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Old 11-02-2014, 09:15 PM   #1
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Yulee , Florida
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Will it work?

Hello all;

Haven't actually bought the airstream yet. Recently sold the company so the fiancÚ and I thought we'd take a year or two and see the country. We plan to hit every state except hawaii.

The trailer we've got an eye on is a new flying cloud 27FB.

Here's my question. I am wondering if my tow vehicle is suitable to pull the trailer. The truck is paid off so I really hate to shell out for a 3/4 ton.

Some stats:

Truck: 2013 Ram 1500 4x4 Hemi
GVWR: 6,800
Payload capacity: 1,350
Towing capacity: 10,000
Weight of passengers and cargo in the truck: 625
RAWR: 3,900

I know the payload capacity of the truck takes into account the hitch weight of the airstream. On that subject I have two questions:

1. Is it true, as the airstream owner's manual suggests, that the tow vehicle bears only 2/3 of the hitch weight, with the remaining third transferred to the trailer axels?
2. How does the hitch weight change by running full vs empty tanks? More or less?

Given the info above, will my truck be able to safely pull the airstream? I have no doubts it can pull it over level ground, but that's a far cry from pulling it safely in the rockies.

My research and calculations suggest I'm ok, but I wanted to get the advice of people more experienced than me. I've never done the RV thing before.

Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendigo View Post
Hello all;

Haven't actually bought the airstream yet. Recently sold the company so the fiancÚ and I thought we'd take a year or two and see the country. We plan to hit every state except hawaii.

The trailer we've got an eye on is a new flying cloud 27FB.

Here's my question. I am wondering if my tow vehicle is suitable to pull the trailer. The truck is paid off so I really hate to shell out for a 3/4 ton.

Some stats:

Truck: 2013 Ram 1500 4x4 Hemi
GVWR: 6,800
Payload capacity: 1,350
Towing capacity: 10,000
Weight of passengers and cargo in the truck: 625
RAWR: 3,900

I know the payload capacity of the truck takes into account the hitch weight of the airstream. On that subject I have two questions:

1. Is it true, as the airstream owner's manual suggests, that the tow vehicle bears only 2/3 of the hitch weight, with the remaining third transferred to the trailer axels?
2. How does the hitch weight change by running full vs empty tanks? More or less?

Given the info above, will my truck be able to safely pull the airstream? I have no doubts it can pull it over level ground, but that's a far cry from pulling it safely in the rockies.

My research and calculations suggest I'm ok, but I wanted to get the advice of people more experienced than me. I've never done the RV thing before.

Thanks!
You won't set any land speed records going over the Rockies. I personally would go with a 3/4 ton for mountain towing on a rig bigger than a 25 BUT that's me and it's an opinion. Travel LIGHT in the mountains by making sure your Gray & Black tanks are empty. I have an unfortunate habit of buying new clothing and not throwing out the old stuff until it builds up to a point that makes me nuts. Then I do a purge. If you throw out, give away or sell everything you realize you aren't likely to use, you'll do yourself a favor. You COULD even go as far as shipping some of your stuff ahead (or back home) by UPS. Just arrange for a destination campground to accept your packages.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:55 PM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums, We're glad to have you with us. A 27FB might be a little much for any half ton truck. It's not that your Ram 1500 can't tow a 27FB. I can do it, but it may be a bit of a struggle in some situations. I just don't know how happy you will be with the performance since you plan to do a lot of towing over long distances.

This is just my opinion. Many members here are quite satisfied pulling big Airstreams with half ton trucks.

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Old 11-02-2014, 11:03 PM   #4
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We have towed our FC 25' with a 2012 Ram 1500 4x4 Hemi coast to coast and border to border twice, nice smooth combination. Keep the truck bed lightly loaded with nothing behind the rear axle in the bed, the trailer evenly loaded front-to-back and side-to-side, and hitch it with a sway elimination hitch such as ProPride 1400# or Hensley.

Loaded in this manner tighten your w.d. bars to return the front wheel well height within an inch or less of it's unhitched height, and the rear wheel well height will probably be about two inches down from its unhitched height. Don't worry about the 1/3 equal distribution, that's only for explanation and really not realistic. When loaded to travel take it to a truck scale and be sure weights are under the maximum axle load ratings of truck and trailer.

Use the transmission to shift as needed up and down steeper grades, and a gear that keeps the engine above 2000 rpm on the level, always with tow/haul mode selected. Keep your speed down descending steep grades with transmission and brakes as needed. Take it real easy until you learn it's capabilities.

The small extra weight of a 27' over our 25' will not even be noticeable, they both push the same size hole through the air and that's where the resistance is.
Fill your water tank whenever you need it, it's centered over the axles and a small amount of the overall load.

That's how we do it without difficulty.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:39 PM   #5
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You are getting some good advise in the post above.
Your empending combination will not allow you set any land speed records but you should be just fine. We pull a 28' with an F150 and the combination works well for us both on the flats and in the Rockies
Good luck
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:56 AM   #6
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A half ton with the same engine as a three quarter ton will pull the same. Payload etc will be less however.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:29 AM   #7
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You may be able to increase your payload capacity a bit by beefing up the springs in your 1/2 ton truck and/or by taking off the cap (and since you can't carry a lot of cargo anyway, the cap may not be all that useful to you.) Otherwise, as you've noted, you are pretty much at the max payload capacity of your truck without any added cargo. The WD hitch sends some of the hitch weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle. It does not send any meaningful weight back to the trailer (a lot of people are confused by this point.) Thus if your hitch weight is 850 lbs, all that weight becomes part of the tow vehicle's payload.

Other than payload issues, you will be able to pull your Airstream with the 1/2 ton. You will slow down a lot in the mountains but you can use the extra time to enjoy the view.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:03 AM   #8
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As already pointed out, it is all about Payload in the truck. If you are willing to carry very little in the truck you will be fine. If you are really planning on the long trips, you will be frustrated by this and you will tend to overload the truck.

Modifications to the truck to increase payload typically do not work out because the axles, bearings, etc. are not easily changed out and they are a very significant part of the capacity limits of the vehicle.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
---The WD hitch sends some of the hitch weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle. It does not send any meaningful weight back to the trailer (a lot of people are confused by this point.) Thus if your hitch weight is 850 lbs, all that weight becomes part of the tow vehicle's payload.
A properly-sized and properly-adjusted WDH can transfer a load equal to approximately 20-25% of tongue weight to the TT's axles.
This would cause the load on the TV's front axle to be returned approximately to its unhitched value.

IMO, when the TV's GVW is getting close to the GVWR, a load transfer of 200# to the TT's axles is meaningful.

As stated by dkottum, it is not realistic to try to transfer a load equal to 1/3 of TW to the TT's axles.
It also is not desirable, because doing so would cause excessive load to be transferred to the TV's front axles.
This can cause a tendency for oversteer with increased risk of loss of control.

Ron
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:14 PM   #10
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According to Airstream, the 27FB has a "tongue weight" of just under 800 lbs., empty. So your truck is already overloaded with the 600 odd pounds of "stuff" you mentioned. Many folks seem to report loaded tongue weights considerably more than that. A WD hitch will not change that, just shift some weight off the rear axle and move it to the front.
So, the issues about overloading the truck (assuming you don't exceed its GCVWR with the trailer) do not involve the power of the engine or the strength of the driveline. Rather, they concern the suspension pieces and most importantly the tires. Blowing out a tire is no fun and the truck may handle poorly as well.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:28 PM   #11
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Just so you know, I have weighed our truck and 25' FC, which has a factory hitch weight heavier than a FC 27', with a ProPride hitch, heavy load in the trailer and a fairly light load in the truck. Nothing was overloaded, not the truck, not the trailer, not the axles, not the tires and not the combination.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:44 PM   #12
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I bought a new truck to tow my (now sold) 2012 28' Intl CCD. Tongue weight on that model is 950 -- higher than your 27 -- and oh, the 27FB is actually longer than the 28. After looking at all considerations, I bought a '14 Ram 2500 Laramie with the 6.7L Cummins. It was about having a higher margin of power and safety. I can attest that (for me) this was a good call. Summer trip through the Rockies proved it. Never an issue with power going up hill. Hardly any rise in transmission temp or engine either. Downhill was fantastic with exhaust braking. My approach to trailering has always been safety first --- everything else is a distant second. Think a lot depends on how you'll be using your trailer and where you'll be headed. Good luck!
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:10 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for your advice.

After careful consideration and hours spent researching the issue, I have decided the best course of action is to upgrade to a ram 2500. I could make my 1500 work if I was going to limit myself to the flat areas, but since we plan to head out west I worry about making it up any serious grade.

Talked to the dodge dealer today and the cost to upgrade is 15,000. A bitter pill to be sure, but less expensive than careening off the side of a mountain.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:15 PM   #14
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"careening off the side of a mountain". I don't think so.
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