Originally Posted by Pilgrimsoul
I have just purchased in 1970 TradeWind. My question is so basic you all might laugh. However, I simply do not know. What can safely tow this thing? It weighs 4200 pounds dry weight, which probably means at least 5500 pounds fully loaded. I was looking at a Yukon Denali earlier but I think that it's too light. So I turned to the bunch, who knows the most. HELP!
Hi and welcome to the Forums,
Congratulations on your new TradeWind.
You are about to get all kinds of advice, some will tell you a minivan will pull your trailer while others will insist that you need a one ton diesel dually with a long bed. Similarly, some will tell you that you need a Hensley Hitch while others will tell you that you can make do with the cheapest anti-sway hitch out there. A lot will depend on your particular situation as to what is correct for you, but truly the advice that you get her on the Forums is some of the best advice that you will get anywhere, period. (IMHO)
Now back to your question, like you I'm looking for a new tow vehicle and was considering the Tahoe / Yukon twins and I really liked the idea of a VW Tourage TDI for it's mileage. All of these vehicles can tow your Airstream without problem. Where I ran into problems was with tongue weight & toy weight.
When the manufacturers list capacities they include only a driver (no passengers) and an empty vehicle. So you need to add the weight of your passengers and fuel and tongue weight to figure out what else if anything you can carry in the tow vehicle. When I did this little calculation, I discovered that I was painfully close to the limits of or exceeded the limits of the these vehicles. So I began to look at the 3/4 ton vehicles like the Yukon XL, Sierra 2500HD and the F-250. Also to avoid the dreaded 10 mpg I have been looking at the diesels more closely. My parameters are that 1) it will be just my wife and I, a couple of bicycles / Kayaks and a genset in the tow vehicle. but there are times that we will want to bring some friends with us, so add an extra 400 pounds or so for them and their stuff and 2) I won't always be towing in perfect weather on a flat highway. So my thought was to practice the Boy Scout motto and always be prepared. I would rather have the extra capacity and not need it than need it and not have it.
My suggestions are that you search the Forums using the names of your favorite tow vehicles and read what comes up. Every conceivable combination of tow vehicle / hitch / Airstream as been written about in these forums, if not your exactly, then something pretty close.
Some of the key metrics to keep in mind are:
1) Relating to the TV
A) Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVW)
B) Front Axle Weight Rating
C) Read Axle Weight Rating
D) Net Cargo Capacity
2) Relating to the Airstream
A) Dry Weight - You already know this
B) Gross Weight - You already know this
C) Tongue Weight - This will change as you load the Airstream
A couple of final points,
1) if you purchased a used tow vehicle, don't automatically assume that its towing capacities are the same as a current year model (even if the models are only a year or tow apart)
2) Never tow with the bumper ball, always use a receiver on the tow vehicle
3) What ever tow vehicle you choose, make sure that you get a good weight distribution hitch with sway control (assuming your tow vehicle can use one - some unibody vehicles with air suspensions cannot) and make sure that it is properly installed and adjusted. Posting pictures here on the forums will get you a lot of good advice if you have questions.
4) Once you get everything rigged up, pay a visit to a public scale and get it checked to make sure that everything is correctly adjusted.
5) All of this can seem overwhelming, but take it slow and easy any you will avoid any nasty surprises.
6) Have FUN in your new Airstream!
Well, that is my 1.54321 cents. Good luck with your purchase and post some pictures so that we can see you new TV and Airstream.