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Old 04-27-2015, 12:27 PM   #1
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Need a Tow Vehicle for a 27FB Flying Cloud

I am purchasing a 2009 Flying Cloud 27FB. I am planning on purchasing a vehicle to tow this trailer.

I need suggestions on the size of pick up needed to tow this trailer. I am new to the airstream world. My wife and I used to own a pop-up when are kids were little. When they became teenagers camping seemed to take a back seat to their activities so we sold our pop-up. The kids are grown now and I'm retired. My wife will retire in a year or so and we are looking to travel and see America.

I purposely decided to buy the trailer first and the tow vehicle 2nd.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Chuck
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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You will get about as many opinions on this subject as there will be people giving them!

Bottom line in my opinion:

If you are going full time or for extended trips, then get a 3/4 ton diesel (dually not needed!) You will appreciate the extra cargo capacity and torque, especially if you go in the mountains or out west.

If you are a working person and are going to be a "weekend &/or two week-per-year warrior" then a gas powered 1/2 ton truck or large SUV (Suburban, Excursion, etc...) will be fine.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckkubly View Post
I am purchasing a 2009 Flying Cloud 27FB. I am planning on purchasing a vehicle to tow this trailer.

I need suggestions on the size of pick up needed to tow this trailer. I am new to the airstream world. My wife and I used to own a pop-up when are kids were little. When they became teenagers camping seemed to take a back seat to their activities so we sold our pop-up. The kids are grown now and I'm retired. My wife will retire in a year or so and we are looking to travel and see America.

I purposely decided to buy the trailer first and the tow vehicle 2nd.

Any help would be appreciated.Thanks,Chuck
We were in the same boat. Had a pop up and towed it with a Mini Van. Then we got the 23' Airstream and were happy to find out the Mini Van was capable of towing the Airstream which it did for many years. Now we have upgraded the mini van to a more powerful V6 mid size car for a TV. Works great.

There are many cars, SUV's and trucks that will tow your 17. We used Can Am in Ontario to do the setup.
PS... What kind of vehicle do you currently own?
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:50 PM   #4
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Even though the post "headline" says 17 foot based on the text of the post, I believe the OP has a 27 foot Airstream.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #5
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Something that can handle up to 950 lbs of hitch weight. That's what my 27FB weighs loaded for camping. A large SUV or half ton pickup easily fits the need. I tow with a Ford Expedition. Power is okay and the four wheel independent suspension provides good roadway grip.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:19 PM   #6
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80% TW or so remains on TV once WD adjusted. So, 380-lbs per Ff or RR axle. Lots of vehicles can do this.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:42 PM   #7
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I am going to suggest that you get what has just been, on another thread, called the "worst TV of all" or words to that effect. A 3/4 ton pickup or SUV. I personally like a diesel and the new ones that use the DEF are very good. We have somehow managed not to "roll" ours over or otherwise hurt ourselves in 150,000 plus fairly trouble free miles and have no plans at this time to replace it. If I did I would take my chances with another.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:58 PM   #8
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When we had a wide body 25' I switched from a 1/2 ton gas truck to a 3/4 ton Diesel truck, and it was the best thing I ever did. A 1/2 ton is too light for the trailer we have now, but I would not go back to a gas engine tow vehicle.
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:13 PM   #9
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I edited the title so it now reflects the correct size trailer. I got all excited when I thought there was a 17ft FB I hadn't heard about
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:29 PM   #10
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I'll chime in here in favor of a 3/4-ton diesel. If you ever decide to get a longer trailer, you'll have the vehicle to tow it, and as it is now, you'll have plenty of truck to do anything you want to do.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:02 PM   #11
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I tow our 27ft FB International Signature with this blue beauty right here:



Suits me and my family of 4 just fine. Tows beautifully and looks sharp. We also have heated and cooled leather seats, sun roof, premium sound and navigation. So many cup holders and storage features. Our favorite are the floor storage vaults, we filled them up with diapers for changing the two under 2

(someone else's photo)


I use the heck out of our Ram Boxes and sometimes, I use them like the true red neck I is...



Like I said, love it.

I may have used this thread as an excuse to post pictures. Don't judge me. :P lol
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:10 PM   #12
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A 1/2 ton will do the job just fine.
If you have a choice in rear end gear ratios get the lower one. And get a V8, not a 6.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:30 PM   #13
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Bold - I can't tell if you like that truck or not 😜

Very cool. The coolers over the rear axle are just awesome! 😃


OP - I'm a fan of my 3/4T diesel (Chevy) for my 27FB. It is a true joy for the task of towing and the stupidest daily driver I've ever owned.

I remember my parents' 1962 (or thereabouts) Chevy BelAir station wagon with 3 speed on the column and 454 engine. THAT would be a fantastic tow vehicle and slightly better daily driver (but not much :-) ).

I am intrigued by the possibility of something more manageable (e.g., an SUV or beefy sedan with appropriate mods for cooling, brakes, etc.) but since I hope this to be my only rig and to someday be on the road near full time - it's hard not to love what it can do for the purpose of towing that trailer.

Everyone's got multiple opinions - good luck! 😃
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:36 PM   #14
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Like Bold, we tow our 27FB (International Signature) with a Ram 1500 Laramie crew cab short bed 4x4 decked out for towing (including mirrors that can be rotated 90 degrees by hand when you tow). We just finished towing our trailer 8,000 miles in 8 weeks across pretty much every possible terrain, and we had a great experience. Plenty of power, no problem slowing down by down-shifting, etc. Truly, a very good experience. Oh, and we used a load balancing hitch - in our case, an Equal-i-zer.

That said, based on the math for load capacity, if we had it to do over again we'd probably have selected a 3/4 ton truck (a 2500) instead of a 1500. This is purely based on load capacity - not towing capacity. The Ram 1500 properly equipped has plenty of towing capacity, but the math indicates we're cutting things a bit close for load capacity. We're neutral on diesel vs. gasoline - clearly, diesel is much more expensive per gallon and on top of that we'd have to buy DEF, though diesel gets better mileage and has better torque.

So, we're quite happy with our gasoline 5.7 Hemi with an 8 speed transmission. We also never tow above 65 MPH, with a normal speed of 60-63 MPH on good roads where that speed is permitted. We're no longer bothered when people zoom by us at 80 MPH while we're going 63. We just don't care anymore. Due to our dog and stops along the way, average sped is honestly close to 45 MPH no matter how fast we drive, so why get stressed? Meanwhile, given we're towing roughly an extra 6,000 pounds behind us, we're not particularly eager to go above 65 MPH anyway.

Your mileage may vary, etc. etc. Pick the tow vehicle that works best for you and happy towing!
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:13 PM   #15
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We are retired and travel extensively. We just finished another cross-country trip (this one about 5,000 miles), one of many with our 2012 Ram 1500 Hemi. With our ProPride hitch it tows beautifully in all types of weather and terrain. The "secret" is using the transmission to keep the engine rpm in the power range, and to provide downhill braking.

We are considering a new Ram 1500 Ecodiesel for the low rpm torque and fuel economy, but a great alternative is a new Dodge Durango Hemi for better handling with the trailer and daily driver without. Yes, when retired and out for long term travel, a great daily driver that we both can drive with ease is important.

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Old 04-28-2015, 11:24 AM   #16
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I went from a 1/2 ton gas truck to a 3/4 ton diesel and have never been sorry. Remember to consider payload capacity not just towing capacity.
People, gear, gas, and tongue weight of your Airstream are included in payload total. Don't forget gross combined weight limits of tow vehicle. Don't push the limits of either.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:25 AM   #17
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:28 AM   #18
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:37 AM   #19
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Another 1/2 ton user here towing a 2014 Flying Cloud 27fb, our "Shiny Pete".

Like has already been said, payload on any 1/2 ton is the limiting factor, they all pretty much will be rated to tow 8000-11,000 lbs. depending on exact drive-train config. Payload depending on manufacturer and options, can be 1000-about 1900lbs from what I've seen.

We had our 2013 F150 crew cab XLT 2wd with 5.0L v8 and 3.55 rear-end before we bought Pete. Fortunately it has a 1651lb payload available, which with careful loading handles our 6500lb (loaded/wet) 27fb with 1000lb hitch weight just fine. We don't put much in the bed and we truly enjoy the ProPride hitch I lucked into for 1/3 the cost of a new one. Course, we haven't been out West yet...........

Seriously though, for how we camp (weekends and a few weeks in the summer) in the Southeast, so far so good with the 1/2 ton. Pick the tow vehicle carefuly, as you have that opportunity. And then pick a hitch carefully and set it up carefully, and you'll be very happy. Searching on AirForums will provide excellant education.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:49 AM   #20
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I'm gonna guess none of you has used a car. Quite a different, and better, experience.

The physics of the thing doesn't lie.

A truck is fine if one needs a truck. I'd call that IRS deductible business miles. Otherwise one hardly needs it, just wants it.

One handicaps an AS by using a truck.

The point is that a truck is not the default choice. Ignorance only makes it seem so.
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