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Old 04-07-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
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D_Runamuka's Avatar
2012 27' FB International
Los Altos , California
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 11
We're doing it soon!

I'm retiring in a month, we're putting the house on the market and we're looking to buy an Airstream and something to pull it with and hit the road.

We've decided on a 27FB but the tow vehicle is making us crazy! We're read a zillion threads - about hitches and SUVs and trucks and Class III or IV whatever it is - ARRGHHH!!

All we want to do is get the AS and the thing to tow it with and go!! But this towing thing seems sooooo technical - can anyone give some simple advice?? We don't really want a truck (I currently drive a Mini and am not excited about a HUGE SUV, let alone a truck!) Will a Tahoe work??


...if we weren't all crazy, we would go insane.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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2009 27' FB International
Los Angeles , California
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We pull our 27' FB International with a 2010 5.7L Toyota Tundra CrewMax. We have traveled from Southern California to Washington State and through the High Sierra and Cascade Mountains. We average between 11-12.5 MPG. I love the way the truck tows our AS. I also use it as my daily driver, it gets okay MPG for a truck and it has plenty of room in the front and back seats. It has a smooth and comfortable ride both with and without the trailer (the 3/4 ton trucks I test drove were very stiff and had a very harsh ride). However, I do need to be careful not overload the truck bed since it is a 1/2 ton and not a 3/4 ton truck (although a salesman at Toyota claimed the Tundra was designed as a 3/4 ton but sold as a 1/2 ton truck for lower insurance rates..... what???). If we had purchased a longer/heavier Airstream, we would have gone with a 3/4 ton truck. A word of warning.... there are a LOT of strong opinions on this particular topic. The Tundra works great for us, but you will need to figure out what will work best for you.

Scott, Becky & Heidi (our standard poodle and travel companion)
WBCCI #1215
Air #54601

Remember... No matter where you go, there you are...

2009 27FB International Ocean Breeze
2010 Toyota Tundra CrewMax, 5.7L V8, 4x4
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:05 PM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Decisions, Decisions. You have decided on an Airstream. Good for you. The decision on the TV is much harder, but just as important. Unfortunately, there is no free lunch. I don't like large SUV and trucks either, but that is what you need to tow with safely.

I am a car guy and did a lot of research when I bought my truck in 08 and I am very happy with it. It is an 08 Tundra double cab 5.7L. I paid 25k out the door (5k rebate helped). The big Tundra has plenty of power and brakes and the 6 speed transmission is great- the weak link is that it is only a 1/2 ton and the rear axle rating is only 4,100 lbs. I would consider this truck, but would also recommend that you look at the 3/4 ton trucks from the big three plus possibly some 1/2 ton trucks with the heavy duty payload option (just to confuse things more).

You are half way there. Look at all the options and then make your own decision.

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Old 04-07-2012, 11:44 PM   #4
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Gig Harbor , Washington
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Congrats on your retirement. We have a 25FB Flying Cloud we tow with a 1500 Tahoe with a KSL heavy duty tow set up. We have had lmited experience but so far it has been great. I also have to use this vehicle as a daily driver so I wanted to stay within a reasonable set-up. The KSL package includes 3.42 rear end gears, Transmission oil cooler, engine oil cooler and a beefier alternater. We also got one with an integrated trailer brake set-up which has worked very well. The combination of the 6 speed tranny with the tow-haul mode and the geared down rear end has towed very well. The total weight rating for trailer and truck with the KSL package is 14,000 lbs. OH AND I RETIRED LAST MAY.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:07 AM   #5
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1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
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Anyone with a nikmonker of D_Runamuka would have to go to Delong in Winnemmucca, NV for their truck. Check if they have some lightly used driller's models. Also, I suspect some of the drilling companies could have stocks of new truck beds they would take off new trucks and put on their custom built up flatbeds.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
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1972 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
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The sad truth of it all,, if they made a TV as well as the Airstream we all could agree.. But they don't.. So its mix and match and hope you find something to be happy with..

The other factor is its always better to be just a little bigger TV than just a tad too small.. Nothing more stressful as to drag a trailer that seems to be driving the TV.. After a long day of not only mad at yourself,, but everyone who got stuck behind you,, will wish different.

Now the major question,, is this just for a few years or for a long time.. If you plan on many years on the road I would go ahead and get a good long life and performing diesel TV,, with a solid 300 to 500k life span..

2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman Hemi, 4x4, 6 speed

20mpg empty, 14 mpg with 27' Overlander.

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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After traveling in our Airstream six months each year, if I were to do it full time, this is the diesel I would have, pulling the Mini behind as a daily driver (considering ever-increasing fuel costs and a big pickup as the tow vehicle/daily driver).

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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The way I see it, you have a lot of choices. You don't need a pickup truck. You could get a Tahoe, Suburban, Sequoia (the SUV version of the Tundra mentioned above), Expedition, Armada - there are several full-size big truck-based SUVs that can do this.

Consider that Rich Luhr, owner/editor of Airstream Life magazine, full-timed with a Safari 30' pulled by a Nissan Armada and later with a Mercedes-Benz GL320 Bluetec.

If you're conservative and want plenty of payload rating, you could just get a Suburban 3/4-ton and be done with it. If you want to do more research, you can talk to CanAm RV Centre in London, Ontario. They are the experts in towing and can both tell you how to best set up a "traditional" tow vehicle (they are fond of the Ford Expedition due to its independent rear suspension which aids towing handling), as well as tell you about clients towing with other alternatives, like that GL320 or a Touareg (or even a sedan.)

Do a bunch of research and make your own decision what you are most comfortable with. And you shouldn't have to buy a truck if you don't want one.

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Old 04-08-2012, 05:49 PM   #9
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Chatham , Ontario
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What Tom said. We didn't want a truck and Can Am set us up using a 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan; that's not everyone's choice because it's seen as being too small but it sure works for us, and plenty of other Can Am customers, too. The choices are wider than you think....
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:04 PM   #10
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2012 27' FB International
Denver , Colorado
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Call Andy at Can-Am. I was told by another dealer that our 2011 Ford Expedition EL would not tow a 30'. Andy said it's a great TV and perfect for the 30'. If I had listened to the first dealer, it could have been a costly mistake for us. Lots of luck to you!!
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:41 PM   #11
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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If you want to bring gas cans or a generator with you, do you want them in the back of an SUV? You can mount gas cans outside a vehicle, not a generator (also has gas in it).

Sounds like you want to full time. You may find it difficult to downsize enough and find you are bringing a lot with you. Check payload of various vehicles. Half ton trucks have less. Some can cut back, some can't.

Diesel is expensive initially and has higher maintenance costs than gas. If you want to keep whatever you buy for hundreds of thousands of miles, diesel eventually pays off. Pick a brand that lasts too because unreliable vehicles with great engines cost more money.

We have towed over 40,000 miles with a 2007 Tundra double cab, 5.7 L. Never a problem with power. It does seem overbuilt when I look underneath, but I doubt it is for insurance reasons. Maybe they were going to bring out a 3/4 ton and use a lot of the same components, but when the Great Recession hit, sales dropped and it wasn't worth it to Toyota. Going from a Mini to a full size truck is going to be quite a shock. Most people get used to it, but that's a decision you'll have to make. An alternative would be to buy a trailer about 20 years old when they weighed a lot less. If you plan to spend the money on a new one, certainly you can spend less for an older one that is in excellent shape. Youm may want to update some things, but it still should save money, but you'll have to act fast when you see them advertised. A smaller vehicle could tow it, though not a Mini. Going to CanAm is another possibility. We need a pickup anyway, so I didn't have to think about that.

You will be confused for a while. It takes time to learn this stuff. You will read posts from many who claim there is no other way but theirs. After all, they did choose the best tow vehicle ever, but maybe only for them.

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Old 04-08-2012, 08:18 PM   #12
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1967 20' Globetrotter
denver , Colorado
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I went from driving a Mini to a Toyota Sequoia. I hate driving the Sequoia everyday.....except when I'm towing my Airstream!

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Old 04-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #13
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

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

As to your tow vehicle question, the answer is it depends. Where do you plan to go, how often, and what do you want to do when you get there?

I will share our experience with you. We have a 2005 Safari 25FB, named Lucy, that we bought new in 2006. We have traveled in Lucy extensively. We have now camped in her for 1,017 nights, and have towed her 90,000 miles in all of the contiguous 48 states

We initially towed Lucy with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe was an OK tow vehicle, but lacked the guts and carrying capacity that we wanted for serious Airstreaming. We moved up to a 2005 Suburban 2500, which gave us the towing power that we were looking for, and great cargo carrying capacity. We liked the 3/4 ton suburban so much that we purchased a second one (a 2004) to share the towing duties. These were also our regular home use vehicles. A Suburban makes a great family/utility vehicle. As we tour extensively while on our Airstream adventures, we felt that the two tow vehicles were necessary as they have logged a total of 170,000 miles over the last five+ years.

We recently decided to add a new dimension to our camping experience. Last year, we purchased an Outfitter pop-up truck camper which is carried by our new 2011 Silverado 3500. The new truck is able to carry the 3,000# truck camper while towing Lucy, who weighs in at 7,400#. We set Lucy up as our base camp, and venture out into the back country for two or three days at a time in the Outfitter. This is the ultimate camping combination for our style of travel.

We have kept the 2005 Suburban as our short trip tow vehicle and run around car while we are at home planning our next Airstream adventure.

What ever you choose as a tow vehicle, make sure that it is something that you are comfortable and confident with. There is nothing that will sour you more quickly on Airstreaming than a marginal or insufficient tow vehicle.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #14
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2011 27 FB International
Keswick , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 64
We pull our 2011 international 27fb with a 2010 crew cab ram1500. We have taken a couple of major trips with this setup. Once to Florida from Toronto. The other to the Canadian maritimes. We have a the Hensley haha. I love our setup. Truck pulls great. Trailor tracked very well no matter the weather or wind. No need to go to a 3/4 truck with an airstream in my opinion. My setup was done by can am RV in London Ontario. The guys really know what they are doing.

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