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Old 02-28-2004, 10:18 AM   #1
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I'm new at this/ travel nursing = What TV?

Hi out there. I am thinking of buying and pulling an airstream trailer to live in while travel nursing. What size truck do I really need to haul a 22 to 25 foot trailer. (Maybe a 19 footer), The airstream dealer tells me any 6 cylinder will do, the toyota (my brand) dealer tells me you realistically need a truck rated for 1000 punds more than actual trailer weight. Any thoughts on this. Any other travel nurses out there doing this? Hope to hear from you out there in cyber world. Kate
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Old 02-28-2004, 10:24 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums! You have found the right place to ask your questions. Give it a little while and the answers will start pouring in (from members who are more knowledgeable than I am )
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Old 02-28-2004, 10:36 AM   #3
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I'm new at this/ travel nursing

Greetings Kate!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
The airstream dealer tells me any 6 cylinder will do, the toyota (my brand) dealer tells me you realistically need a truck rated for 1000 punds more than actual trailer weight.
Your Toyota dealer actually is providing you with better guidance than your Aitstream dealer. (IMHO) Especially if the weight being discussed is the dry or shipping weight, nearly any trailer is going to be at least 1,000 pounds heavier when loaded for a trip. My general rule of thumb is to take the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer and multiply that by 120% to 150% to arrive at the trailer tow weight rating that I want in my tow vehicle. My experience has been that a tow vehicle that is at or near its maximum weight rating is marginal under emergency situations, and is going to struggle at best in the mountains (one of my frequent travel destinations). To give you an idea of the weight involved with Airstream trailers, you can check-out:

Airstream Weights and Measures

Remember that dry weight includes the standard coach with absolutely no optional equipment and all tanks are empty. GVWR represents the most that the coach can weigh when loaded without violating the coach's chasis weight rating.

Good luck with your research!!

Kevin
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Old 02-28-2004, 11:43 AM   #4
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Hi, Kate!

Welcome to the Forums! My wife is an OB-GYN NP. She used to do the travelling-nurse thing all over CA. in the '90s and we used our '70 Safari 23' extensively then. We pulled it with a '77 Ford F-250 Supercab truck with a 400 cu. in. V8. It was great fun.

Just hang on for a little while, you'll get some good info here. MY suggestion, FWIW, is that you stay with the 25' trailer or longer, particularly if you're going to stay in it for more than a couple of days at a time. 23' and shorter get pretty close after a few days, even if you're only planning on sleeping there. I lived in the Safari solo for about eight months, and while I made do, I always wished for just a couple more feet. While it doesn't seem like much, it makes a huge difference. We have a 34' now, and honestly for me, there is less perceived difference in space between a 25' and 34' than there is between the 23' and 25'.

I'd recommend that you stay with a full-sized tow vehicle as well. I'd recommend a domestic with a V-8; not that the imports don't work well, but parts and service for the domestics tend to be more available in some of the places you may end up.

Keep us posted!

Roger
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Old 02-28-2004, 11:51 AM   #5
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In general, and boy is this general, at 19-22 feet you should be able to tow with many (but maybe not all) 1/2 ton trucks or equivalent - Suburban, van (including Astro/Safari), Avalanche, Expedition, Toyota Tundra, etc. Other possibilities include the Dodge Durango truck and SUV, especially the new larger models, as well and the Chevy Trailblazer and GMC equivalent.

At 25' you start to become marginal for virtually all 1/2 tons, and I know of no 1/2 ton off hand that would be adequate for a new Classic 25 when well loaded.

There is a difference between what is safe and what is practical. For example: Any Chevy 2500 should be rated to tow a fully loaded Classic 25' - the largest, heaviest coach that meets your specifications. The tires and chassis should handle the load, the brakes will be up to the task, as will components such as the wheel bearings and rear end. But the 6.0 liter gas engine with 3.73 differential in that truck will be a struggle once you leave the flatlands.

What I seem to be drifting toward is the notion that you have not really narrowed your search enough to provide a definitive answer.

Mark
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Old 02-28-2004, 12:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
But the 6.0 liter gas engine with 3.73 differential in that truck will be a struggle once you leave the flatlands.
mark is right on the money!

put a set of 4.10 gears behind that 6.0 chevy and you can handle trailers up to 31 feet.

i towed my 29 footer with a 1/2 ton chevy with the 350 for years. o.k. , but the 6.0 tows much better!

good luck on your search and welcome to the forum!

john
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:14 PM   #7
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Hello Kate -- Welcome aboard. I know of quite a few folks who do nursing out of their home area or are locum tenens physicians. And they like it a lot. Do the prospective employers cover per diem costs?

Anyway... A Tundra will handle a 22 footer if you don't expect too much in mountainous terrain. A post about a Tundra owner who became dissatisfied with Tundra mileage and performance with a 22' International can be found at Switching to Diesel?. 6 cylinder? I wouldn't think so, but check the manual.

The Tundra is a 7/8th's size half-ton. It surely can't handle a 25 footer! See: Towing with a Tundra

I concur -- half-ton trucks can't handle a Safari 25' trailer. Just do a search on GVWR -- think more about the tow vehicle's GVWR than anything and you will see the truth behind this statement. To the minimum trailer tongue weight you must include your LP, your weight distribution gear, and any optional equipment at the front of the trailer -- spare tire, rockguard, etc.

Just driving around town today I saw a few Chev 1500 HD trucks. These are half tonners with better load carrying, though I don't have the numbers. They were discontinued a couple years back I believe, but if you keep your eyes open... The way to treat your tow vehicle kindly is to stay within its GVWR -- remember to include the tongue weight, weight of gas, people, and whatever else is in the truck. This will be harder to accomplish than staying a certain amount below tow capacity.

In spite of so-called ducting to heat water tanks you will have a very difficult time keeping it from freezing in hard winter weather, to say nothing of driving in ice and snow! Sounds like a lot of bother -- but applying these forums' wisdom to your purchase makes it possible to enjoy these great trailers!
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Old 02-28-2004, 02:26 PM   #8
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thanks for the advice

Thanks to all for the towing advice. I'm going to check out trailers next week to figure out what I can live in and take it from there. The consensus seems to be leading towards a full size 8 cylinder one ton eh? Hate to abandon my toyotas, but oh well. Thanks again, Kate
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Old 02-28-2004, 03:04 PM   #9
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Re: thanks for the advice

Quote:
Originally posted by kwolff
I'm going to check out trailers next week to figure out what I can live in and take it from there. Hate to abandon my toyotas, but oh well. Thanks again, Kate
Kate, you've given yourself excellent advise here. Find your trailer, then figure out what you need to tow it with. I'm a solid Toyota truck guy. I have two old Toyota pickups right now (I tell everyone that the oldest belongs to my 14 year old...<snicker>) but I traded my beloved T100 4WD extra-cab for the Excursion when we bought our trailer. Fact of life I'm afraid.

Good luck, and keep us informed!

Roger
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Old 02-28-2004, 03:11 PM   #10
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No - not a one ton. 3/4 ton maybe, depending on the size and weight, but not a one ton.

If you are going to be living in this thing, think long and hard about which coach size to choose. In doing so, think about bathroom configuration, storage space, galley size, storage space, load carrying capacity, storage space, and oh, maybe think about storage space some more.

If possible, I'd buy the coach first, then get a vehicle that is a good match. The Toyota is a perfectly good match for many Airstream coaches - just not the late model 25' and up.

Mark
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Old 02-28-2004, 04:33 PM   #11
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Well said!

Quote:
If you are going to be living in this thing, think long and hard about which coach size to choose. In doing so, think about bathroom configuration, storage space, galley size, storage space, load carrying capacity, storage space, and oh, maybe think about storage space some more.
Superb advice from these forums -- as Kate is probably aware. Thanks Mark, I didn't want to jump right back in on the 3/4 -- knew somebody else would.

The Tundra will upgrade to full-size when the San Antonio plant opens -- is it 2006? Full-size half ton that is, with numbers probably similar to my Nissan Titan -- I sure wouldn't pull a new 25 footer with one!
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Old 02-28-2004, 05:12 PM   #12
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Nursing perspective

Hi! Have fun with the traveling assignments - I was thinking of this when I graduated (lets say a BIT ago), but love hit me and I stayed where I (well - she) was. My last impression of the traveling assignments were that they seemed to be in large metropolitian areas. You may want to check out "local" RV parks before you accept any assigments - they may either be far out of town away from your hospital, or not so desireable. Here in Seattle, I know you'd have to travel a bit (from the RV parks) to be close to "pill hill" where most of the hospitals that use travelers are. However, it's still only about a 30-40 minute freeway drive (shorter at night). I drove for that long, only going about 5 miles in Los Angeles when I lived there!! Will your "living stipend" cover your RV parking spots, or is it just for an apartment. Just some thoughts -
Have fun! It seems like a great way to travel and see the states (how'd you tow to Hawaii though )
Marc
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:17 AM   #13
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This is cool

This forum is great, so much advice, wow. Mark, yes the travel companies pay a housing stipend if you decline an apartment and it is tax free for 6 months out of the year anyway if you maintain a homestead. I figure I will flip back and forth using the trailer for housing depemding on location and weather although one major motivation here is getting out of vermont winters, ie florida , arizona, calif in the winter, but I don't know yet just how far I want to haul one of these things. I do have the option of renting out my house and making home base at my cousins in new york state and leaving the trailer there if i opt for apartment. So, how long would it take one lady and a dog to haul an airstream to California. What a fun new adventure, enjoy talking to yoy all. Kate
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:51 AM   #14
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Hello Katae

I am soon to be retired RN.. here in Ontario.. was thinking of doing this about 14 years ago.. but things change.. We have a 25'tradewind 1976.. and pull it with a GMC2003 5.3L short box and it handles it beautifully.. you probably would be able to go with a 1/2 ton and even pull a large trailer and put the difference in the money into a Hensley hitch.. much less expensive than a ton truck.. Annie
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