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Old 08-13-2015, 02:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DHart View Post
Good point about where to carry the generator and gasoline for it... don't forget you might want to carry a little camp firewood, a shovel, some tools, perhaps a bicycle or three, camp chairs/camp recliners, other children-related items, possibly an inflatable raft or kayak. Airstreams are pretty tight inside, with relatively little cargo space... I can't see much, if any of that stuff going inside the Airstream.

Thanks for the suggestions and cautions.

I agree with you, and that is at the heart of my reservation in reconsidering an SUV. A few variables that work to our advantage. We are mainly buying an Airstream for weekend trips into the Smoky Mountains. As of May, 2015, outside sources of firewood are prohibited. So I would be out buying that unhitched upon getting there, assuming it wasn't available at the campground.

Also, we have five kayaks, some are lightweight at 45 lbs each. But we also have a 16.5' Ally pack canoe from Norway that breaks down into a large backpack. Basically a 36" x 18" dry bag, with straps on it, which we could easily stow in wardrobe. It assembles in 20 minutes and carries 800 lbs. Skin is made of durable tarpulon, a lighter version of hypaulon, which Zodiac rafts are made from. We have used our Ally pack canoe on 200+ miles of remote Arctic Alaskan rivers. Anyway, said all that to say this, it only weighs 46 lbs and has two piece breakdown Aquabond canoe paddles made of Kevlar and graphite.


Dan
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Old 08-13-2015, 02:18 PM   #22
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A gas generator inside anything will add an interesting aroma to the interior of the vehicle especially in the hot summer sun.

Dan a bicycle has been shown to 'tow' an Airstream. A Smart car could probably tow an Airstream But you miss the point and it ain't about pulling power. It's about what load can you carry in the tow vehicle once you have the trailer hooked up.

There are good data points here and on the other posts where I thought you had decided on the truck. Tongue weight figure 1000#. Wife, Kids, Dog and you, misc stuff and I would say a conservative number (300# of adults, 150# of kids, 50# dog and at least the two kids will continue to grow) you are at 1500# of load that you will need. And the stuff for the kids and adults that you may want to take in the tow vehicle may exasperate the issue.

Thinking out loud I'd rather have a tow vehicle that could carry the load I want and crawl up the hill to the Eisenhower tunnel slowly rather than one that does the 1/3 mile in 10 seconds but can't carry yourself and a toothbrush without being overloaded.
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Old 08-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #23
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^^^^ Thanks Gary. Part of me agrees with you. Which is why I'm here begging for help again. I know there is no free lunch, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around buying a truck when a vehicle like the Navigator would be vastly superior for our usage in so many ways. I'm also factoring in that there are a ton of folks here with experience towing Airstreams with big trucks, but relatively few using capable SUV's like the one I reference. It's a fickle pickle trying to read between the lines. That's where the truth usually hides.


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Originally Posted by SSquared View Post
In the initial post, there was a comment about payload that did not sound quite right to me. Vehicle manufacturers specify weight limits for front axle, rear axle, both axles together (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR), tow vehicle plus trailer combined (Gross Combined Weight Rating, or GCWR), and receiver/tongue weight limit. You want to pay attention to all those values.

I tow with a different brand SUV. The payload sticker on the door says 1544 pounds for payload. I removed the third row of seats, which gives me another 110 pounds of payload. (by the way, that is more payload than many "half-ton" pickup trucks)

When we travel, we are only two adults (under 300 pounds total), no kids, no dogs, no generator, no firewood. But we load up the SUV with tools, lawn chairs, a screen tent, a propane grill, a camp stove, and some other items. We have weighed the rig several times. Here are the most recent numbers, from a long winter/spring trip where we also carried some extra items like winter coats.

These numbers are with weight distribution applied, towing a 25FB Flying Cloud.

Front axle: actual 3260, rating 3550, margin 290
Rear axle: actual 3920, rating 4200, margin 280
SUV total: actual 7180, rating 7300, margin 120
trailer axles: actual 5960
Combined: actual 13140, rating 14000, margin 860

So you can see I am almost maxed out on the tow vehicle GVWR. The SUV is seeing 800 pounds of the trailer's tongue weight (200 of that is on the front axle).

I think you can be OK on payload with the kids and the dog, but you will have to limit what else you pack. I think your proposed Navigator would be safe (after Andy upgrades the receiver), probably safer than an average pickup, and probably would have better road manners than the SUV I have. (btw, my SUV has some Andy T. unicorn dust on it)

I really appreciate you taking the time to post that. Thank you for the numbers!


Dan
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:24 PM   #24
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My wife and I just bought a 2015 Ford Platium Expedition EL with 3.5 EcoBoost with heavy duty trailer tow package to tow our new 2016 Airstream that is being built and should arrive this month. We opted not to get the rear air suspension. We wanted the EL for the extra fuel (33gals vs 28gals) and towing stability from extra wheelbase. In real world the EL is only 15" longer and after driving it now for a couple of months and almost 4000 miles we don't even notice the extra length. We owned a 2012 King Ranch 5.4 V8 non EL version and this one is much much improved in every way. We have had 6 adults in it for nights out with friends and the extra space is noticable inside especially in third row. A big plus over GM SUV's is Ford's rear suspension allows for fold flat third row seats so cargo area is larger and easier to access. So far our average MPG is 18.5 with a mix of highway and city. Not bad for a big boy SUV! Can't wait to hook my Airstream to it and hit the road!
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:25 PM   #25
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I had a 2001 Navigator. We loved it. We only sold it because the 5.4 with the 4 speed had to work hard in the mountains out west towing our Intl 28. By the way, we had the air suspension and loved it.

Consider all the advice above, but I think you'd be very happy with the Lincoln.
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:36 PM   #26
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The 2015, new gen, Tahoes and Suburbans (and their cousins) all have fold flat second and third row seats
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:01 PM   #27
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Use a propane powered generator right off your two tanks. The only real need for a generator is air conditioning in these days of solar power.

Twitchy short wheelbase of a Expedition/Navigator. Twenty years ago Hensley invented and marketed a hitch to virtually eliminate that. It's still for sale with growing popularity by two different companies. We can say it works extremely well on our 120" wheelbase Ram 1500 and 25' Airstream, steady as a rock.

But there's more to it than that. Properly set up weight distribution, stiffer sidewall tires at correct pressures, no slop in the hitch connections, short rear tow vehicle overhang to minimize trailer leverage on the truck, and well-balanced loading of truck and Airstream with the heavy stuff in the center, light stuff at the ends are some of the things that help stabilize yaw forces (twitch) from the trailer. The Hensley hitch design eliminates the possibility of sway from occurring.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:08 PM   #28
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Dan,

If you're starting from scratch why not contact Andy at CanAm and ask him before you buy. You might come away with a different perspective.

Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:32 PM   #29
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My wife and I just bought a 2015 Ford Platium Expedition EL with 3.5 EcoBoost with heavy duty trailer tow package to tow our new 2016 Airstream that is being built and should arrive this month. We opted not to get the rear air suspension. We wanted the EL for the extra fuel (33gals vs 28gals) and towing stability from extra wheelbase. In real world the EL is only 15" longer and after driving it now for a couple of months and almost 4000 miles we don't even notice the extra length. We owned a 2012 King Ranch 5.4 V8 non EL version and this one is much much improved in every way. We have had 6 adults in it for nights out with friends and the extra space is noticable inside especially in third row. A big plus over GM SUV's is Ford's rear suspension allows for fold flat third row seats so cargo area is larger and easier to access. So far our average MPG is 18.5 with a mix of highway and city. Not bad for a big boy SUV! Can't wait to hook my Airstream to it and hit the road!
cabinetmaker,

Sounds like you have a nice vehicle. Have you looked at the payload sticker on your doorframe? How much payload does your vehicle have?
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:41 PM   #30
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How in the world did you get from a Tundra to a Duramax to a Navigator?
I thought I test drove a bunch of different random stuff- including (at the time) a Lincoln Town Car and a Mercury Grand Marquis. I just liked the Tundra better than anything else I drove.
I have known at least a couple of people who towed with a Navigator. If thatt's what you want, wait for the 2017 to hit the showroom.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:44 PM   #31
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Dan,

If you're starting from scratch why not contact Andy at CanAm and ask him before you buy. You might come away with a different perspective.

Good luck.

This is the different perspective.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:49 PM   #32
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How in the world did you get from a Tundra to a Duramax to a Navigator?

Many a sleepless night

Thank you for leaving out a few vehicle phases.


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Old 08-13-2015, 04:55 PM   #33
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cabinetmaker,

Sounds like you have a nice vehicle. Have you looked at the payload sticker on your doorframe? How much payload does your vehicle have?

Curious myself.

As for auto rear level, heard it makes setting up WD hitch tricky. But since Andy would be doing that if we bought a Navigator it's less of an issue. It's optional on Expedition, but standard on Navigator. Sounds like a cool feature, minus a little extra head scratching with initial vehicle hitch setup.


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Old 08-13-2015, 05:05 PM   #34
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Curious myself.

As for auto rear level, heard it makes setting up WD hitch tricky. But since Andy would be doing that if we bought a Navigator it's less of an issue. It's optional on Expedition, but standard on Navigator. Sounds like a cool feature, minus a little extra head scratching with initial vehicle hitch setup.


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Old 08-13-2015, 05:30 PM   #35
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I tow a 27FB with a 2003 Expedition. Same frame and suspension for the most part, a much weaker engine (5.4 liter V8 w/4 speed). I can pack two kayaks on the roof, carry enough firewood for a couple fires in a big plastic container on the floor of the Airstream, full tank of water, camp chairs, BBQ in trailer, and a 73 lb dog in rear of Expedition, and still be within spec according to the CAT scales. No mods to factory hitch. Use an Equali-Z-Er
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:38 PM   #36
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Thanks again. I'm in a similar boat as you. ^^^

Two small kids, looking ahead to things like Boy Scouts, sports, whatever interest them. It would certainly be handy to be able to carry 6 passengers a few short years down the road.

Something many, if not all of you have came to grips with. We, I in this case, are not simply buying a vehicle to tow an Airstream. For many of us, it will wear many, many, hats.


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Old 08-13-2015, 05:43 PM   #37
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Use a propane powered generator right off your two tanks. The only real need for a generator is air conditioning in these days of solar power.

Twitchy short wheelbase of a Expedition/Navigator. Twenty years ago Hensley invented and marketed a hitch to virtually eliminate that. It's still for sale with growing popularity by two different companies. We can say it works extremely well on our 120" wheelbase Ram 1500 and 25' Airstream, steady as a rock.

But there's more to it than that. Properly set up weight distribution, stiffer sidewall tires at correct pressures, no slop in the hitch connections, short rear tow vehicle overhang to minimize trailer leverage on the truck, and well-balanced loading of truck and Airstream with the heavy stuff in the center, light stuff at the ends are some of the things that help stabilize yaw forces (twitch) from the trailer. The Hensley hitch design eliminates the possibility of sway from occurring.
I have a haha and have towed with Tahoe and Suburban. Not the same. PPP doesn't cure all evils, like short wheelbase.
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:01 PM   #38
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Having towed about 6,000 miles with the Expedition (almost nothing for some or you) I can attest that it's not a twichy tow vehicle. One modification I did make that helped was to replace the P rated tires with LT's. I used to own on older model Expedition with the live axle and can say the independent 4 wheel suspension makes a huge difference in ride quality and road manners.

The big SUV has a lot going for it. It's a very flexible and useful vehicle. I've hauled boyscouts to Death Valley and camped all over the western US. With the seats folded down it fits a piece of plywood. It also truely fits into a regular parking spot at the grocery store. Mine is getting old, kids are grown, and will be thinking hard what to replace it with.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:18 PM   #39
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Ok. So you want me to talk you out of it?

Payload. Go do the Maths on it.

I have an 2013 expedition EL 4x4 and have 1400lbs of payload. It is JUST enough!

Check the door sticker On a vehicle with the spec/trim you want, Weigh yourself, passengers, dog, tongue weight, cargo and see how that works for you.

DISCLAIMER: we are very happy with our Expy
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:51 PM   #40
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Why, because you're paying for an over priced rebadged Ford Expedition with worse styling.
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