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Old 03-07-2016, 07:30 PM   #1
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Expedition as tow vehicle?

A late 90's/early 2000's 34' Airstream is a possibility. Would an Expedition be able to safely tow such a coach? Or is an Expedition basically an F150? The reason I'm asking is that I hadn't really considered one before, but a dealership near here has quite a supply of used Expeditions, so I thought I'd ask.

For that matter, what about an Excursion?

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Old 03-07-2016, 07:52 PM   #2
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The Expedition has a fully independent suspension giving it greater stability and more comfortable ride for passengers and Airstream than the F150. It has a full body front to rear giving it less frame flex than the F150. And a shorter wheelbase gives it better maneuverability, depending on which model of each you compare. The longer wheelbase will give greater resistance to sway forces, but trailer sway can be completely eliminated with a modern sway elimination hitch.

The newest Expeditions have the 3.5 Ecoboost engine, more than adequate for an Airstream. It's going to come down to the loads you (actually) need to carry in the truck and trailer that will allow either one to be used.

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Old 03-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #3
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I would guess the dry weight of a 34 ft would be close to the max tow rating for an Expedition.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:13 PM   #4
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We have a 2015 Expedition EL XLT 4x4 with the Heavy Duty Tow Package. 9100 Lbs tow capacity. I looked a while for this vehicle....used. Took our little Bambi II down to the Keys with it & were very pleased. Especially to find out that it has a "jake brake" for going downhill. I towed with a 2007 Expedition until then & liked it a lot. I towed a 31' Airstream & a 30' Avion with it with no issues (until my fuel pump went out one time, but had nothing to do with towing). I like the extra length & the new one gets better gas mileage than the old one. The new one has the Ecoboost engine. We like it a lot! I'll be towing my 30' Avion with it soon & look forward to seeing how it handles the larger trailer....I don't anticipate anything but a better tow than the 2007.

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Old 03-08-2016, 04:25 AM   #5
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Just a few comments from the peanut gallery on the Expy/Excursion questions. Mostly, make sure you are careful dialing in your hitch whichever you choose. That nice riding coil spring rear suspension on the Expy will sag more than an F150 would with leafs. Also, look for the "newest" Expy with a 5.4L you can find, as I believe they jazzed up the 5.4 some in the later years, and maybe tweaked the trans a bit. Family has an 02 and it's quite poky and weak, as it's probably geared too high (3.31?).

We just saw Sunday evening a new(er) Ex pulling a Safari 25 or 27 FB (I think, did they build that in a Safari?) at our I-75 Walmart. Major rear sag and the nose of the coach was way too low. I noticed he had a Hensley with a 2" drop stinger and his jacks cranked so tight the spring bars were pointing up towards the A-frame. I think a straight stinger and some tweaking would have cured it. I tried to go talk to him about it, but my wife said no. sigh........

As to an Excursion, totally different beast, that's an F250 suv, with the capability, high entry point, and stiff ride that goes with it. I've never owned one, but I know those that have. In my opinion it's too heavy of a truck for the 5.4L gas, the 7.3 diesel while a wonderful engine is loud, and the 6.0 diesel is nicer to live with and can be a good engine if treated well it's whole life (we have one in the family). I'm not sure if the Exc was offered with a V10, but that would be a beast..........

FWIW-I would go with the newest used Expedition the dealer can find you with the big tow package, lightly equipped for max payload, the lower rear-end ratio (3.73?), and a great hitch properly setup. Ford even made some stretch Expy's, but payload will suffer........

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:23 AM   #6
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Just my opinion, but based on experience, I would not tow any wide body 34' Airstream with any 1/2 ton rated truck.

A 3/4 rated would be great, and a Diesel even better.

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Old 03-08-2016, 11:56 AM   #7
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We currently have a 1999 5.4 Expedition as our tow vehicle, and towing a 1979 31ft Airstream.

The 1999 Expedition has the tow package. We just recently replaced the rear airbag suspension with coil. This was more economical for us. We did add a break controller. Some of the newer Expeditions come with the integrated controller installed but not all models have it as standard equipment.

We recently added a transmission cooler as it was recommended by our mechanic.

We also use a pro-pride for distribution and sway.

Granted, we have only towed a little over 5,000 miles, we are very satisfied with our set-up. We averaged 14 miles to the gallon. It has not seen mountain driving yet but has been through I-80 in NE (personally the heaviest wind area we have been through).
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:50 PM   #8
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My wife has a 2007 Lincoln LT, basically a fancy F150, with the 5.4 and a 4 speed. I added an SCT 5-Star programmer from Mike's and it really woke up that engine. I have it set on 89 octane Performance/Tow setting. Made a beast out of it with the 3.73 rear end.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:02 PM   #9
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the 34 is too heavy for any Expedition I know of. A used diesel Excursion would be perfect. or a V10 if you can find a good one.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:23 PM   #10
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We love our the second one. They have pulled a 29' narrow body, 30' & 28' wide bodies, all Classics. It did chug up hills w the 30', no problem w the 28' ; these were heavy Classics w Corian and wood cabinets. We felt the Expy was not quite enough for taking the larger rigs out west. I agree w Alan and we would have loved an Excursion if we had been able to find one for the heavier longer trailers. They were fine up and down the east coast. We now have a 25' and it is an easy pull anywhere we go. If you want safety, you really should look at finding an Excursion or an F250 truck. At present there is no SUV built to accommodate a 34' rig.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:47 PM   #11
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My neighbor tows with an Expedition.
Francis Dibona over on Facebook Airstream Addicts tows with an Expedition.
I knew a guy, now deceased, who towed a 1988 34' with a Lincoln Navigator- basically the same car-
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:51 PM   #12
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An F250 is, indeed, what we're looking at. I happened to see that ad last night and I wondered if one of those might be suitable for us. An Excursion probably would work, but they are rare. An F250 is easier to find.
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Old 03-08-2016, 05:18 PM   #13
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A late 90s/early 00's 34'er is significantly heavier than an 80's 34'er. Expedition does not seem to have the tow rating or payload for a late 34'er.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
Just my opinion, but based on experience, I would not tow any wide body 34' Airstream with any 1/2 ton rated truck.

A 3/4 rated would be great, and a Diesel even better.
I am still looking at my wife's toyota venza!!

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