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Old 08-16-2020, 10:48 PM   #1
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CHAMBLEE , GA
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Newbie Tow Vehicle Help

Hi All,

Newbie here so please bear with me. Throughout COVID my fiancee and my jobs have become increasingly flexible and don't expect change soon. We want to buy a travel trailer to take advantage of this flexibility and looking at Airstreams in particular. I already have a truck so want to make sure whatever we end up getting can be towed safely with this vehicle, while offering enough space to live and work on the road with our two dogs. I've been doing some research about towing capacity and it's making my head spin a bit so would love help to make sure whatever we end up getting will be towed safely. Would love advice from those with experience on what size Airstream my vehicle can tow. Specs below:


- 2018 Ford F150 XLT Supercrew with 5.0L V8 4x4
- Bed length 6.5'
- Payload Capacity: 1,784# (based on max passenger and cargo sticker on door frame)
- GVWR: 7,050 (I think based on the sticker in the door)
- Class IV hitch with weight distributing specs of max trailer weight 11,600# and max tongue weight of 1,160#
- I need to have the trailer brake controller installed, but have back up assist and 7 pin trailer plug

I think the smallest we would want to go is 25' but hoping we could be more in the 27' or 28' range. Based on the specs of my truck what does everyone recommend in regards to maximum size/weight for safe towing.

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2020, 05:06 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.
What is the tow capacity of your truck? It should be listed in your owner's manual.
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Old 08-17-2020, 07:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Welcome to the forums.
What is the tow capacity of your truck? It should be listed in your owner's manual.
Based on what I've looked up my vehicle has a 14,500# GCVW, with a 9,100# maximum trailer weight. I also calculated the curb weight of the truck to be 5,266#.

I got this by looking up the towing capacity based on a L9 3.55 Axle Ratio and 4x4 V8 SuperCrew with 157" wheelbase. The curb weight was calculated by subtracting the max passenger/cargo weight on the door sticker, and GVWR.

I will have about 500# of passengers/dogs in the truck, and I'm making a random guess of about 500# of equipment. Does that sound like a reasonable assumption for additional weight in the truck?

Based on this I think I can tow a trailer that is 8,234#. Since we are looking at trailers with a maximum weight of 7,600# I think we should be okay while having a little buffer.
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Old 08-17-2020, 07:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trimills View Post
Would love advice from those with experience on what size Airstream my vehicle can tow. Specs below:


- 2018 Ford F150 XLT Supercrew with 5.0L V8 4x4
- Bed length 6.5'
- Payload Capacity: 1,784# (based on max passenger and cargo sticker on door frame)
- GVWR: 7,050 (I think based on the sticker in the door)
- Class IV hitch with weight distributing specs of max trailer weight 11,600# and max tongue weight of 1,160#
- I need to have the trailer brake controller installed, but have back up assist and 7 pin trailer plug

I think the smallest we would want to go is 25' but hoping we could be more in the 27' or 28' range. Based on the specs of my truck what does everyone recommend in regards to maximum size/weight for safe towing.

Thanks!
Since you're using data to help make your decision, here's one more datapoint to consider. The trailer tongue weight also counts against your payload. As a rule of thumb, expect the trailer tongue weight to be about 15% of the total trailer weight, especially when you put on the weight distribution hitch hardware. To stay within payload limits, your trailer would max out at 5226 lbs.

Of course, your tongue weight could be a lower fraction. And many people on this forum intentionally exceed max payload capacity and pay close attention that they not exceed axle capacities. You can do a search and see all the various opinions and experiences that have been shared.

Short answer: Your truck has the moxy to pull the trailers you're looking at. The longer answer, is you may be bumping up against some specs. Just make sure you know what you're doing so you can intentionally make informed decisions about what you are comfortable with towing.
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Old 08-17-2020, 07:48 AM   #5
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First of all welcome to the forum!

There are a lot of people who are towing a 27'/28' AS with a 1/2T truck. But there may be a few exceptions. Since you will be living in the AS I'm assuming you will have all (or most of) your possessions with you. That's a lot of weight and it may making towing in the mountains of the west US challenging. But others have done it and are doing it.

Personally I had a 1/2T truck and decided to go the 3/4T when I got my 27' AS. My take is that the 1/2T did the job and the 3/4T does it much better.

Wishing you the best in your decision making process and search for your AS!
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Old 08-17-2020, 08:08 AM   #6
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First of all welcome to the forum!

There are a lot of people who are towing a 27'/28' AS with a 1/2T truck. But there may be a few exceptions. Since you will be living in the AS I'm assuming you will have all (or most of) your possessions with you. That's a lot of weight and it may making towing in the mountains of the west US challenging. But others have done it and are doing it.

Personally I had a 1/2T truck and decided to go the 3/4T when I got my 27' AS. My take is that the 1/2T did the job and the 3/4T does it much better.

Wishing you the best in your decision making process and search for your AS!
Thanks for the note Hans. We will actually be keeping our house in Atlanta as home base, and doing extended trips in the 2-3 week range rather than full timing. Hopefully that can keep weight down by packing for what is needed on that trips conditions. The only exception is we would like to go out west which will probably more like a 1-2 month trip, but we will see if that happens next year, or we build up to it. And who knows, hopefully by then I can convince my better half to let me upgrade to the 3/4T.
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:13 AM   #7
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New Truck

I have experience with both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton Ram tricks. We put 40k on the 1500 Ram pulling out 25ft FC. While it did the job, I never was totally pleased with it when towing the big mountain passes. Switched to the 2500Ram diesel last year and more 15k miles with it.. Enormous difference!!! and wish I had done it sooner! The diesel just purrs along and never feels compromised... my two cents.. get the 3/4 ton diesel.
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:16 AM   #8
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Tow

Get a full-size suburban or a three-quarter ton truck Also a full-size GMC Yukon XL Dinali has a 6.2 L V8 and will tow anything known to man. +7 of your best friends and five dogs.
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:19 AM   #9
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And with AWD you don’t even need a road
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tojimmiller View Post
Get a full-size suburban or a three-quarter ton truck Also a full-size GMC Yukon XL Dinali has a 6.2 L V8 and will tow anything known to man. +7 of your best friends and five dogs.
Unfortunately right now an new tow vehicle is not in the cards so need to find a trailer that can work with what we got, and upgrade the TV at a later date.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:01 AM   #11
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Newbie

You have a good truck but a 2X4 will tow more than the 4X4 due to the extra weight of the transfer case and the extra axle weight is taking away from your payload. The larger Ecoboost Ford engine will tow more than the V8. Also, if your truck had the total tow package you'd have a 36 gallon tank rather than the 25 or so. That just makes you stop more often and watch you gas gauge more closely. The total tow package truck normally come with a greater towing capacity geared rear end. I basically have the same truck and setup but ordered it from the factory equipped above. The truck with the total tow package comes with the big and extendable towing mirrors and I love them That is something you may want to consider changing. However, if you have electric mirrors now the Tow Mirrors may not work with your electric control. The truck computer may not work with them. Do not expect your Ford dealer to know this fact. They may tell you no problem it will work but Ive been down that road and believe me the dealer ordered 4 sets for my 2015 Ford truck and none of them worked. The ended up ordering me a new 2016 truck from the factor to replace the 2015 that I had paid for that wouldn't work with the tow package.
I have a 25FB flying could and we love it. Tows great. It does have a very heavy Tongue weight however. Fully loaded about 1,200 pounds. This is due partly to all the storage in the front plus gas tanks and batteries. Do not believe the AS numbers on weight and they do not count and loads on the tongue like gas, batteries, water etc. The 27 may be less that the 25 depending the model you choose. Best of luck.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:13 AM   #12
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Newbie towing

I tow a 28 FC with a 2016 Tahoe and max trailer package. Two people and two large dogs (berners) plus usual stuff puts us right at 1600 lbs payload. Your rig specs should let you tow a 25 or 27 OK. The 28 has significantly greater tongue weight compared to a 27. Mine is 960 lbs which has to be counted against the payload. So check that one especially given your hitch limit. Will you carry water? Most important is to load the rig as you would for travel then take it to a truck fuel place and weigh it. You can find all sorts of articles on how (it is easy and cheap) and the data will help you adjust what can be taken on the road. Some dealers will help with this one before you buy.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trimills View Post
Unfortunately right now an new tow vehicle is not in the cards so need to find a trailer that can work with what we got, and upgrade the TV at a later date.
We went down that road several years ago. Had an F150, bought a 26' SOB trailer that was well within the towing specs for the truck. Were never happy with the towing performance, upgraded to an F250 Diesel, that towed the TT very well. Then we decided to go Fulltime and traded the TT for a 5th wheel. When fully loaded, we ended up above the F250's rear axle rating, so we went to a RAM 3500 dually for full timing. No longer full timing but learned our lesson. When we bought our current rig, we picked out the trailer that best fit our needs (30' FC in our case), then the truck to tow it (RAM 2500 Diesel). Our rig is perfectly matched and we plan to hang onto both for a long time.

You will be money ahead in the long run if you buy your 3rd trailer now, even if that means you need to upgrade your truck to tow it safely. If you compromise on the TT just so you can tow it with your current truck, you may end up trading both sooner rather than later. There are numerous threads on this and other forums that say, "buy the trailer that fits your needs, then the TV to properly tow it."
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:30 AM   #14
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Welcome! To summarize my experience; you will be able to tow a 27' just fine in terms of trailer weight. You should have the torque/hp to go up most hills without too much drama.

The trick, as others mention, is payload. We had a 2017 Ford F150 EB and it had plenty of power. But since we got the tricked out Platinum, it only had 1543 lbs of payload. We started bumping up against that as we started taking more things. You have a couple hundred pounds more payload (our dog only weighs 6 lbs, too!!).

HOWEVER, if you are comfortable traveling somewhat light and don't mind taking the effort to pay attention to load distribution in the truck and in the trailer, it is certainly possible to tow a 27' with your rig (we have a 2017 Flying Cloud 27 Front Bed Twin). In my situation, I "own" the truck and my wife "owns" the trailer, and she was not comfortable with me putting some things in the trailer that I wanted to offload from the truck. In the end, it was best for marital harmony to upgrade to the F250 as we were exceeding my truck's GVWR (and each axle as well). But that was our option, not a strict requirement in that we could have made it work with some effort we weren't up for. Like I said, if you are willing to spend the time and effort to try out some loading schemes and check it on the scales and then adjust accordingly, you should be able to make it work.

Note that for Airstreams the "length" stated for the trailer is not necessarily proportional to the tongue load, and the listed tongue load is likely a bit low. I think the 26U is pretty front heavy, for instance. Ours worked, however.

Best of luck!
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by tojimmiller View Post
Get a full-size suburban or a three-quarter ton truck Also a full-size GMC Yukon XL Dinali has a 6.2 L V8 and will tow anything known to man. +7 of your best friends and five dogs.
Unfortunately the 2500 Burb is history..."full size" =22" P tires & a GVWR of 7500lb 🥴

The "Big D" doesn't appear any better.

Bob
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Old 08-17-2020, 12:52 PM   #16
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There are bold and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.
In the RV world, there are:
Those who go slow and stay close to home because they have no comfort margin,
Those who go where they want because they bought a trailer well within their limits,
And those who bought the bigger trailer and then upgraded the truck.
Get a copy of the Mountain Pass Guide...
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Old 08-17-2020, 02:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by trimills View Post
Based on what I've looked up my vehicle has a 14,500# GCVW, with a 9,100# maximum trailer weight. I also calculated the curb weight of the truck to be 5,266#.

I got this by looking up the towing capacity based on a L9 3.55 Axle Ratio and 4x4 V8 SuperCrew with 157" wheelbase. The curb weight was calculated by subtracting the max passenger/cargo weight on the door sticker, and GVWR.

I will have about 500# of passengers/dogs in the truck, and I'm making a random guess of about 500# of equipment. Does that sound like a reasonable assumption for additional weight in the truck?

Based on this I think I can tow a trailer that is 8,234#. Since we are looking at trailers with a maximum weight of 7,600# I think we should be okay while having a little buffer.
You're already out of your payload specification with a 27' trailer. 7,600 max gross weight on a 27' Airstream (max weight, not empty - you WILL be at max weight) - this yields 1,140 lbs of tongue weight. Add your 500lbs. of people and 500 lbs. of cargo, this puts you at 2,140 payload. You're well over your 1,740 payload capacity. Let's just say that a properly setup WD hitch moves 250 lbs to the trailer axles, you're still over. Add a bag of cheetos and you're just not gonna make it. Bigger TV or smaller RV. Can you tow it with your F150? Yes. Should you tow it with your F150? Nope.
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Old 08-17-2020, 04:31 PM   #18
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You're already out of your payload specification with a 27' trailer. 7,600 max gross weight on a 27' Airstream (max weight, not empty - you WILL be at max weight) - this yields 1,140 lbs of tongue weight. Add your 500lbs. of people and 500 lbs. of cargo, this puts you at 2,140 payload. You're well over your 1,740 payload capacity. Let's just say that a properly setup WD hitch moves 250 lbs to the trailer axles, you're still over. Add a bag of cheetos and you're just not gonna make it. Bigger TV or smaller RV. Can you tow it with your F150? Yes. Should you tow it with your F150? Nope.
As pointed out in my post, I had an F150 with a 27' FC FBT and was under my payload, which was about 200 lbs less than his. We only exceeded the payload when we bought more/heavier "stuff" that was not strictly necessary and my wife wouldn't let me put 200 lbs into the trailer. Now perhaps that is if you load the crap out of the AS to max gross weight. Ours had full water tanks and loaded for a four-day weekend and was 7060 lbs. So while maybe the spec is 7600 max gross, you don't have to load it up. That was the point I was making; you can do it but you need to take care because you could exceed some of the values (GVWR, GAWR) if you aren't careful.
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Old 08-17-2020, 05:48 PM   #19
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Payload of almost 1800 lbs is pretty good for a 1/2 ton truck. As others mentioned you can probably make this work if you travel light. Don’t add a topper or a slideout. If you add a tonneau, make it a lightweight one.

It’s important that you stay below tire load specs and GAWR’s even if you are just a little over on GVWR.

Make sure you hit the CAT scales to check how it looks with your loading.... then start saving for that Super Duty��
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Old 08-17-2020, 07:27 PM   #20
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We pulled our 2016 25 Flying Cloud twin with a 2017 F150 XLT 3.5 EB, 3.55, with a 1850 lb payload for 20,000 miles. I added Bilsteins, sumo springs and the biggest brakes I could find, front and back. Used the Bue Ox.

I don't have anything to compare it to but we thought the towing experience was good. We stayed under the payload and the engine did great in the Rockies. Still, the trailer outweighed the truck.

Drove out to NM last October and picked up a slightly used 27 Globetrotter. On paper, its about 400 lbs heavier than the 25 ft FC. We took it out for the month of June and I had a couple of instances where I felt the trailer pushed the truck around.

Looked hard for a barely used F250 diesel and found a 2018 Lariat 600 miles away. We leave this week for a 2 month trip out west. I don't have but 160 miles experience pulling the GT, but I believe the towing experience will be superior based on what other drivers who have upgraded have said.

My suggestion is get all your honey do's completed before you are asked and go the extra mile on your relationship but be genuine. Its possible your better half will allow the 3/4 ton sooner than you would believe. I believe that will be the better choice.
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