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Old 01-04-2004, 06:26 PM   #1
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What Tow Vehicle Needed?

I am seriously interested in purchasing a 25 foot Airstream Safari. It has a weight of 4920 without options or other personal stuff. It is listed as having a maximum 6350# gross weight.

I have a Nissan Pathfinder that is rated at 5000# with its V6 automatic transmisson.

Living in the west I would want my tow vehicle to be capable of trailering in Calif., Colorado, Washington, Orgeon, and Montana.

What vehicles would be ok for towing this trailer? Would my Pathfinder be sufficient or would I need to upgrade to something with a V8?

Thanks,
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Old 01-04-2004, 06:41 PM   #2
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Neil,

I would say that you are pushing the envelope using the Nissan Pathfinder. It has a short wheel base and is only marginal at best, for your trailer.

I would suggest at least a 3/4 ton pickup or full size van (long wheelbase is important - say 155") with a bigger engine.

I have both a 3/4 ton and a 1 ton dually and would not try to tow with anything less. You can't have too much truck for towing. The running gear has to perform flawlessly in mountainous terrain - a 1/2 ton wouldn't be safe. The bigger the truck the better the safety margin - especially the brakes.

Rule of thumb a lot use is tow at 70% of tow vehicle's rating, to be safe. Not cast in stone but a good starting point.


Hope you get plenty of the right advice here.

Just my opinion - others may differ.

Good luck

Mariner
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Old 01-04-2004, 06:44 PM   #3
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We tow a 19' Bambi with a 2003 Pathfinder that is equiped with a WD hitch and friction sway bar. Its UVW is 3,600 lbs with a GVWR of 4,500 lbs. We (always) drive conservatively - rarely over 100 KM (55 MPH) - I'm very pleased and comfortable with how the Pathfinder and trailer perform together but would not consider towing any trailer larger than what I've got. If you do a search on this and other RV forums for "Nissan Pathfinder" you'll find that most folks identify the short wheelbase and high centre of gravity as drawbacks for towing larger and longer units.

Hope this helps.


Jay
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Old 01-04-2004, 07:37 PM   #4
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What Tow Vehicle Needed?

Greetings Neil!

Welcom to the Forums!

My '64 Overlander's gross weight is approximately the same as the 25' Safari that you are considering and it is just a bit longer. While I am located in the Midwest, my favorite travel destination is the Rocky Mountain Region and that is a major influence in my tow vehicle selection. Two of my past three tow vehciles have been wonderful for the purpose intended while one was unsatisfactory.

My favorite tow vehicle is my current '99 Suburban due to its large and powerful V8 (7400 VORTEC, 4.10 differentials, and heavy duty overdrive automatic transmission). It handles the trailer as if it weren't there regardless of the terrain. When towing it also provides the best MPG of my three most recent tow vehicles - - 13-16 MPG solo and 9-13 MPG with the Overlander (when towing my maximum speed is 55 MPH).

I was also very satisfied with the towing performance of my '84 AMC Jeep Grand Wagoneer (full-size 1/2 ton station wagon). The 360 cubic inch AMC V8 provided 9-12 MPG solo or with the Overlander - - the only shortcoming was its small 18 gallon gas tank. With an empty weight of nearly 5,250 pounds, the Grand Wagoneer was near its maximum with my Overlander but it still handled travel in the Rocky Mountain Region quite well.

The only tow vehicle that I have had in the past ten years that was totally unacceptable from a performance standpoint was my '95 K1500 Chevrolet Z-71 Club Cab Pickup. From the standpoint of ratings, it was within its 6,000 pound trailer tow rating (so long as I loaded the Overlander carefully). It simply was terribly underpowered with its 5.7 Liter V8 and 3.73 differentials. Its solo MPG was nearly identical to my Suburban, but its towing MPG rarely exceeded 9 MPG. Its last trip was a Rocky Mountain trip in 1997 - - it was down to less than 20 MPH going through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 and was being passed by even fully loaded logging trucks - - it was replaced by the Suburban in April of '98.

My recommendation would be to consider either a big block gasoline V8 or one of the many powerful diesels - - if you plan much travel in the Rocky Mountain Region, you will not regret getting the most powerful engine/transmission combination that is available.(IMHO) I continue to use gasoline powered tow vehicles because there is a tremendous lack of qualified diesel technicians where I live, and I have three excellent mechanics who are comfortable handling maintenance and repairs on my gasoline powered tow vehicles.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2004, 07:47 PM   #5
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I think you would be perfectly happy with an Expedition.
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Old 01-04-2004, 07:59 PM   #6
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Neal,

I had a 19' Bambi and I now have a 25' Safari. I will tell you first hand that even with a substantial V8 I knew the Bambi was back there. There is no way at all I would tow a 6300lb coach with a V6 Pathfinder. With my Impala, I had to do some substantial mods to be comfortable towing the 25' Safari. In all I've spent almost $2000 to get the Impala SS where it needed to be to tow the additional weight as it too was rated at 5000lbs.

Even with all the stuff I've done, I have towed with my fathers 2000 Silverado 3/4 ton with the 5.3L engine and it is FAR more stable feeling than the Impala SS when towing and the Impala SS has a 5.7L V8.

If you get the 25 footer, also consider upgrading your tow vehicle as well as I feel based on my exp, you will need it and not be sorry that you did it. If I were in your shoes and did not have the Impala, I'd be looking for a different tow vehicle.

I by no means suggest you need to get the biggest and badest truck out there to do it, just something a bit more robust than the Pathfinder.

Eric
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:13 PM   #7
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Neil,

You have the right brand, just the wrong vehicle. Take a look at the new Nissan Titan.

I am towing at 6500-6600# with 300hp, 360ftlb. I need every bit of that hp & torque to stay in overdrive in the hills of the southeastern states. Actually comes out of od a few times per trip.
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:25 PM   #8
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I'm a GM person and tow with a 2500HD with 8.1 V8, Allison 5 speed auto transmission and 3.73 rear end. It would tow your 25' like a dream but so would the 6.0 litre engine version of this truck with 4.10 rear end ratio. I'm impressed with the HP and torque ratings of the new Nissan Titan truck with 5.6 litre Endurance engine. If you want to stay with Nissan then by all means choose this vehicle but make sure you get the right rear end ratio. They aren't cheap though. The only other recommendation, other than a 2500 Suburban, would be one of the diesels made by Chevy (Duramax) or the new Ford 6.0 litre diesel. I'm not much on a Dodge although the Cummins engine is a good one.
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:27 PM   #9
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:36 PM   #10
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On a related subject, if you get the right tow vehicle, I think you will really like the 25' Safari. Lots of storage, very usable bath, a real bedroom, and did I mention lots of storage?

Mark
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Old 01-04-2004, 09:47 PM   #11
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I agree with the 3/4 ton recommendations. I have towed with both Ford and GM 3/4 tons with the large V8 and my experience is you have the power and chassis equipment when you need it, and when towing the fuel economy is better than something less. I currently tow with the Ford 6.8 and it outperforms any of the older vehicles I've had and returns around 25% better fuel economy towing or not. Today we returned from a 2,100 mile trip to New Mexico. We averaged a low of 9.5 mpg towing on I-40 between Amarillo and Gallup fighting a head wind and running speeds a high as 75-80. The way back going through the lighter traveled roads at speeds of 60-70 gave about 11.5 to 12 mpg towing. And the truck and trailer were loaded. I wouldn't have wanted anything less.
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Old 01-05-2004, 04:10 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your experiences. It is very obvious that a V6 is far too small. All I need now is more $$$$$$.

Have a great day.
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Old 01-06-2004, 08:26 AM   #13
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No replacement for displacwment ESPECIALLY at elevation.

1988 454 Suburban with 3.73 Rear. No Overdrive so that was a chosen comprimise. THis vehicle is currently searving as my DD. It gets 10mpg most of the time. Worst I have seen was 9mpg and that was with 7.5K of truck on heavy trailer in the hills. If it had OD I would have looked for 4.10.

Our Coach will be under 4k loaded but I do plan to do extensive travle in the west in the mountains. That's why I went wit the larger motor so that I would not get into a lack of power problem. The higher you go the more power you loose.
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Old 01-06-2004, 12:04 PM   #14
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Yep, the elevation gets to be a huge factor. My Overlander loaded weighs around 6,500lb and the truck empty weighs close to 6,600lb. With that combination some mountain passes that we frequent in the Rockies like Slumgullion or Monarch slows the rig to 35 mph in 2nd gear when you top out over the 11,000 ft mark. At 11,000 ft I figure I have lost 44% of the net power output. I do have the 3.73 rear end which is probably a little on the high side. The next vehicle will have something in the 4.10 or 4.30 range.
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