BMW X5d - Airstream 25' Rear Twin verified weights
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is a followup note to report on actual weights on my 2012 BMW X5d - 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud Rear Twin combo.
I joined this group in early January to seek recommendations for a possible hitch changeout on my BMW X5d before taking delivery of our new 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud 25 Rear Twin. We’d had good luck towing our 19 foot Airstream with the X5d using the Eaz-Lift 800 pound hitch, and wanted to ensure the same good result hauling the larger trailer.
A rather spirited discussion ensued concerning this particular TV-TT combo, which I’ve since learned is pretty typical when something other than a truck is proposed as a tow vehicle for the mid-to-large size Airstreams.
We are home in Minnesota after 53 nights and 6,650 miles on the road. I upgraded my Eaz-Lift hitch to 1200 pound bars before departing, and it took two en route adjustments to get it dialed-in right. We criss-crossed Arizona for six weeks, hauled the 25 Rear Twin up to Sedona, down to Lake Havasu and Yuma, and back up to Flagstaff as we departed Arizona. And lots of other places in between. The tires are wearing evenly, the brakes are solid, and we took advantage of the Escapees Smart Weigh program at their North Ranch park to obtain actual weights of the X5, both with and without the Airstream hitched.
All these data are shown on the attached PDF. TV weight includes driver and passenger, ⅝ tank of fuel, and all our usual stuff. TT weights include full propane and fresh water tanks, empty black and gray tanks, and a full load of typical gear. We readjusted a few things after the initial weigh-in, shifting some items to the rear of the trailer, which put a bit more weight on the front axle of the X5. The data I’m reporting reflect these adjustments. Empirically, the added weight on the front of the X5 improved drivability. I had anticipated a 1000 pound tongue weight with the trailer loaded, pleasantly it came in at just 800.
Evaluate these data yourselves, and draw your own conclusions. Knowing actual weights proved both informative and helpful. No more guessing. I am, however, still trying to figure out the proper air pressure for all my tires. I'll get there one of these days.
BTW — the X5 achieved 15.6 mpg overall on this extended trip. All but 500 miles of that with the Airstream under tow. Would have been better if not for the higher-than-usual-speed express trip home to attend funerals.
I welcome your questions and comments. I took the photo as we departed for Arizona in mid-January. Naturally, it had just snowed. Go figure....
We tow a 23D with a 2012 X5 diesel with factory hitch receiver, and it works like a dream. Our tongue weight is a bit under 800lb, and we use a Blue Ox hitch with 1000 lb bars. Our mileage varies by travel speed, but has been 16 to 17 mpg traveling at 65 mph (without headwind).
The X5 is an awesome tow vehicle, sun, rain or snow.
Looking at the PDF, it seems they calculated the tongue weight by subtracting the sum of TV tire weights before hitching up, from after hitching up -- they did not include the weight transferred to the trailer axles after WDH is applied. I would think your tongue weight maybe closer to 900#.
StiiRod, I'm towing a 27FB with a Cayenne Diesel and looked hard at the X5 35d before buying the Cayenne. My only reservation with the X5 was the air suspension and in particular the dynamic handling package which was an option I wanted. There was a guy over on BimmerPost who could not use WD with his BMW due to (he was guessing) the active suspension tuning that comes with the dynamic handling package that got confused with WD applied. He was towing a 32ft SOB that had a tongue of about 500lbs so he decided he did not need WD. I'm assuming you have the rear air suspension, do you have the dynamic handling package? If so how did that work for you?
By the way, very nice rig you have there. My Cayenne is white also, a nice color combo with an AS.
2007 25' International CCD FB
Join Date: Jan 2015
Great information. The diesel in that X5 is amazing and I wish I could get those MPGs towing. I have the same engine in my 335d and wish I had it in a TV.
I second the question on what receiver are you using? I think the receiver that comes on the current model year X5d has a maximum tongue weight rating of 600lbs. I was wondering if the stock receiver could be changed out. Thanks.
I was fortunate to consult with Andy and the Can-Am last Spring, and they drilled the hitch shank to draw it about 2" closer to the X5. They also reinforced the receiver itself by welding a forward directed extension that also serves to prevent any twisting of the coupling. Those two modifications have worked quite well. The receiver is BMW's own OE unit, rated for 600 pounds (and no weight distribution, as is typical on the German vehicles).
The X5d has the sport suspension with 255/50-19 XL tires, but not the dynamic handling package or air suspension. I've had the vehicle for 39 months, and the odometer just turned over 70k miles. Snow tires in winter, all season radials in summer. Spare tire on board. The suspension is working harder than it might otherwise, and my seat of the pants thought is that it is starting to wear. I thought the same thing at about this point with my 2003 530i, but I suspect all the towing has accelerated that sensation on the X5.
I tow with the BMW because that's the vehicle I brought home from Germany when I moved back to America 2-½ years ago, and it was the only thing sitting in the driveway when we decided to buy the 19 foot Airstream two years ago. That was a wonderful combination, and the 25 is working equally well. The best part is that I have a great every day driver when the Airstream is parked at home.
---I had anticipated a 1000 pound tongue weight with the trailer loaded, pleasantly it came in at just 800.
As was pointed out by rostam -- the calculated 800# is only the portion of the tongue weight which was carried by the tow vehicle's axles.
The WDH also would have transferred some of the tongue weight to the TT's axles.
Based on your scales numbers and my estimates of your TV/TT dimensions (wheelbase = 115.5", ball overhang = 52", coupler to TT axles' midpoint = 220"),
I am guessing that a load of approximately 280# was transferred to the TT's axles.
If so, the tongue weight would have been approximately 800+280 = 1080#.
I was fortunate to consult with Andy and the Can-Am last Spring, and they drilled the hitch shank to draw it about 2" closer to the X5. They also reinforced the receiver itself by welding a forward directed extension that also serves to prevent any twisting of the coupling. Those two modifications have worked quite well.
Thanks for your comments.
Sounds good Rod. Thnxs for the update.
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I am surprised these vehicles are "heavy" enough to perform well as a TV for such large trailers. I'm happy to get the report however as I am looking for a vehicle other than our 2012 Ford 250/6.7 liter turbo deisel to tow our 23' International Serenity. Having a vehicle that is easier to handle around town would be nice IF it trailered well meaning safely. I do question the "stress" going up and down steep hills. Does the small deisel engine in the BMW and / or the Porsche have to work too hard pulling up steep grades and what about going down steep hills? Are you the least bit concerned? Does the trailer put too much stress on the TV going down a 10% grade hill. Not uncommon here in the north east. I am a chicken I admit. I love the big truck as I have significant confidence towing with it. Then again........
Adam, the BMW will have a shorter stopping distance than a large truck. It will have a faster max lane change speed, it will be at lower risk of a roll-over, it has a better suspension setup and will handle better allthewhile needing less fuel.
If you're really a chicken go sell the truck and buy the BMW. It'll be a much safer setup.
Engine braking on the X5d is modest, but judicious use of the trailer brakes and modest speed keeps the load under good control on steep descents. The X5 has awesome brakes, and the Airstream's four brakes work quite well too.
I just take it slow to keep things from getting frightening, same as I would if using my brother's F-350 chipped diesel. It was common when I lived in Europe to see folks from flat places like The Netherlands pulling trailers across the Alps, and I've come to appreciate and emulate their approach: slow and steady, flashers on as needed, let the cars pass, stay focused, arrive safely. And perhaps most importantly: choose your route wisely. I specifically took the Airstream around Jerome, AZ, rather than through it, to avoid scaring anyone. I've driven over that pass without a trailer, but why?
Adam, the BMW will have a shorter stopping distance than a large truck. It will have a faster max lane change speed, it will be at lower risk of a roll-over, it has a better suspension setup and will handle better all the while needing less fuel.
I suspect the attributes of a good tow vehicle would be different that the attributes of a good track car. Replace BMW in the statement above, with any other track car you wish (Subaru WRX STI, Mitsubishi Evo, etc), none of which are tow vehicles, and the above statements are still true.
Adam, the X5 diesel has 425 ft-lb of torque. I can sail up and over 9000+ ft mountain passes with the 23D (same trailer as yours) with no strain or effort. We have never experienced brake fade coming down the other side. I usually go slower, just to conserve fuel, but the twin turbo diesel is very robust. The whole rig is very stable and inspires confidence. The software-controlled all wheel drive works great towing in snow. After driving an X5, you will likely not want to go back to any pickup from a handling perspective.
What a truck has to offer is more cargo space. Some people might prefer the truck if they need to haul a generator and gasoline, a big stack of firewood, or both mountain bikes and road bikes.
I agree with Aircampr... I have a 30' Bunkhouse, and we do tow with a 2010 Ford F250 CrewCab Diesel. Great truck, and very comfortable for long hauls, but miserable mileage (8-10) when towing, and quite frankly, it's overkill. With a 23' or 25' Airstream, I would not see the necessity in using a full-size pickup except for gear. We do haul 4 kids, a few bicycles, two Honda generators, and a dog. If they made a bigger truck, I'd probably have to buy it!
However, one of the great joys of an Airstream Travel Trailer is that you can unhook and go explore with your tow vehicle. The BMW x5 or similar is a great setup for all around travel for midsized trailers.
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