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westie 978 07-03-2018 06:50 PM

2012 27 foot AirStream Classic - 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton Truck Question
 
Hey Everyone,

My husband and I just purchased a 2012 27 Foot AirStream Classic w/ has a GVWR of 9,000 lbs. We have been looking at 2017-2019 trucks to purchase as a towing vehicle. The preference has been a half ton as an everyday driver as well but even with the brand new models with all the bells and whistles for towing we question if they are enough truck if we are traveling cross country.

We have been actively camping for two years with 25 foot with a GVWR of 4500 so a 9000 lb Airstream is a big difference. We just want make sure we are choosing appropriately for our safety and all others on the road.

Trucks we have looked at in the 1/2 ton market include

Chevy 1500 EcoTrec 3 6.2 V8 w/ towing package - max towing 12500
Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 V8 hemi w etorque - max towing 12750
Ford F 150 that they say can have max towing 13,250

We also have read up on the Nissan Titan XD


Any help would be appreciated

uncle_bob 07-03-2018 07:18 PM

Hi

I can at least talk about the Ford.

They more or less made the distinctions between the F-150 / F-250 / F-350 much more "blurry". They now share the same cab and a lot of the same options. As you move up, things like springs and axles do change. The "13,500 tow" F-150 is actually an F-250 in all but name. If you have an issue with the 250 as a daily driver, that 150 will be equally troublesome. On the flip side, since there isn't as much difference as there once was, the F-250 may not be a big deal to you.

Yes, it's confusing.

Bob

AlinCal 07-03-2018 07:20 PM

For me the only choice would be a 3/4 ton truck. Even if a 1/2 ton penciled out payload wise the brakes will not .
We camp in the Sierra Nevada and steep grades are the norm. Heck even a trip to Death valley will put you on an 11% grade over Towne pass.

slowmover 07-04-2018 07:46 AM

If safety is the concern, then a pickup is the worst choice. You both need to do the research which highlights this. Articles by Andrew Thomson are the easiest as he formalized the process any of us went thru fifty and more years ago. He is also consultant to SAE and to Airstream on Towing. His dealership has set up over 10,000 tow rigs. See the Can Am RV website to start. He also posts here as Andrew T. Read all of his posts.

A car is the easiest to tow with.

.

brick1 07-04-2018 07:52 AM

The 1/2 tons will work, but you will be much happier towing with a 3/4 ton diesel. Payload is your biggest issue. Look at the sticker on the door jamb.
I do not know of any current production “car” that is capable of towing 9000 lbs.
Get the diesel 3/4 ton.
brick

sb55 07-04-2018 08:39 AM

I have a Chevy 1500 with the 6.2 and Maximum towing package. My gvw is over 2000 lbs. Great truck as daily driver and it tows my FC30rbt with no issues.

uncle_bob 07-04-2018 09:00 AM

Hi

One interesting factoid: Based on people actually looking at the part numbers on the systems, the actual brakes on the F-150 / 250 / 350 are not as different as you might think.

If you decide to go with the F-150, the 3.5 gas seems to be the most common choice. On the bigger trucks gas / diesel is a big deal. The difference between the two is not as great as it once was. The diesel costs more and weighs more. If a specific "payload" number ( regardless of the relevance of that number) is the target, going diesel will push you to a much larger truck.

Bob

Deeno 07-04-2018 10:19 AM

I've got a 2017 GMC 1/2 ton with the 6.2 and trailering packages, and a 2018 Signature 27fb. Have pulled from Arkansas to LA and back; no problems. Averaged 13.8 mpg.
That said, the recommendations for a 3/4 ton truck are quite valid. My payload is close to maximum with this trailer, and I don't have much surplus capacity on the drive axle. This means I've got to watch the "extra" cargo we may want to carry.. So far, just the wife, dog and I; not many "extras" in the truck bed.
Also, we have the built-in brake controller and once it got calibrated, the rig stops easily, and yes, that capability has been challenged a couple of times. I STRONGLY recommend a built-in brake controller as it merges with the other computer monitoring devices in the truck.
IF you plan to have boats, ATVs, Motorcycles and other "weighty" cargo, the payload of a 1/2 ton will be maxed out, and the ride comfort will suffer (along with the stress on the chassis). Pulling and stopping the weight, and the hills and valleys, will work fine.

Wconley 07-04-2018 10:21 AM

We are currently towing a 2009 27FB Int Signature with a 2013 F150 with the 3.5 EB engine. Our trailer weight is maybe 1500# lighter than yours. We’ve towed over 7,000 miles around the west and SW, including Yosemite, Bryce and 9%grades in Death Valley. Our payload is only 1100# so we have to watch what goes into the truck bed and tongue weight from the trailer. The F150 handles the weight of the trailer okay but we do get porpoising from time to time. Without Diesel engine braking you have properly watch your speeds on long descents and I upgraded my brakes after the Death Valley grade.

We are considering trips longer and farther than last last winter’s 2-1/2 months so we are thinking about a 3/4 ton truck or selective upgrades to the F150 to make it handle the weight a little better. We will want to carry more stuff with us in the truck. We’ve had a couple of emergency situations where the F150 and trailer performed well but I look well down the road and have reacted before the cars in front of us so that helps. All that being said, the F150 works well but I think the F250 may give us a slight edge.

Daquenzer 07-04-2018 10:24 AM

I have an F150 3.5 ecoboost with max tow haul. There is definitely a difference between an F150 3.5 ecoboost and an F250 as far as comfort. I have driven both. You don't need a diesel by the way. And if you think about getting a diesel I would go with the Dodge Ram Cummins. A much better engine for the long term.

1. F150 Ecoboost gets far better mpg for daily driving. I am an appraiser and mpg is a big thing for me. Right now I am averaging 22.8 mpg on a daily basis with my Ford F150 crew cab. The ride is very comfortable.
2. The stability of an F250 is going to be better for towing. And I didn't like it as a daily driver since it is too stiff. However I found that with my Propride Hitch stability is greatly improved. Towing my 28' AS with the Propride makes all the difference.
3. F250 will give you more towing capacity and better stability. The F150 will be better as a daily driver. The question: How much will you be towing it? And where are you planning to tow it? If you are going to tow a lot I would go with the F250. The gas F250 is very very good in towing up hills. Look at the gauntlet test on Youtube. It gets very high marks. Also the gas will give you more payload.
4. I'm contemplating a diesel only because of the engine break if I go to the mountains much. The Nissan XD diesel has no engine break. Go figure. But it stinks for towing. The F250 gas did far better on the gauntlet test than the Nissan XD diesel. In my opinion the Ram 2500 with the cummins diesel is a better engine than the F250 diesel. The cummins has been around a long time and is tried and true. There's a reason cummins is the standard for diesels of all types. Also if you look around you can probably get a Ram Diesel for not much more than a F250 gas.

So based upon your post I say it sounds like your pretty active as a camper. I would go with the F250 gas or the 2500 Ram diesel. Even though I have an F150. But I don't camp that much yet. When I do it will be either an F250 gas or a Ram 2500 diesel. Leaning toward the Ram2500.

And by the way. The Ram 2500 diesel rides pretty decent. And my son (a diesel mechanic) says you can do an after market add on to increase the mpg of the cummins diesel for about $675.

Good luck. Tough decision.

Hankster 07-04-2018 11:01 AM

Our F-150
 
We purchased a 2017 f150, 2wd, extended- not twin cab. Twin turbo with advertised 13k towing capacity. Shortly thereafter we came upon a 28 Safari SE that we could not pass up. We are just back from our first trip through Northern Az and Utah, pulling on steep grades in 100+ temps. We are about 7800 lbs with the Safari loaded. Pulled great and handled steep downgrades just fine. We also had some 30 knot crosswind gusts coming home. This truck got about 13.5 mpg and Never broke a sweat. A very important variable- our 2008 Safari came with a Hensley hitch. It makes a phenomenal difference when it comes to sway control, braking and all around handling. Our 3rd Airstream, but first Hensley. Will never tow with anything else.
Another 1500 lbs? Can't say, but perhaps this info helps you a little.

demijac 07-04-2018 11:08 AM

We Pull Our 27FB with a ToyotaTundra
 
We bought our 27FB instead of a longer unit knowing that it was about as heavy as we cared to pull with our 2007 Tundra with Tow Haul package. We've used our Tundra to pull our 27FB 100K+ miles over the last five years with no problems and have never regretted our decision. We love its overall reliability (240K miles with no major problems), tight turning radius (especially when we are not pulling) and being able to switch to manual downshifting mode when going down steep and curvy roads.

Having said all that, it's important to know that we all have different driving requirements. While we are comfortable with our self-imposed 60 mph maximum speed and letting the Tundra 'find' its own speed up steep grades, you might not be. If you want to drive 70 mph up steep grades and have the money, buy a 3/4 ton.

If cost is a factor and you identify with our thinking, a 1/2 ton with sufficient weight specs and tow package, e.g. Toyota Tundra, should be sufficient.

Johndews 07-04-2018 11:36 AM

1/2 or 3/4 Ton
 
No interest in perpetuating this debate but Iím available to tell you about our experience pulling a 30í Classic with a 15 Sierra 1500, 6.2, Max Trailering Package. DM, call or text 870-866-2052.

John

Rgentum 07-04-2018 11:53 AM

I met a couple at the recent Vintage Airstream Rally in Bend, OR, who were pulling their Airstream 34 (yes, 34) with a newer Ford F150 3.5 Eco, and, despite my amazement, they said their F150 pulled their 34 just fine, no problems. While I'm of the "bigger is better" persuasion (and pull my 27 FB with a Ram/Cummins 3500), I guess it can be done with something less.

Mik 07-04-2018 12:44 PM

MPG Question
 
My 2014 F150 ecoboost gets about 18 mpg highway, or 9 mpg highway when towing our 27FB Flying Cloud - the truck and trailer each weigh about 6,000 lbs.

Wonder why I don't get better mileage when towing, especially after reading Deeno's 13.8. Any advice?

Thanks!

Mike


Quote:

Originally Posted by Deeno (Post 2123710)
I've got a 2017 GMC 1/2 ton with the 6.2 and trailering packages, and a 2018 Signature 27fb. Have pulled from Arkansas to LA and back; no problems. Averaged 13.8 mpg.
That said, the recommendations for a 3/4 ton truck are quite valid. My payload is close to maximum with this trailer, and I don't have much surplus capacity on the drive axle. This means I've got to watch the "extra" cargo we may want to carry.. So far, just the wife, dog and I; not many "extras" in the truck bed.
Also, we have the built-in brake controller and once it got calibrated, the rig stops easily, and yes, that capability has been challenged a couple of times. I STRONGLY recommend a built-in brake controller as it merges with the other computer monitoring devices in the truck.
IF you plan to have boats, ATVs, Motorcycles and other "weighty" cargo, the payload of a 1/2 ton will be maxed out, and the ride comfort will suffer (along with the stress on the chassis). Pulling and stopping the weight, and the hills and valleys, will work fine.


jim6090 07-04-2018 01:31 PM

2016 Ram 1500 eco Diesel 3.92 gears 10 ply tires 30 Ft Flying cloud bunk. over 15k miles. 14-16 MPG average. I drive 70 MPH on most highways. Could not be happier. Air suspension gives best ride of any truck. Propride hitch keeps it stable with no sway. Leaving for a 2600 mile trip in a week.

Wconley 07-04-2018 01:51 PM

Good question re mpg. Our F150 gets about 10.5-10.7 pulling our 27FB overall. Out trip last winter was 5895 miles at 10.8. On the freeway I set the cruise at no more than 65mph and try not to be too heavy with the throttle. Our axle is the 3.31 which I know is not the best for towing but it does just fine.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mik (Post 2123797)
My 2014 F150 ecoboost gets about 18 mpg highway, or 9 mpg highway when towing our 27FB Flying Cloud - the truck and trailer each weigh about 6,000 lbs.

Wonder why I don't get better mileage when towing, especially after reading Deeno's 13.8. Any advice?

Thanks!

Mike


Kent M 07-04-2018 05:07 PM

Capabilities of tow vehicles
 
My experience with towing 30' AS trailers has, like many others, been with a variety of tow vehicles: Ford gassers, as well as Ford diesels and one '82 diesel Blazer with a total of five different Airstreams, all 30' versions.


The Ford F150 will perform quite satisfactorily for you, with obvious differences between the different gassers, and the diesels.


The differences have to do with the obvious differences in torque, vehicle weight, and horsepower. My present vehicle is a 2017 F250 diesel, and the AS is a 2002 Classic. For a gross comparison, I've pulled Raton Pass on I-25 in NE New Mexico in both directions over a dozen times with five different TVs.


The first time was with an Expedition (the first year it was out) with the big gas engine, going north. Top speed was about 40 mph in second gear. No particular strain, but there was no more speed to be had on the way up. Going down on the north side of the pass was in second gear and about 40 with a (very) little help from the braking system. The last time was coming south over the same pass, but with an F250 diesel with the bells and whistles. I set the cruise control on the speed limit on the last level section in very light traffic going up (south), and kept that all the way to the crest of the pass. Coming down, I used the jake brake and staved at about 50-55. The obvious difference between the two tow vehicles was the torque, horsepower, and ease of driving.


Both vehicles were adequate to the task, but one had faster acceleration, better braking, and less wear on the engine because the RPM range was more consistent to what the vehicle was designed to do.



Which one is a better choice? Depends on the driver and the passenger(s). If you're impatient to get there, that's one thing. If you love the scenery, that changes things. And there are all sorts of little details that would take days to catalogue.


One of the major things to keep in mind is that, once you have a satisfactory setup, the smaller vehicle just means you might take longer, but you're still going to get there, and the trip will be worth the trip....and I "said" that just as I meant to.....




Kent
Houston

Abraham 07-04-2018 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowmover (Post 2123635)
if safety is the concern, then a pickup is the worst choice. You both need to do the research which highlights this. Articles by andrew thomson are the easiest as he formalized the process any of us went thru fifty and more years ago. He is also consultant to sae and to airstream on towing. His dealership has set up over 10,000 tow rigs. See the can am rv website to start. He also posts here as andrew t. Read all of his posts.

A car is the easiest to tow with.

.

strange advice from a guy who uses a truck for a tow vehicle ! ! !

Abraham 07-04-2018 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by westie 978 (Post 2123470)
Hey Everyone,

My husband and I just purchased a 2012 27 Foot AirStream Classic w/ has a GVWR of 9,000 lbs. We have been looking at 2017-2019 trucks to purchase as a towing vehicle. The preference has been a half ton as an everyday driver as well but even with the brand new models with all the bells and whistles for towing we question if they are enough truck if we are traveling cross country.

We have been actively camping for two years with 25 foot with a GVWR of 4500 so a 9000 lb Airstream is a big difference. We just want make sure we are choosing appropriately for our safety and all others on the road.

Trucks we have looked at in the 1/2 ton market include

Chevy 1500 EcoTrec 3 6.2 V8 w/ towing package - max towing 12500
Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 V8 hemi w etorque - max towing 12750
Ford F 150 that they say can have max towing 13,250

We also have read up on the Nissan Titan XD


Any help would be appreciated

I'm sure that 1500/150 series trucks will pull the trailer. What about that load of stuff that you will wnat to carry along on some of your trips.

I have a GMC 1500 that I tried out for towing my 25 ft Airstream. When I got a motorcycle and a generator in the truck, it was too close to the limits, so I decided on a new Chevy 2500HD -Diesel 4x4 Crew cab. Yes, it may be overkill, but it works well for me. And I never worry about adding more stuff.

Happy trailering,
Abe


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