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Old 08-30-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5
Shopping for our first travel trailer

I would appreciate any input you folks may have on an Airstream purchase decision.

My wife and I have been shopping for an RV over the last 8 months and have come down to two choices. Our first choice is the Flying Cloud 25FB Sea Green. We own a 2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Sport with the weight distribution receiver capable of just under 1,100 lbs tongue weight if used with an equalizer. The SUV can tow 7,000 lbs and has the reduced gearing automatic transmission. We’ve owned the 4Runner new from the dealer and have been sticklers on maintenance. We live in Southern California and have spent a fair amount of time just sitting in the Flying Cloud as a sort of try it on to fit. I am 6’1” which brings us to the 25FB choice. It seems that’s the smallest model that has a fair size bed to accommodate us but won’t overload the SUV. The shower stall is a bit small for my height – I have to stoop but I realize concessions have to be made on some things. I’ve done a lot of research on all aspects of this trailer and also found Colonial’s prices on their blowouts. I’m guessing $50k is what I might expect to negotiate down to on a 2009. One thing I’d like to see is if I do negotiate such a deal might I be able to order one from the factory? I’ve noticed that all the traffic on the models on his lot has caused a lot of wear and tear and in some cases just outright damage. I know the dealer will “fix” things but I know it wouldn’t be like factory new. If things don’t work out with this dealer the next closest one is either Las Vegas (5hrs away) or Mesa, AZ. I’d rather not have to do a transaction over that kind of distance.

We both ride motorcycles and have entertained an idea of bringing along a couple of scooters to do touring or sight seeing wherever we set up. We know that might be out on the Airstream which is why we’re considering a toy hauler with a small garage – Keystone’s Outback 230RS.

Once again, any thoughts or comments would be most helpful as this is our first venture into this sort of thing and we want to make the best decision possible.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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2005 22' Safari
Gresham , Oregon
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 621
We bought our 22' Safari to tow with our 2003 4 runner, v8. After a couple trips and knowing our towing capacity was 5000#, we elected to upgrade. We were too uncomfortable that we were so close to the pound capacity. In fact after we bought the A/S & took the 4 runner to a local RV place to install the trailer brake they were not going to install the tow hitch setup due to that 5000# capacity. We now own a 2009 Toyota Tundra. Much more comfortable with that rig. Also the trailer weighed in at just under 5000# w/o water.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:43 PM   #3
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to thew Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Your consideration of the Airstream 25FB is a very good choice. We have a 2005 25FB that we have spent 450 nights in and pulled over 50,000 miles. We would not trade our 25FB for any other travel trailer, Airstream or otherwise.

Realistically, a 25FB ready to travel weighs between 7000 and 7500#. This would be a tall order for your 4Runner. rule of thumb is to tow a trailer at or below 80% of the the tow vehicle manufacturer's claimed tow capacity. These figures are often somewhat exaggerated. The 4Runner is also a fairly short wheelbase vehicle which exacerbates the situation.

Regardless of which travel trailer you choose, remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the largest single cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:30 PM   #4
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Blaine , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 291
Check the Gross Weight Rating, (GVWR) of the trailer you're interested in. My 2007 is 7300 lbs. I would guess that the 2009s are probably heavier. You should have a tow rating of at least the GVWR of the trailer plus a little extra. I agree with Brian. You are taking a big risk with a 7000 tow rating and a 7300lb. plus trailer.

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Old 08-30-2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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1965 22' Safari
Three Rivers , California
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 642
I would suggest that you look for a used 25'FB that may have been repossed or one that is a year older that is new. The depreciation on these vehicles is just like anything else that is mechanical. You will save a lot of money and still have a possible warranty that will cover anything you may encounter soon after your purchase. Good luck.
"Life isn't about how to survive the storm,
but how to dance in the rain."
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:02 PM   #6
Rivet Master
2005 22' Safari
Gresham , Oregon
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Please recheck your towing weight. After many, many, many checks with rv and car dealers we were told that our 2003 would not tow 5000#, but after checking out more resources we found that it would tow 5000#, as the stats from the 2004 are exactly the same for the 2003, and the 04 raised the pounds to 5 from 3,500 or so.
Where did you get the 7000# rating?????????????
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:22 PM   #7
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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I'm certainly no expert, but my gut reaction to towing a 25' FB with a 2003 4Runner was "not such a good idea." Please check your numbers carefully...something seems out out whack with your #7000 towing capacity....that, and as Moosetags pointed out, the short wheel base is a concern with a trailer that long/heavy.

The 25FB is a very popular and easy to live-in floor plan, though...a good choice in terms of floor plans...but you need to be able to tow it comfortably.
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair & PastPrez, 4CU/WBCCI
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:22 AM   #8
1 Rivet Member
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5

Thanks so much everyone for all the information. Please keep it coming.

As far as the towing capacity the weight-carrying hitch is limited to the 5000 lb threshold as commented. My 4Runner has the weight distributing hitch which based on the V8 4 wheel drive model is suppose to be capable of 7000 lbs.

As I understand the unloaded vehicle weight on the 25FB is 5477 lbs with a hitch weight of 760 lbs (without variables). From what I've been able to find out anything over that 5477 is up to me when I load so I should be able to keep it much lower than the maximum GVWR of 7300 lbs. Is this information correct? of have I been misled?
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first time help, flying cloud, price

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