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Old 03-02-2014, 08:45 AM   #1
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Hobe Sound , Florida
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Vehicle for Towing

Newbie here, great site. We are planning on our first Airstream, later this year. Start out used, 19 to 22' at this time, see if we would like the trailer life, use it approximately 4 or 5 months of the year. Travel NE and as far as Denver and San Antonio.
I have towed small boats, 20 to 25' in the past, no trailers like these. Plan on a tow vehicle, prefer Toyota 4Runner 4X4 with tow package, V6.
Specs on these models are 4500 lbs, tow capacaity. Is this GVW, and/or how do you figure the tongue wgt capacity?
I am sure this is elementary to experienced tow motorist. There is the possibility of moving up to 25' range. Do we start over again, on the tow vehicle? I will trade my 2012 Honda Pilot, 2WD, for more HD. I am also partial to Ford Pickups, my choice, F250--4WD.
Any comments or suggestions appreciated.
Hobe Sound, FL
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:53 AM   #2
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Welcome! The search function is your friend - use the Google search. This topic is a religion here and has been discussed often and with great fervor. It's even factual at times.

John Audette
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled. ~ Robert Frost
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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There's a wealth of opinion available in the "Tow Vehicles" forum. There are two basic schools of thought debated rather continuously. One might be called "Manufacturer's Tow Ratings" and the other might be called "Alternative Tow Vehicles."

In the first, you get all the weights and data on the trailer you want to tow, and then compare each spec to the car maker's TOW RATINGS, without exceeding any spec when towing a fully loaded ready to camp trailer and all the passengers. The second school is based on intuition and experiment, and leads to TVs like V6 sedans, minivans, and other "alternatives" that are not supported by manufacturer's tow ratings.

Read through the various threads that are LONG and you will see how these two philosophies satisfy different kind of campers. It's pretty interesting stuff.

Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:01 AM   #4
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Hi, Vince, and welcome to! There are tons of discussions on here about just this subject (tow vehicles) and there are many different opinions on what is the best one for your trailer.

Look through the white tab at the top named "Forums" for a list of lots of sub-forums to read about this subject.

And yes, it may be that if you size your tow vehicle to tow a 19-22' you may have to change vehicles if you go to a much larger one later.

It's likely going to cost less money all around if you can decide on the size you want before making those investments (trailer and TV), so one idea is to go out and actually sit in as many trailers as you can in order to get used to the sizes. The more time you can spend in each size of Airstream, the more informed you will be in order to make the right choice for you.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
...John Wayne...........................
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #5
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It would probably cost less to start with a 25' and stay with it, and F150 rated to tow it.
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Leftseat View Post
Plan on a tow vehicle, prefer Toyota 4Runner 4X4 with tow package, V6.
Specs on these models are 4500 lbs, tow capacaity. Is this GVW, and/or how do you figure the tongue wgt capacity?
If you plan on buying a tow vehicle (TV), determine the trailer you want to pull (approximately) then shop. Toyota has really downsized the 4Runner capabilities since I bought my V8 in '04. If you want to stay with Toyota, look at a used V8 4Runner, Sequoia or a new Tundra. You don't want to get close to the maximum capacity, no more than 80% of the TV capacity. I think you'll be much happier with a V8 over a V6.
Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE 4.7L V8
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:17 AM   #7
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Before you purchase anything try as hard as you can to imagine what places you are going to go and what things you are planning to do. Will you be on the road for long periods of time? What will you bring along with you? Will you be using a portable generator? Do you plan to boondock or will you always be in a full hookup situation?

I had an older 4Runner with the V8 and I really liked it. It towed my pop up like a champ. When I got a larger hybrid trailer it still did a good job but things changed for us. We needed a generator and hauling that in the back of the 4Runner was not without challenges. Bringing firewood was also a problem and the thought of toting extra water really made things tough.

I bought a Tundra and love the options I now have and it pulls the Airstream much easier than the 4Runner ever would. It is just the wife and I now and we do like to get out for 4 to 6 weeks at a time. Our 25FB works well for us and I doubt that we would go to something smaller. Again, it is all about who you are, what you want and what your plans are.

Best wishes in your search. We love our Airstream.
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:14 PM   #8
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Since I work on Toyotas I say buy the Tundra with the V8. You should not need 4 wheel drive unless you plan on off roading without the trailer. Also if you need more space you can always put a slide in camper in the truck and pull your AS. Then you have a guest room.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:59 PM   #9
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Hobe Sound , Florida
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Tow Vehicles, etc.

Thanks for the great response from you all. I will do my homework, as you suggested. We will take a trip over to Ft. Meyers, or one of the large recreational vehicle yards, and make a few RV shows. The Ford F-150 or
T-Tundra sounds like a good idea also.
Hobe Sound, FL
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