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Old 05-06-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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List of tow vehicles for larger Airstreams

Let's try a roundup of late-model tow vehicles (last ten years) that are truly suitable for towing a 30' Airstream, considering weight, width, wheelbase, rear overhang, and so on.

Here's what I have so far:

  1. Full-size pickups from Chevrolet (and GMC), Dodge, and Ford (and Lincoln), Toyota, and Nissan.
  2. Full-size vans from GMC, Dodge, and Ford. (but these lack 4wd)
  3. Chevrolet Suburban (and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade)
  4. Ford Expedition
  5. Chevrolet Avalanche
  6. Nissan Armada (and Inifiniti QX56)
  7. Toyota Land Cruiser (and Lexus LX570)
  8. Chrysler Aspen (no longer in production)
I've left off the Touareg since there seems to be a consensus that anything over 25' is too much for it.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:50 AM   #2
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I would add the Ford Excursion to the list, also no longer in production.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:23 AM   #3
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The consensus on Touaregs with anything over 25' is based upon the wheelbase. Which would also apply to numbers 6, 7 & 8 on your list. A 30' tail wagging the dog!
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
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Some vans can have 4x4. Suburbans have a longer wheelbase than Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
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If you are talking about towing your 30' Classic which is considerably heavier than the Safari or International and most of the older 30' A/S models the tow vehicles should have heavy suspension with proper gearing if they are in the 1/2 ton category. Otherwise jump up to a 3/4 ton TV. I agree with mojo that 6, 7, 8 and Touareg would not be adequate for towing a 30' Classic.

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Old 05-09-2010, 10:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstalzer View Post
If you are talking about towing your 30' Classic which is considerably heavier than the Safari or International and most of the older 30' A/S models the tow vehicles should have heavy suspension with proper gearing if they are in the 1/2 ton category. Otherwise jump up to a 3/4 ton TV. I agree with mojo that 6, 7, 8 and Touareg would not be adequate for towing a 30' Classic.

Dennis
I would agree with Dennis....if you are talking about a late model 30 footer, delete anything from you list that does not include "3/4 ton" in it's discription. This is my opinion based on experience, not some manufacturer's engineer bowing to the marketing department.
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:19 AM   #7
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Any 3/4 ton or larger truck or van should do the job. Some better than others. A 30 footer isn't half ton territory in my opinion. Check out this thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ngs-56634.html to see what I mean.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:28 PM   #8
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Oversized is the way to go

Personally I would not tow a 30 footer with anything but a full sized diesel pickup. The extra margin of safety in having a tow vehicle that weighs almost as much as your trailer can come in very handy when needed.

We tow our 27FT Cloud with a Ford F250 Super Duty diesel. We also have an equalizer sway hitch. I just came back from a trip with 40 to 55 MPH winds in all directions. The truck/buss speed limit in Ariz and Nevada was 75 MPH. I had triple long FedEx semis and buses passing my at 80 MPH with no fear. Rock solid.

Can you tow with far less truck safely? Yes. Will you feel safer and more confident in a bigger, higher capacity tow vehicle? Yes again. If you have a choice go bigger than you need.

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:06 PM   #9
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Personally I would not tow a 30 footer with anything but a full sized diesel pickup. The extra margin of safety in having a tow vehicle that weighs almost as much as your trailer can come in very handy when needed.

We tow our 27FT Cloud with a Ford F250 Super Duty diesel. We also have an equalizer sway hitch. I just came back from a trip with 40 to 55 MPH winds in all directions. The truck/buss speed limit in Ariz and Nevada was 75 MPH. I had triple long FedEx semis and buses passing my at 80 MPH with no fear. Rock solid.

Can you tow with far less truck safely? Yes. Will you feel safer and more confident in a bigger, higher capacity tow vehicle? Yes again. If you have a choice go bigger than you need.

Bill

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I agree 100%, my 2003 Ram 2500 Diesel Does a great job with my 31.

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Old 05-11-2010, 10:58 PM   #10
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Lincoln no longers has a pick up. However it has the very popular Navigator. Similar to Ford's Expedition.

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Old 05-11-2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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I looked at the Nissan as a possible TV for my 2009 Flying Cloud 27FB, but my AS put the Nissan at the limits of it's towing capacity. My TV now is a 2001 Ford F350 7.3 diesel. While the Nissan is a nicer ride, I would regret every minute of trying to pull my maxed out Nissan up a grade on even on level ground with strong crosswinds. I think you would too.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:00 AM   #12
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Remove the Expedition.

Hi, I'm a Ford person. I tow with a Lincoln Navigator which is very similar to an Expedition except that my engine gets it's torque at 1,000 RPM lower. A 25' [late model] Airstream would be the limit as far as I'm concerned. So towing a 30'er would not be recommended with these vehicles. [my opinon] Also my 25'er is rated 1,000 lbs less than most newer ones. [6,300 lbs]
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hhendrix View Post
I looked at the Nissan as a possible TV for my 2009 Flying Cloud 27FB, but my AS put the Nissan at the limits of it's towing capacity. My TV now is a 2001 Ford F350 7.3 diesel. While the Nissan is a nicer ride, I would regret every minute of trying to pull my maxed out Nissan up a grade on even on level ground with strong crosswinds. I think you would too.
For a number of years we towed with a 150HP Nissan Van. I recall leaving a provincial park and heading home into a 50MPH headwind. It took a little longer getting up to speed but once there all was well. Sure the van got a workout but not a hint of a regret. The Nissan VQ engines were on the Wards top ten engines list for many years for good reason.

One of the reasons we own an Airstream is because of of the way they slip thought the air without much fuss.

Curious, what was the Nissan you were considering? Did you actually try towing with it??
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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Diesel is the way to go

I am repeating what others have already said but: If you have the money go with diesel. If you are like me I will never be able to afford a new truck ever few years so when I purchase I am looking at a long time investment. A gas motor is just not up for the task ( I know people will say they own a great gas truck) diesels are made for high torque applications. The fact they get great gas mileage is just a plus. They run off a lubricant, and have half the moving parts (more in some motors). This is part of the reason it is not uncommon to see a 500,000 mile diesel running great and still hauling.
I am currently using a 2002 Chevy Duramax I just bought and it does great. It rides great and has alot of luxuries I was not accustom to. If I had my chose out of all the trucks I would go with a Dodge Cummins I have owned 3 of these and by far they have the best motor. It will get you the best low end power and best MPGs. I am not putting down Ford or chevy I have had both there diesels but Cummins has been the one to beat since 1989. The Cummins B motor can be found in tractor trailers, barges, bulldozers, tanks, and ford uses it in there heavy trucks(after 2 tons).
I would rather have a few years older diesel than a new gas truck every day. it will save you money down the road. Just my opinion.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:25 AM   #15
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We tow our 2004 30' Classic with a 2001 Ford F350 Dually w/7.3 Diesel and towed our 2000 30' AS Excella with the same TV. The Dually may use a little more fuel but you can't beat the way it tows and holds the road. For my money I would repeat this same TV if I were to buy a 34' Airstream so I am pleased with all the possibilities offered with having a Diesel Dually.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:34 AM   #16
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My vehicle of choice - 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Duramax Diesel:



We tow our 28' Safari with no problems what-so-ever. It was an extremely long process for us to decide on a 3/4 ton diesel, but I would not change one thing about our decision. IMO I would not consider anything less than a 3/4 for your length of trailer. Good luck in your search!

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Old 05-12-2010, 10:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Airstream01 View Post
Any 3/4 ton or larger truck or van should do the job. Some better than others. A 30 footer isn't half ton territory in my opinion. Check out this thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ngs-56634.html to see what I mean.
There are a few Folks that will try to deny/dismiss these events. There are many threads here detailing horrific accidents due to out of control sway incidents...almost always involving a 1/2 ton (or lesser vehicle) with too much trailer behind it. Just because you "can" tow with something...doesn't mean you "should".

Accidents happen to all kinds of Folks in all kinds of situations. I'll put the odds in my Family's favor.
Our Excella weighs in ~ 7000# locked and loaded (full h2O included...we like to hydrate, cook and shower when we camp), about as heavy as AS's get (Excella's, Classics are the heavy weights). throw some kayaks on the roof, some firewood in the bed, some bikes on the front...now you are HEAVY. I don't know too many Folks who travel stripped down.

Our TV weighs in at 8100# with me and a full tank. More than enough to outweigh the heaviest AS and assorted junk most Folks take along. This is how you want to travel; the TV in charge of the trailer.
Period.

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:02 PM   #18
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Our Excella weighs in ~ 7000# locked and loaded. HEAVY.

Our TV weighs in at 8100# with me and a full tank.

Bill
I really enjoy reading and observing what other Airstream's are doing. Lots of variety of needs, wants, vehicles, connection hardware etc.

As Bill has noted towing a 25' Airstream his rig weighs over 15,000lbs. As he reported, that is a lot of weight.

We chose to go down the road with less weight, much less weight. Our Airstream (actually 24') /tv rig, road ready weights less than 9,000lbs.

6,000lbs less weight is a huge difference. Isn't that the weight of a full sized pick up!!!

Different strokes for different folks. We are all happy campers.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:41 PM   #19
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Road Ruler, I should have been more clear. I wasn't knocking Nissan as my point. It was that the lighter vehicles towing at their maximum capacity might not be as safe and certainly wouldn't be much fun pulling grades. Since I live on the west coast, almost any direction I go has to be through some mountain range. My F350 diesel has no problem with that. I looked at the Nissan Armada (nice SUV) but the maximum towing capacity was 9000 lbs. My AS weighs in at 8900 lbs. I think it would have been a strain. And no, they wouldn't let me try towing my trailer. You should have seen the look on their faces when I asked.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:34 PM   #20
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No piece of equipment should be regularly operated at it's maximum rating for an extended period of time. This is as true for tow vehicles as it is for pumps. That said, I have noted that in the race to be "best in class" for towing all of the trucks have been bulking up like they are on steroids! I parked my 2009 F150 next to my friends older F250 the other day. Guess which one was larger......you got it, my newer F150.

When towing my 34' AS with my "half ton" (max payload 17300#), I have an approx 20% margin under my max tow weight of 11,300#.

I don't think the blanket classification of half-ton, three quarter-ton, etc. are very accurate any longer.
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