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Old 07-04-2004, 04:02 PM   #1
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Talking My First Airstream - which TV?

We took the plunge and purchased our first AS, a 1981 Excella. We have yet to hook up and tow it from New York back home to Alaska and wondered what you folks were using to tow your Airstreams. We have a 2000 Expedition EB 4x4 with the 5.4L Triton and an air leveling suspension as well as a 2002 F-150 Supercrew 4x4 with the 5.4L. The truck has a number of suspension (heavier shocks, leaf springs and anti-sway bar) as well as some performance mods (electric radiator fans, larger trans pan and transmission radiator). My only concern about the Expedition is the short wheelbase 119" vs. 139". Any thoughts on this one? Anybody else pulling with the Expy?
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Old 07-04-2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

I prefer pulling with a pick-up so I would say go with your pickup. The longer wheelbase may make some difference, not sure on that.

Make sure you have electric brakes on your tow vehicle and use an equalizing hitch.

Long tow! Good Luck!
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Old 07-04-2004, 04:23 PM   #3
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IceKing, Welcome! You can find a lot of information on both your tow vehicle options by searching the forums. Many members know them well. I would vote for the F150 with longer wheel base, the upgraded fans and especially the upgraded transmission. Do you know the differential final drive ratios in the two vehicles? You also need to consider how much weight the vehicles are rated to tow and compare that to the trailer's weight.
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Old 07-04-2004, 04:34 PM   #4
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Congratulations and Welcome to the Forum.

When I had my SOB (Some other brand) it was 29', it weighed 6000. I used my 2000 Yukon 4X4 without any problem, The wheel base 116 (I think). When I got my 34 Airstream, I needed a heavier vehicle so I purchased the Excursion.

I would think your Expedition should do a fine job. Make sure to have a brake controller and weight distribution hitch, preferabley anti-sway.
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Old 07-04-2004, 07:27 PM   #5
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Before that first long tow... repack the wheel bearings, check the brakes, and install new tires (and carry a new spare) if there is any question as to their age and condition. Put your money into running gear now, there will be plenty of time for the rest later!
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Old 07-04-2004, 11:49 PM   #6
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Glad to hear of another AS in the greatland. We live in Anchorage and own a 16 we brought up from Vancouver last fall. Are you driving your PU all the way to NY and then back? If so, wow. We came up the highway in November, and used the Milepost as a guide. It said half the RV spots were closed for winter. Of the half that remain open in winter, about half of them were closed. Avoid Pink Mountain at all cost, stop at Kluane Wilderness Lodge/RV for the world's best steak sandwich. Have fun surfing down Steamboat Mtn. We can have a mini Jamboree next year. So far we have camped at Quartz Cr/Kenai Lake, Anchor River for kings, Seward/Miller's landing (right on the beach) for halibut, and plans for Palmer for the Fair in August. We have an F150 SCREW also, which is ovekill for the 16, but a nice rig otherwise. If you have a generator, the P/U bed is useful.
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Old 07-05-2004, 12:12 AM   #7
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We originally towed with a '98 Expedition. Our trailer is only a 23' that weighs around 3500#. It was awful. It was OK in the flat areas but any hills at all expecially long ones it really bogged out.

Of course I only had the 4.6L, but I don't think the 5.4L would make that much difference. The Expedition is just so heavy on its own. It felt like it was having trouble pullling itself around.

We also had mechanical problems with it. The mechanical problems and the towing problems ultimatly made me sell it and get the truck I have now.

For non towing family stuff its a great vehicle. Just not a good puller, in my opinion.
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Old 07-06-2004, 05:29 AM   #8
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Further questions about the 31' Excella

I am wondering about the GVWR and TW of the TT. If any of you folks have the specs for this year I'd be much obliged.

My initial calculations with the 2002 F150 4x4 superscrew:
Towing capacity=7600lbs
GVWR=6750
GCWR=13000
Payload=1640
F150 weight=5110

The F150 weighs approximately 5110lbs. and with a theoretically 6500lb. Excella it puts me at 89% of my GCWR (13000lbs). The tongue weight is approximately 10% of the trailer weight or 650lbs. Therefore, I should be able to put another 990lbs. into the payload prior to maxing out the truck. My concern is that the weight of the receiver, hitch, WD system and wet weight of the trailer is going to put me into the 95%+ range of the F150's total abilities (GCWR). I see that others have gone into the 90% range but I am leary of pushing things too far on my first AS. I don't feel any need to roll my AS and have a "yard sale" the interstate.
As well, my final drive ratio on the F150 is 3.55. Yes, I know, I know...

Any thoughts...besides getting the 05 King Ranch F350 (WITH the integral brake controller).

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Old 07-06-2004, 05:47 AM   #9
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We pulled an 86 31' Sovereign with 02 & 03 EB Expeditions. 4 -wheel drive. No trouble whatsoever. Pulled like a dream. We do live in Florida though, so mostly flat traveling.

We now have an 02 31' Classic. The 03 EB seems to strain a bit. Not sure how she'll do on hilly terrain.

Interesting note - after we had used our 86 for months - we decided to get the shocks replaced. Before, however, the unit pulled quite smooth - no opening doors inside or things "flying" around. After NEW SHOCKS, it was like chaos inside the unit. I really had to change the placement of some items. It seemed like the new shocks were working against us. No clear answers from the experts either.

Good luck with your new unit. We just LOVE OURS.

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Old 07-06-2004, 11:22 AM   #10
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Airstream Weights and Measures

Greetings IceKing02!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceKing02
I am wondering about the GVWR and TW of the TT. If any of you folks have the specs for this year I'd be much obliged.

My initial calculations with the 2002 F150 4x4 superscrew:
Towing capacity=7600lbs
GVWR=6750
GCWR=13000
Payload=1640
F150 weight=5110
The information about that you are seeking about your coach can be found at:

Airstream Weights and Measures

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 07-06-2004, 01:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceKing02
We took the plunge and purchased our first AS, a 1981 Excella. We have yet to hook up and tow it from New York back home to Alaska and wondered what you folks were using to tow your Airstreams. We have a 2000 Expedition EB 4x4 with the 5.4L Triton and an air leveling suspension as well as a 2002 F-150 Supercrew 4x4 with the 5.4L. The truck has a number of suspension (heavier shocks, leaf springs and anti-sway bar) as well as some performance mods (electric radiator fans, larger trans pan and transmission radiator). My only concern about the Expedition is the short wheelbase 119" vs. 139". Any thoughts on this one? Anybody else pulling with the Expy?

Advice: Unless the tires are only a couple of years old, BUY NEW ONES before your trip home. I didn't and and poorer for it. See my tale of woe here ==> http://www.airforums.com/forum...light=tale+woe
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:37 AM   #12
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Thanks one and all!

Thanks Overlander64--I do appreciate the help on the weights and measures. That trailer is about a ton less than I anticipated and should prove my F150 more than up to the task. Should my wife manage to put 2000lbs. of extras between the truck and the trailer I would still be at 90% of the GCWR (I tend never to underestimate my wife. It may be one reason that we're still married.) Everything less than a ton of extras will only improve our pulling situation.
Even so, after dmreilly's tale of "Whoa!" I'm resolved to purchase the new tires prior to attaching my F150 "tugboat" to the AS. Sounds like it will need to get bearings packed, a brake check and A/C recharged prior to pulling--if the temperature goes above 75 for us Alaskans we start stripping down to the essentials. And that won't be too pretty...my "base tan" will still blind most onlookers (excepting for New Englanders...they're almost as white).
We'll see you folks on the road...
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