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Old 10-29-2020, 11:49 AM   #1
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FC 28RB twin & F150 need advice

My husband and I have our first Airstream on order: a FC 28RB twin. We are excited, but now a bit stressed. Iíve been reading the boards for the last three years, and now that we finally found our Airstream, I need advice.

Our current tow vehicle is a 2018 Ford F150, Lariat, 4x4, Super Crew, equipped with the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine, 145íí Wheelbase and Max tow package. (3.55 electronic-locking rear axle; 4 pin/7 pin wiring harness; Class IV trailer hitch receiver; Smart Trailer Tow controller; upgraded front stabilizer bar; upgraded rear bumper.) It does not have the payload package, and I think thatís my problem. From the stickers, GVWR 7000 lbs., cargo limit 1,635 lbs. (Front GAWR 3525 lbs/ Rear GAWR 4050 lbs.) This is my husbandís daily driver and he loves the truck. We never thought we would buy anything larger than a 25 foot camper, and Iíll admit that we didnít understand payload at all. I believe my tow limit is about 10,700 or 10,200 lbs and the trailer GVWR is 7600 lbs, based on the online ownerís manual.

This truck is option heavy (moon roof seemed like a good idea at the time). We took it to the CAT scale, and with full gas tanks, and my husband and me in the cab, the truck came in at just under 6000 lbs. Hence my inquiry. The good news is that we are minimalist campers. There are two of us and a small dog. The only thing we may be putting in the bed of the truck is a small generator. We also donít plan on putting much in the cab besides the dogís bed and maybe a small ice chest. We also will not be loading down the Airstream...heaviest item will be my small Lodge dutch oven.

According to the brochure, the hitch weight of the FC 28RB is 899 lbs., and from reading these boards, I understand that it could be much higher? So, we are not looking so good with payload numbers, to say the least. I see us as having three options right now, and Iím seeking advice from you experienced experts.

Option 1: Do nothing except put new tires and a weight distribution hitch on the F150 until we take ownership of the Airstream in January. Hitch it up, take it to the scales, and see where we actually stand. May be able to reduce weight by about 50-60 lbs. by removing the rear seats. Move on to Option 2 if necessary.

Option 2: Besides new tires and WD hitch, put airbags and maybe another leaf on the truck before we get the trailer...suggestions needed. Hope to get 2-3 years of towing (no steep grades yet) before moving on to Option 3.

Option 3: Trade our truck in for a 250. We know ultimately that this is where we are headed, but I prefer not to have the extra expense right now. We are keenly aware that replacing the F150 will make towing easier and probably safer, but is this an immediate need? Whichever truck we have, it will continue to be my husbandís daily driver.

I welcome any comments and suggestions.
Caroline
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:06 PM   #2
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IMHO, do not install or really consider airbags or similar stuff. If the truck is within the numbers as you're really going to use it AND you're comfortable with the towing performance then decide between options 1 and 3 as meets your needs and comfort level. Airbags and helper-springs don't increase your axle rating, they just change the angle of the body under load.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:37 PM   #3
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I agree with David on airbags. I'm not a fan of airbags in towing applications, especially when combined with a weight distribution hitch. This combination can be dangerous if not setup properly.

You've got a difficult decision to make. Personally, I'm a conservative guy with respect to tow limits. I'd go with Option 3. That said, it may not be the best option for you. You might look at option 1, and at ways to optimize the towing experience with your existing truck before taking the plunge into an F250.
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Old 10-29-2020, 01:36 PM   #4
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Thank you for your responses. I would love to stick with option 1 as much as possible! I did not know about the bad combo of WD hitch and airbags.
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Old 10-29-2020, 01:42 PM   #5
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Option 3. We are by no means experts, but our 2018 GMC 1500 is a perfect match for our 22FB Sport. The Sport (Bambi) has a lower tongue weight (appx 420-450) and our truck has the full tow package.

If we decide to go any bigger than the 22FB, then the TV will change as well.
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:04 PM   #6
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I'm in the same situation. Picking up our new Int. 25RB in a couple of weeks.
Agonized over a TV for a month. This forum will drive you nuts because for every vote for the 3/4 ton there is a vote for the 1/2 ton. I learned a tremendous amount on here though about payload which honestly was something I had never paid much attention too and I have owned 3/4 ton and 1/2 ton trucks and pulled boats, trailers, and campers all my adult life.
Anyway, sold an older F250 that I had because it was time to upgrade to the 21st century, and after much debate decided on the F150 almost identical to the OP's. (2020 model) 1680 payload, max tow, 3.5 ECO etc, etc. For me it was 2 things: Daily Driver concerns and money(up front and maintenance, fuel mileage, etc) Even an F250 Gasser was a pretty big difference. I have lost sleep ever since wondering if I really screwed up and compromised safety and overall satisfaction over roughly $10,000 when I am about to drop $85k for a new trailer? Kinda stupid when you really think about it. There is no doubt that the ECO 3.5, Max tow, 10 speed transmission combo will 'pull' the trailer just fine.
Its that all important payload that is the issue. We too are minimial campers. Weekend trips and occasional week long. So maybe we will be ok.
We are picking up in Tampa Fla and driving back to GA so I will update after that although a flat interstate drive along I-75 should not be an issue.
Remember though, as I learned from this forum that a properly adjusted WD hitch will transfer a good bit of that hitch weight to the rear axles so that does factor into the payload consideration. That's why the proper hitch is so important. I agree with David and Dennis on the aftermarket suspension add-ons. Not a fan of those either. Only thing I might consider is the Roadmaster Active Suspension which has been tried and true proven but even still I will wait until I see how the rig performs stock before I go that route.
Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:11 PM   #7
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Option 1

Take Option 1.
I have the same 2018 F150 with a 2017 International 25FB. Its GVWR is 7300, and tongue weight is posted as 837. Not much less than what you're getting.
I mindful of what I load in the F150 so I've got cushion on payload there. As for what I load in the trailer I'm well within its GVWR.
You've got plenty of towing capacity so the main issue is truck payload.
Once you've got your new rig, load it and the TV as you plan, go to a scale and get the real numbers.
Skip Option 2 and if the numbers dictate it, go to Option 3.
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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I went down a similar path, but with a 25FB.

I would go with option 1, see what the scales tell you, see how the truck feels, and then decide if you need to move to option 3.

For me, I tried for about six months to make the F-150 work (I think my payload was about 1,800 lbs). Hitch weight when loaded for camping was 1,050 on a sherline scale. I packed the truck like I would on a normal trip...a couple chairs, small grill, wife, dog...nothing major. I worked my setup as best as I could (using a ProPride hitch) and couldnít get lighter than 3,600 on the rear axle, which was the limit for it. That was not horrible, but I also felt like the steering response was not so great. Maybe it was in my head since I was already concerned, but I decided I would prefer to not worry about it, so I bought an F-250.

There seems to be an ingoing debate over 1/2 vs 3/4 ton trucks. Iím not an engineer so I canít offer any technical help, but I made the choice that was right for me.
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:30 PM   #9
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I have a 25FB, F150 limited with a lower towing/payload than your Lariat. & Blue Ox hitch...Your only 490 lbs heavier than I am. Go with option 1!
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff7176 View Post
I went down a similar path, but with a 25FB.

I would go with option 1, see what the scales tell you, see how the truck feels, and then decide if you need to move to option 3.

For me, I tried for about six months to make the F-150 work (I think my payload was about 1,800 lbs). Hitch weight when loaded for camping was 1,050 on a sherline scale. I packed the truck like I would on a normal trip...a couple chairs, small grill, wife, dog...nothing major. I worked my setup as best as I could (using a ProPride hitch) and couldnít get lighter than 3,600 on the rear axle, which was the limit for it. That was not horrible, but I also felt like the steering response was not so great. Maybe it was in my head since I was already concerned, but I decided I would prefer to not worry about it, so I bought an F-250.

There seems to be an ingoing debate over 1/2 vs 3/4 ton trucks. Iím not an engineer so I canít offer any technical help, but I made the choice that was right for me.

I just read Jeff7176 response, so figured I would add this as well. The dealer set my Blue Ox hitch at 7 links. After roughly 700 miles I decided to tighten it up another link making it 8. I used this setting for the next 1,300 miles though still noticed a little bit of a wag and light/loose front end. I decided to tighten up one more link making it 9 and the f1500 drove rock solid for the remaining 1,400 miles. Make sure the hitch is properly set... If its not set tight enough, in addition to wag...the steering will feel loose. FYI...My Blue Ox has 1,000 lb. bars...
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Old 10-29-2020, 03:29 PM   #11
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I think the key is that if you have a well-set WD hitch it will not be an emergency where you have to change trucks immediately. I had something similar and it was not as stable as I wanted but not bad. Get the AS (congratulations!), make sure the WD hitch is set up well, then take it to the scales. You may be overweight a bit but I doubt it will be by too much. Not good long term but if you pay attention to loading you should be able to get away with that set up for some time. I am not an official expert but is based on my experience with our 27FBT and a similarly equipped 2017 F150. We ultimately wanted more "headroom" so we upgrade to an F250 after two years.

Have fun!! Don't get too stressed; this will not be some unstable ride ready to shatter your axle on the next bump. Just pay attention to your loading and it should be fine for a bit.
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Old 10-29-2020, 03:46 PM   #12
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Again thanks for all the responses! I'm relaxing a bit more now, and it's good to know that I'm not alone. Bcc75, I'm interested to hear how it all turned out for you!
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:24 AM   #13
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We have same truck (F150 Ecoboost 3.5), AS Globetrotter 30’ and a Hensley Hitch.
We just came back from our 2 months trip (~6000miles from Florida to Montana and back).
It towed well till we reached Wyoming, the truck struggled on the passes up or down. Started backfiring and overheating.
As soon as we came back from our trip, I ordered a new F250 gas V8 7.3l. Better be safe than sorry!
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:24 AM   #14
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The only advice I will give you is do the math.. the following link is the journey we took in marrying our F-150 to our International 25CCD
how-to-determine-if-your-tow-vehicle-is-right-for-your-trailer/
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:30 AM   #15
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You've gotten the answers you expected, if you're on the edge the other factor is intended use. Going cross country and more than local vacation trips would push towards option 3, lots of mountains would push towards 3 as well, touring the flatter lands maybe 1 will do the job. You need to balance that all out. enjoy the new airstream..
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:48 AM   #16
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Seems many of us have the same struggle. I have almost the same truck as the OP, a GT27FBT with an Equalizer hitch. This setup works great and has handled "the Grapevine" in SoCal and other California mountains just fine. The deciding factor at the time for us was the amount of time we would be towing vs every day driving. The 150 is a nicer drive and easier to park so it makes the 90% of the time that we are *not* towing a better experience.

That said...retirement is coming and an F250 will be my retirement gift to myself.

bj
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:31 PM   #17
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Caroline: First off... congrats on the new Airstream.

Second, congrats and “well done” on doing your homework! I’ve read 100 posts like yours here. Most say “my truck dealer gave me a brochure that says their V6 tows like a tug boat... I’m good to take a 30’ Classic over the Rockies, right?”. Your post stands out and shows the thought you’ve already put in.

For that reason, I’m going Obi-Wan Kenobi on you. I think you either already know or will soon know what’s right for you. Ultimately, your camping style and your sense of comfort will answer that question. Nobody else’s answer matters.

We’ve stuck with the 1/2 ton for our 25’. Ours is a Tundra, but the principles apply universally. At times we’ve exceeded payload and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. We never exceed Gross Combined, tire ratings or either axle weight rating. Your truck has better towing specs than the Tundra.

So, for me, I’d try what you’ve got first. Weigh your rig loaded for camping... take some easier trips first... get acquainted... check in with yourself. Check in here with the brain trust... it sometimes helpful and always amusing. Based on the approach you are taking and the thought you’ve applied I’m confident that the right answer for you will reveal itself.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:38 PM   #18
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If you are going with option 3, donít choke. Go for the F-350. Few hundred bucks more and a good deal more payload.
Worth a look/see.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:48 PM   #19
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Congratulations!

Hi Caroline, what an exciting time! Congratulations on your new FC28RB Twin. Great advice by all so far. Iím in agreement with your Option 1. You may find with a good WD hitch that your current F150 does the job just fine.

We had a RAM 1500 with much less payload and towed our 27í Globetrotter. The truck had plenty of power but after a trip to the CAT scales we discovered that we were within 100 lbs of being over the max rear axle rating. I can tell you ďpayload anxietyĒ can throw a wet blanket on your camping experience. Besides the numbers, I felt at times on the expressway that the trailer pushed the truck around.

We now have a RAM 2500 gas with 2940 lbs. of payload capacity and zero anxiety. The truck feels more planted (it should, weighing over 1000 lbs more than the 1500).

So, try what you have and see how it tows. You may find it does just fine. If not, no worries - move up a notch!

Enjoy your new Airstream and happy camping!
Jeff & Caryle
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:54 PM   #20
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Congrats!

Congrats on the new Airstream. We got our 28RBT (Flying Cloud) a year ago and love it. I think you will, too.

Your F150 has 1600+ lbs of payload. Not bad for a 1/2 ton. An F250 diesel will have payload in the 2200 lb neighborhood.

I measured the tongue weight on our 28 RBT and it came to about 900 lbs. when you hook up the weight distribution hitch, some of that 900 lbs will be transferred to the trailer wheels.... so not all of that 900 goes to the truck.

IF you don’t load the truck up with lots of stuff and set up the WD properly, you’ll most likely be fine.

I agree with the others that you should stand pat for now, get the truck, hitch and trailer set up and head for the CAT scales. Forget option #2.

We pull our AS with an F350 diesel. This is because we don’t travel light. Kayaks, e bikes, large cooler...maybe generator(s)...and the weight of a topper and cargo slide. But that’s us. Plus we’re retired and don’t use the F350 for daily commuting and would never consider taking it to downtown Atlanta��.

Have fun, watch your speed and following distance!
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