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RivetNV 04-29-2013 09:52 PM

Towing larger trailers with SUV or 1/2 ton trucks
We are considering moving from our 20'FB Safari to a larger and as yet indeterminate size. I have read a lot of posts for and against going to trailer sizes longer than 25' and towing with a regular full size SUV such as Expedition or Suburban (1500), or 1/2 ton truck such as F150 or Tundra.

For those that have successfully towed the longer airstreams with these vehicles I would like to hear the details such as upgraded tires, which WD hitch (Was there a learning curve in your getting the set-up dialed in?), upgraded suspension, upgraded brakes, or even if you just left everything stock. I am hoping for the opportunity for the rest of us to learn from your success. Also, if you towed in the mountains, how was that experience? If you didn't, please mention that.

I'm hoping to get a sense of the practical (and safe) limits of these types of vehicles based on others successes.

SteveH 04-29-2013 10:02 PM

dkottum 04-29-2013 11:01 PM

We went from 20' to 25' and there was little difference felt in towing. Last fall we bought a 2012 Ram Express 5.7 Reg cab with towing pkg, 16" Michelin trailer tires/wheels for reliability, and a Propride hitch for excellent weight distribution and a completely stable and uneventful towing experience. We do not carry a lot of gear in the truck, bicycles, hoses, chocks and such, and balance our loading of the trailer. We have towed this coast to coast and up to 8,000 ft without any difficulty; a very pleasant ride virtually indifferent to winds, passing semi's, irregular road surfaces.

Another test of the rig last week we were towing downhill, slight curve, bridge at the bottom when three deer came running in front of us. The braking was straight, steering excellent, and everything under control as I was lucky enough to steer between them. Scary but satisfying.

doug k

mefly2 04-30-2013 12:24 AM

Agree with Doug ...We are using the same EQ brand WD hitch on our 25 as we did on the 20. We moved to a 3/4 T Ram only because that was required to get a diesel and we wanted a diesel for the torque available on the mountain passes ... in every direction from where we live in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. An added plus is the compression brake and larger standard brakes, tow / haul, etc. with the newer TV.

RivetNV 05-01-2013 09:02 PM

Towing larger trailers with SUV or 1/2 ton trucks
Steve H

Thank you for the link to your thread on the same topic. Very good reading.


That's good to know about the 25'. The 25s I have looked at have quite a bit more gross weight as compared to the 20s. I guess at least some of that is the much larger storage tanks which is variable weight. Still, nice to know that extra 5 feet is barely discernable. Our 20 is the only towing we have ever done.


Did you have the opportunity to tow the 25 before you got the diesel?


n2916s 05-01-2013 09:30 PM

I have towed my 31' Sovereign about 50000 miles now with my trusty old Nissan Titan.

I use a Reese Straight Line hitch.
Trailer has standard brakes and has Centramatics.
Only upgrade to the truck was slotted/dimpled front rotors.

Tows great. Never an exciting moment. However the truck just passed 154000 miles so I suspect a new TV is in my future before too long.


dkottum 05-01-2013 09:43 PM

On towing a 20' or 25', the difference in max loaded weight is about 1300#. Compare that to the total weight of our pickup and the 20' trailer together at about 11,500# and the difference seems less significant, unless climbing very steep grades.

A large resistance in towing is the frontal area of the trailer; there is little difference between the two. The 25' rests on two axles, so it does feel more stable.

When I traded trailers I had a Tundra 4.7 pickup, yet even with that size engine it was difficult to feel the engine working harder. Note that I never load much in the 1/2 ton pickup, bicycles and a few trailer accessories, sometimes a generator but now with solar power we often leave that at home.

My best improvement by far to towing was a Propride hitch with 1400# bars (as recommended by Sean at Propride). Completely different experience.

doug k

Gene 05-01-2013 10:04 PM

We tow a 25' FB Safari with a 5.7 L. Tundra. No problems with towing, power over very high mountain passes and it has been reliable over 45,000 miles of towing. The differences in weight with 27's and 28's is not that great and I think the Tundra could tow either without a problem. An Equalizer hitch takes some thought to adjust, but can be done.

Payload is the issue with 1/2 ton trucks, but we can make it under the limit. Check carefully on payload as different trim lines, engines, packages, options, models can have very different payload and are sometimes hard to determine.


daveswenson 05-01-2013 10:06 PM

I'm towing our 28' International with a 2003 Lincoln Navigator with a 5.4 l V8. I was concerned that it wasn't powerful enough. So far it's done very well. I've towed over Snoqualmie pass which is about 3500 ft high. Had it floored to keep 45 mph but I kept up with the semi's. I've upgraded the brakes, mostly for my peace of mind. I have an Equal-i-zer. When this TV dies I'll probably get a 3/4 ton diesel, it's a guy thing, but for now my 1/2 ton SUV is doing just fine.

Hodum 05-01-2013 11:07 PM

I tow a 34 ftr. with a F-250 diesel but recently came upon a couple from Canada towing a 34 with a Toyota Tundra. They were traveling at Interstate speeds with apparent ease, looking happy and at ease. In years past heavy cars towed most Airstreams. Some of us just like bigger trucks.

wahoonc 05-02-2013 06:26 AM

I have towed my 1975 Sovereign 31' GVW 7200# (usually in the 6500# range) with my wife's 2003 F150 Super Cab short bed, 4.6 V-8. We use an Equalizer hitch and stay out of the deep mountains. The 4.6 just doesn't have enough grunt power. If that truck had the 5.4 I think it would do just fine. It does have a the factory tow package on it and a tow rating of 7000# I have scaled it and we were under the GCVWR.

Aaron :cool:

withidl 05-02-2013 06:56 AM

I've been over the continental divide 3 times with my assembly; see my avatar; search on "withidl".

RivetNV 05-02-2013 07:07 AM


I think I recall that you wanted to avoid suicide doors. Is there a practical reason, or is it just personal preference?


Did your Titan come with a hitch installed? I have looked into the possibility of upgrading the hitch on a vehicle and the hitch stores I spoke with said they wouldn't do it if the hitch is welded to the frame. The dealership wouldn't do it either.


You said the propride was a completely different experience. Did you have a different brand WD hitch previously?

Very good suggestions on the brakes from a few folks. That sounds like a safe choice. Even when not towing.

n2916s 05-02-2013 03:58 PM

My hitch came with the Tow Package. It is very herky -- no problems so far. I don't think you would need to upgrade it.

The Titan is in need of an upgrade -- the interior is pretty spartan and it doesn't have all the bells and whistles the new trucks have. My brother in law pulls his 28' FB with a new Tundra and I like that rig a lot.

Cummins and Nissan are driving a Titan around with a diesel in it and rumor is it will hit the market in 2014. Might be interesting.

Enjoy your quest,


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