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Old 06-21-2020, 11:18 PM   #1
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Defender 2020 110 HSE towing 2021 Airstream 25FB International?

Hello! Excited to be a part of the Airstream forums and soon to be Airstream owners.

Will the new 2020 Defender 110 HSE w/ the p400 engine be a good vehicle to tow the 25FB?

My wife and I are about to pull the trigger on a new 2021 Airstream travel trailer. We are most likely going to go with 25FB International. She is not a big truck fan and we currently navigating the best options based for towing the trailer. We currently own a Range Rover Velar and love it but we need a great adventure vehicle that can both tow the trailer and be a great vehicle to take us anywhere we want to go while traveling the country.

The defender can haul a maximum payload of up to 1,984 pounds. It has a towing capacity of 8,201 pounds and a maximum dynamic roof load of 370 pounds.

Defender 110:
Unbraked trailer (lbs) 1,653 lb
Maximum towing (lbs) 8,201 lb
Maximum coupling point (nose weight) (lbs) 771‡‡
Maximum vehicle and trailer combination (GTW) (lbs) 15,175 (5 seats) / 15,365 (5+2 seats)

--
The specs on the 2021 25B international Airstream

Hitch Weight (with LP & Batte
ries) 837'
Unit Base Weight (with LP & Batteries) 5,503 lbs
Maximum Trailer Capacity (GVWR) (lbs.) 7,300

Looking forward to everyone's assistance with this as we are excited to get things finalized.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:03 AM   #2
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The new Defender looks to be a really nice vehicle overall; I can see why you're excited to own one paired with an FB25 International.

The only question I would have would be with regard to hitch weight. The International hitch weight is approaching 10% (8.5% actually) over the maximum permissible for the Defender. The concern might be that when laden with cargo and full tanks the FB models tend to be significantly heavier on the hitch than the published spec.

We have a 2020 FB25 Globetrotter that is rated for an 882lb hitch weight. But, as measured with a Sherline hitch scale, the laden weight comes closer to 1000lb even with careful balancing of the load.

I know there are folks that take a less strict approach when it comes to some of the concerns over payload, towing capacity, hitch weight, etc. but I thought the issue was worth mentioning.

Would a 23FB be too small for you? It might be a great size to pair with the Defender and at 439lbs it's hitch weight is well within the Defender's limit.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:45 AM   #3
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Vehicle Max Tongue weight = 771
Trailer Unloaded Tongue weight = 837

Empty you're too heavy for specs. Loaded will be worse > 950lbs.

If specs matter to you, this is a bad combo. In all likelihood you'll be fine.

* be prepared, "will it tow" questions spark religious debates.
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Old 06-22-2020, 05:54 AM   #4
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^
Our published Aistream tongue weight 860lb.
Actual loaded for camping tongue weight 1200lb.



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Old 06-22-2020, 10:34 AM   #5
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This OF brain also remembers the Rovers as having a rather short W/B, how much have they grown?

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Old 06-22-2020, 10:38 AM   #6
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You'll need a bigger truck.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
Huh. I don't question what you say here, but the number used to refer to the wheelbase. At least it did back when I had a '67 and a '72 Series IIA 88. The '95 Discovery didn't have a number in the name. Things change.
Sadly car manufacturers have decided that numbers and words don't mean anything anymore.

Like a 3.0L BMW 335i, or a 4.0L Mercedes AMG 63, or a Porsche Taycan Turbo (it's an electric car, how is it a "Turbo"?)
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:34 PM   #8
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My 2019 International 25-foot FB was advertised at 837 lb tongue weight as well. What a joke. It was actually 1150 pounds and I pack light. Consider going to a rear bedroom version if the tongue weight is less.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:27 PM   #9
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My use my Range Rover HSE TDI (diesel) to tow my 2017 International 23FB. I had to use an weigh distribution hitch (Equal-i-zer brand) since the Range Rover’s anti-sway control was dangerous (it just applies the brakes to stop the sway. I also use a Curt Bluetooth brake controller since the Range Rover does not have one and uses fiber optics to control the brakes. Wiring in a brake controller is a nightmare but the wireless units seem to work fine.

I do have a problem when running in stop & go traffic. It triggers “limited performance mode”. (LPM). When this happens, I pull over, wait for 15 minutes, and then everything works fine. I did also pick up a nasty hum in the rear drive train (my TV goes under the wrench in two days to fix this problem). To avoid LPM, I tried starting in low “gear” which is limited to 15 MPH. I then switch to high “gear” once I’m moving. It didn’t seem to help. I am working with Land Rover to rectify this issue - no luck so far.

The big up side is with my diesel I get around 25-30 MPG on interstates (flat terrain) when towing my AS. When I’m unhitched, I’m driving a Range Rover. What could be better?

If tongue weigh is an issue, then consider replacing the Steel propane tanks with Aluminum (al-u-min-i-um in British English). It saves a few pounds off the tongue.

I would summarize the experience that the Land / Range Rover is a great SUV but it’s not a heavy duty truck. It is perhaps one of the best off-road vehicle made. It’s only limitation that I have seen is that the drive train does not appear to be optimized for heavy duty towing. I would never own one that does not have an extended warranty. You will hear the big sucking sound coming from your wallet when it breaks unless it’s a warranty issue. Check the fine print in the Land Rover warranty and see if there are any exceptions for towing.

Also note that the European Airstreams are 25’ (model 604) and 27’ (model 684) but it is significantly lighter than the US versions since the European versions use external canisters for waste as well as other weight saving features. The European Airstreams were made to be towed by European SUVs which are lighter duty than US trucks and US XL SUVs (Navigator, Expedition, et al).

I love my Range Rover / Airstream combo but buyer beware. Better have a large “reserve” piggy bank. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Old 06-22-2020, 10:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of the great feedback

Thank you for all of the great feedback and detailed replies. We obviously want to make the right choice and as much as I love the new Defender, safety and towing ability need to be our first priority so this weighs very heavily on our decision on how we move forward.

Keeping with the SUV vs. Truck, the other option we were also looking at the new Chevy Tahoe that seems to have a higher tongue weight rating than the Defender. I think I found something that said up to 1000 LBS, but not sure if that is correct.

“NOTES ON COLORADO, TAHOE AND SUBURBAN Trailer weight ratings are calculated assuming a base vehicle, except for any option(s) necessary to achieve the rating, plus driver. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See your Chevrolet dealer for additional details. Trailer tongue weight should be 10% to 15% of total loaded trailer weight (up to 1,000 lbs.). A”

https://my.gm.com/content/dam/gmowne...ide_122215.pdf

We also looked at the new Ford Expedition today. It has a 9300 and max tongue weight of 930 lbs. https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content...tion_Oct15.pdf

I was also able to get my wife to test drive the Ford f150 Lariat w/ the 3.6 Eco Boost engine and she was surprised at how well it drove. Based on all of the data, it seems like the safest and smartest way to go would be the F150 or a similar truck unless something magically comes out in the SUV world in the next few months that can handle the 25FB Airstream .

Again, I appreciate all of the knowledge and great feedback.
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:08 PM   #11
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You saw the comment that the rear bedroom 25's have less tongue weight than the front bedrooms and that the numbers Airstream publishes are way off compared with real world loaded trailers. The 1000 lb of the SUV you looked at may not be enough for a front bedroom. Apparently in the front bedroom more of the cargo weight goes on the front compared with the rear bedroom. We tow with a SUV and looked only at the rear bedroom 25 for that reason. You may want to do some searches on the difference in tongue weight on the 25's to find real world weights people report.
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Old 06-23-2020, 04:14 PM   #12
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I can't find any MB specs on TW or WD for the DW's car, 7500 towing capacity only. 🤔

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Old 06-23-2020, 05:01 PM   #13
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I would be more concerned about being stranded on the side of the road with Rover's lack of reliability than I would be about the towing capacity.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:35 PM   #14
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Hmmm...that is a tough one. I can only tell you from experience long ago that my 1998 Land Rover Discovery was horrific for towing my 1999 25C Safari (6375# loaded, which I still have). Both are very different vehicles now, but one thing that has stuck with me is that everything that makes a Defender (new) great off road is not necessarily good for towing, namely a good, long travel, compliant suspension. Will it do it?? Yes...but for how long and how comfortably for the driver is hard to say. In the end, I blew the engine in the LR towing the A/S as I entered a freeway, but fortunately, it was leased and I simply turned it back in after the $11k repair.

I switched to a GMC Yukon which was better and then to a new Yukon Denali, which has been great. 8100# tow capacity and it pulls like there is nothing back there. Not great off-road like the Defender, but it sure tows the A/S nicely, has a stiff frame and has a couple inches longer wheelbase which helps as well.

I also have a 2017 Range Rover diesel and have never thought of towing the A/S with it even though the numbers suggest it would be OK. The air suspension on the Range Rover is another factor. I blew a self-leveling air shock in the Yukon and still could tow the A/S, that would likely not be the case with the Defender.

I really wish I could say I would do the Defender as I think it would be a killer combination, but I have found Land Rover to be a bit overly optimistic in their towing capacity for long-term towing. Through the Bighorn Mountains and Black Hills of South Dakota and I would be exhausted at the end of a day...too much trailer, too little vehicle.

Oh...one other thing...don't overlook the brakes...big difference in the ability to stop in a hurry.
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #15
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Range Rover tow vehicle

To add to you collection of opinions, I think you will be fine. I tow with MB GLS 550, ‘87 34’ Excella, with Hensley Hitch. The GLS has towing package, 121” wheelbase, and most importantly multi setting 4 corner air suspension. The suspension compensates for all sorts of conditions and levels the vehicle perfectly. Im sure the Range Rover does as well. My preference for what you are proposing would be a Hensley Cub hitch for your length. You will get many great big is only answer, but I am very stable in all conditions and have been doing this for 47 years. Each to his own.......
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:31 AM   #16
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There are quite a few limits which you need to be aware of when you start towing: tow vehicle empty weight and max weight, trailer weight limits, total combined weight limit, axle limits, wheel limits, tire limits, hitch limit, etc.

We tow a 2008 25FB with a Nissan Armada - essentially a 1/2 ton Nissan Titan. The only limit we exceed is the Armada factory hitch limit of 910#. Our actual hitch weight is 960-980. Of course, you have some control of that with how you load the trailer fore and aft, but the axle placement on the 25' AS constrains how much we can load aft of the axles. It also helps to tow with empty tanks in the AS, (unless you're boondocking) since water weighs about 8.3# per gallon.

I took the tow vehicle to a custom welder and he substantially reinforced the entire hitch, especially the forward part of the square tube where it attaches to the rest of the hitch. I've inspected it over several thousands of miles towing and we've never had a problem with the hitch.

One other caution is how you pack the tow vehicle. If you load up the area behind the rear axle with a bunch of "stuff", especially an ice chest, you may exceed your rear axle limit.

One thing that might help is to find out what the definition of your empty (curb) tow vehicle weight "includes". On the Armada, Nissan includes a driver and a full tank of gas (at 6# per gallon). I had to call Nissan USA to discover that little gem, which can help if you're close.

And finally, you can run your rig over a set of truck scales and check your weights.
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:27 PM   #17
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There are a lot of options and you have to be careful asking tow vehicle advice on the forums. This site does seem to stay more productive in the discussion then the Facebook group. Below is a lengthy thread with some good discussion. People in the past have done some modifications including moving the batteries to decrease the tongue weight. I saw the review on the Defender and looks like a fun vehicle. Good luck in your search...and remember a 3/4 ton diesel is not the only option.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46...191535-10.html
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:30 PM   #18
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I had range Rover for a short time a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Had some wonderful luxury features. But as a tow vehicle for a camper, not so much. It would be just great pulling your bass boat or family's 18-ft bowrider.
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:19 PM   #19
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I tow with the 2019 LR Discovery 5 and it has almost the exact same specs. Tows like a dream. They are built for towing and the luxury comfort is a plus! Air ride suspension is perfect and auto levels once hooked up.
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:27 PM   #20
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IMHO the Defender is not the truck to tow the 2021 Inter'l 25. If you're interested in seeing the process we when through to be safe and secure while towing in ALL terrain, including the Rocky Mountains check it out.
how-to-determine-if-your-tow-vehicle-is-right-for-your-trailer/
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