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Old 09-08-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
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Question Have a Small Pickup, looking for an Airstream

Hi all,

Been reading these forums for quite some time and have gathered a generous amount of information. Thanks for all the insight. Now I have specific questions.

Currently I have a 2000 Ford Ranger, capable of towing 5600 lbs. and a 107" wheelbase and I'm looking for an airstream.

I don't believe weight should be an issue as I'm looking at older GT's at around 3500 lbs. My concern is more with length. With my current vehicle, can I tow a 23' to 26' or should I stay in the 16-19 range?

I have done some towing with my ranger, motorcycle trailers and such and (will) have a load leveling hitch for trailering. Any suggestions as I don't think a new/different TV and A/S are possible.

Thanks All! - Bonz

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Old 09-08-2008, 07:01 AM   #2
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. A 26 would likely be way too much for your Ranger. The lighter, the better when you're towing with a Ranger.


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Old 09-08-2008, 07:03 AM   #3
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I have a F250 Superduty with a 350 Triton. When towing my 4500# Tradewind on hills etc. you can tell it's working. From what I have read the tow rating on the ranger is overated. It will probably tow OK on the flats but you may dissapointed on hills or the highway. As your trailer weight approaches the weight of your TV your braking margin of safety also diminishes.
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:07 AM   #4
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Hey Bonz

I personally don't take manufacturers towing capabilities too seriously.
And in light of the fact that you are based in " hilly " Colorado, I would not reccomend a 23' or 26' trailer for a Ranger. Remember that it is reccomended that you only use 80% of your towing capability, and you have too include passengers water and beer into the weight that you are pulling. I tow a 3000 lbs trailer with a 1500 tow vehicle. Sometimes I wish I had a beefier tow vehicle. Also remember that you have to be able to stop. My own personal, unscientific feeling is that I would want my tow vehicle to weigh more than my trailer. ( I may take heat for that one though ) Dave
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:07 AM   #5
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I live in colorado and hooked up my 28' Ambassador to my 4-runner for kicks... It weighs 4300 lbs dry.. I towed up a couple miles up the Grand mesa from my house and back.... it's an 01 with 3.7 liter 195 hp... Lets just say it was slow going up... and with no trailer brakes, glad i didn't go far up.

Even with the sway and equalizer on there it Winggeld. That what my wife calls it when the trailer is swaying...

This is why I waited to get a trailer after we got our Sequoia.. I would stay under 20 ft and under 4300 lbs fully loaded if your are gonna be in the mountains of Colorado for sure....

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 09-08-2008, 10:50 AM   #6
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Bonz, welcome to the forum, and now the the subject....I used to drive a Ford Ranger as a company vehicle. It was a V6, auto, 4WD, and in my opinion, the ONLY Airstream I would CONSIDER towing with a Ranger is a 60's vintage Bambi. Just my opinion, and I voice it only to help.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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We towed (briefly) an Argosy 20 with a Ranger, 4.0 engine, extended cab, etc, and it was anemic as a tow vehicle. Acceleration times required a calendar to measure. Sway wasn't bad, but it is a little truck.
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:41 PM   #8
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Hello Bonz. Alot more goes into towing than just pulling power as you will find out on these forums. I would stay under 20 feet. You musta have a 4.0 to get that capacity. What you will find out is people are towing with everything and anything. From foreign Tin cans to good American capeable tow vehicles. Use your head, and maintenece is very important. No corner cutting. make sure your trailer has its own brakes. It will pay off in the long run. Good luck and Happy trails
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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I had a Ranger for 14 years and it was a great truck but not for pulling. I bought an F150 4.3 liter and it is not enough for my 63 28ft Ambassador. I am now trying to sell the F150 so I can buy an F250 diesel. When it comes to towing bigger is better.

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Old 09-08-2008, 06:35 PM   #10
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Hi Bonz,

Using our diesel Suburban 1500, I towed our '67 22' Safari (4,100 #s) between Colorado Springs and the Black Forest area several times. The 6.2L diesel engine (376 CID no turbo) is a strong puller of our '67 22' at speeds under 50 mph, but climbing the hill from downtown CS to BF was a real challenge (20-25 mph with accelerator pedal floored all the way).

If I was looking for my first trailer and had only the Suburban as a tow vehicle, I'd choose a smaller Airstream (less than 20').

Fortunately, I also have a full size '75 station wagon (460 CID V8 & factory tow pkg) that I previously used as a tow vehicle for our '77 31' Airstream. It has profoundly more towing capacity. I wished I had taken that tow vehicle instead, but I had just finished restoring it to near show room condition was saving it for a maiden voyage with an upcoming vintage-vintage rally.

After you've read this series of comments, I hope you'll avoid joining the "should'a, would'a, could'a" club of people who have been there, done that and learned their lesson the hard way.

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Old 09-10-2008, 04:20 PM   #11
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Hola Bonz

I live here in Colo Spgs and have pulled our 1970 AS from here to Payton ( & back twice ). I used a 1995 lil bitty Ford Trk for that. I never was able to get out of third gear ( 5 spd ) and I drove as if I was going to my own funneral. I was scared the whole time on a flat track of road.

I now have another "small classed" vehicle. This sml trk is an 1995 Dakota. With the 5 spd 4 x 4 and 3.9 V6 I have pulled the same trailer to Breckenridge and back via I-25/470/I-70. The Dakota does not scare me.

For now while you are looking, stick to pulling the lawn mower trailer.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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Just another 2 cents worth. I towed my 23ft with my sons full size Dodge Ram short bed truck from PA to TX. That truck only had a six cyl. gas engine with 5 speed and the rear end was not geared for towing. Needless to say, it struggled the entire time. I had it floored for most of the trip and never made it above 60mph. No problem with sway or steering, just way under powered.
I think that truck would have be OK with a 16 foot A/S, but not larger.
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:52 PM   #13
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I've learned that you can never have to much tow v ehicle, but you can certainly have not enough....
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:54 PM   #14
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Hi Bonz

We have several customers that tow with Rangers but it takes a little modification to get the best performance from them. If you can answer a few questions for me I can give you a good idea of what to expect.

1) Which engine do you have?
2) Do you know which axle ratio you have? If you don't there is an axle code on the VIN sticker on the drivers door post.
3) What size tires do you have?
4) Is your Ranger a two or 4 wheel drive?
5) Manual or automatic
6) I take it is a standard cab with a short box?
7) Are you thinking of a new or older Airstream?
8) How many miles are on it?
9) How much longer do you plan to keep the Ranger?

Andrew T

Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
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