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Old 06-01-2015, 12:25 AM   #1
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Newbie 2013 LR4 towing a 27FB International

I am 10 days away from pick-up of my first Airstream, which has my entire family SO excited, and now I am scared that my vehicle is not capable of towing it safely. The safety of my family, then the community and fun-factor of our Airstream is most critical. Thank you for the wonderful community here and have been reading all the different threads to decide what to do. I am in information overload and need help.

Here is what got me to this point: I did my due diligence on the LR4 and recognized that there was not consistency in opinion around actual tongue weight capabilities and weight distribution. However, these vehicles are tanks and can tow, stop and handle a lot (note: I am not touching the reliability question here), so assumed with safe driving and enjoying the journey as much as the destination we would be fine. Now I am panicking...that my initial research was not enough. The Airstream is NOT going back, so I need to decide if a vehicle change is in order.

The questions that seemingly will decide the LR4's fate are whether the tongue weight can be ignored (manual states 550 lbs, the International is 770lbs with some threads stating it is actually 800lbs+) through a non OEM hitch receiver (e.g., a welded version or a SWEET Can-AM set-up versus this click in receiver that the dealer sells). The second question is to just ignore some of the discussion on whether an LR4 can handle weight distribution due mainly to the air ride system. I have re-read my owner's manual a dozen times (plus called multiple dealers) and can find no exception to these set-ups, but across multiple forums on this site have heard this is an issue. Candidly, I am more inclined to trust these forums based on the quality and sincerity of people's feedback, then what the dealer says. If there are other questions I should be considering please let me know, but these are the two I am wrestling with.

Here is my ask of the forum: How do I assess, or do you have experience, in evaluating the right hitch receiver set-up for an LR4? Secondly, when is it just time to go buy the truck, even though you would love to make your current vehicle work? Any experience pulling an 25+ ft International with an LR4?

Thank you in advance, and I guess there is one more ask, if you know Andy at Can-Am, let him know I am going to be calling. I will find a way to make it worth it to his business at some point. I am a business owner and nothing is more important than paying it forward, but want to make that worth it for him too. I look forward to contributing to this community and finding adventures in my Airstream...

Thank you,

Seattle Newbie Airstream Owner
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:32 AM   #2
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Sounds like you want to talk to Andy to see what he thinks is possible. You should pursue that and see what you think after that discussion.

Everyone looks at this differently. Personally, I wouldn't use the LR4 as you described it for towing this trailer. The manufacturer defined the vehicle's towing limits for a reason (whether you agree with them or not). They say 550 on the hitch - you could nearly double that with this trailer. And with that load on the rear, you will need (not just want) WD capability to bring the front end back down for steering safety. Every component is speced for a reason - I would imagine the entire vehicle is constructed assuming it will not be asked to tow more than "X" and significantly exceeding that will tax the entire vehicle.

Can the hitch be modified? Probably. Some folks (like me) will say you shouldn't - others will say you should. Evaluate everything, know WHY you're making this decision and safe travels to you.

Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:34 AM   #3
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Thank you in advance, and I guess there is one more ask, if you know Andy at Can-Am, let him know I am going to be calling.
There is no better resource to answer your questions. They solved our vehicle's connection issues. Works great.
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:29 AM   #4
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If you use the search function you will find a recent thread started by LolaT and her LR3. They have been through this process and are happily towing their 25FB.

As a LR3 owner myself, I follow these threads very closely! Here is what I have found out over the years:

1. The manual for the LR3/LR$ states 550lb tongue weight
2. The LR receiver is stamped with a max tongue weight of 770b
3. Andy at CanAm has a load of experience and has set up may LR3/4s
4. The short wheelbase of the LR is less then ideal for a long trailer
5. On the internet we are all experts!!

Good luck, and please keep us posted with how things pan out.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:04 AM   #5
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LR3 towing 23D

Slight correction -we are towing the 23D. We felt like that was the top of the weight limit for us with the 2006 LR3. We have three kids in the back and the inevitable added weight of bikes and gear in the car too.

Here's the link to the thread with my questions and photos of our final setup.

In the book I have, it shows the 27FB has a tongue weight of 791lbs. For our setup we decided to disregard the 550lb tongue weight limit and rely on the 770lb limit printed on the hitch receiver. We looked at the Curt receiver but it actually had a lower tongue weight limit of 600lbs. We had the old LR clip in or quick release receiver and we ordered the latest version instead. We settled on the Blue Ox Sway Pro WD/Anti-Sway system. The Andersen has issues with the Airstream coupler and the potential benefits of the Hensley and ProPride seemed to be counteracted by their much higher weight.

We also got the Tekonsha P3 brake controller and Milenco mirrors. Also the RVS back up camera to help hitch up. Only issue we've had is flickering LED trailer lights even with the second adapter we ordered. Will have to install some kind of resistor it looks like.

Link to short clip pulling up to our house
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
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Great vid, your set up looks so sweet!
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
There is no better resource to answer your questions. They solved our vehicle's connection issues. Works great.
I second that statement!!! They are honest, creative, and extremely competent! We are now (as of a week ago!) towing our 25" 2014 with a VW Touareg on which CanAm reinforced and modified the hitch; it is an awesome setup!!
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:19 PM   #8
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Plan on 900 lb + hitch weight pretty consistently with 27fb. Our 2014 Flying Cloud pushes the limits of our F150 hitch rated for 1050 lbs.......


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Old 06-01-2015, 08:44 PM   #9
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Thank you ALL so much for the insights. @LolaT I love the set-up, what a great looking adventure mobile! @GSMBLUE and @SteveSueMac thank you for the direct and data driven responses. You have all given me a lot to think about (and ask more follow-up questions), and I will keep everyone posted. And of course post some photos of our first family adventure. The variance in actual tongue weight vs listed weight from the Airstream manufacturing is concerning and adds a new issue to my struggles. I will never doubt this purchase - have wanted an Airstream my entire life - but this tow vehicle challenge is frustrating.
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:45 PM   #10
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@Shinypete any reasons why the high weight? Were you putting lots in the vehicle or in the bedroom for storage?
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:04 PM   #11
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Using a CURT set-up to overcome issues with LR receiver

Another scenario was using CURT hitch receiver that has weight distribution up to 800 pounds and 8000 GVW.

Amazon.com: CURT 13149 Black Class 3 Trailer Hitch: Automotive

I have a phone call into Can-AM, but given they are 2500 miles away from Seattle, my local hitch installer recommended. The OEM receiver from Land Rover does not give me confidence for a load like this.

This is officially my pseudo-first Airstream adventure!
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:05 PM   #12
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We watch our loading closely but FBs are notoriously heavy tongue weighted. I was just sharing what we average, to make sure you didn't bet on sub-800 lb tongue weight.


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Old 06-01-2015, 09:07 PM   #13
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This is something that was not apparent to me, but throughout the day now seeing the variability in the weight on on these FB's is a new wrinkle...more to come Thanks for the share!
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:54 PM   #14
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SeaAirstream - my own experience with tongue weight on a 27FB International was as follows:-

Catalogue - 770lbs
With options - dealer estimate - 825lbs (2nd AC, 50A)
With options - "as weighed" at factory - 844lbs (I provided the VIN to the factory)
My own "as weighed" at home exactly as delivered - 900lbs (should have matched factory....?!).

I made some mods to the AS and had tongue weight down to about 650lbs with an Eaz-lift hitch (verified on CAT scale)
I'm now using a ProPride hitch which weighs in about 100lbs more than the Eaz-Lift. Tongue weight is around 750lbs fully loaded with water and all our normal gear (scale verified).

Clearly, you should expect something more than the catalogue values for tongue weight. I did a lot of trawling of these forums for tongue weight data and just about every post I found indicated higher than catalogue.

All is not lost though if you want to stick with your current TV AND feel the need to reduce tongue weight based on your research. Tongue weight reduction is possible, depends on how much time/money you are willing to spend to get there. The simple/easy option a lot of people go for is to "just" buy a TV with more payload/tongue weight capacity. In the end it's very much a personal decision.
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