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Old 08-20-2017, 10:16 PM   #1
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Winchester , Tennessee
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Can I tow it???

My wife and I are interested in taking the dive and purchasing an Airstream. For many, they choose the trailer first and then find a TV. Others, however, already have a TV and choose a trailer accordingly. We have wants and needs for both trailer and TV and want to know what you all think!

Our goal is to travel and see the US and Canada between 1-4 week trips, pending on the locale. This would primarily be for touisty purposes. An Airstream would allow us to travel at our pace saving on flights, hotels, and the ability to go at our pace and see nature at its finest. However, we wouldn't be kicking back at the campsite. We ideally hope to explore the city or parks or surroundings. This matters when choosing a TV.

Our ideal trailer is the FC 27FB Twin. It has a max weight of 7600lbs but we might travel light. We love the floor plan and my wife loves the kitchen options: she wants the oven AND microwave instead of having the convection microwave replace the oven. If you pulled our teeth, we might could settle for the FC 25FB Twin which has a max weight of 7300lbs but prefer the 27.

Due to our travel habits, the smallest vehicle the better. Due to our needs, we prefer a truck. Remember, we want to explore a city, for example, so no big rigs. You know how you see the big Class A's with like a Prius in tow? Same concept. Our TV is also our explore vehicle. We know for certain we want diesel. Our dream is either the Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon fully loaded with towing capability options with the Duramax Diesel option. They both carry a max capacity of 7700lbs. Yes, that's pushing it but we'd only have the trailer at 6700-7000lbs. Can either of these trucks do it? I've heard that I might need to extend the sideview mirrors to accommodate the trailer. Reviews from groups like TFL give me hope. Do I need a bigger truck? I'd rather not. Remember, I intend to be parallel parking in urban downtowns with this TV.

Thank you so much for reading all of this and giving advice on my dream.

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Old 08-20-2017, 10:41 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. There are lots and lots of threads on which tow vehicle goes best the various models. The best way to access this information is by using the drop down menu under FORUMS, then find TOW Vehicle. Literally thousands of posts on this subject. It all boils down to some homework on your part and your own personal choice but remember that the single most important question to ask isn't "can this _____ pull that Airstream? " the question to ask is "can this ____ stop that Airstream quickly and safely? "


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Old 08-20-2017, 10:53 PM   #3
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Welcome Chapquest,

Do your research and the math. GCWR on the Canyon 4x4 Diesel is only 12,700 - tow rating is just one of the numbers.

Best of luck and happy hunting,

In between campers
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by camperguy58 View Post
Welcome Chapquest,

Do your research and the math. GCWR on the Canyon 4x4 Diesel is only 12,700 - tow rating is just one of the numbers.

Best of luck and happy hunting,

Maybe, but the curb weight on the long box is 4500lbs. Thus 8200lbs leftover.

With that, I would be seriously concerned about towing something almost 3000lbs heavier than the vehicle that's "supposed" to be in control. When push comes to shove...
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:15 AM   #5
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I find that those that condem "big rigs" have never learned to drive one.

We tow our 27FB with a 3/4 GMC Denail HD.

It has the pay load for any trip and it's independent front suspension makes a very comfortable ride. The Duramax is a dream.

I can drive it anywhere one can take a mid-size pickup.

Simply buying a car doesn't make one proficient at driving it. Today's engineering and standardization make it seem as all cars are the same, so no one practices and learns how to manage an auto that is fundamentally different than what they are use to.

FedEx, UPS, and LTL truck drivers put "big rigs" in tight places every day, all day.

How does one get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice.

In time, you will want bikes, kayaks, generators, chairs, who knows what.

Tow vehicles that start out loaded to capacity end up overloaded.


Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:44 AM   #6
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I know you don't want a full size truck, but you really NEED a full size truck. With the smaller truck, you won't be at the bleeding edge, you will be across it. Towing with that setup will NOT be a pleasant day, especially in mountains.
Bobbo, Lin and the furry kid (45 pound rescue)
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:49 AM   #7
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The more experience we got traveling all over North America with RV's (over 50 years) the less gear we needed to travel with. We have noticed some weekend campers bring enough food, toys and "equipment" to entertain and provision themselves for months.
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:56 AM   #8
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Posts: 203 have to STOP the ensemble as well. Towing up a 7% grade usually means you have to descend a 7% grade.
We used a 2001 Toyota Tundra to tow our 27FB for some time. Rated at 7,200 lbs we too were "pushing it." It was a lot of work to get to and from.
Also look at Payload. People and manufacturers tend to focus on tow ratings and fail to consider payload.
My 2 cents...get the 3/4 diesel. Your trips will be much more enjoyable.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:14 AM   #9
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Not enough truck.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:19 AM   #10
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Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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People travel every day of the year in overloaded vehicles. The vast majority of them survive the experience and continue to do so for a long time. There is a difference between "can I" and "should I".

Should I equates to adding up a bunch of numbers and checking them all against various ratings. Axles and tires have ratings. Gear and people weight something. If two motorcycles are coming along, they need to get weighted as well.

Some trailers have a *lot* of margin between "empty weight" and their maximum weights. Other trailers are very tight in this regard. Overloading a 30' Classic is pretty tough to do. On some smaller trailers, filling all the tanks would just about do it. Traveling light (well below max) is a really good idea. It's way easier to do in some trailers than in others.

Some math:

The 25' FC FB has 1,700 lb of NCC. The fresh water tank is 39 gallons. If it's full it will weight 320 lb. That would give you 1380 in "stuff". If you want to stay 10% below max weight, you would take about 720 lb off of that. The numbers on the 27 are almost the same except you wold take a bit more off due to it's higher max weight.

Tongue weight transfers from the trailer to the TV. It comes off of the weight allowance for the axles, tires, and other parts of the TV. The Colorado has about a 1500 lb "payload" rating. Tongue weight on both trailers is around 800 lb. You should anticipate that it could be more than this. You have 700 pounds of "payload" to cover this and the weight of the hitch assembly. Does that come out to 500 pounds or something less? Does the Chevy web site number include passengers? All worth digging into.

Take a look at some of the large(r) SUV's and vans. They may fit your needs for urban exploration. Also take a look at the 1500 / 150 series trucks. There are a lot of variations out there. Pull off the big lift kits and 4x4 off road stuff, they can get pretty nimble.

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Old 08-21-2017, 08:32 AM   #11
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Just to throw another option in the mix. The RAM 1500 is available with a diesel and based on what I've read and heard it is a good engine.

That would fill your desire for a diesel and have a more nimble truck than the diesels in the 250/2500 trucks.

I also understand that Ford and GM will be offering the diesel option in their 150/1500 trucks in the not too distant future.

Based on my experience I think the Colorado will not be enough of a truck (primarily axle ratings at 3200 FA and 3500 RA), unfortunately.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:25 AM   #12
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Caledonia , Michigan
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I own an FC 27FB Twin and I would not be comfortable towing it with less than a 1/2 ton class pickup or SUV. The mid sized trucks are too narrow. You will also have an issue with payload capacity in a mid size.

My GMC Sierra 4x4 6.2L is a very comfortable vehicle for exploring the area when we leave the AS at the campsite. It's also surprisingly fuel efficient.
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Old 08-21-2017, 12:09 PM   #13
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IMHO the Canyon/Colorado platform is not enough truck. The 2.8 Duramax is more suited to a 23 foot or smaller.
Think payload capacity and gross combined weight limitations of your tow vehicle. The hitch weight and weight of passengers is subtracted from the payload capacity. Then you have to add your gear on top of it.
Never push the limits of your tow vehicle. You will never be satisfied with the result.
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:01 PM   #14
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One way to "boost" the payload on most trucks:

Go from the big diesel to a smaller gas engine
Go from 4x4 to 2WD
Go for a small cab / short bed
Go for the highest rear axle ratio you can get

The first three drop the weight of the truck. The last one nukes your MPG, but lets you pull more with a specific transmission / engine combo. None of this is to say you get a better tow vehicle, it just makes the numbers come out a little better. You obviously have traded some things off to get there.


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