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Old 10-04-2011, 08:55 PM   #1
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Are Airstreams Gaining Weight?

I've recently starting looking to upgrade my TT to something like a new Flying Cloud 27 FB. Along the way - doing my usual reading of everything I can find in forums and online blogs, I have read a few times something that goes like this: "Yeah, the new A/S are nice but they are much heavier than back in the old days."

Anyone have a comment about this? I suppose it means that a 27 back them was lighter than an 27 today? I find that hard to understand given modern materials. But, I have no way to know.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:09 PM   #2
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Short answer? Yes. The dry weight on our '73 was about 4500 lbs. What does a new one weigh? Roughly twice that? Round numbers, of course. Lot's of fluff added in later years.

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Old 10-04-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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Yowza! That's quite weight gain. I'll be headed up to Oregon at the end of this month to finally have a peek at the new models. Maybe I can discover what all this weight is about.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:32 PM   #4
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Short answer? Yes. The dry weight on our '73 was about 4500 lbs. What does a new one weigh? Roughly twice that? Round numbers, of course. Lot's of fluff added in later years.

Jim
That's a bit of an exaggeration.

For instance a new 27FB flying Cloud has dry weight of 5808. Even a 27FB Classic is only 6592. The classics aren't really designed with weight in mind. However both of those are a far cry from 9000 in my book.

Ken
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
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Sorry guys. Maybe I need to check the scales.

The main point is that as time goes by, all campers get heavier, regardless of who built them.

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Old 10-04-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
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Here's the spec sheet on this year's model. Airstream, Inc :: Specifications

The GVWR comes in at about 9000lbs. Guess I got my specs mixed up.

I think the dry weight on our '73 is about 4500 lbs. GVWR is around 6300 lbs, IIRC.

Sorry for the confusion.

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Old 10-04-2011, 10:01 PM   #7
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Perhaps we should start a "weight watchers" section for our trailers. lol!
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:06 PM   #8
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If light weight is important to you there are some models to meet that requirement.

Our 22 foot 1980 International Caravelle was a lightweight for its model year, only 7 1/2 feet wide and 4,000 pounds gross weight.

The 2011 22 foot Safari Sport is comparable in both width and weight--4,500 pounds gross weight. Airstream, Inc :: Specifications

On the other hand, a current model 25 foot Flying Cloud is 8 1/2 feet wide and runs 7,300 pounds gross weight Airstream, Inc :: Specifications

So, as always, "you pays your money and you takes your choice".

In general the reason trailers have gotten heavier over the years is that buyers expect more stuff in them--capacious water and waste tanks, big batteries for boondocking endurance, microwaves, large screen TV's, etc.

Our Caravelle has a 25 gallon fresh water tank, 15 gallon gray and black water tanks, and a single 90 Amp-hour battery. (We do have a microwave, though.)
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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Just the other day, Belle asked if her bumber sticker made her hind end look bigger......
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:16 PM   #10
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Just the other day, Belle asked if her bumber sticker made her hind end look bigger......
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:33 PM   #11
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Here is a nice pdf of airstream weights that is sometimes hard to find.

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File Type: pdf AS Trailer Weights.pdf (100.7 KB, 102 views)
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:55 PM   #12
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Well sure, all things equal, like length and floorplan, I'd like a lighter one. Why not? I'm not sure how else to answer the question, "is weight important to me?" I would think weight is important, period.

I think my concern was more about where this weight is coming in? For example, are they suddenly using particle board all over? That would be a rather big negative to me. Or maybe "tile floors" which I saw in various Class A MHs a few weeks back? I definitely don't want an RV with tile floors.

Flat TVs? Goodness gracious, my 30" at home weighs but about 30 pounds. Now if they were using old fashioned 30" console TVs I could see a lot of extra weight.

Batteries are heavy, that's for sure. I guess I'll get to find out fairly soon. Right now I am just an ignorant ball of conflicting information.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:23 AM   #13
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I think most of the weight gain is from the interior cabinets and stuff we think we need. Solid surface countertops, wood floors, cabinets made like home units with full oak or other hardwood fronts. Look at older AS products and you will find cabinets made from lightweight materials, even al in some units, and other strong but light materials. The trailers were designed for travel, not to impress someone that wants their vehicle to look like home, complete with glass front walnut cabinets for their wine glasses.

There is a place for "home look" units but in my opinion there are too many made for looks and not for travel. One reason I like my older units is they don't pretend to be home, they are a vehicle for travel maximizing my comfort in a small space.

And yes, larger refrigerators, made up beds, large holding tanks, and all the "stuff" we fee we have to have contributes to the weight gain.

But then tow vehicles have kept up, and can tow heavier units and still get decent milage, relatively speaking. My first AS was a 21 (or 23) foot one towed with a Jeep Cherokee wagon. As I recall, milage was in the 12 range. I just got a new 2012 Grand Cherokee 5.7 L and towing my 4000 # 20' Argosy am averaging 13+ mpg. It is a vastly improved tow vehicle, has far more power and is light years ahead in safety, comfort and so on over the old '79 from way back when.

Weight is not nearly the issue that it can be made out to be. Front surface area and air resistance probably have much more influence, and Airstreams always have been good in that area vs. the big boxes.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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Idroba--

Thanks. I very much agree about interior design. I am putoff by the aesthetic of trying to reproduce home in a trailer with giant puffy furniture, brass plated chandeliers and all the frilly doo-dads over the windows. One of the reasons I like the A/S is that at least in some models, they use a sleeker euro-style that has less unnecessary trimmings and gingerbread.

My personal aesthetic for a TT would be "modern space ship" - not "log cabin in the woods" or "French whorehouse." Most trailers being sold today make me want to puke at the insides. Man, I would LOVE all aluminum cabinets, and lightweight surfaces. If only....

I do realize though that my aesthetic is probably 1% of the buying public, so it's not something I would see commercially.

I guess the obvious answer is Bigger Truck. Too bad.
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