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Old 09-09-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
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I just posted in another thread Tow Vehicles at the Ontario Fall Rally a list of the Airstreams and tow vehicles at the rally. 16 of the Airstreams were 34's. 8 were towed by 2500 series trucks and 6 by various 1/2 tons and 2 by Mercedes R Class Diesels. There was over 50 years of combined towing with the 1/2 tons present not including the previous ones. Yes you can tow a 34 with an F150, Personally I would rather tow a 34 any day the 6 soft suspensions ride very smoothly yet handle better than a tandem. As well you get 6 brakes.

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Old 12-05-2013, 11:55 PM   #16
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Heavy but smooth

The 34' is long and heavy relative to other airstreams, but when people say they tow better they mean as Andy described above. The 2 axle trailers went up to 31' commonly, and moving to the 3 axle gains you 50% more contact with the ground, 50% more breaking ability, and additional interior storage for just 3 extra feet.

I have a 1985 34' sovereign and the wife had a 78 31' when we met. Hers is enough lighter to be physically pulled up a hill by a 1/2 ton with ease, but man that tail will try to wag the dog when you have to maneuver or when you get passed by a truck (which happens towing with a 1/2 ton).

By contrast my 34' max gross is 8900lbs which is a lot to ask of a 1/2 ton, and at 8900lbs it hits ~1200lb tongue weight which may be too much for your 1/2 tons rated specs? But then pulling its a dream... Total stability and surefootedness. I picked it up and towed it home with a military surplus 1986 M1008 CUCV with a tekonsha brake controller wired in and tranny cooler added. That truck has 1 ton running gear with hydro boosted brakes but only cranks a whopping 165hp and 320lb-ft, and I found myself bouncing between first and second at about 27mph by the time I topped the first hill. It was steady as can be though with only a 130" wheelbase and 5600lb of truck in front.

My solution was a new 2500 duramax extended cab 8' bed. The suspension settles to a near perfect level ride with the loaded 34' behind it, and the spring rates on truck and trailer seem to be perfectly matched. The handling stability, power, and braking are unreal. In my experience it was worth the diesel just for the torque to never downshift on uphills and the exhaust brake to keep it steady downhill. I actually was breaking in the diesel by beating it mercilessly and I hit the programmed speed limiter going up a long 7% grade.

People are on both sides of the fence on any argument, but I'd say that the facts are that the 34' triple axles are incredibly stable and the 3/4 ton diesels are a near perfect match for that size trailer. All the modern diesels are pretty stellar, just pick the one you like, get a 100k mile warranty if you can, and hitch up.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:11 AM   #17
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The ecoboost may pull it just fine, it's for sure more truck in every way than my old CUCV. I'm just saying 420lb-ft isn't a whole lot against 13,000+ lbs total weight so don't be surprised when you're screaming in a low gear to pull the hills.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:25 AM   #18
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I always thought the old 34' models to be relatively light, especially compared to newer models. Sure, you can load any Airstream to the gills and it will be heavy but our 1984 Interbational weighs just over 6200lbs empty, about 7500lbs ready to camp. The tongue weight is also low, just over 850 fully loaded. Those are considerably lower numbers than most modern models can boast.

They are incredibly easy to tow and will track straight and true. I have never experienced any tail wagging, but then we do tow with a Hensley. The brakes on these older models are also 2" larger than their modern counterparts, which adds to their shurefootedness. Backing up is a dream, they are so well behaved.

Any properly set up rig should come to a stop marginally faster than just the tow vehicle breaking alone. One of the benefits of towing with a car rather than a truck is that you get to keep your shorter stopping distance and faster lane changing ability, even with a long trailer like this.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:46 AM   #19
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Question Blanket statements......

.......should not apply.

with a car,
"you get to keep your shorter stopping distance"

Really?
Possible but not certain by any means.


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Old 12-06-2013, 08:45 AM   #20
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We recently bought an '08 34' Classic S/O and towed it back from California. On the way I ran it across the scales because I knew I would need that data to register the trailer in Texas. It weighs 8850 on the axles very lightly loaded. Our previous trailer was a 31' Classic, 7280 pounds weighed similarly.

I can say the 34' tows slightly more stable in most conditions, but is slightly more effected by the bow wind wave of a passing truck on the interstate than the 31' was. Not a major difference to any of it, but slightly. The weighed tongue weight on the 34 S/O is 1150 pounds up from about 850 on the 31.

I did also very slightly notice the added weight, but certainly no big deal. However, I am towing with an 850 lb ft torque Cummins Diesel, 3/4 ton 4 X 4.

Having said all of this, and this is just my opinion based on this experience and experience towing travel trailers for 40 years, I would not attempt to tow a trailer of this size and weight with any 1/2 ton truck for any length of time. Can it be done? Obviously yes. Will you enjoy it? My opinion again, but I don't think so. Will it be safe? I think that is mostly the responsibility of the driver.

Not trying to start any arguments, but these are my opinions. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
.......should not apply.

with a car,
"you get to keep your shorter stopping distance"

Really?
Possible but not certain by any means.


Bob
X2....BTW, the newer 30'ers and 31'ers have a greater GVWR and are heavier at empty curb weight than the older 34'ers. (Classic anyway). My 07 Classic:
Curb: 7600#
GVWR: 10,000#
Loaded for camping: about 9000#
Tongue (loaded): 950 - 1000#

So a newer 30'er should be recognized as pretty equal to the older 34'er posted above as far as weights go.
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SovrnScout View Post
The ecoboost may pull it just fine, it's for sure more truck in every way than my old CUCV. I'm just saying 420lb-ft isn't a whole lot against 13,000+ lbs total weight so don't be surprised when you're screaming in a low gear to pull the hills.
As a useful point of comparison, the 5.9l Cummins in a Dodge Ram made 400 lb-ft of torque in its original setup, and 460 in the 2nd generation. And the Ecoboost makes torque at similarly low RPM, 90% of its torque peak is available at 1700 RPM, and the Ecoboost transmission has better ratio spreads than the automatic behind the older 5.9 Cummins Rams.

420 lb-ft of torque was a lot until the American manufacturers got into the "mine's bigger' yours" marketing wars.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
I always thought the old 34' models to be relatively light, especially compared to newer models. Sure, you can load any Airstream to the gills and it will be heavy but our 1984 Interbational weighs just over 6200lbs empty, about 7500lbs ready to camp. The tongue weight is also low, just over 850 fully loaded. Those are considerably lower numbers than most modern models can boast.

They are incredibly easy to tow and will track straight and true. I have never experienced any tail wagging, but then we do tow with a Hensley. The brakes on these older models are also 2" larger than their modern counterparts, which adds to their shurefootedness. Backing up is a dream, they are so well behaved.

Any properly set up rig should come to a stop marginally faster than just the tow vehicle breaking alone. One of the benefits of towing with a car rather than a truck is that you get to keep your shorter stopping distance and faster lane changing ability, even with a long trailer like this.
Hi, let me get this straight; Your trailer has 14" brakes???????
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:30 PM   #24
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He's probably saying 12" as opposed to very common 10" trailer brakes-
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
.......should not apply.

with a car,
"you get to keep your shorter stopping distance"

Really?
Possible but not certain by any means.


Bob

A properly set up rig should stop marginally faster than the tow vehicle on its own. If that's not the case then something isn't as it should be and needs attention.

I know you like big body on frame vehicles but fact is that their road holding and stopping distance is, in almost all cases, inferior to that of cars and vans. That holds true whether you're towing or not.
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Old 12-07-2013, 06:22 AM   #26
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Hi, let me get this straight; Your trailer has 14" brakes???????
10" is the most common size for trailer brakes. The old 34' have 12" brakes.
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:23 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
A properly set up rig should stop marginally faster than the tow vehicle on its own. If that's not the case then something isn't as it should be and needs attention.

I know you like big body on frame vehicles but fact is that their road holding and stopping distance is, in almost all cases, inferior to that of cars and vans. That holds true whether you're towing or not.
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" One of the benefits of towing with a car rather than a truck is that you get to keep your shorter stopping distance and faster lane changing ability, even with a long trailer like this."

So I'm a little about exactly what it is your trying to say.

Towing your AS with a car will provide better stopping and faster lane changing ability?
This is an inappreciably inappropriate observation....marginally.

One size fit's all....I doubt it.

Now you'll have to prove to me that my inferior Suburban is more inferior than your inferior... About My Tow Vehicle
Honda Odyssee

WAAR

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Old 12-07-2013, 08:00 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
A properly set up rig should stop marginally faster than the tow vehicle on its own. If that's not the case then something isn't as it should be and needs attention.

I know you like big body on frame vehicles but fact is that their road holding and stopping distance is, in almost all cases, inferior to that of cars and vans. That holds true whether you're towing or not.
This MIGHT be true with SOME cars...particularly when running solo. Modern trucks are much better stoppers than they were, even as recently as 5 - 10 years ago. The two braking systems and materials are designed for very different duty cycles. There would be a lot of scenarios to discuss on this topic, but the variables of pedal application styles by the driver as well as the fact that all the controllers I have used aren't consistent in matching the vehicle under the full range of speeds and application pressures, across various vehicles.

I believe this your stated "fact" is overarching, somewhat antiquated and opinion based to be considered fact.
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