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Old 12-23-2011, 05:00 AM   #1
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2011 34' Classic
Westchester Cty.NY , / Miami FL
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Lightbulb Building my 2012 F-150

After much research Iíve narrowed down my preferences for my truck. Iíll list what Iíve selected and you can add your suggestions and comments.

This will be used to tow my 2011 34. at this point it will be along the east coast without any long excursions.

The FX4 is the model of preference.
Blue Flame is the first choice for color.
The FX4 is limited to black interior. (Iím getting cloth)
Supercrew body style
5-1/2 ft bed
3.5 ecoboost engine
Automatic trans. w/tow haul
3.73 electronic locking rear axle

max trailer tow package
tailgate step
California emissions pkg. (NY registration)

You can play with models/options here:
Build Your 2012 Ford F-150

As equipped above it lists at $42,790 and the dealer is offering it at $300.00 over invoice.

2012 F150 Super Crew 5-1/2' bed Ecoboost 4x4 3.73 elec. lock diff. Propride hitch
give life. kidney & pancreas transplant 9/9/06
Ingrid-my unofficial '"World's Oldest Streamer" 1909-2008 R.I.P.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:23 AM   #2
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2011 27 FB International
East Coast , Newfoundland
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 240
If you can get the integrated brake controller I recommend it. I'm not a fan of the tailgate step however. It requires a large bulge in the tailgate, which makes it difficult to lay anything flat when the gate is down (like my generator for instance). The back up camera is a good option as well. I can put the ball under the coupler precisely every time.

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:26 AM   #3
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2011 27 FB International
East Coast , Newfoundland
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Also, my 27 puts me at the limit of my rear axel GAWR. You should check to see if the max payload option is available for the FX4. If not at least consider a tire upgrade to LT rating.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:27 AM   #4
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2007 31' Classic
Kansas City , Missouri
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My friend, go for an F-250 for the heavy-duty payload, braking, torque and transmission. With the F-150 you're going to be at or over the allowable gross weight once you add up the weight of fuel, passengers and the tongue weight of the trailer. You won't be able to carry any cargo and stay within the allowable weight. A 34' with a 1/2-ton truck is not a good match. Also, go for leather as it cleans up easier and lasts forever. Make sure the tailgate will lock or you'll not be able to secure a tonneau or cap as well. Go for aftermarket floor mats, not the standard small ones. Lastly, go for the fanciest truck you can with every option. I know I'm spending your money but no one ever said, D@#$! I wish I hadn't gotten all the options on this King Ranch.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:57 AM   #5
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A half-ton can certainly pull a 34' . . but will you be happy with the compromises? 1/2T, short-bed and high price (brand-new) are the other end of the spectrum for what extended travel with a big trailer entailed for me. Low purchase cost, low cost of operation and ease-of-use (payload and performance) made my half-ton undesirable compared to what I purchased as TV and daily driver. I now average above 20-mpg around town . . . all those miles without a trailer are no burden from the fuel consumption aspect with no compromises on capacities.

As a truck is the least desirable vehicle from the standpoint of road performance and safety, it ought to at least be fully up to what it can do best: carry a load, and tow well (and I don't think that hill climbing at low speeds is any gauge of performance except as the sheeple "think".). Past a 7k trailer most 1/2T trucks are RAWR-limited. So a non-truck SUV of the proper sort is just as good a choice, IMO, and more likely to have qualities while solo that make it superior to a 1/2T truck. A Ford Flex is an example.

A shortbed 1/2T is pretty useless from any angle. Good at burning fuel without much in return.

If we had 1/2T pickups with diesel engines this could be modified as a statement. We don't, so it stands.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:16 AM   #6
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I tow a 1981 27 foot Excella with a 250. You would be surprised how fast the weight of the toys adds up. Sal.
Sal & Nora
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:04 AM   #7
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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A 150 just isn't enough truck. I run over the scales with my 30 FOOTER at 8500#s total and 950# tongue. I have pulled with 1/2 tons in the past and have been over weight on rear axle and GCWR each time.

You have more trailer than I have. I GUARANTEE you that you will not be happy (nor will your truck).

As soon as I hitched up to a 2500 with a big V8 (or diesel if you prefer) I knew what was absolutely required). A trip to the scales proved it as well.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:12 AM   #8
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2009 23' FB Flying Cloud
Pocono Mountains , Pennsylvania
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Recommend you go F-250 / 350

You asked for advice so here's my .02

I LOVE my F-150 Lariat which I had custom built to tow my 23' Flying Cloud; 5.3 liter gas, 3.73 rear, max tow package, extending mirrors, reverse camera, LT rated tires, etc. It does an AWESOME job with my 23' while getting 12.5 highway towing and 17 to 18 highway solo. It's comfortable, quiet, drives like a dream, and totally functional to haul my trailer, gear, kayaks, bikes, etc. At this point the only downside is that it's BIG and can be a challenge to park in a city or congested area.

That said, since you will be towing a 34' Classic, you are going to need and want more capacity. I would strongly recommend stepping up to a F-250 or 350 in order to assure you are not over the recommended loads and tow rating. The fact that you own a very new 34' Classic and are planning to buy the truck new tells me that you most likely have the means to spend a little more to get the right tool for the job and in this case I think you should.

Here are some general experiences I can share with you:
  • Integrated brake controller works very well. More importantly, it is tied into the trucks stability sensing system and I can tell you from experience, the 1 time my Airstream started to sway, the truck sensed it and automatically applied the trailer brakes immediately stopping the sway before I even knew what happened.
  • Crew Cab is awesome for carrying either passengers or gear. The seats fold up out of the way and I think you could put an upright piano in the back if you had to.
  • Tow Haul Mode does a great job selecting gears and is especially helpful going downhill - when on a downgrade the truck senses it and if you tap the brakes once it backshifts, tap them again for another backshift and from there it has held my speed steady even on a long, winding, 9% grade.
  • Tailgate step is one thing I did not get; wish I had.
  • I have the 6 1/2 foot bed and like that.
  • I have leather seats and really like them alot. Easy cleanup, easy to slide in and out, look great; all personal preference.
  • The extendable towing mirrors are EXCELLENT, no blind spots, great on the road and in reverse, and for me, I don't even need them extended but my trailer is only 8' wide whereas yours is 8 1/2'.
One additional comment - did you really mean the 3.5 Ecoboost? Isn't that a V6? I can tell you that even with my 5.3 V8 I would not want to be pulling a 34', I just don't think you would have the power you need to get up grades or onto highways safely.

I hope this helps. Best of luck to you on whatever you choose and thanks for subjecting yourself to all the diverse opinions of this group.

Best regards,

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Old 12-23-2011, 07:41 AM   #9

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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As dz mentioned a trip to the scales will tell the tale....

I don't have any idea of what the loaded for camping tongue weight of a 34' would be, but it's over 1100lbs,(un-hitched), for our 25' Classic.
I agree that payload,(rear axle rating), on the 150 would be the most important limiting factor.

Short bed=limited stuff storage, and you WILL be surprised at how quickly the Stream'n Stuff accumulates.

IMHO..."better to have more than you need than to need more than you have"....a TV with more payload would be a much better choice for the 34'.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:44 AM   #10
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I tend to agree with most of the other posters to this thread. An Airstream 34 foot Classic is a tall order for any half ton tow vehicle. I'm not saying that the F-150 tow vehicle that you are considering is either incapable or unsafe. I'm saying that you well may be greatly dissatisfied with the towing performance, unless your comfort zone is very wide and your performance expectations are very low.

If you do decide to go with the Ford half ton, please let us know how it performs with the 34.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:49 AM   #11
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2002 30' Classic S/O
1989 25' Excella
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I have a '10 F 150 that I ordered. It has most of same options as you have. The brake controller is part of the tow pkg, I believe. I got the 6.5' box, nav pkg. (Pricey but nice), leather seats, etc. You'll like the box step. It had P rated tires - which are not adequate for towing IMHO. The 5.4 does a good job pulling my '02 30' w/ slide. From what I hear and read the Ecoboost should do a great job. My trailer weighs 9020 w/ full water and propane tanks, w/ 920 of that on hitch. My receiver is good for 1150 it says on the label. Unlike most on this forum, I think the F 150 will be adequate, unless you are loading it and the 34' heavily.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:07 AM   #12
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SIGEL , Pennsylvania
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You wont be happy

Buy a larger truck. I tow my 30 foot airstream with a dry weight of 6,800 lbs with my 2004 F-150 FX4 4X4. Longest trip that I have done with my airstream is a 7 hour haul. That particular trip I got 10mpg. The truck preformed well at speeds of 60-65mph. The old expression of the tail wagging the dog applies to your scenario. The weight of the trailer is not the issue, itís the length. With a 34í you are going to want a heavier truck so the backend doesnít feel like itís throwing you around. My truck does better on longer trips then on short trips around the house. There are certain hills in Western PA that I have to kick the truck down into passing gear to keep up with traffic at speeds of 35MPH. Buy a larger truck you will be much happier. Now the question is diesel or gas! Both have their pros and cons
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:18 AM   #13
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1995 30' Excella
Bowie , Maryland
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If you haven't had a truck before, I'd recommend the 8' bed. We were thinking we wanted the short bed, too, but the (used) truck we found had the 8' bed...and now I'm very, very glad we got it. We could have made do with the shorter bed, but this gives room to stretch out the stuff, and it'd be that much harder to get to stuff in the bed.

Also, the longer wheelbase is supposedly better for towing. We haven't towed with anything else (well, I towed a car on a dolly with the B190 for many miles, but this is an entirely different kind of towing), but my wife and I both feel like the rig is extremely stable at highway speeds, and that's a good feeling.

The downside is that suddenly you have a truck that's 21' long, which is actually LONGER than our B190 motorhome was (19' 8"). It makes parking lots much less fun even when not towing. But the trade-off is worth it, and I've gotten pretty good at slinging it around in tight lots.
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with Cummins 6.7L Diesel

Sold but not forgotten: 1991 Airstream B190
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:19 AM   #14
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Hi richinny, I just bought an F-150, knowing that I'll be severely limited on payload. But it's intentional: now I have an excuse to not bring the grandkids.

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