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Old 03-30-2016, 09:57 AM   #29
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Yep. The OP is going to the opposite end of the spectrum, though- a 3/4 ton diesel-
There are many happy mediums in the tow vehicle realm.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:11 AM   #30
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Thank you all for all this great insight.

I know I need are real tow vehicle. Most likely a Ford Or Dodge diesel pickup.
Nope, you don't need a diesel pickup, unless you are looking at a 34' and even then many folks are towing them with gas TV's.

The Escape may work fine for a light weight Airstream. Spend some time looking into setup requirements etc. If you want a heavier, larger Airstream there are many, many other options to choose from including many that are 6cyl gas. Best of luck with your journey.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:48 AM   #31
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Ford Escape v6 model should be able to tow an Airstream Basecamp.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:05 PM   #32
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Before purchasing anything, it's always a good idea to do some virtual shopping using all the equipment you desire as a base line. Then start crunching numbers to see what really fits in your budget. If you get a different tow vehicle, you should call your insurance co. to see how much your monthly premium will change before you buy anything. Travel trailers should be insured too. Your car insurance may cover liability, but not a total loss, including the contents of your trailer. Check with Good Sam, Progressive or Geico. There may some others that forum members can recommend. There will be tax, title and license for both vehicles, whether you buy from a dealership or private party. Registration usually has to be renewed every year. (Our state requires inspection before renewal, including our trailer because it weighs more than 4,000 Lbs.)

Where will your trailer be kept? Do you have deed restrictions or city ordinances that will prohibit it from being stored on your property? How much time do you have for maintenance? Water is the enemy of all RVs. Anywhere there is an opening in the shell, or a seam, you have a potential leak. Just like a house, you should keep some money set aside in case something needs to be repaired.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:07 PM   #33
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Thank you. I will take a look at the local dealer. 2 people and a week or two 5 - 6 times a year to start will be my plan.
Please, let us know which AS you like the most?
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:21 PM   #34
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I always advise people to carefully consider what they intend to do with their RV first, and let that guide them to the best choice. That includes # of people, pets, mobility issues, how often and how long, etc. The OP has done most of that.

One issue that the OP is now think about is what do you do when the weather keeps you inside. His Explorer simply can't tow a very big trailer, and he is realizing that now.

Budget and repair abilities are next on the list, and the OP has mentioned those points as well.

It sounds like you are really giving some serious thought to what you need, and that's the way to do it. I've always said that I'd rather ask a thousand questions before writing a large check than asking one question a thousand times afterward. Take your time, ask lots of questions, and you will eventually know what you need to get.

BTW, some people tell you to buy the trailer first, and then you will know what sort of truck you need. That works if you are just picking some trailer that looks good to you off of a dealer's lot. If you have a pretty good idea of how much the heaviest trailer you are considering weighs (gross weight, not empty weight), you can buy the truck first based on that weight. The new F150 line can be set up with some pretty impressive numbers, so it might be a good choice for the small-medium Airstreams. If you start looking at those 30' and longer you will probably want an F250 just for the peace of mind. The F150 would be near capacity with those heavier coaches.
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Old 03-30-2016, 02:47 PM   #35
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Start by deciding what you will be using the trailer for.

My story
I went to the trailer show with my parents when I was thinking about a trailer for weekend trips and they were thinking about retiring and becoming snowbirds. We looked at a 25ft trailer and I really liked it, my father said it was far to small to spend the whole winter in. Next we looked at a 40ft 5th wheel that my parents really liked, I said it was far to big to tow and store for just a weekend away.
Our 13' Trillium was a great trailer for my wife and I when we camped for no more than 2 nights at a time, in the warm summer, and only traveled a few hours from home. Once we started traveling farther, and staying longer, and planning a family, we moved up to the 23' Safari we have now.

Once you know what you'll be using the trailer for you can decide what trailer you need. Next comes the tow vehicle.
I have friends that camp in a 1968 Ford motorhome with a straight 6 and 3 on the tree, but they only use it one weekend a year to go to a stock car race an hour from home and there are no big hills. If you're planning to tow a big trailer over lots of big mountains your choice of tow vehicle will be much more important.

The best advice I can give it to remember this is a hobby and a vacation, so don't stress out about tow ratings, hitches, length and seam leaks. Get informed enough to be safe and then get a trailer and go out and enjoy yourself!
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:30 PM   #36
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Dear Otra15: Not my original thought but worth using as a mantra:

We all buy things emotionally, then justify them afterwards with logic.

Not me... or wait a minute... Oh crap.

If you need new sneakers and emotionally choose Orange over Navy blue that's no big deal. You might own some butt ugly sneakers but play in enough dirt and they'll tone down. When your emotions can destroy your peace of mind and stability - then you'd better face them - and make a brutally practical choice which most times is "Not Now" rather than "never".

Almost 3 years ago I wrecked. Airstream and tow vehicle both totaled. Both were several years old. I got a quite reasonable payment from insurance considering for the depreciated value of each of them. All in all it still left me about over $20K short of the cost of newer replacements. I'm at retirement age and I have a good reserve and no dependents. You have a "limited budget." Preserve your sanity and serenity and get something else that is affordable. Then hang with us, and work your way up to an Airsteam with a 3-5 year plan.

Now that you're looking you're going to start seeing them everywhere - and a disturbing number are algae covered yard art because the owners lost interest or? Heck, I ended up with my Eddie Bauer because 24 hours after I told the forum about the rollover, Patrick Botticelli called me from Colonial Airstream. An EB a doctor had bought 9 months earlier was being shipped back in. The doctor who got it on a whim either never had time to use it, or perhaps didn't realize it didn't come with a valet to service it. He could eat the loss, I could enjoy his reject, no one suffered too much.
Hang around, visit a rally or two. Learn that the joy is in the adventure and the memories and the friends. The Airstream is icing on the cake, but not essential. And while you're looking we'll help you search, and celebrate when you find the one.

You can buy a beautiful new car that you just adore - and wash, wax and detail at every opportunity... now go forward 20 months. You own "Transportation" and have 55 more payments to make. I'd had my first stream for 2 weeks when a woman had to sell a new $300K Prevost for half off because her husband had stroked out. It was painful to see in every way.

If you have a limited budget - live within it. When you can afford to blow $50 - $70K, you'll be a lot more likely to find the right one the first time out. BTW I'm on my third one, and now also own An Avion - vintage restored... going to be my "stay-cation" home in retirement.

Might put her on Lake Gaston for year one, but "Eddie" and I'll be in warm weather come November!

Paula
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:54 AM   #37
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I want to thank everyone for all their thoughtful comments.

I am a buy once kind of person. So I will research, talk, visit and see everything that's out there before I buy. I have time, so no rush.

I will buy a tow vehicle with as good gas millage as I can and research that one also. I suggested diesel as they do have impressive numbers. (actually all truck have gotten better in the past 5 years)

I landed on a AS because of the construction and hope it will give me lots of durable use and satisfaction. I have never been impressed with the box trailers and cheep looking components. that s what drew me to AS.

You all are very helpful and have already dispelled some thoughts I had and altered my (newbee) ideas.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:07 AM   #38
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If you are looking for a nice, well-built trailer..... And, since you will be getting a pickup as a tow vehicle:
I would suggest expanding your search to a nicely-kept Avion. Being patient, you can find a nice, ready to use Avion for less than $10K, and not have to worry about the money pit of a restoration.

Patience + basic handyman skills = built-like-a-tank Avion.

You won't be disappointed.



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Old 03-31-2016, 10:36 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linko View Post
I want to thank everyone for all their thoughtful comments.

I am a buy once kind of person. So I will research, talk, visit and see everything that's out there before I buy. I have time, so no rush.

I will buy a tow vehicle with as good gas millage as I can and research that one also. I suggested diesel as they do have impressive numbers. (actually all truck have gotten better in the past 5 years)

I landed on a AS because of the construction and hope it will give me lots of durable use and satisfaction. I have never been impressed with the box trailers and cheep looking components. that s what drew me to AS.

You all are very helpful and have already dispelled some thoughts I had and altered my (newbee) ideas.
It looks to me like you are going about this the proper way. Research, research and then more research. We went through a pretty extensive research process ourselves, and as a result bought the right trailer and tow vehicle the first time. Saved us a lot of money and heartache!

We were fortunate that our budget allowed us to buy both a new trailer and tow vehicle, but frankly, we could have saved tens of thousands of dollars by buying gently used examples of each. And guess what? After three years of extensive usage, we now own a gently used trailer and gently used tow vehicle! .

Just make sure that whatever you spend is comfortable for you. There is no need to get in a financial pickle with this purchase.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-31-2016, 03:36 PM   #40
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Going to a big dealer with lots of inventory is helpful. Sit in the trailers. Envision yourself taking showers, using the bathroom, cooking, sleeping in each one. Go through the motions.
This will guide you in the right direction.
Decide whether or not you can deal with a "wet bath".
Decide which trim levels you like and which ones are just hideous.
This process pointed me to a very large trailer with a very traditional looking wood interior. Old timey/your grandpa's trailer may not appeal to everyone. Hauling a 30' house around may not appeal to everybody.
Then, after you have decide which trailer suits you best, the decision on tow vehicle can commence.
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:09 PM   #41
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By now linko, you're probably noticing there is a very diverse group of people on this forum, but they have one thing in common - a love of silver Twinkies with wheels. Beyond that there isn't a one size fits all.

Some times you have to think outside the box and be willing to make a leap of faith to do the things you really want. Though we all like to think otherwise, none of us have any guarantees. And time just keeps going faster. (Please don't take this as encouragement to rush, though.)

When it comes to tow vehicles, there are more options coming on the market. Some of them are not necessarily a "traditional" choice. My husband and I have been towing our '79 Sovereign with a 1999 Ford Expedition. We made a point of paying close attention to loaded weight limits with everything we looked at. Imagine our surprise when we found a 31' trailer whose loaded weight was still more than 1,000 lbs. under our capacity. Still, the Expedition didn't completely suit our needs. That was due to the vehicle's interior room. We have children in their 20s, so they won't be traveling with us that much any more. But we do have several pets; nine to be exact. Five dogs and 4 rabbits. It's because we didn't want to leave someone at home with the animals that we bought our trailer in the first place. For the first time in our lives ever, we bit the bullet today and bought a new vehicle. We're in our late 40s.

We bought a Nissan NV 3500. Technically it's van. But it's a very unique van. Nissan has been producing it for 3 years. This behemoth sits on a Titan chassis and has the pickup nose. The engine is in front of the vehicle, like a pickup. We bought the passenger model which can seat up to 12 people. The true beauty of this vehicle is it's flexibility. All the seats from the second row back can be removed. Or you can leave in just what you need. There is also a cargo version, which someone else on the forum owns. This vehicle does have the tow package option. Granted, it still costs plenty of money, but while doing your research add it to you list for comparison. After kicking and screaming about taking on a car payment when our other vehicle was paid for, we took the leap of faith because the NV is very much a long term investment for us. My husband is a disabled veteran who also has a degenerative neurological condition. The day may come when we have to put in a lift to accommodate a wheel chair.

When you do go shopping for your trailer, be very vigilant in looking for water damage, especially if you buy used. We live just north of Houston, and we're very much part of the hot, humid south. Keeping water out of an RV is a big deal here, because things just don't dry out. A small leak can become major mold damage if not caught soon enough. The sun is also so strong down here that it bakes seals of all kinds to a crisp and causes shrinkage. Water damage can be very sneaky, and it's a major budget buster. We shopped for RVs for 2 years, and looked at all kinds. Far too many of them had some water damage, including some Class A motor homes which retail from 200k-300K. Age is not always an indicator of water damage. We saw plenty who were less than 10 years old. Sadly, there have been some people on this forum who thought they were buying a gently used, reasonably priced trailer, only to find there was rot in the subfloor once it was in their possession. One of them was in our area. Instead of planning their first family outing, they were trying to figure out how they were going to get their trailer fixed.

The reason any RV stays on the road for a long time is because someone loves and is taking care of it. Or they did like we did, and put a significant amount of time and/or money into it so it could travel for another 35 years. And truthfully, our trailer was usable when we bought it, because the PO was obsessed with keeping water out of it. However, removing the old interior (which was showing its age) gave us the opportunity to clean out 35 year of dirt we wouldn't have been able to reach otherwise.
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:10 AM   #42
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Starstream, curious whether you considered the new full-sized Ford Transit Wagon with seating for 8 to 15 depending on model? Our new one tows the FC20 great. I drove the NV but did not like the pickup front end, having had vans most of my life.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Peter
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