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Old 02-27-2013, 10:27 AM   #29
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Me and my wife, our Shih Tzu and my 92lb, 91 year old mom. Payload will probably be exceeded a little but not a lot, we travel light and all the hoses, sewer support, Lynx blocks can be transferred to the rear trailer storage from the back of the 4Runner. I'm counting on the Toyota 4Runner handling a little extra payload for a few years. Worse case I have to go into debt more for a preowned tow vehicle. Might as well have it all paid off when we retire in 5 years.

Kelvin
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:52 AM   #30
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Just throwing this out for thought - I wonder which would cost more:

- Sell the 4Runner (which has a high resale value) and upgrade to a used Sequoia/Tundra. That lets you tow a 25' trailer now with no payload concerns. I think the 3 of you would be happier in a 25' trailer.

- Keep the 4Runner, buy a 23' - then buy a bigger tow vehicle AND a used 25' in a few years.

Of course, there's all sorts of variables here. I just don't want you to get a 23' - then decide to upgrade the tow vehicle anyway, which would have permitted you to get the 25'. That might cause regret.

Tom
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:35 PM   #31
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I hear you and I've argued that with the wife; get the Tundra (preowned) and 25FB (preowned) and bite the bullet now but she is not comfortable with this much spending/debt. I'm hoping the test tow with a 23C/D will provide me with the answer. If we have to get a new tow vehicle we may hold off on the 23 purchase and look for a 25 after we find a new tow vehicle.

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Old 02-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #32
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Five years out from retirement is not a good time to take on debt such as this. The interest you pay could be interest you earn on putting that cash in savings for five years, then buy the Airstream of your dreams and a tow vehicle to match, debt-free. You will have not only the time, but also the money to really enjoy it.

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Old 02-27-2013, 02:41 PM   #33
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So many factors to consider in a purchase like this! I think most agree that zero debt is the ideal when you retire, but if you can't get there, do make choices that won't lock you down....and at the same time, remember, you only get one chance.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #34
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Its hard to predict the future and 5 years is not a long time (just a car payment schedule now) but one of the reasons to upgrade from the Casita now is to take my 91 year old mom (and her dog) with us. Mom is having some memory issues and seems to be getting worse and I think taking her out with us on trips will be good stimulation for her. Who know whether we will even be able to use our trailers in 5 years time the way things are going in Washington. We figure even if something happens and we need to sell the Airstream in the future there will be buyers for it unlike a stick trailer. However, if a stick trailer had the same floor plan as the 25FB I'd probably buy that as an alternative and throw it away in 10 years.
So a preowned 23C/D seems the perfect compromise to take mom, get a quality trailer that is not too big or small, hopefully towable by the 4Runner and is sellable in the future.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:53 PM   #35
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That's fair logic. We also made our purchase decisions to avoid debt. Like you said, a 2006-2008ish 23' is at a nice point in its depreciation curve where it won't lose much if you decide to upgrade in a few years. Or you might love it and decide to keep it. Either way, the best thing would be to start enjoying it with Mom now - that's a nice thing you're doing.

I would PM with Andy Thomson at CanAm RV (Andrew_T is his user name on the forums) to get advice on how to best optimize the 4Runner for towing. His advice, from his extensive collection of clients, can help the combination handle better.

Tom
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:57 PM   #36
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Andy and I have emailed each other about the 4Runner. He suggests changing tires from the 265/65 17 to 235/65 17XL. It changes the speedometer readings but not sure the odometer. My tires are still good and I'm not too keen on changing to a non standard size. He wanted me to go with a Hensley or with a conventional the the Eaz Lift with two friction bars. Hensley is too heavy at 200lbs for my liking. I would use the EAZ Lift and two sway bars. He didn't recommend the Equalizer 4 Pt. Not enough travel in the bars and feels that your really have to watch out for dips in the road or gas station entrances, but I know lots of people use this hitch.
After all our friend, MrUKToad, tows his 28ft AS with a Toyota Sienna mini van with an Eaz Lift and two friction sway bars. His Sienna van doesn't look that good on paper as a tow vehicle for such a large trailer, yet he has been towing for several seasons. The wheelbase is only 10" longer than the 4Runner, the GVWR is about the same and depending on the model the payload isn't much more than my 4Runner but I want to tow a lighter, less wide and shorter AS. I think my Toyota 4Runner can handle a little extra payload. When I find a 23C/D and hitch it up for a test tow I'll know whether it is suitable. I was scared out of my pants when I first towed the Casita home but after a couple of years of towing it I will be able to compare a 23C/D behind me with a WDH to the handling of the Casita. If the AS is worse then I know it won't work. If the price of the 23C/D is a good price I may still buy it and get a different TV.

Kelvin
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:08 PM   #37
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I understand the reluctance to get rid of perfectly good tires. But the tire change will take a lot of the "mush" out of the handling by getting rid of the off-road-biased tires. (And it's cheaper than a new tow vehicle) As for hitches, I'm happy with my Eaz-Lift. Lots of people might use something else, but I doubt few of them have examined all of the issues as throughly as Andy.

Careful not to discount his suggestions just because a puny-seeming minivan can tow a 28'. There are a lot of inherent design differences between the Sienna and the 4Runner. The minivan has multiple handling advantages - a considerably lower center of gravity, lower profile tires (reducing sidewall flex), a wider track, a short rear overhang, and independent rear suspension. A 10" longer wheelbase is quite a lot, relatively-speaking.

That said, if you're going from a Casita with no WDH to the 23' Airstream with one, just using the WDH will help a lot in how confident the rig feels. I saw a similar improvement going from my T@B (no WDH) to my Argosy w/WDH. (That said, Andy's shop had tuned that set-up.)

Tom
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:43 AM   #38
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The floorplan that I have is great for me. I have read criticisms of it on this forum as 1) tight bathroom, 2)don't like the twin beds, 3)have to set up a table each time to eat.

I say, keep the table out of the way until needed, the twins offer the most floor space and are the equivalent to half a king sized bed and well, yes the bathroom is tight but get your business done and get out.

The couch, flip table and credenza floor plan were available from 1985 through 2008 in various models and lengths and then fell to the 23' size and now I guess only the Classic with a dinette too. Interestingly, go to the Airstream website and look up the specifications for 1992. Almost all the models had this type of floorplan!

You will find the floorplan you like and exact preference will not be known until you get one really. I realized while shopping that I wanted a twin model for the extra floor space, the extra exterior storage and the ability to use the bedroom as a change room PLUS better access to the roof lockers. That was too much advantage to be overlooked- to me. Others think differently. I would strongly consider a 25' and definitely used. Get an idea though if you want bare metal walls or the white upholstery with vinyl ceiling. That too will narrow your model choice and used options/years available. I bought four years from retirement (last year) and it took me a year to go over the trailer and get it maintenance and camp ready (for me) and I still have a short list to do. Here it is when I bought it. Note too that I have RV windows and not the Airstream windows. The difference? Only the bottom opens 4", the rest of the window is fixed. I do not mind this because I get enough air. These windows seem to be tinted more and another benefit is that you are not looking through screens but the airstream windows are nice too. Another thing is that the wrap-around windows on the front and rear are more preferred. I would not want a wrap window in the bedroom but the front room would be nice. Oh and where the bedroom is another toss up. The Long Honeymoon couple absolutely says go rear bedroom. Others- different. Be careful with those windows, it seems that in '05 models or so, they seemed to leak a lot. You can see my prefs. Have fun looking. If your Toyota is set up for 7 pin Class IV then you could start with it probably watching that payload as best as possible and also being aware that many models of 25 have 7300lb gross. Others have 7000lb gross. That would mean full tanks, etc. I know you could get a Safari 25 and use your Toyota for a while carefully as it is about 5000 lbs. dry. Not sure about Safari SE. I believe those windows add weight.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:19 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
It changes the speedometer readings but not sure the odometer.
Kelvin
Yes it changes the odometer, they find the number the same way, the number of tires rotations times tire circumference.

If speedometer reads 65mph and you are going 60mph, then the odometer reads you went 65 miles and you went 60 miles.

With modern vehicles the computer can be adjusted to correct this.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:53 AM   #40
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When I get a chance to test tow a 23C/D and if it doesn't handle at least as well as towing with the Casita then we'll probably pull back from any purchase. I don't want to take the chance of replacing the tires just to find it still doesn't feel safe.

Kelvin
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:49 PM   #41
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When I get a chance to test tow a 23C/D and if it doesn't handle at least as well as towing with the Casita then we'll probably pull back from any purchase. I don't want to take the chance of replacing the tires just to find it still doesn't feel safe.

Kelvin
You will not be able to evaluate the 23D/TV combo without tuning the weight dist. to your TV. Sure you could get a rough idea. Just the fact that you are having such a tough time trying to justify that the combo will work, answers your own question.

Good luck finding anyone that will agree to let you test tow with that circumstance. I would not let you tow my AS with a subpar TV. You can not just slap on someone elses WD hitch and expect it to work with your TV. It has to be tuned properly.

I own a 23D. I first purchased a 07 Tundra reg cab 4.7 in 07, I then purchased the 23D new in 07, I then sold the Tundra 4.7 and purchased a new 07 Tundra 5.7 double cab.

The first Tundra 4.7 towed the AS but not up and down any hills and very sluggish. The second Tundra 5.7 tows the AS like a dream boat and plenty of power.

Just reporting my experience that is similar to what your are discussing. Good luck.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:54 PM   #42
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The interest you pay could be interest you earn
haha!
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