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Old 07-04-2022, 02:05 PM   #1
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2017 19' Flying Cloud
2019 23' Flying Cloud
Evans , Georgia
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Upgrade 23' FC FB to 25' FC FBT - F150 Tow Vehicle

Hi,

I have a 2019 Airstream 23' FC FB travel trailer. My tow vehicle is a 2020 FORD F150 FX4 3.5l Ecoboost truck with max towing package and Equalizer wd hitch. The combination tows very well and easily within the truck's GVWR limit of 7000#. Trailer tow weight is also well with range.
I am considering upgrade to a 2023 25' FC FBT. Looks like the 25' trailer with a 837# hitch weight (1.8x the 23') only leaves about 347# available after passengers, fuel, etc. The trailer weight is only slightly heaver (+ 697#) than the 23'.
The numbers seem to work. I would really like to keep my F150. That said, my question is: anyone out there with a similar experience on this kind of setup and upgrade have any advise?

Thanks much for any and all comments.
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:19 PM   #2
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I think many people have made this jump from a 23 to a 25 footer. I’m sure they’ll add to this thread, but my guess is that they’ll tell you that the tongue weight on the 25 footer when loaded for camping is somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 lbs.

Like any towing thread, there will be posts telling you that it’s not a problem and that your truck will be fine. There will also be posts telling you that the bigger trailer will exceed several of your truck’s key towing limits by a significant margin, making this combination unpleasant or unsafe.

All you can do is look at all the numbers and make the best and most informed decision that you can. In my opinion (it’s just an opinion, and we all know what’s that’s worth), the 25 footer is too much trailer for most 1/2 ton trucks. Your truck sounds like it’s on the low side in terms of payload rating, which doesn’t sound like an ideal tow vehicle for the larger trailer.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:25 PM   #3
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What Dennis said....
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:08 PM   #4
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The 25 FB has a lot of weight gain from spec when loaded. The 25 RB less so. We tow a 25RBT with a 1/2 ton based SUV. It works, but there are only two of us and we recognize we are limited on what we can load in the truck.
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:16 PM   #5
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Not sure how this helps but we own a 2018 FC 23FB. Airstream said tongue weight is 467. I was surprised when we later weighed it and it was actually 600. In my book that’s a pretty big discrepancy. So the takeaway is the info AS provides may not be accurate. That applies to the 25 FC also.
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Old 07-04-2022, 05:48 PM   #6
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I did not upgrade from a 23 but do have a 25 RBT converted from a queen. I happen to tow with a 19 f150 crewcab platinum with max tow package. I have always been within weights when scaled however on the heaviest trip the truck was at gross weight and we were carrying more then normal including an extra spare tire. With my wife, great dane and myself we typically have 200lbs to spare on the truck. We keep most of the weight appropriately balanced in the trailer so we stay within the numbers. Tows very well with an equalizer!
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Old 07-04-2022, 09:54 PM   #7
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We have a 2017 25FB and had a 2018 4x4 F150 3.5L Platinum. On 2 occasions we went to the CAT scale and were over TV GVWR while the trailer was way under. Last time we were fairly loaded which included Honda 2000 generator, inflatable kayak and paddle board, Weber Q, some fishing gear, a mountain bike, wife and I who are average weight and a 50lb dog. CAT scale said we were 315lbs over GVWR and 75lbs over rear axle GAWR. I always kept minimal weight in the front of the trailer and load heavier items in the rear. Payload on our 2018 F150 was 1560lbs and we had an equalizer hitch which performed well.

My suggestion to you is to load the F150 like you would for a trip and go weigh. You would be surprised how much all the little stuff you don't think about adds up (i.e. tonneau cover, bike rack, spray in bed liner, glove box stuff, emergency stuff under back seat, full tank of gas, DW (oops, careful there), etc. Once you have a good idea what your TV and all your stuff actually weighs then as Dennis points out plan on adding 1000-1200lbs for a loaded 25FB tongue weight. Armed with this scale data and a realistic 25FB tongue weight you should be able to asses your situation better and plan accordingly.

FWIW, once we knew we were overloaded we did a KT analysis on the following 4 options. 1) Ignore being over weight as everything was working great and we loved our F150. 2) Move down to a 23FB and adapt our camping style accordingly. 3) Go on a severe gear diet and consider some exotics like fiberglass propane tanks. 4) Get a bigger truck. For us the decision was option 4. I think you are going to be faced with deciding between the same 4 options but you are coming from a different place and will have different priorities and pain points. Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:13 AM   #8
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Going from a 23 to a 25 is something DW and I have discussed. It would be nice to have the larger black capacity, wider trailer, and 2' of extra length, for sure. We'd give up our full width bathroom, though. So far we've not decided to do that. We went from a 30 RBQ to our current 23 to down size, and do not miss needing a 2500 truck.

As a retired engineer with more time than sense, I've worked up a highly detailed spreadsheet comparing specific numbers for the two trailers, my exact truck, weights of the trailer and all the cargo I carry. The bottom section of the spreadsheet contains the conclusions. Netting it all out, I go from 75% of the max payload of the truck (1,738 pounds) with the 23, to 99%, if we bought a 25.

This is just the theory. In reality I find my 1500 adequate for towing the 23, up an down interstate highways. I have an Equalizer hitch set up by Colonial. I'm sure it would require some adjustments if we bought a 25, and my rig "probably" would work. I also suspect the engine (5.7l hemi) would still make it up the hills, but it would be at a lower average tow speed. Coming down, same, I would slow more and take more caution not to build up speed on account of added mass of a 25' rig. So, doable, ish. But so far since we are happy with our 23, it's more of an academic question.
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Old 07-05-2022, 08:29 AM   #9
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Iím not an engineer, but I have a similar spreadsheet. I have actually weighed everything that we bring with us camping. This includes things that travel in the truck bed and things that travel in the trailer. My engineer friends call me a ďcloset engineerĒ.

I completely get the desire to go bigger with an Airstream, but our 23 footer is perfect for two people and a dog. There are some rare times when the weather is bad and we spend a little more time inside the trailer than outside, but itís not enough to justify purchasing a bigger trailer and everything that goes with it. We love our little 23 FB. I took the photo below yesterday as a big thunderstorm was just rolling in. It was very comfortable inside.

Sorry to the OP for the quick sidetrack for your original question. I hope youíre getting the information that you need. It might be helpful to post more specifics on your tow vehicle, such as payload, maximum tongue weight of your hitch, etc.
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Old 07-05-2022, 09:26 AM   #10
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Upgrade

We had a 25' FC RB twin for 5 years and towed it with the exact same F150 you have for over 35,000 miles. From Fl out west over the Rockies up thru Oregon, Washington state, across Montana, North Dakota, MN, then south back to FL. Numerous trips all over the US mainly in the summer months. Never had a problem with the truck it performed beautifully. It was just my wife and I plus small dog and we pack light since the trips were usually 2 to 6 weeks.

The only issue others might add is your max weight capacity is limited with the F150.
We went up to a 30' AS 3 years ago and went with F250. If I had the 25'AS again I would go with the F150 you have. In my opinion.

Good Luck
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Old 07-05-2022, 09:49 AM   #11
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Upgrade?

Last year we upgraded from a 1966 26' Overlander to a 2007 25' Classic. The Classic spec sheet says fully loaded it weighs in the neighborhood of 8000 lbs. I haven't gotten it to a CAT scale yet. We bought it in New Mexico and on the trip back to California, our 2012 GMC 1/2 ton with the 5.3 would tow it just fine but on the long grades we had to slow WAY down to keep it from overheating. We took one more trip with the 1/2 ton and again, on the steep grades I really had to watch the temps as the truck was working WAY too hard. I just got my 2022 3/4 GMC Duramax. What a difference!! We have a steep grade just out of town and on the 1/2 ton pulling the new trailer, I could maintain 40 mph but was in 2nd gear. The new truck did it at 65mph and I don't think it even shifted down. The weight of the trailer would move the 1/2 ton around quite a bit but the new truck says "What trailer?" I'm not real enamored with the ride of the 3/4 but I think some aftermarket mods can help that be more acceptable. In the meantime, I will gladly suffer the stiffer ride for night and day difference in performance.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:31 AM   #12
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Good Advice

Youíve gotten a lot of good advice already so I wonít go on for long. I have a similar set up f150 2016 eco boost 3.5 Lariat with a 25 FBT Flying cloud.. the truck has a payload capacity of 1582 lbs. by the time you add the actual tongue weight, the weight of the hitch, and truck bed liner and cover, and two people plus a 90 lb dog itís tight but doable. We load carefully, put some heavier stuff to the rear of the trailer so it doesnít add to tongue weight and try not to travel with full tanks.

In normal driving it does great. We live at almost 9000 ft.and mountain passes not a problem. I would like a bit more engine breaking but part of the trade off with the eco boost. The question in my mind is safetry in an emergency manoever. Iím within the weight limit and hope I never have to test the emergency part.

Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:33 AM   #13
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We have a 2017 f150 King Ranch pulling our 2020 25í FB flying cloud. Itís just the two of us and donít carry much stuff in the truck bed other than a Honda 2200, a mate, 100 watts of portable solar and folding chairs. Everything else goes in the AS. Iíve gone to the cat scales a few time fully loaded at the start of our trips and have had 200-525# to spare in the truck. Iíve considered going to a f250 so we could carry more but as of now I havenít wanted needed more. I did change out the batteries for lithium which saves a little tongue weight.
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Old 07-05-2022, 12:28 PM   #14
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We have 25 ft 2017 FBR Q towed with 2017 lariet f150 3.5 ecoboost. 29000 plus miles . 3000wt gen, plus 5 gal fuel for it, 200 at portable solar suitcase, chairs all that other stuff. I always weigh with full fresh and empty waste tanks, full fuel, wife, 100lb dog. We have never been within 280 lbs of over weight in 3 trips to the CAT scales. We've done Rockies, black hills, great smilies, and PA and WV mountains. The 10 speed gearbox seems to be the best part of the drivetrain for towing. No issues up or down, always goes as fast or slow as we choose. I would only go 3/4 ton for bed gear increase, but I am happy with a gasser with diesel prices. FWIW.
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Old 07-05-2022, 01:43 PM   #15
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Exclamation Flying Cloud 26U with F150 2.7

Took our Ď16 26U Cloud 1st time behind F150 eco boost 2.7. Hensley hitch. 4 folding chairs, dog carrier, 32 pound dog and 2 adults (300 pounds). Two 30 lb propane tanks, 3/4 fuel (18 gal) and 40 gals of water. CAT weigh showed 2800 front axle, 4180 rear, 6140 AS, 13120 total. GAWR rear is 3350. Even if I tightened Equalizers and emptied tanks Iíd be way over both GAWR and payload of 1690. Thots?
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makinwaves2 View Post
Took our Ď16 26U Cloud 1st time behind F150 eco boost 2.7. Hensley hitch. 4 folding chairs, dog carrier, 32 pound dog and 2 adults (300 pounds). Two 30 lb propane tanks, 3/4 fuel (18 gal) and 40 gals of water. CAT weigh showed 2800 front axle, 4180 rear, 6140 AS, 13120 total. GAWR rear is 3350. Even if I tightened Equalizers and emptied tanks Iíd be way over both GAWR and payload of 1690. Thots?
You might want to consider a heavy duty truck to replace the F150.
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:17 PM   #17
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Thanks to all for the advise. I'll add the vehicle data tag states a 1692# max cargo weight. Subtract two passengers (300#), TT tongue weight (1000# est) and gear, etc. (150# est) leaves about 242#. Not sure if I should count fuel in tank as cargo (216#).
My sense is the F250 is a sure bet where the F150 is doable, but marginal. Noted experience varies.

BTW: side note, the reason for the 27' FC FB is the twin beds, lounging area, and bath in middle. Really like our 23' FB, but sometimes feels cramped inside with no "turn around" room. Maybe installing twin beds will help.
This may be academic as my shopping experience has not been optimal. No inventories and list prices for both 25' FC and F250 with long order times. Boy, things have really changed..
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makinwaves2 View Post
Took our Ď16 26U Cloud 1st time behind F150 eco boost 2.7. Hensley hitch. 4 folding chairs, dog carrier, 32 pound dog and 2 adults (300 pounds). Two 30 lb propane tanks, 3/4 fuel (18 gal) and 40 gals of water. CAT weigh showed 2800 front axle, 4180 rear, 6140 AS, 13120 total. GAWR rear is 3350. Even if I tightened Equalizers and emptied tanks Iíd be way over both GAWR and payload of 1690. Thots?
Since you asked, my thoughts are you are over the quoted capacities of your TV! I'd be especially concerned about exceeded the rating for the rear axle. Especially by that much.

I had a 1/2 ton TV and was always on the edge. When we replaced our 25' with a 27' AS we decided to get a new 3/4 ton TV. No more concerns about exceeding the capacities and it tows so much better.

TETO!
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:58 PM   #19
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Our 2013 25FBQ had a literature tongue weight of 833 pounds. When fully loaded, it was 1,175 pounds tongue weight with full propane tanks, fresh water, with a Hensley Arrow hitch and Tekonsha remote brakes controller on tongue. All the tools were in the back of the trailer. It scaled 6,900 pounds of 7,300 GVW.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:05 PM   #20
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We have a Flying Cloud 23 CBB (no longer made), which has a much higher tongue weight than the 23FB (13.5% from factory compared to 10% on the FB). With a family of 4, our F-150 with 1808-lb payload (7050 GVWR, 5242 curb weight from factory) is barely enough, and will likely no longer be enough in 10–15 years when the kids are older and the toys are bigger.
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