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Old 10-25-2020, 09:15 PM   #1
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New Owner - Tow Vehicle Confusion

We are first time Airstream buyers and are trying to select the right tow vehicle. Is a Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon (7,600 lb tow rating) enough to comfortably tow a Flying Cloud 25? Or should we go up to a full size truck or suv? As the tow vehicle will also be a daily driver, I'd like to get no more than we need. Any real world experience and thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2020, 10:23 PM   #2
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You’ll find lots of threads and opinions on tow vehicles. Some people are more conservative than others. Personally, I wouldn’t tow a 25-footer with a Canyon or Colorado. In fact, some will argue that it’s a stretch for a 1500 series half-ton truck. You should consider more than just maximum towing capacity. Pay attention to maximum tongue weight, passenger & cargo capacity, etc.
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Old 10-25-2020, 10:51 PM   #3
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I have towed a 25' 4000# (plus or minus) Trade Wind with a half-ton Tahoe.

There were some very slow uphills, and the hitch choice and adjustment were absolutely critical.

Go with a least a full 1/2 ton with the maximum factory tow package.
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Old 10-25-2020, 10:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
You’ll find lots of threads and opinions on tow vehicles. Some people are more conservative than others. Personally, I wouldn’t tow a 25-footer with a Canyon or Colorado. In fact, some will argue that it’s a stretch for a 1500 series half-ton truck. You should consider more than just maximum towing capacity. Pay attention to maximum tongue weight, passenger & cargo capacity, etc.
A good basic guide, and valid worldwide, is never to tow anything (that when fully laden) weighs more than whatever tows it - except at very low speed.

For any valid combination never exceed about 60 mph.

Go by actual vehicle specifications - not the now-almost meaningless (USA) marketing terms of 'half-ton' etc.


If technically-minded, be aware that most forces involved increase with the square of the speed. If not, that means that the forces in an accident at 60 mph are far more than twice than at 30 mph.

Collyn
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:09 AM   #5
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DO I ACTUALLY NEED A TOW VEHICLE?

I HAVE been looking, but it keeps nagging in the back of my mind that I could RENT ONE from Penske or one of the other commercial rental companies. If I planned to do an Alaska caravan or travel 25,000 miles a year, no way! But for 6 to 8 trips of 500 miles or so, this may be a viable choice. I have to seriously run the numbers on this.

And some kind of ride sharing prospect with another Airstreamer? Why not?

And how about keeping the current 200,000 mile PAID OFF used vehicle I have now and buying a nice sedan or small SUV for a daily driver? And when this one gets more cost effective to trade than keep, trade it for another pre-dented cheap piece of crap. That would entail some extra travel to move the daily driver between summer and winter camps, but still worth thinking about.
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Old 10-26-2020, 07:43 AM   #6
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Compact trucks are not a good choice for the 7300 lb GVWR 25'. They barely meet on max trailer weight but you will have significant difficulty with tongue weight and the influence it has on the vehicle. Look for a vehicle with 8500 lb or more towing limit. You will have a nicer and much safer ride. Also before you choose a vehicle, consider the gear and number of passengers you are likely to bring and make sure you can load the vehicle with the gear and accommodate up to 1100 lb tongue. The published tongue weight is with an empty trailer and loaded they will usually be 950 lb or more.

There are a large number of SUV's, vans and light trucks with 8500+ lb towing limits that make decent daily drivers but are also large enough to safely pull a 25' Airstream.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
You’ll find lots of threads and opinions on tow vehicles. Some people are more conservative than others. Personally, I wouldn’t tow a 25-footer with a Canyon or Colorado. In fact, some will argue that it’s a stretch for a 1500 series half-ton truck. You should consider more than just maximum towing capacity. Pay attention to maximum tongue weight, passenger & cargo capacity, etc.
I am with Dennis on this. We tow our 2018 22FB Sport with a 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Premium (one step below the Denali). While our GMC pulls the 22FB like butter, I would not consider going with a larger AS with our GMC 1500.

If we increase the size of our AS, we will increase the size of our TV.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:23 AM   #8
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Hi

Bigger is better in a tow vehicle. You will have a hard time getting *all* the numbers on the door post sticker to line up when towing that big a trailer with a "small" pickup.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:55 AM   #9
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Just purchased a new tow vehicle.
2020 Ram 1500 limited Hemi .
Interior luxury of a high end SUV . That’s why Ram Trucks won two years in a row vehicle of the year.
1-Tow capacity-12,050
2-Tongue weight-1045
3-Air suspension-making getting in and out easy.
4-Drives & rides like a high-end SUV. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
We are towing our favorite second home a 2018 25Ft FBT International serenity Airstream. Safe travels. You’re always home (The Silver Buffalo)#22624 in your airstream. See you down the road neighbor.
God bless the men and women in law-enforcement. God bless our veterans. God bless America.
❤️ ❤️ ❤️
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:59 AM   #10
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Tow Vehicle

I own a 25 FC FBT. I tow it with a Ford F150 with the Max Tow Package. The 25 FC FBT has a tongue weight of around 1,200 pounds when fully loaded which includes two full bottles of propane and batteries. Im not sure when AS publishes it weights on the tongue weight it allows for this plus on the 25 FB all the outside storage in in the front and under the beds in the front. I just don't see the two trucks you named having a tongue weight that would be capable to handle 1,200 + pounds. that that is not even allowing for any weight from the water or waste tanks. If you look at the hitch assembly sticker (not the door Sticker) it will tell you the max tongue weight allowed. Do not replace the factory hitch with a greater capacity hitch.
Do not take the advice of the auto dealer as they are in business to sell trucks and they will tell you anything to make a sale. Especially trucks that are setting on their lot. I never max out the load towing capacity. I try to stay in the 70% or less range. The smaller truck also will feel those big rigs that zoom around you on the interstate at 80 MPH. The trucks braking capacity may also be overloaded. You very well could overload the payload capacity very easily as well. The dealer in most cases do not even understand. I'd look at a F-150 of a GM 1500 with Max Tow with towing mirrors, integrated breaks and with the transmission that will assist on downhills. Most of the time the Max tow package has a larger fuel tank which comes in handy in the western US. When you purchase your trailer buy a good hitch. Your trailer dealer may want to throw in a hitch to make the deal. It may not be the best hitch for your needs. Do your homework on Hitches. Again, don't trust what the dealer tells you to be true. They want to sell you what they have in the shop first. Go in with a list of non negotiable items. I was able to work my deal for my truck and my trailer and came out cheaper in the end with my list that was non negotiable. The knew I was shopping.
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:06 AM   #11
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Canyon/Colorado for 25' AS

No go. The cargo capacity is south of 1500 LBS. Drop 1000 LBS of tongue weight on there plus the WD hitch and you can barely hold 2 people. Also note that the factory supplied receiver is not rated for a WD hitch. Look at the label on the hitch.

We have a 2019 FC25 RBT and tow it with a 2013 Ford E150 XLT Premium van with factory tow pkg. No way would I try a 25' AS with a Colorado/Canyon. Not enough truck.

My good friend had a 2018 Colorado V6 gas engine with tow package. He pulled a 2019 Lance 1985 (about 24' and 7000 LB Max Gross Weight). He just swapped it for a 2020 Nissan NV3500 SL Passenger van. Night and day difference.

Be safe and enjoy the trip. Get a capable tow vehicle and avoid the white knuckle ride.
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #12
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My choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveEWT View Post
We are first time Airstream buyers and are trying to select the right tow vehicle. Is a Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon (7,600 lb tow rating) enough to comfortably tow a Flying Cloud 25? Or should we go up to a full size truck or suv? As the tow vehicle will also be a daily driver, I'd like to get no more than we need. Any real world experience and thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Dave...I appreciate your situation. About 4 months ago we put a deposit on a 25' FC. We have been looking every since for a tow vehicle. Yesterday we purchased a Ram 1500 Laramie with 4x4, tow package, 3.9 ratio and a 33 gal gas tank. We went with a pretty comfortable model...("a happy wife makes for a happy life") she loves to nap while I drive. Ram make it easy on their web site to look towing and cargo capacity (by putting in the VIN #). We chose to go over kill 11,000# tow and 1350# cargo!

Told by A.S. that with weight distribution bars the tong weight for my trailer will be right around 650#. Giving us 750# for gear and passengers. So no to taking a high should D line! This gives me motivation to loose about 10#

The way I see it we wanted the stopping power and towing with confidence
makes the journey that much more enjoyable!

Full discloser, we will retire in June and do more than weekend get always.

Hope to see you on the road, Good Luck and Happy Towing!
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:29 AM   #13
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Quit looking at factory tow ratings. They are overblown in my opinion.
Payload and gross combined weight rating is where you need to start. A tow vehicle over payload handles like a tow vehicle over payload. I have had that experience. The result is white knuckle time. The tongue weight comes off payload. Add two passengers and the dog. Then see what you have left if anything. Never push the limits of your tow vehicle. You will be unsatisfied with the result.
The Canyon is a good compact truck. It can tow within its limitations. IMHO only the smaller 16-20 foot models
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:32 AM   #14
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Don't go with a compact truck. Too small for your trailer. Trailer would steer the truck in any type of emergency situation...stopping distance would be too long in emergency stops...and you'll wear something out in the brakes or driveline way faster than it should.
Towing hardware is insufficient to add equalizing hitch...which you would need to avoid uneven ride height. A half ton truck is the minimum. Ram 1500 or Ford F150 would be great the smallest truck you should consider.
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:56 AM   #15
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The generally accepted "Rule of Thumb" is choose a tow vehicle that has 20% more towing capacity than the equipment you plan on towing. You'll be very happy crossing mountains out west or in the east.
Happy trails!
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Old 10-26-2020, 12:06 PM   #16
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Dave, welcome to the forum. If you want information you will get tons of it here. Just be careful because you will still have to decide which is the best "advice" you get.


I have towed my 25FB over 50K miles over these last 11 years, all with Tundras. A half ton will be up to the task. A half ton makes a lot more sense if you are going to use it as a daily driver. Your task will be to find a half ton that you will like. My tongue weight is right around 900 lbs and I run down the road right at 6500 lbs. I have measured this a number of times. My Tundra has a 4.3 rear end which really helps towing but hurts the mileage. I have plenty of power and it rides nice. There are plenty of options out there for you. I have a friend that tows with a half ton Ford eco-boost which provides plenty of power and great mileage when not towing. I am currently driving a 2017 but now, in 2020, there are many more options that you will have to choose from. Life is short, get what you want. Best wishes.
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Old 10-26-2020, 12:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collyn View Post
A good basic guide, and valid worldwide, is never to tow anything (that when fully laden) weighs more than whatever tows it - except at very low speed.

For any valid combination never exceed about 60 mph.

Go by actual vehicle specifications - not the now-almost meaningless (USA) marketing terms of 'half-ton' etc.


If technically-minded, be aware that most forces involved increase with the square of the speed. If not, that means that the forces in an accident at 60 mph are far more than twice than at 30 mph.

Collyn
“Never tow anything weighs more than whatever tows it.” Tell that to the trucking industry.
There are a lot of factors that assist in towing heavy (to the limit specified by your specific truck’s recommendation).
For instance: weight distribution. There are many threads telling you about weight distribution hitches and how to set them up. Get a good one! For a 25’ trailer, I’d look into a ProPride; expensive, but they are the best.
Airstream recommends the F-150 EcoBoost for a 27’ FC. More is always better, so an F-250/F-350 is more/better.
Good luck in your decision.
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Old 10-26-2020, 12:51 PM   #18
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I learned a long time ago that the mass of the tow vehicle can be more important than the towing capacity. I owned an Astro EXT van that was rated to pull 6,000 lbs. I put on a Reese Dual-Cam sway control hitch. Technically I found that from a power standpoint and weight distribution every thing was great. I was pulling a 30' aluminum framed Thor SOB. I think it came in at about 3,600 lbs dry.

The Reese hitch kept the trailer in line but there was one thing I didn't contend with. The physical mass and presence of that trailer and the wind applied force to the van itself in windy conditions. So if I was exposed to a strong side wind, the van and trailer combo was being pushed by the wind itself in the direction of the wind. This required a lot of steering correction. That trailer was for all intents a big sail.

Driving in cross wind conditions was a major effort, not because of sway but the fact that the entire combo was pushed as a unit. Overpasses on the Interstate were awful due the the wind suddenly being shielded and my need to back off on the steering connection and then suddenly reapply it as we came out from the overpass.

After a year of this I ended up purchasing a full size 1/2 ton GMC van. Same hitch and same trailer. Towing capacity of the van was 6,500 lbs. Only 500 lbs more than the Astro. Towing was like night and day and I soon figured out that the mass of that big van and the same Reese hitching system kept the combo in line in strong cross winds and steering correction was very minor.

Lesson learned about towing ratings and how important the size of the tow vehicle can affect your towing experience. Good hitches and sway control can't overcome the issues that a smaller lighter tow vehicle brings to the towing experience.

Jack
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:24 PM   #19
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As far as I know, Most rental trucks have a 2” ball welded to the truck, They won’t work with an airstream. I found that Out the hard way, and you might want weight distribution and sway control. look for a good used tow vehicle that you can set up properly. Go big!
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Old 10-26-2020, 07:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaggs View Post
“Never tow anything weighs more than whatever tows it.” Tell that to the trucking industry.
There are a lot of factors that assist in towing heavy (to the limit specified by your specific truck’s recommendation).
For instance: weight distribution. There are many threads telling you about weight distribution hitches and how to set them up. Get a good one! For a 25’ trailer, I’d look into a ProPride; expensive, but they are the best.
Airstream recommends the F-150 EcoBoost for a 27’ FC. More is always better, so an F-250/F-350 is more/better.
Good luck in your decision.
Re: 'Tell that to the trucking industry'.

I do not need to know! You are overlooking the cause of travel trailer instability - the overhung hitch that causes the trailer to yaw clockwise if the tow vehicle yaws anti-clockwise. Fruhauf realised that in 1921. They moved that hitch to over the tow vehicle rear axle. The resultant articulated trailers are thus far more stable.

If God wanted a caravan she'd buy a fifth-wheeler!

Collyn
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