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Old 07-04-2020, 03:03 PM   #1
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
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Ford or Chevy, Gas or Diesel?

I’m seriously not wanting to open this can of worms but I’m in need of opinions from a cross section of experienced trailer owners, who may have owned both of these types/makes of TV’s.
I tow a 25 ft. FC FB, successfully with a 2015 Tundra 4x4 with tow package. I have a Blue Ox hitch and I’ve felt comfortable towing it, albeit with my limited experience (3 mos) and short trips under my belt.
However, we’re planning on a CO trip in the fall and from what I gather on the forum, altitude and grades may cause me to wish I had a heavier TV.
So, I could be overthinking it, if so sound off. If I’m on track, please suggest the vehicle you have the most faith in for the task we all enjoy. Thanks!
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:20 PM   #2
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Howdy. You’re going to get 43 responses. Three-quarters of them will be “get a diesel tomorrow”; others will say “you’re fine, I’ve towed the CO passes in a Pinto”.

Personally, I wouldn’t change TVs for just a seasonal change in location or a trip with big passes. I towed a 25 like you with my F150. Honestly, it did fine. And the grades in AZ are pretty stout.

I did upgrade to a diesel as I have lots of kids, dogs, gear I bring a long. It’s a relaxing tow experience now for sure. I was also due for a vehicle change so it made a bit of sense to just go to diesel. If you got some money to spend or got that itch, a diesel is a great move.

If your comfortable towing it as-is, and you don’t have too much payload then stay put and just drive a little slower. Upgrade when the time is right.

Stay safe and happy 4th.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:22 PM   #3
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I have a Tundra and tow a 28’ International. Have been through Colorado and the Rockies several times. My suggestion is to avoid any grades over 8% with high altitude & you will be fine. Here is how I know...I made a 10% grade that was 6 miles long and 10,000’ at its peak with switchbacks. Never again.
I am patiently awaiting the release of the 2022 Tundra. We shall see. If it does not work out, I will look into 3/4 ton gas trucks.

Safe Travels
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:28 PM   #4
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If you want to get a new truck, and money and the size of the truck isn't an issue, get a 250/2500 Diesel.

We have towed through the Rockies and to Alaska and back with our 1500, including over 11,000' passes, and we haven't had any problems. With around 2000 LBS payload that hasn't been an issue for us either.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:29 PM   #5
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So, not directly addressing your query but:

I towed a 1986 31’ Airstream over 80,000 miles with a 2004 Nissan Titan 5.6 Liter V8. Through the Rockies numerous times and the Sierras and the Appalachians. It was a far less capable tow vehicle than your Tundra. Never had a “white knuckle” moment.

Your 5.7 liter V8 can handily pull any Airstream ever made. Going uphill is simply a matter of downshifting to a nice fat part of the power band, say 3600 rpm. Will it be loud ? You bet. Will it suck fuel like crazy? Absolutely. But going uphill like that is such a minuscule part of your total mileage does it justify a big, honking diesel? Is it less powerful at 10,000’ ? Yep, but since you have a nice surplus of power available, so what?

Going down is simple energy management. You go down in the same gear that brought you up. As speed builds, you brake to slow down 20 mph or so. The speed builds, repeat as necessary.

I now have a “5/8” ton Nissan Titan XD with a turbocharged Cummins diesel. Great truck, great price. But, it is massive and has it’s own zip code. You climb up into it. Fuel filters every 10K, Oil change about every 7.5K, DEF fluid...

So, kind of a jumbled message but basically:
If you want a new truck, get one and get one with a better payload (the Achilles heel of Tundras). Take more toys. My personal opinion is stay with gasoline — cheaper to buy and maintain, easier to find fuel that is also cheaper. Sure a diesel will go 300,000 miles easily but what will the rest of the truck look like when you get there?

But, your present vehicle, driven carefully and with skill is more than capable of taking you anywhere you want to go.

Enjoy the journey
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:36 PM   #6
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Gibson3798, sounds like you’ve gotten a good feel from your trips so far about your Tundra’s capability. It really comes down to your comfort level of the truck vs. not worrying about it.

We had a 1/2 ton towing our 27’ Globetrotter before moving up to a 3/4 ton gas with 2940 lbs. payload. Since then we’ve made two trips to Colorado, one in the Rockies and we’re very happy with the ease the truck handles it. And, we’re getting the same if not better fuel mileage.

Your mileage may vary!
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:46 PM   #7
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I have a crew cab, LB gas F350 with 4.30 gears. It will tow any AS just fine. With over 4k of payload, I don't need a pad, pen and calculator when I load the truck and trailer for a trip.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:48 PM   #8
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The 3/4 and 1 ton truck choices are all good. Check the DOOR STICKERS On the actual truck, as actually equipped, that you are considering and pretty much ignore whatever any salesman says. They get commissions for selling, not for knowledge or honesty.

You need to know:
1) weight you can safely carry in the truck
2) real tongue weight of your trailer & hitch
3) tongue weight your truck is rated for
4) real weight of your loaded trailer
5) real weight the truck can tow
6) best gear ratio on truck rear end*

*perfect towing gear ratio? If 10% of use is towing and 90% is daily driver... well is efficient towing that important?

Diesel vs. Gas - I have had both. If I buy another tow vehicle it will be gas. Gassers have narrowed the gap in performance, and $10K to $15K less for a gas engine truck? What's to hate?

After six months, it is just a truck, not a new truck. Sweat not the small stuff.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:55 PM   #9
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I'll say, "It depends".
Do you use the truck as a daily driver also?
Or is your choice based on towing only, with another vehicle available for grocery store runs etc.
Can you upgrade the truck without going in debt?

I don't understand buying a new truck because I'm taking a trip over a mountain, and that's 0.001% of my use! It's not the Donner Party anymore!

But of your options, I'd say Ford/Gas.
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:44 PM   #10
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Have towed 25 fit w/ both half ton and now 3/4 ton. Former was OK but "iffy" in mts. F250 7.3 gasser is mucho better.
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:07 PM   #11
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If I were you I would search "gauntlet tests" for 1/2 ton pickups, 3/4 tons gas, 3/4 tons diesel. TFL truck does reviews on different pickups and their ability to tow and go up and down the 7% grade on the Eisenhower pass which is at high altitude. They also give pros and cons for owning gas vs diesel.

Clearly a diesel is more than adequate and if I was doing a lot of towing in mountains (25% of my time) I would get it only for the exhaust break. Now having said that I don't think I would get a diesel just for a one time trip. In fact I just ordered a new 2020 F150XLT with a 3.5 Ecoboost that is rated to tow 12,500lbs and will have about 1900lbs of payload. You will get a little more payload with the aluminum F150 than a steel Chevy frame.

The F150 Ecoboost is a beast of a towing engine, and as far as going up is concerned beats all the 1/2 ton engines out there. If I were to get a Chevy I would get the 6.2 liter engine. The Dodge Hemi is also a very good engine with the 8 speed transmission. The one negative is that the Ford tends get a bit of porpoising affect in the rear. I eliminated that with a roadmaster suspension system for $650 installed on my present F150 XLT. But my F150 pulls my 28' wonderfully. I do have a Propride Hitch which also helps while towing.

The biggest issue is overheating those brakes. So that means on declines you just have to go slow and my advice is avoid the steeper grades.

So ask yourself these questions:
1) How often do I tow? Where do I spend most of my towing experience?
2) How much payload do I really need? Remember a 3/4 ton diesel doesn't have a great deal of payload due to the weight of the engine when compared to a 3/4 ton gas.
3) How much money do I want to spend. Remember a diesel will be a higher up front cost with higher maintenance costs. And if something goes wrong $$$$$$.
4) Will I use the pickup for a daily driver?

If money is no option (or at least you have plenty of it and don't care if you spend 15,000 to 20,000 more and don't care about the ride while not towing) I would say a 1 ton diesel. Power and payload
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:51 AM   #12
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We are extremely happy with our Ford Max Tow package. It has twin turbos that made a huge difference in the mountains of Colorado when we visited our son who lives on the western slope near the Utah border. The Max Tow package has an extra leaf spring in the rear and we had almost no squat when hitching up (we use a Blue Ox, too). It's a gasser but has plenty of umph on those 7% inclines that go on forever.
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:19 AM   #13
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I will not recommend a tow vehicle. What I will do is share my extensive Airstream towing experience. We have been Airstreaming for over fourteen years. We have over 2,100 nights of Airstream camping. We have towed our Airstreams 200,000 miles all over the United States and Canada.

We started out with 3/4 ton Suburbans with gasoline engines. They did OK, but were not stellar performers, especially in the mountains. In 2011 we went with a Silverado Duramax and never looked back. The towing performance is outstanding in all conditions.

As far as we are concerned, Diesel 3/4 ton is the way to go. The brand is up to you.

Brian
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:19 AM   #14
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If you decide on more, go Chevy Duramax with its Allison Transmission
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:47 AM   #15
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Experience Everything the first year... and Decide

Think like a Bomber Pilot in World War 2 after a bombing run.

When low on fuel, begin tossing out everything not essential. Your life/lives may depend on it.

When towing with a half ton tow vehicle... do the same. The Rocky Mountains will be your first Bombing Run. There is a lot of weight that can be tossed out while going up and down Monarch Pass at 11,000+ feet.

The thin air will make you dizzy.

The smell of hot brakes will make you sick to your stomach.

The passenger will have eyes twice the normal diameter.

...and welcome to the Airforums. We all started with a beginning. Learned a lot from our first season of living the life... and made choices made from those experiences. The first year was the most... enjoyable. It is downhill after that. The 'thrill was gone' with the 25 foot and the current 27 foot provides room for our two Blue Heelers..

If you depend on those responding to your request to decide. Back up, start over. Experience is your best teacher. There are some who tow a 30 foot Airstream with a Tundra. EXPERTS in making the best of what they like to use! Really.

The 25 foot Flying Cloud, double axle and later with 16 inch Michelins and a couple of Solar Pauper Panels to sit outside once camped... you already have the BEST of the BEST Airstream.

Maybe a 3 inch lift kit if you Off the Grid Boondock for clearance.

The Tundra is a fine pickup, but right at its limit with the 25 foot if you pack if full of unnecessary JUNK. As well as the bed of the Tundra is not to fill for traction, either. Your leaf springs will be flat. Blue Ox or a brown paper sack... just look. If not flat... the Blue Ox is moving weight around. The Tundra's brakes are excellent, until you need them... in Colorado.
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:18 AM   #16
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I’m a newbie here.... but have done a ton of research ... much like the excellent advice above. Here is is the direction that I went for our (on order) 27 Intl. I subscribe to the thought that overkill when it comes to safety is a necessity. I like Ford trucks (tons of technology and reliability).... so, yes, an F150 could pull our Airstream. However, when in the mountains in bad weather and perhaps little fatigued - or any combo of contributing factors that you can dream up, the F150 is not going to give me the margin that I want. In other words, yes a F150 could pull it fine - but will it react like you want in the worst scenario? So, I drove home my 2020 F250 Diesel last night (22 mpg, by the way!). Gas vs Diesel - I thought I would fall in love with Ford’s new 7.3 gas engine. The reviews and youtubers all give it thumbs up - however, I drove the 7.3 and the diesel back to back and there simply is no comparison. If you can swing the up charge for the diesel - knowing that you will not recoup the upgrade costs in fuel savings - Ford’s diesel and 10 speed is hands down the best thing going. This truck has the high capacity payload package and the yellow sticker says 2830 lbs. You loose about 700 lbs of this if you do not have the high cap payload option. Just my well informed 2 cents. Happy hunting.
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:42 PM   #17
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Tv

If you are going to change TV's, I would suggest a Dodge 2500 diesel. I have one and it makes hills and mountains not a challenge.
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:45 PM   #18
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I tow a 25’ serenity with a f150 . It squats a bit in the rear end but I have a camper shell and the off road package (that I don’t use). Which may reduce my max load . But I do not have any sway issues. Given that I have the 3.5 liter eco boost. The engine is amazing with high torque at low rpm and is not affected by altitude. I have gone from coast to coast and frequent high elevations living on the west coast. My only regret is the slight squat. I have an equalizer hitch. Hope my info helps. Steve
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:56 PM   #19
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I have gone from a F150 to a Ram/Cummins 2500 to a Ram/Cummins 3500, which did not know it was driving up to and down from Monarch Pass. Needless to say, I'm not considering reversing that progression.

OK, I agree, perhaps I don't "need" a Ram/Cummins 3500 to tow my AS FC 27 FB, but it's sure nice to have, and I haven't heard one peep out of my sweetie, riding shotgun, that she feels unsafe with it.
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Old 07-05-2020, 01:03 PM   #20
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2017 F250 Crew Cab 4x4 Gasser towing a 30 foot International.


What'd that guy say at the pumps? "bet that thing gets crappy gas mileage".....yessireeee it does, it ain't a prius.


Like stated above, 3,100 pounds of cargo capacity, I load her up and go. No worries here.


No regrets.
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