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Old 06-24-2012, 08:55 AM   #29
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Who pulls a late model 27 footer

To everyone who has taken the time express your opinions about tow vehicles, I thank you.
I think we are heading in the direction of a 250 PU, and will test drive and research. Good advice about choosing something we'd like ... Not necessarily what someone else likes. Although, the experiences and suggestions certainly help in narrowing the field.
Now on to: deisel or gas
Thanks for your comments. I love this forum!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:24 AM   #30
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Diesel is the only way to go.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:54 AM   #31
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Towing 27FB

My 2011 F250 Diesel has performed well in 13500 miles including 5300 miles of towing our 2008 27FB Safari. At the time we purchased I was very intrigued with the newly introduced F150 Ecoboost and I also considered the F150 with the large V8. To this day whenever I use my truck for other than towing situations I wish it was the F150 for handling and maneuverability as well as fuel economy. The fuel economy issue has been particularly irritating over the past few months given the high premium for diesel fuel versus regular unleaded gas.

Ultimately I chose the F250 for an extra margin of safety and the higher load capacity. One experienced Airstreamer told me that some day I may be going down a steep mountain grade, experience trailer brake failure, and be very happy I have the bigger brakes on the 3/4 ton truck.

Ironically our first safety test came on the second outing with the trailer. Driving in the right lane of a divided highway (not interstate) outside Myrtle Beach, traveling at the posted speed of 55, I observed a small Mazda pull out from behind me and pass me on the left while accelerating as fast as the Mazda would move. As soon as he got in front of the truck he whipped back into the right lane in front of me, almost hitting my bumper, and then slammed on his brakes to turn into a driveway on the right. Needless to say I hit the brakes hard given I couldn't go left due to another car in the left lane and if I'd gone right on the shoulder I'd have T-boned the Mazda. My truck and trailer behaved beautifully slowing down quickly in a perfectly straight line and just missing the Mazda rear end. Perhaps the F150 would have stopped as quickly and as safely. All I know is the 3/4 ton truck performed in what could have been a tragic situation. However it did take my DW several days to recover.

Most of the scary driving situations I've encountered towing involve drivers pulling in front of my rig and immediately slowing down or stopping quickly. For some reason they can't stay behind the rig for another 20 seconds until their right turn or exit comes up. In traffic I always maintain a long distance behind the vehicle in front of me to allow plenty of time and distance to stop, but there isn't a lot one can do about the unsafe drivers who delight in whipping in and out of traffic and seem oblivious to the fact a truck and trailer combination weighing over 15,000 pounds doesn't stop on a dime.

As to gas versus diesel on the 3/4 ton, I'd say it comes down to affordability ($8000 premium for diesel) and the length of time you want to keep the truck. I know full timers who have a 3/4 ton gas Chevy towing a 25 ft International who love their truck after 140,000 miles. I also know some happy diesel owners with over 200,000 miles. We typically keep our vehicles for at least 10 years, and we plan to put 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year on the vehicle, so we decided to go with the diesel engine based on the general reputation diesels have for durability. So far we are pleased with our diesel as the truck has been trouble free and tows the trailer effortlessly no matter how steep the grade. We've found the sweet spot for fuel economy is 60 mph on the highway where we get between 13 and 13.5 mpg in average towing situations. In mountain towing we find we average 11 to 11.5 mpg. The truck averages about 15 mph in town and 20 to 22.5 on the highway depending on speed and road conditions when we are not towing.

One great thing about living in the USA is having a number of options. Everyone has an opinion. Buy what you like, be safe, and enjoy the camping!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:55 AM   #32
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I currently tow with a V10 (gas) excursion. My previous TV was a 7.3 (diesel) f250. I have enjoyed both. Maintenance has been minimal on both.
as mentioned earlier, the turning circle on these trucks is wide...just be aware of it and it is not an issue. Visibility and backing is great with these trucks.
The diesel is nice during refueling because you are able to use the truck lanes: I am at 53' long towing my AS and that can present some challenges maneuvering into some of the gas islands.
I think you might be able to get more durability out of the diesel if you are planning to hold on to it a while. I sold my f250 with over 200K miles on it. My V10 excursion will flip 200k within the month. My previous diesel before the f250 (Benz) had 498k on it when I sold it 9 years ago....and I still see it around from time to time!
I have heard of some issues with the '04-06 ford diesels that has since been resolved, you might want to do some research on that while you are looking.
Good luck
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:15 AM   #33
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As far as I'm concerned the combination of the exhaust brake, tow mode, Durmax and Allison 6spd on my Silverado is worth the price of admission for the diesel.

Most of my trips seems to be on steep, twisty mountain roads. I find myself adding fuel during 7% downgrades, I can only imagine how long the brake pads will last on this beast.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #34
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Well if they shame you into a 3/4 ton diesel pickup based on perceived but untrue emergency handling and braking comparisons, you may as well have an Airstream with a large enough living space for you and the boys. That would be at 28' or 30'.

Don't mean to talk smart, but the only genuine advantage of an oversized pickup is payload capacity, if its only purpose is to pull a medium-sized Airstream.

doug k
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:06 PM   #35
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There is no way a jeep or your Mercedes is a qualified tow vehicle for that 27.
Actually a Mercedes SUV is a top rated TV as shown here..... Windy day towing in Nebraska - YouTube
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:02 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Well if they shame you into a 3/4 ton diesel pickup based on perceived but untrue emergency handling and braking comparisons, you may as well have an Airstream with a large enough living space for you and the boys. That would be at 28' or 30'.

Don't mean to talk smart, but the only genuine advantage of an oversized pickup is payload capacity, if its only purpose is to pull a medium-sized Airstream.

doug k
Doug,

Wags indicated he is looking at a 27' Airstream. The late model 27's are actually 1 inch longer than the 28 foot units. Assuming the owner wants to stay within the rated specs of the vehicle, the 1/2 ton truck payload begins to be a limiting issue at 25' in the current Airstream lineup. This is particularly true if the 1/2 ton pickup is carrying four people, a full tank of gas and several hundred pounds of equipment in the bed. A 3/4 ton provides extra payload capacity for the truck which does equate to safety. It also gives the owner the headroom to trade up in trailer size in the future.

As to handling, from my tow vehicle shopping experience I agree many of the 1/2 ton trucks on the market steer and handle better than the 3/4 tons in non-towing situations. As to braking, my own experience with the 3/4 ton in emergency braking situations while towing a 27' Airstream has been excellent. Having not experienced emergency braking towing a 27' trailer with a 1/2 ton truck I cannot provide an informed opinion as to which is better. Perhaps another Forums members can speak from actual experience with both sizes of tow vehicles in similar emergency braking situations.

In truth while I own a 3/4 ton truck, in most towing situations I've experienced to date with my 27' Airstream a 1/2 ton would have been satisfactory and I would have been towing within the load specs of the vehicle and trailer. However, I'm happy towing with my 3/4 ton truck and look forward to driving it in the Rockies later this year fully loaded.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:13 PM   #37
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I don't think anyone is trying to "shame" anyone into something that may not want or need. I would pay attention to those who actually have had the experience and ownership of the TV's of which they write.
We have almost completed our round trip from Portland, OR to Alaska. See our blog, Hal and Terri's Great Alaska Adventure I have a 2009 27' Flying Cloud FB towed by a 2011 Ford F250 4WD diesel. We are traveling with friends and their 2007 19' Bambi towed by a 2011 Ford F150. He says his trailer is about 5,000 lbs and his truck is loaded. My AS probably weighs close to 9,000 lbs and my truck is loaded too.
I've been following him for about 5,600 miles so far and have almost 7 solid weeks of observation of how both combinations perform.
He slows down on grades because the truck wants to shift down often and high rev the engine. His concern is both engine wear and fuel mileage. He also has to be careful going down grades because there is not much engine assist in controlling speed.
My combination has been a real pleasure. With the 6 speed transmission, engine braking, built in automatic yaw control, and huge amount of torque, I can just set the cruise control and forget it. It maintains speed perfectly and effortlessly going both up and down grades. If need be, I can even accelerate and pass long trucks on grades without fear. I can also easily stop the trailer if for some reason I lose the electric trailer brakes.
Towing a trailer with an under powered TV is frustrating and stressful. Same too for inadequate brake capacity when you need it. That sounds like a fun trip, doesn't it? With all due respect the comment "perceived but untrue emergency handling and braking comparisons," is unlikely to reflect the opinion of someone like me with over 40 years of towing experience and 32 years of responding to vehicle accidents.
The really funny thing is that my friends and I are both getting the same mileage, about 14-15 mpg.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:27 PM   #38
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:29 AM   #39
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Some years ago Ford determined the solid axle rear truck suspension was not suitable for its highly popular but unstable Expedition models as passenger vehicles, and began building them with independent rear suspension.

This vehicle would be an excellent choice to tow a 27' Airstream, and provide stable (safe), maneuverable family transportation in everyday use.

It's not an effortless mountain climber, but a good all-around family vehicle at a reasonable cost to buy, drive, and maintain.

doug k
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:42 PM   #40
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Doug (or others),

The 27 and 28' AS have a 950lb hitch weight. The Expeditions, even with the 9200lb GVW towing package, have a distributed hitch max of 920lb. How does that affect the overall towing and safety of the setup? I ask because we are days away from pulling the trigger on a 28' and the Expedition. Would load-leveling suspension in the back of the Expedition help? Is this close of a discrepancy relevant?

Eventually, we will go to the f250, but wanted to get a place where we can store it in a garage. Didn't like the idea of keeping the TV outdoors—especially since it will also be a daily-driver.

Do you think the Expedition will hold us off for a year or two?

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Some years ago Ford determined the solid axle rear truck suspension was not suitable for its highly popular but unstable Expedition models as passenger vehicles, and began building them with independent rear suspension.

This vehicle would be an excellent choice to tow a 27' Airstream, and provide stable (safe), maneuverable family transportation in everyday use.

It's not an effortless mountain climber, but a good all-around family vehicle at a reasonable cost to buy, drive, and maintain.

doug k
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:07 PM   #41
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2013 27FB International Serenity towed with a 2013 Ram Cummings Diesel 2500 4x4 and ProPride Hitch.

It doesn't get any better than this....

Have owned (and towed) both a 2009 25FB Classic with 2010 Touareg TDI (diesel) and a 2011 30 Classic with 2011 Ford F-350 SRW 4x4 Diesel - each with a ProPride hitch All Across this USA of ours...

My current rig is just like the 3 Bears - Just Right....
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:24 PM   #42
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Doug (or others),

The 27 and 28' AS have a 950lb hitch weight. The Expeditions, even with the 9200lb GVW towing package, have a distributed hitch max of 920lb. How does that affect the overall towing and safety of the setup? I ask because we are days away from pulling the trigger on a 28' and the Expedition. Would load-leveling suspension in the back of the Expedition help? Is this close of a discrepancy relevant?

Eventually, we will go to the f250, but wanted to get a place where we can store it in a garage. Didn't like the idea of keeping the TV outdoors—especially since it will also be a daily-driver.

Do you think the Expedition will hold us off for a year or two?
I tow my International 27FB with a Ford Expedition because its what I owned when I bought the trailer. Works fine, not a rocket uphill, but otherwise okay. I've weighed it at CAT Scales twice. Once empty, the other time loaded for travel. I'm under all the important ratings. I'm planning to keep it (its a 2003) for a couple more years then I'll replace it with something new. Just my opinion, but I don't think this trailer needs a 3/4 ton 400 hp diesel to pull it around.
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