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Old 05-14-2015, 12:38 PM   #1
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2015 27' FB International
San Jose , California
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Newbie here looking for best tow vehicle

Recently bought a 2015 27FB and it's clear I'll need to pick up a tow vehicle to get around since my Jeep JK likely can't support. I wondered if anyone has any opinions between newer model Ford F-150's and Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra. I would prefer to stick to the 1500 class. Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:59 PM   #2
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Lots of info in this forum. Look around and see what people use. Members tow your size trailer anywhere from mini vans to Freightliners.

Given the two choices above the Ford F150 offers one advantage to the GM is you can get it with a larger fuel tank; 35gal vs 26gal in the 1500 series.

Make sure you consider payload when choosing. Your trailer will have at least 1000lbs hitch weight so look for something with 1600lb payload or more. Look at the tire and load sticker on the drivers door to see the available payload.

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Old 05-14-2015, 01:40 PM   #3
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2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
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Ditto to the above. And the best tow vehicle is the one you use and enjoy.

And without getting into the debate of GM vs Ford vs Ram vs Toyota vs 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton etc... don't be one of these guys I see over on the truck forums complaining about how they bought a truck that they don't really like because they got such a great deal on it.

I always scratch my head at that one. They probably buy things they don't need just because it was on sale too.

Good hunting.
Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:27 PM   #4
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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All the models in this class offer engines and tow equipment that will get the job done nicely if you can manage your payload, and can learn to use the transmission to select the gear needed for the terrain and/or wind conditions as well as downhill engine braking.

Any concerns about stability in all driving conditions will be relieved with a Hensley/ProPride style hitch. Very comfortable driving.

These models ride softly for you and your Airstream. Ram is probably the softest with full coil spring or optional air suspension, but this suspension may limit payload capacity options compared to others. I like the soft ride, our Airstream doesn't shake cabinets and rivets loose, and our gear doesn't move around on rougher roads.

It's a pleasant daily driver when we arrive at our destinations and fuel usage is reasonable.

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Old 05-14-2015, 03:13 PM   #5
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If you're open to exploring non-truck options, the Mercedes GL class, Dodge Durango, Jeep GC are all good options. A good full size body on frame SUV would be the Ford Expedition with independent rear suspension.
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:29 PM   #6
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Hi Flash44, suggest you don't overlook the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, it's the one that gets almost 30 MPG highway & mine averages 22.5 total. It's a very impressive half ton truck & thats coming from a guy who always drove GM or Ford.
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:18 PM   #7
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Chelsea , Michigan
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One thing you didn't mention is how you plan to travel.

If you are a working stiff and will only use the trailer/tow vehicle for weekends and short vacation near home, a smaller tow vehicle with more limited capacity might be just fine. But if you are going to be a road warrior on the road for six to nine months of the year (or a full timer) you may appreciate the added capacity of a larger tow vehicle such as a 3/4 ton truck.

For example, we travel 9 months of the year and could not carry the four bicycles and other gear we need without the 8 foot bed in our Ford F-250.
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:46 PM   #8
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My personal preference would be a 1/2 Sierra Denali or 3/4 ton Sierra Denali HD with Duramax/Allison. Great comfort and capability. They are expensive trucks, though, and you can get great truck models for less money, if you don't want to spend for a Denali.

GMC, Chevy, Ford, and Dodge all make good trucks, so you can't really go "wrong" with any of them. Drive them all, carefully compare capabilities and features, and pick what suits you and your budget best.

Today's 1/2 tons drive amazingly like passenger cars. The 1/2 ton will serve you well IF you don't mind edging up close to the limit on carrying capacity. You really should examine that factor very carefully before making your decision, as it is probably the most significant factor with pulling a larger trailer, even an Airstream. Whatever you choose, consider adding towing-style rear view mirrors, if the truck doesn't already come with them.

With our choice of a 30' International Serenity, we decided we wanted plenty of extra capacity in terms of engine braking, carrying capacity, and pulling power, so we went with the Sierra Denali HD, 3/4 ton, 4x4, Duramax engine and Allison transmission. It is also our "daily driver", though we don't commute anywhere, so driving is not done "daily". It makes for a beefy, but luxurious, comfortable, and quiet-running daily driver. We prefer driving larger vehicles and we love it!

This is our truck:

We're still awaiting delivery of our 2016 30' Serenity.

This is a "stock photo" of Denali HD & an Airstream:
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:06 PM   #9
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2014 27' Flying Cloud
Bushnell , Florida
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Great input above and as has been stated, there are plenty of tow vehicle debate threads on Airforums for hours of entertainment. Since you asked, I'll share our rig with you. Here are a lot of specs, so if you snore, do it quietly.

The truck came first, so we lucked out and had enough ........... We happily tow our Shiny Pete, a 2014 Flying Cloud 27fb with a 2013 2wd F150 XLT supercrew with a 5.0 v8, 3.55 rear-end, an 8800 lb tow rating, and a 1651 lb payload rating. I think it is a match made in heaven as Pete has a 1651 lb payload rating on his sticker as well, with a wet weight at 6149 as he left the factory. The 27fb has a 7800 lb GVWR and the truck a 7100 lb GVWR, and we use a ProPride hitch with 1400 lb bars.

The already mentioned challenge with any half ton is payload, and the fancier the truck (options), the less payload it will have. I long for a 4wd King Ranch, but they have a laughable payload....... We do have to be careful with what goes in the bed of the truck. Our coach has about 1100 lbs of hitch weight loaded for most any travel we attempt. That leaves about 500 lbs for my bride, one or two grandkids, a couple of totes of stuff, a couple of grandkid bikes, etc. Of course, the argument that always comes up is "yes, but the W/D hitch returns x% of your tongue weight back to the trailer and truck wheels". True, but whatever, we're in spec (yes, wheel and tire loads, axle loads, all of it), and we tow quite nicely at 65 mph in the giant hill country of Florida.

We run what we brung for now and it does the job!
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:04 AM   #10
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I'll add that I tow my 2008 Classic 25fb (heaviest of the 25' AS, 8000lb gvwr) with a 2010 Tundra SR5 Double Cab, 2x4. Payload door sticker is 1465lbs. I added a BakFlip VP tonneau cover and Toyota towing mirrors. My hitch weight is between 1100 and 1200 lbs, I use an Equalizer with 1000lb bars. I'm sure I'm slightly over payload with the two of us with an some of the extras in the bed; 2 recliners, aluminum roll up table, O Grill BBQ and 5lb propane tank, a couple of bins with Lynx levelers and misc goodies, patio mat, inflatable kayak and accessories, 200 watt portable solar panel and a small toolbox and sometimes I carry two bikes on my Arvika A frame bike rack.

I bought the Tundra before the trailer and before I realized and understood about payload specs. RV and car dealers are not a good source of information about which tow vehicle to get.

I prefer a truck with a 6 1/2" bed vs the 5 1/2" beds on most crew cab 1/2 ton pickups. I doubt I could get all the aforementioned stuff with a 5 1/2' bed unless I purchase a camper shell. The recliners lay flat and take up lots of floor space but the wife wanted recliners. Ford F150 offers a 157"wb crew cab with 6 1/2' bed. It's only a foot longer than my Tundra. I did test drive a 2014 in this size but found the turning radius longer than the Tundra probably due to the 4x4 and longer wheelbase. It had a 1745lb payload sticker. I decided to wait for the 2015 F150 but found the payload disappointing because Ford lowered the GVWR for 2015 and they are so expensive. So I'm sticking with the Tundra a while longer.

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Old 05-15-2015, 11:00 AM   #11
2014 30' International
Scarborough , Ontario
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We have a F150 with the Ecoboost motor and the dealership (CanAm RV) tell me this is the gold standard today. That's their opinion. I'm happy with it!
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
RV and car dealers are not a good source of information about which tow vehicle to get.

Yes, CanAm is the exception.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:51 AM   #13
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I was very happy with the f-150 as a tow vehicle but was never comfortable with it as a full time around town drive. For me the Jeep Grand Cherokee Hemi was a better fit.

I see that PP got their off topic sponsored plug in once again.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:29 PM   #14
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I just happened to get a great deal on a truck I love back in 2008.
$30,000 for my Tundra back then.
I think the 27' trailers have a higher tongue weight than my 30', so a 1/2 ton might not be enough.
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:04 PM   #15
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
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The specs are definitely important, but you can also make yourself crazy looking at them all day. Don't overlook the old "butt in the seat" test. Months before we ever actually sat in a 3/4-ton truck, we'd pretty much set our hearts on one brand in particular. On paper it looked like precisely the truck for us. When we finally got into one, I immediately hated it and my husband wasn't crazy about it either. We went with another brand.
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Old 05-15-2015, 04:24 PM   #16
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Charlottesville , Virginia
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I haven't read all of the above post but i had the same dilemma that you seem to be having. I'm a "newbie" too so my advice may not be as valuable as some of the more seasoned AS owners but I owe so many Airstreamers so much for sharing their advice that when I saw your post I thought I would at least try to help someone the way that so many others have helped me.

We bought a 2015 28 ft. FC in August. I did not plan on buying a tow vehicle because I owned an Infiniti QX 56 which as luck would have it had the highest tow rating of any SUV that I have seen, 8,900 lbs. However after towing the AS home from Wentzville, MO and then towing it on a few shorter trips and finally a 3,000 mile trip out west i decided that I was not comfortable towing the AS with the Infiniti so the search for a new tow vehicle began. I did extensive research and my conclusion was that there is not a perfect answer. In my opinion the best tow vehicle is a 3/4/ ton diesel pickup however it isn't the best "daily driver". My wife wanted me to get a 1500 pickup but I decided to go with the GMC 2500 Denali and I am very happy with my decision. No it's not the easiest "daily driver" but quite honestly it hasn't been too difficult. It only has 4,000 miles on it and 2,500 of those miles were we towing the trailer home from Arizona so I have not had it very long. After a few months I may not think that my decision was as good as do right now. i think that I made the best decision for me. Safety while towing the trailer was a primary concern. You barely know that the trailer is behind you and the exhaust brake is fantastic. Stopping with the Infiniti was not comfortable, stopping with the exhaust brake is easy peasy. I think that the 3/4 ton diesel is "overkill" but for me it was the right decision. The way that I explained it (she says justified it) to my wife was that the 3/4 ton diesel was the right truck for towing and that a 1500 (1/2 ton) truck was the right decision for a daily driver. My goal was towing the AS safely and I'm convinced that for that goal I made the right decision.

I could have purchased a 3/4 ton gas engine but again it was the diesel torgue and exhaust brake that pushed me to spend the extra $8,500 +/- for the diesel. You'll hear lots of different opinions, you should read and listen to them all do lots of research and then make the decision that is right for you. There isn't a perfect answer I wasn't sure that I had made the right or even a good decision until I pulled the AS. Now I know that for what I wanted to accomplish I made the right decision for me.

I hope that this helps you. AS owners have been wonderful sharing their knowledge and advice. I hope that my experience and research will help you solve your problem! Safe travels!
Bald Eagle
28 Ft. Flying Cloud
2015 GMC Diesel
Charlottesville, VA
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:22 PM   #17
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Fresno , California
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It's totally down to what works best for you and what makes you happy without overextending your budget. Just want to throw out my favorite TV (I tow a 38' Fountain Racing boat with it...I pull a Hummer H2 toad behind my XC diesel) is my new GMC 3500 Denali. It's hands down the most luxurious truck out there. Ford and Dodge are a little more powerful (I've had one from all 3). When it came to torque my dodge was almost ridiculous. The reason I prefer the Denali besides obviously winning in the luxury department is that I hated driving the Ford an Dodge workout a trailer behind them. Sooooo jerky (having a standard transmission didn't help either lol)
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:04 PM   #18
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Since our tow vehicle was not also to be a daily driver (my Mercedes 2007 ML320 CDI diesel was retired from towing when the numbers did not work out properly with the 2013 25FB so continues as a daily driver), I did my research at the time on the 2012 Ram 2500HD with Cummins power plant.

Having an engineering interest in the Cummins engine, I preferred that power plant design to the GM/Chevy Duramax or Ford's most recent attempt to build their own diesel engine.

We have customized both the truck and the trailer to the point of a perfect match and we are pleased with the towing capability here in the southwest mountains.

It is not all about starting and going, but most importantly in my opinion, also about stopping ability. One can talk all day about the car based vehicles, but many lack the necessary braking capability to stop the entire rig if the trailer's brakes quit going downhill. Coupling a trailer with a GVW of 7,600 pounds and a tow vehicle weighing 6,000+ pounds suggests that a tow vehicle needs to be rated for a combination weight (GCVW) of 15,000 pounds or more when the tow vehicle is loaded with occupants and stuff like a BBQ, generator(s), propane and gasoline, lawn chairs etc.

Wear out the pencils doing the number crunching as that is cheaper than making a mistake with just ink on a signature line....
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Tuson TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:41 PM   #19
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Arnprior , Ontario
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I just picked a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 with the 6.2 Max Tow option package. Lot of towing goodies. So far I love the truck and it handles my '02 30' classic no problem at all. This arrangement has been hard to get but the production has increased as of the past two months. There are lots of options out there. Have a look at the set up as well.Best of luck.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:08 PM   #20
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
San Diego , California
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Hi, NoName, and welcome to the Forums. "Which TV (tow vehicle) to buy" is in the top five most discussed topics here. You'll note that no one is ready to give you a simple answer, nor am I. You started this thread with an assumption - trailers are towed with trucks. The replies have, I expect, given you some pause to this. The factors are: what kind of trips do you take, what are the weights you have to carry and tow, and what do you do with the vehicle when not towing?

Our favorite adventure with our Silvia is extended trips around the country. We like to go in two to three day leaps: travel up to 400 miles on day one, explore the area on days two and three, and then repeat the cycle. This is one of the reasons you have a trailer - you can leave it in the campsite while exploring. So the question of what you are touring in without the trailer is important.

We chose a full size van - you can see Silvester and Silvia in the photo to the left. The van provides an enormous amount of enclosed storage, plenty of room for the dogs, and comfortable, high visibility when touring. It has 9,800# max trailering! I mean: !

It also provides amazing flexibility. We take the back two seats out when towing, but when they're in they allow seating for 12 for family events, church events, etc.

And vans are so much less expensive than SUVs and most trucks. That's because you can buy them used from van pools, where they got excellent service and freeway miles.

Downside: we normally get about 11 mpg when towing. And everybody wants to borrow it for their boy scout outing, school choir trip, bowling team competition, etc.

You have lots of choices, and I though I'd add this.
John and Lynn,
Silvia ('06 25' Safari SE FB) and Silvester ('05 Chevy Express 3500)
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