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Old 05-10-2015, 04:28 PM   #1
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1985 34' Excella
Mineral Wells , Texas
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Newbie needing towing vehicle

We purchased our first AS - an '85 Excella which is 34 ft in length and weighs 5,800 lbs. we're looking for a new truck and would like any suggestions that might guide us to a truck that could handle this size of camper. We currently have a 95 Chevy Silverado and it's days are numbered.

Thanks,
Bud
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:14 PM   #2
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3/4 ton with Big Block or Diesel

Bud,

You will probably see that you'll open a big can of worms with this post....you will get answers ranging from a bicycle to a Kenworth.

A 34' triple can be towed with a front wheel drive Chrysler LHX or similar if it's set up properly. But I wouldn't recommend it.

I pull a 34' triple axle Avion (very similar to Airstream). I use a 3/4 ton pickup and it's been just fine. That is what I would recommend to you.

With the 34's, you get into several things: First is tongue weight. Second is gross weight. Third is how much stuff you want to take with you on top of pulling the trailer (do you want to take your Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV in the back of the truck?).

The triple axles track very nicely. I would argue that they are the most stable of any of the Airstream travel trailers. They pivot about the center axle and you must "scrub" the fore and aft axles to turn sharply. If you make a really sharp turn on a blacktop parking lot, you will see some blackmarks. Don't worry about knocking the tires off the bead...that is essentially an old wive's tale unless your tires are down to 10psi...

But, to answer your question, based upon my experience pulling a 10,000lb gross weight triple axle 34' trailer (actually Avion's are 36')....I recommend a crew cab long bed 3/4 ton pickup. I use a Dodge 2500 with the Cummins Turbodiesel. I've gotten 16mpg on level ground running 60mph or slower, 12mpg on the slab running 75mph (forget ST tires...they are junk; use LT's...but that is a whole 'nother topic that you can find on here).

So: 3/4 ton truck with long wheelbase and big motor and you will be fine.

See ya on the road,
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:19 PM   #3
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There are many, many threads worth reading on this.

First off, congratulations. The big triple axles tow beautifully. We've got a 1984 International, with a similar weight.

We are, happily and safely, towing with a Honda Odyssey van which we'll replace next year with a Dodge Durango. You don't need a huge truck for these trailers, for as long as you have them decently set up.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:27 PM   #4
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1985 34' Excella
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Thanks for the input. Except for a couple bicycles, we'll probably only be hauling clothes and food for my wife and myself along with our daughter when she's home from college. Our 3/4 ton Silverado seems to handle well enough and will probably look for something similar. Thanks again.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:34 PM   #5
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I pull our 34' with a 3/4 Chev diesel. I like the power and the mileage of the diesel. Everyone has their opinions of tow vehicles and set ups. Bigger truck is my preference, because I do not have to worry about any overload problems, or tongue weights. Chris
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:40 PM   #6
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5800 pounds?

Prior to doing anything, I would suggest loading the trailer for camping, then obtaining an actual weight of both the trailer and the truck.

The results may surprise you.

Please post back to this thread with the actual weights.
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:07 PM   #7
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Congrats. Can of worms, yes. First, ask what you want. Then find that in what meets your needs.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:04 PM   #8
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See my avatar. 2012 Duramax 4x4 crew cab. 9-12MPG below 62MPH. PROPRIDE antisway hitch, Goodyear 15" LT tires, tire pressure and temp sensor.

Also, consider Centramatic static balances. Will reduce vibration significantly.

The rigging is key.

Congrats!
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:52 AM   #9
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i agree 100% with this post.

Anything less will be a disappointment.




Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post
Bud,

You will probably see that you'll open a big can of worms with this post....you will get answers ranging from a bicycle to a Kenworth.

A 34' triple can be towed with a front wheel drive Chrysler LHX or similar if it's set up properly. But I wouldn't recommend it.

I pull a 34' triple axle Avion (very similar to Airstream). I use a 3/4 ton pickup and it's been just fine. That is what I would recommend to you.

With the 34's, you get into several things: First is tongue weight. Second is gross weight. Third is how much stuff you want to take with you on top of pulling the trailer (do you want to take your Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV in the back of the truck?).

The triple axles track very nicely. I would argue that they are the most stable of any of the Airstream travel trailers. They pivot about the center axle and you must "scrub" the fore and aft axles to turn sharply. If you make a really sharp turn on a blacktop parking lot, you will see some blackmarks. Don't worry about knocking the tires off the bead...that is essentially an old wive's tale unless your tires are down to 10psi...

But, to answer your question, based upon my experience pulling a 10,000lb gross weight triple axle 34' trailer (actually Avion's are 36')....I recommend a crew cab long bed 3/4 ton pickup. I use a Dodge 2500 with the Cummins Turbodiesel. I've gotten 16mpg on level ground running 60mph or slower, 12mpg on the slab running 75mph (forget ST tires...they are junk; use LT's...but that is a whole 'nother topic that you can find on here).

So: 3/4 ton truck with long wheelbase and big motor and you will be fine.

See ya on the road,
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budmart1 View Post
Thanks for the input. Except for a couple bicycles, we'll probably only be hauling clothes and food for my wife and myself along with our daughter when she's home from college. Our 3/4 ton Silverado seems to handle well enough and will probably look for something similar. Thanks again.
The choice of tow vehicle has as much to do with how you plan to travel as how big your trailer is. While a gas powered 1/2 ton pickup with a standard bed is capable of pulling ANY Airstream ever made provided you don't overload the bed, and many larger SUV's will do the same, and it's even possible to tow most Airstreams with a large four door sedan, if you are a full timer (or long term traveler) you will appreciate the benefits of larger and more capable cargo space that a 3/4 ton pickup will provide. In your case, it appears that you are still employed and will be a "weekender" and "working person vacation" kind of traveler in a relatively flat part of the country for the foreseeable future so you can err on the side of a smaller and less powerful tow vehicle than a 3/4 ton if that is your preference.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:32 AM   #11
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BTW.. Dry weight.. empty... over 6000# by the time I loaded batteries, spare tire, etc... essentials and a full fresh water tank, I was around the 8500# on the Airstream...
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:14 PM   #12
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Tow Vehicle

We have been towing a 28' Interntional CCD with LOTS of stuff in trailer for about 60,000 miles with 2005 2500 Diesel Silverado. Plenty of torque even for Rockies and the hills of Baja California. Truck now has about 220,000 miles. Rebuilt Transmission at 180,000 (it was those hills of Baja that did it in I think). We have the long wheelbase crew cab model which was a pain to park in an apartment building. But would definitely recommend the long wheelbase for our trailer.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:36 PM   #13
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Drive the '95 till it dies and get a newer truck. A newer half ton is more capable than your '95, but if you can afford a 3/4 ton-
Weight distribution and anti-sway are a must, even if you choose to tow with a mini van.
I tried to buy a 1988 34' from a guy who towed it with a Lincoln Navigator. My plan was to tow it with my 1/2 ton pickup.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:49 PM   #14
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You indicate 5800 lbs. The factory document shows GVWR at 8900 lbs.
A 2500HD Silverado is a great choice and even better with the optional diesel.
Be careful on towing the 34' with a truck that is not rated for the true packed weight with tanks full. Good luck!
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