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Old 10-21-2020, 09:57 PM   #1
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Another tow vehicle question.

I’m not new to reading the forums posts, but don’t actually own a truck or Airstream yet. I’ve read many of the threads on what is the best tow vehicle based upon the particular Airstream you’re pulling, a lot about trailer hitches and weight and axle ratings, etc.

Our plan is to buy a used Classic 33 (somewhere between 2015 and 2018) and become full time RVers, although we will likely have a home base in Virginia during the holidays season (mid November through January) every year. We are planning fewer miles and more time in each location (2 to 3 weeks), before we move onward. Set up camp, get to know the area and the people, and after a few weeks continue down another 200 miles or so before we camp again.

We were planning on an F250 until recently, then thought the F350 would be better. Thanks to ITSNO60 for this enlightening article: https://rvlifemag.com/towing-half-to...e-quarter-ton/. It opened up the discussion once again as to which vehicle would be best: F250 or F350, and we’ll probably buy a new vehicle.

We haven’t test driven a 3/4 ton (with an 8’ bed) yet, but will do so in the next couple of weeks.
As full-time rv’ers, the bed of the truck will be partially emptied at each campsite, but will always carry some items (generator, tools, extra clothing, for example).

After reading the article, my understanding is while pulling the 33 footer on the straight highway the 3/4 ton will do it with more ease than the 1/2 ton. I spoke to a dealer who said the F350 has more power for towing but will drive more stiffly than an F250, and the gas mileage is less. The article also seemed to say that making turns while driving with the trailer will make the 350 lean more than the 250. Is that true?

Anyone have any experience towing with either vehicle have any advice to offer?

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:06 AM   #2
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Own a 2019 F350 diesel, the differences are in the suspension/axles only from what I understand. We started out targeting a 250 but got a deal in a 350. Test drove both couldn’t tell the difference. Year or so and 15000 miles later very happy.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:51 AM   #3
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The price difference between the F250 and the F350 is small. I would go with the F350 on that basis alone.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:58 AM   #4
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I had an F150 EB Platinum 2017 pulling a 27' and it did so with ease. Even with the 33' classic I do not think towing is going to be the issue; payload is. We liked our F150 but we bumped up against payload (which, according to the sticker on the door, was around 1500 lbs; the Platinum package adds a fair amount of weight). So, we upgraded to an F250 2019 platinum diesel with the 6.5' bed and now a 2100 or so payload. The F150 drove better unladen but the F250 feels better towing. If you are going full time AND want diesel you may want to get the F350 for additional payload. Or an F250 with the new 7.3 liter gas engine as that also has good payload.

Note: someone here mentioned to me that the fifth wheel hitch prep (which a lot of HD trucks have) is a couple of hundred pounds and is a waste of payload if you aren't going to use it. Look for one without it.

Just my $0.02. My intention when we retire and do something like you are planning on is to get an F350. I will probably stick to the 6.5' bed, though, as the entire rig when towing starts to get a bit long and harder to maneuver; I definitely notice the 18" or so increase from the F150. But you may be better at this than me; personal preference!
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:04 AM   #5
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You are receiving good advice. We drive a gas 2019 F250 and love towing with it! If you are buying a new truck, consider ordering it and limit the options to only those you are interested. Also purchase from a dealer that offers limited lifetime warranty on the driveline = some peace of mind for future problems.

Comment on the length of bed. Ours is 6’7” with a topper and we get everything we need into that bed. One big benefit of the 8’ bed it comes std with a 48 gallon tank! Ours is 34 gallons.

Did I mention that our payload is over 3500 lbs? We did not get the diesel, 4x4 or heavy duty front end or 5th wheel prep.

Recommend on your test drives that you take the long bed pickup to a Walmart or congested parking lot to evaluate maneuverability. Even with the std bed we have challenges in large parking lots, like Walmart, Costco, baseball stadium, etc.

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Old 10-22-2020, 11:06 AM   #6
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The RV life article was interesting, but having pulled all over the country and many times diving into a hill at 80mph and struggling to reach the top at 35mph (with a gasser) I was thrilled when I switched to diesel. No more worries about the truck puking it’s guts out on the road.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:16 AM   #7
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Once you set down with a dealer and go over the pricing of the F-350 is only 2 to 3 thousand more I’d strongly consider it. Here are a few things to consider: A Dual wheel truck will tow and ride much smoother. A king cab with those extra doors is much better to get to your stuff and out of the bed in the dry. All trucks are not created equal. You want a max tow package not just a tow package. I this is a misunderstood thing by people as well as the dealer. When I bought my Ford the dealer wanted to sell me a truck they had on the lot and told me it had the tow package. But it only had the 25 gallon fuel tank and a higher speed rearend. The total tow has a 36 gallon tank and a 373 tear end plus break control etc. Also the better tow mirrors. Don’t settle if the dealer doesn’t have the truck you want on their lot. They can find what you want at another dealer. Do your homework before you shop. Make a list and present it to the dealer when you get there all the way to the color and seat fabric.
Remember a two wheel drive truck will put tow a four wheel drive due to the transfer case weight. If your towing a trailer down a highway your not going to be towing in four wheel drive. It will cost less to buy as well. I’m a gasoline guy. Just don’t like the smell Diesel and the noise. You can get the locking rear in into positive traction and 99% of the time that’s all you need to pull out of a gravel or grass parking space in a campground.
Best of luck to you. Welcome to the Airstream Family.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:26 AM   #8
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Check with the local DMV to see if a "350" or equal requires a yearly Safety check. In Manitoba Canada any truck with over a 10,000 GVW requires an annual safety. This can be quite expensive!. My GMC 2500 has a 9,900 GVW, so no annual safety.
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Old 10-22-2020, 05:02 PM   #9
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When rebuilding my Excursion I had a choice of springs to go with. I got the F-350 springs with Bilstein shocks. Ride is firm, but not harsh. Go with the F-350. If you want the most stable platform, “ “ “ F-350.
I used to drive an F-350 Twin Cab 8’ bed for work and that thing was really long. For me, it was just too long. If you are hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood, by all means, get the 8’ bed.
And I don’t care that some people say an F-250 is just as good. It’s not - never will be. Also, look at your payload options. Much more with an F-350.
While your at it, scope out the ProPride. With 33’ of trailer, it is a must to consider.
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Old 10-22-2020, 06:26 PM   #10
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Depends on what you will do with the truck when you are not towing? Use it on the farm? Tow heavy construction equipment? Pick up groceries at WalMart? Drop off kids at afterschool? And what will you put in the bed that you dont mind getting stolen? And do not forget that a 350 rides like a horse drawn wagon, not smooth like a Cadillac. A 350 is a work truck and rides ruff, burns lots of fuel and is expensive to operate and maintain,but can pull tree stumps out. Suggest you go to Penske and Enterprise and rent a different truck and a Suburban or Excursion for a few days over a two month period to try out the different models for use when NOT towing, then decide what TV is best suited for you
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:12 AM   #11
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I have the 4 door long box 2020 F 350 super duty diesel and feel that the small inconvenience in parking lot maneuverability is offset by the added safety that a long wheelbase brings when pulling in windy conditions. Not to mention that I no longer hold my breath and grit my teeth when pulling up a long steep grade with a gasser.
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoasteng View Post

A 350 is a work truck and rides ruff, burns lots of fuel and is expensive to operate and maintain,but can pull tree stumps out. Suggest you go to Penske and Enterprise and rent a different truck and a Suburban or Excursion for a few days over a two month period to try out the different models for use when NOT towing, then decide what TV is best suited for you

Yes and no. The new F350 rides much better than they used to. Get a higher trim level and it’s a supervisor truck. . Drive one and you’ll be surprised at how much better they are. YMMV.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:49 PM   #13
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F350 all day long, make sure you replace the factory shocks with Bilstein 5100 series, you will absolutely love this truck!Click image for larger version

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Old 10-24-2020, 06:47 AM   #14
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To your question on body roll and handling differences. As the article notes the typical 1/2 ton has the most potential to handle better and feel nicer while towing Steering feel will also be better, but it very much requires paying attention to detail and making some modifications. What the article failed to address is that detail and modifications to a 3/4 ton to tune it to a particular trailer will close the gap significantly. Most people don't bother to make these mods, because they are fine with stock performance. The 1 tons and 3/4 tons will handle and corner about the same. The roll rate (lean) will be very similar. The 1 ton will feel more stiff and be slightly less comfortable except when towing the largest of the Airstreams. Keep in mind though that if you don't storm down the roads weaving in and out of traffic and flying around corners like a bat out of hell, cornering performance through a slalom course alone is not that important. Far more important is safety margin in emergencies and here, vehicle weight and size trumps all as long as you have tires that can take advantage of it and put the forces to the road.
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:57 AM   #15
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X2

To the OP...you won't be running the new Airstream in a Gymkhana.
Most likely the only cones you'll see is for a lane change at 45mph.

IMHO a properly equipped & set-up 2500 would work just fine. The more compliant the lash-up the more pleasant the trip.
Watch your loading balance and WD and drive like a precious cargo is depending on you.

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Old 10-24-2020, 08:18 AM   #16
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I have an F350 XLT SuperCab diesel, up from a Ram 2500 diesel, previous to that an F350 gas, and a V6 grand Cherokee. I pull a 27FB, the tongue weight is north of 800 lb.

The payload on my F350 is 3900. I didn’t even check it when I bought it! The Dodge was 2150 and I’m sure I was close, but not over that. The F350 rides very smoothly. It’s not a truck for you if you must park real close to the store and don’t like walking.

The Powerstroke diesel is a $10,900 option. It was tempting to get the 7.3 gas engine. But I’m used to the torque and feel of the diesel. Let your wallet be your guide, they are both great.

The ride is firm. Drive one before you decide.

Edit: there is an extra spring and different axles on the F350. The extra spring does not engage during most driving. My previous F350 had some frame reinforcements that were not on an F250 but I never figured that out, because they are supposed to be identical.
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:39 AM   #17
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"ford death wobble"

Before you buy a Ford F250/350 read all the articles and class action lawsuit concerning a problem with these vehicles know as "Death Wobble"

Try out a GMC/Chevy/Ram and see if you like them.
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsawye01 View Post
Before you buy a Ford F250/350 read all the articles and class action lawsuit concerning a problem with these vehicles know as "Death Wobble"

Try out a GMC/Chevy/Ram and see if you like them.
Death Wobble is not unique to Ford. It can happen in any vehicle that does not have independent front suspension. GM trucks do have independent front suspension in their 4wd trucks. I don’t know about RAM.

I’d say only a small percentage of trucks has this happens to and there are fixes.

Don’t let the boogey man scare you out of a good truck.
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Old 10-24-2020, 03:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsawye01 View Post
Before you buy a Ford F250/350 read all the articles and class action lawsuit concerning a problem with these vehicles know as "Death Wobble"

Try out a GMC/Chevy/Ram and see if you like them.
My wife's coworker had this on his new F250 and they couldn't fix it. They bought it back and he's now in a modified 6.2 Sierra Denali half ton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
^
To the OP...you won't be running the new Airstream in a Gymkhana.
LOL, I may be the only person that understands this. Get out your YouTube and popcorn people!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...5ZtjGCplUazKlu

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiecherry View Post
I spoke to a dealer who said the F350 has more power for towing but will drive more stiffly than an F250, and the gas mileage is less. The article also seemed to say that making turns while driving with the trailer will make the 350 lean more than the 250. Is that true?
False. I've been working at a dealership for 12 years. Sounds like your typical ignorant sales person.

The F350 has the same engine options, it's just rated for more weight. I'd imagine the stiffer suspension would make it lean LESS.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:13 PM   #20
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The only mistake I made with both of my 3/4 ton pick-ups was not getting an OEM anti-sway bar installed on the rear. I've had the ASB added after market on each. They don't add stiffness to the ride, they only help stabilize the truck from leaning in turns.

For me it's a world of difference especially with a near capacity loaded bed.

With either a 3/4 or 1 ton diesel I don't think you can go too wrong.
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