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Old 01-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #1
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2012 27' FB International
Athens , Illinois
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New Airstreamer! Tow vehicle?

Newbie here! Just bought a 2012 27' FB International. I have a 2005 H2 SUT as my tow vehicle now, but I'd like to upgrade to something stronger, and I've been looking at 2011-2012 Ford F-150's and F-250's. My main question is: do I need a 250? Is it necessary?

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Old 01-09-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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2003 22' International CCD
Kiln , Mississippi
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The right engine/transmission/rearend/tow package in a 150 will do it - but then again you will never match the tow performance of a F250 diesel with any F150 combination.

Michael & Tina with Layla and Preston BZ
The family has grown.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
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Your choice of which TV to buy will depend on how and where you intend to use the trailer. Welcome on board to your life of adventure with your new purchase. You live in a pretty flat Illinois. So do I. You are not going to really need the 250 in Illinois, but the 250 might come in handy if you spend a lot of times in the mountains. If you go for the 150, maybe you consider spending a little more for a better pivot point transferring hitch.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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2015 25' FB International
2011 23' International
Larkspur , Colorado
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I bought a 2011 AS International and went with matching 2011 Chevy 2500 HD. I live in CO and need the extra towing power to get over the various passes. I am very happy with my TV and I'm never under powered. If you can afford it then having a bit more power is never a bad thing. See you on the lonesome hwy or in the backcountry sometime. You've made a great purchase and will certainly enjoy it.

Safe travels,

Allan & Vicki
Larkspur, CO
Be we, fish on!
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:16 PM   #5
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H2's are pretty beefy; I doubt an F-150 would have much (if anything) over your Hummer.

At 27', I'd strongly recommend you get a 3/4 ton truck, like the F-250. It's not just the horsepower that is important, but the chassis. The 3/4 ton will have a heavier frame, heavier suspension, bigger brakes, heavier transmission and differential; it's just stouter all over.

If you had a vintage 27', I'd say you could get away with a half ton truck pretty easily. But the newer ones are quite a bit heavier than the old.

Anyway, if you're going to change from the Hummer, I'd go for the 250.

Oh, for what it's worth....I pull my 34 footer with a Dodge Ram 4-door long bed 4x4 with the Cummins diesel. If I keep it under 70mph, I can get almost 21mpg with this beast of a truck. If it had a gas engine, it'd probably be lucky to get 14mpg. I get about 13mpg towing. Diesels are pricey, but they really are nice for towing.

Best of luck and I'll see you on the road!
- Jim
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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Jordan, I think you're right on the ragged edge between a 1/2 and 3/4 ton without crunching numbers. I've pulled my 30' with 2 different 1/2 tons (overloaded by the numbers) and one 3/4 ton. The 1/2s were just ok. The 3/4 was perfect, by the numbers as well as road manners.

Why don't you try your H2 and see how it does. If you want to get all the numbers together, there are a lot of folks on here that can give accurate advice at that point.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:38 PM   #7
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Good Advice


Welcome to the group. I think you have received some good advice so far. I will agree with those who said you are right between a half and a three quarter ton truck. I tow my 25 FB with a half ton Tundra. It is powerful enough and strong enough and I pull mountain passes without issue. The problem with a half ton is how much carrying capacity you will have once you are hooked up to the trailer. I know that the tongue weight on a 25FB is pushing 900 lbs with full tanks, two batteries and a spare tire. This doesn't leave me much left over to load into the seats and the bed of the truck.

My set up works for me because it is just the wife and I and we travel light. You need to think about what you are going to be bringing along and then make the decision. There are plenty of half tons out there that will pull the 27 just fine. If you want to bring along lots of toys, wood, generators, kids, dogs, cats and birds, you might want to look at a 3/4 ton unit.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:33 AM   #8
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Slimp Dolly

There's always the Slimp Dolly!

Seriously, ever watch "The Long Long Trailer"? They used one there.

If you're not familiar with it, a slimp dolly is a little contraption that usually had one or two wheels that would castor like the ones on a shopping cart. You attached this dolly to the tongue of the trailer and then the dolly's hitch hooked to your tow vehicle. The dolly carried the entire weight of the tongue of the trailer so that the tow vehicle only had to pull it, not pull it AND lift it.

They were big in the 40's and 50's. I know speeds have increased and so that would probably outdate the old ones. But it was an excellent idea and I really don't understand why they ever stopped using them. Seems to me that it would eliminate a whole host of problems....

It would definitely reduce sway because now you have a real point of contact with the road up front, even if the dolly axle does castor, it won't scrub laterally or sideways.

You just did away with all weight distribution bar problems.

You just made it easier on the tow vehicle by a bunch! As well it would open up the possibility of a larger array of suitable tow vehicles.

I just don't see any negatives with them at all except maybe making it a little harder to back up, but you could have a lock out linkage for that.

Maybe I need to engineer a modern slimp dolly and start selling them
- Jim
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:40 AM   #9
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Just remember going to a 250 with the same engine as a half ton only gains payload not power. jim
1984 Avion 30p 9.1 meter. 2006 Dodge 3500 cummins srw short bed crew cab.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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Check out the Ford 150 with eco boost engine. It has an 11k+ tow weight rating and runs on regular gas. A fellow AS owner here in Sunnyvale has one and swears by it. It's worth a look and regular gas is a lot cheaper than diesel here in CA.
As far as I know, this is the oldest I've ever been.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:01 AM   #11

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

I agree with the "try the H2" statement.
It would give you a very good starting point as to what you may want/need in a new tow vehicle.
Our 2500 Burb meets all our needs for a rather heavy 25 Classic.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Hi Jordan


While the modern 1/2 ton trucks have the capacity ratings to tow your rig, if you tow extensively, the 3/4 ton truck will perform better and last longer.

In most cases a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton truck will have the same frame, body and often engine but will differ considerably in the transmission, transfer case, front and rear axle, suspension, steering, wheels, and tires. The axle upgrade typically involves a larger ring gear, heavier half shafts, larger wheel bearings, and larger brakes. To serve the larger brakes there is typically also an upgrade to the master cylinder and power brake systems.

Overall this leads to improvements in the durability of the power train. Whether the extra cost up front is worth the savings 80,000 miles down the road on, say, a transmission overhaul, an extra brake job, and replacing the rear pinion bearing is your call.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:01 AM   #13
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Get the F250

I currently have a 2007 27FB. Previously I owned a 2005 25' Safari and I towed with a 2005Ford Expedition. The Expedition did great with the 25', but when I moved to the 27FB, I could feel the Expedition struggle. I got rid of it and went overkill on a F-350 crew cab dually. No probs now. Very stable with plenty of power. In my opinion, for 25' and below, a 1/2 ton pickup works great. Anything above 25' Airstream, you need to start shopping 3/4 ton.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by lylesgl View Post
I currently have a 2007 27FB. ... The Expedition did great with the 25', but when I moved to the 27FB, I could feel the Expedition struggle. ...Anything above 25' Airstream, you need to start shopping 3/4 ton.
The 25 had a GVWR of 7300. The 27 has a GVWR of 7600. Did the extra 300 pounds make that much of a difference?

Your 25 must have been an older model. I am pulling my '06 25 FB with a half ton Toyota and am not having that "struggling" feeling. How much did your 25 weigh?

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