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Old 04-26-2015, 12:11 PM   #1
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Just bought a 30 ft Airstream - next a TV

Just bought a 30 ft Airstream and now am looking at towing vehicles.

I'm getting a lot of conflicting messages on how big of a TV I need to pull the 7150 lbs dry weight, plus around 1500 lbs extra when loaded with a tongue weight of around 700 lbs plus.

The plan is to start living full time traveling America in a few years after retirement, so I don't want to get something that is just ok, but I want something that will pull us everywhere we want to go, mountains and all.

I'm looking at the RAM 2500 Diesel 6.7 Cummins, but I am open to suggestions.

I would love to hear your experience and suggestions.

Thanks
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:26 PM   #2
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Yes, yes, yes!!!! Perfect!!!

Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your purchase.
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:42 PM   #3
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Welcome and good luck with the new adventures.

You're going to get more opinions and comments than you might have imagined, but I'll offer a comment.

Take all of the stuff that you might want to, absolutely have to and it sure would be nice to have stuff, pile it all up.

Where ya gonna put it all?

A full size pickup offers a lot of space, can be custom fitted to store things and its already built for carrying a load and pulling it.

Have you driven a Ram Cummins? That might just make you choice a whole lot easier.

I can make it so I wished I bought the long bed when we go for a week or long weekend alone, but I'm hauling firewood, an an abundance of cooking/cast iron usually too. And I got a top too, best thing I added to the Dodge.
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Old 04-26-2015, 02:00 PM   #4
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I do like my dodge with 6.7, I think you made a good choice.....
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Old 04-26-2015, 02:29 PM   #5
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My 2014 Ford F250 Diesel does a great job pulling my 30' Classic. I would certainly recommend a 3/4 ton for that size trailer. I have a flip back bed cover but wished I had done like GCinSC2 and bought a cab height cover.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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If you were a weekender camper on a budget, you could probably get by with a 1/2 ton pick-up, but as a full-timer, you will appreciate a 3/4 ton diesel. I know I do (2015 Ford F-250 diesel with crew cab and extended bed.)
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:08 PM   #7
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We have a 1999 28' Excella. Our TV is the Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel 6.7. We wanted something that we would never have a problem over the great passes in CO. It has been excellent..good luck!
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:14 PM   #8
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I started towing our 30 footer with a 1/2 ton - and probably could have gotten buy with it, especially if I had added a Hensley, but then figured, heck, you only go around once, might as well treat myself, and so I wound up swapping the 1500 for a 2500HD Duramax/Allison.

Certainly no regrets after effortlessly pulling the trailer over 35,000 miles with it and would do it again. We also use the 3/4 ton as a daily driver - figured we would do this as we don't really need two cars.

Although we went with the GMC, I don't doubt Ford or Ram would be equally as good - I think in the end it comes down to personal choice. There were just a few things I preferred on the GMC at the time but don't doubt would have been as happy with any.

However, I am inclined to agree with Bob in that you could get by ok with the 1500 - our trailer was just within its limits.


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Old 04-26-2015, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
Just bought a 30 ft Airstream and now am looking at towing vehicles.

I'm getting a lot of conflicting messages on how big of a TV I need to pull the 7150 lbs dry weight, plus around 1500 lbs extra when loaded with a tongue weight of around 700 lbs plus.

The plan is to start living full time traveling America in a few years after retirement, so I don't want to get something that is just ok, but I want something that will pull us everywhere we want to go, mountains and all.

I'm looking at the RAM 2500 Diesel 6.7 Cummins, but I am open to suggestions.

I would love to hear your experience and suggestions.

Thanks
If you get a half ton, you will have to be very careful of overloading (payload on a half ton is pretty low).
It can be done, I did it with a 1999 Excella 30', and still do with the trailers I have now.
BUT, the diesel would be a better choice for full time traveling, IMHO.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:42 PM   #10
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Be safe so you do not have to go back and do it again. We are so happy with our 3/4 ton. Our trailer is 8200 lbs. and we have driven over Wolf Creek pass in CO with no problems.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:47 PM   #11
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Jim,
Welcome aboard! As for advice on the tow vehicle, that particular Airstream you have is very used to being towed by a Dodge Cummins. I think it would enjoy the 6.7 thats is the newer ones, but it really did enjoy the time it spent behind my 2003 Dodge/Cummins.

Congrats, we're looking forward to meeting you on the road sometime soon.

Larry C
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:49 PM   #12
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We have the 2500HD with the 6.7 and the Allison pulling a 27FB. Couldn't be happier, particularly in the Mountains here in the west. Our debate was between the short bed and the long bed. Went with the long bed for stability since our TV is dedicated to the Airstream and not a daily driver. We got a camper top and a bed slide. If you get a topper, the opening side windows are worth the added price. We expect to drive this combo all the way to the bone orchard. YMMV.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:50 PM   #13
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I recently traded a 2014 25' trailer for a 2014 30' trailer. I was towing with a 2012 F-150 5.0 V8 with 3.55 rear. It's adequate for weekend travel but I'm considering full-timing. If I do I will most likely be moving to a 3/4 ton.
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Old 04-26-2015, 04:08 PM   #14
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3/4 ton for sure for full time timing

4 door is required. I would re-opt for an 8' bed. The 8' bed has not really hindered me getting into any camping spot.

4WD has come in super handy about a half dozen times in the last couple of years.

Drive each of the Big Three brands for at least a week - I think you can rent them if you shop around. I recommend this because several years ago I purchased a light duty Chebby PU - I sold it 3 months later with 3000 miles on it. Why? -- My butt simply did not ever get warm and friendly with the Chevy seats. Not dissing Chevy here - just pointing out that not all seats have the proper "fit" for everyone. Much better to try out the seats for a few weeks prior to making a multi thousand dollar mistake.

Consider a used purchase from a couple who has had to quit travelling due to age.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:39 PM   #15
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Full-time traveling , Hmmmm. what day of the week is it?
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Thanks for the advice

I really appreciate all the advice I've been receiving.

We just got back from the RAM dealer and discovered that the headroom is unsatisfactory for my tall wife, so we're going to focus exclusively on the Ford F250 with the diesel. We had the same situation with the tundra by Toyota and I've always been a Ford man so that's the direction we're going.

Any advice on what to look for specifically on a Ford F250 diesel maybe a year or two old would be greatly appreciated
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:43 PM   #16
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8 foot bed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH View Post
4 door is required. I would re-opt for an 8' bed. The 8' bed has not really hindered me getting into any camping spot.

4WD has come in super handy about a half dozen times in the last couple of years.

Drive each of the Big Three brands for at least a week - I think you can rent them if you shop around. I recommend this because several years ago I purchased a light duty Chebby PU - I sold it 3 months later with 3000 miles on it. Why? -- My butt simply did not ever get warm and friendly with the Chevy seats. Not dissing Chevy here - just pointing out that not all seats have the proper "fit" for everyone. Much better to try out the seats for a few weeks prior to making a multi thousand dollar mistake.

Consider a used purchase from a couple who has had to quit travelling due to age.
Please tell me a little bit more about why you think an 8 foot bed is superior to a shorter bed
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:26 PM   #17
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Well, I'm a Ford man, too, but I was just glad you were looking for a 3/4-ton truck!
Good luck in your search. I don't have experience with the new trucks..... mine's a 1st-year PowerStroke (1995). I could tell you a LOT about them!

I like the 8-foot bed because it means an extended wheelbase, better for towing IMHO. Otherwise, you can haul more stuff!!
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:30 PM   #18
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Hey guys don't forget that Ram has a gasser 6.4 Hemi! !!! I have been thru 1/2 tons, 3/4 tons gas, diesel. This one is a winner.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:44 PM   #19
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We went to a 2012 Ram 2500HD high output Cummins with automatic, four door crew cab with short bed and have no issues towing in the mountains both power going up and engine braking coming down. We have a shell over the bed the same height as the top of the cab.

We installed a complete Kelderman level ride air suspension system so the truck stays level no matter what is in the bed or the tongue weight. We use a ProPride hitch (second generation Hensley design) after having the original Hensley on the first Airstream.

A straight six is the most smooth running motor until one gets to a straight 12 cylinder.

The Dodge is not a sports car for handling, but I do not drive on race tracks so that is not an issue. We drive very conservatively and are not afraid to be slower than traffic if conditions warrant. I want space between me and the vehicle ahead.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:30 PM   #20
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Your wife must be REALLY tall. I'm 6'2" and have no problem in our new (to us) 2013 Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab. We traded a 2006 F150 5.4L with 3.73 rear end for it. The F150 (according to specs) should have pulled our trailer fine but didn't, at least on an 8% grade in NC.

We only have one relatively flat tow behind us but it was unbelievably better. The F-150 would downshift on almost any kind of a grade. We towed at 55 and got 11 mpg tops. When we ran 65 it dropped to around 9. The Ram tows at 65 getting more than 13 based on two tanks. It never downshifted on the hills we ran into in the Ocala area (not very steep but the F-150 would have shifted).

In a few weeks we'll pull the same hill that the F150 had trouble with. I'm not expecting any trouble with the Ram.
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