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wannastream 03-07-2007 03:29 PM

Truck Decisions
Hello all,

This is my (our) first post here at this Airstream forum. We have read a lot of interesting, fun, and useful posts on this forum and have concluded that there is a great group of people here to chat with so we have joined the forum.

My wife and I are slowly taking the steps necessary to purchase our first travel trailer. Our dream, our preference is for that trailer to be an Airstream. We have looked at several of the current models in the Airstream line up and have decided that a 28W CCD or 28W Safari SE is the perfect Airstream (at least for us). The 28W is a nice combination of size being not massive, but also being not too small. The positives for this model are the walk around bed, and the distinctly defined areas within it. We particularly like the fact that there is a small living area for lounging, an eat-in kitchen, distinct bathroom area, and finally a bedroom with a nice sized walk around bed. We feel that this one trailer model could serve us the rest of our traveling days.

At this time we are looking for a new truck because we need one for general daily use. But we know that since a travel trailer is likely in the near future it only makes sense to obtain a truck now that will meet those towing needs.

I'm the kind of guy who likes to buy something once by buying right. Hence the desire to purchase a long lasting trailer like and Airstream, and we feel that the 28W can serve us in our short trip needs, and later on when retired we can comfortably use it for extended travel.

We are looking at the newly revised 2007 GMC Sierra 1/2 truck (ext cab with standard box bed) equipped with the MAX towing package. This model has the 6.0L V8 and features the upgraded brakes, suspension, heavy duty 3.73 rear end, and has the transmission cooler, etc, etc. The max. tow capacity is 10,300 lbs, GCVW is 16000 lbs, max cargo is 2160 lbs, and curb weight is just under 5000lbs, the wheelbase is 143.5".

The Airstream CCD 28W has a GVWR of 7300 lbs, UBW of about 5440, NCC of about 1865, and has a tongue weight of about 880.

With it just being my wife and me and our two dogs (two 5lb Chihuahuas) we feel that the truck even with the tongue weight and our other cargo will be well below the trucks max cargo capacity we'll probably be around 1200 lbs on the truck with trailer hooked up. Assuming a full trailer @ 7300 lbs and our added weight on the truck itself I'm thinking this truck will meet out towing needs with the 28W Airstream configurations.

Do you all think I'm figuring this correctly? Will we have sufficient "towing gravy"?

GMC does have a 3/4 ton version of this truck also with the 6.0L motor that has a 10,200 lb towing rating with a higher truck cargo capacity but I think this truck is a bit more than we would need for daily use and since it weighs about 500lb more than the 1/2 ton variant it will be more costly to run and higher priced in the initial purchase cost. So we are leaning toward the 1/2 ton with MAX package towing equipment described above.

Any experienced opinions out there willing to chime in with opinions on this are greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,


PS, I hope you all will not mind us hanging around this forum a while and talking about Airstreams, etc even though we don't yet have one .

2airishuman 03-07-2007 03:45 PM

hi bill and welcome to the forums and airstreams....

much depends on how often you will tow...

and to what location.

and IF the truck is the only vehicle for daily driving.

at 28ft for the airstream in question,

a 3/4 ton anything will work much better...

i love the diesel and the built-in brake controller on the ford.

yes the truck you are considering will pull it.

but so will the new toyota tundra,

and it's built in texas!

also consider than many many first time a/s buyers upgrade to a larger unit in the first 2 years of ownership....

so i'd perfer more truck than any 1/2 ton.


moosetags 03-07-2007 04:00 PM

Welcome to the Forums. You will all the Airstream information that you want here.

I have to agree with 2air. You should wait unitil June for the release of the new platform GM 2500 pick-ups. You will be much more comfortable towing a 28 with a 3/4 ton TV. A half ton would be straining. You will really appreciate all of the heavy duty features that come on a 3/4 ton.

We have an '05 25' Safari that we have towed with our 1/2 ton Tahoe, and the TV is marginal. We also have a 2500 Suburban that we tow with, and it does the job. We only use the Tahoe for short hauls in flat country.

Remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the primary cause of perfectly good Airstreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art.

Roadtoaster 03-07-2007 04:01 PM

Bill, our first trailer was a 25' Safari. We pulled with a 2005 Silverado HD CC with the 6.0 engine. Worked fine in this part of the country but it was under powered on the hills. After 6 months of owning the trailer, we knew an upgrade was going to happen. Based on that we bought a 2006 Silverado 2500 HD CC with the Duramax, then bought the 28' Classic. I think the first truck would have been under powered for the new trailer. The diesel will hold its speed (65 mph) up hills without straining.

Wish I had planned better on the front end and bought the 2500 and the 28' first. Would have saved a bunch of money! You are doing it right by thinking and asking.

Good luck on your purchases.


RUSSELL 03-07-2007 04:03 PM

Tow vehicle
Do not get anything smaller than 3/4 ton. Also get the heavy duty towing package. This will give you a trans cooler and a bigger radiator. My prefarance is Chev. 3/4 ton with a standart trans. Great for hills and for mpg. When I say great for hills it means up and down. I use very brakes as little as posible. The C:brows:hev Duramax has an Alison trans. that when you tap the brakes it down shifts automaticly. Great for down the long hills.
Regards from Russell in sunny and warm Tucson Az.:bb:

Silvertwinkie 03-07-2007 04:04 PM

Bill, if given the choice, I'd go 3/4 ton over the 1/2 ton. The operating costs day to day between the two are hard to notice. If the MAX as you call is GMCs version of the 1500HD, then you could be in good shape, but if you are truely the type that like to do it right the first time, go 3/4 ton and if possible grab a diesel if you plan many trips with high miles. Long run, the diesel truck and the Airstream will most likely outlive you both. ;)

wannastream 03-07-2007 04:17 PM


The MAX towing package is the eqivelent of the 1500HD, at least that's what the sales guy has mentioned. It is a significant upgrade to the 1/2 tons towing capability and is the reason why the towing capacity of this particular 1/2 ton enters the range of the 3/4 ton's basic towing ability. More info is available here: GMC | ALL-New GMC Sierra: Trucks: 1500, 2500HD, 3500 Pickups: ALL-New Sierra Specifications click on the towing capacity link.

I'm in no rush (much to the salesman's chagrin) it may well be June before I do any purchasing.


wannastream 03-07-2007 04:26 PM


I did look at the '07 Tundra and actually drove one with the monster 5.7L V8 it was a nice truck, had tons of power. However, it was pricey at about $3K over the comparably equipped Sierra, and that was directly comparing MSRPs the Toyota guys were not really budging much on price and the GM guys are so I imagine I can get into a comparable GM product for about $5K to $6K less than the Toyota. Oh and the Toyota is kind of ugly to boot. The Sierra/Silverado are better riding and quieter than the Tundra that is for sure and with the MAX towing package they are basically as capable in the towing department as the Toyota. Also I liked the dash better in the GM products than the one offered in the Toyota. The GMs were basically more comfortable than the Toyota which surprised me. I do think that the new 1/2 ton Toyota would tow this 28W Airstream if properly equipped, I also think the Sierra/Silverado 1/2 will too if properly equipped. But I want to be dad-gum sure it will.

Thanks for your info. and the welcome!


dbradhstream 03-07-2007 04:39 PM


I pull our 28' SE with a 1/2 ton Chev Avalanche. It gets the job done, but I'm well aware I'm pushing it's limits and I generally don't leave flat land. Still, I haven't found the 28'er to be difficult to handle at all, so my personal feeling is that the 1/2 ton GMC MAX is more than sufficient - heck, it's 10,300 lb capacity is 30% above the GVWR of a 28' trailer!

I've noticed the consensus among forum regulars always seems to be the bigger the better, the more powerful the better, and so on, and it's obviously true that if you go to a heavier duty TV the trailer will be easier to pull, no doubt. However, you WILL sacrifice daily comfort. I've owned an F25O and two Chevy 1/2 tons now, and the difference in the ride quality is night and day. The F250 drove like a buckboard wagon.

The choice you make should really depend on which use is more important to you - daily driving or towing. Just because a 3/4 ton would pull your trailer easier doesn't mean it would unsafe or even difficult to pull it with the 1/2 ton GMC MAX.

ibgl6 03-07-2007 04:50 PM

I have a 06 Chevy 1/2 ton with a 4.9 v8 and a 27ft a/s and it will tow it but it has to grunt hard on a slight hill need more horses only have a few ponies under the hood. I would get a 3/4 ton as soon as I can untill then just towing locally and 60 mph is about all the old girl will do.

CanoeStream 03-07-2007 04:51 PM

The best feature of any 'Big Tow' or 'MAX' package will be the transmission cooler. Full sized brakes & differentials shoulda been there all along -- the new Tundra is listening but the Titan never quite got there (the Big Three always have!). There are further issues whether you label your TV with an HD or 'MAX' package title.

Your 10,300# tow capacity matches you to the 2WD on the GMC site -- fine. Note the disjoint when adding the 10,300# tow capacity & the TV GVWR (6400#); adding the two exceeds the 16000# GCWR, so plan accordingly. I load up my 3/4-ton GMC Sierra D/A with a topper, 2 bicycles, a canoe, a genset and other gear -- I appreciate the large TV payload capacity. You'd better count on close to a 1000# tongue weight with a 28'er -- the WD/antisway gear and loaded propane tanks are aftermarket weights that contribute mostly at tongue weight. AND a spare tire is optional and also added up front. The usual arguments about 1/2- vs. 3/4-ton TV comes when readers are deciding on newer (heavier) 25' Airstreams. IMO a 28' is hands down in need of a full 3/4-ton TV. Everything else about super-imagining a 1/2-tonner is intended to capture the folks thinking about a Ranger. When you're going BIG, I'd think a 3/4 ton is much more in your range.

Okay, my 3/4-ton is a Duramax after all -- inconvenient to operate in the cold and only reaches a decent efficiency at highway speeds. Diesel is something of a PITA, needing warming up first run of the day. But let's just talk gassers as you talk about a focus on general daily use. A 6L should serve you well. The 500# penalty (as you say) of a 3/4-ton won't matter much for longterm economy and will provide more peace of mind of your being in the right towing range.

It is common and I can really streamline checking into campgrounds by filling my water tank before leaving home. Pulling closer to trailer GVWR shouldn't be marginalized by promises to 'be good' and tow at the lighter end of things. I've bought clothes that way...

Don't forget to look at the 27' FB models -- walkaround queen, lots of closet space, nice galley. And I have been in West, TX, on I-35 between Waco and Hillsboro -- hope you can get kolaches as good in East .... ;)

2airishuman 03-07-2007 05:13 PM

hi bill

i agree the toyota is ugly.

how much towing do you plan to do? how many trips per year and how long?

in the wind, in traffic, on a hill (up or down) or when a semi blows by...

having enough truck matters.

many folks here tow happily with 1/2 tons or less,

but trip length, frequency and routes matter.


LI Pets 03-07-2007 05:51 PM

In the long term, the 3/4 will be worth more than the difference on resale/trade.

With the 3/4 you just need the standard tow pack.

hookedonclassic 03-07-2007 05:58 PM

Given that you want to make the right decision the first time, I think a 3/4 ton is the only way to go for you. You'll like the extra margin of towing capacity.

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