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Old Nick 05-16-2005 09:10 PM

Newbie question
 
Hi Everyone
My wife and I are looking for our first TT. We own a Ford F-150 5.4L 4x4 with factory tow package on a 139 inch wheelbase.
I've convinced her that an Airstream has best volume to weight ratio and quality construction.
Ford's web site states that our truck can pull 7800 lbs (I think). I found a list of trailer weights on Airstream's web site. I've looked through this great forum, and have gotten the impression that it's safe to tow about 80% of rated capacity. Will this allow us to pull a trailer with a dry weight of 5600 lbs? What would the maximum safe length be?
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks in advance, Nick Hutsell

P.S. I drove over the road in the sixties, and saw my first Airstream in 1963. I was following a car pulling what might have been a 19 footer east on Hwy.40. Then a two lane road, now I-80.
There was a stiff wind out of the north which was trying to push us south. Every time we passed a silo on our left the driver got pretty busy keeping that rig from jumping across the road! I was amazed that a car could keep that trailer under control. Impressive!

Jim & Susan 05-16-2005 09:35 PM

Hey Nick, I recently bought a 1998 F150, auto tranny, 5.4 Triton, 3.55 gear ratio, extended cab with towing package. My owners manual tells me I can tow 8000 lbs. I own a 1973 27’ Overlander which is “under renovation” in my backyard (read that lots of pieces, still!). Dry weight on the camper is 4500 lbs. I figure about 6000 lbs loaded is what it will weigh. I think I’ve got enough truck for it. I think you could easily pull 6000 lbs with yours. The towing limits vary a bit based on year of manufacture, etc, but you should be o.k. The 4x4 adds extra towing capacity, also.

There are others on the forum who know the “science” of towing limits and some of them will certainly chime in. Believe me, they know a lot more about this than me. But I think you’ll be ok with a trailer that weighs 6000 lbs, in toto. BTW, its not so much the length with these types of trailers, but the weight. A lot of guys and gals say go with nothing less than a ¾ ton, I simply can’t afford one right now.

There are mathematical formulas to figure all this stuff, but I can’t recall where they are right now. Search around on the forum and you’ll find ‘em. Also, others will be happy to provide links and other info.

Welcome to the forum.

Jim


overlander64 05-16-2005 09:42 PM

Newbie question
 
Greetings Old Nick!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Nick
Hi Everyone
My wife and I are looking for our first TT. We own a Ford F-150 5.4L 4x4 with factory tow package on a 139 inch wheelbase.
I've convinced her that an Airstream has best volume to weight ratio and quality construction.
Ford's web site states that our truck can pull 7800 lbs (I think). I found a list of trailer weights on Airstream's web site. I've looked through this great forum, and have gotten the impression that it's safe to tow about 80% of rated capacity. Will this allow us to pull a trailer with a dry weight of 5600 lbs? What would the maximum safe length be?
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks in advance, Nick Hutsell

When considering empty weight as published by Airstream, the figure does not include optional equipment, fluids (water, LP, etc.), nor personal possessions. A 5,600 pound empty (dry) weight coach will likely approach 7,000 pounds when fully loaded. Airstream didn't publish Gross Vehicle Weight ratings for the older coaches on the weights and measures page until 1989 so it is necessary to estimate the approximate gross weight when shopping. My experience has been that you can anticipate about 500 pounds for optional equipment and at least 1,000 pounds for incidentals (water, LP, and personal possessions).

As an example, my '64 Overlander has a published empty weight of 3,930 pounds, but in actuality weighs in at 4,440 pounds empty and has a hitch weight of 575 pounds empty (compared to the factory figure of 405 pounds empty). When fully loaded for an extended vacation, the Gross Weight of the coach is 6,100 pounds with a hitch weight of 775 pounds.

I am a firm believer in the 80% guideline (using the Gross Weight of the towed load) -- my Suburban is actually closer to 61% with the Overlander and 31% with the Minuet; but its predecessor was a K1500 Chevrolet Z-71 Club Cab Pickup with the 5.7 Liter V8 (94% of factory trailer tow rating) and the truck simply was overwhelmed by the Overlander when facing a grade of any significance (it only made one trip through the mountains before the Suburban was ordered as its replacement). In rare instances, I do tow the Overlander with the Cadillac (100% of factory trailer tow rating) and it is obvious that the drivetrain is struggling with the weight (the final drive just was not made for towing) -- it does work quite well with the Minuet (52% of factory trailer tow rating).

I am sure that one of the other Forum members will be able to provide you with the reference for the discussion regarding wheelbase vs. trailer length. My primary concern has been with factory trailer tow rating, engine displacement, horse power, and torqure figures when qualifying my tow vehicles.

Good luck with your investigation and search!

Kevin

Big Dee 05-16-2005 10:26 PM

Welcome Old Nick!
 
Always good to see a first posting from a new member. You have come to the right place when seeking knowledge on towing. Many will chime in with good advice on your particular situation. I have two pieces of advice:

1) Use the forum search, as the knowledge you are seeking is out there. There are many, many good threads where a good education can be had. Search, search, search. Read, read, read.

2) Find anything written by RoadKingMoe on towing weights and read. Then reread. I consider him our resident towing weight guru. I have learned much from him, as many have. A big thing he taught me was that factory tow ratings are marketing gimics. True weight ratings are GCVWR (gross combined), GVWR, axle ratings.

Silvertwinkie 05-16-2005 11:27 PM

Hey Nick.

I agree, if you do a search you'll find lots of great towing info.

Per your question, speaking stricly new or newer (1999-2005), you could most likely tow up to a 28' unit fairly safely given the wheelbase. Engine and tow rating, I would say 25' might be your best bet and/or as far as I might go with the 1/2 tonner.

Vintage, I think you could very easily do 28 depending on model and weight since the older units tended to weigh less than the new(er) units.

Old Nick 05-17-2005 06:21 AM

Thanks Jim, Kevin, Big Dee, Silvertwinkie !

I will keep looking at the older, lighter Airstreams on the market, and hope to see you on the road!
Nick


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