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Old 11-15-2007, 07:56 AM   #1
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Smile Towing a 31 footer?

We would like to know what other Airstreamers are using to pull a 2006 31ft Airstream Classic.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:04 AM   #2
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Hello moragmatt -- Welcome to the Forums!

A 31 footer in Classic dress is a very heavy tow. There are marginal tow vehicles that can be made to work, but they are compromised enough that most people would lose interest for long-distance, mountain or multi-year travel.

For gas in any tow vehicle range, look at the largest 8-cylinder available in that line. Has Chev discontinued their 8 liter V-8? It's possible to tow without such a gas guzzling behemoth anyway. Same goes for Ford's V-10 -- works well but swills gas like no tomorrow. All current diesel engines would work well -- higher initial cost, better mileage but long break-even period for the higher cost; they have power to spare.

Which brings us to tow vehicles. 3/4 ton would be what I'd use. Trucks of course... SUVs? GM has discontinued diesel for Suburbans. Expeditions are no longer produced. But a 2-4 year old Burb or Expy could be looked at. Lot of choices. We have a lot of members with different setups -- this is a common question and maybe somebody will pipe up with their favorite thread on the subject.
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:41 AM   #3
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Morg---we, {fulltiming}, tow our 30'classic {identical in size with 31} with an 04 chev duramax , 3/4. This seems to be a good match weight to power. Ours is a crew cab 4 door and serves as an {only vehicle} daily driver. Am very satisfied with the combo-----pieman
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:42 AM   #4
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06 F-250 Diesel. tows like a dream. My 04 F-250 gas 5.4L did ok East of the Rockies but not on or West. If you want gas tyou will ned to get the biggest engine you can find.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:56 PM   #5
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I know a forum member, jcanavera that tows a 30' slide that is near the GVWR of the 31'. Keep in mind that the axles were upgraded to increase the NCC. The base unloaded weight is still around the same as it's been for years. The 31' footer now has (since about mid 2005 model year) a 2900lb cargo capacity. The 31', if memory serves me, is only about 7000lbs empty (plus accessories). Figure you'd add about 1000-1500lbs, and you could still safely and successfully tow with a GM 6.0L truck (3/4 ton would be my flavor of choice).

Nearly any full size diesel truck would be my first option, if a diesel Suburban didn't come to be.

Though I won't do this, I have had this thought of swapping out my 6.0L in my Suburban for the LS7 found in the Z06 Corvette. 200+ hp more, more torque and an extra $12k, just for the engine....but I digress....
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:55 PM   #6
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the gross weight on my 31 classic is 10,000. Delivered weight 7,100.
Current wieght around 9,000
Tow rating for my truck. 12,500 for the hitch, 15,000 for a fifth wheel. go to a dual rear wheel and 4.1 rear and that goes up to 23,000.
Current truck weights. 8,000 deleived. around 8,700, max weight 10,000
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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[quote=CanoeStream]Hello moragmatt -- Welcome to the Forums!

For gas in any tow vehicle range, look at the largest 8-cylinder available in that line. Has Chev discontinued their 8 liter V-8? It's possible to tow without such a gas guzzling behemoth anyway. Same goes for Ford's V-10 -- works well but swills gas like no tomorrow. All current diesel engines would work well -- higher initial cost, better mileage but long break-even period for the higher cost; they have power to spare.

I have to politely disagree that the Ford V-10 is a gas guzzler when towing. We pull our 2006 34 Classic with an E-350 Chateau van with V-10 and 4.10 gears. We average 9 mpg over the rolling hills and dales of Pennsylvania with gobs of power. I would expect almost 10 mpg on the flats. In addition, the V-10 is a known bulletproof engine that can easily last 200K miles. It's difficult to justify the mammoth upcharge for a diesel.

Our other vehicle is a Toyota Prius averaging just short of 50 MPG. I just can't find the right size hitch to pull the 34.
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:50 PM   #8
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We are pulling our 31 Classic fully loaded with a 2005 Chevy Duromax averaging 13-14 miles/gallon of diesel. We frequently travel through the Smoky mountains and the only slow down we experince is waiting for an 18 wheeler to get out of the passing lane.
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:47 PM   #9
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Towing Choice

I have a 2000 Airstream 31' Classic that I now tow with a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado Classic C2500 HD. It has the Vortec 6.0L V8 and 4.10 rear end. The max trailer weight is 10,300 pounds. I get from 10 to 11 MPG towing. This is the third truck like this that I have had, and you can't beat it for the money.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:12 PM   #10
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Moragmatt:

We have a 2005 Classic '30 which has a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. I believe that we have a loaded weight of approximately 8,700 lbs. We tow it with a 2005 Dodge Ram CTD (Cummins Turbo Diesel) 2500 shotbed 4x2. We chose the trailer before we chose the tow vehicle. The truck doesn't even know its there. However we have not gone over any serious mountains yet since we live in the midwest. I studied weight ratings a lot before we chose the trailer and tow vehicle. This is our first truck and first diesel. I just love it.

Prior to this we had a tandem axle pop-up towed by a Buick Roadmaster wagon. Believe it or not we had some towing problems going though the Bershires in Massachusetts and the Allegany's of Penn. I believe that I overloaded the pop-up and we had six people in the wagon. At that time I had no idea about weight ratings. I became sort of paranoid about having enough power to tow in buying a new vehicle.

You will never regret having a proprely sized tow vehicle to tow your trailer.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:14 AM   #11
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We pull our '05 31ft. with an '05 Dodge Ram 2500 HEMI 4x4 with the 4:10 rear. While it has plenty of power it does eat alot of gas. We average 6-10 MGP depending on terrain and speed. It does a great job but I wish we had spent the extra $5000 and upgraded to the Cummins turbo diesel available with Dodge. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
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