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Old 09-27-2005, 11:43 PM   #15
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Big Dee,

Thanks for your comments and concerns. I'm ramping up quickly and taking a crash course in RV Road Management 101. How's that for a few double entendres?

Once we change the Durango's axle ratio to the 3.92 the towing capacity will increase to 8,650 pounds and the GCVWR will go from 12,500 to 14,000 pounds. The curb weight of the Durango is 5,200 pounds and the dry weight of the Airstream that I just got off the manufacturer's sheet in the trailer is 6,802.

So, 5,200 + 6,800 = 12,000. That gives us 2,000 to spare, which should be enough for my wife and me and the two dogs plus more stuff than we need for travel.

As to the wheelbase question, I haven't a response yet. It is certainly shorter than a Dodge truck would be at nearly 120 inches. I guess time will tell. Perhaps we'll see you on the road or at a rally soon to give you a first-hand account.

PS We're still keeping the Westfalia. It's a terrific, spur-of-the-moment home on wheels for flyfishing and photo shoots.
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Old 09-27-2005, 11:54 PM   #16
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Question Wear and tear $$$ (& emergency maneuvering, braking)

What is the Durango's GVWR? And do the passengers, receiver and tongue weight* exceed that? Be honest -- anything else you have in the Durango has to be added to the load.

*Not just empty weight. Put some weight in the trailer, though nobody will be doing any practical travelling with a lot of clean/grey/black water on board.
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:05 AM   #17
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More stats. The Durango's GVWR is 6,600 pounds and it's tongue weight is 1,200.

I weigh 164. My wife weighs 88. Marley the little Poodlish one weighs 24 and Chelsea the larger Tibetan weighs 23. So, the total weight of inhabitants is 299 before dinner.

Depending upon the real tongue weight of our 28 SO, we might be dead on. Bad choice of words, right?
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:12 AM   #18
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sure it's got a hemi.......but you almost need a semi!

myoung....

welcome to the world of airstreams.

we all want you to have the best in trailering experience and safety.

the airsteams tow nicely but it still takes the right stuff.

so i'll join the others here who are gently suggesting that YOU NEED MORE TRUCK bro!!!

don't forget that load (you, the family,the dogs, the truck, the trailer, the hitch, the lpgas, the fluids, the food, the tools, the toys....and so on) should also include the fuel that goes in the truck..... and the spare tire for the trailer which is mounted near the tongue and not included in the factory numbers.....so your load capacity is more like 13-1500lbs which isn't much....and 10 gals of water is a tea cup full with 3-4 travelers.....

also most folks try to be 10-20% below the gcvwr as a safety factor and because we all within a few trips are carrying far more than we ever imagined.......really. and towing stresses the brakes, the tranny, the coolers, the axles, the tires and none of those are "hemi grade".....

so my suggestion is go back to the truck dealer with that new durango and ask them to upgrade you to a 3/4 ton ram......i know it's a big rig....but you really will need it with a slide sided airstream....and bigger tranny, bigger brakes, bigger coolers and longer wheelbase are part of the ram upgrade.

i am also a hensley user but whichever wd/as hitch chosen adds 200lbs to the tongue!

none of sell trucks or stand to gain from your truck purchase, but we've all known, heard or read from folks who realize they need more truck 2-3 months into this adventure!


whatever you do keep us posted and lets see some photos of that new shinny tube!!

cheers
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:32 AM   #19
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I had a couple of conversations with the Airstream dealer today. We talked over the TV and hitch issues and they assured me that they had our safety in mind. I realize how easy it is to add stuff.

I do understand that a 3/4 ton Ram would be superior but my wife is not comfortable with that size rig. We even offered the dealer a trade down for us with more profit for them to a Safari 28 without the slide out, but they insisted that we were okay with our combination.

The Durango has all the heavy-duty tow package accessories including heavier springs, transmission cooler, heavy duty engine cooling, heavy duty shocks.

I'm surprised to hear that the spare tire isn't included in the factory numbers. After all, it is standard equipment so why should Airstream low-ball the weight?
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by myoung
Jack,

I just looked at the Airstream Web site and it does indeed say that the hitch weight is 1,010. I am looking at a brochure we picked up at the RV show on Sunday at which we purchased the Safari 28 SO and it definitely says that the "hitch weight w/o options or variable wgt" is 1,250. I have looked high and low and cannot find any date on the brochure that might resolve the conflict.

Mike
Mike, it sounds like its time to place a call to Airstream and ask the question. After being burned by an outdated brochure and finding a conflict with the web site, I had my dealer verify the hitch weight. In my case the web site was correct. You are purchasing in the same month that I ordered my 2004 (September 2003) and the web site was up to date at that point.

Bottom line, with either weight number, I strongly suggest that you upgrade that receiver on your tow vehicle to a class 5 unit if the factory supplied receiver does have a 1,000 lb. limit. If you do, my suggestion is to look at the Hidden Hitch brand. For all intents is looks almost identical to my factory provided receiver, but carries enough bulk to handle the heavier hitch weight of my slide out. Let me know if you need any further information since I've gone down your path.

The problem I have with a lot of "expert" advice from the auto dealer, and even some RV dealers is that the person doling out the advice has probably never towed in his life nor do they really understand how that trailer affects the potential tow vehicle.

I learned early to do my homework and to make sure I make the choices rather than asking for auto dealer advice.
I know when I ordered my new van I ended up explaining to my salesperson why I chose specific options. Especially axle ratio. It ended up she has refered some of her potential customers to me for advice prior to them ordering tow vehicles.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:19 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
I'm surprised to hear that the spare tire isn't included in the factory numbers. After all, it is standard equipment so why should Airstream low-ball the weight?
Last time I checked in the case of some models, the spare tire carrier may be standard equipment, but not the spare tire and wheel itself. I had to pay extra for that. At the time it was considered an option so that's why it isn't in the hitch weight numbers. A good example why you don't compromise on stated weights when you are nearing vehicle or component capacities.

Jack
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:27 AM   #22
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Whew. This has been a most helpful exchange. We thank all of you for educating us and helping us see what we need to do.

Would anyone like to purchase a brand spanking new 2005 28 SO with zero user miles? It's got options like a large A/C, spare tire, International taillights, Fantastic fan, etc.

What we will now do is find a 25 FB, probably. Don't know what the Special Edition offers, but we'll investigate that too.

With the 25 we get down to a tow rating that can be handled by our Durango without having to go to the $3,400 axle replacement and the attendant gas mileage penalty. Tongue weight will be much, much lower.

So, my new, helpful friends, does this sound like a workable plan? Hope so.

Thanks to all,
Mike
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Old 09-28-2005, 03:42 PM   #23
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moving to plan b.......

mike

well, that was gonna be my next suggestion.....but it brings tears to my eyes when suggesting a trailer change.....the 25 in any trim will be more in line with the tv and really even the 28 if there wasn't a slide unit.....would be close.

well there is still the issue of wheel base/trailer length.....

and i do like the hensley arrow hitch for control....

the 25 special editions/safari with international upgrade..... are cool....like a modern open studio apartment on wheels.....you might also find a near new/new 25 classic, that has more features and travel virtues for about the same money.....often folks buy the 25s and quickly realize they want a 30/31/34 so near new classics in the smaller length are around....the later 05 have disc brakes which is a nice feature.....but 04/05/06 have only small changes really.

being flexible in selecting a setup leads to happier campers.....

just checked my dealer's web site and he has 10! units in the 25 foot length of various flavors......always priced competively.....

www.airstreamofarkansas.com

usually gene puts up lots of photos on their web site and can email you more if needed.......he's an honest guy......give him a call at 1.800.airhog1 after looking over the website.......

and tell him dr joe from kc says "howdy partner"....

cheers
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Old 09-28-2005, 03:56 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the help, Dr. Joe.

Tomorrow we'll go back to the dealer and work something out. It'll be a 25-footer for sure. I've been partial to the International ever since we first saw it. Neither of us like the look of heavy oak of the Classic. The Safari is more in keeping with the clean lines that appeal to us, coming from the Westfalia which is way, way better than what happened when VW allowed Winnebago mess up the franchise.

Perhaps the 25 FB SE will be just the ticket. Safari clean and International sleek.

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:33 PM   #25
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Welcome Mike -- I'm glad you can follow along with the experienced hands telling it like it is.

Now, I have a Nissan Titan -- 9000# tow capacity, right? Huge GCVWR too! Let's take a look (at my owner's manual that is). The largest GVWR is 1641 pounds for a 2WD King Cab (small bench seats in back), in the lowest trim level, without the factory sprayed-in bed liner. I love my truck but don't want to be on the road holding on by my fingernails. My truck is fabulous -- I'd venture to say a nicer interior than any Big 3 hauler -- a better ride too, the smaller King Cab (I got something right), leather seats, 6 CD changer, side air bags, navigation system -- uh, and 4WD, the factory bed liner and high trim level which does add a hitch receiver. The bed liner is 200# and the receiver is -- I'd guess 150# or more.

My suspension is in the simple half ton truck range. Reading the fine print, the GVWR for my model is 1255 pounds. Ulp! But can I go big time? Nope, even though the 5-speed tranny and very strong engine give me power that can compare with a hemi. There is a good reason I have not yet bought a tonneau cover or a topper -- I did my homework and have the winter to make new plans. We've got 400# of people and dogs in the truck (the Airedale is 70#!) I know the WD equipment and necessity of filling the LP tanks will put off-the-record weight onto the tongue, the whole tongue, and nothing but the... you get the picture. I did go for Airstream's LS option package including the spare tire, so those options are definitely off the standard tongue weight (as Jack sez above; I'm not sure how that figures into Classics, etc).

I'll have a long, cold winter to make plans to replace my tow vehicle -- even to pull our brand new 25' FB SE (a SUPER Airstream by the way!!!! We both love our new baby!). The 25' can be managed with the Titan if I use my TV in bare bones status, but I want to travel with the occasional firewood purchase, my Honda generator, small tool chest -- and as my ASForums ID would suggest, my canoe and probably our bikes will play a big part in us getting away. So a truck cap becomes a strong need in the end! I did look at 3/4-ton trucks before buying the Titan and the decision point was my wife not wanting to make so big of a step up to 3/4-ton or diesel. Gotta walk before you can run... I'm wid ya buddy -- get the Airstream you want, then buy a TV to suit it! Your Durango seems to be set in stone, so congrats on lowering your sights -- for a 25' FB SE you won't regret it. Woo-hoo!
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:40 PM   #26
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Mike,

Don't feel bad as WE ALL have gone thru the learning process just as you have. I learned so much from the towing gurus on this forum (thanks, RoadKingMoe) that I owe all my tow knowledge to this place. Just keep asking questions.

First, I think that the 25' will be a good match with that big Hemi. To take care of the WB worries, I would recommend the Hensley hitch. After the shock of the purchase price wares off, you will NEVER be sorry that you bought the Hensley. Just ask any Hensley owner. As for me, you can have my Hensley when you "pry it from my cold, dead hands!"

Jack is certainly right about getting advice from dealers. Beware! They usually have alterior motives. Get your questions answered here.

Keep us posted as to what you decide. Who is your dealer? Hopefully they will make it right for you. Toscano has always treated me right. Post some picks of the complete rig when you get it. Good luck and hope to see you at the Spring NorCal Rally!
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:50 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
Thanks for all the help, Dr. Joe.

Tomorrow we'll go back to the dealer and work something out. It'll be a 25-footer for sure. I've been partial to the International ever since we first saw it. Neither of us like the look of heavy oak of the Classic. The Safari is more in keeping with the clean lines that appeal to us, coming from the Westfalia which is way, way better than what happened when VW allowed Winnebago mess up the franchise.

Perhaps the 25 FB SE will be just the ticket. Safari clean and International sleek.

Cheers,
Mike
I am FULLTIMING in the 22ft CCD and I really, really, really love it - but when I saw the 25ft FB SE I almost cried cause it's soooooo kewl!

My initial plan was to be a "campground" camper - I like my hot showers, morning latte, chatting up the neighbors, etc. But then I started seeing the photos being posted by people who've taken the paths less traveled... and low and behold I'm learning to boondock now. Many of the state and federal parks which have limited or "no hookup sites" are also limited to a maximum trailer length of 25 feet. Size matters - and sometimes smaller IS better!

Less is more. You have to be prepared to simplify. I have two kitchen knives and 4 pans (big skillet, tiny skillet, dutch oven/soup pot, two quart pan.) If I get the insane idea to roast a turkey I'll (A) get over it or (B) get a throwaway aluminum roasting pan. When I downsized I had a Blender, a portable mixer, a really nice egg beater, several wire wisks and one of those little electric gizmos that you can supposedly use to make milkshakes in a glass, etc. I kept the egg beater.

Clothing: You carry 30 outfits, but live in 5... so stop carrying 30! Give half of the them to a relative or friend in Louisiana or Mississippi - they will either need them or know someone who does.

I'm a natural hoarder - so every week I sort through ONE bin or drawer or closet and ask myself "do I really need this/when was the last time I used it?" Toss it, give it away AND most of all STOP shopping at Sam's Club! (Or go with a friend and split up the toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)

I also vote for a weight distributing hitch. I've only been an Airstreamer since March, but once in the interest of speed, I hooked up just the ball and chain. What was I thinking? Only going about 25 miles so it would be simpler unhitching. Once was enough. The difference wasn't horrendous, but semi's suck - suck your trailer sideways! I won't be going anywhere without the Reese hooked up again. When I have to back up - and the area is tight, I do crank down the friction anti-sway bar so it won't creak and groan and limit my turning radius.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
With the 25 we get down to a tow rating that can be handled by our Durango without having to go to the $3,400 axle replacement and the attendant gas mileage penalty. Tongue weight will be much, much lower.

So, my new, helpful friends, does this sound like a workable plan? Hope so.

Thanks to all,
Mike
Mike I really feel bad for you, especially when you thought you had your ducks in a row. I'm still somewhat disappointed in your A/S dealer telling you that things were fine with your tow vehicle.

We had to compromise our first Airstream. We fell in love with the 2001 Anniversary Edition unit that we saw at the local RV show. Unfortunately my half ton van had a 6,500 tow limit so we settled on a 27' Safari. We had 3 seasons of fun and when I changed tow vehicles in the spring of 2003, I knew that a Classic SO was in my future. I was pretty surprised that I bit so quickly but at a fall dealer rally, I was given a trade in number on my Safari that I couldn't refuse.

Safari's are still hot property. As a matter of fact the dealer had sold my trailer to a couple from New Mexico who were waiting for me to bring it in after its last trip. They made the agreement after a quick tour. I was still sitting on the ground pulling off the Dual Cam sway control when the guy came up to me and announced himself as the new owner.

Jack
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