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Old 07-20-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Looking for some advice!

We have put some money down on a new 20' Flying Cloud, excited about this, supposed to pick it up next weekend. Plan to tow with our existing vehicle for the time being, a 2000 Chevy Suburban 4WD. However, we anticipate getting a new vehicle in a year or so, and wanted to step down to a Ford Explorer, but its max towing is 5000lb (matching the gross vehicle weight of the Airstream!) I am worried this doesn't seem to allow for the 20% extra-capacity I have seen recommended for towing. So, two questions:
1)Anyone out there towing a 20' Flying Cloud 5000# trailer with a truck/car/suv that has a max towing capacity of 5000? Ever have trouble (maybe in the mountains?)

2)We have started to have discussions about whether we should be getting a smaller Airstream (say a 16' Bambi Sport, these are hard to find by the way!), which at 3500 gross vehicle weight would allow us to tow with a bigger variety of lighter cars.

I am more concerned about how green we can be (ie., carbon footprint), but we are planning to be on the road for 4-6 week chunks of time (I like the challenge of going as light as possible).

Happy to hear your thoughts....especially if you are in either a 19-20' flying cloud, or a 16' Sport.

Thanks. Excited to be on here!!!
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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Jennie
Others may disagree with me but I always felt the 16ft units were a one-person deal.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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I would consider a Toyota Tundra or Sequoia. Higher rated towing ability.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #4
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I would caution against being right at the towing capacity of your vehicle. As you will hear quite often, it isn't about what you can pull, it is also about what you can stop. Mountain passes, both the uphill side and the downhill, may make you regret your choice of tow vehicles. At the same time, if you buy a trailer that is so small that it is not particularly comfortable, then it really defeats the whole purpose. So my recommendation is find a trailer that you know you will be comfortable in for years to come (without going overboard), and then get an appropriately sized tow vehicle, again, without going overboard.

good luck!
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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Keep the suburban. Probabably close to the same gas milage.

Buy a Honda Fit for you day to day driving.

If you want to truely be green, buy a volvo wagon. It will last 3 times longer than the Exploder thus reducing landfill problems.

Either way, if properly set up the ford will do a great job pulling either. Like many always say "Call Andy at CanAm"!
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
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I have 2010 20'FC and tow it with 2003 Dodge diesel. I think I would be as happy with any pickup of the same wheelbase, longer wheelbase and short distance from the hitch to rear wheels is better. I would not worry about the power of the TV but I may be concerned about transmission.
To sum it up- I am not sure about Explorer, I agree with one post above recommending Tundra or similar pickup. Riding with Suburban will give you more experience and you will be able to decide what you want. When my pickup dies (now at 260 kMI) I will replace it with the same one (manual transmission diesel).
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:53 PM   #7
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We have been towing the 20 ft Safari for 5 years now with a GMC Sierra 1500 MAX. We towed a smaller and lighter trailer for 10 years with a barely adequate TV , as you are considering and I would always recommend a bit of overkill. Fuel mileage, stopping power and uphill towing will all be better. Not to mention wear and tear.
I worked for too long in the car industry, hearing horror stories from people who had trouble because they went "adequate" with the TV.
No one ever complained of too much power and braking.
We have spent 9 weeks in our 20 across Canada,5 weeks in the Southern U.S, plus many shorter 2 and 3 week treks and found it a perfect size. It's also perfect for the weekend getaways.
And I wouldn't change the TV.
George
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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George, what kind of milage do you get? I get 15.5 as a 27kMI average and that is my main reason for diesel otherwise I would be happy with GMC.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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A surprising lesson from Andy:
The toyota Seinna is a far better tow vehicle than a toyota tundra. I would think this is even more true with a lighter Airstream.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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DanB, could you post the reference to Andy's conclusion?
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:09 PM   #11
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I agree with DanB if at all possible keep the Suburban for towing only then you can get something even smaller for a daily driver. Your towing mileage wont be much different with either vehicle and not much difference not towing either. Actually the new Suburbans are rated about the same mileage as the new Explorers.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bovk View Post
DanB, could you post the reference to Andy's conclusion?
This subject was presented by Andy at Alumapuluza 2011. It would be best for Andy to discuss it. If I am remembering correctly, he had slides that demonstrated how pickups actually make very poor tow vehicles. Again, this would be better for Andy to explain.

I do remember it had a lot to do with rear suspension, tire choice, and the geometrical overhang from axle to ball.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #13
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Thanks!

I really appreciate all the prompt advice. Actually, this challenges the idea that my husband had, of pulling with a smaller car since the ratings matched. Trouble is, the Suburban has a LOT of miles, and will need to be swapped out. We are trying to hit the road with bikes and kayaks, so we could really overload? I haven't heard from any couples travelling in a 16' Sport, so don't know what to think there...
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bovk
George, what kind of milage do you get? I get 15.5 as a 27kMI average and that is my main reason for diesel otherwise I would be happy with GMC.
As I used to tell my customers, you should always purchase for the worst case scenario.That being said, you are not towing all the time, so it depends if this is an all around vehicle or one devoted to towing. We use our truck for 90% of our use ( dogs) and the toy car for fun. Average mpg for me city is about 16 mpg (imperial) 25 Hwy ( empty) and I have averaged about 14.5 for all the km's towing. It gets overall better mileage city , Hwy, and towing than my old 4.3 Sonoma did towing a 3500 lb Bigfoot.
You also have to factor in the cost of diesel. I often found the some dealers tried to push people to diesel as the profit was a bit higher. Most of the time , unless you are hauling in the 10,000 lb range, you don't need it.
Some of the later diesels weren't that great on mileage either.
Something else to look at is rear end ratios. Unfortunately that is another area that some salespeople lack education. Basically, the less hard your vehicle has to work, the better the overall performance.
George
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