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Old 10-12-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
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Topic: 30 foot Airstreams any kind

We are considering a 30ft Airstream because we would like more options in

Regards to the tow vehicle. As initially we where sold on a used 34ft classic
but Realized some can be so HEAVY and would require a f150 or 250 so
then we considered the Excella! As we don't want to buy a 250 anything!!!

Reason I started this discussion is so those who CURRENTLY own a 30ft, can ring in and help others understand the tow vehicle needed to pull it.

A) Please tell us what 30 f Airstream you own? And it's dry weight ?
B) Please tell us what tow vehicle you use and how good it pulls?

Thank you all for chiming in on this topic.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
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1967 30 foot with a dry weight of 4650. Our tow vehicle is an F150 with small V8. Our towing area is the mountain west.

But this could take a while for you, so take a look at the attached document.


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Old 10-12-2013, 03:30 PM   #3
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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1975 31' Sovereign
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1975 Sovereign 31' empty dry weight is around 6,000#. Tow with an 2003 F150 4.6 V-8 with factory tow package, 3:55 limited slip rear end. We are close to maximum rated capacity though, which IIRC is right around 7,000#. We primarily tow in the coastal plains of NC and stay out of the deep mountains. If we go to the mountains we use the 1996 F350 Crewcab Powerstroke Diesel.

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Old 10-12-2013, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
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I think my trailer is about 7300# dry.
GVW is 10,000#.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:39 PM   #6
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I have a 1988 32' Excella. But I tow it with a 2500 diesel. It tows great.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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1978 31' Sovereign towed with 1999 Suburban 2500 with big, big motor.

My father-in-law, who hauled bumper hitch trailers and travel trailers always told me that while a 1/2 truck may pull a trailer, a 3/4 ton has heavier suspension and brake parts.

My vote would be for 3/4 ton.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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Dry weight for the 2004 - 30 foot Classic is 7250lb
2007 Toyota Tundra 4 door, 5.7 l with towing package

I get 10-12 miles/ gallon

We have over 50,000 miles on both truck and trailer and have traveled all over the country including the mountains of Colorado, New York, New England etc
It is a great tow vehicle. Wolf146
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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Our existing TV will adequately handle the jump from a 2013 25FB International Serenity with a GVW of 7,300 pounds to a 2014 Classic 30 with a GVW of 10,000 pounds. The factory empty weight of the Classic 30 at 7,395 exceeds the GVW on the 25FB.

We looked at a 2011 34' Classic and the 11,500 pound GVW would exceed the combined trailer and truck with payload allowance for our existing truck.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:43 PM   #10
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1974 31' Excella and a 1990 Chevrolet G30 1 ton van with a 350.
Acceleration from a stop isn't that great, but once it gets going pulls like a dream.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:51 PM   #11
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2001 AS classic 30 ft. Scale weight 8,000. Tow with Dodge 2500 6.7 cummins. No problems towing. I do not cut conners and sacrifice safety.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:56 PM   #12
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I towed a 1998 Excella 30', with a GVWR of 8,300. It usually weighed between 7,400 and 7,800 when we towed. Dry about 7,000.

At first I towed it with a Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4 speed automatic, tow package. This truck would pull the trailer pretty well as long as I stayed out of the mountains. On steep grades the transmission would overheat, even with the auxiliary transmission cooler. This truck/trailer combination always exceeded the combined weight rating of the truck. The tongue weight and all of the things I carried in the truck was always really close to or exceed the payload capacity. The weight on the rear axle always was close to or exceeded the axle weight rating.

I also pulled this trailer with a Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 6 speed automatic, tow package. This truck would tow the trailer anywhere without any mechanical issue. Though, this truck/trailer combination always exceeded the combined weight rating of the truck. The tongue weight and all of the things I carried in the truck was always really close to or exceed the payload capacity. The weight on the rear axle always was close to or exceeded the axle weight rating.

Now I use a Silverado 2500, 6.0L, 6 speed automatic. Some would say overkill, but I carry a lot of weight in the truck bed. I do not like my present truck and will soon be going back to a 1500. I will re-arrange how I carry things to put more load in the trailer and less in the truck. And, I will leave some things at home.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:26 AM   #13
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You know, about the best you can say is that there is huge difference in weight, depending on how old the Airstream is. Those newer Airstreams would just squash our poor F150 flat while vintage ones like ours do fine with it.


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Old 10-13-2013, 08:15 AM   #14
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We tow our '94 30' Excella with a 2012 Ram 1500 Hemi with 3.93 gears. At the CAT scales we were right at the limit. No bed cap, bikes, or kayaks. Only a 30 lb BBQ and propane cylinder in the truck bed. Our AS has a tongue mounted generator and security box that adds about 300 lbs. It works just fine, and since we live in the Sierras, we frequently pull mountain passes.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:23 AM   #15
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My 2003 30' slide out with full liquids has a net CCC of 660 lbs. Gross is 9100. I estimate that our typical weight when not carrying water is around 8,200 lbs. Hence my use of a 3/4 ton vehicle. As noted once you get into the never versions of the Classic line, you dealing with some serious weight.

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Old 10-13-2013, 08:57 AM   #16
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In a TV Overkill is a Good Thing

Here's a verbatim tutorial I posted in 2006 in response to a similar question. Perhaps it will help in your decision. The bottomline: The the pre-2000 5.7 liter and the post 2000 5.3 liter Chevy or GMC Suburban or Tahoe with the 3.73 rear axle is inadequate, or barely adequate, for pulling a 30' Airstream.

From 1996 until May 2005, I kept looking for marginal improvements in towing while balancing fuel consumption not towing.
1996: 1995 2-WD Surburban with pre-Vortec 5.7 liter (350 cu in), 3.73 rear end, pulling 1976 Airstream Safari 23'.
This wasn't a bad combination in coastal Carolina and the east coast where we lived at the time, but it didn't do well in the mountains of NM. (11 mpg towing and 17-18 mpg combined).
2001: 1999 4-WD Surburban with Vortec 5.7 liter, 3.73 rear end pulling 2000 Airstream Safari 27'.
The added power of the Vortec engine was offset by increased weight of 4-WD and larger trailer. Performance in mountains was marginal. Non-towing average MPG was lower than 1995 Suburban. (11 mpg towing and 15-17 combined)
2004: 2003 4-WD Z71 Suburban with Vortec 5.3 liter, 3.73 rear end pulling 2000 Airstream Safari 27'.
The advertised increase in horsepower of the 5.3 over the 5.7 is great for non-towing, interstate highway cruising; but a big disappointment for towing. The extra horsepower comes at higher RPMs and results in less torque and marginal towing performance on mountain grades.(12-14 mpg towing and 17 combined)
2005: 2005 4-WD Silverado 2500 HD with Durmax Diesel pulling a 1976 Sovereign 31í. A towing machine, but not a very good vehicle for driving around town, so I bought a 2005 Pacifica for city driving.

What you need. I need 4-WD, but if you don't otherwise need 4-WD, stick with 2-WD. That gives you 500 pounds of additional towing capacity and improves your non-towing gas consumption by about 2MPG.
If you want a tow vehicle that must double as your non-towing, take the kids to soccer practice, family car; the 1500 Suburban 5.3 liter is a nice compromise vehicle if you can find one with a 4.10 rear end. If you want to optimize mountain towing, look for a 6.0 liter with 4.10 rear end. If you want a towing machine, and you care naught about MPG, get the 8.1 liter and the 3.73 rear end.
Bottom line... you will never be satisfied with 5.3 liter and the 3.73 in the mountains, but it's the most fuel efficient combo Chevy offers (12-14 mpg towing and 17-18 mpg combined maybe better with 2-WD and keeping your speed below 62 mph.
The 4.10 rear end behind the 5.3 will make you less unhappy, in the mountains and may be all you need. The 6.0 liter with a 4.10 will make your heart sing in the mountains, but make your heart will ache at the gas pump (11 mpg towing and 13-14 mpg combined).

Since I posted this in 2006, I now own a 2007 Classic 30 (GVW 10000), and I pull it with a Chevy 2500 HD Duramax.

By the way, Dry Weight is a mythical concept that should not enter into your TV calculations. We are never really "Dry."
Hope this helps.
Ken
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:58 AM   #17
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I project that the combination weight of the 2014 Classic 30 and our loaded truck could be close to 19,000 pounds. We were at 16,000 pounds combined weight at the CAT scales with the 25FB.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:34 PM   #18
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I still need to go to the Cat scales for the true numbers, but I think our combined rig might weigh 14,000#.
We are not unhitching tonight because we are leaving in the morning.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:47 PM   #19
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2007 30' Classic. Dry weight 7460#. weight loaded with all accessories, bikes, bike rack....ready to camp; 8500-9000#s (per scales).

I have towed with:

2000 Express van 1500; 5.7 L. Overloaded in every spec. Handles fine, underpowered.

2010 Avalanche 1500, 5.3L. Overloaded in every spec. Handled fine, underpowered, but not as bad as the Express.

2011 Escalade EXT,6.2L. Overloaded rear axle only. Power was fine.

2011 Silverado 6.0L gas. Fine in every way.

2012 Denali XL, 6.2L. Overloaded rear axle. Power was fine

2012 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6 Duramax. More than fine in every way.

2013 Denali XL (same as above)

2013 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6 Duramax (same as above)
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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2012, 30 Flying Cloud. Around 6300-6400 dry wt. tongue 880#. Pulled it first with a 2011 Chevy crew cab 1500 with the big 6.2, 403 HP engine. 8 mpg if you tow on hiway, some hills and 65 (sometimes 70) mph. You stop a lot for gas with the 26 gal tank. The 1/2 ton TV did OK, but you had to gear down/slow down going up hills. You also had to plan ahead merging into busy traffic--acceleration ok, but it is a gas engine and thus not a ton of torque--even with the big V8.

Now have a 2012 Chevy 2500 Duramax diesel. 3.73 rear and of course the Allison transmission. 12mpg towing at 70 on the hiway. 14 mpg at 60 mph. 36 gal fuel tank. You can't overheat the engine, you can accelerate into traffic with ease. I run it on cruise control and it very seldom shifts down going up hills unless real steep. You have to check the rear view mirror to even know the trailer is there. The truck has total control of itself and it's load accelerating, cruising, climbing, descending and stopping ( look at 3/4 ton brakes and compare to 1/2 ton) ( look at springs and suspension). Wouldn't go back to 1/2 ton gas unless I went to 25 ft or smaller.
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