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Old 10-06-2006, 05:47 AM   #1
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Question HELP on DECIDING

Not sure if this is the right spot to post this so if there's a better place let me know. This is my first post....

I'm in the market for a "retirement" airstream. Wife and I are getting ready to sell the house and want to travel the country for a year or two. We have towed boats in the past but never a travel trailer. After looking for a couple of months we seem to have settled on the Safari line. We both like the look. Problem is, we are not sure about some things. OK....here are my questsions:

1) Planning to tow with a 2005 Toyota 4Runner with a 270HP V8 engine. Hitch is rated for 7300 pounds.
2) What weight / size trailer should I go with if I plan to do a LOT of driving all across the country....Up mountains, down mountains, high wind, etc etc? Is smaller better? 20 foot Safari is 3900 lbs UVW & 5000 GVRW, 28 is 5500 pounds UVW (Unloaded vehicle weight) and 7300 GVWR (max weight).
3) My wife and I both love the layout of the 2007 Safari 20 footer but it only has a single axle. Is a double axle a "must" on a trailer that is going to be towed a lot or is the single fine on a unit as small as 20 feet?

We would get the 20 footer in a heartbeat if it was double axle but some folks have scared us a bit and told us we should stay away from single axle.

Can somebody who has experience with these issues give me some feedback on this? I appreciate your advice and insight!
"almost" OUTTHERE
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
1) Planning to tow with a 2005 Toyota 4Runner with a 270HP V8 engine. Hitch is rated for 7300 pounds.
I am not familar with your TV setup so I go with my standard advice. Use 80% of the Tow Capacity vs the GVW of the trailer you plan to tow. This leaves you with a conservative safety factor. If you are very close or over on this number you will need to make some addtional calculations.

Quote:
2) What weight / size trailer should I go with if I plan to do a LOT of driving all across the country....Up mountains, down mountains, high wind, etc etc? Is smaller better? 20 foot Safari is 3900 lbs UVW & 5000 GVRW, 28 is 5500 pounds UVW (Unloaded vehicle weight) and 7300 GVWR (max weight).
For fulltiming the bigger the better to a point, towing differences between a 20 and a 28 are not that great if your TV is capable and set up correctly.

Quote:
3) My wife and I both love the layout of the 2007 Safari 20 footer but it only has a single axle. Is a double axle a "must" on a trailer that is going to be towed a lot or is the single fine on a unit as small as 20 feet?

We would get the 20 footer in a heartbeat if it was double axle but some folks have scared us a bit and told us we should stay away from single axle.

Can somebody who has experience with these issues give me some feedback on this? I appreciate your advice and insight!
"almost" OUTTHERE
The double axle has a tendency to be a bit more stable when towing, and you have the added safety advantage of more wheels if one blows out as well as 4 brakes vs 2. But you also have the added maintenance costs of the extra axle. It will come down to what you are comfortable with.

Aaron
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:25 AM   #3
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About double axle

About the single vs double axle ...

I think your primary consideration should be selecting the TV/TT combination that is right for you. I can't comment from personal experience about what TT's a 4-Runner can safely handle. I'm sure other fourm members will provide good advice.

If it turns out that the 19-20' is right for you, I wouldn't be concerned about the single axle. Lot's of members on this forum tow them safely all over the country. We are especially careful about maintaining correct tire pressure, and plan to replace tires every 2-3 years as an added safety precaution.
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:49 AM   #4
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There's nothing wrong with a single axle trailer.
They do NOT tow poorly, and most of them have skids underneath so that even if you DO have a flat, the trailer does not slide down the road (or off into a ditch) on its belly.
We've towed single axle Airstreams and Avions across the country multiple times, and throughout the East and West coasts extensively in the past few years. Never felt like we'd have been better off with two or three axles.

On the other hand, we also towed for about 20,000 miles with a 4Runner. It was a '97 (previous generation), so it was a bit smaller than yours.
In general, it was OK (for a 20 ft or 22 ft Avion, or for a 22 foot Airstream).
It had a V6, and the Toyota supercharger. We were never short on power. We could scream up the Grapevine in CA at 75 if we choose to. And the trailer brakes were always good, so stopping wasn't difficult either.

BUT - passing trucks (and buses and Mohos) were NOT fun. (That is, when they passed us, usually). We used a weight distribution setup with sway control, and that helped a great deal....but when we bought a 3/4 ton CC truck, it is OBVIOUS that there is a difference! There is NO sway now, and I don't care WHAT passes us, you don't feel it. I NEVER preach about Hensleys, but I'd have to say that you'd be happier if you buy one, if you plan to use a 4Runner as a tow vehicle. That said, I'd also stay in the 5000 pound range. 7000 pounds would be heavy for a 4Runner, no matter what the hitch is rated for.
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:08 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for the quick replies!! This is my first post and I'm thrilled with the amount of knowledge thats out there. Thank you Thank you!

Based on what I'm hearing I am leaning toward the 20 with the single axle. The GVW of the trailer is 5000 lbs with an empty weight of just under 4000. My 4 Runner is rated at 7300 so that combination would be well within the 80% rule. I'm thinking that as long as I have a good hitch there should be no problem with the 5000 lbs Safari.

By the way, my wife and I actually prefer the 20 over the larger models not just because of weight but because of the layout. The small size also seems to fit with what I want to do (i.e. all back roads, some primitive campgrounds, etc). We plan to live aboard for a year or two but the size isn't a problem since we have experience living on a boat for a while. The 20 layout is about the same size as the boat.

Again, thanks so much for the responses!!!
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:45 AM   #6
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I am afraid I can't help too much with your decision since I am not familiar with the 4-Runner or single axle towing, but I can do one thing that all of the other respondents haven't done...Welcome to the Forums!

You will find a great deal of advise and knowledge here on ever Airstream subject imaginable. I hung out on this forum for about 2 or 2-1/2 years before I actually purchased my Airstream and, thanks to the information I gleamed here, I felt very comfortable with my decisions and was a very knowledgeable consumer when the time came.

Good luck with your Safari and, again, welcome to a great community!
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:00 PM   #7
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Welcome

outthere,

Sounds like you are getting close. Your Toyota will give you many miles of fun if you keep the weight reasonable. As the previous poster mentioned, you will get some "feedback" when going by tractor trailers, mostly due to the weight (low) and wheelbase (short) of the 4-Runner. As for single versus tandem axles, they are both safe, but..tandem is safer and does tow forward and backward straighter. The additional brakes (2 vs 4) will make a difference in the hills and the extra axle does provide for a larger safety margin on the load carrying capacity.

John
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forums.
I wish you all the best in your travels. Keep us updated with a photo now and then. You are ahead of my wife and I by a couple of years when it comes to retirement. We plan on traveling quite a lot, also but I am still looking for my AS so that I can scratch this case of aluminitis I have.

Bill
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:15 PM   #9
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I retired 5 years ago, and my wife and I have been spending the entire summersin the Northwest - US and Canada - ever since. We just returned home the day before yesterday after spending the past 3 months in Montana.

We have a 30' Classic Limited and tow with a 2000 Ford PSD. What we've found is that the bigger tow vehicle and slightly larger trailer are more conducive to our life style when we're spending longer periods of time on the road. In fact, we're seriously thinking of upgrading to an even larger RV, and probably a larger tow vehicle.

I know there are lots of people who feel comfortable in small travel trailers. Personally, I'm not one of them. If you're going to be spending a lot of time in an RV and doing lots of travelling, get a tow vehicle and RV that best meets your requirements.

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Old 10-06-2006, 02:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisher
In fact, we're seriously thinking of upgrading to an even larger RV, and probably a larger tow vehicle.
Uh oh, this doesn't sound like an Airstream...say it isn't so!?

Shari
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:41 PM   #11
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Again, thanks for the responses! I assume there is a place somewhere on this forum that discusses the Hensley hitch? Sounds like that should be something I look at even if I'm towing a 20 footer with the 4 Runner.
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:06 PM   #12
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Just type "Hensley" into the search feature and be prepared to spend the next two weeks reading all the posts
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:19 PM   #13
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Your toyota is plenty of tow for a 20 footer. But... take it from someone with a 20 foot trailer - it gets mighty tiny on long trips. How about a 23 footer? Those 3 feet make a world of difference.
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:37 PM   #14
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I would say the single axle is just fine ,I do tow with a 60 trdwnd single axle .
It tows straight ,a tandem does NOT make it tow straighter ???? .The reason
trailers have more than one axle is that they need the extra axle for the extra weight in the longer ,heavier trailers ,for more support .If you want the 20 '
trailer ,I would buy it ,no need to wring hands over the axle .If you get a blow out on a tandem ,just as much or more damage gets done as a single
axle does .I did have a major tire failure with my 60 single ,just some noise
and smoke from the tire ,stayed straight an true on the road ,never had any
swaying or anything ,we just pulled off the highway and proceded to install
the spare .

Scott of scottanlily
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