the time and it is easier with the long trailer attached,
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techiej
One more thought -- on our 2500HD (diesel) the fuel filler accomodates the big truck diesel nozzles which allows us to use the truck lanes at a truck stop. This eliminates the problem of trying to get a long trailer into a regular gas station. We fill at the truck stops at least 1/2 of the time and it is easier with the long trailer attached,
We like that feature of our 2500HD, too. Those giant nozzles fill fast. What I don't appear to understand are the conventions and protocols of using the truck lanes at Flying J, Pilot, and Loves on our recent 8,000 mile trip out West. We could not use our credit card to pay-at-the-pump. When I went to the service desk to give them my card they often would not take and hold it. They wanted me to estimate how much diesel I wanted to pump. More than one service desk person treated me like I was bothering them. What is it I don't understand ?
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:09 AM   #11
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Diesel fuel is very well distributed and easy to obtain. Many truck stops are fairly easy to refill in. I stay away vrom the main truck lanes on the very big truck stops. You can refill when you are unhooked. The diesel-gas decision is more about costs. The diesel gets much better milage. But it costs quite a bit more up front and is a bit more expensive to maintain and to repair. And diesel fuel costs more. Currently resale value for the diesel is better than for a gasser. And no, I would not buy a used diesel. The warranty is important. Fuel milage will probably be about 7-10 with gas and 12-15 with diesel while towing. Our diesel gets 17 around town not towing and 21 or so on the highway at moderate speeds. Our ford 150 we pulled with before got 9 towing and 17 on the highway. We have put 93000 on it in 4 years, so the fuel difference has been pretty good. On the caravans we have been on we have seen airstreams being pulled just fine with a very wide variety of tows. I think it comes down to how much you are going to pull it.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:12 AM   #12
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Depends upon the station. Some will hold, some will want to swipt with an estimated amount on a pre-authorization.

If you do use a Pilot or Flying J be sure to get their RV Rewards card which will get you a very small (1 or 2 cent/gallon) discount but after 500 gallons you can use it to pre-authorize at the pump. You should also let them know you are driving an RV/private rig.

On our last rig (a 40' DP) we used truck stops almost exclusively and also found the wide variance in how each station operates.

Also, after filling be sure to pull forward far enough to let the next truck get to the pump and then go inside to settle-up.

Last thoughts -- in Oregon where normally an attendant must fill you fill yourself at a truck stop; in Arizona you pay more per gallon due to the way they structure the taxes; in almost all locations/states the price for credit is different than for cash but my understanding is that soon the Pilot/Flying J (with their rewards card) will get you the cash price even when paying with plastic. They used to do this before their merger.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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The day we picked up our new Airstream and brought it home, we knew our Ford Explorer V8 wasn't up to the task so we bought a proper TV right away. We're very happy with our Dodge Cummins. It's quite the efficient machine and tows with ease. The in-line six is simple with far less moving parts than V8 diesels. We have never, ever had trouble finding diesel on a road trip. I believe all diesel TVs have larger fuel tanks for a longer range, also.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:41 AM   #14
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One word cummins. Understand I am a Dodge guy, mopar muscle car guy. But if the cummins was in a ford or chevy I would buy it. The in line engine is built for a torque curve, not Horse power curve.

I have a 96 diesel with almost 300K on it and a newer 05 diesel dually and both have been great. My dually hauling a lot gets me 16 mpg easy. And empty with my 6 speed I am at almost 21 MPG.

I prefer manual trans but that up to you.

Dave
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