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Old 06-10-2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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1996 28' Excella
Fort Dodge , Iowa
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Newbie Intro

My wife and I just purchased a 1996 Excella Classic 28'.
We have never camped or owned a trailer in our life!
We got the "bug" about 2 years ago, researched brands, and decided if we ever did own a trailer, it would be an airstream.
I am 57 and my wife is 55 years old.
We do not yet own a tow vehicle. I grew up on a farm in central Iowa, so I have experience towing grain trailers and water wagons with pick-up trucks. I am somewhat confused on what to purchase for a tow vehicle for this "new" airstream we now own.
At this point I don't want to spend the $30-50,000 it would take to buy new.
Frankly, I'd like to stay in the $5,000-10,000 range.
Would a Suburban be OK, or do I need a 3/4 ton pickup?
My wife and I are still employed, so for the next couple of years we don't anticipate traveling more than 100-150 miles for our outings.
Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2007, 07:58 PM   #2
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Newtown Square , Pennsylvania
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Hi Pineapple,
Welcome to the forums. This is a great place you've found to get answers and info on Airstreams. Being new to it too, I can't answer your TV questions but will anxiously await the more knowledgable to respond as I am also in search of a "previously owned" TV. Good luck and a hearty welcome!
George
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Old 06-10-2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pineapple
My wife and I just purchased a 1996 Excella Classic 28'.
We have never camped or owned a trailer in our life!
We got the "bug" about 2 years ago, researched brands, and decided if we ever did own a trailer, it would be an airstream.
I am 57 and my wife is 55 years old.
We do not yet own a tow vehicle. I grew up on a farm in central Iowa, so I have experience towing grain trailers and water wagons with pick-up trucks. I am somewhat confused on what to purchase for a tow vehicle for this "new" airstream we now own.
At this point I don't want to spend the $30-50,000 it would take to buy new.
Frankly, I'd like to stay in the $5,000-10,000 range.
Would a Suburban be OK, or do I need a 3/4 ton pickup?
My wife and I are still employed, so for the next couple of years we don't anticipate traveling more than 100-150 miles for our outings.
Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.
I like it! Just jump right in. Is that like "the cart before the horse"? The weekends are a little slow here sometime, so you may not hear much before tomorrow, but I guarantee you will get alot of advice in the next couple of days. In the meantime, welcome to the Forums, and have fun with the new toy.
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:07 PM   #4
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2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
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Hi, a hearty California welcome to you.
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think you'll find pretty broad concensus that with that age and length trailer, you should tow with a 3/4 ton vehicle.
As someone who has towed a 25' trailer with a much too small TV, I can tell you that it is frustrating, if not dangerous.
Good luck with your new trailer, and with your TV decision!
Dave
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:29 PM   #5
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1996 28' Excella
Fort Dodge , Iowa
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Hi to George, Ron & Debbie, and Dave! Thanks for the replies. Not only am I new to airstream ownership, I'm new to computers and the internet, so I don't know if I'm replying correctly.
Last year we put the "horse before the cart" -- bought a used (don't remember the exact year, around a '99) Ford F-250 w/powerstroke diesel, the theory being that it would tow whatever we ended up buying for a trailer! We were looking at some 34' airstreams at the time. At any rate, it was a pretty easy decision, after we looked around for a year or so, to settle on (not settle for) an airstream. I wish I had the same ease deciding on TV.
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:40 PM   #6
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1996 28' Excella
Fort Dodge , Iowa
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I forgot to mention that we traded the F-250 about a month after purchase (for a Camry) because we (read ME, not my wife) got freaked out about all the perceived expense and hassle of RV ownership and maintenance. I still apparently had the bug for an airstream buried deep within, so here we are!
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:01 PM   #7
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Mickleton , New Jersey
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The F250 would have been perfect/ I tow a 23 ft Safari with a Dodge Dakota, with the small V8. So far I have only towed in mostly flat lands. I really wished I had a 3/4 ton. Every camping trip we seem to bring more and more stuff. I bought my truck new a year before we purchased the Airstream. I always dreamed about buying a RV, and thought maybe I should buy a F250 or some 3/4 ton truck. Then figured it is only a pipe dream. Better buy a small truck. Sure enough I end up with an Airstream.

Larry
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:29 PM   #8
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I'm towing with a 'Burb...but it's a 2500

I'm towing with a 2500 Suburban, and I like it, but I've been thinking that a pickup truck might be a better idea. I've found that getting stuff out of the back of the Suburban can be a pain in the neck (back, legs, feet, etc.).

I'd get a tonneau cover with a good lock if I used a pickup. I also think that a SERIOUS traveler would probably prefer diesel to gasoline models, which rules out the recent Suburbans. Look for auctions, repos and on the internet in your area... bargains are out there for the watchful.

I wouldn't want a 1/2 ton vehicle with a 25 - much less a 27 foot Airstream. You could actually RENT a tow vehicle or get a friend to tow your Airstream to a campsight within reasonable reach of your home. Many campgrounds also have storage lots and will move your trailer from storage to a sight and back for $10 to $20 per trip. Start using the trailer while you are looking for a good tow vehicle and watch talk to fellow campers about their choice of tow vehicle.

Also be aware that the transmission and rear end are as important as the right engine choice.

Your best bets are anything in the Ford 250 family or the Chevy/GMC 2500 family. Of course if you find a great 1 ton, you can go for that too.

Welcome and happy camping.

Paula
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:47 PM   #9
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1996 28' Excella
Fort Dodge , Iowa
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Thanks for the reply, Larry! I am kinda kicking myself for selling the F250, since I of course didn't make any money (that's an understatement!) on trading it in!

I do have a couple of new questions to throw out to everybody, also: I had a dealer tell me that a lot of campers prefer a 4x2 TV to a 4x4, but he didn't know why. (Not a very knowledgeable person, was he?) Is that true, and why or why not?

Also, the airstream literature talks of how much more aerodynamic the airstreams are compared to other brands and how much easier they are to tow. Of course, looking at some of these huge 5th wheels coming down the road and the "face" they present to the wind, and comparing that to the airstreams, it is hard to argue that an airstream should tow easier. Since that is the case, would I not be able to get by with less of a tow vehicle for any given weight of an airstream compared to sob (some other brand)? Or does this only very narrowly relate to horsepower and torque necessary to get down the road and up hills, but ignores the fact that you are still towing the same amount of weight and trying to safely stop and control your combined tow vehicle and trailer, given that road and weather conditions are not always ideal and that there are sometimes a lot of stupid drivers (myself, sometimes) out there that you have to compensate for? Sorry for rambling on, and I think I may have answered some of my own question.
I would appreciate some real life experiences in response to the "how big of a TV" I really need. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:58 PM   #10
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1996 28' Excella
Fort Dodge , Iowa
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Thanks Paula! This is truly a great site for getting real world information from you who have "been there, done that".
Is there a specific reason you mentioned getting a tonneau cover as opposed to a topper? Would it relate to visibility? I had been thinking of a topper, because I could carry more stuff.

Keith
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Old 06-11-2007, 12:15 AM   #11
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With a 1996 28 footer, you really need something 3/4 ton to be a happy camper.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:32 AM   #12
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Thumbs up

You can get a preowned 3/4 ton anything and you'd be in great shape!
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