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Old 09-03-2020, 05:10 AM   #1
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
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F150 vs F250

Hello, I am new to the Airstream world. Just placed a deposit on a 2021 International 25RB. My wife and I are new empty nesters and wanting to get back into camping(we camped when we were younger in 'throw away' campers). After 2 years of researching, looking, and saving we finally pulled the trigger on a new Airstream! Anyway I have a 06' F250 Diesel. I know it will pull anything Airstream makes but a new truck has been on my radar for some time now as well. The dry weight of my new trailer is 5600 lbs. Due to costs of purchase and maintenance on F250 Diesels, I have been told by dealers and through my own research that the new F-150's will pull 11,000-13,000 lbs on the hitch when equipped with the 3.5 Eco-Boost V6 and the proper towing package. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that you can get that performance from a 1/2 ton truck with a V6 Engine. So I am asking for advice from Airstreamers. I love the 250's but in the long run is it worth the extra costs?
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Old 09-03-2020, 05:49 AM   #2
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Box Elder , South Dakota
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Welcome, hope you’ve got a flame suit...you will get lots of opinions on this. Once you wade through it all, you will find “pulling” won’t be an issue, but rather payload will be the limiting factor. Most 1/2 tons will have around 1500-1800 lbs of payload (everything that goes in and on the truck including trailer tongue weight). I briefly towed a 26’ airstream with an f150 3.5 eb in the northern Utah mountains. It did just fine, however the truck only had 1450 lbs of payload (rated to tow 12k) but that combo put us over our payload rating as well as rear axle weight limit. Ended up going with a diesel f350. We full time so our truck bed with cap is the garage so depending on how you plan to travel you might be just fine. We also didn’t last too long in the 26’ and moved to a 30’ so the f350 gave us some future headroom. Depending on your timing and willingness to wait, you could look into ordering a unicorn...you can special order an f150 with the heavy duty payload package (seriously doubt you will find one on a lot). You will have to talk to a dealer and understand what all options you can get, but ultimately it’s possible to spec an f150 with 2000 lbs of payload and not have it be a work truck. Also keep in mind as you truck shop that the higher optioned vehicles will have less payload...so a nice platinum with the sunroof and massaging seats and power running boards will have the lower payload rating.
Again, welcome and congrats!
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Old 09-03-2020, 05:50 AM   #3
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Check the Payload Capacity on F150s that you may be interested in. The 25’ tongue weights can be pretty heavy at 1,200+ pounds. That leaves very little for passengers and gear.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:05 AM   #4
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Special order to get what you want/need. We ordered a 2017 F150XL STX Supercab 4x 3.5 EB with only towing related options. Payload sticker is 1976.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:08 AM   #5
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Our 2016 SuperCrew Heavy Duty Payload F-150 XLT has a door sticker payload of 2434lbs.

You have to special order it - i never saw one on the lot. You also have to keep the trim level and the options list down to not too much more than the towing options - max trailer tow, towing mirrors (have to be separately specified since they didnít come with the Tow package), extended range gas tank, etc. but it can be done.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:13 AM   #6
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F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost has more than enough power for a 25. Payload will be your limitation.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:13 AM   #7
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Cleveland , Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D44 View Post
Our 2016 SuperCrew Heavy Duty Payload F-150 XLT has a door sticker payload of 2434lbs.

You have to special order it - i never saw one on the lot. You also have to keep the trim level and the options list down to not too much more than the towing options - max trailer tow, towing mirrors (have to be separately specified since they didnít come with the Tow package), extended range gas tank, etc. but it can be done.

That's basically a F-250 with a small hood
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:56 AM   #8
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I, also, had to buy a tow vehicle when I bought my Airstream. My researches convinced me that up to 23' trailers were well withing the capacity of an F-150 if it was appropriately configured. To get one that was appropriately configured, I had to order the truck and have it built. No truck on a dealer lot within 300 miles would do. A 25' trailer would be right at the bleeding edge of capability, and I was not comfortable always towing right at the bleeding edge. If I had bought a 25' trailer, I would have gone with an F-250. But that is just me.

You do realize, don't you, that you can get an F-250 with a gasoline engine.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:17 AM   #9
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2017 28' International
Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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I pull a 28' with an F150. Picking up my new F150 today. If you get the 20 inch wheels with the F150 XLT super crew 4x4 you get an extra 200lbs on the rear axle. My tongue weight is 1250lbs for the pickup. My towing capacity is 12,500lbs. On my 2017 XLT my payload was 1840lbs. My guess with the extra 200lbs on the rear axle I'm looking at over 2000lbs.

Having said that no one can determine the truck for you. If you are going to be gone for months at a time you probably could use more payload because you will be taking more stuff. Then I would consider the F250 with a gas engine. The problem is for every day drivers they suck up the gas. The f250 7.3 liter with 10 speed is a towing monster.

But for me the F150 works just fine. And it is a good daily driver. These are hard decisions as well as expensive. Since you already have a 3/4 ton diesel you are probably use to the stiffer ride. The new 3/4 tons do have a better ride than the old ones, but not as good of a ride as the 1/2 tons. You don't need a diesel however for that size AS. Nice, but not necessary. P.S. The 6.2L will pull it just fine as well.

And I agree with the above you need to sit down and order the truck to get the right configuration. I had to. Couldn't find anything that had the configuration I wanted within 1000 miles.

And by the way if you want a better experience with an F150 put the roadmaster suspension system on your pickup. It REALLY makes a difference on the F150. The cost is about $650 installed. You will not regret it. Eliminates lots of squat, and firms up the back end quite a bit without taking away the ride comfort.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:33 AM   #10
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Hopewell , New Jersey
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Great timing for this thread as my wife and I are in final stages of deciding on an Airstream - current front runner is the 2021 Interstate 23cb - and I’ve been back and forth between the F-150 and F-250.

For us, the truck would be used as a TV / Home Depot / Nursery truck only and not a daily. Mostly eying used, under $25k and miles at 120,000 or less. There are ton of F-150s but far less F-250s, especially considering my ideal would not be an F-250 that wasn’t used as work truck.

Although I am still researching, and cannot fully contribute to the debate, I can share my rationale for leaning towards the F-250, but also why I haven’t removed the F-150 from the list.

For the F-250, the towing capacity and payload is more than sufficient and we won’t have to worry about loading up since we are a family of 5. The hesitation is finding a good example in my target price range, size (we want a Crew Cab), comfort and ease of use.

For the F-150, the biggest benefit is comfort, slightly smaller, but there is a payload sacrifice with added features - with a family of 5, this could be an issue.

Will likely land on the F-250 as I want to somewhat “future-proof” the purchase and ensure I don’t run into issues with payload (more so to reduce the need to calculate weight). Also, I don’t envision using it more than 5000-10,000 miles a year (likely the lower side), so maintenance will be lower.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleR View Post
Check the Payload Capacity on F150s that you may be interested in. The 25í tongue weights can be pretty heavy at 1,200+ pounds. That leaves very little for passengers and gear.
He ordered a 25RB, which is what we have. It's the FB's that have those kind of tongue weights. Ours is somewhere around 800 - 900. I say that because I couldn't get the scale I borrowed to read the same twice.

The 3.5EB has way more than enough power for this trailer. We are also empty nesters and tow with a SUV with the 3.5. Payload is the issue. We can't put all that much into the truck, but it works fine for us.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:14 AM   #12
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As others have said, this comes down to YOUR payload needs, and to some extent your buying style with a truck. If you want something right off a Ford dealer's lot that will do all you need, a 250 is probably where you'll end up (and if you want to avoid the diesel attributes, a gasser F250 should do what you need, though it's not the same kind of beast in the mountains as a forced-induction engine is.)

If you like to throw everything in the back of the truck and travel with 2 adults and 3 Rottweilers, the 250 (or SRW 350) will make life easier. The short wheelbase 250 is barely longer than the long wheelbase 150 so that's not necessarily a huge consideration. For my part, I like the on-road behavior of the 4WD 150 with independent front suspension. I'd probably look harder at the GM siblings if I were buying a 4wd HD truck, because they're the only ones with independent front suspension and 4WD in that weight class.

I have a short-box 2017 F150 that I custom ordered. Lariat SuperCrew (502A) 3.5 Ecoboost with the big towing mirrors, Max Tow package (53C), no sunroof or massaging seats (I kinda regret the massaging seats, now that my partner has a car with that feature... it doesn't suck!) My specific truck's payload is 1623 lb on the sticker. With a 26' Flying Cloud hitched up and loaded for travel including my fat butt and a 60-lb dog, full fresh water and empty waste tanks, I cross the CAT scales about 700 lb under gross weight, with excess capacity on both front and rear axles, so it works for me but I'm not carrying a cord of firewood and a cast-iron cookware collection in the box, either.

As I and others have mentioned, higher-capability F150s are often a custom-order thing. As far as I remember I've seen 2 other posh aluminum F150s with the trailer mirrors... one Lariat, one King Ranch. When you stop to think about the sheer number of F150s there are in Texas, that suggests it's an uncommon config... I suspect both of them ordered their trucks as well.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:52 AM   #13
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As others noted, payload is the limiting issue. We bought a loaded-up F150 EB (Platinum) and it was nice but we ran out of payload as we started adding things to take with us. Traded up to a F250 Platinum so we still have all the niceties but with sufficient payload now for our wishes. Pulling was not an issue with the F150 for our 27 footer. The 3.5 EB is a pretty impressive engine!
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:02 AM   #14
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I kinda regret the massaging seats, now that my partner has a car with that feature... it doesn't suck!
I fully expected to never use the massage feature included on our SUV. Boy was I wrong. It's a nice feature to have.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:04 AM   #15
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Tucson , Arizona
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Congratulations on the new trailer and welcome to the forum! As many have said before, payload is the limiting issue. We have a Flying Cloud 25FB and just moved from a Tundra to an F-150 with the heavy duty payload package. The payload can really add up when you have full tanks, generators, fuel, and all your other gear loaded up. The fact that you have the RB should help to keep the tongue weight down compared to the FB. For us, our TV switch was all about comfort and convenience. Can you make it work and meticulously load things to be within your truck's capacity? Absolutely! We did it for a year. It does get tiring after a while, and if you have your pick of the litter on new TVs I'd say go for an F-250 or F-150 with the HDPP. The HDPP trucks are limited in features so if creature comforts are a priority might as well stick with an F-250. Please keep us in the loop with what you decide!
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:19 AM   #16
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Do some research

I can try to convince you that the heavier vehicle is better using data, stats, brake size, etc. But I won't. Read around these forums and compare how many posts are from people who sold their 150 and went to a 250 and are so happy. Compare that to the number of posts you find where people went the other way (sold 250 and bought 150) and are happy. Do it right the first time.

I own both and will only tow my FC 25FBT with the F250.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:50 AM   #17
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2021 25' International
Winder , Georgia
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Thanks to all for your input. We are not fulltimers. Mid Forties with 1 in College so it will be while before we can retire & hit the road for extended trips. For now just weekend trips or week long vacations. However I do don't want to be limited to what I can pack for the weeklong trips so from everything I see, the F250 may be the way to go.
Also- does anyone know of any clubs or units in the Southeast US that has activities geared more towards weekenders?
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:00 PM   #18
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It looks like you may have already made your decision so I won't have much to add except for my own very personal opinion.

I've towed a 25' Flying Cloud with an F150 max tow EcoBoost, and both a 30' Classic and a 25' Globetrotter with an F250 diesel. I'm much happier towing with the F250 and I think you will be as well if that's the way you ultimately go.
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:10 PM   #19
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F250 payload can be close to F150

When shopping for higher payload I drove a sweet, bling-y F250, and was shocked to see the door sticker at about 1900# of payload. Only 480 over the F150 Platinum. OK; so it was an F250 Platinum.

DW likes bling-y trucks, big dogs and collects rocks and large driftwood. Bought a barely used F350 Platinum with a 3300# payload. "load 'er up!"
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:37 PM   #20
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I concur, the 7000 lb 25' trailers are the toss up points. You won't go wrong with either a 1/2 ton or a 3/4 ton. Do you like to take a bunch of extra stuff along with you like me? go with the 3/4. Do you pack light like a minimalist? get the 1/2 ton. the diesel shows it's worth on the the mountain grades otherwise it is a nice to have given the cost premium.
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