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Old 08-01-2019, 11:37 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2019 22' Sport
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 5
Airstream Mother Ship: You have some 'splainin' to do!

I'm sorry for the long post, but there's a reason.

I was following the discussion about the 25 FBT vs. 25 RBT's tongue weights over on the Airstream Knowledgebase/2016 Flying Cloud string. I was in the same position of several people who posted. What it came down to was that Airstream's published specifications for tongue weights for the two was the same, but our community members TESTED numbers are very different.

The Airstream Community convinced me that the published tongue weights were incorrect and that the actual tongue weights put me over my Tow Vehicle's limits.

But I'm bringing this all up because what was astounding was what happened NEXT. That is, when I mentioned this to dealers while I was negotiating. (I hope and pray that Airstream Mother Ship is truly watching these strings, because they have some explaining to do.)
When I told three different dealers that the published tongue weights for the 25 FB were wrong, and that they exceeded my Tow vehicle's capacity, they all said the same things as though reading from a script:
1. That the Airstream data is correct, despite all evidence to the contrary (evidence to the contrary being the data you all have produced and the common sense consideration of the differences in weight placement that the different floorplans would produce);

2. According to all three dealers, Airstream says (when the salesmen called to ask about the tech specs) that the people on AirForums are people who traffic in unfounded rumors and innuendo, and that Airstream Mothership HATES this and wishes that all the misinformation would stop because it misleads people like me (clearly "people like me" clearly meaning "stupid people")(and there was a specific person at Airstream Mother Ship who was specifically quoted saying this);

3. Each said, verbatim, that "My dealership is the biggest dealership in [state] and we've been selling Airstreams for [no. of years] and I can guarantee you that you can tow this trailer no matter what the numbers are."
Of course the argument that "we've been doing this for years and never had a problem" is the errant nonsense that has preceded every engineering disaster in the world and does not need a response here.

These responses are beyond insulting to all of us. Crazies dealing in rumors and innuendo don't produce precise measurements in the field under different conditions as well as precise instructions for reproducing field test results so that they can be confirmed. Nor do crazies produce consistent results over years of postings. But even if what you all have written in this string and in many others is incorrect, it certainly begs the question: why are the numbers produced in the field so different than Airstream's published numbers? Airstream Mothership, if you're out there, you need to address this.

But I want to talk about the larger point. The ultimate argument they are making--the dealerships, the salesmen, and if the salesmen are to believed, Airstream itself--is that I (and you all) are incompetent to gather data or to judge the evidence for ourselves. Some of those of you who produced the experimental data are truck driving specialists; some engineers; some experienced trailer-ers; some smart people who are curious about the specifications they're driving around. "Shut up and trust us" is not an answer, Airstream! It makes me really concerned that you (Airstream) know your numbers are wrong when Airstream-associated dealerships and salespeople and perhaps Airstream itself cannot defend its specifications, all they can do it trash people who point out a problem. This has all the hallmarks of a manufacturer knowing it has a problem and so disparaging its customers that they don't address it.

My purpose in posting this post is threefold. (1) To let you all know what they think of all of us. (2) To let you know that Airstream is (if reports are true) sticking by its questionable published specifications, despite all evidence that indicates they have made a mistake in publishing incorrect data on a critical issue. (3) To thank you for keeping me from making the huge mistake that the dealerships that I dealt with and Airstream itself were pushing me into.

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Old 08-01-2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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2019 30' Classic
Canfield , Ohio
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So what are your numbers and what is your tow vehicle?

I towed a 27 FBT and I know for a fact that these will be heavier on the tongue weight than the RBT. Especially with my wife's shoes up there.

How close are the numbers on your TV?

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Old 08-01-2019, 12:29 PM   #3
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
Park City , Utah
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The original post debating the tongue weights stated that others had reported 'higher' tongue weights than factory spec, 'like 1100 or 1200 lbs.' Well...which is it? That right there is an indicator of some variables that are likely playing in the equation. Factory says 835, someone else says 1100, someone else 1200? Trailers are not going to come off the factory floor with 100 or 200 lb differences for the same length and model. They are exactly the same.

Airstream publishes hitch weights with batteries and propane. Period. For various 'reported' hitch weights, was that the case? Were the trailers completely empty? No water? Empty grey and black tanks? No tool boxes in storage compartments? No canned goods in the kitchen? Nothing in the fridge? All lockers empty?

I find it hard to believe a 300 or 400 lb discrepancy between the factory and user tests 'in the field' that likely include a lot of variables. Including the accuracy of the scales used.

Obviously, factory hitch weight is just the beginning of the process when selecting a W/D hitch and figuring out TV fitment. A given hitch capacity that is selected 'over' the factory number by 150 lbs or so might or might not be enough, depending on an owner's 'loaded for travel' situation.

I'm not inclined to jump all over Airstream challenging their published specs. Not trying to come across as a defensive fan boy here...I have plenty of criticism when warranted. But just from a liability standpoint, I'm guessing they are pretty confident in the specs they publish.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:51 PM   #4
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Wow, the sky is falling!
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:37 PM   #5
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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T W debate

Couple of points.

Just brought our new 2019 FC25 RBT home from dealer couple of months back. On the way home I stopped at the local CAT Scale and did a 4 pass weigh in. Airstreams claimed unloaded, key word here is unloaded, weights were not to far off. Now, after I get home and stuff in all of our travel junk the picture will change. I may have to rearrange some items to get the balance I like. Do not base your decision on whether or not to buy an Airstream on published sales material weights.

To your 3 points.

1. What Airstreams thinks of us are as customers for there product.

2.The data published is correct for a unloaded trailer. Nothing in it, propane and battery excepted. My guess is that no 2 trailers weighs exactly the same TW when it rolls out of the factory.

3. Do not deprive yourself of Airstream ownership based on what some salesperson says. There salespersons. Not experts on all aspects of Airstream ownership.

Last point. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to show up with a vehicle capable of safely towing what you purchased. The salesperson has nothing to do with that. Remember, They sell Airstreams. It is Not there job to council you on your tow vehicle. It is your job to have the right equipment. Go pick out your favorite Airstream, go get a decent tow vehicle that is up to the task and go camping. Happy travels.

P.S. I have worked at several different Automobile dealerships in my life. If your heard the conversation between the Salespersons as you walked up to the door and after you leave the dealership you would never ever buy another car, truck, boat, trailer, motorcycle, etc. That is just the way it is.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:44 PM   #6
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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There are a lot of ways you can load up a trailer. For best stability on the road, most people prefer to put the heavy stuff forward of the axle. When you do this the tongue weight goes up..... Indeed you also would like to put everything in the center of the trailer, that generally is not a very practical approach

In the case of my trailer, there is an "extra" 2,000 pounds of payload I get to play with. If I put it all under the front sofa, the tongue weight is going up quite a bit. If I put 1,000 pounds forward and 1,000 pounds on the rear bumper, it still goes up (the axles are not in the middle of the trailer. It also will be exciting to control with 1,000 pounds in the rear (regardless of what's up front).

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Old 08-01-2019, 04:10 PM   #7
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I checked mine with a Sherline hitch scale and it was exactly as the factory stated on the trailer. I found I could make that hitch weight go up or down by shifting things in the trailer, but it didn't vary much. I suppose if I really loaded things up on the front it would go up. I'm not sure where people are getting these hitch weights of 1200lbs. It could be if they run with full gray and black tanks and their tanks are toward the front. But I never go far before I dump, and try to run with empty tanks except for some water (10 gallons) in the water tank. I have a RB 28' and the tanks for gray and black are toward the back and over the wheels. Also I adjust my hitch and measure my wheel well to tire all the time and it doesn't vary much at all. I would think 300lbs more would make some difference. Anyway I think the engineers at Airstream are going to be more accurate. By the way when I pack the trailer I try to put heavy things toward the back of the trailer to keep that tongue weight down.

Also remember these trucks are over engineered. If you are 50lbs over it's not like your hitch is going to fall off. I think we obsess over some of this stuff.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:35 PM   #8
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The tongue weight on my 30' Classic is also very close to factory spec using a Sherline scale. It actually comes in a bit light due to the fact that I've replaced the AGM's with lithium batteries.

As has been mentioned, there are multiple variables that could be involved from scale type and accuracy, to loading procedures, to optional equipment on a particular trailer. The likelihood that these variables are the cause of weight discrepancies seems much greater than the possibility that Airstream's measurements are inaccurate or that identical models are coming off the line with different tongue weights.
“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”

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Old 08-02-2019, 09:28 AM   #9
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I have never been able to understand why people buy TT's or TV's that "just barely meets the specifications" that's required
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:50 AM   #10
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Please post your data that substainates your claims. Empty trailers with batteries and full propane. Nothing else. Also provide us with your method of measurement.

The truth is in the numbers.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:08 AM   #11
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2018 30' Classic
Pine Ridge , Florida
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ABUFARLEY.. you must be nuts putting a Post out like this without engineering level specifics. The Airstream protection Society will rip you a new one. Which they have. Just saying. If you want everybody to listen to you you need to put out very specific well thought out and researched information or just keep it to yourself.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:29 AM   #12
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AS sells trailers, not hitches, tv, brake controllers or any of the hundreds of other things we put in them that affects weight and towing.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:02 PM   #13
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Too bad for all the misinformation from both sides of the aisle on here. Bottom line, if you are that concerned about tongue weight then you need a bigger TV.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:46 PM   #14
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Airstream Mother Ship: You have some 'splainin' to do!

Weigh it yourself with a Sherline tongue weight scale or the like and then you have numbers which leads to knowledge.

Anything else is just random guesswork, not Engineering.

Rich, KE4GNK/AE, Overkill Engineering Dept.
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