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Old 05-27-2015, 05:54 AM   #1
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Hi Folks, we are so new, we're still in the fetal stages. I started out looking at campers on Craigslist and decided there was a lot to learn. Within days, my search had led me to googling "what's so special about Airstream?" It didn't take long then to find this forum. I've been lurking for several days on the forums and have gleaned some good info. There's no question now that we want an airstream. That's a beginning, right?

My dh and I are moving cross country. We are storing our belongings and want to travel across in a trailer that we can then live in while we find property and build. We would like to find something we can pull comfortably with a 2004 Toyota Sequoia. I love projects, but dh does not. We will consider both new and used, but being our first trailer of any sort, I'm wondering what we should be looking for/avoiding. Any suggestions are appreciated. I'm really looking forward to being here.
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Old 05-27-2015, 06:37 AM   #2
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I think what you are going to find is that the Airstream is a higher quality with less stuff that goes wrong.

Not to say there aren't some good trailers in the world, cause there are .. Jayco, Lance to name a couple. But nothing with quite the style, that's for sure.

I'm here because I became tired of stupid things breaking, like electric steps that stop opening, slides that get stuck out leaving you stranded, and so forth....

Airstreams hold their value much better, but cost more to start with.

It sort of boils down to how long do you plan to keep it? Are aesthetics / zen very important to you? Do you appreciate smart, yet simple design in systems and furniture?

RVT.com and RVtrader.com are both great places to lay down some research on multiple makes and models.

Spend some time getting your head wrapped around the concept of "Payload", "Tongue Weight", "Towing Capacity". Somewhere, probably in the door jamb of your car, is a sticker. It's going to tell you that your carrying capacity should never exceed xxxx lbs.

That weight is the most you can load straight down. This includes the weight of both of you, a full tank of gas, whatever else you load in the car + the weight of the trailers tongue. Airstreams seems to hover in the 400 to 800 lb tongue weight. So say your sticker says 1800lbs, subtract the tongue weight, your weight, gear weight. If you end up with a negative number, thats bad.

Your hitch assembly should also have a sticker. It will say "class iv" (or V, or III, or II, or I) and will also say WC #xxxx / WD #xxxx

This tells you the tow capacity both "weight carrying" and "weight distribution" of the hitch. Weight carrying is when you just hook a trailer or boat directly to the ball. Weight distributing means when you attach a trailer using a weight distributing hitch (a device between the vehicle and the trailer, usually with anti sway bars too).

Does your car have an integrated trailer brake controller? probably not, but can be added aftermarket for not a lot of money.

Hope that gives you a few thinks to research on the technical side.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasma800 View Post

RVT.com and RVtrader.com are both great places to lay down some research on multiple makes and models.

Spend some time getting your head wrapped around the concept of "Payload", "Tongue Weight", "Towing Capacity". Somewhere, probably in the door jamb of your car, is a sticker. It's going to tell you that your carrying capacity should never exceed xxxx lbs.

That weight is the most you can load straight down. This includes the weight of both of you, a full tank of gas, whatever else you load in the car + the weight of the trailers tongue. Airstreams seems to hover in the 400 to 800 lb tongue weight. So say your sticker says 1800lbs, subtract the tongue weight, your weight, gear weight. If you end up with a negative number, thats bad.

Your hitch assembly should also have a sticker. It will say "class iv" (or V, or III, or II, or I) and will also say WC #xxxx / WD #xxxx

This tells you the tow capacity both "weight carrying" and "weight distribution" of the hitch. Weight carrying is when you just hook a trailer or boat directly to the ball. Weight distributing means when you attach a trailer using a weight distributing hitch (a device between the vehicle and the trailer, usually with anti sway bars too).

Does your car have an integrated trailer brake controller? probably not, but can be added aftermarket for not a lot of money.

Hope that gives you a few thinks to research on the technical side.
This is the kind of info I'm looking to learn. My car doesn't have a tow package at all yet. I think the tow capacity is about 6500ish (dh looked it up, but I don't remember). I wasn't sure if this included what's in the vehicle. I also wondered if this was absolute or might vary depending on 'what' is being towed (e.g., If Airstreams are more aerodynamic, can a heavier trailer be towed than say a lighter, but less aerodynamic type trailer?

This info helps much. Thank you.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:41 AM   #4
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From Edmunds

MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY** 6500 lbs. MAXIMUM PAYLOAD** 1430 lbs.
GROSS WEIGHT 6500 lbs. CURB WEIGHT 5070 lbs.

So with 1430 payload, subtract the both of you, subtract pets weights, and guess at the weight of "stuff" you might carry in the car. The number left would be your maximum tongue weight.

1430 - 400 (guessing) - 400 (pets and gear, lofty) - 100 (for giggles) = 530 lbs left.

I would say this puts you in the 19 foot to 23 foot trailer range.

To give you an idea, a flying cloud 19 foot trailer has a hitch weight of 550 lbs, and weighs 3852. You can load it up to 4500 lbs. If the math above is true, you're already pushing the limit of the hitch weight.

Yet a flying could 23FB has a hitch weight of 476 (bonus), weighs 4806, total load up to 6000 lbs. (longer trailer, more weight on it's own axles, less hitch weight in this case)

Flying cloud 25FB has a hitch weight of 837, weighs 5503, load up to 7300. Certainly pushing the envelope meaning you gotta really manage the weight in the truck. But you can of course carry more weight in the trailer - 1797 lbs... or so.

My 27fb has a hitch weight of 770, weighs 5824 empty - you might could get away with that if you kept the load in the truck very clean.

these weights don't include "options" So, you got the extra awnings? add them in, and so forth. There's not many "options" in reality.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the input. Looks like I have some homework to do, starting with understanding all the different 'weights.' :-|
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #6
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Greetings fom the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

My best advice is to take your time and do your research. Tow vehicles can be beefed up to handle a larger Airstream. Go to a dealer and look at the new Airstreams. This will give you a good idea of which model will meet your needs. You can also assess new prices so that you will be a better shopper when looking at used Airstreams.

Good luck in your pursuit.

Brian
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Old 05-27-2015, 06:15 PM   #7
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Thanks Brian. We're going to look at some this weekend. Can you tell me more about how tow vehicles can be beefed up?

Bonnie
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:14 PM   #8
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Things that can be done to beef - up a tow vehicle include, but are not limited to, higher load range tires, air bags, stronger receiver, high quality hitch system, transmission fluid cooler, and helper springs.

Brian
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:17 PM   #9
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Miss Bonnie,
Welcome aboard! Good data from Plasma800 and others...

There are many many threads which began with your question(s).... A quick synopsis of questions...as in 'Where do I start?' ... First, don't freak out....work thru the points.

The TV (Tow Vehicle) 'can' tow the TT (travel trailer)/ AS (Airstream)...just hitch it up.... uh... just kidding... You are wise to approach this with an open mind...

Basically, it is simple physics and math. You can 'beef' up the frame/hitch of most any vehicle targeted to become your TV (two vehicle)... but, that does not 'beef up' your other components. For instance, beginning with tires, there are 'design loads' these are targeted for. Then the 'wheels'/rims... certain design criteria... Next the Lug bolts, then axles, then bearings then 'rear end' housing which holds the axles, bearings, etc and transmit forces to the ground.

Now, take this further.. can the brakes handle the additional loading should braking (usually electric) on the TT fail? Can the 'drivetrain' (engine, radiator, transmission, driveshaft(s) handle the additional requirements/load?

There are folks who do well having a TT which closely matches the TV capability. You 'can' tow 4000# trailer with a TV 'rated' to tow 4000#. You must realize you are using the 'max capability' of the TV... so are likely also maximizing wear and tear.

From my avatar (picture on the side) you can see I have a 34' triple axle AS TT. I have 2012, 2500 Duramax Silverado Chevy 4x4 HD next to it. I also have a special hitch designed to eliminate 'sway'... I have weighed, adjusted and refined the rig to 'run level' and straight while 'distributing' the tongue weight properly to all 4 wheels. My rig weighs less than 10,000#....and my TV is capable of over 14,000#.. Result... very capable and relatively safe rig.... and I have experienced proof of the improved handling capability.

After reading the above, I hope you are still along.... so, take your numbers for your TV... whatever it is... and stay within the design limitations....To do this... find your AS.... then go to AS website (run by The Mothership)... click 'Service' then Manuals or Archived... to find your AS and its design numbers.. click here for archived.. Document Archive - Airstream

Or, you could visit the site above from The Mothership.. and search for ones you think will work for you..

A 'quick' checklist for me..
- Tandem (at least 2 axle) this way I can hopefully drive to a safe place to change a flat tire
- Good 'bones'... things on a used work well.. or only need some TLC (tender loving care) to get working properly
- proper size bed and galley to meet our needs
-Single bed.... if you have the 'doubles' you will have a cool wall to lean against... but some find that a 'plus'...
- Good electrical and 'running gear' condition

If you are blessed to afford 'new'... get in line.. or pick up one off a lot. If you want 'used', you can find AS which are only a couple years old and never or slightly used.... minus huge depreciation...

Try to find an AS dealer near where you plan to 'land' and live. If moving to Texas, find one close to your target area.. buy there... that way, when you arrive, you will have a 'local' dealer.

There is an AS dealer near Austin, Texas, offering 'lifetime' warranty on AS.... yup... that can be a plus....especially if 'transferrable'...

Now, to help figure out the 'size' AS you will 'need' vs 'want'... The AS and TV must carry most of your 'needs'. Clothing, cooking gear, food. For us, it is the 34'. We simply love it's flexibility ... but, pay a price for access to 'off road' options...We stay mostly on hard surface/improved roads... and 'facilities' of electricity (from power company), water, sewer...

Still here...? good.. enjoy the journey...
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:03 AM   #10
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Plasmaa800, moosetags, cwf, you are all so kind to take the time to help such a newbie. I feel like I'm going to look this weekend armed with at least some info and not a total blank slate. I've found the rvt, and rvtrader websites, and the manuals and info on the airstream website. SOOOO much to take in (maybe doesn't seem that way to you all, but starting at '0' for me, it's alot). Again, thanks to you all. Makes me feel like we've not only decided on the best TT, but already have a bonus community of great people too. I'm sure I'll have lots more Q's as we go along.

One more thing. I posted to one of the moderators that, as a newbie, I thought a glossary of terms would be a helpful addition to the website. cwf, I really appreciate you giving me the initial terms above (TT, TV, AS). Even those simple acronyms are new to me, and there seems to be a whole new language associated with this venture. Just thought I'd mention that here. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:11 AM   #11
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There is actually a thread here somewhere with terms and abbreviations. Maybe someone will link it. Just go slow its overwhelming at first.
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:28 AM   #12
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There is a Good Sam RV Glossary. Google "rving terms". This glossary will be the first item up.

Brian
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Old 05-28-2015, 02:50 PM   #13
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I think this will be VERY helpful. Plasma800, I think this is what you were telling me, just a little more info on how to find weights and limits.

http://www.airstream.com/wp-content/...cle-Rating.pdf
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:27 AM   #14
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If someone has modified a TT, how do you determine the new weight if you are looking to purchase and need to know tow weights? For instance, if someone has added granite in the kitchen and bath, that adds a LOT of weight.

Bonnie
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