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Old 12-29-2008, 07:23 PM   #15
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.



You should really consider the use that you intend to make of the trailer.

My wife and I used a 27ft trailer for the last ten years (i retired ten years ago) for a 6 week trip each winter, and I would not want to spend that amount of time in anything smaller.

When we decided to move to an Airstream, I would ljke to have stayed with the same size, but AS did not offer the layout we wanted in that length, so we had to opt for the Classic 30 - which actually measures 31 ft bumper to ball.

I anticipate that there will be some sites we will not be able to get into, but feel it is a fair compromise for the added space.

On the plus side, longer trailers are generally easier to back up as they jacknife much less quickly. I have a luggage trailer I pull behind our motorcycle and it is a bugger to back up!

I would think your Yukon would be up to the challenge - with one
suggestion - I think the Yukon has a fairly short wheelbase, so you may want to consider a Hensley hitch to avoid any surprises due to trailer sway.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:04 PM   #16
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My 25 foot FB is an ok length for those rainy days. Not as good as a 27, however...
However, I can get into state parks, national parks and other tiny, but interesting camping spots, but just barely. Any longer, and I would be forced to leave some of those out. So it depends on your projected use.

Also, turning is always a problem. Shorter trailer, better turning...
You might consider a backup camera on the trailer. It takes the worry out of those mirrors, which always have significant blind spots. Helps me to avoid backing over the wife too .
Tow vehicles? I went round and round with that. But the numbers told me I needed a 3/4 ton to tow it comfortably. I have had two previous tow vehicles that both were at their maximum capacity. Though that is probably safe, it is not fun. The engines were always straining, and the trailer swayed the truck more than I like. The big, high elevation grades were miserable. Having plenty of weight, wheel base, and power makes my towing enjoyable, and the wife comfortable.

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:39 PM   #17
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We tow a 34 footer and it handles like a dream, tell the wife not to worry.
1999 Airstream 34' Limited (The Cottage)

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:43 PM   #18
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West Hollywood , California
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I tow 28' CCD with 08 Hummer H2 plus Hensley. Made a trip across the continent this summer, through the Rockies and the Appalachians. The whole setup handled well at all times, and I did not experience any sway. My Hummer has 6.2 Vortec engine with new 6-speed tranny, which I believe is comparable to OP's Tahoe. The Vortec engine has more than enough power, but...

- it was the transmission temperature that I had to be careful while climbing the mountain. The temp will become high (240F+) so quickly if I'm not super-easy on the gas pedal or make stops to cool down a few times. The solution to this - which I did not opt - is to change the gearing on differential and sacrifice the mpg when not towing.

- GM's OEM hitch (class III?) didn't seem strong enough for my comfort. The original cross-member only have shallow clamps (about an inch depth) on both sides, and these hangs on the truck's frame and support the tongue weight. So, I had a local hitch specialist re-enforce the hitch by welding an additional cross-member, had the hitch's weight rating re-badged to 12000 pounds for $300.

- I also had air bag suspension installed in the rear for $200 (the parts alone are only $80, Although Hummer H2 are offered with pneumatic suspension from the factory, I was afraid of possible maintenance nightmare, so I opted for aftermarket airbags in the traditional coil suspension. It's simple. when I hitch, I just need to pump up my rear suspension with bicycle pump.

My setup summary: 28' CCD, Hummer H2 (rated 8500 pounds), Hensley, reinforced hitch, air bag suspension.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

Hi, pixiehat. There is no way you are ever going to convince your wife before you convince yourself first. If you are not convinced that you can handle it, then most likely you can't. And shouldn't. Next, my opinion is, that you should buy a 25'er and be happy or plan on buying a larger tow vehicle. Also, as you stated, "we aren't concerned about the tow vehicle's ability to pull it," But there is a lot more to towing a trailer than the ability to pull it. And finally, you will never know what you can do until you do it.

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Old 12-29-2008, 09:14 PM   #20
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you will be glade you got the 28fter
after we bought are first A/S a 29fter i was a little nervous i triple checked my triple checks. but after i got a few miles under my belt and a little help at my first rally to get her parked everything is now like second nature just remember to slower down and check yourself and your equipment there no need to get in a hurry you got your bed right behind you.
If you really want convince your wife take her and show her a 16-19fter after seeing those she'll think the 28fter is the taj mahal
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Kevin245 View Post
I have towed numerous trailers over the past 25 years, and my belief is that larger trailers are easier tow. They are definatly easier to back. It sounds like you have the right sized tow vehicle. I think your wife's concern is common. I also think many people buy small, then quickly realize their concerns were not valid, and move up in size.
First Airstream: 2005 22' CCD
Second Airstream: 2006 25' FB SE Safari
Dream Stream: 2007 27' FB SE CCD (for the bigger closet, fore and aft queen and lobster bowl sink)

Go to a rally, go to one or more dealers. Sit, stand, lie on the bed, try the bathroom on for size. Towing is as much or more MENTAL than physical.

Good Luck! Paula
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:16 AM   #22
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Don't Try

The best thing you can do is go smaller and get the feel of towing. Look for a 24-25, they have plenty of room and the size is not going to cause fear-factor going down the road.

What most are not remembering here is that the wife is riding with you; regardless of how well you pull she is NOT going to feel comfortable. She is not going to have fun while worrying about that trailer. Guys, you know if she is not having fun you arenít going to have fun!

Go smaller, get used to it first, your wife will feel better going down the road.
I'm NOT an old man.............
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:40 AM   #23
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The only thing I can add to this discussion is to take your rig to an empty parking lot and practice turning and backing. You will find that in turning the trailer "flattens" the curve. Drive through a water puddle and then go look at the tire tracks of the truck and of the trailer. This will help to enforce the instruction to keep wide on your turns. What we in Canada call a "hay wagon" turn.
Also practice backing the rig. Get a couple of large cardboard boxes and try backing in between them, so you get to know how the rig reacts to backing up. You will soon get on to looking where you want to go and moving your steering wheel so that happens. Go slow and stop if you start to go off course.
Finally, get a pair of Walkie Talkies, give one to the driver and one to the passenger. The passenger can get out and see what obstructions there are and help overcome the 'blind spots' in backing that include things like picnic tables, posts and small dogs. As long as the driver is prepared to follow the instructions, then it goes well. Establish what left means and what right means and that when the swamper says "stop" she means "stop". Don't try backing into a camping space without some sense of humility and willingness to follow your swamper's instructions. We spent a good hour watching a guy with a fiver trying to get into a camp site in Louisiana. After a while my wife asked his wife if he needed some help. She gave us that "look" and said "Let him struggle" that he wouldn't accept help from anyone. So we watched and chuckled for another half hour. It's good to remember that you are travelling a bit slower than the regular flow of traffic. On an intestate this is no problem, as they can pull into the next lane and go by. However, when you're on a 2 lane, it's a good idea to keep a watch behind and when traffic starts to pile up, find a place to pull over and let them go by. This is not only courteous, but it helps prevent "risk taking" by people trying to pass you and colliding with oncoming traffic and eventually the side of your rig.
Airstreams were built to be towed and are happiest when going down the road.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:49 AM   #24
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My wife was also nervous about out first Airstream being too long (28ft Ambassador) but by taking several short trips over the summer she has become convinced it is the right size. We are actually considering selling it and buying a newer Airstream but still a 28 footer.

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Old 12-30-2008, 07:33 AM   #25

2003 25' Classic
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Thumbs up What tinhutjohn said.....


Are you purchasing from a dealer or previous owner?
The practice also applies to camping in the driveway with the owners manual and the DW.

Use,try and read EVERYTHING!

My DW started out with the same apprehensions when we got our 25, after three season's, she's now a towing maven.

Our 25 suits us fine, easy tow, nice layout. We boon-dock a lot and have never had a problem finding a camp site.

MOST IMPORTANT...make sure that whatever hitch comes with the coach that it and the brake controller are set-up properly.

Take it slow, make sure your safe and enjoy your new lifestyle.
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:08 AM   #26
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On towing capacities and the capacity for big fun:

I had a harrowing experience with a Forerunner (towing at the top of its capacity).

So that led to a new tow vehicle, calculated to tow in the middle of the tow range.
This could also tow a 28 ft. or 30 ft. I have towed 15,000 miles now without a problem.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:21 AM   #27
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Pixiehat, what year model and wheelbase is your Yukon? Hensley Arrows, mirrors, brake controllers, etc are on (factory) sale till the end of the year. Buy-back guarantee if you don't like it! GET ONE! Keep it between the ditches and don't kiss any Mack trucks! Mark
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:40 AM   #28
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25' is a perfect size, giving you plenty of room and storage and big enough for a first I think. It washes and waxes faster. You need more room to turn around and get out of gas stations the larger you go. Otherwise the extra length is no problem assuming you remember it is all back there, inertia and stopping distance. The larger you go the more tow vehicle you will probably desire. You'd probably need to really back your wheels as far back as you can go in some sites to have the truck clear the road in the front if you are trying to get that certain spot if sites are small. I really appreciated pull-throughs for my first ventures regardless. That was more a matter of confidence and fear of putting on a "show" parking initially. But I have been stuck, jammed up, backed up, stopped enough so that the humiliation factor has become a desensitized non issue, almost. Just don't get rattled, don't go faster than you are comfortable going and never mind how long it takes you. It's an exercise in learning and your concentration should be on what you are doing and not who is watching. That's how you'll learn.

Have you considered getting a deal Airstream for starters, either one at the end of the year that is drastically reduced or a slightly used newer model? Many people trade from their first choice as resolute as they thought they were that that is the perfect unit for them. Trading a deal model will work to your advantage trading up when you know your priorities and usages better. And should you decide you are one of the lucky ones that got it right first from the get go it's still a win win situation in the savings of purchase and titling and insurance.

I like our 27'. It's bigger than the 25' we had. I liked the 25' too especially on the outside. Stretch your arms out to the's only that much difference..until you add a longer vehicle or Hensley Arrow, if you do. There are both advantages and disadvantages to any decision. Get the floorplan you desire you will learn to handle whatever you tow. Have fun with your shopping and whatever you do I think you will love Airstreaming!!!


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