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Old 11-16-2008, 09:36 AM   #15
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I am a TOTAL newbie so please have patience.

We live near Toronto Canada and are preparing for retirement next summer 2009. We are moving to the west coast of BC. We are contemplating trying to do the trip the "Airstream way". We like the look of the trailers and have seen a few. So far the 31 classic seems to be making the most sense for us so we are looking for a used one maybe 1999 ish.

Big question I would like to get clear on is the "appropriate" towing vehicle for an Airstream of this size? I am thinking that a car (ie: Grand Marquis) would probably NOT be a good choice? What is the general consensus on this issue, ie: car vs truck?

Also, is a Hensley Hitch a must have or a should have?
AndrewT here on the forums is a mucky-muck with Can-Am RV somewhere near you. They not only sell Airstreams, they specialize in rigging cars to tow them. He can give you one-on-one advice for a tow vehicle based on your needs and the trailer you want.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:05 AM   #16
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Forum member Andrew T from Can Am in London has set up 1,000's of vehicles for towing Airstreams. Many of those vehicles have been cars and he speaks highly of their performance, agility, comfort, and safety as TV's.

I know he test drove our car/airstream combination before we got the keys and from what I have heard he test drives many (5 to 10??) different combinations from cars,to SUV's, to HD trucks, etc on a weekly basis.

IMHO that's a heck of a lot of experience worth tapping into.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:13 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the relies. This forum is a great source of information. We have been to Can-Am a couple times. They in fact have a 30' Classic Limited (with Hensley) currently for sale and we really like it. We think it is perhaps a bit on the "steep side" price wise but that is usually the way with dealerships. What really hurts is that virtually the same trailer just sold privately out of Toronto week before last for literally $10K less and also included the Hensley. But all water under the bridge at this point so we are continuing our trailer search. We are moving to a rural area in BC and will need a pickup in any case so it seems to make sense to us to get the truck before we leave and tow the trailer with it. I just have to figure out what "the right truck" should be. The recommendations made in this thread are much appreciated.

This is all a bit daunting for us being first time RV wannabees and with a shrinking timeline (hoping to be on the road after June 30).

Thank you all once again.
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:06 AM   #18
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Moving to rural BC changes the picture somewhat, especially if you want the ground clearance to travel forest service roads (although probably not with an Airstream, ground clearance is likely to become a problem). Import service can be a challenge here too, so domestic may be preferred. (I do most of my own work because I understand our cars better than most of the local shops. My biggest limitation is a relative lack of tools/equipment.)

You should consider the experience Andy has had with the Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia. (At least one of those would be a lot quieter than all the diesel pickups around here.)
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:09 AM   #19
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Where are you moving to here in BC?
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:19 AM   #20
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Cam ..... Hornby Island near Comox .... I can hardly wait so see how much they charge for this trailer on the two little ferries I have to take from Buckley Bay .... probably $150 (round trip)! Gotta love BC Ferries! I am also sure to get killed on the ferry to Nanaimo as well .... but hey, it won't happen all that often.

Albert ... the roads are paved where I am going and the trailer can negotiate my driveway I am pretty sure so no worries about logging roads or poor service roads etc.
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Old 11-16-2008, 12:54 PM   #21
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Tow vehicle

My experience, albeit highly limited, is this. New International 25' couple of months ago. Towed it to San Antonio, Texas, with my 2005 Porsche Cayenne Turbo - 2500 miles round trip. About 62 mph (100 kph) and got 10.6 mpg premium. Gas shortage (none in many places) meant stopping about every 150 - 200 miles to make certain I could get to the next pump. The Cayenne with 462 ft/lbs torque has all the power I needed.... BUT, it requires turning up the revs when into a head wind going up the slightest of inclines. Constantly shifting into 5th gear. Stability was fine with the Reese dual cam anti sway 1200 lb hitch. Of course the Cayenne gave me no place for a generator which meant no A/C in Wally World's parking lot.

My solution.... truck dealers really want to sell trucks at the present time... 2008 Dodge Cummins Diesel. At 60 mph it is producing 650 ft/lbs torque at 1500 rpm. Mmmm good. Also, 35 gallons means about 400 - 500 miles before I go to the pump. And, the Honda 3000 watt generator in the bed... cools really well.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the road...
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:17 PM   #22
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You're moving to a great area!
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:32 PM   #23
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Hey Cam ... yes I know EXACTLY what I am getting into, I grew up in Vancouver but have been in the East since the mid 70's (unfortunately) and I can't wait to get back to BC. Sorry, I guess this is a bit off the forum topic. We look forward t getting there with an Airstream then perhaps doing the "down south" thing in the winter months, although "winter" on the west coast at sea level isn't really winter compared to what I go through.
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:34 PM   #24
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Cam ..... Hornby Island near Comox .... I am also sure to get killed on the ferry to Nanaimo as well .... but hey, it won't happen all that often.
A few years ago our neighbour's brother fell off that ferry and was in the water over 12 hours before they found him "alive". He was able to get some air in his jacket and he used it to stay afloat. It was in all the papers out there. He was lucky.
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:38 PM   #25
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At 60 mph it is producing 650 ft/lbs torque at 1500 rpm. ...
Holy smokes... We towed our 23' with a Nissan Mini Van for many years. It was not quick but not that slow either passing the big motorhomes on the hills. "180 ft/lbs" torque.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:33 PM   #26
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Hey Cam ... yes I know EXACTLY what I am getting into, I grew up in Vancouver but have been in the East since the mid 70's (unfortunately) and I can't wait to get back to BC. Sorry, I guess this is a bit off the forum topic. We look forward t getting there with an Airstream then perhaps doing the "down south" thing in the winter months, although "winter" on the west coast at sea level isn't really winter compared to what I go through.
Well, it will be great to have you back home then! I'm living in my trailer right now while my house is being built. I'm hoping for a very mild winter this year.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:57 PM   #27
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Just a quick comment - no disrespect intended...

After reading through this thread, I recall a couple of references to getting the bigger truck (3/4, 1 ton vs. 1/2) for better braking. If your trailer is set up correctly, shouldn't the trailer brakes be employed to stop the trailer, and the truck brakes be used to stop the truck?

Now keep in mind I live in flat, prarie Illinois, but have had my 31 footer out of the state before on some rather steep grades, and have never found myself screaming uncontrollably toward the bottom of the hill chanting loudly "I wish I spent the extra money for the 3/4 ton truck!! (Ha-Ha).

Once agin, no disrespect intended here, but for my needs, the 1/2 ton truck with a factory towing package is plenty of truck for my Airstream towing needs.

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Old 11-16-2008, 07:38 PM   #28
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If one is moving -- and my wife and I have changed houses four times in three years -- a truck or Suburban is mighty handy. The truck, more so, especially with an 8' bed, plastic bedliner and topper. A used diesel, low in years and high in miles was my ticket: 3.5 years old and 120,000 miles. The owner traded it after depreciating it in his business. My luck, as there was no abuse (he pulled a small trailer).

Even if, after a year at the new home a truck is no longer "necessary", then a more suitable tow vehicle can be found.

Regardless of what is bought, in your situation, I'd take the rig to Can-Am to have an aftermarket hitch receiver installed and dialled in by them. (And run on by again as you hit the road, with some scale tickets in hand, to do any last-minute adjustments).
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