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Old 02-22-2008, 03:22 PM   #1
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1998 25' Safari
sacramento , Colorado
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clean slate - new TV for 25' safari '98

Hello - we are brand new to travel trailering, airstreams and the whole works. We are in the market for a new tow vehicle for our 25' safari 1998. I plan to take myself and 2 small boys across the country and back. Any ideas and for a TV appreciated, new, used, truck, suv, wagon, horse, elephant -- all options on the table. We are all ears!

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Old 02-22-2008, 03:26 PM   #2
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Hi Rachel, welcome! A common theme on these forums is that you should buy your perfect Airstream first, then shop for an appropriate tow vehicle. You're halfway there! I'm sure lots of folks will be chiming in with their recommendations. I'd probably skip the horse or elephant, though - your Safari would be filled with animal food, with very little room left for you and the kids. Good luck with your search.

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Old 02-22-2008, 03:32 PM   #3
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First of all, welcome.
There are a range of opinions on the subject of TVs, some of it gets mildly contentious. There is a current thread comparing 1/2 ton with 3/4 ton which reflects some of this. The link is below. You will need to evaluate what works for you.
I have towed successfully all over the Sierras and Rockies with a 1/2 ton Tahoe, then a 1/2 ton GMC 4X4 with no problems whatsoever. I tow a 25' Safari.
If you do a search on tow vehicles you will find lots of info. Maybe too much...
Good luck in what you decide,
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Old 02-22-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
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I use a Ford Expedition for my 07 Safari. I, too, have towed all over the mountains with no problems. You might want to take a look at the 08 Toyota Sequoia. Its advertised at 10,000lbs with the HD tow package. The one thing I would keep in mind is the 20% rule, ie your TV should have a towing capacity of at least 20% over the Gross Weight of the tow. In your case, your Safari would probably be about 6500 lbs

There also seems to be two different groups here, pickup trucks and SUVs. We are in the SUV camp but everyone has an opinion.


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Old 02-22-2008, 05:24 PM   #5
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I won't try to sway, but I will say this:

I was a kid once. When we traveled to nearly 30 of the 50 states and about 4 Provinces (sp?). We did it in a 3/4 ton 1985 Suburban, with 6 passengers, cargo and a 24' SOB.

What I recall distinctly is that as a kid, we LOVED to play around in the way, way back. Back then there were no DVDs or TVs in the truck like they have now. It was a magical time and one reason I RV today, though I can't play in the way, way back anymore, I have to drive. As such, I like knowing that I don't have to count weights, or worry about what mountain I'm going to traverse. I just do it, like we did it when I was a kid. So many things to worry about, I like as an adult the piece of mind of not having to worry about having the right tow vehicle.

Others have and do tow with 1/2 tons and you are right at the threshold of what I consider the 3/4 ton sandbox. You, like the rest of us have a choice. Me, I'm very happy with my choice as an adult, and at the very least, loved the way, way back of the Suburban to play in as that kid way back when.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:08 PM   #6
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One of the things you must do is understand how much your trailer weighs. Much of this information should be in the manual. Then you need to familliarize yourself with anacronyms such as GVW, GCVW etc.......
Learn the language and what the numbers mean - get informed.
Then think about the areas where you will be towing, what other uses you will have for the vehicle etc.......
Get a budget number and a few vehicles in mind and ask some more specific questions and you will have get information overload. There are many smart folks on the board that can help you out with your decisions.
With the size trailer you have your are borderline between a SUV, 1/2 ton pickup and 3/4 ton pickup. A modern 1/2 ton pickup or large suv would probably do all you need to do but there are many merits to having a 3/4 if you do that much towing.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:27 PM   #7
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1998 25' Safari
sacramento , Colorado
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Thank you!

Thank you for the pointers. The inside-the-door sticker UAW weight is 4900#. It was good to see your ideas and they took my mind in some new directions, including back to childhood (thank you for reminding me to think of the boys' perspective!). As suggested, I've been reading a bit more, including the threads recommended (thank you again) and I am starting to lean toward a 3/4 ton something. And am even considering diesel. This is so strange -- I started out wanting to pull it with a stationwagon! But, will keep reading before we move on any purchase. Anyway, if you have ideas in that direction -- 3/4 ton diesel, new or used please pass them on!
ps I just noticed I picked the wrong state in my profile. There is not a Sacramento in Colorado!
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:43 PM   #8
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hi rachel and welcome to the forums...

there are 100s of threads on what tv to buy or match with a given 'stream...

trailer life provides an complied list of most towing specs annually....

Annual Towing Guides

my suggestion is select something with about 20% more capacity than your fully loaded trailer will weigh...

here is my short list of suv-z that will do the job.

Originally Posted by swami-sez

many of the mid sized suvs would tow a 98/25 safari

IF that were to be the largest a/s ever considered, these would be my choices, in random order...

bmw x5...
porsche cayenne...
vw t-rex (especially the diesel)...
audi q7...
mercedes/dodge sprinter van (not an suv, but fully enclosed)...
mercedes GL 500...
dodge dakota...
lincoln navigator...
chrysler aspen (the new one)...
nissan armada or infinity version...
toyota/lexus land cruiser or sequoia...

the porsche, t rex, bmw and merc' can be equipped with LOTS of hp/torque and massive brakes.

but the others all have adequate power/capacity for this trailer.

i prefer a completely separate/isolated area for tv cargo (truck bed/cap)

and some of these mid sized suvs really have very little cargo space behind the 2nd row of seats...

it's all good!
don't jump too quickly toward a 3/4 anything for YOUR trailer, LOTS of modern 1/2 tons and suv things will work fine.

you make no mention of budget, or travel routine (how long/far each day, and so on) or the kiddo ages, and pets?

but based on an exhaustive meta analysis of all the known data, my 8-ball sez....

lincoln mark LT on the truck side, or lincoln navigator on the suv side...

style, comfort, plenty of towing capacity, easy to drive and 1000s of dealers...

not that you'll ever need one

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.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:31 AM   #9
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Get a crew cab truck with a bed liner and bed cover. Even truck-based SUVs are compromised trucks, with lower modulus frames, much shorter wheelbase, softer suspension, and soft riding passenger car tires.

You're safer with heavy or flammable things like a generator or two and the fuel for them, or an extra bottle of propane not being in the passenger compartment, especially in an accident. I sure wouldn't want a nasty tote-tank in the passenger compartment. I'd rather put the sometimes muddy patio rug, parking chocks and blocks, electrical extension cord and water hoses in a truck bed when breaking camp. I'd rather have potentially muddy bicycles in a truck bed than potentially beating up the interior of the trailer.

Consider payload. A 5'5" bed 4x4 F150 Crew Cab has sufficient wheelbase for a 25' and sufficient so-called "towing capacity" with the 5.4L gas engine. Keep in mind so-called "towing capacity" is reduced by the payload in the truck.

Its unoptioned payload is only 1660 pounds, minus 200 pounds for fuel, 800+ pounds for equalizing hitch and trailer tongue weight, and 350 pounds for you and two small boys, leaving only 300 or so for stuff in the bed with the suspension at its max load capacity. That will dwindle as the boys grow and you could quickly be operating that truck at its maximum ratings as you pick up stuff along the way.

Get four-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential. A lot of good camping spots are off pavement and wet grass, even that just wet from dew can have you spinning both rear wheels. So can gravel where you could be showering the front of the trailer with it.

In my opinion, you're smart to be considering a 3/4 ton truck with a diesel. Is it overkill for a 25' Safari which is lighter than a Classic? In some cases, yes. But it's better to be commuting wishing you had a smaller, lighter vehicle than it is to be towing on the highway wishing you had a more robust one.
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:07 AM   #10
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I think the diesles are far better tow engines, I mean look, how many gasser semis do you see on the road? In reality though, 4,900lbs seems a bit light for a 25' Safari from 1999. That may be it's unloaded base weight.

That all said, if you went diesel, you'd be able to tow Mt. Everest, but I'm not sure diesel is a requirement in your situation.

As Moe points out the SUVs can have a lesser degree of robustness when it comes to the frames. My dad in 1999 bought a Silverado 2500. His entire undercarrage is like my 2500 Suburban. If you look at a 2500HD, the frames are much more stout in the rear end area, but you can't put the kids in the pickup bed to play in when in transit and in most states, not in the RV when in transit (for good reasons). Newer vehicles (pickups and SUVs) being what they are, most have DVDs w/ wireless headphones and hookups for video games to help solve the are we there yet type events we've all exp at one time or another. To me if you haul gas, generator or things typically you don't want to have in a cab or the RV, the pickup bed is the best option. If you want interior room where there is the DVD and room to play with toys and such, since bringing you kids with you was a consideration, I don't feel you'll do bad with a Suburban. Now if you say 34' Airstream or 30' slide out, I'd say, yea, might not be bad to start with the HD pickup line of trucks and for sure diesel, which means today, really only pickups (in terms of GM). On a side note, I do haul a generator and I have an propane powered one, so I can load the generator in the RV or the truck, connect it to the propane supply and there are no fumes or mess at all when in transit, if you wanted to haul a generator and have room for the kiddies too. Not inexpensive, but thought I would throw it out there.

It is true that there are other 1/2 equv like the BMW and such that folks use to tow 25' Safaris, but the wheel base is not that large and the back area, also isn't all that spacious if you plan to have kids back there playing with toys and maybe hauling a few things in the back too. As I said earlier, I'm not sure the 25' you spec'd out has a gross weight of 4900lbs. I think it's at about 1400lbs more, loaded, which starts to get you to the 3/4 ton, but even there its not a requirement, just at the doorstep.

And what Moe says is right on, regardless of vehicle, 4x4 and limited slip, really a must!
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:46 PM   #11
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Husband likes the diesel truck idea

Thank you again - my husband really likes the diesel truck idea. Wish they came in 1/2 ton? Yes, 4900 is the trailer unloaded, empty weight - and 1400 is the max suggested extra - you sure know your numbers! (Silvertwinkie and Relentless).

The boys will be 2 1/2 and 5 when we travel. Hope to have a few traveling companions (additional TV payload - haha) for most of the trip. We have friends along the way and hope to travel about 6 hours per day... But will focus on fun and staying flexible. (Daddy will have to fly to our destination, not having unlimited vacation).

Re the budget - looking for a very safe, good value, long lasting vehicle, new or used. We need to use it for commuting or around town travel. We are replacing a '97 Ford F150 4x4 v6 which we really liked until the motor had to be replaced at only 60k a few months back. But we are not soured on Ford, just had bad luck with ours. We thought we might replace our little stationwagon, but a bigger truck sounds like a better fit for a TV. We are starting to be attracted toward a GM 1500 crew cab 4x4, v8, or a bigger diesel, GM, Ford or Dodge. The cost is certainly an issue, but I really want to feel safe. We are gulping at the price of new ones, and really would like some feedback on used ones, now that we've got better specs for you to chew on!
Thanks again!

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