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Old 02-06-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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2009 23' International
Boulder , Colorado
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Which Tow vehicle?? Mixed!


My wife and I just purchased a 2009 international 23D. And we are looking for a tow vehicle. The trailer GVWR is 6000lbs. I was told that I can easily tow it with a vechicle that is max tow rated for 6000lbs. So I started my search looking for V6's rated at around 6100 to 6500. (Late model nissan frontiers and toyota tacomas). I thought the max 6500lb rating on the v6 tacoma would be a good buffer. But I just got off the phone with a long time owner that says I need to get a V8. I really don't want to deal with the monstrous size of the F150 or Tundra like trucks....but is this what I need to tow this new trailer comfortably and easily? Can i not get by with V6 tacoma rated at 6500?

Any insight would be helpful

Thanks so much,

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Old 02-06-2009, 06:45 PM   #2
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Which Tow vechicle?? Mixed!

Greetings Tom!

Welcome to the Forums!

What can be done, and what will provide a secure, enjoyable trailering experience are two different answers in many cases. Those of us who have towed with a number of different towing combinations often approach a new tow vehicle with a rule of thumb -- the trailer GVWR should be only between 75% and 80% of the tow vehicle's trailer tow rating. This "rule" allows for factors such as passengers, fuel, and possesssions carried in tow vehicle that must be subtracted from the tow vehicle's trailer tow rating as well as providing for a "performance cushion" for the tight situations where a little bit of extra power is welcomed. My Suburban is only towing 61% of its rated trailer towing capacity with my Overlander -- and only about 33% with the Minuet -- overkill, yes -- but I have never had any white-knuckle experiences with either coach behind this tow vehicle (now has 200,000 miles).

I traded a perfectly good '95 K1500 Z71 pickup that had a trailer tow rating equal to the max loaded weight of my Overlander. The poor truck couldn't even keep out of its own way towing the Overlander in the hills of Southern Illinois -- the results were deplorable in the one trip that I attempted with that truck into the Rocky Mountains.

For a safety margin, I would definitely suggest looking at tow vehicles with a trailer tow rating of between 7,250 and 8,000 pounds.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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2004 28' Safari S/O
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Hi Tom,
I agree 100% with Kevin.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:58 PM   #4
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

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

You really need a V-8 half ton to pull a trailer of that size and weight trailer comfortably.

Always remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the single largest cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:31 PM   #5
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Based on the Airstream website the 2002 Safari 23' has a GVWR of 6300. A/S doesn't have data after that date for weights.

For 2006/2007 I do not show a Tacoma Reg cab with anything other than a 4 cyl. 2009 Tacoma access cab has a V-6. Both of those vehicles with 4 or v-6 have only a designed 3500 # tow rating.

For 2007 reg cab Tundra V-6 is rated at 5100 pounds. It isn't until you get to Toy Tundra v-8 that you can get a 7000 to 10400 tow rating depending on which V-8.

All of the above assumes 4X2 with automatic. There are many cab styles that can change these numbers.

So based on what Toyota recommends is a V-8 for that load.

And always assume you will get to max GVWR at some point. RV (like some people) will always gain weight with age!

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 02-06-2009, 08:35 PM   #6
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It's not about tow capacity

Take a very good look at any tow vehicle's payload capacity. That is going to be the tightest spec you must deal with.

Very good friends sealed the deal on an '08 23' International last weekend. I just came from dinner talking TV with them. Tongue weight is 700# before you put weight distribution gear/hitch bar and propane ... all up front on the A-frame. Even with a modest amount of personal gear on board I'll bet 3 out of 4 trips your tongue weight will be north of 850#. Two people on board? With these folks and their lab that comes to 350+ more pounds. Truck cap? Another 150-200 pounds. [an SUV would add that weight as a matter of course] So they're already approaching 1400 pounds of payload before they even put anything in the box of the truck. He's going for the new "Car of the Year" - an F-150. He happens to be getting the 5.4L, but more importantly is going for the 3.73 rear end ratio.

Payload is more important because tow capacity figures are not "real world." A properly loaded trailer will have 11-13% of its gross weight on the hitch. I could take a 12,000 pound trailer with a thoroughbred jockey in the drivers seat (nothing else on board) and not exceed the payload of most tow vehicles. That's how Madison Avenue puts their finger on the scales for the inflated tow capacity you see in ads. Thus 6000# of tow capacity really won't work very well to tow 6000# of trailer.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 02-07-2009, 03:49 AM   #7
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As 2Air would say..."Not enough mule"

Towing capacity is one of the things in life where one should really have more than they need. Safety factors, wear and tear, fuel economy, and payload weights are some of the things worth considering when towing.

Overlander64 and CanoeStream bring up and very good points that are often overlooked when evaluating TV's.

Best of Luck,


"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 02-07-2009, 03:59 AM   #8
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Cangrats on your new Airstream Tom. Listen to Kevin as he pretty well sums it all up for you.
In dog years, I'm dead!
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:48 AM   #9
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LOL I have a 26' and I strugle some in the mountains with a Chevy 1500 With a 350 5.7 V8 I recently upgraded to the 7.4 454 and it does much better! My Argosy Weighs in at only 5100 load to the max....
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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This reminds me of when I bought my trailer. I asked if I could tow it with an F150. The service manager said, "you should be okay if you don't go to the mountains". I said, "but I want to go to the mountains!" He said, "buy a diesel." I did and I'm happy.

I recommend that you listen to Moosetags advise for a 23' International.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:05 AM   #11
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I use an F150 for a 2008 23' CCD, equalizer hitch, and it's been great, even in the mountains at higher elevations. It can be a little slow at times on big hills. I'd think you could get a pretty good deal on a used one. It does feel enormously large compared to my wife's BMW X3, and I have to admit I'm getting sick of using it as my primary vehicle.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:56 AM   #12

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Thumbs up Welcome aboard!! need not read further than post #2. Safety First!!

We love photo's
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 02-07-2009, 01:33 PM   #13
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Lakewood , New Jersey
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Here are a couple photos of some of our customers that own Toyota Tacomas and a 23' Airstream. I know that they did intend on upgrading their trucks with the near future to a V-8 Tundra, F-150 etc...

Here is a shorter Tundra and a 23D, Not too big of a truck.

Patrick Botticelli - Colonial Airstream 1121 Route 88 Lakewood, NJ 08701 - 1-800-265-9019
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #14
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Hi Tom

A couple of questions for you. Do you want a pick up truck or would you prefer driving another style of vehicle if towing was not a concern?

What do you drive now?

Andrew T

Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
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