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Old 01-02-2017, 05:07 PM   #1
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
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Newbie New Year Question: SUV vs. Truck for FC 25

Now that were in 2017, we are set to make two significant purchases this quarter. 1) Factory new FC 25FB. (Among other options, 16 wheels and 2nd a/c - we live in Phoenix). No major questions here; we believe weve done our due diligence. 2) However, Im still vetting the right tow vehicle. So, for us (newbies), please comment on this rig set up: Our preference is to pull with an SUV, not a pickup truck. We like, in order, the Yukon Denali and Tahoe LTZ (both, with the shorter wheel bases, 116). But though their max tow capacities are slightly less, would a longer wheel base Denali XL model or Suburban be more advisable based on your experiences out there? (I am aware of the GVWR and payload numbers). Any other comments/advice/confirmations would be well received - were on a steep learning curve. (And ... we walked around a WBCCI Rose Parade Rally area this morning to look at the various rigs. Very nice/looked like fun)!

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Old 01-02-2017, 05:48 PM   #2
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Suburban, nice long wheelbase. Or Denali pickup truck. Can't go wrong, diesel or gas.

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Old 01-02-2017, 06:34 PM   #3
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We have a 2006 Infiniti QX 56 that is very capable towing the trailer. That being said, there is not a single SUV out there that I am aware of that can handle the load requirements that are needed for us. Our next vehicle most likely will be a 1500 Sierra with the 6.2 engine and max. towing package. Out west, most camp sites are without water and electricity, that means bringing a generator and lots of water. Both heavy! Our trailer loaded has a tongue weight of 1,000 to 1,100 lbs. Do not go by what Airstream says the tongue weight is, you will find it to be heavier in the real world. JMHO
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:45 PM   #4
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I have towed a trailer first with an SUV and then a pickup. They both worked well but, taking along a generator and a gas can to service it, the SUV caused problems with me. I just didn't like having the gas can inside the cab. That, and I was limited as to the amount of firewood and other stuff I liked to bring. Bikes?

So, I suppose you have already thought these things through but they were a deal breaker for me.

Good luck. You will pick a TV that will work for you. I think you will like the 25, I know we like ours.
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:38 PM   #5
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The XL gives you more storage in your TV and you only lose a few hundred pounds of towing. For a 25' you'll be fine with either one. The XL is longer. I couldn't fit an XL in my condo parking spot. So I pull my 30' with a regular sized SUV. Worked out great.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:17 PM   #6
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Proceed with caution, all of the GM SUV's were just given **very** poor quality ratings from multiple sites including CR, Autoblog, etc..

I love GM vehicles, and was going to do a denali, but ended up going with the F150 because it passed all of the reasonable IIHS safety tests and is considered reliable.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:40 PM   #7
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Yukon Denali experience

You're going through the same thought process we went through four years ago. We were buying a new 25FB FC. We bought a used 2010 Yukon Denali (short wheelbase, AWD). For us, one factor was a short garage--long wheelbase wouldn't fit.

This vehicle has worked out for us. We think on-highway driving would be more comfortable in a longer vehicle. The porpoising (bucking) of this combination on bad concrete-panel freeways can be pretty bad.

As for weight capacities, we have weighed our rig several times and have always been within the axle and GVWR ratings. (last weighing, we had 230 pounds to spare on the front axle, 360 on the rear, and 140 on GVWR) The older models like ours allow removal of the third row seats, which gives us more room and 110 pounds less weight. We pretty much fill up the back, and sometimes put overflow items in a bag on the roof. We only travel with two people in the car, about 310 pounds between us.

We started with a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch with 1000 pound bars. The rig did not feel as stable as we felt it should be. On our first big trip, we included a side trip to London, Ont., to Can-Am RV, the Airstream dealer there. They take WD hitch setup very seriously, including modifying vehicles to work better. We had them weld in two pieces of angle iron to reduce the flex in the Yukon's receiver. We also had them replace the Blue Ox with a EAZ Lift w/1400 pound bars and dual friction bars. That improved the stability significantly.

By the way, our rig feels more stable with the WD bars tightened to the point where the front axle carries >200 pounds of weight when the trailer is hooked up compared to no-trailer. (The owners manual, however, says to load the front axle to about equal to the non-hitched state)

If you want to spend time delving into the Airforums archive, search for threads from Pat Cassity. He had a Yukon Denali, until someone hit his trailer out on the highway. Both Yukon and trailer were totaled, I think injuries were minor. I recall he replaced the Yukon with a 1500 pickup, and has considered going to a 2500 pickup.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:34 PM   #8
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The excellent report by SSquared on his SUV prompted me to make some comments on our pickup, as a comparison. We wanted an SUV but a similarly-equipped pickup came in many thousands of dollars less expensive, apparently there is more profit in pickups. We do use a pickup for utility hauling and chores, so it has that advantage if you need it.

We bought the pickup. Wheelbase is of no consequence if the weight distribution is a quality design suited to your needs and optimally set up, our last pickup 120" and this one 140". Nor is GVWR, if the axles are evenly loaded and GAWR not exceeded.

For an Airstream this size and this relatively light suspension vehicle we need 1400 lb w.d. bars or the steering axle will be too light. SSquared's very important point about adding 200 lbs to the front axle over unloaded weight with the weight distribution hitch reflects our own experience. It feels are stable and handles better.

We are on our second cross-country trip with the pickup, traveled as far east as Ohio this year and as far west as California, and most of those between, right now near Tucson, AZ. Smooth ride for us and our Airstream, very nice engine/transmission in the mountains, does everything well. A shorter wheelbase would be better at times when maneuverability matters.

I don't think you would be disappointed with either SUV or pickup, they both tow very well with a great weight distribution system.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:52 PM   #9
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On our recent outing the consensus was clear......
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
On our recent outing the consensus was clear......
We have a full size SUV. The campgrounds we have been to, we were the only SUV (and the only aluminium trailer). We don't have a generator and my biggest problem with an SUV is carrying firewood. I once put the firewood in the trunk and a cricket sang for us for the whole trip Despite fear mongering by some members, I'd say 99% of the TVs on the road are pickups and they seem to be doing just fine.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:52 AM   #11
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I went through the same decision when we got our AS.

Finally opted for the 4x4 truck and teh main reasons were

- long wheel base for stability

- higher capacity margin

- after adding a Leer cap the opportunity of tossing all kinds of junk we want to take in the back without fear of messing up a nice SUV interior.

After 8 years it has worked out to be fine for us. It is also our daily driver and being a crew cab has all the interior space we need for the two of us - rarely have other passengers.

All depends on references and circumstances.

I will certainly admit that at times parking can be a bit more difficult but we just adapt. For example in mall carparks I don't bother trying to get near the mall doors but just find a spot at the far end of a row. Easy to park, less chance of door dings, and the extra little bit of exercise couldn't be a bad thing!

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Old 01-03-2017, 10:05 AM   #12
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We saw a nifty SUV and Airstream at the truck stop the other day and had a nice chat with the owner. He had a really nice 2000 Airstream Safari 23 and Mercedes G-Wagen (I think that's the nickname for the German military design). Traveling on his own since the vehicles were new, likes to explore the back country and all boon docking. He stopped to look at our hitch because of the set back from the truck, he liked the clearance for his spare tire mounted on back. Mario from Greece, nice fellow if you see this unusual rig around.
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:21 AM   #13
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It is all about the stuff you carry. We are on the road for months at a time and carry many items that ride best in the bed of a truck. Table, chairs, generator, gas, propane and blue tote all ride nicely in the bed. The bikes travel on the carrier on the roof of the cap.


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Old 01-03-2017, 12:12 PM   #14
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Would you consider a Mercedes GLE 350d d for diesel. We pull a 25 Flying Cloud FB and sometimes I forget I am actually pulling something. We did beef up the factory installed hitch, have added weight distribution and anti sway and electric brakes. Great tow vehicle but great car when not pulling.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:22 PM   #15
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I love pickup trucks. Fiberglass tonneau with a lock on the back. We do have power steps since the wife had 2 knees replaced. I would opt for a pickup over a SUV even if I was not towing. If you are going to carry a generator to run one of those 2 air conditioners you need a truck I go on lots of caravans with SUVs. They all seem to pull fine. But they spend a lot of time packing and moving stuff around and unloading stuff from the trailer each stop. Carry the generator in the shower?? give me a break.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:56 PM   #16
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Whatever you do, don't drive a 2017 Ford F150 or it will mess up your decision making process .
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:54 PM   #17
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I would stop towing, if a pickup would be the only option... people have just different expectations from the cars. Good that we have many options.

Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
(...) I would opt for a pickup over a SUV even if I was not towing. (...)
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:04 PM   #18
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SUV or PU?

We have had 3 25' AS's and towed with 2 SUV's (Tahoe's), before buying a PU. (2012-F150 Echoboost, Shortbed, SuperCrew, 4x4) We loved the drive and easy parking of the Tahoe's for every day driver, which is why we bought a second Tahoe with our second 25'AS, but now we love the PU more. What sold us on the F150 with Echoboost initially was the extra torque and power pulling the 25' up steep Rocky Mountain grades in the Northern states; back then, could only get the smaller V8 from GM in the Tahoe. We have come to love the utility of the PU and it rides excellent also. As many have mentioned hauling a generator, gas, firewood, bbq, camping gear, etc., a PU is hard to beat. We have a hard tri-fold toneau cover which allows us to lock it, and we also have an AS bike rack on the 25. We are now looking at next TV and likely will stay with another 1/2 T PU- GM 6.2 w/8speed or Ford EB w/10speed- not sure yet. Several choices out there that will pull that 25' nice...just need to make sure to get right configuration with maximum payload for your needs when you decide which way your going.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:30 PM   #19
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I agree with RLS's comment about tongue weight.

The tongue weight of my 2104 FC25FB with solar, ready to camp, on the Jackson Center production line scale is 1,252 lbs. Total weight on the same scale at the same time was 6,501 lbs.; 800 lbs. under its 7300 lb. GVWR.

When it came off the line the tongue weighed 925 and total weight was 5,756. Thus we were carrying 745 lbs. of cargo; hitch, propane, water, hoses, power cords, leggo blocks, 12v compressor, clothing, food, kitchen equipment, etc.

My point is that even if you load a newer 25FB to even half its capacity you may still have a significant tow vehicle cargo capacity issue that a WD hitch may not be able to solve. I did. A 2500 Duramax fixed that.

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
It is all about the stuff you carry. We are on the road for months at a time and carry many items that ride best in the bed of a truck. Table, chairs, generator, gas, propane and blue tote all ride nicely in the bed. The bikes travel on the carrier on the roof of the cap.
I must "ditto" the comments above. Camping for us made using a F250 with 6.7L TD engine a really convenient TV for our 23' Inernational Serenity. Grill, Table, Cooler, Chairs, Screened Sitting room, wood, tools, ground cloths, generator, gas for same etc., etc.. were well stored in the truck bed. That said, I actually purchased a new 2017 Dodge Durango with a 5.7L Hemi to tow our new 2017 16' Bambi. I'm sitting here wondering how I'll stuff all my "must have" camping stuff in the new SUV along with the dog? Maybe I'll find the need for another truck. Bottom line, for me a truck just makes camping easier. Best of luck in all cases. You'll have fun for sure whatever you decide assuming the TV is set up properly for the TT,.

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