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Old 07-17-2015, 08:21 AM   #1
New Member
Hagerstown , Maryland
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 2
23fb or 25fb


My name is Sharon and right now I am in the beginning stages of research for a airstream. I have never owned one before (or an TT for that matter) so forgive me for sounding newbish.

I have a 2014 Ford F150 Fx4 5.O V.8 Supercab w/ 6.5 bed with the 7350# GVWR package. It comes with a the tow package (not the max) According to the tow guide from Ford, My max tow is 7800 lbs (with my gear setup). Im not sure what the tongue weight is ( I think its 500lbs).

I understand from reading a few threads form other sites that a few people don't like 1/2 tons for tow vehicles, but I like the ride of the truck and prefer to keep it.

Im leaning towards the 23FB (I dont' like the other 23 layouts with the bed where it is) because of the 6000lb gvwr. I'm thinking this one will be a lot easier on my truck.

But I really like the layout for the 25FB, but since its gvwr is 7300lbs Im concerned it will be to close to the max tow and really hard on the wear an tear of the truck.

Its only me and my husband, no children.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:46 AM   #2
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,449
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, we have had both. We had a 2012 Flying Cloud 23FB for about a year during which we camped in it 150 nights and towed it 15,000 miles. We traded it for a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB. We had started Airstreaming with a brand new 2005 Safari 25FB that we spent 1.400 nights in and towed 120,000 miles.

We had gone to the 23FB to downsize. We really like the 23FB, but longed to go back to a 25. The 23FB is a great unit. We just liked the layout of the 25 better.

We have two tow vehicles, a 3/4 ton Suburban and a one ton diesel pick-up truck. With this duo, we never had any towing issues.

As to your half ton truck, it can tow either a 23 or 25 adequately. One issue to consider is the tongue weight of the trailers. the 23 will go in the 600# range, and the 25 will go in 900# range. That is 300# less cargo that can go in the tow vehicle.

A 25 will go 7,500 ready to camp. A 23 will go 1,000# less.

I would suggest going to an Airstream dealer and sit in a 23 and a 25 before making your final decision.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
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2018 28' Tommy Bahama
Nashville , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 358
Hi, Sharon:
We just went through the same thing you did. We went with a 25' Eddie Bauer Edition, but went to an F250 due to our being a family of 4.
You would be a-ok in the 23 and I believe like you, that you may be pushing the limits with and F150. That said, I have seen pictures just this week of someone pulling what appears to be a 30' with a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Safety was paramount for me with my kids being along for the ride.
Some considerations if you go to the higher length. Incentives are tremendous on the F250's right now. Additionally, in the new F150's with aluminum bodies, weight may be different from your current truck as the overall truck is lighter.

Based on your post, I have no doubt you are on the right path to making a good and informed decision.

Welcome and keep us posted!

The Jarretts
Nashville, Tennessee
2018 27' Tommy Bahama
2019 RAM PowerWagon TV-Petrol Hemi
WBCCI # 22342
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:55 AM   #4
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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Posts: 1,544
Sharon, welcome to the forum. I agree with what Mr. Moose just said but the weight of the 25FB "ready to camp" is a bit high by my experience. I find that when traveling we are just at 6500 and I have weighed this a couple of times while traveling. Of course we are not full timers and I am sure that this would change if we were.

I tow with a half ton Tundra and was using it as a daily driver so I agree with your take on sticking with a half ton for that reason. We pack light, just the wife and I and take our generator and some extra water, a few chairs and on occasion, a little fire wood. We get by just fine.

Please do sit in a 23 and then a 25. There is a thing called "2 foot-itis" and you will suffer it like all the rest of us. We have been dreaming of a 27FB. I like the fridge in my 25FB as it is vented out the roof and does not require a cooling fan. You read many complaints of these things running all the time, or running loudly or not running at all. We don't have one and have not had a whit of trouble with our fridge.

Good luck in your search. With the ducted air in the 2015 units I think you might see a better market for used trailer in the near future. The hunt is part of the fun.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:01 AM   #5
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
Fair Oaks , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 717
If you research this forum, you will see replies all over the block on this question. It seems to boil down to this: most people would feel that your truck would be ideally suited to tow a 23' FB; many people would feel that you would be stretching it as a TV for a 25'. Probably on flats or easy hills, it would work fine. Spend a lot of time in the mountains and you'll probably feel like you want something a little more hefty. It has been mentioned that if you get in a serious accident, insurance companies will investigate to make sure you were towing within specs. I don't have any personal info on this, but it sounds reasonable to me that they would do that.

On the other side of the question, everyone advised me that one of the most common mistakes a newbie trailer buyer makes is to buy too small, and then they trade up within a year or so. This influenced me to get a 23', rather than the 18-20' ones I was initially looking at. I've never been sorry I bought the larger model. So if you think you really won't be happy with the 23', you might consider buying the 25', and making do with your current truck for a while. If you aren't happy with your current truck, you can trade up later at less cost than trading up a trailer. If you decide RV'ing is really not for you, it is as easy to sell a 25' trailer as a 23' trailer.

It really is a tough choice between more amenities and a more accessible, bigger bed in the 23' model, whereas you get it all in the 25'. I went the other way for the increased amenities and cramped bed, but my wife probably wishes I had gone for the bigger bed instead.

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Old 07-17-2015, 09:09 AM   #6
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2015 25' FB International
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 210
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The F150 will pull both trailers nicely. We towed our 25FB with an F150 rental but after reinforcing the hitch receiver, we exclusively tow it with our Cayenne Diesel. With the right setup (hitch system/WD) you are completely in the green with either the 23FB or the 25FB. We also pondered about the two airstream models and decided to go with the 25FB because of more space and generally we liked the whole package more than the 23FB. We upgraded from a 20FC, so we wanted to avoid yet another upgrade in future years. (I also read moosetags report on their 25->23->25 journey, which helped us to make the decision).
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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2013 25' FB Flying Cloud
2011 23' FB Flying Cloud
Branson , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2004
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If you look at my signature, you'll see we've had both the 23 and 25 fb.

Like your situation, it's just my wife and I too.

Do yourself a favor. Get the 25 (and we love the twin bed configuration).

The 6 inches in width (25 vs 23) creates a space that's truly the trailer that most 23 owners wanted in the first place.

WRT the tow vehicle, I'd be willing to bet you'll be in another truck before you think of getting rid of your 25. I wouldn't make that same bet if you wound up with the 23.

Good luck!
2013 25 FC FB (Twin)
2013 Suburban 2500

2011 23 FC FB
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:01 AM   #8
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2008 25' Classic
Full Time , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,309
What does the payload sticker on the drivers door show as the maximum load?

I would go with the 25. Many of us are towing 25s with 1/2 tons. My Tundra has a door sticker payload of 1465lbs and my Classic 25fb is GVWR 8000lbs. My engine is a little more powerful than your Ford's but the 5.0 should be fine.

Get a good weight distribution system installed.

Once you have the trailer it's easier to upgrade the tow vehicle in the future if needed.

2008 Classic 25fb "Silver Mistress"
2015 Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins. Crew Cab, 4x4, Silver
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:34 AM   #9
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Hagerstown , Maryland
Join Date: Jul 2015
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My payload is 1478.

I know from reading other posts that it is best to buy the trailer before you buy a truck, but we had bought this truck with the idea of just pulling my car on a trailer, and we just bought it in Feb of this year for a great price with a lot of luxury options. The Rv is something I thought of afterwards. The trailer is a few years down the road. (I know, I'm researching way to early, but that's a habit of mine to know what exactly i want way ahead of time.)

Chances are the f150 will have alot of miles on it when we buy the trailer, but I want to know if it can pull the 25 (which is really the one i want) at least until we need a new truck.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:21 AM   #10
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Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
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23 or 25 - As suggested above, go spend some time in both coaches. Also view some RV trailer videos. You will learn more about RVs and get a better understanding of what is involved.

The trailers are different. There are also differences between years. Consider how you will use the coach, store gear, make the bed, and get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. Consider what you like and do not like about the coaches. That information will drive you to the correct decision.

The 25 fixes several of the shortfalls of the 23. Don't get me wrong we love our 23. It's the right coach for us, but it has 14in tires, the noisy air conditioner, the sideways bed, the door that blocks the window, and the corner shower. We do like the combined rear bath, the double sink, and the narrow profile. We don't need the extra interior space, and will never buy another trailer. A 23 might work for you. It's a great couple's rig.

The 25 is the most popular. It balances cost against size and optimizes both. Your tow vehicle does not limit you to the 23 so consider the 25. Note, you will use a lot of the same gear for both, but it will be a smaller percentage of the total weight on the 25. You have more roof for solar, more seating for guests, and a wider coach. Don't underestimate the value of 15in tires that can be upgraded to 16s. Quiet air is of immense value to some. You have to buy a 2016 to get it on the 23.

Good luck with your investigation. Pat
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Old 08-13-2015, 12:16 PM   #11
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2008 25' Classic
Full Time , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
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2016 23fb are supposed to have ducted air.

I have a 25fb and have to watch TV from the rear dinette. In the 23 you'd watch it from the queen bed vs the dinette. You could install a 2nd TV in the 25fb bedroom.

The 23fb seems to have slightly wider closets. Has the same queen bed as the 25 but less floor space at the foot of the bed.

The bath in the 25fb is small. Knees hit the door when sitting on the throne. The shower in the 25fb has a seat that takes up half the shower pan. The 23fb may be better or about the same. No medicine cabinet in the 23fb.

23fb 5cu/ft fridge vs 25fb 7 cu/ft two door fridge. If the 23fb now comes with the round sink then counter space between the two is about the same. 25fb has exposed kitchen drawers unlike 23fb behind cabinet drawers (but so does the 28).

I think Airstream designs their floor plans to get their customers to keep moving up to longer units.

2008 Classic 25fb "Silver Mistress"
2015 Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins. Crew Cab, 4x4, Silver
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:00 PM   #12
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Granbury , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 412
We started out with a 23FB then thought we needed all the room and storage so moved up to a 30' Classic. Used the 30' for a couple of years but didn't like the size as much as we thought we would plus the bigger tow vehicle so we just went back down to a new 2016 23FB. Yes, like others have said you have to get a 2016 to get ducted air in anything below a 25'. The ducted air is something we really like in our new 23FB. Like others have mentioned, the 23 is not as wide as the 25's by 6" which makes it easier to see around when towing. It also helps in narrow lanes or construction areas. We also like the large rear bath in the 23FB. The front bedroom is nice and large also. The compromise is in the lounge area if that is important. We do our lounging outside under the awning. At night on the bed reading. Hardly ever watch tv but it's also in the bedroom. The closet storage is nice in the 23 also. There are two large drawers under the closet by the bed. You can tow a 23 with any 1/2 ton or many SUV's. We use our Ford Expedition. Works great. Some state parks and national parks limit is 23' or under. Moosetags went down and back up. We went up and back down. Maybe we went too far up. All I know is we really like our 23FB. The new one is much better than our first one too. Many improvments. What ever you do get you an Airstream! You will luv it!!
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:57 PM   #13
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Plover , Wisconsin
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1/2 ton v. 3/4 ton, gas v. diesel

I've read the discussions over and over. It is evident that a 1/2 ton truck can pull an AS 25, however, the question is whether it can stop it without frying the breaks. If you are going to cruse down mountain highways, the breaking power of diesels is superior. Well, at least that is what they say, especially Grandpa Motors gearheads. Videos on YouTube support this contention.


P.S. I've been looking at purchasing a GMC 2500 w/ Duramax & Allison tranny. The salesman treated me very skeptically, perhaps because I'm 72 and never before owned a truck.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:54 AM   #14
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Oxen, Airstreamers with 1/2 ton trucks have towed their 25' trailers all over the country without "frying the brakes", including us. The heavy duty diesels and 1/2 ton brakes have comparable stopping ability because they have 2,000 lbs more truck to stop, and greater payload capacity can give even more to stop. Gas engines have better compression braking than diesel, so the manufacturers added an exhaust brakes to the diesels; therein is the braking advantage.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:45 AM   #15
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
2016 27' Flying Cloud
Rapid City , South Dakota
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 33
Hi Sharon

I went with the 23FB because I really wanted something lighter and smaller to be able maneuver in small parks and boon docking situations. It has been awesome, but it just me and my two Chihuahuas. I would suggest the 25FB for two people. Seriously, the size in the 23FB is tight, even for just me.

I towed with my BMW Diesel X5 and had no issues. I got a 2500HD GMC because I want to go off-road. It had nothing to do with the tow capabilities for the 23FB. However, the 25FB would bee too much. It is fine with a 1500 or F150 if you use a weight distribution bar. I have the Reese and am amazed at the feel. When towing with the BMW this saved my bacon as far as ride stability.

Best wishes on your purchase and hope to see you out there! - Home
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