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Old 09-06-2016, 09:09 AM   #1
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Tow Vehicle for 2016/17 Classic

Hello everybody - I'm new to this forum. I'm sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseam, but I have to ask anyway.

My wife and I bought a new Roadtrek RS Adventurous 3 yrs ago as an RVing experiment to see if we would enjoy it, as I am retiring in the next 1-2 years and we want to tour the country for a year or so. We really like the RV lifestyle. The only issue is that we want something bigger, so we've landed on an Airstream.

The dilemma is that we have a 2015 Ram Ecodiesel. We love the truck, but as fate would have it my wife wants to buy a new Classic. So we're afraid it isn't enough truck. I note that the tongue weight on the Classic is less than the Flying Cloud, which theoretically helps with the payload question. So my logic is that we could probably tow the Classic if not loaded to 10K lbs, as the Ram towing guide rates the truck for about 8800 lbs and the Classic base weight is 7365, which yields about a 1400 lb cushion. So we would have to be careful with loading it. Empty tanks (water, grey & black), etc... We would also equip the Classic with a ProPride or Hensley hitch.

So...we're thinking that it might make sense to try the Ecodiesel before we buy a 2500 with a Cummins, which is around 70K (ouch)! What do you guys with experience think? Theory is one thing but experience is better.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:38 AM   #2
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We would hate to give up the maneuverability of our Flying Cloud 25, but have considered and looked at the new Classic. The extra space would be nice in the camp site.

Our EcoDiesel handles the 25 with ease, a really nice towing combination with a great deal of credit to the ProPride hitch for towing stability when the semi's blow by or gusting side winds. We have 3.92 axle ratios which are very good for climbing and descending hills, power and engine compression braking.

My sense based on using this Ecodiesel is it would do fine with the new Classic, slowing for climbing and descending the steep grades. We already load our truck lightly, and could easily manage a light load in the Classic.

I would have two upgrades. A ProPride hitch (which we already have) for absolute stability, and disc brakes installed on the Classic to for consistent braking reliability on the long downhill grades.

I think success will be in managing the loads as you mentioned, and coming from a camper van it should be easier.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:50 AM   #3
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DKottum does as I cannot and that is travel light. I need my stuff and I like the control the 3/4 ton truck has for our 30' AS.
Why not test out the Eco diesel and see how it does - may be just fine in the flat lands or short hill territory. If it doesn't feel right go to a more substantial tow vehicle.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:19 AM   #4
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Your truck will do fine with the Classic if, as you say, you're careful loading. If you want to carry a Harley and the inlaws as well, then no, your truck won't do.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:31 AM   #5
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Thanks Doug. We too have the 3.92 rear end. I will look into the disk brake suggestion; makes a lot of sense.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:03 PM   #6
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I had the Eco diesel . Pulled a 30 fc, scale weight was 13200 with full water. We pack light and the truck did well, however in some of the small hills here in the east the temp and water gauges (oil) went into the 235-245 range. Iworried about popping hoses and frying the motor. Have a2500 ram with a cummings.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:25 PM   #7
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I'll give you my experience for whatever that's worth, but I'm not interested in getting into one of THOSE "tow vehicle" or "this hitch system will fix all your issues" discussions....been there, done that. I've towed with what would be considered an undersized vehicle that had a modified hitch, then an EcoDiesel and now a 2500CTD. People tend to tout what they own, I was guilty of that, but now I've experienced the different towing setups (small, med, large) and feel that I can give good feedback .....coles notes....I'm MUCH happier with 2500.

When I lived in Ontario with a 28' FC, the "undersized" vehicle (setup by one of the premier hitch experts) did a fine job ....no big mountains, no long descents and I was very strict about managing weight. However, I was always "over thinking" about the tow ....do I have too much gear, how much water/waste am I carrying, am I going too fast, am I in the correct gear for this "hill" etc etc etc....something was always on my mind while I towed and it tires you out mentally. Also, while she understood, my wife didn't like the weight restrictions I put on our "comfort" and recreational items.

When I moved out to the edge of the Rockies I wasn't mentally comfortable towing with the "under sized" vehicle and hastily purchased "a truck"....a 2015 Ecodiesel Limited. While not towing I loved my Ecodiesel....Great mileage, comfortable suspension, and all the bells and whistles. However, after more investigation I found the payload numbers were actually less than the "undersized" vehicle and therefore the same limitations and thoughts were on my mind while towing.....but this time I was dealing with mountains, not hills. Long ascents, followed by long descents. Also, my experience was that the EcoDiesels higher center of gravity and "comfortable/compliant" suspension translated into a less than confident feel (overall stability) while towing.....yes, the hitch was setup correctly.

Around the time I was considering upgrading my truck (again) I decided to sell my FC and purchase a Classic.....I wanted more information on truck/trailer combinations and spoke to a good friend. He also had an Ecodiesel with a 30' FC, upgraded to a Classic and (also) found the combination inadequate for mountain travel....btw, he uses a Hensley. He upgraded to a 2500 Denali Diesel and was astonished at the difference between it and the 1500 Ecodiesel.....Rave reviews every time he travelled. I was convinced and purchased a '16 RAM 2500 CTD Limited with Air suspension.....I wasn't giving up my Ramboxes

After several thousand km of travel this summer with the Classic and 2500 I will never go back to a 1500 pickup. Knowing you have the right tool for the job, regardless of terrain is LIBERATING. First, it feels infinitely more stable down the road. We no longer have to worry about what we bring on our travels (*wife very happy...this is an important point*)......we are going on a 5-6 hour stint and want to carry a full load of water....no problem. Bikes/Kayaks...no problem. I'm never worrying about having enough power going up a mountain pass (always oodles in reserve) or control/braking going down .....I still giggle every time the exhaust brake kicks in on long mountain descents and I don't even have to touch the brakes. All around, I'm mentally more comfortable....and that's a HUGE advantage.

As for 2500's being less physically comfortable while not towing......maybe it's the optional air suspension, perhaps its just getting used to it.....it doesn't even phase me anymore. However, when I get into a 1500, it feels like a toy. In my opinion and based on my experience with all three setups, there is a greater difference between the 1500 and 2500 then between the 1500 and "undersized" SUV in towing performance.

If you plan on travelling any mountains in Canada/US and don't want to constantly worry about payload, what you are carrying (water, gear, toys etc.) and want to pull a Classic......get a 2500/3500 Diesel.....you won't regret it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:52 PM   #8
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Before you decide, do yourself a favor and test drive a 2017 Ford Super Duty. An amazing new tow truck.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:59 PM   #9
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Before you decide, do yourself a favor and test drive a 2017 Ford Super Duty. An amazing new tow truck.


I've also heard good things about the new Ford....but I'm not giving up my Ramboxes....I could never live without them at this point
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:06 PM   #10
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Those are some excellent replies without anyone getting into "my trucks better than your truck/car" discussions, just sticking to facts. And the fact is, a 2500 diesel, for towing, is very difficult to improve upon for all the stated reasons coming from experienced people.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #11
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Thanks everybody for some really good responses from experienced people! I'll keep everybody posted on our decision.

The first step is to sell our Roadtrek, which is in progress. Then we will decide where to buy the Classic. I live in the Houston, TX area but the local dealer does not trip our trigger. We been to Camper Clinic in Buda, TX. They have a nice inventory. But we may fly to Colonial to check them out.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #12
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Among the reasons we have stayed with the Ram 1500 over the 2500 is that it's lighter weight and lower center of gravity is easier to stop, easier to control when you have to, less likely to roll over when you can't, and less likely to injure it's occupants and others if you do. The EcoDiesel rides very well for us and our Airstream and gets remarkable fuel economy.

And the o.p. already has one.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Among the reasons we have stayed with the Ram 1500 over the 2500 is that it's lighter weight and lower center of gravity is easier to stop, easier to control when you have to, less likely to roll over when you can't, and less likely to injure it's occupants and others if you do. The EcoDiesel rides very well for us and our Airstream and gets remarkable fuel economy.

And the o.p. already has one.

LOL, this is precisely the type of misinformation, direct inexperience and scare tactics that start those long disputes that I alluded to in my orignal post.....and Doug (don't take this wrong ), but for some reason you have a knack for it. Step back a bit. I've been there, I touted the same information to make me feel better about my previous decisions/situation....it's also cost me a bunch of money to do it right. Please listen to some real world experience.

Having owned both and towed with both, I have NEVER felt the slightly higher CoG to be a safety concern in handling or braking. In fact, the 2500 feels MORE in control because the suspension/frame/tires are much stiffer. It feels more confident, especially when hauling any weight. To me, the 1500 felt "wobbly" and unsure and even without the trailer was tossed around in wind considerably more....I've found the extra weight of the 2500 is a GOOD THING, especially when towing an 8000lbs+ trailer. I understand the physics of weight/momentum etc, but having towed with both has shown me that other variables are also important factors in towing performance ...and peace of mind is a big one.

The Classic is minimum ~2K pounds heavier than your 25' and MY EXPERIENCE shows that it requires a different class of tow vehicle for confident towing, especially in particular terrain. If your Ecodiesel works for you and your particular trailer/situation (including having to limit payload etc.), that's excellent ...but the OP asked about a Classic. If someone asked me about towing a 20K pound 5th wheel, I would have no input.... but I suspect a Freighliner Sport would be the way to go

If you tow a Classic with a 1500 and 2500 and come back and say the 1500 is a better tool.....I'll be amazed and won't believe you ..... but I'll respect your comments
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:13 PM   #14
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I've also heard good things about the new Ford....but I'm not giving up my Ramboxes....I could never live without them at this point
Consider the Ford. If you're ever in a front end collision the Ford is far stronger than the Dodge. Not an opinion just a fact determined through crash data. Not trying to upset the Dodge lover. Just FYI make your own choice
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:23 PM   #15
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Here is the experience of another user pulling a 28 (lighter than a Classic) with Ram EcoDiesel. He is also moving on to an HD truck:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1846889

Per Ram website a Ram 1500 Laramie EcoDiesel 4X4 has a tow rating of 8350# and a payload rating of 1100#. A Ram 2500 Laramie Cummins 4X4 has a tow rating of 17100# and a payload rating of 2250#. That more than twice the tow/payload ratings.

Tow ratings (and payload ratings) exist for a reason. They are there so customers can make an informed decision.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:24 PM   #16
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I just have to ask. You are telling us that the lighter truck with smaller brakes and a lighter frame is somehow better at stopping a trailer and controlling the trailer and is less likely to overturn in a collision due to its lower center of gravity . That seems to defy logic, physics and common sense. Please don't be offended but what actual science or testing did you base this opinion upon. I will gladly take any facts into consideration and change my understanding of how things work if I am wrong in my belief that in most circumstances the vehicle with the largest mass and biggest engine usually wins. No offense is intended by my comments.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:03 PM   #17
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I like a lot of of others started out with a F150, great truck but as others have said the half ton just wasn't happy in the hills. Bought a 250 diesel and couldn't believe the difference. I feel much more in control and relaxed. Oh and as for the comments on the 2017 F250 all true, this truck is worth looking into. I picked mine up last week.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:28 PM   #18
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The only way to stop worrying about making the right decision is to GO BIG. With my 2015 F250 Powerstroke TV I NEVER worry about the calculations for towing my 2015 27' FC. It's always right, always safe, always economical.

As always...JUST HAVE FUN!!!
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:17 PM   #19
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Several years ago, my sweetie & I bought a 32 ft, 10K lb, Forest River 5th wheel. We also bought a Ram 2500 diesel to tow it. At the end of our first day of our "maiden voyage" with the 5th wheel, I turned to her & said, "This doesn't work for me --- too big, too much. I just don't feel comfortable towing it." We turned around & returned home, went to the next RV show, saw the Airstream exhibit, & eventually traded the 5th wheel in on an AS 27 FB, at 6K lb.

Several weeks ago, we returned from our "maiden voyage" with the AS 27 --- 9K miles in 6 weeks, from Seattle to the AS rally in WV, around the midwest, then back home. We're now on our 2nd trip, down the OR coast, & are now in the redwoods on the northern CA coast, between Crescent City & Eureka.

What I can say is that towing our AS 27, all of 6K lbs of it, with the Ram 2500 diesel is a DELIGHT!!! Yes, it slows down the Ram a little bit in pickup --- it feels as if I have a full load of gravel in the bed, so I'm not going to break any zero to 60 acceleration records. But other than the extra weight, it's as if the trailer is just NOT THERE --- whether on the flats or over the Rockies. [And, yes, I've owned an (older) F150: no comparison. May be the newer ones are better, but mine had real problems when I put an 8 ft, non-self-contained Lance camper on it.]

Two comments:

1. I paid approx. $55K for my 2015 Ram 2500 diesel 4x4 Laramie with a lot of options on it (but neither air suspension nor Ramboxes) so $70K seems unrealistically high to me unless your dealer simply won't negotiate.

2. I shopped nationally, from coast to coast, for our AS 27, and got the best price, by over $1K, from Toscano RV, in Los Banos, CA --- exactly $7K less than the best quote from our local dealer, AS Adventures, in the NW & SF.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:37 PM   #20
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Forum member VernDiesel has considerable experience with his EcoDiesel towing Airstreams commercially and gives some very good insights here in post 25 and 26. My EcoDiesel experience agrees with his for the most part.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1846752
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