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Old 03-21-2010, 07:21 PM   #1
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2010 25' FB International
Mobile , Alabama
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Towing Vehicle

Recently purchased a 1984 31' AS Excello and obviously I am not going to pull it with my Nissan Frontier P/U. Received all kinds of advice ranging from 1/2 ton gas burning to 3/4 ton diesel. The trailer will be used primarily along the Gulf coast, however, I've been told that if I plan to ever travel to the mountains, I need more truck. Any suggestions?

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Old 03-21-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome, we're glad to have you with us.

You are probably going to need at least a 1/2 ton pick-up or full size SUV. Our 25FB weighs in at 7400# ready to camp. We tow with a 3/4 ton Suburban. You will also want to start looking into quality weight distribution/sway control hitch systems.


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Old 03-21-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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Don't go with a half ton (unless its a heavy half).
i had a 29ft er and when i pulled it with my 2000 1/2ton Chevy it was OK on the high way as long as 55-60 was OK, and don't even think about passing some one unless there doing 40.
but then when i got down into the Ozarks around branson Mo i was sweating bullets on a couple of those hills.
save your self the regret and get a 3/4 diesel especially if there's a slight chance you will head to any were hilly or with mountains in your way.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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While you can get away with less, if you're buying something specifically to serve as a tow vehicle you should be looking at 3/4 ton pickups and suburbans, or one of a handful of other SUVs past and present with similar capacity.

I would not consider a diesel to be necessary though if you want one it would certainly do fine.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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Bettye, welcome to the Forum.

You will get many recommendations about a tow vehicle and they will range from claiming you can tow with your Nissan to a Peterbilt would work fine.

Your Excella weighs 5,650 dry. With cargo (food, clothes, water, etc.) it probably tops out around 7,000 lbs. gross weight. We tow our trailer, which has a maximum of 7,300 lbs. with a half ton 2007 Tundra and it handles it very easily including over the high passes of Colorado. You need a truck or SUV with a tow package, pretty big engine (gas will work fine), and rear axle ratio sufficient for towing your trailer.

There are endless threads about tow vehicles and it's best to read them to understand this. While the amount of weight a truck can tow is important, payload is just as important. Payload of the tow vehicle is cargo in it, passengers, sometimes (depending on manufacturer) fuel, accessories. Some of the tongue weight will be added to that (about 2/3 if you use, and you should use, a weight distributing hitch). An SUV will have less payload than the same company's pickup.

Don't believe salesmen. Check specs at a dealer and then online. Compare. Read. There's a lot to learn, and at first it's daunting, but eventually you'll be giving advice to people.

We've stopped for lunch a number of times in Mobile—downtown at a microbrewery and the food was pretty good. That was before we had a trailer, so it's been a while.

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Old 03-21-2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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Welcome to the Forum, you have a lot of fun reading to catch up on, enjoy it.

I agree with the posters above with one caveat -- if you can, buy a truck with at least 20 percent safety margin over the trailer's gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr). This will help ensure you have not only enough truck to tow your trailer, but more importantly you want enough truck to STOP your trailer.

We chose a 3/4 ton truck for our 6,300 pound (gvwr) trailer mainly for the stopping capacity. It is enough truck we could biggie-size our trailer, if we wanted, without buying another truck.

We chose a truck instead of a van or SUV (Suburban or Yukon or whatever) because we wanted separate venting (from where we ride) for the smellables like gasoline, paint, glue, generator, or whatever we haul around in our "garage".

We chose gas-powered instead of diesel for two reasons: (1) We just don't need diesel power or expense. We budget to tow 10K to 15K per year. It would take us 8-10 years to pay back the premium 1st cost, with higher maintenance costs and the fuel is still costing more. If you drive a lot more each year or plan to keep your truck more than 10 years, diesel might be the way to go.

(2) We have had otherwise perfectly beautiful mornings messed up by diesels cranking up for departure and sitting outside time marred by diesel idling for extended warming up, or idling while they get out of their truck and explore or talk to the neighbors. We're listening to the racket and sitting downwind (okay, not always) smelling the exhaust (note: no diesel owners on this Forum have contributed in any way to our negative experience with diesels).

No offense intended toward dieselers, but some of these Cummins and Fords are really rackety. We decided we didn't need to make this much noise and stink for our or for others' camping.

55,000 miles later we are really happy with our gas-powered truck (and if we had bought a diesel instead we would probably love it just as much -- our friends seem to like theirs).

Good luck, welcome to Airstreaming and the Forums,

Living the Dream

Jim Cocke,
International President
WBCCI Wally Byam Airstream Club
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