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Old 10-25-2015, 12:48 AM   #85
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When it comes to advice, harken to the old advertising slogan "Ask the man who owns one"! A lot of the negative comments given are for rigs and equipment they don't use.

That being said, a lot depends on how you plan to use the truck and Airstream. An F150 should be fine for short weekend trips up to the lake. If you are going long distances and for long periods, bigger is better (IMHO) because you bring more stuff - and more weight.

We used my old 2001 Dodge 2500 Cummins 4x4 farm truck for the first year with our new AS. Great power and handling, but rode like a deuce-and-a-half. Since we are "practicing" for retirement in a year or so, we figured it would be worth the money to upgrade to a new Ram (all of the "big three" make fine trucks, my preference was the Ram, based on 16 years of very good service from my old Dodge, coupled with the fact that the Ram/Cummins is the only new truck left with a standard tranny. I'm just not ready to be "shiftless") ;-)

When we started pricing and shopping, it became clear to get exactly what we wanted, we'd have to special order. It also came down to $140 difference between a 3/4 ton and a 1 ton. That would not only increase our payload, but it also meant that we'd have rear leaf springs as opposed to coil in the 2500; and I'd rather have leaf.

We ended up getting a 2015 Ram 4 door 3500 Laramie 4x4 with 8' box, Cummins and 6 speed stick; and also ordered a "Pickup Pack" and bed roller from Highway Products. It rides, tows and handles like a dream - and doesn't even seem to know the AS is back there.

Our 27FB Classic is 9000 GVW. We never load anywhere near max; and, with the increased load capacity of the 3500 (4200 lbs) we carry most heavy stuff, tools and supplies in the back of the truck (well secured by the Pickup Pack). I'm glad now that we did go with the bigger/heavier truck - especially since I see the weight we're hauling vs. capacities. On the cross-country trip we just came back from, we were 17,000 CGVW on the CAT scales. That broke down as 5,000 on the front axle (6,000 capacity); 5,500 on rear axle (7,000 capacity) and 6500 on the trailer axles. I like to have a good margin of safety on all components, and I think the 3500 provides that. We averaged 14.5mpg on the 4,000 mile RT. The cruise control is always set at 63 on the Interstates, and we ran the length of the Appalachians in 6th gear without breaking a sweat, and the auto engine break always held it right at the cruise speed going down the other side without touching vehicle/trailer breaks.

Just to be on the safe side, I bought an AirSafe that I use in conjunction with our Equalizer WDH, and never an open drawer or tossed pillow after a bad stretch of road.

I did a lot of homework and research into what I bought, based upon our wants, as well as needs; and I am pleased with and recommend what I am using. Good luck on your choice, and many happy miles of Airstreaming with whatever you choose!
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:52 PM   #86
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Let me throw this into the mix.

What do you think of factory installed option systems like RAM's Auto Level Rear Air Suspension? Are they of any great benefit when towing an Airstream with a 2500?
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:24 PM   #87
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We've towed this 2005 25' Airstream 10 years with one truck. Truck has 6.5' bed, extended cab (because didn't think we'd often have riders in back seat,), big gas engine. Every year, I think, we've crossed the continent and back. Doesn't matter where we go, engine and transmission do fine although gas mileage (10mpg towing, 15mpg hi way solo) is not to brag on. Slows down towing on long steep grades. Holds us back okay on descents.

Debbie's brothers gave us ONE piece of advice before we bought it -- buy a big enough truck to keep the trailer behind it, and to always stop the trailer even in a panic stop. They've had commercial trailers push them through intersections where road conditions weren't quite best. We could pull with a smaller truck, but we like the solid feeling of truck out-weighing trailer and being heavy-duty enough.

Tow package, good weight distributing hitch, mostly good driving have resulted in mostly minor wear and damage and zero repairs and zero breakdowns on truck. 110K miles towing, another 45K miles solo. We've broken rivets inside, and two ever on outside (one by top corner of door.) The inside ones we'd never have known about if we weren't shiny interior, and I have to wonder if they really matter. Seems like the same interior rivets every time.

Truck dealer service reputation doesn't matter if you're not gonna hang around. We bought ours to tow all over the continent. We've never taken our truck into the selling dealer, altho a friend of mine - we worked in that city, don't tow nor hang out there. The one warranty issue (on our first big trip) was handled by a dealer in Bozeman MT wonderfully. A little like our health care, our truck doesn't know who's gonna give the next exam/service but we have all the medical/service records.

If there's a next truck, we think we're still brand indifferent. Set it up the right way, have some good luck, and you're in the zone.

BTW OP, what did you buy after seeing ALL the great advice on this thread?
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:25 PM   #88
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We've towed this 2005 25' Airstream 10 years with one truck. Truck has 6.5' bed, extended cab (because didn't think we'd often have riders in back seat,), big gas engine. Every year, I think, we've crossed the continent and back. Doesn't matter where we go, engine and transmission do fine although gas mileage (10mpg towing, 15mpg hi way solo) is not to brag on. Slows down towing on long steep grades. Holds us back okay on descents.

Debbie's brothers gave us ONE piece of advice before we bought it -- buy a big enough truck to keep the trailer behind it, and to always stop the trailer even in a panic stop. They've had commercial trailers push them through intersections where road conditions weren't quite best. We could pull with a smaller truck, but we like the solid feeling of truck out-weighing trailer and being heavy-duty enough.

Tow package, good weight distributing hitch, mostly good driving have resulted in mostly minor wear and damage and zero repairs and zero breakdowns on truck. 110K miles towing, another 45K miles solo. We've broken rivets inside, and two ever on outside (one by top corner of door.) The inside ones we'd never have known about if we weren't shiny interior, and I have to wonder if they really matter. Seems like the same interior rivets every time.

Truck dealer service reputation doesn't matter if you're not gonna hang around. We bought ours to tow all over the continent. We've never taken our truck into the selling dealer, altho he's a friend of mine - we worked in that city, don't tow nor hang out there. The one warranty issue (on our first big trip) was handled by a dealer in Bozeman MT wonderfully. A little like our health care, our truck doesn't know who's gonna give the next exam/service but we have all the medical/service records.

If there's a next truck, we think we're still brand indifferent. Set it up the right way, have some good luck, and you're in the zone.

BTW OP, what did you buy after seeing ALL the great advice on this thread?
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Old 11-01-2015, 12:13 AM   #89
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Well, I'm a bit late to this party as well. I have always tried to heed manufacturers towing recommendations. Some times I haven't, and with reason. However, occasionally I feel the need to toss something out there. I've owned Airstreams from a 1961 16' Bambi to a 1991 34' Excella. In between, I've had parked in the drive an 1959 18' Pacer, 1964 17' Bambi II, 88 25' Excella, 92 21' Sovereign, 92 25' Excella, 93 30' Excella, 97 31' Excella, 2000 30' Excella, 2 B-190 vans and a 99 355XL Land yacht motorhome. I've owned and towed about 10 SOB's before becoming an Airstream evangelist. My towing experiences cover over 400000 miles, 49 states and three foreign countries. I used to live in my trailer while covering my sales territory.

But, somewhere in the fog of time, some folks have decided that they need or want to erase the laws physics. Depending on your expectations, sometimes less is more, and sometimes slower is safer. Speeding down the road at full warp while towing a trailer not only isn't necessary it can border on fool hardy. I was 20 something once and drove fast. But I grew up.

No matter what setup you have, please remember that your combo is NOWHERE near the stability of a Tractor/Trailer fifth wheel setup and as you can see, they crash and burn regularly when they forget that they can't escape physics.

Here are some of my more interesting TV & A/S combos. Not in order!

1985 Chevrolet Astro Van 4.3 liter V6, 3.42 axle. 150 HP + 88 25' Excella.
(very stable, 10 MPG towing)(Trailer weight 5500)

1991 B190 Van 7.4 liter V8, 3.73 Axle. 230 HP + 91 34' Excella
(Road train! 58' long! AWESOME! 8MPG towing)(trailer weight 7000)

1986 Suburban 1500 5.7Liter V8 3.42 Axle 150 HP +88 25' Excella
(Pulled the Rockies with this rig for weeks!)

Had 2 1992 Suburbans, a 1500 with a 5.7/3.73 and a 2500 7.4/3.73
Both pulling the same 34' Excella. Actually liked the 1500 better. MPG
was the same, but the 2500 beat the crap out of my family. 210 HP on that 5.7 liter. Made every mountain pass in Colorado with no issues. Gee, its a 7% grade, you will slow down!

1997 Ford E350 Club Wagon ( second V10 van produced!) a whopping 260 HP 3.73 axle + the 91 34' Excella. 10 MPG towing, 11 MPG solo.
Quite possibly the best TV & Trailer I ever owned. Rode smooth. Big windows, short overhangs, cavernous interior. Whats not to like?

1998 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 4.6 Liter V8 3.27 axle 215 HP + 1993 30' Excella. 8 MPG. Got a lot of attention. "why is that police car towing an Airstream?" the spotlights, 4 antennas and the Decatur radar unit had em guessing. Did well in midwest. Would not have wanted to take it through the rockies. However it did take the 21' Sovereign out west and proved to be a good combination.

2014 Chevy 2500HD 6.0 Liter V8 4.10 axle 385 HP + 2000 30' Excella
Worst tow experience of my life. Harsh busy ride. Hard to control. Beat the crap out of occupants and the trailer.

2014 E350 Van 5.4 Liter V8 3.73 axle 255HP + 2000 30' Excella
A totally different driving experience. Composed, Stable and adequate power. Things in trailer not being bounced around. Gee, I'm probably(I am) over my GCVR for my ENGINE, but not for the chassis, Because with the V10, which is no longer available, the Chassis is rated for a GVWR 2000 pounds higher. Same Braking system. Same Axles, Same frame. A lot of the tow ratings are an engineers expectation as to what performance we want. I personally don't think I need or want the expense of a huge EXPENSIVE hard riding truck so I can drive at the same speeds I do in my car. It takes longer to stop all that moving mass (physics again, sorry!)

My point is different folks have different requirements. We're not all stoplight racers or formula one drivers. Remember, our beloved Wally wrote in his book that on pavement he preferred a softer riding car rather than the ride of a HD truck. Said it was easier on the equipment. I agree.

Be safe out there!
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Old 11-01-2015, 03:46 PM   #90
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1500 ok

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodger1 View Post
My husband and I just purchased a 27' 2015 International Serenity. We are very excited to begin traveling! We are planning to trade in or sell our Ford F 150 for another heavier duty truck. Please give suggestions on what we may want to consider and what is most important as we shop for another new or used truck. Thank you!

Tracey
I just bought a 2014 Signature. This is our fourth Airstream. We tow with a Ram 1500 Limited and Reese dual cam. It tows beautifully. Even uphill the temp gauge does not move. I am getting between 11 and 12 MPG and should do better when I get away from the hills. I have never felt a truck or wind. My Ram does have four corner air bags and a Hemi. I don't know if either of those features make a difference but it is a beautiful ride and no need for more.
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Old 11-01-2015, 05:07 PM   #91
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I just ordered a 2016 RAM 2500 diesel with auto rear level system in place of my 2013 RAM 1500 Crew Cab Hemi. I love the 1500 and have towed over 20,000 miles in it, however for these reasons (and a couple others) I'm moving up to the 2500.

1) Engine braking on the 2500 diesel is far superior to the 1500's. 2) Cargo capacity is nearly 1000 pounds greater. 3) The 2500 has an actual full size spare tire. 4) The diesel engine will almost never labor on the steep grades in the mountain west. 5) The 2500 will undoubtedly fare better in a crash.
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Old 11-01-2015, 06:18 PM   #92
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I recently towed over several steep grades in Colorado (Lizard Head, etc) with my 2015 Ram 1500 with the 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 rear axle and 8-speed tranny. My 30' loaded for travel comes in about 7,500 lbs (empty tanks) and including my truck, my total gross weight is 12,800 lbs. I had no trouble climbing the steepest grades, and by manually downshifting the tranny, hardly touched my trailer brakes.
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Old 11-01-2015, 07:01 PM   #93
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:15 PM   #94
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Thumbs up Try it...you may like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodger1 View Post
My husband and I just purchased a 27' 2015 International Serenity. We are very excited to begin traveling! We are planning to trade in or sell our Ford F 150 for another heavier duty truck. Please give suggestions on what we may want to consider and what is most important as we shop for another new or used truck. Thank you!

Tracey

First...


Try what you have......

Bob
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Old 11-01-2015, 11:53 PM   #95
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Many give up on their perfectly good half-ton truck/medium size Airstream combos because they don't use the transmission to put the engine in it's optimum power and compression braking range, don't think they can supplement this with truck and trailer brakes as needed, don't spend the money for a top performing w.d. hitch and be sure it is set up correctly, don't change to more stable tires.

Or adjust their loads. The maximum tongue weight Airstream allows is 1,000 lbs, more than that and you've got to move some stuff around or leave it at home. And if you're really sincere about safety margins you might limit yourself to 800 lbs tongue weight. Any half ton can handle that if you manage the loading in the truck bed.

Unless you're made of money, trading trucks is tough on any well-managed budget.

As Bob says above, get your F150 set up right and give it a try. There's a lot of folks out there traveling all over the country with similar rigs and doing fine, including us.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:08 PM   #96
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A 3/4 or 1 ton will do the job easier. We have 2015 28 ' serenity RB. Drove over 5K miles so far this yr. I have a 2500 Silvrado.6L eng, 373 axle, 6.5 ft bed. Since the AS has a small storage, I had to move many things to the truck bed. Do not overlook the truck bed size. Tape off the bed size on your garage floor. of the truck you are considering , then try to put what you have been currently carrying in the taped off area. We had to reduce our cargo.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:28 PM   #97
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A 3/4 or 1 ton will do the job easier. We have 2015 28 ' serenity RB. Drove over 5K miles so far this yr. I have a 2500 Silvrado.6L eng, 373 axle, 6.5 ft bed. Since the AS has a small storage, I had to move many things to the truck bed. Do not overlook the truck bed size. Tape off the bed size on your garage floor. of the truck you are considering , then try to put what you have been currently carrying in the taped off area. We had to reduce our cargo.
Yes cargo capacity is very important especially if you do extended traveling in variable climates. The weight of cold weather clothing, generator(s) and gas, and portable solar panel etc. adds up quickly. The 5'4" bed and a relatively meager cargo capacity found on many 1/2 ton trucks may cramp your style.

Also.....we found out the hard way......many 1/2 ton trucks come with a "temporary" spare tire. Sure you can ditch the "temporary" for a "full size" spare but it will have to go in the bed and will be heavier and take up valuable cargo space. I personally don't want to tow my trailer with a "temporary" spare on the truck, especially if in an isolated area.

Another lesson. We thought we'd be "asphalt Airstreamers" and poo pooed 4 wheel drive. Little did we know that we would run into situations that required 4 wheel drive. Also, many opportunities to explore or take advantage of boon docking camping were closed to us.

Like dkottum mentioned, you can adjust your requirements by adjusting your camping lifestyle. Try your 150. It may satisfy your present needs. Make sure you have a very competent expert evaluate your towing setup. Don't skimp on your weight distribution system.
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:04 PM   #98
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We also just bought a 2015 27' Serenity. Our 3rd Airstream. Our new tow vehicle? 2500HD GMC Denali diesel. Forget the trim package and brand. Just buy a diesel. You'll regret anything less powerful.
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