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Old 08-13-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle

First and foremost let me say thank you for all of the various posts regarding TVs. I have read most of them and I must say purchasing a TV for an AS is much more complicated then buying a car for transportation. Should it be gas or diesel, 4X4 etc.

My goal is to have a safe vehicle for my 2 to 3 passengers, others on the road and of course myself. I am not so much concern about the legal restrictions because I assume if my vehicle is safe I will be legal.

That said I have a 2012 25' FC with solar. I pull it with my 2007 1500 Yukon 4wd with a 5.3 liter V8 engine and a 3.73 ratio rear axle and a locking rear differential and skid plate package . It also has the tow/haul mode. It currently has a 122K miles. I bought new and all maintenance has been done by the dealer.

The question I have: Is this sufficient to pull our AS or do I need to go to a 3/4 Ton? I pull along the coast and also to western MD. Next I plan to pull to TX and to Alaska. I normally carry a Honda 2000, sometimes two, my bike chairs, grill, air pressure machine, some tools etc.

I intend to pull for another 10 to 12 years at which time I will be 80. Maybe longer.

I am also GM/Ford fan. Not really a Dodge fan but for the right price might consider it. I have never owned a diesel and am concern about the price. I also want this vehicle to last 10 to 12 years.

I know this is a lot of info about me however I thought it would be the best way to get the best specific advice on a new TV for in my position.

Again thanks

John and Claire
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
First and foremost let me say thank you for all of the various posts regarding TVs. I have read most of them and I must say purchasing a TV for an AS is much more complicated then buying a car for transportation. Should it be gas or diesel, 4X4 etc.

My goal is to have a safe vehicle for my 2 to 3 passengers, others on the road and of course myself. I am not so much concern about the legal restrictions because I assume if my vehicle is safe I will be legal.

That said I have a 2012 25' FC with solar. I pull it with my 2007 1500 Yukon 4wd with a 5.3 liter V8 engine and a 3.73 ratio rear axle and a locking rear differential and skid plate package . It also has the tow/haul mode. It currently has a 122K miles. I bought new and all maintenance has been done by the dealer.

The question I have: Is this sufficient to pull our AS or do I need to go to a 3/4 Ton? I pull along the coast and also to western MD. Next I plan to pull to TX and to Alaska. I normally carry a Honda 2000, sometimes two, my bike chairs, grill, air pressure machine, some tools etc.

I intend to pull for another 10 to 12 years at which time I will be 80. Maybe longer.

I am also GM/Ford fan. Not really a Dodge fan but for the right price might consider it. I have never owned a diesel and am concern about the price. I also want this vehicle to last 10 to 12 years.

I know this is a lot of info about me however I thought it would be the best way to get the best specific advice on a new TV for in my position.

Again thanks

John and Claire

Welcome John & Claire - I think you're OK with the 1/2 ton on the eastern part of the country. The Rockies and Alaska.... Well I would go to a 3/4 ton for that. More important than power, bigger trucks have more braking capacity without overheating... that is important on a 20 mile 9% downgrade! You CAN do it with a 1/2 ton, but you can also have a line of 20 angry drivers behind you. Use common sense and pull over SAFELY to let them pass whenever you sense you're holding up traffic flow.

I went diesel on my last truck, it's a 2500 Silverado full 4 door long bed - and I'm pulling a 25FB too. If I were doing it over, I'd go with the short bed and get a gasser. Reason? Diesel should be less expensive than regular gas... it is a less refined fuel.... but now it's between regular and premium. Better mileage - YES, but maintenance costs offset that and you can't find a good diesel mechanic on every street corner. Short bed? So I could park the thing without needing 1.5 spaces and make a U-turn without needing 4 lanes (seriously!).

Sometimes having to go into a truck stop to get diesel fuel while towing can be sketchy - and with big stations like Wawa and Sheetz it's not that hard to navigate a trailer in and out.

Whatever you choose, ENJOY it! Paula
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:33 AM   #3
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A question like this one comes up frequently, and it is safe to predict that you will get conflicting advice because the trailer/TV combo you describe is on the edge.

If your goal is "to have a safe vehicle", then the safe side of this decision is to go for the 3/4 ton chassis and a larger motor than the 5.3. In my opinion, you do not need a diesel for the usage you describe.

The heavier chassis will give you the carrying capacity you will need for your passengers and stuff, and the additional power (torque, primarily) will give you a safety edge as well as better performance on hills and at elevation.

Bob
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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We have a 2005 Safari 25FB, named Lucy, who weighs 7,400#, ready to camp. We have now spent over 1,100 nights in her, and have towed her almost 100,000 miles.

We started off towing Lucy with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe (5.3/373). This worked OK, and we felt safe. We were not really satisfied with the Tahoe's towing performance as we were traveling so extensively. We then started tow Lucy with a 2005 GMC Yukon XL 2500 (3/4 ton). This combination worked very well. So well, in fact, that we purchased a second 3/4 Suburban as an alternate/back-up tow vehicle for Lucy.

About a year ago, we decided that we wanted to add a pop-up truck camper to the mix, as we like to explore deep into the back country. Lucy acts as our base camp while we head out in the truck camper for a couple of days at a time. So, now we are towing with a one ton Chevrolet diesel pick up truck. The diesel's performance is amazing even with the 3,000# truck camper in the bed while towing Lucy.

There are a lot of choices. Assess your Airstream use, take your time, and you will come up with the right tow vehicle answer for your situation.

Brian
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:43 AM   #5
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John,

1/2 or 3/4 ton, that is the question. I am towing my 25 FB with a Toyota Tundra which is a half ton. I am not going to classify it as a heavy duty half though as the capacities are not high enough. It is heavy duty when it comes to running gear like brakes, differentials and torque and horsepower. I live in the northwest and have driven through the Rockies more than once with no issues.

I am not a fan of diesels but would consider one if I were towing a much larger trailer and was doing it all the time. I think they have their places. The difference between a half and three quarter ton has everything to do with how you plan to camp and what you typically bring with you. It is usually just the wife and I and we travel light. We pack two bikes, our generator and some firewood for a few fires. I am not overloaded, the combination rides nicely, we have plenty of power and get 11+ mpg on average. I like my half ton.

If you are not a Toyota fan, there are many other good trucks out there. I am still hearing good things about the beefed up F-150 Ecoboost.

Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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Try it with what you got. It is sufficient. If you find that you are not comfortable with the way it tows uphill or brakes downhill, you'll find that out for yourself and can make an alternative decision then.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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I love my RAM 1500 up and down hills to pull our 27fb. My secret weapon is the hensley. I feel totally safe.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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Try it with what you got. It is sufficient. If you find that you are not comfortable with the way it tows uphill or brakes downhill, you'll find that out for yourself and can make an alternative decision then.
What mojo said. I did this and even made a few upgrades to my 1/2 ton. Both it and our 3/4 ton are safe capable tow vehicles. The 3/4 ton has an advantage in the mountains because of its power over the 4.2L, and its sophisticated engine/tranny controller software.

I just adjust my driving and expectations to the truck we use.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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We have virtually the same trailer as you and use a 2006 Tundra 4.7 liter. Works well on all roads, we slow down for mountains, up and down for safety, the engine is weak at high altitude (not a big deal). Like you I don't haul much around and have a weight distribution hitch so high payload capacity is not needed.

If I traded I would not consider a pickup the best or safest choice, but a fully independent suspension SUV with a 3.0 liter diesel engine. We're retired, spend six months a year with our trailer, so our needs may vary from others.

My point of view is that you have a highly capable tow vehicle now, you could add a large measure of safety and confidence with a Hensley or Propride hitch. At the least I would give it some experience to see how it goes for you. Only you will know.

doug k
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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After owning several tow vehicle and pulling various size AS. By far the best vehicle I have ever owned is the Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel. Check out the pic.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:50 PM   #11
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First thanks for the many responses to my initial question on TVs. My initial point on safety really had more to do with the ability to go up and down steep grades at speed and not the reese equalizer hitch.
When we went to Deep Creek, last week, it felt as if the vehicle was under power and thus causing vehicles either trying to pass me on a two lane road or having to go less then the optimum speed. I did pull to the side when it was safe to do so.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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You probably need to get a little more experience in different places. We went to Deep Creek last year for a family reunion. That area has some of the steepest and poorest roads I have ever encountered. We went to Alaska and back with our Dodge Diesel but I was in gears in the Deep Creek area that I have never used before. This year I went up without the trailer and came home down the ridge of the mountains in West Va. Multiple 8% grades 4 or 5 miles on very curvy roads with a lot of truck traffic. I would not take my trailer down that road even just to test it out.

I know a person who towed an older 25' with a Yukon. He said that it did fine except the transmission temperature went up higher than he liked on long climbs. He loved the ride and the way it handled the trailer. Your trailer is heavier than his.

I tow a 25' with a 3/4 ton Diesel. With the 3/4 ton truck and the heavy tires traction and control are greatly reduced over a independent suspension SUV, both when towing and when empty. The diesel engine is very heavy in the front with very stiff springing up there. And a solid axle in the front with the Dodge also. Safety is partly adapting your driving to the equipment you have. I would not leave the campground in even a mist of snow with the trailer and would be very reluctant to drive on icy conditions empty, even with the 4x4. In dry conditions I fear no hill going up. Going down I go slow.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
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urnmor --- In addition to the valid safety issue you mention -- of making other drivers impatient -- there are others that come with being under-powered. Trying to merge onto a highway, having to make lane changes on multi-lane roads with little notice, trying to cross highways with oncoming traffic are a few. At elevation, things get much worse: you will have about 30% less power at 7,000 feet.

You will never regret having power in reserve, you will never regret having better brakes, and you will never regret having the extra cargo capacity. There is very little cost difference between the 3/4 ton gasser and the half-ton, so why not go with the stronger TV?

Bob
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:31 PM   #14
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Assuming you are buying new (and if a pickup truck) then these days a gas engined version will be better, overall, for that sized trailer.

A pickup is not necessarily the best choice (as in your other thread). A full size van is another consideration. As are quite a few other types.

The arguments about braking and power are out of context, above. Braking "power" on a pickup is worse than many other vehicles. Besides, trailer brakes stop the trailer so be sure to spec or add disc brakes to your TT (and possibly, a DIRECLINK brake controller [see threads] as trailer anti-lock brakes are on the horizon.

As well, a VPP type hitch (PRO PRIDE).

Confident TT towing is about braking and steering stability, in a manner of speaking. An A/S trailer can get through a slalom course faster behind some TV's than any pickup can while solo. Go with the best trailer brakes and hitch then concerns about "safety" (which is hard to define in terms of componentry, but "performance" may be closer) aren't as worrisome.

Bigger, heavier is not to the point in trying to understand "best performance" with this trailer design/construction when it comes to a TV that can do the job. Leverage the best aspects of this with the best TV that suits your solo miles and can also be set up to tow your A/S.

I'd direct your question in this thread to Andrew T of CAN AM RV and start by careful comparison of what he considers a good selection of TV's for you to ponder.

A clean sheet of paper is the best beginning.

.
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