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Old 10-15-2003, 05:38 PM   #15
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I gotta jump in here and say that while I understand Kevin's preferences .. I agree more with Moe's point of view.

Petunia and I had our hearts set on an Excursion and a 34' Classic .. until I did a weight study and found that I wouldn't be able to load the X with anything of substance .. unless I wanted to ignore the GVWR of the vehicle.

Moe's points in the past about being able to carry heavy, flammable, infested, greasy, nasty and muddy things got me to thinking about a truck instead of the Excursion SUV.

The F-350 I am ordering will be able to carry far more than the X and at a much lower price.

Then I remembered the parents of a good friend of mine ... met them in Pismo Beach ... they were towing their Airstream with a truck .. and pointed out the virtues of being able to put all that firewood and greasy hitch stuff in the bed. They had a real nice Snug Top to keep everything secure ... a real nice arrangement.

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Old 10-15-2003, 05:50 PM   #16
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Wink Things...

Originally posted by RoadKingMoe
...Heavy things, Flammable things, Possibly infested things, Greasy things, Nasty things, Muddy things...
My appologies, Moe for the severe editing... but I confess to be a long-time George Carlin fan, and as I read your post I flashed on one of his more infamous quotes:

"Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things."

Yeah, ok, so free-association ain't my strong suit...


AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 10-15-2003, 07:04 PM   #17
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I'm not wanting to start a "my tow vehicle is better than yours" war here, but for a contrary point of view I'll vote for a van.

I don't carry a tote tank, generators, or gasoline in my vehicle. Nor firewood ( Does anyone else besides me wonder at the atavistic urge that compels people to go somewhere and set fire to wood?). Anyway, hoses, blocks, grill, cords, chairs, etc. are all stored in the closets or ourside storage, in the trailer where it is ready to roll at a moment's notice. I DO frequently carry bicycles, or worse, a tandem bike, and a van is just perfect for that.

Honesty compels me to admit, however, that my tow vehicle is a Chevy 1/2 ton diesel extended cab pickup. I just would rather have a van. And, in the interest of fairness, I have to add that 4X4 vans are expensive, if you need four wheel drive.

The point is that the tow vehicle you choose depends on what you carry and how you use it. Other people will have other priorities.

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Old 10-15-2003, 07:27 PM   #18
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I haven't tried it yet, but I'd bet a bicycle would fit on each side of the longitudinally mounted queen bed, even if the front wheel had to be removed.

And now we approach the subject of 4WD. I am SO GLAD we opted for that! I've been on near level dew-laden grass twice now where the torque of the diesel just spun both of the limited slip rear all-terrain tires tugging against the weight of the 34', which even with the load spread over six tires, caused them to sink into the damp soil about 1/2".

Four tires, driven with the torque multiplication of Low Range, which also got the engine up to enough rpms the turbo was providing boost, made a HUGE difference, and gave me not only more torque, but more control over it.

I never really intended to take the 34 off-road, but it's wound up that's where we've been most times we've been out.

Nevertheless, I still carry a 30,000 lb 3" X 30' snatch strap because one of these days the 4WD may not be enough and there may be a 2WD on better footing that can pull me out.
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Old 10-15-2003, 09:52 PM   #19
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I aspire to your full timing but, wife hasn't bought in yet.

Your 28 ft a/s will weigh about 6800-7000# loaded including hitch weight(assuming late model wide body). That doesn't include water if you are boon docking.

I personally think 28/29 ft is the ideal/max length to tow if you are moving on a regular basis and full timing.

I don't think Toyota will be a tow option for at least 2-3 years. They don't have a true 250/2500 level truck and only 240hp at present. They are building a new engine factory in Tenn. at the present time so they are coming but, I doubt you want to wait that long.

I have the 2003 GMC 2500HD Gas 300HP Crewcab short bed 4X4. GM rates it to pull up to 9200 lbs. I tow a 29' Sovereign and it has absolutely no problem with my trailer at 6800#. However, I am sure the diesels will get 3-4 mpg more loaded or unloaded. My numbers are 11/12 pulling and 15/16 unloaded. The truck has all kinds of power but, there is no way that 330 ft lb of torque will match the diesels 520+ on hills. However, the premium was $5000 for the engine and $1700 for the Allison trans. If I were going to tow a 34' a/s, I would probably have the diesel with 520+ ft. lbs of torque.
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Old 10-15-2003, 11:44 PM   #20
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GM gas engines produced after 98 are subject to "piston slap" and start to knock real hard every time the engine is cold
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Old 10-16-2003, 07:23 AM   #21
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RoadKingMoe brings up some valid points, but I travel in a very different mode than he does, and as I said in my orignal post the bias against pickups is personal and one generated after having owned three (1969 to 1995). Passenger comfort for up to six people is one of my requirements in a tow vehicle as is a trailer tow capacity of at least 10,000 pounds both of which my K2500 Suburban met. I don't choose to carry grills, portable cans of gasoline, water (beyond the 35 gallons in the trailer's tank), firewood, or other such supplies in my tow vehicle (didn't even when I had a pickup). The only supplies in the back of my Suburban is the trailer's spare tire (securely anchored to the cargo hasps in the floor), two potable water hoses, electrical extension cords, and a small air compressor that is also anchored to the cargo hasps in the floor.

The other problem with SUVs built on truck a chassis is that the additiional weight of the bodywork and all the luxury options, the sometimes softer springs and almost always softer shocks and tires, reduces their capacity, not to mention makes the suspension mushy and more subject to sway.
I didn't find the above to be a problem with my Suburban. It is very minimally heavier than a crew cab pickup, and has the same tires and wheels (an RPO). When I ordered my Suburban, my dealer informed me that the heavy duty shocks were a required RPO with the heavy duty Trailer Tow Package (later had these replaced with a premium gas charged shock that resulted in a less harsh ride that nearly eliminated rivet popping in the interior of my coach - a problem that was started with the K1500 pickup). My Suburban is actually much more stable when towing than the K1500 extended cab pickup ever was under the best of circumstances - - an admitted issue with the pickup was that when fully loaded I was within 500 pounds of the GCVWR while with the Suburban, I am more than 4,000 pounds below the GCVWR.

I would not, however, suggest that a K2500 Suburban such as the one I have is adequate for a 34 Foot Airstream nor for much more than a 28 Foot. My preference is to stay below 75% of the maximum trailer tow rating which creates my personal rating for my tow vehicle of 7,500 pounds maximum rather than the factory's 10,000 pounds.

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Old 10-16-2003, 07:31 AM   #22
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Maurice makes a very strong case for a heavy-duty tow truck. If I had planned to use my tow vehicle for nothing else, I'd probably opt for a four-door short bed 1 ton diesel 4WD.

I have to agree with Mark, though. Each type has it's strong points. Gently used vans are typically substantially lower priced than pickups or SUVs. I looked at a number of 4 door trucks. The bottom line this time is that I wanted something that is competent to pull my 34', but I didn't want a truck. Although I was trading off an AWD minivan, there are very few 4WD vans available, and they are expensive.

The majority of the time, our tow vehicle is going to be used as the 'family car'. So, the criteria became: 1) a comfortable, roomy interior; 2) 4WD; 3) a trailer-hauler; and 4) under $25k.

That narrowed the choices to the Suburban 3/4 ton and the Excursion. We shopped and drove both and ended up with a very well appointed Excursion with low miles for $23k, more because of the value for the dollar than the Ford/Chevy loyalty. I've had both over the years and each does some things better.

So, we now have a well-appointed, 4WD, 3/4 ton family car that will pull the trailer. I'll grant you that the GVWR may be a little close pulling a 34', but it IS under the GVWR. I'll also grant that the diesel has more torque and better mileage. I also don't carry my 6.5kw generator in the back, nor do I carry firewood. I do carry the bar-b-que and my family's bikes in the Excursion as well as sundry and miscellaneous other things. In my area there are dozens more places to find gas than diesel. I can park the Excursion in my garage. A four-door short bed 3/4 or 1 ton wouldn't fit. For my purposes the Excursion is ideal.

My point is that sometimes there are other practical issues that influence the choice of tow vehicle that cause you to necessarily compromise on some of the things that would otherwise make for the 'ideal' tow vehicle. My Excursion may not be the 'ideal' tow vehicle for a 34' trailer, but it is the ideal tow vehicle for my circumstances.

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 10-16-2003, 02:40 PM   #23
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Originally posted by 85MH325
I'll grant you that the GVWR may be a little close pulling a 34', but it IS under the GVWR. I'll also grant that the diesel has more torque and better mileage.
And you would've been over the GVWR with the diesel option.
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Old 10-16-2003, 04:53 PM   #24
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Thank you responders!
I am going to take my time and start digesting this and reading more.
I will continue to read the forum and research it.

Be keeping you informed of the major moves, conundrums, hesitations, excitations, (are you hearing the Beach Boy theme developing here?) that develop and disappear along the way.

sent with a smile


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