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Old 08-05-2007, 03:25 PM   #1
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1969 21' Globetrotter
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Question Tow Vehicle Quandary

We are currently looking to purchase an airstream for a trip in September 07 so our time is limited and apparently so are our options.

We are looking at a 1971 25' Tradewind with a 3200# dry wt and 500# tongue weight.
Our vehicle is a
2002 Toyota 4runner 4wd v6 capacity states a tow weight of 5000#.
We are aware of the many added weights i.e. passengers,dogs,cargo, bikes, water,gas etc etc

Can this be done safely and has anyone else towed under these circumstances or ratings. What are we capable of towing as we are new to the airstream family but are longtime admirers of these sleek beauties. We also live in the NC mountains and plan on more mountainous trips so this is more strain on the vehicle and more downhill braking etc.

Any advice and input on the type of airstream that may suit us would also be helpful.

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Old 08-05-2007, 03:41 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

The number you quote for dry weight does not match with this chart. Your dry weight is more like 4200 lbs and when loaded will most likely be well over the 5000 lb tow capacity of your 4runner. If you have an Air conditioner you need to add that weight, add another 300+ pounds for water, add another 60 pounds for propane. Then you have food, cloths, pots and pans. It tends to add up very quickly.

I tow my 75 Trade Wind with an 03 Tundra with the 4.7 V8. It is a pretty good match, but more engine would be nice on the up hill climbs. I think you will find that the 4runner is under powered. The shorter wheel base may also be a negative for it as well.

Can you tow with it? Maybe.
Should you tow with it? I think not.



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Old 08-05-2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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You'll get a lot of solid, knowlegeable response to your inquiry - but on first look I would say that the 4-runner is a bit light in the heels. The NC mountains have some fairly demanding grades. Most of us look at a maximum trailer weight somewhere around 80% of the tow vehicles rating. That would bring you down to 4000 lbs, loaded, right off - or only leave 800 lbs of cargo capacity. The next thing to check is the actual scale weight of your trailer, as very few trailers actually match the manufacturers dry weight. Extras such as A/C, and other seemingly minor changes, often raise the dry weight appreciably. The 4-runner has a fairly short wheelbase - which is another factor to be considered with respect to controlling sway when towing a 25' trailer.

I'll bow out now and let the gurus with the fact books chime in. Lots of luck and welcome to the Airstream world.

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Old 08-05-2007, 05:29 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums.
The weight you quoted seemed light to me too. I'd been looking for a new TV to handle a Tradewind up to #5500. My loaded GT is a tad over #4000.
Found this link to thread on your unit.
I would look for something a bit larger. I settled on a Ford Expedition. Might be bigger than you're looking for, but, at a rating of #7000 it works for me.

Good luck, Tom.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:43 PM   #5
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Try an Astro van

Hello, SUVs are inheriently unstable - attaching a trailer to them does not make them any better. They can give you power, however it is at the expense of handling.
I have found an Astro Van to be a great tow vehicle. We put our bikes, bbq, tables, chairs, blue boy and more into the rear and can still carry 5 adults too.
The Astro Van has a very low center of gravity and one of the shortest distances betweein the hitch head and rear axle.
I get between 13 and 16 mpg.
Good luck in whatever you do and be safe.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:51 PM   #6
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I agree with the others, that's cutting it too close as far as weight is concerned.
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:25 PM   #7
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You can probably tow the Tradewind with 4Runner, but it may not be pretty. This combo would definitely not be within my comfort zone.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:46 PM   #8
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Been there

I've been in a similar situation. For the first four years of owning my first Airstream (a 1999 Safari 23C) I towed it with a Toyota T100. I had the V-6 Engine very similar to your contemplated 4Runner. I was constantly worrying about weight, carred almost no water, and managed to keep trailer weight (gross) barely under the 5,000 pound limit. Some things to think about:

1. The 4Runner was not really designed to tow heavy and long. Even with the "tow package" you would be well advised to get an upgraded transmission oil cooler.

2. The wheel base is relatively short. This contributes to sway problems

3. The Tow vehicle weight is relatively low (but better than my old T-100). This contrubutes to sway problems.

4. Power is not really a big problem unless you are going to do a lot of hills. On large hills, get used to going 35 in low gear in the slow lane.

I can tell you from experience that even with Toyota's marvelous engineering, you are going to be faced with an uncomfortable towing experience while stuggling at the design limit margins.

After a brief and very expensive experiment with a Suburban, I now tow with a Tundra double cab. Your focus should be more on the limits imposed by wheel base and tow vehicle weight.


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