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Old 07-05-2017, 11:00 AM   #1
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2018 30' Classic
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Towing 2018 33' Classic

I have a question for you all. We are picking our new 2018 33' Classic in two weeks and would like some help on tow vehicle. We currently have a 2013 Ford F150 with a V8 and have been towing a 27' international signature FB. I am sure we need to upgrade but would like some input on gas vs diesel and do we need to upgrade to a 1 ton or just a 3?4 ton?

Thank you all for your help in this matter
Gary & Tina :-)

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Old 07-05-2017, 11:02 AM   #2
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Well, figure the tongue weight of your new trailer, and compare that to the payload rating of your tow vehicle. That would be a great place to start.


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Old 07-05-2017, 11:13 AM   #3
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If you are uncomfortable towing the 33 with a F-150, a new F-250 is a pretty big step up. The difference between the F-250 with tow package(s) and F-350 with the same packages is almost all in the springs. There also isn't a lot of cost difference bumping from a 250 up to a 350.

I have a 30' Classic. There's not a lot of weight or size difference between the 30 and the 33 despite what you would guess from the model designations. So far towing in the "mountains" in the east, gas on an F-250 has not been an issue at all. If I regularly ran back and forth over Independence Pass .... who knows.

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Old 07-05-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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You're going to get a lot of varying opinions when you ask a question like this! Not only do you have the 1/2 ton vs 3/4; but you've also opened the Diesel vs Gas can of worms!

I believe your current truck would safely pull your new trailer, but you would feel the additional weight and length for sure.

I bought a 3/4 Diesel RAM 2500 long before even considering an AS. As others have said in other threads; I am very happy with having a heavier truck and having a Diesel at that. I got over 15MPG on my last tow, and I fell like I have plenty of excess capacity to load up the bed of the truck (took my grill, kayaks, lawn chairs, etc this time) without worrying about it. The exhaust brake is fantastic for coming down out of the mountains.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:23 AM   #5
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We have a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel and have been on the road three years between Canada and the US with no problems.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:27 AM   #6
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Rule of thumb is bigger is better and diesel engines just sound cool!
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:37 AM   #7
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I really appreciate all of your help.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:37 AM   #8
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Everything in this comment is exactly what I have experienced with my Diesel 2500 HD Silverado. No stress towing, great gas mileage, no loading issues. I only pull a 23FB, but the 33FB Classic has a tongue weight of 1175 lbs which is no prob for a diesel 3/4 ton. There is no need for a 1 Ton, it only adds stiffer springs which will not really add value to your tow unless of course you are really loading the bed heavy with stuff.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:58 AM   #9
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One more reason for diesel power

One of the many reasons I prefer diesel is not often mentioned; the ability to fuel in the truck lanes at truck stops as opposed to gas lanes at gas stations. Much more swing/maneuver room and more lanes, faster flow pumps.

Just my two cents
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:05 PM   #10
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I have the 2017 30 Classic and towing with my RAM 2500 has not been a problem at all. I don't think the 2500 would have any problems with the 33 footer. I would NOT want to tow with anything less than 250/2500 but that's just me. The 350/3500 might actually be more truck than you really need.
I don't know what hitch you plan to use but remember that the weakest link in the configuration is the hitch. If you don't already have a really good hitch ( by really good I mean, Hensley, Pro-Pride, etc. ) please think about that part. I prefer the Hensley and cost had nothing to do with it, I just think they have the best in class.
Congratulations on your new purchase, be safe, enjoy and many happy years of traveling. Cheers!

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Old 07-05-2017, 12:22 PM   #11
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Towed all over the USA - Hills and Valleys! Correct WD hitch and sway controls + wireless brake controller. Go to F-250 if you feel you must. However, I suggest you find a way to RENT and TRY one first!
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:40 PM   #12
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One assumption in a lot of the comments is that you are only changing the trailer. The next one is that the F-150 is not overloaded. You don't add a *lot* going from 27' to 33', but you most certainly do add some weight. If the 150 is already at / over limits due to other "stuff" then a 250 (or 2500) is indeed called for. If you are adding a couple of 500 lb off road vehicles to the bed of the truck ... same issue.

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Old 07-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #13
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When I was shopping for a TV, my Ram dealer told me that the only difference between identical models of their 2500 & 3500 is that the 2500 has coil rear springs & the 3500 has leaf springs & costs approx. $400 more. I settled on a 2500 (diesel), which I now regret & wish i had gotten a 3500.

Since towing my 27 FB & talking in RV parks with lots of 1-ton owners (primarily of Rams & Fords) pulling trailers, including ASs, their uniform comments have been "I'm glad I paid the few $100 & got a 1-ton --- it just tows better. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still buy a 1-ton." I have yet to talk with a 1-ton owner who wants to downgrade. So when my warranty gets close to running out, I'll look to trading in for a 3500.

Another reason, specific to Ram trucks, for getting a 3500 is that their Aisin transmission, I believe, is only available in 3500s, ie, not in 2500s, and the optional Aisin transmission has the reputation for being significantly superior to Ram's stock transmission.

Admittedly, I only use my 2500 for towing the AS (for which it does an admirable job; no complaints) & getting building supplies from places like Home Depot. It's big, heavy, & clumsy, and I would not want to use it as a daily driver.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by gbstats View Post
I have a question for you all. We are picking our new 2018 33' Classic in two weeks and would like some help on tow vehicle. We currently have a 2013 Ford F150 with a V8 and have been towing a 27' international signature FB. I am sure we need to upgrade but would like some input on gas vs diesel and do we need to upgrade to a 1 ton or just a 3?4 ton?

Thank you all for your help in this matter
Gary & Tina :-)
It has been a long time since I have replied to a tow vehicle question, this or that brand, model, motor etc.. There is just too much emotion and not enough data-fact and experience across the spectrum of 1/2 vs 3/4 ton and diesel vs gas by most of the responders. Most importantly, and the dealers are the worse, people really don't understand how to accurately calculate your vehicles weight restrictions (gross, hitch, axles, tires etc). And if you do, and you make your measurements to the best of your ability..then you take it to the CAT scales you will typically find out your calculations are off and not in a favorable way. Before I get started, just because the dealer says or someone on the forum says, 'I do and or I have customers that does', does not make it the best decision for you or is the 'right-safest' thing to do. Also, most people consider it all about pulling. More importantly, they don't consider the most important parts: stopping and stopping when it gets nasty. This is where the difference between a 1/2 and 3/4 ton are like night and day. Todays half tons are nothing more than an SUV with an open bed in it. 3/4 tons are made specifically for loads, pulling and 'stopping'. Yet, personally, new 3/4 tons ride is preferable even when unloaded for my taste. But don't get me wrong, modern 1/2 tons are amazing versatile, I own one too. But like any tool, you have to use the right tool for the job at hand. A truck is not a truck is not a truck!

My background: I have pulled ASs for 22 years. Owned three ASs. I have used many 1/2 tons and on my third 3/4 ton diesel for pulling.

First question you have to ask yourself is how often and where do you intend to pull the 33? If you live in Kansas and drive 100 miles to your local park a couple of times a year...then you can probably use anything, a little exaggeration. If you really plan on putting on some miles, going out west on curvy roads, heavy cross winds, 5-7% grades and not have white knuckles going down hill fearing for your life, if you are going to do this and be relaxed at the end of the day... then the answer is easy pulling that 33...stick with a 3/4 ton (no, absolutely no need for a 1 ton with AS). People focus on tongue weight, yes you must, but tongues typically don't fail. Brakes, torque converters, axles, wheel bearings, rear ends, SUV type tires, over heating, over worked and over heated turbo chargers, over stressing moving parts at or past their max, these should be your concern.

If you plan on doing more than little jaunts, then I highly recommend you switch to a 3/4 ton. All the modern models are excellent..owned them all. I have owned all the modern diesels too and currently pulling with a 2016 RAM 2500, Cummins. But have had Powerstroke and Duramax too. Any of the current 3/4 models with gas motors are fine too. Many of the 3/4 gas motors offer the same motor offered in their 1/2 tons (not Ford). But the same gas motor in a 3/4 ton not the same pulling experience in the 1/2 ton. The way they will gear the towing configs on the 3/4 gas and the transmission they marry it to are not 1/2 configurations and components.

I am lucky, I typically have a 3/4 ton and a 1/2 ton because I live on a farm but am retired from all that work stuff. I always travel from Michigan to the NW US every summer. Usually put on 6-8,000 miles. Summer before last my son needed my 3/4 ton. So I pulled my 25' AS with my 2015 1/2 5.7L 8 speed auto and rear assist air bags. I did the math, yep I was going to be a little over on Gross Weight, and it was just me going , but the CAT scales told a different story..front axle very over loaded, rear axle a little overloaded and of course all the tires all over max. So, I knew what I was up against and adjusted my driving etc. accordingly. I have to say, I was pretty impressed how well the RAM 1/2 ton did but I will never do that gain. I was exhausted at the end of the day. I could never relax and have the stability and safety margins the 3/4 ton will offer. It just was not fun pulling and on a couple of occasions just down right scary with out the proven diesel exhaust brake to do all the work slowing down hills.

As far as diesel vs gas. Again, there is no 3/4 ton gasser that can't do anything you are wanting to do pulling your 33. If you don't pull a lot, my recommendation is stay away from the modern diesels, all of them. They want to work, be hot and pull a load. If you pull a lot and go up steep grades and especially down them..there is no comparison between these two engine technologies. If you want to go up a steep grade at 5,000 rpm and your foot to the floor, if you want to have your foot on the brakes constantly going down hill, if you don't want to pass the tractor on the two lane back roads, if you don't want to get gas every 150 miles vs. going going up hill at 1,700 rpm with 850 pounds of torque, never having to use your brakes going down hill with diesel exhaust brakes, passing people even uphill at 9,000 feet with realitive ease, 40% better towing mileage, not worrying about blow outs on those extremely hot days, not worrying about transmission engine overheating..ever. Then you might consider a diesel.

Last note.. I learned this from a friend about 10 years ago with a 5th wheel who had a claim denied, yep most of them doing too much with too little. Almost, if not all, insurance policies have buried in it legal ease about operating under normal operating conditions. That is code saying if you get in an accident, where a major claim will happen or worse there is an injury, you will be at fault and/or your insurance provider will legally void your policy and refuse coverage. Reason, you were over spec somewhere on those manufacture gross specifications.WARNING: you can not go off the specs for towing from the vehicle web sites or catalogs. You MUST use the one stamped inside the driver door panel. These are much less than what they post in the catalogs and towing charts and sometimes a giant difference.

So, its not that you can, its if you should and also will you be legal in an unfortuante circumstance.

Conclusion, why not error on the safe side?

I took my 26U I purchased last year to the factory this spring for warranty work. Had an opportunity to walk through one of the first 33' off the line. All I have to say is,"WOW"!!! That I like. I would take that over a 30' for my personal needs. But, I would never pull it with a 1/2 ton:-(

Good luck!

2016 RAM 2500 6.7L Cummins, 4WD, Crew, Rear Air
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:24 PM   #15
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Why we like our 3/4 ton diesel.

Knowing the fantastic knowledge and experience of the people on this site you will get a lot of input to your question.

I spent a lot to time thinking about and researching the truck I wanted to pull our new Airstream with. These are just my opinions and reasons why I picked the truck I picked.

Why Diesel?

We have a 2017 30' International and I chose a 2016 GMC Sierra HD (3/4 ton) diesel (6.6l V8 Turbo). I knew I wanted a truck that was very strong in both frame and suspension as well as brakes and power. I can tell you I got it all with the Sierra HD. After pulling our AS over 6,000 miles , here is what I can tell you regarding my decision to buy the HD diesel, and why I would make the same decision again today.

1. The diesel engine has an incredible amount of torque, mine has 769 ft/lbs. That is about twice as much as most any gas engine you will find. Torque is what is needed when pulling a trailer. The diesel Sierra also has over 400 horsepower, but torque is what is most important in this situation.

This is the first vehicle I have ever owned that I can set the cruise control at 65mph (thats the max the AS tires are rated for) and it will go right up a mountain incline without dropping out of gear to downshift into a lower gear. It does this while pulling my 30' Airstream!! I just think that's incredible. My wife has a Toyota Sequioa with a 5.7 V8 gas engine (great vehicle) and I have driven it up the exact same mountain pass in TN and it will continually downshift if I set the cruise control as I'm going up those large inclines. So, apparently the 5.7L gas engine has more trouble pulling just itself up a mountain pass than my 6.6L diesel does while pulling a 7,500lb trailer, thats incredible. I've never had any vehicle be able to go up a mountain pass with the cruise control on and the car not continually want to downshift. I know gear ratio's play a part here as well so maybe the Sequoia is geared too high?? Now, the diesel engine in the Sierra is larger at 6.6l but I have to tell you, it has incredible power and ability to pull a large trailer up a long and steep incline. I LOVE IT!!!

2. The diesel engine gives me 17-18MPG almost all the time when I am not towing. But,whats amazing is that it gives me 14-15MPG while towing the AS. Any gas engine truck will probably only provide about 10mpg or less when towing. That's a huge savings if you plan to do much towing. I pay about 10% more for diesel fuel but I get about 30-50% better fuel economy vs. gas.

3. It is much easier to find diesel fuel pumps that are wide open and easy to maneuver your rig up to for fueling than gas pumps. Have you every had any anxiety about finding a gas station that has enough room for you to maneuver your 33' trailer up the pump? That can be stressful. Gas pumps are normally in tight locations because they are made for cars and small vehicles. I always stop at truck stops, [preferably a Flying J], and I have no concerns that I will not be able to get up the fuel pumps. In other words, because my engine takes diesel fuel, I can always fill up where the big rigs fill up and I always find it very easy to pull up to the pumps with my 30' AS in tow. Anywhere there is a truck stop I know I will have an easy time filling up. If you have a gas engine in your truck you will have to find a gas station that has lots of room around the pumps. Flying J has RV pumps that are normally easy for both gas and diesel but I love knowing I can just pull over to where the big rigs are if the fuel pump layout is tight or congested.

4. When I am pulling the AS down the highway with the cruise set at 65mph, my RPM's (revolutions per minute) in the diesel are at 1,600. This is a very low amount of RPM. It is also a measure of how hard the engine is working. Higher RPM = more engine spin, more heat, more wear,etc. Lower RPM is better for longevity of the engine, fuel mileage, etc. Now, lower RPM is inherent with a diesel engine and is just one of the many things that will make them last much longer than a gas engine. To me that matters. In reality, todays gas engines are very good and most will go for over 200,000 miles with just basic maintenance. I happen to feel better knowing my diesel could easily run to 500,000 with some basic care and maintenance.

Regarding 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton.

I chose the 3/4 HD truck because when you have a big heavy trailer hooked onto your bumper and your driving down the road at highway speeds it just stands to reason to me that you will be better off in a stronger framed truck. I know 1/2 ton is able to pull my trailer but it's much closer to the design limits of the truck. If you buy a truck that is designed to pull 10,000 lbs and you actually pull a trailer that is 10,000 lbs you will be right on the edge of what is considered safe, not to mention comfortable to drive. The more you increase the size of the truck, in both engine size and frame size, the more your truck has the ability to handle the extra trailer load which can be very important in bad, unforeseen situations. When I am hooked up and driving down the road I know I have this big heavy trailer behind me and I know I can't stop or maneuver anywhere near like I can when driving without the trailer. I can feel it. I can't stop as fast, I can't turn as quick. It's all physics. So I want a big strong frame, bigger is better. I want big strong brakes, bigger is better. I want a big strong engine, bigger is better. In all these cases, for me, bigger is better. Not absolutely necessary, but better.

The closer you bring a vehicle to it's design limits the less comfortable it will be to drive and the less safe it will be especially in bad emergency situations. Some people may not be "in tune" with this but I am, so I love the extra "beef" provided in the 3/4 ton, but that might just be me.

Whatever you buy I wish you all the best! And safe travels.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:51 PM   #16
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Be careful, don't do what I did. I am towing a 27FB classic (9000#) with an F150 and 1850 max load rating. It worked fine except for big hills and narrow roads. I decided i needed a 3/4 ton truck (F250) to max me feel more comfortable (wrong). I spent $55K for a diesel F250 and never gave it a thought that the max load capacity would be less that the F150. After I got it home and $55K lighter I looked at the max load rating: it was 1850 #'s. I didn't get what I was expecting. I put it on the CAT scales fully loaded with the trailer and found that I was still overloaded. The front axle was at 95% rating and the rear axle was at 100%. The CAT scale said I was 11050 # with the trailer. 1050 overload. IMO the entire extra strength of the truck was sucked up by the diesel engine. If I had purchase the 5.0L gas I would have been better off. I would have unloaded both axles and given me that extra 500# I was expecting to get with the F250.
A friend of mine has an F150 and his max load rating is 2200 # 300# MORE than the F250. Here is the problem: every truck has a different max load rating based on the options and features of the truck. You have to look on the door column of every truck to see what you are getting. Don't assume that all F250's have the same max load rating they don't.
The diesel is fun but I don't need it. The 5.0L is now being rated as a better engine with better fuel economy than the diesel. My diesel with 8,000 miles is only getting 11-12 towing the trailer and 13-14 not. I sure the 5.0L gas will do better than that I know empty my 5.4L F150 was getting 14-15mpg.

By the way don't forget to include that weight of the cap you put on the TV as well as the hitch. My Henley Arrow (a must to have) adds about 150# to the tongue a small price to pay for the way extra benefits.

Happy Streaming
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Old 07-06-2017, 05:40 AM   #17
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Fort Worth , Texas
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A bigger pickup is the usual excuse for incorrect lash-up of trailer and tow vehicle in the first place.

Was laughing at three AS in a row southbound from Fort Worth yesterday on IH35. Every one with the TT bouncing along on the front axle. Trailers that didn't require a pickup of any sort.

Hard to imagine a worse-braking and -handling setup.

"Payload" is not a binding term. Nor is "cargo capacity".

Axle/wheel/tire ratings matter.

As does setting the hitch.

Amazing to me that that last is almost ignored.

A pickup increases the chances of a loss of control accident. 4WD and yet heavier configurations only make that likelier with even more serious consequences.

The idea that one runs down the road when hitched as if one is solo is what needs examining. Following distances, allowances for road surface, weather, etc. Also ignored. I see it constantly. ("You" may think you've made allowances, but you haven't scratched the surface").

The heavier the pickup, the slower the trip. Universally ignored.

Are any of you running 60,000-miles per year? Ha! Maybe 10% of that. In no way will a well-spec'd half ton lack in performance or longevity/reliability because the drivetrain gets worked harder (here's the key: than you're used to). These trailers aren't that much of a challenge. The problem is inexperience.

The giveaway is how tired they are with running a half ton. That the bigger one is easier. That's not a "truck problem", that's a driver problem.

Engine power is fully beside the point of what matters. Nearly every vehicle on the road today is overpowered. Which "you" don't understand. It's a complete non-starter for vehicle choice with these trailers.

More weight on each wheel is NOT your friend. Not for steering, handling and most of all, braking. A one ton simply doesn't have a significant increase in tire contact patch size versus a half ton. To that add an even worse center of gravity. (My work truck runs eight of ten on 455-sized tires on 13k wheels. Think it's more stable? Ha! Tires have limits, fantastic as they are today).

In a nutshell, that's the thing. "You" lose that Drive Axle tire grip and its sayonara, bubba.

Want best performance with a pickup? It's a VPP hitch, and trailer antilock disc brakes. For those not so equipped, then also the TUSON electronic trailer antisway. Belt & suspenders. Pickups need help to not themselves be the cause of an accident. "You" should really let that sink in. These trailers are more stable.

Might then be a better match for a truly stable pair. Which should have been the starting point.

Clues One and Two to that are: short rear overhang, and fully independent suspension.

It's an old saw of ER physicians: "Want to live a long life? Then you need only avoid two things: being gunshot, and serious auto accidents".

The RV crowd is a herd of lemmings. Follow them over the cliff if you must.

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Old 07-06-2017, 06:19 AM   #18
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Sharon Springs , New York
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We use a Ford 2013 F-250 6.2 gas, extended cab 8' box to tow our 32' AS with. I have stayed away from diesel (except in a MoHo pusher), primarily due to cost. Diesels are more expensive to buy, fuel, service and repair. That's not saying they don't have more torque, a bit better mpg (offset by higher fuel costs),the engines do last longer
and they sound cool!! But if your not full-timing or using the truck to haul alot, gas may be a better option. Most people are not going to wear out the truck's engine before the rest of the truck falls apart or they want
to upgrade anyway. The F-250 (or any 3/4 ton) will add to your piece of mind when
towing/stopping your TT. Good luck and travel safe!!
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:24 AM   #19
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2018 33' Classic
Newport , Pennsylvania
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Posts: 236
towing a 2018 classic

I have a GMC Denali 3500 diesel to tow my 2015 classic 30 and I am picking up a new 2018 33 soon.

I have heard a lot of nonsense on this site about towing big trailers with toy vehicles, weigh each wheel, don't load too much in the trailer, don't load to much in the tow vehicle. I feel if I couldn't afford a proper tow vehicle I wouldn't buy a big airstream.

Go big or stay on the porch

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Old 07-06-2017, 07:06 AM   #20
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1989 32' Excella
Sharon Springs , New York
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Posts: 154
Gee, Plan-B, not sure what you are towing, but I think your super-diesel versus humble-gas assessment is a bit extreme. I don't deny your claims insofar as performance (maybe fuel economy, which is affected by driving habits as well). You are definitely spot on with weight/towing specs, but most of us are not OTR truckers and my TV (w/factory towing pkg) has performed flawlessly towing cross-country quite a few times. I have seen the results of a few TT RV'rs who pull like they are driving a corvette and RVs do break up on impact!! Going down steep grades, my tow/haul transmission controls my speed while towing very well, but "jake brakes" do sound cool and work well. I did love the air horn on my MoHo much more than on the F-
250, have to upgrade that, lol. If a diesel satisfies your needs then drive one, but gas
has advantages as well, no TV is perfect, it
just depends on what you are willing to live
with/without... Travel safe

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