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Old 03-22-2010, 09:31 AM   #15
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Jennifer, you do not mention what your travel plan is for your new Airstream. This can be a significant factor when it comes to selection of a tow vehicle. If you plan to do all of your camping in the Orlando area or Florida generally, a V-6 SUV or pick-up will probably pretty much fill the bill. The longer the wheelbase of the the tow vehicle, the better.

Keep in mind that when your Airstream is set up ready to go camping, it is going to weigh 4000+#. Also, as 2air has stated, you must consider the weight of the cargo and passengers in the tow vehicle.

If, on the other hand, your Airstream travel plans call for extensive trips in the Rockies of Wyoming or the White Mountains of Vermont and new Hampshire, you might want to consider a little bit heftier tow vehicle. I am not recommending an F-350 Dually, but a V-8 power plant may be in order.

Do your research thoroughly, as an insufficient tow vehicle is the single largest cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

Brian
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:47 AM   #16
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Here are a few trucks to consider that should be up to the task of towing your trailer, while not breaking the bank, in no particular order:

Ford F150, extended cab, short bed, 4.6 liter
Chevrolet (and the GMC clone, Sierra) 1500, 5.3 liter, extended cab, short bed
Dodge Ram 1500, configured as above, 4.7 liter
Ford Expedition, 2wd, 4.6 liter
Chevy Tahoe/Suburban (Tahoe is slightly shorter wheelbase) 5.3 liter
Nissan Frontier, 2wd
Toyota Tacoma V6, 2wd
Chevy Astro, standard body (not ext)

There are, as pointed out above, many others, but the ones I listed above will allow you to look over tow vehicles with similar capabilities without filling a dictionary.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:50 AM   #17
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Jennifer
I think the F150 would do a good job for you,of course Im a Ford person. I would consult 3 or 4 dealers in your area. I see you are kinda leanin toward USED.ASK if they might be getting a OFF LEASE F150 in.These will be 2 yrs old,at least most of them. They have first dibbs on each vehicle they lease,and if they dont want it,it goes on to auction.These are usually well taken care of and because they are leased usually are updated on recalls and service by the leasing dealer.I would go with a crewcab and an 8 ft bed,room for more stuff, don't ya know.
GOOD LUCK on your search, keep in mind all the things mentioned by 2air he's had lots of experience.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:11 AM   #18
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If you go by your local Ford dealer, ask for a towing guide, and it will have the specs for the current year trucks. The smaller V8 will get better mileage, and with the proper rear end gear, will tow more than a 5.4. You can search google for 4.6 vs 5.4 ford f150 and get plenty of info on them..
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by jeneric View Post
...We're now leaning toward a Ford F-150. Since we're not doing a trade-in, and we'll now have the expense of another car insurance payment, we want to buy a used one without too many bells and whistles...
another member went through this process of looking for a used SMALLER 1/2 truck for her SMALL trailers.

her story is here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-26058.html

i met her towing with the newly acquired f150 just a few weeks after the purchase,

and she was already ADAPTED to the space (supercab with tiny back doors) ...

the 150 from 97-04 is called the "10th generation" and was WILDLY UNpopular with enthusiasts...

because of the 'soft' aerodynamic styling...

"don't look like a REAL truck" many guys groaned...

"yep, it looks like a CITY truck" others replied...

however THAT LOOK is exactly why you might like it...

they LOOK smaller, are more rounded (car like) and will still handle bambi fine...


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and because they are NOT popular with truck guys, the prices are VERY LOW...

i sorta like the look in a NON truck, truck sorta way...

and these are cheaper to insure, and there's a zillion of them to choose from...

with parts widely available too...

cheers
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:04 PM   #20
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One thing bugs me about that generation: the IIHS offset crash test of the Supercab was really bad. (I would think/hope that the true four door cab would be safer, structure-wise, but it wasn't tested.)

But to be fair, there are safety quibbles with other trucks in that time frame: GM had standard ABS but so-so frontal crash test results, Dodge had good frontal crash test results but optional ABS, Toyota had good frontal crash test results but hard to find ABS for a while...

Tom
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:16 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jeneric View Post
So, if I may shift the focus of this thread a bit...any thoughts on what to look for in a used F-150? Keep in mind it's for towing a 19' Bambi. Any advice is once again appreciated!
Before you start shopping you have to decide:
1) Do you want 4wd or not
2) Do you want a standard cab, extended cab, or crew cab

These all have $$$ attached to them and so it's something where either you need it or not and the truck should match. 2wd pickup trucks have awful traction but in Florida it may not matter much.

I consider pickup trucks fully fungible and so unless you are a Ford fanboi your search should also include similar products from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Nissan.

Evaluating a potential purchase is no different than with a car. Focus on overall condition not just major components. You can easily spend more on repairs for the brakes, suspension, steering, exhaust, AC, etc than on the engine and transmission.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:22 PM   #22
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...But to be fair, there are safety quibbles with other trucks in that time frame...
there are safety issues (way beyond quibbles) with ALL trucks and some very significant issues...

lightly loaded REARends,
rollover collapse,
frontal impacts,
side hits,
poor head/neck restraint/protections..
air bag placement (or lack)
crap flying out of the bed
what happens to the OTHER guy in the tiny car when HIT by a truck...

and so on...

now, then what does TOWING do to all of those issues?
_______

we make a LOT of compromises for towing, hopefully MOST of this is done with awareness of the issues.
_______

modern unibody car/suv designers do a great job of incorporating crash related features INTO the design, materials and construction...

the notion that the unibody "crumples" or collapses in a way that offers protection (first impact phase) is a good thing and proven...

the absorption of highENERGY in modern vehicle design is really something amazing.

EXCEPT none of those crumple zones are tested OR designed with towing a big silver BLOB, with an ARROW sticking OUT the front...
_______

the point being the PROVEN safety of modern cars/suvs and SOME trucks...

is largely irrelevant when towing, or at least a total UNknown on the crash data/protection side...

cheers
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:40 PM   #23
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Hey everyone,
Thanks for all your replies. I'm sorry I don't have time to respond to each one, but please know I'm reading them all and following up with research, etc., on things you've suggested. I really don't know what I'd do without these forums! You guys are all so much more knowledgeable and willing to share info than any salesperson I've come across. Thank you!
Jennifer
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
EXCEPT none of those crumple zones are tested OR designed with towing a big silver BLOB, with an ARROW sticking OUT the front...
Like you said, there is a world of unknowns that you enter into with towing. I'd rather improve the "knowns."

Even if you compare body-on-frame designs, big improvements in crash protection have been made since the 1997 introduction of that generation F-150. You'd likely have a marked improvement in safety just going to the 2004- generation of F-150. Same thing goes for the Chevy, Dodge, or Toyota. (Of course, that costs more - tough to swallow for a third vehicle.)

But then again, I'm all for the handling and braking advantages of unibody tow vehicles, especially for trailers of this size...

Tom
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:24 PM   #25
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...But then again, I'm all for the handling and braking advantages of unibody tow vehicles, especially for trailers of this size...
then SUGGEST a vehicle for the o.p. to consider.

o.p. now wants 1/2 truck, used and mentions the 150.

10th generation 150s LOOK smaller than 9th or 11th generation 150s and sell at a reasonable USED price.

that's the ONLY message in my post.
________

so u question crash safety issues (which DO now appear 2b quibbling on your part) and like unibody MINIVANs...

i'm not getting into that tired, old. lame, never ending bs. and it's all been written into MANY hijacked threads already.
________

"this size" of the o.p. trailer in question is 4500 lbs with the SAME frontal air impact as a 34 footer...

it's a single axle HEAVY short trailer, not an old painted stream.

and may not be their LAST or smallest stream....
_________

i'm all for the occasional random exchange or going OFF topic in many threads...

but this 1 is about the o.p. finding a tow vehicle and apparently she's narrowed the choices (wisely)...

those are the only "knowns" in this thread...

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:52 PM   #26
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Look 2air, I don't mean to wee in your coffee. I wrote out a long and angry reply - but I'm going to keep it to the issues at hand.

The use of the word "quibble" was me casually understating the issue, like "Houston, we have a problem here." I should have used the phrase "Most trucks of that era had a safety issue that you could point at."

It is known that later-generation trucks had structures that were better optimized for crash protection. Trucks designed in the 2000s have better occupant protection than those in the 1990s. Times change. Safety levels advance. If I were to buy a F-150 for towing, I'd try and buy a later-model (2004-) truck.

Personally, I would sell one of the OP's Honda sedans and get a used Ridgeline or Acura MDX. I would like to have the safety gear and comfort of that vehicle for long vacation trips. I also am averse to paying to insure and maintain a 2nd (in my case) or 3rd (in her case) vehicle.

Why don't I list other options? Well, inexpensive unibody options are rare because most manufacturers only started building larger unibody-based SUVs in the last few years. The ones who did have them were the Europeans, so they've depreciated to still being relatively pricey (especially to maintain.) Buying one as a third car that costs more than the second car seems odd.

EDIT: There are plenty of other body-on-frame options too. A current-gen Nissan Frontier or Toyota Tacoma could tow this easily. A Ford Expedition or Dodge Durango gives you available stability control and curtain airbags for a relatively attainable price. But there is a big difference in what you can buy for $7500 vs $15,000.

Tom
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:05 PM   #27
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I have a 09 Nissan frontier Pro 4X and this is the truck i will use to pull a 19 international if i can talk to wife into the trailer.

i have no doubt that this truck will pull this trailer, and what we feel we need for the trip with out a problem.
I would definitely suggest driving the Toyota again or a Nissan frontier before settling on the f150 it sounds also like your a Honda fan the ridgeline from Honda is a pretty impressive truck/SUV?.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:11 PM   #28
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Ford F150, extended cab, short bed, 4.6 liter maybe
Chevrolet (and the GMC clone, Sierra) 1500, 5.3 liter, extended cab, short bed maybe
Dodge Ram 1500, configured as above, 4.7 liter no way
Ford Expedition, 2wd, 4.6 liter no way
Chevy Tahoe/Suburban (Tahoe is slightly shorter wheelbase) 5.3 liter to big
Nissan Frontier, 2wd yep but 4wd
Toyota Tacoma V6, 2wd yep but 4wd
Chevy Astro, standard body (not ext) no way

in my opinion

a Nissan xterra, pathfinder (you can get a V8) 4runner v8 as well.
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