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Old 10-19-2007, 10:23 PM   #1
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Best Tow Vehicle for 20 foot Safari

I've just ordered a 20 foot Safari and need to choose a tow vehicle. I don't want a pick up. I'll be on a one-year publicity tour starting in January. I want a good attractive fit between color, towing capacity, style. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:29 PM   #2
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welcome to the forum & congrats on your new purchase.

possibly a half ton tahoe or suburban. there's some people who tow with the bmwX5. the new airstreams are pretty heavy compared to the older ones.

you should spend some time in the towing section of this forum to understand towing capacities. after a few hours of reading, you should be able to answer that question for yourself.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:39 PM   #3
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Welcome smoses! You should have lots of choices in really cool vehicles. You'll want to calculate your maximum loading. A few key specs you'll need as you search are:

- UBW of the Safari model you ordered (empty weight)
- GVWR specified for the Safari model you ordered (maximum total trailer weight: UBW plus the max weight you can put in it)
- Tongue weight of Safari model you ordered

- Curb weight of the vehicle
- Towing capacity of the vehicle
- Payload capacity of the vehicle
- GCWR - the maximum recommended weight of vehicle + trialer + stuff

Post back if you need help with the calculations.

Something like a Tahoe or Expedition might be a good place to start. If you want something less truck like, the new Aspen is very nice and has an impressive towing capacity. There are many smaller SUVs that can tow a 20'er - you'll just need to look more carefully at the specs and options for towing.

...........Scott
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoses
I've just ordered a 20 foot Safari and need to choose a tow vehicle. I don't want a pick up. I'll be on a one-year publicity tour starting in January. I want a good attractive fit between color, towing capacity, style. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.
Fullsize Tahoe/1500 suburban............or similar from other mfg...

Good brakes and sturdy frame.

Match towing capacity of TV to fully loaded trailer weight plus 15%

Research your Hitch choice!!

Good luck in your search.....keep us posted!!!!
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoses
I've just ordered a 20 foot Safari and need to choose a tow vehicle. I don't want a pick up. I'll be on a one-year publicity tour starting in January. I want a good attractive fit between color, towing capacity, style. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.
Whatever you do, make sure the vehicle you choose doesn't have highway gears, you'd be real unhappy with 3.42's towing up hills (I speak from experience).
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:11 PM   #6
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I have a 20 footer.

I do ok with a Chevy 1500 van with highway gears, but I think I would do mush better with a 2500 and the 4.17 gear ratio. I like the van because it
makes it easy to load gear.
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoses
.. I'll be on a one-year publicity tour starting in January. I want a good attractive fit between color, towing capacity, style....
oh goodness, i'd say something SILVER!

honestly the thought that color is your first issue is scary...

there are literally 100s of options for a 20 footer...

so much to consider...

the vw t-rex/audi/porsche comes in silver and is every so shapely...

and welcome to the forums!

2air'
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:47 AM   #8
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Promotional tour?

Yes, color is very important, SILVER.

All my tow vehicles were/are silver.

If you want to have a very neet/clean appearance, get a full size suburban-style tow vehicle. The space in the back of the TV is where you HIDE all the stuff you don't want folks to see while you show off the trailer. Fill the back of the suburban with color coordinated totes, or get a toneau cover made for the inside under the windows. Great dry storage, clean 360 view for driver while towing, and looks good to the passer by.

If you got a lot of stuff to pack in the back of the TV go 3/4 ton.

If you go gas engine, get 3.73 rear gearing at least.
Or the 4.11 gearing and you will love it.
And the one mile-per-galllon difference while driving empty is well worth it, since you'll get one mile-per-gallon better while towing, and it will pull SOOO much better.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Druupy
Promotional tour?

Yes, color is very important, SILVER.

All my tow vehicles were/are silver.

If you want to have a very neet/clean appearance, get a full size suburban-style tow vehicle. The space in the back of the TV is where you HIDE all the stuff you don't want folks to see while you show off the trailer, and looks good to the passer by.

If you got a lot of stuff to pack in the back of the TV go 3/4 ton
Ah yes another Burb Fan.....one of the nicest features of the Suburban

is how much it can speed up the "Get ready to go time."

Dog in crate, cameras snacks etc rear seat, toll change, ctr console,

thermos on floor behind pass seat, destination info, pass side dash,

trailer checklist, center console.

All other misc. stuff covered and secured to crate.

.......Get in, lets go.


NOTHING LIKE A LITTLE DOMESTIC TRANQUILLITY
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:35 AM   #10
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I would suggest that you buy something that would tow maybe up to a 25'. That way, if you decide to go longer, you won't have to buy another tv. Yes, I write from experience, having owned 3 ASs in a year, but luckily not having to chage tvs.
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:06 PM   #11
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I would always caution away from a half ton. If you go with a Suburban (which we did) choose a 3/4 ton with a large engine, and a 4.11 rear differential. This has to be special ordered, but is definitely worth the wait. GM may have a diesel available; you always get better power with a diesel, and worth the milage. (histoically, GM did not know how to build a diesel, but I think Izusu makes their diesels for them now). Ford makes a diesel in the Excursion. By experience, I would next time get a diesel. Remember, if you go with the SUV, the weight of the tow vehicle is more than a truck, and thus you have to add that to the Gross Vehicular Weight. Also you have to add the weight of the wife, kids, dogs, electronic toys, dry weight of the trailer, food, water, grey water and black water. All this adds up and you are not only concerned about pulling the vehicle but also being able to control it down a hill in a crosswind (try Yuma to San Diego in March). There are some web sites that offer CD's on towing tutorials, I highly recommend them. Remember to keep your speed down (55 mph highway) and take your time. Talk to old-timers and truckers. Weight your vehicle fully loaded with all tanks full. Be informed and you won't kill anyone.
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:07 PM   #12
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Thank you all for the excellent information and leads.

My dilemma right now is that yesterday I ordered a 20 ft. Safari with the understanding I could tow it with a FJ Cruiser. The salesman indicated that would be fine.

Then I read the towing threads at www.airforums.com and no one thinks that combination is feasible.

Fortunately, I haven't signed a contract yet. Looks like I'll probably change back to a 16 ft. Bambi which everyone agrees will work well with the FJ Cruiser.

It's either that or take on a much heavier TV such as a Tahoe, Expedition or Suburban, which I'd rather not do. At least that's the minimum size recommended by people on the forum.

Thanks so much for your patience with a novice starting what appears to be a steep learning curve.

Steve
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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steve...

you will have very LITTLE cargo potential (food and water even?) in that combination....

fj is cool but short, spaceless and so little load carry.

same with bambi (actually worse)

and only ONE battery.

wanna use solar or a genset or carry toys?

but it's your money and trip, so have a GREAT time!

cheers
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:38 PM   #14
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We tow our 2002 19' Bambi with a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a (gasoline) 5.7 liter Hemi engine. We use a Hensley hitch to avoid problems with the short wheelbase of the Jeep. The Jeep can pull the trailer up almost any interstate grade at 60 mph. Of course, you can see the gas gauge moving south when you do that.

I mention our combination because it does not fit most of the recommendations you see on the forum. Those recommendations are usually very good, but do not cover all possible successful combinations. As 2air has pointed out, the FJ has limited towing capabilities. You might find that it can combine successfully with something other than an Airstream or find a towing vehicle that is less than a Suburban, but will tow the Airstream you want. You might want to look at the new Airstream Sport models since they are lighter than the others.
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