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Old 06-22-2013, 04:15 PM   #1
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Post we need to select a new tow vehicle

WE bought a 2013 FB 22 sport. We had a Ford expedition with towing package, purchased an Equalizer hitch. Towing was great until vehicle died. Too expensive and too old to fix. We will be upgrading our AS in 2 years to 25-27 ft. Not sure.
We are looking at Ford 250 diesel power stroke which seems to have the tow capabilities we want. I see other members talking about making sure your tow vehicle does not abuse the AS. How does that happen and what is the Airsafe that others are referring to.

Can I leave my equalizer hit on the AS and adjust to the new tow vehicle? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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Your question will no doubt stir up all manor of debate.

You asked about a 3/4 ton truck and the Airsafe hitch. I would like to comment on that.

We converted to Airstreams from a large SOB fifth wheel for several reasons. Thus, I owned a 2500 Duramax when we acquired our first Airstream, an early 80's 31' International. This combination towed very well.

I like the 3/4 truck not only because of it's towing capability, but it's payload as well.

Dry camping for a week at a Nascar race, 10 days at Burning Man or two weeks in the back county of Colorado hunting elk. I can load 100 gallons of water, whatever provisions and gear I choose and know I can tow my trailer safely and comfortably.

A 1/2 ton, sedan or mini van do not offer those options.


We decided to upgrade our trailer and chose a 27FB. We noticed items being bounced around in the rear of the trailer after a trip down a rough road.

I ran into a fellow who had to repair his trailer after the front wall had separated from the frame, mostly due to the rough ride of his 1 ton Econoline utility van. He is a full-timer, and traveled with all his possessions in the box of the van. He recommended the Airsafe hitch, as it had solved his issues after the repair.

In order to offer the payload, a 3/4 or one ton truck has a stiffer rear suspension. These stiffer springs make the ride a bit harder and some of the shock of a rough bridge or bump in the road can be transferred to the front of the trailer.

With this hitch, an airbag dampens the shock of the truck suspension from the trailer.It certainly made a difference for us. Items are where we left them at the end of the day.


A long rambling post, but we like our big truck and it's capabilities. I am sure the trailer likes the Airsafe.

If an upgrade to a larger trailer is in the plan, a 3/4 ton would make a nice rig. It allows one to take items along that enhance the trip with little concern for payload or loading.

An Airsafe is a good investment toward an easy long life for your new trailer.

Regards,

JD
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:55 PM   #3
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The very large brakes of the 250/2500 trucks are also a very strong positive for that size truck vs lighter trucks, suv's & minivans.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:32 PM   #4
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We own a Garden Center and do lots of landscaping, so lots of towing is involved. For the last 12 years we have owned F350's (single axle) diesel trucks. First the 7.2's and now the 6.7. We can go anywhere, up or down any hill or mountain fully loaded with ease. Never had a problem with damage to our 31 ft Sov.
That said, when towing our Airstream 60-65 mph. Slow and easy travel, watching the road gets you there.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #5
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The very large brakes of the 250/2500 trucks are also a very strong positive for that size truck vs lighter trucks, suv's & minivans.
Assuming your trailer brakes are in good condition, any TV should experience a shortened stopping distance with the trailer in tow. The trailer brakes the TV.

Also, most modern minivans are designed for eight passengers plus luggage. Our Odyssey has a max payload of close to 1400lbs. They come with ample brake power, so even in the event of a catastrophic failure of the trailer's brakes, they'll have the reserves needed to bring both vehicles to a stop.

For me, the disadvantages of a truck outweigh the advantages.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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Also, most modern minivans are designed for eight passengers plus luggage. Our Odyssey has a max payload of close to 1400lbs. They come with ample brake power, so even in the event of a catastrophic failure of the trailer's brakes, they'll have the reserves needed to bring both vehicles to a stop.
The later model mini-vans have even more payload capacity. The 2013 Toyota Sienna has a payload of over 1700lbs depending on the trim level. This is higher than most full size SUVs and on par with many 1/2 ton trucks.

To the OP - make sure you add up all your payload needs and compare against the F250 specs. My math shows that the payload of the F250 with the diesel engine still needs some restraint over what can get thrown in the bed while towing the larger Airstreams. The diesel engine is heavy and eats into the payload capacity of the truck.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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I walked by a new Dodge Grand Caravan the other day. The disc brake rotors on the front and rear were huge.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:42 PM   #8
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The catch is that when the trailer brake controller fails or the trailer brakes do not operate properly, what is the minivan driver going to do with six or seven thousand pounds pushing the small vehicle? There is sadly an obvious answer that will not be too pretty.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:00 PM   #9
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The very large brakes of the 250/2500 trucks are also a very strong positive for that size truck vs lighter trucks, suv's & minivans.
The truth is there are light trucks, SUV's, and minivans that can stop more quickly than the heavy duty truck, with or without the trailer. They also handle much better in emergency maneuvers. Diesel and gas engines are increasingly available with power and transmission combinations to handle any Airstream with ease. The long wheelbase edge is negated with a Hensley style hitch.

The only advantage of the heavy duty truck is extra payload, if you need it.

doug k
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:27 PM   #10
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The truth is there are light trucks, SUV's, and minivans that can stop more quickly than the heavy duty truck, with or without the trailer. They also handle much better in emergency maneuvers. Diesel and gas engines are increasingly available with power and transmission combinations to handle any Airstream with ease. The long wheelbase edge is negated with a Hensley style hitch.

The only advantage of the heavy duty truck is extra payload, if you need it.

doug k
Respectfully disagree here. Since most 1/2 and all 3/4 ton trucks are built to tow they have built in capability for emergency maneuvers. Been there/done that numerous times. That is what they are for, why they are manufactured and purchased for.
The advantage of having 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck is as you said, extra payload, as well as when climbing those mountain passes, long drawn out hills, the other side of the mountain these are built to do this fully loaded while towing. Cannot tell you the amount of times that I have passed someone experiencing a white knuckle ride up a mountain while towing.
Our old F350 7.2 does not compare to the new 6.7 Liter diesels. Tow package on these are completely built in all the way. Electronically, suspension, everything. Nothing I looked at compares.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:04 PM   #11
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The brake issue is one that is repeated often when comparing trucks to lighter tow vehicles.

Given working trailer brakes, though, the relative stopping performance when towing should remain the same as when not towing, no?

If the trailer brakes fail for some reason then the lighter tow vehicle will have to work harder than the truck to bring the momentum of the trailer down to zero but the total weight to be stopped will be lower so will require less braking effort anyway.

If it's about the relative weights of the trailer to the tow vehicle, how do the drivers of Semi-trucks cope when their trailer brakes fail and they need to halt a trailer that weighs more than three times the weight of the tractor?

I think drivers of lighter tow vehicles need to be aware of how to stop should their trailer brakes fail, but for the the times when they don't, they are at no more of a disadvantage than any other tow vehicle.

In short, I think the brake argument doesn't really hold water.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:23 AM   #12
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The catch is that when the trailer brake controller fails or the trailer brakes do not operate properly, what is the minivan driver going to do with six or seven thousand pounds pushing the small vehicle? There is sadly an obvious answer that will not be too pretty.
Modern mini-vans have a gross weight of around 6000lbs, higher for some trim models. Add to that a payload of 1600lbs, again higher for some trims, and the weight of a minivan is pretty much equal to the trailer it is towing. The "small vehicle" argument is a myth - that's the equivalent of many a 1/2 ton truck.

Add to this a wider wheel stance, a far lower centre of gravity, capable, powerful engines, extremely stiff bodies, independent suspension and powerful brakes and you end up with extremely capable tow vehicles.

The "what happens if the brakes fail" is a common argument. I'd argue that an emergency lane change or avoidance manoeuvre is the far more common scenario, a scenario I'd hate to have to perform in a truck that's far more likely to roll over than a passenger car.

Additionally, while on the surface it might appear that bigger brakes on the TV are better should the trailer brakes fail, if the trailer becomes dead weight you will have to apply the brakes very carefully indeed, regardless of their size.

You hit the brakes too hard, any brakes on any vehicle, and the're a real risk that the now unbraked trailer will come around and overtake the TV - especially with a standard hitch. In that scenario any assumed benefits of the larger truck brakes become worse than useless, indeed they create additional danger.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:05 AM   #13
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What does abs braking scenario in a minivan trailoring scenario look like?

I am a pharmacist not an expert on such subjects - but I find this topic interesting.

My 1997 Toyota t100 pulls my 1500lb boat/trailer "ok" - but pulling near its cap at around 4k it "struggles" - I mean it does it but more downshifting to be sure and very little ability to accelerate much. If I extrapolate that experience to the minivan loaded down - is it safe to say that it would struggle perhaps worse?

"mavericks" are most of the time wrong in history - but sometimes they are not - I'd be curious to know more about such a topic.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:24 AM   #14
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Your Odyssey could be equipped to tow a 30'...
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