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Old 08-18-2003, 10:43 AM   #1
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Does AS defy conventional thinking?

We're in the early stages of our search for a vintage Airstream and researching like crazy. I've seen on various forums a rule of thumb for tow vehicle wheelbase and trailer length -- 110 inch wheelbase equals 20 feet of trailer, and every additional four inches of wheelbase gives you another foot of trailer length.

That raises a couple of questions in my mind:

I know Airstream's stated lengths run from the tip of the tow hitch to the rear bumper. I'm not sure if that's typical in the TT business, though. With our Toyota Sequoia's 118.1 inch wheelbase, I figure that means 22 feet of trailer. Is that the reasonable limit with an Airstream, a max of 22 feet of total trailer and 19 feet of living space? I can't think of any reasonable rationalization to make that 22 feet of living space and 25 feet total length, but hey, I wouldn't mind being wrong.

And do Airstreams' superior aerodynamics and stability enter into the equation?


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Old 08-18-2003, 01:55 PM   #2
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1978 25' Tradewind
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I pull a 25' Tradewind with a Tahoe, 116" wheelbase. Didn't have any problems on the 900 mile trip home.

I realize that the wheel base is shorter than the rule of thumb. However, the trailer weight and the tongue weight fall into the manufacturer's recommendations. I also use a Reese dual cam hitch, which I would tell you with a straight face, is "da' bomb!"

I'd rather have the Tahoe with the dual cam than a longer tow vehicle with some dime-store hitch setup...

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Old 08-18-2003, 09:29 PM   #3
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1984 31' Excella
Abernathy , Texas
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Yukon and 31Footer

I tow a 31' with a 2 door 4x4 problems with sway and control from 18 wheelers passing me, or meeting them, or me passing them.
The Reese dual-cam anti sway is a wonderful set up when it is set up correctly. I am probably more stable towing the trailer than not towing the trailer.
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Old 08-19-2003, 05:41 AM   #4
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2004 22' Interstate
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Re: Does AS defy conventional thinking?

Originally posted by mikey

And do Airstreams' superior aerodynamics and stability enter into the equation?

Hi, Mike!

Physics laws are physics laws. That said, a rule of thumb is rough guide. The more learned members of this forum can do the math to illustrate the point but generally speaking, the bane of trailer towing is the tail wagging the dog. The shorter and lighter the tail, and the heavier and longer the dog is, the less likely the dog is going to be wagged by the tail.

I tow a 34' trailer with an Excursion. By the "rule of thumb", I ought to have a one-ton crew-cab long-bed as a minimum. I will tell you though, that with a proper hitch setup, my Excursion handles the weight and the length very nicely. It is the heaviest and longest station-wagon type vehicle available right now, and I didn't want a truck. It is about a thousand pounds heavier than the 3/4 ton Suburban; however I looked at a number of Suburbans as well and would have bought a Suburban had I not found this particular Excursion.

Make sure your tow vehicle is adequate for the weight of the trailer, both GVWR and CVWR, as long and heavy as you can get in it's class, with an adequate hitch properly set-up (I have a Reese dual-cam; folks who have Pull-rite and Hensley Arrows swear by them), and tires that will handle the additional weight, and you should do fine. Just don't push the envelope too far.

There are numerous threads on towing, hitches and the like on the forums and I encourage you to read through them all. You'll have quite an education when you're finished.

AIR 2053 Current: 2004 Airstream Interstate "B-Van" T1N Sprinter & 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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