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Old 08-13-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle Part 2

I appreciate the feedback to my previous post on tow vehicles. I have noted in a number of threads to include the one I started earlier today that some do not believe a pickup is the best or safest choice for a TV. Can anyone tell me why especially since I have seen a lot of travel travel trailers being towed my one.


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Old 08-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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I believe that some feel that there is a safety issue with the solid rear axle that a large SUV and/or pickup truck has. I don't know for sure how the AS tows behind a vehicle with independent rear suspension first hand (I tow with a 1995 3/4 Ton suburban), but there is a video on you tube of a porsche cayenne pulling an airstream and a big box trailer. Pretty impressive, but I think a lot of that video is more about the airstream and not the independent rear suspension of the cayenne.

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Old 08-13-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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I pull with a 2011 Infinity QX 56 -- large SUV for sure, and have zero issues. Frame is based on truck, but very comfortable, safe, and plenty of power.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Obviously opinions vary, do not believe all you see on the internet. Jim
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:31 PM   #5
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A pick up works for me as I tow a car trailer and have a camper or I use a pontoon boat with the camper. Then there's stuff I pick up at the nursery for my wife and an occassional swap meet where a I usually buy more than I sell. A pickup is nothing more than a great big Swiss Army knife! Believe it!

Forgot, I pull a 25' Safari FB from time to time.
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #6
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OMG ... will we have to ditch our PU truck in favor of a non-solid axle SUV ... LOL ... we quite like the safety and tow/haul features provided by the PU.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:47 PM   #7
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The whole argument about a pickup not being a good tow vehicle is bogus. I think the claims center around the poor handling of large trucks in sports car type driving situations. Sports cars are designed to be very maneuverable and a little unstable so they take corners well. I personally don't think these traits are something you want in a tow vehicle. I want a tow vehicle to be stable and have good brakes. Independent suspension is great for going around curves at 100 mph but it is not as stable in roll as a solid axel setup. Also solid axels have a much higher load rating than most independent axels. You also have other components that tend to wear out like CV joints. Pickup trucks when empty handle badly and the wheels spin and the back end gets loose but when loaded down they work properly. My Ranger is a perfect example. Sporty vehicles tend to have light weight frames to make them handle better. Pickups are great because you can use the bed to fill full of toys like motorcycles. I have an Excursion because it was cheap but if I had the money I would have a truck with an 8ft bed. I don’t have a place for my motorcycles right now and that is just not right.

Large semi trucks can’t do slaloms but they haul big loads safely assuming the driver is not a yahoo. A truck is designed to haul heavy loads and be able to stop them and not break when pushed too hard. The exception is the yahoos that like to chip a perfectly reliable and powerful engine and then cry when they break it. You can kill anything if you try hard enough.

Yes you might be able to get the best of both worlds with the Porsche but not everyone has that kind of money lying around. What happens when you are in south podunk and your $100,000 toy breaks and it takes a month for new parts to come from Germany.

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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Look at it from the perspective of basic solo performance.

The most rollover-prone vehicle with the worst 60-0 braking times does not make the best TV. A pickup is compromised (or, optimized) to be able to carry a large payload in size and/or weight. With 4WD componentry this is worsened still further by a higher center-of-gravity, less sensitive steering and tires compromised by the need for non-paved surface traction. Loss of steering control is the general term for trailer towing accidents. So avoid the ones with the worst propensities of this sort (as a way of looking at all TV's).

And, the need for a truck should rightfully be a choice made by the miles covered outside of travel trailer towing. Business, for example. If there are no IRS deductible miles then a pickup is hardly the best choice from the standpoint of dollars & cents, either.

So, if towing an A/S is the only criterion for purchase, then, yes, there are better choices to be made (comparisons made across a wider range).

For those pulling the largest A/S TT's and who insist on carrying the kitchen sink along the range of choices becomes quite narrow, but as one goes down in TT size/weight, then the range widens.

One can start with a half-ton like the EcoBoost-engined FORD 1/2T, and I'd also use the HONDA ODYSSEY as vehicles for comparison purposes.

So far as performance is concerned, the high end turbodiesel SUV MERCEDES, & PORSCHE offerings cannot be beaten. Then, the AUDI, VW and others as vehicles for comparison from the top down.

Really, if one is not fulltiming carrying 2,000-lbs of gear appropriate to a truck bed (under a topper or tonneau) then a decent range of vehicles is possible. Trucks have their place, but their choice is more herd behavior than rational choice.

The best all around performing TV is the one best suited to solo driving duties that can also be set up to pull your particular model of Airstream.

Reading posts/threads by Andrew T on this forum is a start. Look also online for his articles in a column entitled Hitch Hints and the decades of experience through his dealership, CAN AM RV in London, ON. They do what any of us did forty or more years ago in setting up big cars to tow trailers (and those larger/heavier than A/S), but with the tech savvy and formulaic approach worked out over thousands of vehicle combinations.

There are plenty of threads on this very subject on this forum. Check back after some more reading for more pointed questions with some ideas about what might work for you. Someone can then point you toward an owner with experience (and threads closer to your goal).

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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It is difficult to accept the fact that independent suspension SUV's are better handling and therefore safer passenger vehicles than traditional trucks. A good comparison may be similar vehicles such as a Ford F-150 compared to a Ford Expedition, or a Toyota Tundra compared to a Toyota Sequoia.

Both Ford and Toyota modified the truck-based Expedition and Sequoia to give up the truck type solid axle in favor of independent rear suspension, to make them safer for passenger use. They will not tell you this because that would be stating earlier models are unsafe for passenger use.

Why not independent rear suspension on pickups? Because they are designed primarily to haul heavy loads, and solid axles are needed to get the job done. On heavy duty pickups the front independent suspension is also compromised for even heavier loads.

So if safety is your concern, do your research based on facts, not favorites or long-held ideas that have been steadily changing. Note how many SUVs have switched to full independent suspension over the years. All Ford SUVs are now. The Jeep Cherokee recently changed. The European VW, BMW, and Mercedes are fully independent suspension. And note some these have capable diesel engines and tow ratings favorable to a medium sized Airstream.

doug k

Andy Thompson has a second generation Airstream dealership in Canada, very experienced in setting up tow vehicles of all kinds. Written many articles, here's part of one:

RV Lifestyle - Hitch Hints
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:52 PM   #10
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I tend to agree with Rednax, about the big capable SUVs towing Airstream offering the best handling. I've driven smaller SUV/trailer combos (fiberglass RV) which handled very well.

OTOH for me I found a pickup truck perfect for towing Airstream. Loved the big bed for storing all manner of dirty items. Lots of it. I accepted less than ultimate handling for the utility of the pickup to my needs.

This may be controversial, but I towed Airstream with two pickups. 1999 F250 diesel and 2011 Toyota Tundra (tow package and 5.7). The handling of the Toyota was superior (not better, superior). Much sharper more direct steering, much more confidence inspiring, much easier to locate the rig precisely. I cannot recommend this truck enough for a suitable sized Airstream.

I moved on to new 24' Lazy Daze class C on E450 chassis. Out of the box, this vehicle handles very poorly (steering very imprecise, bump steer, poor shock damping, poor roll control). Worse than either pickup pulling the Airstream. And this is a relatively small, light, low profile class C.

Love the Class C for my current needs, and so far the quality is very good. But you folks towing Airstream trailers with good handling tow vehicles have some of the nicest handling RVs on the planet.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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I tow our 26' Argosy with a 3/4 to club cab long bed pickup. The truck empty of a load weighs more than the trailer loaded. The truck is only 3 foot shorter than the trailer. With the 3/4 ton rating and a 5 speed manual transmission I don't have any problems with down hill grades. It is a little under powered for the Rocky Mountain passes but I've managed to cross the Continental Divide numerous times in the last two years and am planning another trip across the divide in September.
You can tow an A$ with a variety of vehicles safely. One of my top criteria is having a vehicle that can stop the trailer.
Good luck in your search.
P.S. If I had the bucks I would be looking at a Tundra.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #12
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As stated above I Think it comes down to need. A lot of people only use their trucks to tow with, nothing else, or use them to haul stuff as well. The bed is nice for putting stuff in, but if you are like us, we have four kids, all under 10 years of age. So a pick up truck won't work. we need room for kids, so the stuff goes in the AS or on the rood. When the kids are gone we will probably get a pickup. I can use it for other stuff, and my 75 dodge won't have the 440 in it anymore. (some other car will)

So our Sequoia tows our 1968 28 ft AS with no problems. Will a truck tow it with no problems? Sure it will, It's kinda crazy to think it wouldn't. Will the Sequoia out handle a truck with no trailers connected. I would be willing to bet it would. But I see tons of trucks towing and just driving down the road, not crashing or flying into ditches.

So if a truck is what you want get it. Is a 1 Ton over kill? probably not for a 30' + AS, and not if you have a camper in the back, or a "ton" of toys.

If you want to drive the race track with it and your trailer, then your in trouble no matter what you are driving.

A truck is just fine, there are lots of people here driving them that are not dead!!!

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 08-14-2012, 12:07 AM   #13
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We pull our 25' trailer w/ a 3/4 ton crew cab pickup. It has enough room for Webspinner and I and the kids, and will take us to Burning Man with all our stuff (tools, extra water, etc), bikes, etc.

Needs vary. Figure out what yours are, and select accordingly.

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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Nothing beats a 3/4 ton long bed crew cab pickup. You need two spaces to park thing thing but you don't have to worry about payload capacity.

Excursions and Suburbans are not bad tow vehicles and they have the family factor.

If you have small trailer then you don't need a mamoth truck to pull it.


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