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Old 07-23-2021, 04:25 PM   #1
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2016 20' Flying Cloud
Grand Marais , Minnesota
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Anyone towing a Flying Cloud 27?

I have been towing my Flying Cloud 20 across the country twice with my 2016 Chevy 1500 with the 5.2 gas engine, which also has engine braking, electric brake connections to the trailer, and a Blue Ox weight distribution hitch. I have really loaded down the Airstream and the bed of my truck each time with all the necessities and some not so necessary things. It has all gone pretty well except for some really steep mountain passes where I ended up under 40 MPH and also I have never felt very comfortable over 63 MPH on highways. It is a Bambi so there is some additional movement. This is been my 3rd Airstream and I just put in the order for a 2022 Flying Cloud 27FB with the desk. it is still within the specs of my old Chevy. I would prefer to get a nice 3/4 ton diesel but they are very hard to find right now so I will be spending time with this old truck and this new airstream. I did tow a 27 once with a half ton truck and it was very civilized. If I remember correctly it seems that although that 27' trailer weighed more than my '20 it was better behaved due to the twin axels. I am wondering if any of you out there are towing a 27 with a half ton gas truck and what your experiences have been. We will be crossing the country once again and will be on the road for 6 months. This will be our 4th Airstream! Please, no theorizing, only those who have done it! Thanks, Todd
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Old 07-23-2021, 05:17 PM   #2
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2013 27' FB International
El Dorado Hills , California
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I tow a 27FB with a 2017 F150 Lariat Ecoboost. No sway ever in the 35,000 towing miles with this truck. Equalizer hitch. All axles are within spec per CAT scale when fully loaded for camping. Toolbox, ladder, generator, camp chairs, misc other stuff in the truck bed. Trailer with full water tank and everything else is close to its GVWR.
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Old 07-23-2021, 06:38 PM   #3
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2021 25' Globetrotter
Oviedo , Florida
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I found a RAM 2500 diesel on the lot and it was just want I was looking for. No gassers in the trim level I was looking at, so the pickings are slim.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:03 AM   #4
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
2004 25' Safari
Williamsburg , Virginia
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I have towed my FC27 with an F150 Ecoboost...generally, it towed well except I didn't like it on steep grades, especially downhill. Plus, it had very little payload margin. I upgraded to a F250 diesel, and it has truly been a world of difference; much easier uphill and downhill, plus better gas mileage, though that wasn't a driver in my decision to go larger. There are volumes in the forum archives on the differences between 1/2 and 3/4 TVs, I think you will find a lot of support for towing a 27 with 1/2 ton, but there will be a sentiment that 3/4 is better.
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:32 AM   #5
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2014 27' Flying Cloud
Paramus , New Jersey
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We used to tow our FC 27FB with a 2018 Expedition with Max tow package. I always felt pushed to the max and I was always struggling with payload. The payload was only 1500. Our tongue weight is over 1200 lbs. I upgraded to a 2020 F350 Lariat and now have over 3400 payload. We are also using a ProPride hitch. We used to use an equalizer with the expedition. The expedition ( similar to F150), had the ecoboost and it had lots of power, but revved real high RPMs on steep downhill. I averaged around 11 mph. We just towed across country and got 14.5 mph with the F350. The other upgrade we did to our F350 was swap out the 34 gallon tank with an S&B 60 gallon tank. We could drive all day without filling up. I would use your F150 until the supply gets better on the SuperDuty, then upgrade.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:08 AM   #6
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2016 30' International
Quartz Hill , California
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I did tow a 25' with a 1500 GMC 5.3. I was frequently over payload. A vehicle over payload handles like a vehicle over payload. Never push the limits of your tow vehicle. Use your 1500 until you can upgrade. In the meantime avoid high mountain passes.
When you take delivery on your new Airstream, make a trip to the CAT Scale. This will give you an idea where you stand.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:08 AM   #7
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2018 28' International
Mesa , Arizona
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We tow a 28ft International with a 2018 Chevy Silverado with the 5.3 engine, 6speed transmission and 3.73 rear gear ratio. This truck tows the 28ft very well. I rarely exceed 65mph but can pull most of the hills between 50 and 55 mph. Most recent trip was Mesa AZ to Priest Lake Idaho, then east to Western Pennsylvania and back to Mesa AZ. If your truck has the 3.42 or the 3.29 rear gear ratio you will be a little slower in the hill and mountains.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:36 AM   #8
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
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2018 27FB Flying Cloud
2018 Toyota Tundra

35,000 miles so far including trip to Alaska ( and Top of the World Highway.)

No problem maintaining highway speeds in most situations.

Made speed limit run on Eastbound I70 through Eisenhower Tunnel. 11,258'.

OTOH. Could only maintain 25 MPH going over Teton Pass eastbound (8,431'). 10% grade for several miles. I would not do this again.

Overall very satisfied. Biggest concern is overloading rear axle of truck. Be careful how much weight in bed of truck and check rear axle loading at CAT scale.
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:58 AM   #9
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Schaumburg , Illinois
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lots of people tow with 1/2 ton, I think the most important thing in that case is you have a solid understanding of the weight, and how it is distributed. This includes at least one trip to a CAT scale so you know where you stand at all the critical points (including how much is on your tow vehicle rear axle). I towed a 25' RB twin with an F-150 for a while, and I was overloaded on my F-150 rear axle (CAT scale tickets proved this). I could have packed differently and been under the rating, but I don't want to be that close to the edge, and I don't want that headache of having to pack it so carefully and specifically to achieve the weight balance needed. I moved up to a 3/4 ton (F-250) and am very very happy with the end result. You don't need diesel, its very nice to have but its not necessary. I was at the ACI rally in Lebanon this past week, there are *many* folks towing the 27' and bigger with less than a 3/4 ton. My neighbor was pulling a 27' International with an Expedition. Keep an eye on weight, and be aware of the influence the trailer has over the tow vehicle at highway speed, you can certainly make it work. My personal preference is a 3/4 ton class vehicle, for 25' and up ... but you most certainly can tow with a 1/2 ton.
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:27 PM   #10
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
Erie , Pennsylvania
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Todd
I have 15k miles towed with a RAM 1500 5.7 hemi 3.92 gears, 27 FCQ and like WILSODF mentioned my tongue weight is similar at 1180 and with all the stuff KSCHERZI mentioned (i also carry) I was over payload. I use a equalizer hitch and it tows like a dream. I drive the speed limit as posted and sure on some hills I'm down to 50ish rarely see 45 but i'm not a foot to the floor guy. The truck did its job and we loved the ride. Here's the rub I just upsized to a 2500 6.4 Hemi 3.73, have only towed to the scales and back. In the back of my mind I've always thought a 2500 would allow me a larger payload, but what I had (1500) worked and did the job well. The offer from my daughter and son-in-law to buy my 1500 gave me the shove and I ordered the 2500. My advice scale your truck and trailer and be aware of how much your loading in the truck bed as well as the trailer, even a full tank of water makes a difference. Give it a try see how it handles. By waiting and using your current truck the market and supply chain should improve enough for you to decide which direction to go. Enjoy your new airstream get it all figured out while you do your research and shopping for a 3/4 ton. Safe travels. Rick
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:33 PM   #11
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
Erie , Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1StreamDream View Post
lots of people tow with 1/2 ton, I think the most important thing in that case is you have a solid understanding of the weight, and how it is distributed. This includes at least one trip to a CAT scale so you know where you stand at all the critical points (including how much is on your tow vehicle rear axle). I towed a 25' RB twin with an F-150 for a while, and I was overloaded on my F-150 rear axle (CAT scale tickets proved this). I could have packed differently and been under the rating, but I don't want to be that close to the edge, and I don't want that headache of having to pack it so carefully and specifically to achieve the weight balance needed. I moved up to a 3/4 ton (F-250) and am very very happy with the end result. You don't need diesel, its very nice to have but its not necessary. I was at the ACI rally in Lebanon this past week, there are *many* folks towing the 27' and bigger with less than a 3/4 ton. My neighbor was pulling a 27' International with an Expedition. Keep an eye on weight, and be aware of the influence the trailer has over the tow vehicle at highway speed, you can certainly make it work. My personal preference is a 3/4 ton class vehicle, for 25' and up ... but you most certainly can tow with a 1/2 ton.
Agreed X2
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:12 PM   #12
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2018 25' Flying Cloud
Provo , Utah
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We just purchased a 2018 FC fb twin and I towed it home with my 2021 Silverado 1500 with the baby duramax engine. Up and down steep passes and no problems at all. I think that when things get fully loaded that I may have to adjust/switch out the weight distribution hitch that came with the trailer. From just visual inspection of the height of the front/rear axles on the truck, I think that the weight is almost, but not quite, properly distributed. I'm clearly within all the sticker values and so it is just a matter of being distributed properly.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:40 PM   #13
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2016 27' International
North Augusta , South Carolina
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I tow a 2016 27FBQ International with a 2015 Silverado 1500 with Max Trailering package (3.73 gear ratio and external transmission cooler). I use an Equalizer WD hitch.

I have not had any issues in 2 years of towing. However, Iím an East Coast dweller. The largest hills Iíve attempted are the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains (6-7% grades). The truck had no issues up or down.

I try to reduce weight where I can to lessen the stress on the truck. Additionally, I donít go over 65 on flat roads and Iím conservative with my speed when RPMs climb on hills.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:46 PM   #14
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2016 27' International
North Augusta , South Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgBullet View Post
There are volumes in the forum archives on the differences between 1/2 and 3/4 TVs, I think you will find a lot of support for towing a 27 with 1/2 ton, but there will be a sentiment that 3/4 is better.

Iíve done a lot of forum reading on this topic, and this is a great summary, AgBullet.

TL;DR: Lots of people tow a 27ft with a 1/2 ton with no problems, but you will have more comfort and peace of mind with a 3/4 ton truck.
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:07 PM   #15
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Tampa , Florida
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I used to envy people who could zoom up a 10% grade without even slowing down.
But then I realized my tow vehicle is also my daily driver and crossing that pass is maybe .0001% of my usage, while going to the grocery and hardware store is 99%+.
If I had the resources to have another vehicle and dedicate one to just towing, then 3/4 ton would make more sense to me. Until then, I'll be the guy climbing that once a year pass at 30 MPH in the right lane.
Meanwhile, I worry more about going down than going up. Control, control, control.
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:26 PM   #16
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2017 28' Flying Cloud
Bel Air , Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saraed View Post
Iíve done a lot of forum reading on this topic, and this is a great summary, AgBullet.

TL;DR: Lots of people tow a 27ft with a 1/2 ton with no problems, but you will have more comfort and peace of mind with a 3/4 ton truck.
I agree wholeheartedly but we normally drive our vehicles 150,000 miles+. I just believe a V-6 Eco Boost or my old F-150 w/5L V8 would not stand the test of time like our F-250 6.7L Diesel will. It pulls like a dream and we've went West and East across Colorado on I-70 towing our 2017 28' FC normally at the posted limit or higher. The biggest problem is riding the asphalt wave. I-70 has some wicked waves in the road.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:51 PM   #17
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In Jan/Feb of '19 we traded our 16' Bambi for a 27' Flying Cloud. We pulled it ~150 miles home with a Ram 1500 (V-8) without drama. I think it could have worked if we'd needed it to. In fact I was tempted to wait and see a little. But I thought about some of times we'd had a crosswind and 3-4 lanes of fast traffic. The 2500 is _not_ stressful.
I was tempted then by the Titan XD (gas), and occasionally still am. I drove one and thought it would make a really good match for the 27'. I like the look of it slightly better than the RAM, but not everybody does. There's one on the lot near us, and some days I'm tempted. But overall I'm happy enough with the Ram that there isn't any point in going through all that.


If I was truck shopping right now though? That'd for sure be on my short list.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:05 PM   #18
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2021 28' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
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I went through this analysis in my mind over and over and over again. I have a 28 foot flying cloud. I can say that in my limited travels so far, I am so happy I chose a 3/4 truck, in my case a gas Dodge RAM 2500. It is so smooth and I am so confident when towing my AS. Looking at 1/2 ton trucks or SUVís the limiting factor was most often the payload capacity. I am not judging others when they say they tow with a 1/2 ton truck but for me the confidence I have and the smoothness of pulling a heavy tongue weight AS makes me believe that I made the right choice in a tow vehicle.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:42 AM   #19
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2019 27' International
Rogers , Arkansas
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I tow our 27' International with a Chevy 1500 but it has the 6.2l with the tow package and it pulls at 70 mph with no issues. Slowing to around 60 mph up some of the steeper passes out west. Previous this truck was a GMC 1500 with a 5.3l and tow package. It was okay stability wise but 70 mph was doable but not easy on the truck. 60-65 mph was the sweet spot. Steep passes were 40-45 mph. If those are acceptable speeds to you, then I wouldn't hesitate at all to be on the road for 6 months with this combo.
Like Mollysdad, if it wasn't also my daily driver, I would be in a 2500 truck.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:32 AM   #20
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
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I will give my experience towing with a 2020 5.3 Chevy and 2020 GMC 2500HD diesel. As already mentioned here, by the time you get loaded up you're pretty well maxed at on the weight. I had the 2500 and was used to the capacity of the 2500, so when it had to go into the shop and they were waiting for a part, they loaned me a new 1500. I freely admit I'm spoiled by by the distance between fill-ups while towing with the diesel. In the 1500, it felt like it didn't find a gas station it didn't like. ... Our normal fill up before leaving, fill up on arrival 400 miles later, turned into a nearly 4 fill-up day.

However, other than the fuel issue, it towed just fine, although I always thought the 1500 could really use a bit more power, but didn't have any issues with sway (even in the strong crosswinds of West Texas). So, I'd have to say you could get by with a 1500 if you had to. I prefer the 2500, but that's personal preference rather than a must have. I just feel with the 2500, the added weights, additional pulling power, just adds up to a less stressful drive. That being said, the 2500HDs (all of them... I tested every brand out there) are a bit harsher on the road due to the stiffness of the shocks and frame. But if you can deal with that, I would vote for the 2500... also be aware they will be larger vehicles in general, so if you want to use it as a daily driver too, factor that into your buying process.

Good luck!
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