Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #1
New Member
 
Currently Looking...
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Are We on the right track?

Good afternoon all; Old Crow here or maybe it should be “New Crow” since “Mrs. Crow” and I are total new to RVing. As a matter of fact, we’re just starting to look for a trailer but have decided it’s gonna be an Airstream!
We’ve gained a lot of knowledge from this and other sites and picked up on the idea that the trailer is the important consideration versus the TV; however, we need to start with what we have and make changes as we learn. We’re hoping that some of you experienced RV’ers can give us a few tips and calibration as needed.

First, our intent is to take extended trips, maybe up to several months and travel throughout the US including the NW after we get our “road legs”. I’m thinking that a 27-31 foot trailer would be the approximate size we would need - just trying to get a general feeling for size & need. We would be camping in National Parks and some RV parks. We know that space can be tight in some NPs. Is 27-31 under/overkill?

Secondly, our current TV is a ’05 Ram 1500 5.7L V8 hemi. Here are some of the build sheet specs:
- short bed, 20” wheels
- 5 sp auto trans.( 5-45RFE)
- 3.92 Rear Axle Ratio
- Corporate 9.25 LD Rear Axle
- Auxiliary Transmission Oil Cooler

Other info includes:
- Gross Combined Weight Rating = 14,000
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating = 6650
- Gross Front/Rear Axle Weight Rating = 3900 ea.
- Curb Weight = 5141
-
Hitch Type
Max. Trailer Weight
Max. Tongue Weight
Weight Distributing
12,000
1,200
Weight Carrying
5,000
500


- Gross Trailer Weight = 10,000

Needless to say, most is this totally unfamiliar to us but as close as we can figure, we think that we could tow a trailer “ready to go” with a weight of ~ 8859 with about 10-12% of this weight on the hitch.

Is this anywhere near correct or have we totally missed the boat? If we have, is there a simple formula, spreadsheet, etc somewhere that will steer us in the right direction?

Thanks in advance,

John & Sherry
__________________

__________________
Old Crow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Fyrzowt's Avatar
 
2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,697
Images: 8
First, welcome to the forums!
You have asked a question that you are likely to get a wide range of answers on. Some folks are willing to pull a 25' AS with a VW Rabbit. Some think you need a 3500 to tow a Bambi. I'm being a little facetious, but not much.
I prefer not to weigh in on the subject, but there are informed folks who will.
Having said that, I tow a 25' Safari with a 1500. I have been across the US with it and have never felt uncomfortable with it. A larger trailer may require that you upgrade the TV. Again, there are those who can quote specs all day on the subject, that's not me.
As far as trailer size, that becomes a more personal decision based on personal needs, but there are some things to consider.
You already mentioned SP camping. Many of them allow a max of 25', a few have an even shorter max size.
You being new to RVs in general, do all of the reading here and info gathering that you can before making the leap.
Do you have any experience towing any kind of trailer?
Good luck, keep asking!
__________________

__________________
AIR #15800

"Wimpy" 1/2 ton 2002 GMC Sierra 4X4 Z-71 Gasser
2000 Safari SS 25'
Fyrzowt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
New Member
 
Currently Looking...
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Thanks Fyrzowt,

Yep, there are so many different opinions on TVs and that was one of the sources of our confusion. I even created a spreadsheet with all the specs , bells and whistles to indicate go/no go on suitability of TV/trailer but then I’d read a post that was contrary to the conclusions we had drawn!
I’ll continue information gathering and recon and see what others contribute and go from there. We probably won’t make a purchase until the end of summer, so we have some time.
My towing experience is limited and a long time ago; another skill I’ll have to dust off.

Thanks for your time and insight.

John
__________________
Old Crow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Aviator's Avatar

 
1997 34' Limited
1970 27' Overlander
South of Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,655
Images: 2
John,

FWIW, I tow a 34' Airstream with a 2009 F150 4X2 5.4L engine. Many would say I am fine with my rig, others would say I'm a catastrophe waiting to happen. Somewhat by accident I ended up with my rig on NC129 otherwise known as the dragons tail; many switchbacks and up to 12% grade and the truck did fine. I am comfortable with my setup. I have an outstanding hitch system which somewhat helps with the smaller truck, and I know my limits. I would take my trailer anywhere in the US with my current truck.

My suggestion is to buy the trailer you want, a good hitch (I am partial to ProPride) and head out. Spend some time here in the beautiful Southeast, then as you get comfortable hop back and forth across the Appalachian Mountains a few times and work your way up to more difficult situations. If something makes you uncomfortable, find another route.

Welcome to the forums and welcome to Airstreaming!
__________________
Craig and Carol
1997 34' Excella 1000
1970 27' Overlander, International
2009 Ford F150 5.4L
ProPride hitch with 1400# bars

AIR 41028
TAC GA-8
WBCCI 10199
Past President Southeastern Camping Unit (12)
Aviator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Are We on the right track?

Greetings John and Sherry!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

Your reasoning sounds logical to me as you would have close to a 12% surplus capacity on the tow vehicle at your proposed 8859 lb. gross trailer weight with a trailer tow rating of 10,000 lbs. When I was shopping for my current tow vehicle, my minimum requirement was 20% surplus capacity, and in the end, I ended up with more like 40% surplus capacity (10,000 trailer tow rating with 6,100 pound coach) . . . . I haven't regretted this decision as the peace of mind that I won't have to be worried about making the next grade in the Rockies is priceless as my most frequent destinations involve grades in either Colorado or Montana. Your satisfaction level with a particular tow vehicle can be greatly impacted by your most fequent destination(s) as a tow vehicle that will see most of its service in the plains and prairies won't need as much power and torque as a tow vehicle that sees frequent duty in mountainous areas.

Your choice of Airstreams will be broad with your tow vehicle. If your tastes go toward the Vintage coaches, you can tow almost any of the pre-1980 coaches as they were designed to be towed by contemporary family cars. Even within the newer coaches, you shouldn't have problems locating a satisfactory coach. As others have posted, shopping around for the floorplan that feels comfortable to you will be beneficial when it comes to long-term satisfaction. When I began shopping for an Airstream in 1995, I was thinking that I wanted a new Safari coach . . . but then I learned that my preferred floorplan had been discontinued in the 1980s . . . so my shopping was redirected to Vintage coaches with my desired floorplan. I have towed my 26-foot Overlander (actually 26' 8") since 1995, and have camped in many state parks as well as national parks and have only encountered one where my combination of Suburban and Overlander couldn't be accommodated.

Good luck with your research and investigation!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
TBRich's Avatar

 
2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,483
Images: 64
Welcome to the Forums, John & Sherry. I'll leave the discussion of tow vehicles and towing capabilities to others who are more knowledgeable about larger tow vehicles towing larger rigs than we own.

RE camping sites in National Parks and Monuments... You are right that there are frequently length limits. Many of the campgrounds in national parks & monuments and national forests are smaller because they are older campgrounds ... unless they have been updated, of course. Maybe it's just because we have a small rig (19'), but we have never seen anyone turned away from a national park or forest campground because of length, and we always see 5th wheels that have managed to squeeze into sites everywhere we have been. I'm sure it's happened that someone has been denied access, but I sense that it's more to give the campers a sense of what the sites will accommodate rather than strict limitations. There is a huge amount of information on campgrounds on the internet, so make good use of it. Also, you can always call a park and discuss it with them and if your are making reservations you can asked them which sites might be best to reserve for your length of rig. Remember, too, that Airstreams' lengths include the tongue (3'), so if you have to fudge you can. Having a small rig is sometimes an advantage because we can go pretty much anywhere and more than once the only site left has been so small that no one else can get in it.

Enjoy your new adventure!
__________________
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair, 4C
Unit #3954
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
TBRich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,603
Images: 1
The "rule" is rather to choose the trailer first.

Work those numbers (published weights plus actual scale tickets: an adjusted "empty" weight for the TT would include full propane and fresh water tanks plus permanent trailer supplies/tools. IOW, the trailer would not ever weigh less than this) for the trailer chosen and any concerns about the TV are lessened.

One can never go wrong with a VPP hitch, trailer disc brakes and a state-of-the-art brake controller. The TV needs all the help it can get is my way of looking at it, rather a reversal of mah' mighty pickemup can tow anythin' which tends to affect many RV'ers.

It's about stability and control . . and weights of either vehicle are the secondary level of consideration. Still, numbers are always basic. Work from real numbers (weights) and the rest is straightforward in choosing a TV.

.
__________________
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 07:38 AM   #8
New Member
 
Currently Looking...
Huntersville , North Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Thanks one and all for the warm welcome and especially for the information and “field” experience. We’re discovering that the subject of towing is one of the most diversified in all of “Airstreamdom”; however, the tips you have provided will narrow the choices and allow us zero in of just a couple of models and speed our selection . We especially appreciate input on floorplans, hitches manufacturers, and I like the idea of hopping back and forth across the Appalachians for experience.
Thanks again and we’ll be seeing you down the road this fall and since we’re at the bottom of the learning curve, here on the forum.

John & Sherry
__________________
Old Crow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,165
Blog Entries: 1
25-27 feet
__________________
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 09:05 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
In a nutshell, don't get tied up by numbers.

The aerodynamics, stability of independent torsion bar suspension, and low center of gravity Airstream makes it the best towing RV available.

Common sense also prevails. Adjust speed to traffic, terrain, wind, weather, and road conditions. Be patient. Shift down as needed up and down steep grades.

Propride or Hensley hitch properly adjusted and XL (Extra Load) tires on the truck will ensure stability.

A quality brake controller is needed.

There are no big Airstreams, they're all tiny. Learn to travel as lightly as possible for the best experience, think like a backpacker when loading. 10-15% of the trailer weight must be on the trailer tongue. A 25-27' Airstream may be best overall, not too big and not too small, for extended trips that include off-the-beaten-path experiences. Have trailer tires, suspension, brakes inspected/repaired/replaced before hitting the road.

Because of solid axle rear suspension and high center of gravity, pickup trucks are inherently unstable. But there are few alternatives to tow heavy loads. With considerations mentioned, your truck will do an excellent job.

doug k
__________________
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 09:17 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Wayward's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
Cary , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 803
what aviator and dkottum said

Welcome Old Crow! You are gonna love it!

You have plenty of truck for any Airstream. Focus on setting up the rig as mentioned above. I'd add too...... make sure you've a good capacity tranny cooler with Redline fluid running through it, upgrade to stiffer D or E load range tires when yours wear out, and consider lower ratio axle gears after you tow for a while and see how you like it.

I pull our 25' with both a 1/2 ton F150 with a 4.2L motor and, with a 3/4 ton F250 with a 6.2L and towing optimized drivetrain. Both are fine and safe rigs with the Airstream. I made a few mods to the F150 and the F250 is stock. I adjust my driving accordingly.

btw...the two key numbers to get in the ballpark with first are the the towing capacity of your truck (which can be likely upgraded with gears, tires etc) and the UBW (i.e. empty dry weight) of the trailer you are interested in. GV weight ratings are basically maximum recommended loads including the rig and all the stuff you could load onto it - too many variables there to start with..
__________________
2006 Safari SE FB
2000 F150 4.2L
2011 F250 6.2L
Raleigh, NC
Wayward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 10:06 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Thalweg's Avatar
 
1962 24' Tradewind
Buffalo , Wyoming
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 541
My truck is nearly identical to yours except that mine is a 4X4, and although my Airstream is not up and running yet, I pull a flatbed loaded down with firewood, ATV’s, or a small tractor all the time. I’m sure these loads are frequently heavier than most Airstreams. I did install air bags on the truck to help level the loads. I live at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and make these trips up and down the mountain regularly. The truck does struggle up some to the steep sections of the highway. I have to keep my foot into it to maintain 45 mph when I’ve got a load. However, I frequently pass some of these little 6-poppers that the specs say they should be able to tow a house, doing 10 mph with 30 cars backed up behind them. I also pull over to help them when they are overheated on the side of the road. Therefore, I personally regard the specs with some skepticism. On flat terrain I maintain 70 mph at 2200 rpm fairly easily with a medium heavy load. Gas mileage isn’t great, but I solve that by not looking at the numbers or the price at the pump. Ignorance is bliss. But if my 2005 Dodge, 1500 with 5.7 Hemi can tow in the mountains, I suspect you’ll be OK.
__________________
Thalweg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 10:30 AM   #13
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,401
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalweg View Post
My truck is nearly identical to yours except that mine is a 4X4, and although my Airstream is not up and running yet, I pull a flatbed loaded down with firewood, ATV’s, or a small tractor all the time. I’m sure these loads are frequently heavier than most Airstreams. I did install air bags on the truck to help level the loads. I live at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and make these trips up and down the mountain regularly. The truck does struggle up some to the steep sections of the highway. I have to keep my foot into it to maintain 45 mph when I’ve got a load. However, I frequently pass some of these little 6-poppers that the specs say they should be able to tow a house, doing 10 mph with 30 cars backed up behind them. I also pull over to help them when they are overheated on the side of the road. Therefore, I personally regard the specs with some skepticism. On flat terrain I maintain 70 mph at 2200 rpm fairly easily with a medium heavy load. Gas mileage isn’t great, but I solve that by not looking at the numbers or the price at the pump. Ignorance is bliss. But if my 2005 Dodge, 1500 with 5.7 Hemi can tow in the mountains, I suspect you’ll be OK.
Which "6 poppers" are these? Cummins diesels, or Ecoboost Fords, or something else?
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 10:46 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Thalweg's Avatar
 
1962 24' Tradewind
Buffalo , Wyoming
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 541
Something else.I didn't mean to offend. One of these days I intend on having a 6-popper Cummins.
__________________

__________________
Thalweg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.