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Old 12-01-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
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Looking to buy

First of all my tow vehicle is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with tow package (6500 GVW). I'd like advice on towing a 23 ft 2007 to 09 23 ft Airstream or am I better off with a single axle 19 ft.?

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Old 12-01-2008, 06:20 PM   #2
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I think the Tacoma has become the same as the first generation Tundra and is not the smaller (and quite nimble) truck it used to be several years ago. Does it have a V8? How much payload? You need to check all the various weights—a lot of smaller 1/2 tons will pull a medium small trailer like a 23' and won't exceed GVWR and GCWR, but have insufficient payload. The '09 Flying Cloud 23 FB (new model) has a much lower tongue weight than the standard one, so that may work better than an '07.

My uninformed thought is a 19' would be ok, but what trailer do you really want? This is a big expense and you ought to get what you want to the 1st time. You may have to get a different truck and no one wants to do that, but we sold our 2002 Tundra and got an '07 Tundra to tow a 25'. I certainly wouldn't tow anything more than 25' with the Tundra because of the payload issue.

Most will recommend only going to 80% of the stated weight as a safety margin.

You say the Tacoma has the tow package, so it should have a weight distributing hitch receiver. Look underneath and see if the assembly is welded to the frame. It should have a transmission cooler, tow mirrors, a connection for a brake controller, 7 pin electrical female plug, big alternator.

Don't believe what salesmen say. They have a really bad reputation about telling you what you can tow with whatever truck you have. There are endless threads on towing and tow vehicles. Read them until you're sick of them and then read some more. This is confusing and necessary suffering. Take your time. A used one may cost more than a new one since the used one from a private party may have cost more because the economy hadn't collapsed yet. They won't want to discount the used one much.

I, of course, will recommend a Tundra. Some will tell you to buy a 3/4 ton, but I don't think it necessary until you get to 27'.


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Old 12-01-2008, 06:25 PM   #3
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I agree with CrawfordGene. I would also purchase a 2007 - 2wd - 5.7 with the tow package. Would pull your 23' with ease. The Tundra is a much more heavy duty vehicle than the Tacoma. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:32 PM   #4
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I'd go with the 23', it's a great size. The 19' may be smaller than you would like to spend alot of time in and the 23' will give you more storage. My husband pulls a 2007 23' Signature with the 2000 Expedition which geared as ours is rated to 6800# and it's a great match, 25' Safari is perhaps marginal but the 25' heavier Classic put us over combined gross vehicle when fully loaded for a long trip. We did tow it for a couple of years trying to lighten the load where we could.

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Old 12-01-2008, 10:45 PM   #5
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Stopping your towed vehicle is as important as towing it. A lighter tow vehicle with a short wheel base, less robust transmission and brakes can spell serious trouble.

IMHO, first find the "right" Airstream. Go to a dealer. Sit in both models - heck, sit in a 27', or even a 30' too. Make sure you're going to love the Airstream you choose (I traded up after a year - expensive!) and can live with IT long term. You might also want to find a few rallies in your area and attend. Looking at floor plans vs. living for a week in a unit can be revealing. Consider sitting on the throne, sleeping on the bed, negotiating around your partner - all these can be major irritants if you go too small. Of course if you're really into back country camping, smaller may suit you better than big.

If you buy the right Airstream you might have it for 20 years. You'll go through more than two or three tow vehicles in that time. Trade the vehicle if you need to, to get the right Airstream.

Good luck, happy trails and see you down the road.

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Old 12-01-2008, 11:03 PM   #6
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Too close for comfort.

Originally Posted by wilden59 View Post
First of all my tow vehicle is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with tow package (6500 GVW). I'd like advice on towing a 23 ft 2007 to 09 23 ft Airstream or am I better off with a single axle 19 ft.?

Hi, a 23' Airstream has a GVWR of [6,000 lbs] only 300 lbs less than my 25' Safari. [6,300 lbs] I think it would be too close for comfort, but do-able for the short term [cautiously loaded] until you were able to buy a larger tow vehicle.
Out of your choices, I would prefer the 23'er; I think it has a more liveable floor plan. But a 19'er would be better for your tow vehicle. So, now you need to decide whether you want to keep your Tacoma, or buy a 23' Airstream. [Tacoma, 5 to 10 years? or Airstream 20 to 30 years?]

2005 Safari 25-B
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:50 AM   #7
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I agree with the and buy the Airstream you really want. Then if needed, trade the tow vehicle. Tow vehicles are a lot easier, and cheaper to trade than Airstreams.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:22 AM   #8
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Nothing wrong with the 19'. A single axle will give you better mileage and is easier to back up in tight spaces. If you do a lot of boondocking like we do it's important. If you got alot of kids and dogs that's another matter. Our 22' has more than enough room for the two of us and two standard poodles and we have storage we haven't used yet.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:56 AM   #9
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Everybody has a different idea of too small or large. We would go crazy in a 19, others find it just right (or have come to terms with being crazy). If you don't try to match the size to your truck, but pick the size Airstream you want, you will probably be happier in the long run. We selected the 25' FB for practical reasons as well as emotional ones. There's a part of me that really would have preferred the 27', but I can live fine with the 25'.

There's a lot of expense involved and I realize that going out and buying a new truck isn't easy to do for most people. Last year was a lot better in the stock market than this year, so we had cash. This year we have plenty of losses.

If you are interested in the 23' with the double bed next to the bathroom door, sit on the toilet and see if you can close the door and be comfortable—many people have their knees crunched. Note the door only opens part way because of the bed; I had to go through the door sideways. If you are tall, the bed isn't. Lie on the beds in the various models. The beds are generally smaller than the usual size for a house. Note that in various models the dinette is different—some won't seat 2 people on each side comfortably. Not all models have a dinette, but we think it's indispensible. It's easy to run out of places to put stuff—some goes on the dinette and some on the "sofa" in ours. When I see other people's trailers, I notice that there stuff all over the place because some trailers have no horizontal surfaces to put them on. We'd rather keep it relatively neat or it begins to feel smaller and smaller if there stuff all over the floor. Check out the sink area for whether it's convenient for washing dishes and letting them dry (a double sink is great for letting them dry on one side, but you'll have to buy a 25'). It's obvious that what we wanted could be served best by the 25' FB, but the 23' FB looks pretty good to me. If you plan to boondock, smaller is better and for some parks and public campgrounds, anything more than 25' is too much (some RV campgrounds have short spaces too). My point is, decide what fits you and not your truck.

After looking at various models, we started getting goofy. Confused between what trailer had what and itching to buy one. The first dealer we went to was easy to walk away from, so we went to another dealer several weeks later determined to not make an snap decisions. We went from model to model, trying out the beds, sitting on the toilet, opening and closing every door and cabinet, being overwhelmed. We were smart enough to leave early in the afternoon, but late in the day we were drawn back by the force of aluminitis. We had narrowed it down to about 3 models and eventually settled on one. Then the negotiations started and that took about 2 hours to make a deal and get all the paperwork done. Picked it up the next afternoon. No, we didn't rush into it—all we didn't buy the first one we saw. In the 2 months before we bought it we did a lot of research on the Forum and bought several RV books to learn from.


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