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Old 02-17-2019, 07:19 PM   #1
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Metairie , Louisiana
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2
Advice on Buying my First Airstream

My wife and I are ready to get back to RV'ing. 10 years ago had to sell my 5th Wheel and Dodge truck due to opening a retail business. Now we're getting out of that business and getting our life back. We have decided to do it in style and get an Airstream.
We were thinking a length about 25' because it's just us and our 2 miniature Schnauzers and the fact I want something more manageable than my last 36' 5th wheel that was a monster.
I would love some help with these topics;

1. If I find a unit that is not close enough to inspect myself, how do I contact a reputable inspector?

2. Does anyone tow with a large SUV? I was thinking a Toyota Land Cruiser. They advertise 9k towing.

3. I live in New Orleans. Has anyone ever used a company nearby for customizing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:39 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome. The 25' lengths are a very popular size, especially for two folks and a pack of pups.

There are a million tow vehicle recommendations. Some of it depends on where you will be towing most of the time. If lots of mountain highways are the plan, you might want more power and brakes. Your suggestion would be fine in flatter terrain. Make sure the vehicle has the "tow package".

I happen to be a volunteer Air Forums inspector. I've done 4 or 5 of them. It is a handy service for those buyers finding a trailer far away. If you go to the Portal tab at the top left of this website, click on it, and then scroll half way down and look on the right at Airstream Inspectors. Fill out the form and you will likely be contacted by an inspector in the area of the trailer for sale. It is an objective, detailed inspection of the seller's trailer, with the seller present, and then hopefully a phone call to you were the seller and the inspector can discuss the results of the inspection. The inspection involves a detailed look at the exterior, interior, systems, running gear, appliances, lights and the like.
It is not an "appraisal" and has no bearing on the sell price of the trailer. That is strictly between you and the seller. So don't ask "based on this inspection, what should I pay for the trailer?" Inspectors would have no idea.

I don't know about RV techs in your area. Someone else may be able to help.

David
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:58 PM   #3
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Wow, David gives you great advice. Not sure how the LC would do with the tongue weight of the 25 and cargo but many will tell you no way and others no problem. Big step from the 23 to the 25 so that may be of help, 23 is the last with a narrow body and then the 25 that really should be called a 26 is the first of the wide body AS's. The LC might be a better match for the 23.
One thing for sure is you will not get a concensus here on towing anything.
Good luck
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:00 PM   #4
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2013 30' Flying Cloud
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Welcome to the AirForums site.

Spend some time viewing the Classifieds on this site. We found our FC 25 FBT almost two years ago and drove from Houston, Texas to Rochester, Minnesota to look at it and purchase it. The seller was very helpful with emails, phone conversations, and a FaceTime viewing of the trailer. The drive home was more miles than the previous owner put on it in the two years that they owned it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:21 AM   #5
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2019 23' Flying Cloud
West Sacramento , California
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From where I sit.
I just purchased a 23fb and while I love it it's a tight squeeze when I have my wife and daughter in there for visits during the work week. If work has me over a barrel I might not come home that week and they come see me. Love it!
Having a spare "couch" area would be nice which you noticed in the 25'. Simple things like where to put shoes so they aren't piling up in the entrance or put them on. For one person for 90% of the time it's an excellent RV.
May I recommend a 26U? Has a lot more storage cubbies on the outside of the RV which is sorely lacking on my 23fb which will have to be made up by payload capacity on my next truck purchase.
Perfect segway into your LC. Look at payload and determine if that's realistic for you. With two Schnauzers your already way over the limit.
Having read a lot on the various forums about LC it's not the towing that's the problem but the payload.
Also the short wheel base may or may not be a problem. I have no experience just reading during my research on possible purchase of an LC myself what others have encountered good or bad. Otherwise that's my dream vehicle but sadly I might have to cross it off my list.

Good luck in choosing the right trailer for you!
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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2002 34' Classic S/O
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Towing

If you are towing an airstream, do not short yourself on power. I recommend a capable V-8. Match the trailer weight with the vehicle's pulling weight, do not go under. Therefore I would not simply think a brank of vehicle, choose correct towing power.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlinCal View Post
Wow, David gives you great advice. Not sure how the LC would do with the tongue weight of the 25 and cargo but many will tell you no way and others no problem. Big step from the 23 to the 25 so that may be of help, 23 is the last with a narrow body and then the 25 that really should be called a 26 is the first of the wide body AS's. The LC might be a better match for the 23.
One thing for sure is you will not get a concensus here on towing anything.
Good luck
I recall some caveats that some National Parks limit the length of trailers to 25 feet. Still researching whether or not that is length overall, including the tow bar or just the body of the trailer.

Thoughts or information?
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:01 AM   #8
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Sherwood , Oregon
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Welcome and congratulations on getting your life back, been there!


We (two retired and 30# Labradoodle) started with a 2014 25' International but after two years found the East/West bed a chore to makeup and get in and out of, especially if the inside person has to get up in the night.


We started towing with a Range Rover HSE and though it could handle the weight, the long curvy downhill grades were sometimes white knuckle so we upgraded the TV to a Ford F350 diesel for a much relaxed towing experience. A year later we upgraded to a 2015 Classic 30 with twin beds. Love the separate seating area, additional space in bedroom and additional outside storage compartments. This is a progression that a lot of people go through simply because you don't know what you don't know until you spend time experiencing it. Good luck in your search!
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:16 AM   #9
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Conroe , Texas
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We have a 2015 27FB FC - love the floor plan with N/S queen bed with end tables & backing in next to a lake the windows are right where you sit.

Glenn
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:41 AM   #10
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Agreed. We are delighted with our FC25FBT but the twins are what makes it work for us since middle of the night bathroom visits are the new reality. It also gives you more outside storage and more windows. If you wanted a queen then the North/South orientation of the 27' would be my choice.

If buying new there are lots of threads on this forum about strategies of getting 20% off with direct factory orders by playing multiple dealers nationwide off of one another. Buying used is a thing where patience pays off.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:44 AM   #11
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2018 25' International
chino hills , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAneworleans View Post
My wife and I are ready to get back to RV'ing. 10 years ago had to sell my 5th Wheel and Dodge truck due to opening a retail business. Now we're getting out of that business and getting our life back. We have decided to do it in style and get an Airstream.
We were thinking a length about 25' because it's just us and our 2 miniature Schnauzers and the fact I want something more manageable than my last 36' 5th wheel that was a monster.
I would love some help with these topics;

1. If I find a unit that is not close enough to inspect myself, how do I contact a reputable inspector?

2. Does anyone tow with a large SUV? I was thinking a Toyota Land Cruiser. They advertise 9k towing.

3. I live in New Orleans. Has anyone ever used a company nearby for customizing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
2018 25 feet International serenity .This size is excellent for us and 2 Vizslas . We chose the twin set up. Since on days where the weather is wet or too cold they have a little room to play. We tow with a 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel with Hemi . 14 miles to the gallon. Plus the ride is super comfortable. Congratulations and welcome to the Airstream family. Hope to see you down the road.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:05 PM   #12
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2018 25' International
chino hills , California
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Posts: 154
And yes if you Prefer a queen look at a 27 foot. My favorite of 27 FB Airstream is the 2014 27 FBG international Onyx. I love the floor plan gives you plenty room for you and the Dogs.
They currently have 2- 2014 International Onyx is for sale on RV website. By the way this is a special edition. Which will make it hold itís value . Two families in our club have this floorplan. Do you love it. If we didnít already have our 2018 25 International serenity I definitely would be looking at both of these. And as others has suggested patience in buying used will definitely pay off. The two that are listed right now look to be in excellent shape, and are in the 69,000 -$62,000 range . And yes our Dodge Durango Citadel Hemi has the strength to pull with ease .
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:16 PM   #13
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2018 25' Flying Cloud
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Personally we're big fans of the ducted AC system on the 2015 and later models. Earlier models have the AC unit intruding down through the ceiling. If you're tall, check out the head room on the earlier models if you are considering those.

We tow our 25' with a F150 and Blue Ox hitch. Just be sure to look at the door sticker to make sure you have enough payload capacity. That can vary quite a bit depending on the options you choose.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:14 PM   #14
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2013 28' Flying Cloud
Penn Yan , New York
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Buying an Airstream

You r doing the right thing by starting on the forum. Before we purchased ours I spent a lot of time on the forum learning about the floor plans and what to look for if you were buying used.
We have 3 grandkids so we went for the 28í. I wanted the separate dinette and the extra bed.
After 3 years with the 28í I love it. It tows easily in and out of parks and gas stations. The 28í sleeps 6 and I have had 7.
The queen is easy to make as you can walk around the 3 sides.
I also love the bathroom and shower placement. The bathroom is across the hallway from the shower. You open the bathroom door when u take a shower and have a large bathroom.
To me itís perfect.
You could pull any Airstream with an Expedition that is equipped with the towing package. The Expedition is basically a SUV on the F150 frame.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:04 PM   #15
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1992 21' Sovereign
2007 27' Classic FB
Klamath Falls , OR
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 41
Buyer Advice

Regardless of the trailer. Try Before you Buy. The best place to spend your first night is in a driveway. Be hooked up to city water and AC power. Use everything. unplug her and try the on board water works.Look for rodent history. Crawl under the beast. Look for openings that need closing. Check the date on the tires. Even after paying someone else to check out the rig, go spend a night in the sucker.

Regardless of how much you love your TLC, get a real tow vehicle. I have had two TLC's. They are great but .....you know Dodge Rams. Get a late model, 4X4, Cummins Diesel. Put your bikes and boats in / on the bed of the truck. invest in some better tires. Inflate them properly.

Join an AS group. Leave Louisiana and come west. See you at Crater Lake.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:56 PM   #16
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2012 30' Classic
Topeka , Kansas
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Bed space!

Hi and welcome to the forum!

I highly encourage you to move up to the 30 foot with the queen bed in back. Since so much time is spent in that area (read studies on hours of sleep needed), get that comfortable and right and all else will fall into place.

Good luck and God bless!
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:52 PM   #17
caz
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Elgin , Texas
Join Date: May 2018
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We chose a 30 ft. Flying Cloud. It has a modern, clean interior, queen bed, shower separated from the lavatory area, ducted AC & plenty of storage inside/outside. It has manually operated awnings & corner jacks. We prefer manual to motors which tend to be problematic. We wanted an Airstream large enough for two people to live in for extended periods of time away from home. Good luck with your search. I joke with my wife that I prefer a 25 ft. while towing but love the 30 ft. after arrival.
Caz.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:12 PM   #18
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Metairie , Louisiana
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Couldn't resist looking....

Well, took the wife to Foley RV today just to look and wouldn't you know it, my wife fell in love with the 26RB FC. We've never seen the combo bathroom and shower in the smaller unit and thought that was a huge incentive. Looks like we'll be getting into it faster than we thought.
As for the tow vehicle, we are looking at Tahoe with the towing package, which states it can tow 8,600 lbs. The 26RB says fully loaded is only 7,000 so it should be good. We do plan to stay mostly south. May make a trip to the Gatlinburg or west in the future but don't plan on any mountain driving.

Thanks for all the welcoming support and look forward to getting on the road.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:48 PM   #19
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The rear bed 26 is a nice trailer! Some people prefer a front bed so that the view from the dining room isn’t of the back of the truck but that’s a personal thing.

It turns out towing capacity is seldom the limiting factor, it’s often the payload capacity. Be sure you are looking at the tongue weight of a trailer and then how much truck can support including passengers and gear. Often that varies from truck to truck of the same model just based on the options you ordered.
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:20 PM   #20
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2014 19' Flying Cloud
Eugene , Oregon
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Wise Guy

You are being VERY wise to get a throrough inspection! I sure wish we had, when we purchased. There were so many things that we discovered, after the fact, including some serious damage that apparently happened during the factory delivery to the dealer. The joy of owning an Airstream overcame some of that. But, after about 5-6 things, we became discouraged and, frankly, angry. Thank goodness for the AS warranty. It took the full 2-years to get everything taken care of. That often meant inconveniently going to the storage location, hooking up, hauling to the dealer, and back, losing some camping time. Also, had we found the problems, early on, the purchase price may have been in question.
Also, along with the inspection, it might be really wise to have a seasoned Airstream owner-friend (or not) join you, at the inspection. I sure wish we had.
As for the Land Cruiser. We haul our 19íFC with our 350-Highlander V-6, with no problems, and plenty of power up and down grades. Our "dream TowVĒ...a Land Cruiser. The engine is the same as the Tundra 5.7, I believe, for plenty of power. After I fell in love with the new LCs, during a wait for service at Toyota, the $85,000 LC price scared me off. Although, I realize that I would probably never need another vehicle, ever. (2 X $45,000 Highlanders = 1 X $90,000 Land Cruiser). Dave
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