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Old 10-27-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
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Question How to identify the best tow vehicle for trailer?

I want to identify/find the best tow vehicle for the trailer I am interested. What are the critical pieces of information I should be looking for? I would like to tow a 2004-2006 25 foot Safari or International. I just beginning my search. Thanks.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:06 PM   #2
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Oh, boy

Welcome to the forums. You may have just kicked over an anthill, but the quick-and-dirty version is a half ton pickup with a medium to large V8 engine would suffice.
There are, of course, further refinements, based on where you are planning to tow, and how much stuff you want to take with you. Another option is an SUV, but most of them are kept out of the running by their short wheel bases. If you have a family, an extended cab pickup, or larger SUV would work.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:24 PM   #3
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. You're going to get a lot of response to this one.

Here's my two cents.

We have a 2005 Safari 25FB which we have pulled 40,000+ miles. Ready for the road, she tips the scale at around 7200#. We use a Hensley Arrow hitch system.

We have towed her with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe, and found it to be a marginal TV for the load. A half ton is doable for a 25 footer, but not quite up to my comfort zone.

We also tow her with a 2005 Yukon XL 2500 and a 2004 Suburban 2500. We have pulled about 30,000 miles with the '05 and nearing 10,000 miles with the '04. Both of these do a great job. The 3/4 tons are just deeper into my comfort zone.

Suburbans and Ford Excursions are the only 3/4 ton SUVs available. Getting into the pick ups, the Big Three all make 3/4 tons in both gas and diesel. I don't believe that Nissan or Toyota make a 3/4 ton. The 3/4 tons are heftier all around, bigger brakes, larger radiators, leaf spring rears, stronger wheels, and they come from the factory with load range E tires. They also usually come with oil and transmission fluid coolers.

Do your research and choose carefully. Remember that an insufficient tow vehicle is the single largest cause of perfectly good Airstreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art.

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Old 10-27-2008, 10:39 PM   #4
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Moosetags provides GREAT advice... like he says or implies, there is no such thing as too much TV. Coming from one who has towed with less (in my case an Expedition), the difference in towing experience can be huge.

On tha same hand, towing with a TV that is less than optimal is still better than typing a memo to your boss.

All things are relative. But stay safe - I'd rather have more TV than more trailer!
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:44 PM   #5
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If you looking for an SUV Suburban's are great and my '08 Sequoia tows great too... We have a 28' that is 4300 lbs dry.. We have towed our freinds 2004 28' Safari 6800 dry (I think) maybe a little less... But had no problems towing that either... In the mountains of Utah..

But you have really kicked over an ant hill and lit it on fire.. There are many different opinions on this topic...

The best answer I can give is, to find something you like that is in the weight limits of what you want to tow.. With 2000 lbs left to spare is nice....

You are limited if you want to tow with an SUV, But people tow with a lot smaller SUV TV (tow veichle) than mine... I feel safe with mine and have a family so a truck won't work for me.....

You always want an equalizing hitch and sway control, Many different opinions on the different types of these too.... But the basic reese will work fine for you....and won't put you in debt...

Good luck...
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:57 PM   #6
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We looked around for a great deal on a Ford Excursion with the V-10 engine...they are really cheap these days, and you can find them loaded...when compared with new tow vehicles, we'll get lots of use out of this TV for the money...

We found a 2001 Limited, leather, 4x4, with just over 100K miles for about $6K...sure it only gets 9.5/10 MPG towing our AS...but we don't have to hassle with all the 'Diesel' issues, etc...it tows our 28ft AS like a dream, and is steady as a rock...it's really hard to beat the prices on these Excursions...unless you just have to have a new big buck rig...
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:14 PM   #7
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Excursions are great, and are one of the "larger" SUVs I referred to.
See what I meant about the ant hill? We all have our opinions on what is best, but only you can decide what is best for you, based on your common sense, and needs in a vehicle.
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rogermyers View Post
What are the critical pieces of information I should be looking for? I would like to tow a 2004-2006 25 foot Safari or International. I just beginning my search. Thanks.
The best TV will have......

precise and accurate steering

taunt, quality suspension, not soft, not stiff

low centre of gravity

Quality 4 wheel antiloc brakes that provide short stopping distances

transmission (the more gears the better, optimal gear ratios

engine, reliable history, large enough to get the job done and provides good fuel economy

tires that are firm with little side play and provide good traction

frame or uni-body that is firm and flex free

handling and stability.... the vehicle needs to be stable and have the ability to safely perform emergency manouvers. Vehicles that have electronic stability control and traction control are best.

safety features as in multiple air bags etc get priority

A vehicle you can afford, like, and will enjoy driving whether it is towing or solo.

wheelbase, appropriate for the job at hand

Have an open mind and do the research. There are many options.
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:11 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum, and since I currently tow an Airstream very simular to what you are thinking about, I will tell you what I am doing.

I currently tow a 25' Airstream with a GMC 1/2 ton, extended cab pickup, 5.3 Liter V8, towing package, HD suspension, and 3.73:1 rear end gear ratio. The truck handles the trailer very well, and I have no problems towing with the Reese Dual Cam hitch. No problems with sway, no problems with handling, and no problems with stoping. The combo averages around 12 MPG towing at speeds to 70 MPH.

Would I like more power? Sure, but like having too much fun, who has too much power? I feel the combo that I have is very "ballanced", and that is a requirement for me as the truck is my daily driver.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:13 AM   #10
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I have towed a 25er with a modified chevy sedan and now a 3/4 ton Suburban w/4.10s. I too have the Reese dual cam setup, teamed with a Prodigy brake controller.

I find the 3/4 ton Burb to be an exceptional vehicle in general and a really great tow vehicle for not only my 25er, but also could see it towing between a 28 and 30' trailer as well and still have a bit of meat left. My burb is a 2004 and the fit and finish has been in par with many of it's similar and higher cost counterparts. With 20k on it now it's been completely trouble free (minus the notorious GM hitch issue).

I'd agree that there are many factors in making a proper selection, for me that road came to a Suburban. Of course a pickup can do the same or better, but in the event children are on the horizon or currently in the mix, you can't do much better than an old reliable Suburban. The 3/4 ton meets or exceeds nearly every need in towing a 25er and carrying lots of passengers and cargo, in nearly any towing environment (flatland, mountains, hills, etc).

Recently on a trip, I had 3 passengers, 3 bikes on the roof rack, a pinball machine in the back and of course towing the Safari. It just didn't get any better than that.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:25 AM   #11
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Roger, as you are new to Airstreams, you should be aware that vintage Airstream were much lighter per foot than their recent counterparts. A late model 25 footer can weigh 3,000 puonds more than a vintage 28 footer.

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:25 AM   #12
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At least you didn't bring the jacuzzi...:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
Recently on a trip, I had 3 passengers, 3 bikes on the roof rack, a pinball machine in the back and of course towing the Safari. It just didn't get any better than that.
Our Sovereign weighs slightly more than the Safari, and our 2500 Silverado tows it with no problems. If I were to buy a brand new tow vehicle, I would opt for the 4.10 rear axle ratio. Going up Tehachapi and Cajon at less than 35 mph with the 3.73 ratio, I had a lot of time to consider this option...
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:38 AM   #13
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We tow with the vehicle in the lower left corner. It was a case of having the horse before the wagon as it were. I believe if U have a family a BURB or Excursion or any 2500 Chev or GMC or F250 crewcab with a good dual cam Reese will do what U want ,and its your choise Gas or Desiel. If U are not furmiluar with desiels I don't suggest one. They are a different breed altogether.I prefer them.Having 45 yrs in a big truck.They are second nature to me.
GOOD Luck with the ant hill U just kick over LOL
GOOD LUCK with what ever U decide.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:44 AM   #14
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Ants...

Damn them Ants...

This is what WE do, It's what we are comfortable with.

I approve this message..

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06 Burb 2500 4wd, 8.1, 4:10 diff. Hensley Arrow. Auto-ride.

On this trip we weighed 16243lbs.

Have had no towing concerns.

Soak up all the info on the Forum's and make up your own mind.

BE SAFE
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:27 PM   #15
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Tow

WE use a 2000 Ford Excursion two wheel drive with the V10.It now has 49,000 miles about 40,000 +towing our 7400# Squarestream Airstream.
The V10 power is grate for the Mountins of the West.We now have a MPG of 9.5 for all are towing most uphill.
We love the Excursion but do not care for the leather seats,fabric would have been more comfortable.
A SUV gives lot off SECURE room inside.We have the 3rd row seats out most of the time with are extra 100 Gal fresh water tank and 100 gal Black tank for boondocking.
Just for your info we have the fresh water tank hooked to the same type pump that is in the trailer plugged into one of the power out lets in the Excursion and hook the hose to are city water fitting so when you turn the water on in the trailer the pump runs and when the water is turned off the pump stops.
The black tank is done from this website http://fulltime.hitchitch.com/AZ2005blueboy.html
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:49 PM   #16
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sure it only gets 9.5/10 MPG towing our AS...but we don't have to hassle with all the 'Diesel' issues, etc...it tows our 28ft AS like a dream, and is steady as a rock...it's really hard to beat the prices on these Excursions...unless you just have to have a new big buck rig...
Welcome...here come the ants!
Brian (moosetags) pretty much summed it up. With a 25 you are on the hairy edge for a 1/2 ton anything.

Mexray, what are the "diesel issues" you speak of (more power, better fuel mileage, longevity? I am curious...).

Educate us , Please...

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Old 10-28-2008, 01:40 PM   #17
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I don't think he meant those kind of issues BILL TEX . Diesels are not to be taken lightly. They ,if not taken care of properly can be very expensive to repair. Waterpump for a 7.3 Harvester(FORD V8) $150 for the pump Im just guessing $350 labor. Turbo Charger $1200 to $1500 plus labor. These go bad cause people don't and are not told how to properly cool out a deisel engine. U just cant pull in and shut them off. Fuel filters and Fuel Seperators and knowing where to and where not to buy fuel.
Its issues like that I think he was refering too. Desiels are not for most.
I speak from 45 yrs experience of Owning and Driving Big trucks.
I'm wiff U on the longevity and fuel mileage . I hope mine will last 500k miles and it is possible. Im at 80k just broke in,LOL
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
With a 25 you are on the hairy edge for a 1/2 ton anything.
Billtex, I beg to differ....our '01 25' weighs 6000 pounds +.-, and our 1/2 ton GMC pickup is factory rated to tow 7800 pounds.

In my opinion, and GMC's opinion, that is not "on the hairy edge".
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:25 PM   #19
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I don't think he meant those kind of issues BILL TEX . Diesels are not to be taken lightly. They ,if not taken care of properly can be very expensive to repair. Waterpump for a 7.3 Harvester(FORD V8) $150 for the pump Im just guessing $350 labor. Turbo Charger $1200 to $1500 plus labor. These go bad cause people don't and are not told how to properly cool out a deisel engine. U just cant pull in and shut them off. Fuel filters and Fuel Seperators and knowing where to and where not to buy fuel.
Its issues like that I think he was refering too. Desiels are not for most.
I speak from 45 yrs experience of Owning and Driving Big trucks.
I'm wiff U on the longevity and fuel mileage . I hope mine will last 500k miles and it is possible. Im at 80k just broke in,LOL
Only 80K on a 7.3? I don't think it's even broke in yet...Diesels do cost more to repair than gassers, but they last a lot longer and get much better fuel mileage. I think the biggest mistake people make is shutting them down to quick after a long haul, very bad for the turbo.. I let my truck idle at least 10 minutes after towing and I put on a bigger downpipe and a 4 inch stainless exhaust, no cat converter, lots more power, the Exhaust gas temps have dropped about 300 degrees with the new exhaust and the mileage went up about 1 mpg.. Have 256K on my 7.3 and it runs like new..I'll take a diesel any day over a gasser.. Just MHO..
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:30 PM   #20
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What you like first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogermyers View Post
I want to identify/find the best tow vehicle for the trailer I am interested. What are the critical pieces of information I should be looking for? I would like to tow a 2004-2006 25 foot Safari or International. I just beginning my search. Thanks.
Hi, first you need to decide what brand vehicle you like; I like Ford products, so I bought a Lincoln Navigator. Why? Well we bought a 2000 Lincoln in the year 2003. It was 3 years old and had less than 17,000 miles on it and the price was right. [it now only has 50,000 miles] Next it has a tow rating of 8,900 lbs. and my 25' Safari that we going to buy shortly after, had a GVWR of 6,300 lbs. Well within the safety margin. Compared to it's cousin the Expedition, the Lincoln has a more powerful engine, bigger transmission, Bigger differential, and a few nice touches that make it a Lincoln. It looks good, drives good, tows a 25'er quite well, and averages 11.5 MPG while towing. I also use an Equal-i-zer brand hitch and a Tekonsha P-3 brake controller.

My opinion is: If you plan on towing a heavier, longer trailer, [late model over 25'] then I would recommend that you go for a 3/4 ton vehicle and a Hensley Arrow type hitch. I personally don't care for diesels, but if you go larger and heavier, it might be the way to go.

Basically, you need to find a combination that you can afford, feel comfortable with, and feel safe while towing. Do a lot of research first. It could save you a lot of money and headaches. GOOD LUCK.
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