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Old 08-29-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
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1/2 Ton Tow Vehicles

All, looking for some experience in towing 25-27' airstreams with 1/2 ton tow vehicles. I am about to make the plunge and purchase my first travel trailer - Airstream of course. I would like to hear folks experiences on towing before I commit to the 25 or 27. We will size down to the 23 if need be.

My tow vehicle is a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Texas Edition with tow package. It has a 5.3L V-8, 3.73 gear ratio, and is "factory book" rated to tow up to 7,600 lbs.

I have my eye on the 27FB Airstream Int which has a dry weight of 5,764 lbs and a loaded GVWR at 7,600 lbs.

When I do the tow capacity calculations to account for cargo in the truck and hitch loads, I am getting a max allowable trailer load of around 7,300-7,400 lbs. I feel pretty good that we could keep the trailer under this weight fully loaded except under rare occasion.

So here is where I would like your help and/or opinions.... if anyone has been involved in this type of rig please let me know how this combo pulled.

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:50 PM   #2
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Your main worry will be the payload capacity and rear axel capacity on the truck. While you may be within towing limits, you will be close or over on those other limits.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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As far as the actual towing experience goes, we haven't had any difficulties towing our 34' with a 2009 F150. However, I would keep a close eye on your rear axle max load limit. The F150 was considerably beefed up for the '09 model year which allows us to be within limits even with the larger trailer. I would expect your trailer tongue weight to be around 780# or so. When that is combined with your passengers and gear........
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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Proper rigging and proper equipment is the key to good towing.

A 150 or equal with a V-8 engine is OK, for any Airstream trailer.

A good load equalizing hitch with a meaningful sway control, is a must.

A separate transmission oil cooler, is another must.

Andy
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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I'm downsizing from a 2001, 2500 Duramax/34ft slide to a 2006 F150 and either 25ft FB or 23ft. I assumed the F150 with 5.4 would be more than capable for either? I'm interested as well to what people have to say...about this combination. I've been using a Hensley with 34footers, thinking with the smaller trailers,, it will not be so nessessary....?
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:15 PM   #6
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We just bought a 1976 28 foot Argosy 3 weeks ago and have pulled it on two trips so far. First one was the 500 mile trip home, and another this weekend about 330 miles round trip. My TV is a 2006 GMC with the 5.3L engine with 4x4 and Z71. It pulled fantastic. We had a couple of steep hills to navigate and it did great. Got about 12.5 mpg. So far, I've just been towing it on the ball, no sway control or weigh distribution.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by saburkha View Post
We just bought a 1976 28 foot Argosy 3 weeks ago and have pulled it on two trips so far. First one was the 500 mile trip home, and another this weekend about 330 miles round trip. My TV is a 2006 GMC with the 5.3L engine with 4x4 and Z71. It pulled fantastic. We had a couple of steep hills to navigate and it did great. Got about 12.5 mpg. So far, I've just been towing it on the ball, no sway control or weigh distribution.
Your asking for more trouible than you can dream of, for you and your passengers, when you tow with just a ball.

Physics, has a great hand in towing properly, and "CANNOT" be kicked to the curb.

Andy
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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We tow a 28ft Classic with a 09 F150 5.4. No problems. Runs best under 65 mph.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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Your main worry will be the payload capacity and rear axel capacity on the truck. While you may be within towing limits, you will be close or over on those other limits.
GVWR of the truck is 6,800 lbs and curb weight is 5,148 lbs. I expect passengers/cargo in the truck to be 500 lbs tops and have to stay under 1,000 lbs hitch load. Should keep me 100-200 lbs under the GVWR of the tow vehicle. Payload on the truck is 1,652.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:35 PM   #10
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No Problem

As others have said, a properly equipped half ton can tow your 25 or 23 foot Airstream. I am towing a 25FB with my Tundra and have absolutely no trouble in the hills or the flats. What you have to think about is your payload.

If you are going to bring a lot of heavy extras with you, you probably will be over your payload limit. We travel light so it is not a problem with us. You have received some good advice to check axle ratings and payload capacities.

I think a good WD hitch with build in sway is a great investment.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:11 PM   #11
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brianw,

I had a simular rig to what you are considering...a '07 1/2 ton GMC, tow package, 5.3 Liter engine, and 3.73 rear end, and I was dissatsified with it towing an '01 25'. I had the Reese Dual Cam hitch, and while the weight distribution worked fine, the sway control didn't. I changed to the ProPride hitch, and no more problem at all with sway. Then I changed the gears to 4.10, and it was better, but I was still not satisfied. So, then I traded trucks and got a 3/4 ton GMC Diesel, and NO more problems at all.

Others may have different experiences, but these were mine. Don't know what transmission your truck has, but if it's the six speed, yours will do better. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:43 PM   #12
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I find my Tundra/ 25' Safari to be a better match (in general) than my previous F250. The biggest improvement is in the ride.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:33 PM   #13
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I've towed my 8500 pound Classic with an Avalanche (5.3.3.73), a Yukon Denali XL (6.2/3.42 w/6 speed tranny). The 5.3 did fine and was in control. The Yukon XL was better due to the increased HP, but also was in control fine.

This summer I have been towing with a Silverado 2500 (6.0/3.73 6 speed). There was a marked improvement. It's just a better match.

The 1500/5.3/3.73 will do fine...just not in the Rockies. It'll be slow going in the mountains, which is fine in my book.

Like was stated above. Watch your rear axle weights, if you plan on much in the bed of the truck.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:37 PM   #14
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I pull an Excella 34' with my 1/2 ton Dodge Dakota. I have a good equalizing hitch, anti sway control, and of course a tranny cooler. I had my TV and trailer professionally set up by CanAm RV in London.

Going up hill is a bit slower, but no problem on the straight and level.
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