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Old 10-24-2005, 11:22 AM   #1
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2005 25' Safari
summerfield , Florida
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towingability...for Safari SE

I have a 96 chevy tahoe, 4x4, can tow 6500 lbs. Do you think I could tow a 25 ft Safari ok, that has a dry wt of 5000 lbs. Currently have a 30' award classic, that I may sell soon. One time I checked the weight fully loaded, it was 5100 lbs. I could tell it was behind me when I hit the mountains. However...the safari 25' weighs a 1000 lbs more dry, then my award which is 3900 lbs dry. Any opinions out there from you airstream buffs...thanks
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Old 10-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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Could you tow with it? Sure. Should you is another story. I would vote against it for a few reasons. First being wheelbase, second being that the 2006 Safaris (based on the forum area you posted) can get upwards of 7300lbs when fully loaded and the rule of thumb that I follow is to try to not exceed between 70% and 75% of the stated towing capacity (including driver, passengers, cargo, fuel, etc). Keep in mind at one time I didn't follow this rule of thumb and now do.

We fill our Safari carefully and I am positive that we get near the 6300lb existing GVWR on our 2004. In your case you'd clearly be near or exceed 100% of your tow vehicles max rating in short order given that you go by "wet" weight, not dry.
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Old 10-24-2005, 02:41 PM   #3
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Close call...

For the record.. We tow a 25' Excella behind a '94 Suburban K1500.. Weighs about the same, longer wheelbase in Suburban, less power without Vortec V-8.. Towed previous 24' Nomad trailer with Suburban and Ford Bronco with 351 V-8...

Learnings: Would not tow that much weight again with shorter wheelbase Tahoe or even Expedition.. Gets too squirrelly at freeway speeds in wind, passing trucks, etc etc.. Money spent on anti-sway gear good, but won't completely solve problems of snaking at high speed. If it's 250hp Vortec, it probably has enough power for towing, so long as you don't mind slowing to 40+ mph going up big hills. Will pull at speed limits in flat or downhill.. If Tahoe has factory tow package options, transmission cooler and radiator should be OK, if not, they won't be unless you add to originals..

Free Advice: Consider trade now while prices pretty soft for longer wheelbase as either Suburban or Crew Cab truck, or even a Van, with at least the Vortec 350 engine...

There are a number of searchable message strings (threads..) for others' opinions, if you search on "tow vehicle" or "towing"...

John McG
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Old 10-24-2005, 06:04 PM   #4
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My experience is the same as Condoluminum.
I towed a 6500 gvw Nash trailer with a 98 Ford Expedition. It had a posted 7000 tow rating but the rating dropped preciptuously because the Expedition had a 13000 gross combined vehicle rating and the Expedition weighed 6000 pounds with my wife and I and the dog aboard with a full tank of fuel. Even a suitcase in the trunk cut the tow rating.
With the big Triton V8 power was barely adequate, overdrive was not possible and fuel economy was in the single digits. Even worse was the handling, the soft rear end made the handling squirrely even with sway bars. The braking was poor and the rig was very fatiging to drive.
We now have a 25 Safari towed by a 2000 diesel Excursion. The rig is a dream to tow and gets 11 1/2 to 12 mpg fuel economy. My Equalizer hitch has a sway control but I doubt that I need it. Even mountain driving is a pleasure.
It is a buyers market for 3/4 ton SUV's and pickups. Consider one or a Bambi
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Old 10-24-2005, 06:41 PM   #5
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It'd be a hard move from a 30' SOB to a Bambi.

At any rate I agree with all that has been said here....let me expand by saying that I towed our current 25' Safari with a Chevy sedan 5.7L LT1 w/3.73s. It towed the Safari sucessfully for several thousand miles, but as has been mentioned, it would drop to 40mph from 62mph on the hills and the shorter wheelbase did the same thing.

The main thing that drove the reality home to me was on the way home from a rally. After this, I went out and bought a 3/4 ton Suburban with 4.10s and 6.0L with a longer wheelbase, and a 9600lb tow rating. We saw someone towing a 24 or 25 foot SOB with an S-10 Blazer, no weight bars, no sway control, short wheelbase and not that I am saying this will happen to you, but this guy lost it only a minute or so before I came on the scene. His coach was in the grassy area between the highway, rolled a few times and was tore up. His dog was clearly in the RV when it happend, survived the roll, and ran down the highway. The guy and his wife were not as lucky. Their tow vehicle flipped and was resting on its side and each of them one in the back passenger window and one in the front passenger were standing up through the windows, all cut up, bleeding, and in big time shock.

I suppose my point here is that we all spend the equiv of some 3rd world country's GNP on our Airstreams. Why skimp on saftey and other things when it comes to your tow vehicle knowing your chances of health issues and damage are greater to you and your new shiney coach.......keep in mind I was in the earlier camp until that day and now the difference is night and day.

Guess you could say I've been to the moutain top now with the rest of the folks here that knew for years before I finally did the right thing.
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Old 10-24-2005, 07:03 PM   #6
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Questions like this almost call for a 'sticky' thread on towing capacity to be referenced. Tow capacity of 6-, 8-, or 10,000 pounds? Gross combined weight restriction (GCWR) of xxx-teen thousand pounds? Ignore them completely -- or suffer the peril to you and your dear friends/family. They are meaningless if one ignores the tow vehicle's individual weight restriction right from the start (GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Restriction).

For starters, take a look at http://www.airstream.com/product_lin...faq.tea#weight. There is a government-required sticker (gosh #_*(#(*@_ government!!!) at the driver's side doorpost area listing your tow vehicle's GVWR. The same weight restriction is probably in your owners manual and on the manufacturer's website if you have a current year vehicle. You must add the weight of passengers anticipated, cat & kitty litter, spare gear carried in tow vehicle, optional items and normal cargo carried in the tow vehicle (running boards, pickup topper and hitch receiver, spare firewood, Kingsford charcoal) AND tongue weight of 10-15% of the gross weight of the trailer. If they go over the tow vehicle's GVWR you can almost bet that the emergency avoidance and braking ability of the tow vehicle is compromised. You will lose the case against your insurance company covering losses if you "intentionally" overloaded your vehicle.

Trying to balance weights so less than 10% of trailer gross weight is on the hitch is akin to throwing an arrow or paper airplane backward -- it will do everything to prove how wrong that is. But seriously, nothing will ever buy back lives and health. If you have to have an Airstream and your tow vehicle will only tow a Wee Wind ... costs will soon get out of hand (the minis are in HIGH demand!). Please step up to the plate with a tow vehicle with enough oomph to keep you and yours safe.
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