Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-23-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
BMW X5d, Mercedes GL350Blutec, Toureg TDI for 23’ Flying Cloud??

I’ve read many threads on tow vehicles over the last 3 years in preparation for our debut Airstreaming year of 2011. I know the core arguments from the “heavy duty” camp and the much smaller “SUV Camp.” Both have a clear logic based on experience. Here’s a few issues driving me down this path.

What ever we buy must also serve as my wife’s daily driver. We live in a Garden home…smallish 2-car garage. A Dodge 2500, 2w drive engulfs the garage, barely fits in the driveway and my wife just doesn’t want to use it as the daily driver despite the opportunity to drive that 6+ liter Cummins…go figure! (we recently did an extensive test drive to test all this.)

The Airstream will be kept in a storage place but I can’t bring myself to buy the 2500 to store just for towing. So, I’m looking seriously at one of the three SUV’s listed above. They’re all pretty big for our garage too, but quite a bit shorter in length than the 2500.

Here’s some other info:

1] Four or Five Trips per year (not till 2012 or 2013 and beyond); total time on road then will be 3 to 5 months per year.
2] Annual miles while towing will be less than 10,000.
3] Terrain encountered/expected will be everything in north America…especially mountain country.
4] My wife and I and 2 small Shitsu’s will be the only passengers.
5] As you likely know, the 23ft runs about 4700 lbs dry and allows about 1200 lbs of goods which we’ll manage carefully. We’ll bring 300 or 400 lbs, max, in the TV. We generally travel lite.
6] My wife only does about 5,000 miles a year of daily driving plus we’ll use the TV for the two of us around town and shorter trips on the weekends. So we could do 18,000 miles in the heaviest traveled years. I plan on keeping the car for years.

All three diesels provide 400+ ft lbs of torque. The X5 and Toureg wheelbases are about 5 inches shorter than the GL, which is about 6+ inches short than the 2500.

One image that keeps coming up that makes me feel comfortable with one of these TV’s is the demo on the AirStream website with the Porsche Cayenne doing a slalom with a large airstream. I know it is on a flat with an expert driver but it is still impressive. I buy into the Andrew T (and others) arguments about handling quality of the vehicle as a key factor that can make up for lighter vehicles. I do AutoCross with my Mini and some regular track time so I really like the performance driving aspect of the SUV’s. We’ll likely do the Hensley Hitch and can afford most any other essentials.

We’ll buy the TV in a few months and the Airstream by December this year. I hope to meet some of you on the road someday. If anyone has any suggestions to consider I’d love the input.
__________________

__________________
GreyLens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
_
 
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
LOTS of towing options for a 23 foota...

3/4 and larger things are WAY DOWN (not even on) the list for most twothree streams.

ANY/all the 1/2 ton trucks/vans/suvs can work.

domestic/import/HIGHburds/low riders, vans, veggie burners and so on.

old/new and come on, there are 100s of options at the 23 size.

and there are threads already on EACH tv in the title, find 'em.

there are generic suv vs truck threads too.

threads with LISTs of vehicles and so on.

diesel vs gas threads too...

WHAT WAS THE QUESTION again?

oh yeah...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-39142.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-42665.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...eam-21565.html

the old vid' with cayenne is porn, so OF COURSE it's a RE-memorable image

there are specific MODIFICATION issues (receiver/wiring/sparetire/ureatank/exhaust) for each of the highlighted issues...

solve those SPECIFICALLY for whatever and be happy with the cost/choice.

or spend some time learning and LISTING the unique issues for each.

intelligent exchange can happen ONCE the specific issues are the subject matter...

BIG vs little isn't on that list of issues.
__________

the primary issue with most/any tv is this...

WILL IT WORK FOR THE NEXT STREAM?

many pretend that going from 23 to 25, 27,28, 30 or 34 won't happen.

it does.

and many pretend the CURRENT TV will handle anything larger, because 1 shop across the border sez so...

it ain't so or it's so so or it is SOOOOOOOOO wrong sometimes...

but porn is popular for a reason.

folks LIKE fantasy of all sorts.

cheers
2air'
__________________

__________________
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
2airishuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
87MH's Avatar
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,435
Images: 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyLens View Post

We’ll buy the TV in a few months and the Airstream by December this year. I hope to meet some of you on the road someday. If anyone has any suggestions to consider I’d love the input.
Rich Luhr has writen several articles on the Mercedes.

Some comments are here:

Man In The Maze » Mercedes GL320

His horror story with the hitch on a unibody pretty well mirrors my thoughts - not quite enough meat there to do a proper job.

The fact the he had to "reinforce" the hitch assembly scares me away from unibodies.

I vaguely remember a couple of posts here in the Forums about the Toureg/Cayenne. A couple of returned vehicles and strange stories from the manufacturers about "not designed to do that..."

Demo's are one thing - actually using and driving on a day to day basis are something else entirely.

Don't think that any claims be a salesman will be honored by the warranty department.





My opinion....
  1. Get the largest frame type SUV that your wife can handle and whose rating of Towing AND GVW has a decent Safety Factor (120%?) when hooked up the the AS. Pay close attention to your probable tongue weight WITH the hitch you plan to use - that is all weight placed in the area of the rear bumper. Realisticaly estimate total weight carried in the SUV interior.
  2. As an alternative, go ahead and bite the bullet and get two vehicles - one for towing and one for the wife....One or the other could be a carefully used second hand vehicle - there are an abbundance of two to three old vehicles with relatively few miles on them available. Choose wisely - especially if you can discover who was the primary driver. I have seen too many Soccer Moms here in Houston scrambling around at 70mph plus with their left foot on the brake the same time their right foot is on the accelerator - buying a known vehicle from a known (conservative) driver may be your best bet.
Nothin' like being pushed down a slinky mountain road containing some serious switchbacks to make you wish you had a vehicle with a little more brake, a little more wheelbase, a little more compression in the engine to help you slow down, a few more square inches in the tires where the rubber meets the road, and, oh, yeah, a little combo washer and dryer in the rear to clean up the drawers.
Let the choice of the vehicle(s) be one (or two) meet(s) your needs - not a compromise that doesn't satisfy any parameters at all.
__________________
Dennis

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
AirForums #1737

Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
Texas Airstream Harbor, Inc.
87MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2010, 05:11 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Road Ruler's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
St. Catharines , South Western Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,364
Images: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH View Post
Nothin' like being pushed down a slinky mountain road containing some serious switchbacks to make you wish you had a vehicle with a little more brake, a little more wheelbase, a little more compression in the engine to help you slow down, a few more square inches in the tires where the rubber meets the road, and, oh, yeah, a little combo washer and dryer in the rear to clean up the drawers.
Let the choice of the vehicle(s) be one (or two) meet(s) your needs - not a compromise that doesn't satisfy any parameters at all.
I believe these are the reasons why he is looking at premium vehicles like the BMW X5d, Mercedes GL350Blutec, and the Toureg TDI
__________________
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
Road Ruler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2010, 05:47 PM   #5
Maniacal Engineer
 
barts's Avatar
 
1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,223
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 4
Personally, if I were pulling nearly 6000 lbs through mountain country, I'd pick a pretty stout tow vehicle that's designed to tow somewhat more than 6000 lbs (that slop is your mountain allowance ). I'd also double check folks actual towing experience w/ the vehicle(s) you're considering... and get disk brakes on the 'stream.
Any time my trailer weighs more than my TV, I'm extra careful.

- Bart
__________________
Bart Smaalders
Menlo Park, CA
http://tinpickle.blogspot.com
http://smaalders.net/barts
barts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2010, 04:16 PM   #6
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Wow...just checked in quickly and I haven't read everything yet. But, just wanted to say thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment. I'll read and digest as soon as I can!!
__________________
GreyLens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
JFScheck's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Rockville , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,474
Images: 33
I tow a 25 footer through the mountains with a diesel T-Rex and ProPride hitch - getting ready for another mountain / cross country trip in a few months (just completed one two months back) and love it.

Rock stable up mountains and down mountains, great mileage and plenty of power with 407 lbs torque (great engine braking going down hill), 55 plus cross winds no issue at all, great handling through the curvy mountain roads of West Virginia, Colorado, Utah etc. - and the comfort while towing is great!
__________________
John "JFScheck" Scheck
2015 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL
2015 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 XL Chassis with Mercedes BlueTec V6 Diesel
**I Love U.S.A.**
JFScheck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
Whizzo's Avatar
 
2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 685
Images: 18
You've done an analysis of your towing requirements, and a capable diesel SUV with an elaborate hitch like you describe will do the job. Your combination of a medium-sized SUV and 23 foot TT is a reasonable match. I have towed with both truck-based and unibody SUVs, with the Hensley, though my Sport 22 footer is 1000lbs lighter than the FC 23.

The discussion of how great a safety margin and towing comfort factor, plus having to upgrade both TV and TT if you ever want a larger trailer - are valid concerns.

TV weight and length are the major factors. However, it's interesting to note the BMW X5's 115.5 inch "short" wheelbase compares reasonably to that of a standard bed Ford F-150 pickup (116.8 inch) from 1996 - a very common tow vehicle. The GL class Mercedes, with 121 inches, obviously fits the size recommendations above.
__________________
2014 Flying Cloud 23FB
2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Whizzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 04:16 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks everyone for your time and perspective. Though I may sound like I've made up my mind I really haven't. I usually spend considerable time before I make a move. Here's a short view of some of the input.

I've read many threads on the SUV vs Truck debate and most that strongly support the big Truck preference are 2 to 5 years old. The three cited above fall into that category even though one of them has a couple of 2010 entries. Only a few threads seem to examine the use of some of the new SUV's for light to medium trailers. Thanks to those of you who have first hand experience with these TV's. You're perspective is much appreciated. I also watched the video of the gentleman who is towing his airstream with the Mercedes GL Blutec. It shows a highly stable driving dynamic in the Big Truck passing and head on 2 lane modes and a very windy day. Very interesting. I'll keep looking for other examples to think about.

A couple of key points made:

1. Upsizing to the next Airstream could be an issue. If we do that our only real choice will likely be to get a Truck Diesel of some type and store it with the trailer when home. We simply won't have the garage to handle it. I'm real sure we won't tow a 30' classic with the SUV.

2. It seems the high end SUV makers have seen the light on the towing issue and they're speaking more directly to the market with new towing rigs and capabilities in 2010 and 2011. I'll heed your advice and check them out thoroughly to make sure the capabilities are real.

3. Mountains. The 23 ft Airstream weighs 4700+ lbs dry and 6000 lbs loaded. The trailer weights allowed for the candidate TV's are around 7300+ lbs. So, we may find it useful to travel the mountains without taking all the waters with us...schedule on launch day: 0700-Dump station, 0730-Breakfast, 0830-locknload for travel.

4. The "daily driver" requirement for the TV is a must for the next few years. That was the main initial driver of this approach...no pun intended.

Thanks to the input, though, I'm going to take a harder look at the options. I hadn't considered the Toureg, for example. And I need to sort out a bunch of details.

If anyone has anything else for me please let me know.
__________________
GreyLens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 05:21 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
mutcth's Avatar

 
2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyLens View Post
So, we may find it useful to travel the mountains without taking all the waters with us...schedule on launch day: 0700-Dump station, 0730-Breakfast, 0830-locknload for travel.
It's not a bad idea to avoid towing waste water anyway - why have the extra weight? Most campgrounds are set up to let you dump right on the way out.

I think you'll have a few more options as the year goes by. For example, there will be a Dodge Durango replacement later this year that is based on the same platform as the Mercedes ML/GL and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Tom
__________________
mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
SafariSS's Avatar
 
2005 30' Safari
Houston Texas , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 475
And dont forget...

I have a 09 Touareg TDI that I dearly love. I do not not tow anything with it, but I think it would be a great tow vehicle. Despite the VW being a unibody the hitch goes on the back where the bumper structure is rather than the bottom pan area where some unibody vehicles do.

Something nobody has mentioned is the Audi Q7. Same drivetrain as my VW but a longer wheelbase (and cargo space, seating for 7). It is also priced not to bad if you stay out of the options too much. I paid 51k for my VW decked out, the Audi starts at 51k but has a bunch of good stuff on it already. The BMW is really priced high, especially when you start hanging some options on it.

The 3.0 tdi engine is SO smooth and quiet. Mine has not used a drop of oil since new.
__________________
SafariSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 10:02 AM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
It's not a bad idea to avoid towing waste water anyway - why have the extra weight? Most campgrounds are set up to let you dump right on the way out.

I think you'll have a few more options as the year goes by. For example, there will be a Dodge Durango replacement later this year that is based on the same platform as the Mercedes ML/GL and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Tom
Good news about the new options. I'll definitely check them out. I'll also check out the Q7. My biggest limitation, when all is said and done, is the need for it to be a daily driver for my wife and the limited size of our garden home garage. Thanks for your help. I'm more confident now I'll be able to make a good decision.
__________________
GreyLens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
2009 23' FB Flying Cloud
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Prince William, , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 23
BMW X5 Towing

Currently towing 2009 23FB Flying Cloud with X5 4.8i Sport. At 6000/600 this is the largest Airstream for which the gasoline powered X5 is rated. Towing is very stable. Only issue is gear hunting on hills so I always use manual shift.

When not towing X5 is very sporty.
__________________
pebbrb05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2010, 12:34 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
2005 22' International CCD
Aliso Viejo , California
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 61
I tow my 22" International with a Cayenne S which is pretty similiar to the Toureg. It tows great, has plenty of power, huge brakes, etc.

Downsides, even without towing it goes through Brembo brakes in less than 20k miles and tires about every 15k miles. The car is notoriously finicky to brake controllers and led lights.

Its also really easy to want to speed which is probably not the best thing with the strem behind it. I won't buy another Cayenne for my next tow vehicle. I'd rather have somthing more pedestrian.
__________________

__________________
Davern1 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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Not my Flying Cloud SilverHoot 1950-1955 Flying Cloud 0 10-10-2009 11:09 AM
'59 Flying cloud Dionna 1956 - 1959 Flying Cloud 0 07-22-2009 12:04 PM
Looking at a Flying Cloud dmaiden Buyer Guidelines 5 09-26-2006 05:18 PM
50-51 Flying Cloud? cloud flyer Airstream Trailer Forums 3 04-27-2005 05:23 PM
I think this is a '55 flying cloud?? jaynshae 1950-1955 Flying Cloud 5 09-05-2004 10:50 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:33 PM.


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.