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Old 06-23-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
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New to the RV life starting right

Just put our deposit down this past week on a 27 International Serenity FBQ. We already own our tow vehicle a 19 GMC Sierra AT4 which should do the job(fingers crossed). We’re long time cruising sailors and now trying something new. Part time for a couple more years till I retire (again).

Original plan was a Class A decided more flexibility was worth exploring as we like National Parks and Forests. Off we go!
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:46 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Airstream owner's community and these Airstream Forums. You have a wonderful Airstream on order, and just the right size. Why? 'Cause I have a 27', but it is very old 1975. But still going strong, especially after my "overhaul".

There is always a big debate about pulling a trailer, or pulling a car. I like pulling the Airstream and I have a good friend who prefers pulling his car. I think it is a horse a piece.

Post some pictures when you take delivery. The Serenity is my favorite interior decor.

David
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:48 PM   #3
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I'd like to suggest that, instead of just diving in "fingers crossed," that you spend the time to do your research, including running the numbers, to see if your tow vehicle will do a SAFE job of towing your trailer. There's a ton of information on these forums about this. Not everyone agrees, but, you should be sure that you're a sure as possible that the calculations all work for your combo.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:36 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. You have made a good choice with a 27FB. That is a very livable floor plan.

Brian
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:45 PM   #5
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Welcome, Jon! I've been traveling in my 2017 International Serenity 27 FB Queen for two years now, and I love the rig. As long-time cruisers, you've got a good background for RVing. But of course there are differences. For one thing, an Airstream isn't built like a boat or wired like a boat. There's nary a Blue Sea switch or breaker panel in sight. ;-)

While Airstream's design is excellent and their materials are mostly of high quality (flooring excepted), their workmanship can be sloppy. Be prepared to go over your new rig with a fine-toothed comb before accepting delivery, and to take it back to the dealer repeatedly for fixes (unless you choose to do them yourself). I had a punch list several pages long, ranging from protruding screws to a water heater that wasn't secured at all, and stopped working on 120 VAC the second time I used it.

I ended up substantially rewiring my Airstream, partly to upgrade the electrical system (I now have 600 W of solar panels and a couple of large lithium batteries), and partly to replace substandard electrical gear with marine-grade cable and fittings. (Fisheries Supply must love me. ;-) I'm not the only one here who's done that sort of overhaul on a new Airstream.

Weirdstuff brought up a very important point: do not just cross your fingers and assume your Sierra AT4 will be able to handle your new 27FB. Read the specs, paying particular attention to the rear axle capacity. And don't believe Airstream's tongue weight spec. When I bought my 27FB two years ago, they were claiming 700 pounds tongue weight. Multiple weighings confirmed that my trailer's tongue weight was nearly twice that, despite extensive cargo repositioning--and I don't travel heavy!

I had a brand new Ford F-150 with Max Tow package, a truck that could have handled Airstream's specified tongue weight, but not what I actually ended up with. No amount of weight distributing hitch gear was able to stop the truck from "porpoising" annoyingly due to an overloaded rear end. The truck had plenty of pulling power, but not enough cargo capacity for my heavy-tongued Airstream. I ended up having to trade the F-150 for an F-250.

Don't make my mistake. Take Airstream's tongue weight spec and double it. Then make very sure your GMC truck's rear axle can handle it. I'm not trying to scare you off, just don't want you to end up in a costly or dangerous situation.

The International Serenity 27FB is a great, very livable floor plan. I'm sure that once you get past the shakedown cruise stage, you'll love it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdstuff View Post
I'd like to suggest that, instead of just diving in "fingers crossed," that you spend the time to do your research, including running the numbers, to see if your tow vehicle will do a SAFE job of towing your trailer. There's a ton of information on these forums about this. Not everyone agrees, but, you should be sure that you're a sure as possible that the calculations all work for your combo.


By the numbers it’s fine. I just don’t fully trust the numbers. It will be delivered with a Weight distribution hitch etc and dealer says they’ll set up right, we’ll see.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
Welcome, Jon! I've been traveling in my 2017 International Serenity 27 FB Queen for two years now, and I love the rig. As long-time cruisers, you've got a good background for RVing. But of course there are differences. For one thing, an Airstream isn't built like a boat or wired like a boat. There's nary a Blue Sea switch or breaker panel in sight. ;-)

While Airstream's design is excellent and their materials are mostly of high quality (flooring excepted), their workmanship can be sloppy. Be prepared to go over your new rig with a fine-toothed comb before accepting delivery, and to take it back to the dealer repeatedly for fixes (unless you choose to do them yourself). I had a punch list several pages long, ranging from protruding screws to a water heater that wasn't secured at all, and stopped working on 120 VAC the second time I used it.

I ended up substantially rewiring my Airstream, partly to upgrade the electrical system (I now have 600 W of solar panels and a couple of large lithium batteries), and partly to replace substandard electrical gear with marine-grade cable and fittings. (Fisheries Supply must love me. ;-) I'm not the only one here who's done that sort of overhaul on a new Airstream.

Weirdstuff brought up a very important point: do not just cross your fingers and assume your Sierra AT4 will be able to handle your new 27FB. Read the specs, paying particular attention to the rear axle capacity. And don't believe Airstream's tongue weight spec. When I bought my 27FB two years ago, they were claiming 700 pounds tongue weight. Multiple weighings confirmed that my trailer's tongue weight was nearly twice that, despite extensive cargo repositioning--and I don't travel heavy!

I had a brand new Ford F-150 with Max Tow package, a truck that could have handled Airstream's specified tongue weight, but not what I actually ended up with. No amount of weight distributing hitch gear was able to stop the truck from "porpoising" annoyingly due to an overloaded rear end. The truck had plenty of pulling power, but not enough cargo capacity for my heavy-tongued Airstream. I ended up having to trade the F-150 for an F-250.

Don't make my mistake. Take Airstream's tongue weight spec and double it. Then make very sure your GMC truck's rear axle can handle it. I'm not trying to scare you off, just don't want you to end up in a costly or dangerous situation.

The International Serenity 27FB is a great, very livable floor plan. I'm sure that once you get past the shakedown cruise stage, you'll love it.


If I double the tongue weight I’ll be in same boat you were, 3/4 ton needed. Other option maybe to add airbags but it all depends on how much over advertised tongue weight it ends up. Thanks for the other tips, I’ll do a very careful PDI
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:01 PM   #8
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Well picked up “Serenity” yesterday and did our first tow and night camping . All is good, the PDI was Ok no issues found and dealer did a great walk through. Set up the hitch everything checks out. Truck tows it just fine but do realize we are limited by how much we can put in the bed. So odds are a 3/4 ton will probably happen if the dealer makes it semi reasonable. All in all happy with the process and love the unit.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:36 AM   #9
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Welcome Aboard....👍

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonDNC View Post
If I double the tongue weight I’ll be in same boat you were, 3/4 ton needed. Other option maybe to add airbags but it all depends on how much over advertised tongue weight it ends up. Thanks for the other tips, I’ll do a very careful PDI
Air Bags will do nothing for tongue weight or towing ability, only reduce the rear end 'squat'.

Spec tongue weight for our AS 860# actual loaded for camping...1200#

Make sure of tire and axle load ratings,(on the door sticker). Payload is finally determined by actual load on the axles and tires. 🤓
The drivetrain will tow it.👍

Bob
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:53 AM   #10
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Thanks, learned that (air bags/helper springs) as I was doing research. We are within specs but just. So understand the trade offs just do I wanted a better around town truck or a better tow vehicle.. not sure I can have both as 2500 is bigger than my current.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:40 AM   #11
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New to the RV life starting right

Just to close the loop I decided to upgrade the truck now while I still got max trade in on the AT4. Going with an F350 Platinum as the cost for that was a minimal increase over the 250 and I couldn’t tell the difference driving empty. No load issues now
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:15 PM   #12
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I have a F350 too. It has been a great tow vehicle for us. The "one ton" option anymore is just the helper springs and the badging. I think my 350 was about 1000 more than the 250. The helper spring doesn't come into play on my truck until I load it up good.

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Old 07-26-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
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First trip with the new TV. It’s great. Long term right decision.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:49 PM   #14
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Bandits Roost campground Corps of Engineers. On a reservoir. NC.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:58 PM   #15
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Sweet.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:07 PM   #16
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I have a F350 too. It has been a great tow vehicle for us. The "one ton" option anymore is just the helper springs and the badging. I think my 350 was about 1000 more than the 250. The helper spring doesn't come into play on my truck until I load it up good.

David
Hi

There are a number of upgrades on both the F250 and the F350 in terms of springs and payload. If you "load up" the F250 with all the payload options, the step to the F350 is a couple hundred pounds. Indeed you can add more this or that on the 350 to take it further.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:18 PM   #17
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We got the F350 we should not run out of payload. Right now not even close.
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Old 07-28-2019, 06:24 PM   #18
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Thanks for the pictures of your new Airstream and new tow vehicle. You are all set for 30+ years of Airstream adventures.

David
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