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Old 12-29-2008, 02:08 PM   #1
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1974 27' Overlander
Grants Pass , Oregon
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Trailer too Large? TV too small?

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.


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Old 12-29-2008, 02:23 PM   #2
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The key to an easy, relaxing drive is the in the connection hardware, setup and adjustments.

Very few combinations have this done optimally and most are done poorly.

A high end hitch like the Hensley would give you added safety and drive ability.

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:24 PM   #3
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Oh, I imagine you can convince your wife... if anything ever happens, however, your wife will be obligated to remind you that she told you the 28' trailer was too big. Don't worry, though, she'll only remind you for the time you own the trailer or the rest of your natural life, whichever time period is greater.

My stock advice, husband to husband. It's not about convincing; it's about listening. Whatever you eventually decide, I suggest it will go better if you give your wife a full opportunity to discuss all of her hopes and fears. Whatever you decide, it will be as a couple.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:26 PM   #4
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1998 28' Excella
Dolores , Colorado
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Welcome to the forums. You will find the 28' to be a unit that handles quite well. Granted with the Tahoe and the trailer you will be about 46' in length. Take it easy. Make sure you have some good tow mirrors to see the nuts coming up on either side of you. With the amount of items packed in the trailer and the TV it might push the amount the Tahoe can handle. We try to make it up to the NW at least every 2-3 years and we have found that several of the state parks have length limits on some of their camp sites but we haven't had any problem getting sites. The biggest problem is that the area is so popular that we have to make reservations so far in advance.
Good luck with your decision. Hope to see you down the line.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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We have a 28 footer and it tows like a dream, as long as you pay attention to turning radius. You need to pull into the turn a little more before actually turning. Other than that, no worries. Keep it at or below 60 and you'll be fine. Our maiden voyage was a short trip of about 120 miles - then we did HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA! "Easy does it" should be your montra when towing - it may take you a half hour longer to get somewhere at 60, but chances are you'll get there in one piece!

Your 6.2 should be plenty big enough (check the towing capactiy for your vehicle in the manual though). The anti-sway rig is a MUST as is a brake controller! Towing mirrors help a LOT too. Religious monitoring of tire pressure is recommended.

As far as the 28, remember that on rainy days you'll be spending lots of time indoors and the extra room is great. I wanted the 22 but got talked into the 28 and I'm glad she was so persuasive.

How far are you from a dealer? You could go to one and have them hook one up for you and take a "test tow".

Best of luck - let us know what you decide!
Steve & Susan
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:55 PM   #6
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2005 31' Classic
Sunrise Beach , Missouri
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When we purchased our 31' Classic, my wife had never driven pulling a trailer before and she has done just fine with it. Our AS was made just before they started using disc brakes so we always leave plenty of room to stop. When fuel prices started climbing rapidly we found that driving between 55 to 58 saves a lot of fuel as well as insure that others on interstates are going faster than you so you have plenty of time to react. As far as the size, if you spend very much time in your 28' you will be glad that you got the longer length. Best wishes on your new adventure!
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:36 PM   #7
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I first considered a smaller trailer (20') but went with the 28' and am glad I did. Much more comfortable. Not too big in my opinion, in fact, many consider backing a tandem axle trailer easier than a single.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:43 PM   #8
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Wink Size Matters....

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.


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.

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 12-29-2008, 03:51 PM   #9
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Newport , North Carolina
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we were not sure about towing when we bought ours, then I read here that learning to tow is a process. Once you know how, you can probably pull any size camper just as easy. In other words, it might take you the same amount of time to get used to towing a small trailer as it does to get used to a larger one. My husband had not towed anything and did fine with a 26'. If you are really worried, have someone drive behind you with a walkie talkie at first. If you need to change lanes they can help you determine if you have enough space to get over. We did this on our 5 hour drive home after buying. It works really well.
,Katie & Anthony, 2kids, lots of pets!
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:30 PM   #10
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I would convince her with some data.

Have the trailer weighed in full towing trim. Or look up the total weight on the Airstream site.

Then research the towing capacity of your truck. You will need to know axle ratio among other things that are key.

The engine should do the job, however mated to a axle ration or manual tranny that was not designed for the job you may have an issue.

On the surface from the data you have provided it sounds like it will work.

Then the other variable is your skill. That can only be proved with practice. Church parking lots during the week are great places to practice backing into parking spots with out creating damage.

Bigger trailers are easier to back up than smaller ones.

Freeway driving should be the easiest. It is slow speed driving with traffic that is the most difficult.

Good luck! And welcome to the forums.

1966 Mercury Park Lane 4 DR Breezeway 410 4V, C-6, 2.80 - Streamless.
1966 Lincoln 4 door Convertible 462 4V 1971 Ford LTD Convertible 429 4V Phoenix ~ Yeah it's hot however it's a dry heat!
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:25 PM   #11
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Belle Fourche , South Dakota
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I spent several weeks and several thousand miles traveling on a birding expedition with my sister-in-law in a full-sized, 3/4 ton, diesel truck towing a 32 foot fifth wheel with a slide. I had never towed that sized trailer. In fact my only real towing experience has become the legend of how I backed a boat on a trailer and a car into a lake. After the first 150 miles, we stopped at a rest area, and she said, "Now you drive. Swing extra wide on right hand turns. Plan ahead to stop." After the next exit construction orange cones narrowed the road to one lane for miles and miles and miles. The next summer I considered myself to be somewhat experienced as I encouraged my husband to look for something larger than a 22-ft Airstream. Our first was 28 feet. Our current model is 31 feet. We absolutely love it! It tows well, goes up and down hills well (We live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and drive a 3/4 ton Chevy) and hasn't seemed too large for any of the commercial or forest service campgrounds we have visited. One thing to keep in mind--if you are tempted to pull over at a scenic overlook, make sure there is another exit or that the parking area has ample room to turn around. It took my sister-in-law and me a long time and a lot of head scratching to get out of a tight spot on Lake Michigan.
Buy the trailer.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #12
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Mill Valley , California
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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 Lee
We were total newbies when we bought our first AS. In 2007 we bought a 25SS and a new YukonXL. In 2008 we traded for a 27FB and a new Ford 250. The layout of the 25 footer didn't work for our family of 4. The Yukon was fine on the freeway but very nerve racking when towing up some of our steep hills here in Northern California. We have to back our trailer up a hill to get it into our driveway and several times I had my foot all the way down on the pedal and the trailer would not budge! That's when I decided we needed something with more power and got the truck.
With the great mirrors on the truck I can see the whole side and corners of the trailer. I also got the Hensley hitch. Vacationing now is what it should be.......relaxing and fun.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:39 PM   #13
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Lee, welcome to the Forum. I know nothing about the Yukon. Towing trailers longer than 25' seems to me to require a 3/4 ton tow vehicle. We wanted to tow with a Toyota, so that limited us to the 25', but we didn't want a longer trailer as many campgrounds are built for trailers of 25' or less anyway.

I suggest you read everything you can about towing. I was nervous when we started out, but was sure I could master it and with a little experience we have done well. Both of us tow, although I always get the hard assignments—cities, winding roads, etc. That's ok with me because I am not very good as a passenger.

I suggest "convincing" a wife is an impossible task. She has to convince herself (that way you don't get blamed for the rest of your life). Discuss all the weight factors with her. Ask her to read about it too (if she won't help with the reading, she can't blame you, maybe).

It's also important to select the trailer that fits your needs. See if the bed is the right size, do you fit on the toilet, can you store what you want, does it feel comfortable? Do you think you'll feel claustrophobic? Some people feel fine in a 16 or 19' Bambi, but I would go nuts in them. Remember that the beds are shorter than the kind you buy for your house—if you're tall, that can be an issue (some people replace the beds with standard queens, but there are issues of space with that). We ended up buying a new Tundra because our first generation one (2002) wasn't powerful and beefy enough to tow a 25'. Don't believe anything a salesman tells you about what you can tow with your Yukon because all they want is to sell you the biggest trailer on the lot.

There are a lot of threads about what can tow what. Learn about payload (very important and SUV's have less payload than the comparable pickup), gross vehicle and combined vehicle weights, and the rest. Read over your owner's manual for the SUV to find out the numbers and make sure you've got them right. Consult the Airstream website for weights. It is generally recommended to keep all weights at 80% of stated numbers to provide a safety margin for emergencies. Running right up to stated capacities, or slightly over, can provide a lot of wear to the tow vehicle suspension, drive shaft, transmission, etc. You may not feel it, but the truck does. Getting all this straight is a test and will eventually get easier. You may have to buy a different tow vehicle and that's a problem for a lot of people because after spending $50,000 and up and up for a trailer, who wants to spend more on a new truck? But an Airstream is an even more major investment and it's best to fit the truck to the trailer, not the other way around.

Remember that many people who post here have a favorite based on what they own; that's human nature. Of course, I am not that way at all and everyone should have a Tundra with a 25 Safari/Flying Cloud FB SE if they know what's good for them. Sorting it all out can take time, but you'll figure it out. You're in the right place to learn and take the time it takes to make sure you get it right.

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Old 12-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #14
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First a 31 foot, then a 34 foot - go for it. With the correct tow vehicle, you have your choice of lengths. Best of success

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