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Old 01-07-2015, 02:03 PM   #1
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alamo , California
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What to Buy, What to Buy

Hi kids:

I am getting ready to purchase an Airstream 30' Classic.

Assuming money is no option, what would you recommend as the best towing vehicle??

And yes, we are considering Boondocking sometimes if that helps.



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Old 01-07-2015, 02:13 PM   #2
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I use a 2500 HD, Silverado, Duramax, 4x4 for my 34'. I could tow with a 1500 gas model... but, this is my personal choice NOT to. Match your loaded weight to your TV.

Good luck!

Peace and Blessings..
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:42 PM   #3
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Any of the 3/4th ton trucks will work depending on your preference and who has the best deal.
I have an old Ford diesel Excursion which works fine. Were I buying new, I would go with a gasser for reasons of cost and fuel price differential.
I like a short bed. The long beds are huge and a pain to troll around the city.
I like 4x4 as I occasionally drive in snow and like to boondock off road. 4x4 will give you a little worse fuel economy and increased cost of maintenance.
Some tow a big trailer like the one you are acquiring with a half ton truck which may even have a tow rating close to the weight of your trailer. Once you factor in the tongue weight of your trailer, you will have very little capacity for loading other things like, you your wife and fuel, not including stuff which I always carry camping.
Since you are starting with a clean piece of paper, why not go with a 3/4 ton?
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:57 PM   #4
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Even though I have owned GMC's since 2004, when I decided to look at a new tow vehicle last year, I had to go with Ford! Some of the main reasons were, Gen2 6.7 PowerStroke, longest list of options, best towing mirrors, largest interior, two tone paint, only one ton with 20" wheels just to name a few. So I ordered a 2015 F-350 4x4 King Ranch PowerStroke Crew Cab with every option and then added even more! I have not regretted the decision for one second! In my opinion, Tow Vehicles are much like a gun, "Always Bring Enough!"
"I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." John Wayne - "JB Books" 1976.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:12 PM   #5
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Originally Posted by bob f View Post
Hi kids:

I am getting ready to purchase an Airstream 30' Classic.

Assuming money is no option, what would you recommend as the best towing vehicle??

And yes, we are considering Boondocking sometimes if that helps.



First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, I would go with a 3/4 ton diesel. Research the brands and select you favorite. I would do a crew cab short bed with four wheel drive. I would put a nice matching topper on it for lots of carrying capacity.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:38 PM   #6
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I'm sorry Bob. Welcome to the forum. You're gonna hear an earful with a question like yours. Tons of choices out there, but with the size of your TT, you need a 3/4 ton truck.
I am with Brian, but I'm not a fan of the diesel just because of the cost of the fuel.
A good camper top will serve your needs well.
Good luck in your purchase, and remember it's the ADVENTURE that makes the memories!
Kiind regards,
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:43 PM   #7
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How much traveling do you plan to do, full-time, part-time, weekends? What do you drive now? What year Airstream Classic? How many travelers with you when towing the Airstream? Pets? What other uses do you have for the tow vehicle when not towing the Airstream?
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:46 AM   #8
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I like my F-350 Super Duty diesel for towing our 34 Limited. I pull it with a new fangled no sway hitch. I average 13 mpg + /- 1 while towing. I haul way too much junk on our trips. My Super Duty weighs about 9000 loaded, and the trailer weighs about 9000 loaded. I have no disappointments with the Super Duty, it's doing everything I expected. It is a highly engineered vehicle. I live in a small town and have room at the grocery store parking lot. I would not enjoy this vehicle in a crowded city as a daily driver.

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Old 01-08-2015, 06:14 AM   #9
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Welcome, there are a plethora of good tow vehicles, and for a 30 foot Classic you can't go wrong with a 3/4 ton from any of the big three. I'll add one more question: How tall are you? If you're vertically challenged, seriously consider getting a bed slide as well as the topper. Having the ability to BRING the cargo to you rather than climbing up and down after it? Priceless. If you decide to carry a generator you can also bolt it to the slider, drop the tailgate, pull out the slider enough to let the exhaust escape and run it. Hiding it and bolting it down are both good ways to avoid theft, plus you can use it even when you don't have the Airstream.

As for the diesel vs. gas question. IMHO, Chevy has an awesome diesel truck, but I've chosen to go with gas because (a) easier to find fuel especially in a small town (b) truck is less expensive to buy (c) the break even point for price .. seems to be about 300,000 miles on the engine. A diesel can easily run that many miles... the body, and interior can require a major redo long before... and I get the itch for something newer every so often.

I've got a buddy in the answering service business who has a small generator to keep his business systems running in the event of a power outage. His RV generator runs the heat or air conditioning, and keeps the refrigerator operating.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:17 AM   #10
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We now tow with a one ton F350 6.7 Diesel. We have towed with a 3/4 Ton F250 Diesel and a half ton Ecoboost F150. By far we prefer the F350. We use an equalizer hitch have little to no sway with the hitch and weight/suspension of the truck and like the diesel despite the added expense and work of a diesel.

Good luck, everyone on here has an opinion on which TV is the right one, take the info here, do some internet research and enjoy.

Bud & Alice (Bud posts)
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:19 AM   #11
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For casual "nearby" trips, you can safely tow an Airstream with a large SUV or 1/2 ton pickup, some "casual towers" even use mini vans and full size passenger vehicles.

But if you are planning extended trips (i.e., not just weekends and a couple of week long trips here and there) I would recommend a 3/4 ton diesel pickup truck with a cap so you can store a lot of your gear in the truck itself rather than the Airstream. We travel six to nine months of the year and go all over the place, and we have a F-250 diesel with a crew cab (i.e., 4 real doors) and an extended 8 foot bed. That's about the longest rig you can get @ 22 feet plus the hitch. We carry four bicycles and needed the room. If we didn't have the bikes I would likely have opted for a shorter bed, probably the 4 foot one.

Diesel vs. gas is not a money saving issue (operating a diesel is more expensive, especially with the current relative price of the two fuels) it's a performance issue. You can certainly can tow any Airstream with a gas vehicle, but towing with diesel is so much more comfortable in conditions other than flat roads. Don't let the diesel haters scare you with comments about DEF (diesel exhaust fluid.) DEF is available just about everywhere, is easier to add than window washer fluid and costs about $30.00 every 10,000 miles.

My dream vehicle (assuming no bikes) would be a diesel Range Rover. Unfortunately, the diesel is not available in the U.S. at the moment.
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:35 AM   #12
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Golly, I could not agree more...but maybe the new diesel Cayenne will be sorting to think about...
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #13
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Maybe on 2nd thought... I just Google mapped Alamo, CA. I didn't realize you were that far N in the state of CA. I think Brian/Moosetags is correct in his diesel choice given your environment.
How much towing will you be doing in the mountainous regions of CA? There is no doubt that a diesel engine will serve you much better if you are constantly climbing or descending.
Sure, the cost to own a diesel is increased over a gas engine, but if you are up & down mountain ranges a majority of the time, a diesel engine should be your choice.
Good luck in whatever you choose.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:46 AM   #14
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I'm out-voted with my 30' Classic half ton pullin' self, bu I live in the Mississippi Delta-
See my avatar and my signature.

2013 Classic 30 Limited
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