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Old 05-01-2011, 10:10 AM   #1
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2011 25' FB International
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2001 Expedition - practical guidance

Hi Everyone - thanks in advance for reviewing this message and providing some wisdom. I have a 2001 Expedition with tow package (trailer hitch pic below) and have a few questions. First, I just want to confirm my math. I realize I need to get the TV's empty weight so I'm going with an estimate for starting this exercise and then will get the TV weighed shortly. (I'll get both the empty weight and then fully loaded with two small children, wife, dog, full fuel, and enough stuff for a 4 day vacation). The purpose of this is to gauge the right trailer weight for us and then the appropriate hitch set-up to reduce sway and make the towing process as comfortable as possible. So here goes:

Expedition Info:
Engine/Axle ratio: 5.4L V8/3.55 (4x4 17" tires)
GCWR: 12,500# (this is the max allowable weight of the cab+trailer. I don't want to be at the max)
Trailer weight max: 6,900#
Estimated Expedition empty weight: 5,500# (will confirm) GVWR=7,200#
Estimated camping gear weight: 800# (in Expedition)
Estimated AS water weight plus gear: 800# (in Airstream)

Expedition Estimates:
Full fuel Expedition + family + gear = 5,500+800+400 = 6,700#

Remaining weight allowed for Airstream setup = 12,500 - 6,700 = 5,800#

Question for the community: In your experience, do my estimates for gear and water weights seem about right, therefore suggesting an empty weight trailer >5,200# would be a bad idea? The practical guidance questions are:
1) How much do you find you really load in your AS for a 3-4 day vacation with a couple of kids?
2) Since we all have SUVs/Trucks, do you find you load more into the truck and keep the airstream fairly light (better tow?) accept for the fluids necessary for the AS?
3) Any recommendations for the right hitch set-up? We're interested in a 2006/2007 25' Safari with the front bedroom. Our weights may not allow for that size however.

Thanks so much everyone! Matt
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:42 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your questions, we have a 2005 Safari 25FB. Ready to camp, she tips the scales at 7400#. We tow with a Hensley Arrow hitch system which adds about 150# over some of the other hitch systems. We weighed her with full LP tanks and a full fresh water tank. The full fresh water tank adds nearly 400#. We also carry a lot of junk. You could easily get a 25FB down to 6800# for the road.

You are on the right track looking at a 25FB. It is a very livable floor plan. We have spent over 800 nights in ours, and we wouldn't trade it for any other.

We tow with 3/4 ton Suburbans, and this works very well. At one time we towed with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe (5.3 liter/3.73 rear). This worked OK, but the Tahoe was just not big enough for all our in tow vehicle junk. We take rather long trips (6 to 8 weeks), so we feel like we need a lot of stuff.
We carry a complete tool kit and many spare parts.

The 2001 Expedition can tow a 25FB. You should really add a transmission fluid cooler, and make sure that your tires are up to the job. Remember that towing a heavy trailer is going to put a lot of strain on your tow vehicle. All of the components of your Expedition need to be in good shape.

Also remember that tow vehicles come and go. Airstreams endure. Get the Airstream that suits your needs and desires. Never select an Airstream based on the tow vehicle that happens to be sitting in your driveway this morning.

Brian
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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Brian - thanks a million. You mentioned that the AS fully loaded tips the scale at 7400#. Can you tell me the empty weight since we're looking at a model/year very similar to yours? I had found somewhere it was around 5200-5300#? Seeing if it would be practical and possible to keep the trailer weight <6,000#. Maybe with full water in the tanks it's not.

Thanks!
Matt
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:06 AM   #4
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Get your owners manual out for the Expedition There will be a chart in there with weights, engine, and rear end ratio. Look on the post on drivers door and there is a exact vehicle weight list also.

You are using the wrong trailer weight. You will want the weight distribution hitch..
And Ford has already accounted for full factory gas tanks into their numbers. Subtract the fuel load.
If you load the Airstream to its limits I doubt very seriously that you would be able to overload the Expedition unless you are taking the kitchen sink and refrigerator with you.

I pulled a 8400 GVW Excella in the same applications you have with a 3/4 ton suburban and never worried about all this aircraft style weights and balance.

Just get the weight distribution hitch. that will keep the loaded trailer weight mostly on the trailer tires and keep you in limits of the tongue weight.
If it makes you feel better load up the trailer fill up the water tank and maybe fill up the gray water tank and go weigh it. Then you can decide if you want to absoutely always travel with empty gray and black water tanks.

I am pulling my 31' with F350 Super Duty and carry a aluminum fuel tank with 100 gallons of diesel when I began a trip. You basically have the same chassis with a smaller motor. I also pull a utility trailer with same fuel and a GVTW of 14,000 pounds with a weight distribution hitch.

If you get one or the other overloaded a little the wheels aren't going to fall off but it might cause more wear on components such as axles, wheel bearings Just be sure your combined tire max load on all tires will carry the load. So if you had 2,000 pounds per tire X 8 then you could carry 16,000 pounds with proper weight distribution without blowing a tire. Obviously you don't want to max this figure out but you can compare it to a total weight.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:06 AM   #5
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Matt,
You can look at floor plans and weight of various modles at the Airstream's website. Here is the weblink:
Airstream, Inc :: Travel Trailer Specifications
Hope this helps!
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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My 31' is 4,000 The new rigs weigh more but since you are 6' shorter I wouldn't think it would be over this.
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDucks View Post
Brian - thanks a million. You mentioned that the AS fully loaded tips the scale at 7400#. Can you tell me the empty weight since we're looking at a model/year very similar to yours? I had found somewhere it was around 5200-5300#? Seeing if it would be practical and possible to keep the trailer weight <6,000#. Maybe with full water in the tanks it's not.

Thanks!
Matt
Lucy's empty weight per her sticker is 5300#

Brian
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:39 PM   #8
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Ducks...

I had to weigh several pallets of batteries last week, and the 'empty' weight of our 2001 Exc was around 7,500# with 1/2 tank of fuel...

Our Exc is the same as yours, but with the V-10, which adds a bit more weight than, but not all that much...

As I remember, last time I weighed our rig with the WD hitch hooked up, the Exc weighed 8,400# and the AS weighed 6,200# (road ready, but no food or water) for a total 'train' weight of about 14,600#...

BTW...towing with our Exc has been trouble free, and we've never had any 'wobble' problems on the road with our 28ft AS! We don't even get any 'sway' from passing semi's on Interstates...The Equal-i-zer hitch helps, I'm sure, but I give most of the credit to the Excursion and it's long wheel base and heavy 3/4 ton chassis!

The heavy Exc just won't let the 'tail' wag the dog, at least in our experiences with about 15K miles to date...

Hook up your Exc and go!
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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Ray - thanks for the info...and oh, if I only had an Excursion. Ole Bessie that's my TV is a 2001 Expedition.

Matt
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