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Old 10-03-2022, 11:40 PM   #1
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Huntsville , Ontario
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Recommended SUV TV for a 30' Airstream

Planning to buy a 30' Airstream (about 7,500 lbs) to take around the US/MX/CDA for 6+ months.

Need to upgrade my vehicle. Wondering what is recommended to tow?

My short (wish) list below. Appreciate any comments or experience with these or suggestions for others.

KIA Telluride -- Would love to make this work, but tow capacity tops out at 5,000. That said, I understand Andy Thomson emphasizes that tow capacity is not necessarily the determining factor.

Audi Q7 (55 TFSI) -- I know these will work. Any comments welcome.

Lincoln Aviator (or Ford Explorer) -- Love hear anything about these as TV.

Genesis GV80 (3.5 Advanced) -- Again, all comments or experiences to share are welcome.

Land Rover Discovery (2018 or newer) -- Should I even ask? Has the tow chops, but how about reliability?

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Old 10-04-2022, 05:53 AM   #2
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Hi Sam,

Welcome aboard. Hope you end up having a great time!

I'm going to let others try w/ the SUV&30' combo answer...
(I'm using a Sierra for my TV, but I'm only towing a 20'; I am a big old-school Land Rover fan, but wouldn't tow w/ one; only SUV I'd consider for mine at the moment would be a Yukon, but, there's not a Yukon HD anymore; if I was changing from a single-axle to a dual axle camper, I'd switch from a 1500 to a 2500. Right now, there's not a SUV on the market I'd personally use w/ a 30'. But don't let my reluctance dissuade you from doing a search.)
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Old 10-04-2022, 06:55 AM   #3
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There are still some great used 3/4-ton Suburbans (Chevy & GMC) out there which will do the job well. They will also cost less than many of those on your list.

These will provide towing capability and still have payload capacity to spare. You might be able to get the vehicles on your list set up by someone like Andy to do the towing, but I'm not sure you'll have much payload left afterwards.
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Old 10-04-2022, 07:03 AM   #4
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It may be worth looking at the Dodge Durango R/T with the Tow N Go package or the Durango SRT. The tow rating is 8700 lbs. I recently started using it to tow my FC 25FB and have been quite impressed thus far. The Durango R/T TNG did get rave reviews from Andy Thomson in RV Lifestyle magazine.
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Old 10-04-2022, 07:16 AM   #5
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None of the vehicles on your wish list will do the job. I have a 30’ Airstream 6,700 with a GVRW of 8,800 lbs. you need to make sure you include water, groceries, clothing, tools, power cords, water filters & hoses etc. You also need to consider how many occupants and items in the vehicle, that all gets deducted from your payload & tow ratings. I’m pushing the absolute maximum with an f150. I did meet a couple using a Lincoln Navigator to tow their 30’. I use a Hensley hitch, it’s a game changer for stability, the individual with the navigator is going to upgrade to a Hensley as well.
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Old 10-04-2022, 07:20 AM   #6
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I just looked at the spec for a new Airstream 30RB. By the time it is loaded, ready to camp, you may well be running over 8,000#. The tongue weight is 900#. When you add a hitch system, you can easily run it up to 1,100#.

When you add fuel, passengers, and gear in the tow vehicle, you may very likely need a payload capacity of 1,800# or more. It would be wise to select a tow vehicle that has a sufficient payload capacity for your needs.

Good luck in your endeavor, and may you have many great years of Airstreaming.

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Old 10-04-2022, 07:31 AM   #7
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My personal experience in towing a 25 foot Airstream all across this country over the past 2 years has taught me it isn’t important if you can tow it… more importantly is will it stop in time to avoid a major accident. These arise and they are no fault of your own, but suddenly there you are having to stop in a very short distance to avoid plowing into something.
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Old 10-04-2022, 08:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by KCurtis View Post
My personal experience in towing a 25 foot Airstream all across this country over the past 2 years has taught me it isnt important if you can tow it more importantly is will it stop in time to avoid a major accident. These arise and they are no fault of your own, but suddenly there you are having to stop in a very short distance to avoid plowing into something.
I pull a 27 with an SUV and the brakes are impressive. They work and feel like there's no trailer. If you regularly inspect your brakes and you have a good controller (legally required) and it's adjusted properly, brakes aren't an issue.

I saw a 2500 Ram pulling a Wolf Pup single axle a few days ago and it was one of the most dangerous, unstable configurations I've seen lately. The Ram was lifted by about 6" and it had oversized tires and rims. The rear of the Ram had a serious squat, and the nose of the TT was pointing down at a steep angle. Stopping power wasn't his issue. He was also speeding.
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Old 10-04-2022, 08:45 AM   #9
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30' with SUV TV

I can't comment on any of your SUV Choices. I will make a suggestion. Consider a Chrysler Town & Country Van. Couple of years ago I met a couple at Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park in Melbourne Florida towing a triple axle 34' Airstream. Yep, it was set up by Andy at CanAm AS in Ontario. They said it pulled fine except going up any hills kept them to 40/45 MPH.

They did mention that this rig was a replacement rig for there previous Airstream/SUV combo, set up by Andy, that she had laid over on its side while going up an entrance ramp to the expressway. She said a truck went by too fast and caused there rig to blow over. Kid you not. Wish I had taken a picture of the Town & Country Van/34' Airstream combo.

Soo...Maybe find a late model Town & Country and have Andy set it up for you. Call him first to see what model to look for as far as year, engine, etc.
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Old 10-04-2022, 08:46 AM   #10
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As others have said, none of those have sufficient capacity to tow a 30' trailer. The only options that may be close are the Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator, GM Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon/Escalade, or Jeep Wagoneer models but even those will be at or above the limits. If you truly subscribe to Andy's beliefs, then almost any vehicle can be modified to tow the trailer. He's had success with many platforms, including minivans and family sedans such as the Chrysler 300.

Remember, when towing an Airstream, payload is usually the limiting factor. Most large vehicles (including 1/2 ton pickups) have a payload of 1500# to 1800# unless special heavy duty payload options and/or minimum accessories and options are ordered. Fully optioned, higher trim levels may have a payload as low as 1200# to 1300#. The vehicles you listed are probably even less than that, in the 1000# to 1200# range, when fully optioned.

Payload is the GVWR minus the curb/empty weight of the vehicle. Payload is used by aftermarket accessories, all occupants, pets, and cargo in the vehicle. The tongue weight of the trailer is considered "payload". For most fully loaded 30' Airstreams, the tongue weight is usually in the 1100# range or more when loaded for camping with gear, water, food, and a weight distribution hitch, leaving only 100# to 700# for everything else, including the people in the vehicle.

eTrailer provides an excellent write up on the limits of trailer towing and how to determine if you've met all the various limits and what goes into each.
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Old 10-04-2022, 08:47 AM   #11
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Hello and welcome!

I can’t comment on the vehicles that you’ve listed above because I don’t have experience towing with them. I agree with your comment about tow capacity not necessarily being the determining factor. You also need to consider payload capacity, hitch rating and capacity, GCVR, and front and rear axle capacities. I’d say towing capacity is at the bottom of the list.

Consider everything that you’ll be hauling, including passengers. Listen to folks who have experience towing a 30 footer to understand real world tongue weight and loaded trailer weight.

Once you have all the capacities and the ratings, then it becomes an exercise of running the numbers for each potential tow vehicle. You’ll quickly see where some vehicles aren’t adequate for the job while some are better. It will be tempting to push the limits or exceed some of them to make a certain vehicle seem okay. That’s a decision that only you can make.

Whatever you choose, I suggest having your weight distribution hitch properly installed and adjusted by an expert.

Good luck!

Personally, I wouldn’t tow a 30-footer with any SUV on your list. I commend you for doing your research before buying your Airstrean.

Previously owned:
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Old 10-04-2022, 09:00 AM   #12
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I hate this article because of the glib attitude of the author on what could have been a horrible accident, but I’ll throw it out there. This incident occurred because of ignorance, inexperience, arrogance, and a poorly configured tow vehicle that was technically within the limits.

To the OP - I’m not saying this will be you. I’m simply using this to illustrate the fact that there’s more to this than maximum tow rating.

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Old 10-04-2022, 10:18 AM   #13
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As long as you dont go up hill any of those will work.
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Old 10-04-2022, 10:27 AM   #14
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My Ford Expedition towed my 26' nicely. Same as an F150, but enclosed. Don't know about a 30' AS. The vehicles listed seem small to me.
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Old 10-04-2022, 10:42 AM   #15
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TV 30' Classic

My 8800lb TC, TW @1000 2020 Nissan Armada Platinum / equalizer hitch, tows my classic 30 twin like a dream without any indication of instability with all the comfort one could expect of a well appointed SUV.

We did one run from New Hampshire to Georgia in 3 days cruising effortlessly at 70mph and 11mpg
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Old 10-04-2022, 10:54 AM   #16
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Old 10-04-2022, 10:56 AM   #17
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Ford Excursion diesel, if you can find one in good shape with relatively low miles.
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Old 10-04-2022, 10:57 AM   #18
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Id look at the Expedition.
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Old 10-04-2022, 11:39 AM   #19
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Ok, first off, you can "hot rod" any number of vehicles to improve this or that. This is not a DIY sort of thing. You very much want a pro involved. Indeed, getting him involved *before* you pick this or that vehicle is probably a really good idea.

Just what hot rodding a vehicle does to the warranty and other fiddly bits ..... no idea. There is a lot of debate about these sort of details. There is very little hard evidence. I simply would go into it *assuming* there is warranty impact and be really happy if there isn't. Insurance is another much debated / little hard evidence topic.

Assuming you went out to buy a truck to do the job ( simply to go through the math ):

The easy part is the "tow capacity". Pretty much any vehicle will have a giant number here. Down in the fine print they *might* mention that it's at 45 MPH and at sea level. They also might mention in a really obscure place that it derates about 20% as you head west from Denver ( = altitude matters .....).

Next up is the bigger gotcha. Payload is where this falls apart on most vehicles. The number looks big at first. It might be 2,400 pounds. Subtract 20% to get the "at altitude" number and you are just under 2,000 pounds. As noted above, about 1,100 pounds goes away when you hook up the trailer. You now have 900 pounds left. Four folks at 226 pounds each wipe that out. Two folks, 200 pounds of tools, 100 pounds of generator, and a couple kegs of beer also would wipe it out.

We started out with a Honda Pilot. It simply was not up to the task. Even with mods, it still was not up to the task. We went to an F250 with about 2,900 pounds payload. Once we got everything loaded up .... very very tight on payload ( our tongue weight is a bit higher than yours ...). The F350 with 4,300 pounds payload makes things a lot easier.

Payload actually is not a single number. You also have limits on the front and rear axles. In some cases / some vehicles when you are at max payload the axles are also both at max. If so, you need to be very careful about how weight is distributed.

With a truck, you often have an option to get a heavy duty tow package. This includes a (hopefully) pretty massive receiver to handle the tongue weight. It also likely includes towing mirrors. Most include a brake controller that drives a 7 pin connector. Getting all that on an SUV "stock" may be a challenge. Some things are easier to add after the fact than others. Again, talk to a pro.

No, that's not to say you gotta have a truck. It's only using truck sort of numbers to run through the "what's what" part of things. There are a lot of things that get into the mix.

As noted elsewhere, being "ok" on the numbers in no way means being safe or being a pleasant drive. It only means that you can expect the vehicle not to overheat. There are some brands of vehicles that do very we'll off road, they may not be the best things to tow with .....

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Old 10-04-2022, 11:52 AM   #20
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Ford Excursion with either the 7.3 diesel or 6.8 V-10. We have the 6.8 with a little help from a 4:56 limited slip and F-350 springs:

We have a 28’ FC and it’s not light.
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