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Old 02-10-2024, 05:59 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle for Flying Cloud 25 FB

Hi
I am new to this site. My wife and I have agreed on purchasing an Airstream trailer. Although I quite like the 23 FB I have already got 2 footitis (former boat owner for 40 years). The 25 FB looks perfect but I am not keen on owning a truck.

I presently drive a Mercedes GLE which I know will not cut it. My investigations on towing capacity and tongue weight tell me I could probably get away with a Mercedes GLE if we went for a 23 FB but no way for a 25 FB.

A 2020 Mercedes GLS will tow 7500 lbs but the 25 FB calls for an 850 lb hitch weight.

For the life of me I am getting confusing info on the tongue weight of a 2020 or 2017 GLS. Anything from 600 to 900 lbs.

When I look at the GLS it is a behemoth. 600 lbs tongue weight for a vehicle capable of towing 7500 lbs does not make sense.

Anyone out there towing a 25FB with a Mercedes GLS?
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Old 02-10-2024, 06:32 PM   #2
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I can't speak to towing with a GLS but I will mention that Airstream's hitch weight spec of 850lbs for the 25' FB is understated. I have a 25' Globetrotter FB Twin and when loaded for travel I've measured tongue weights with my Sherline scale in excess of 1000lbs. Based on comments here in various threads that kind of observed tongue weight is pretty common for a 25' FB.
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Old 02-10-2024, 06:51 PM   #3
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Thanks very much Mike. So you have a Denali. My best friend just bought one and I laughed asking him why he needed such a large vehicle. Joke may be on me. I will grill him a bit more when he comes over for the Super Bowl tomorrow.
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Old 02-10-2024, 07:43 PM   #4
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NorrisRM, there's hundreds of threads on towing on AF.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you payload, not towing capacity is the Achilles Heal, even for some 1/2 ton tow vehicles. We gave up on a RAM 1500 to tow our 27' Globetrotter because it only had 1220 lbs. of payload.

Be sure to check the door sticker on any vehicle you're considering. A safe number would be 1800 but some get by with less. The other important number is the rear axle's GAWR.

You'll go to the CAT scales and do a three pass method. Our RAM 1500 had a rear axle GAWR of 4100 lbs. With our 1100 lbs tongue weight (loaded for camping) we were over by 40 lbs. Is that a deal breaker? No but just know you're at the limits and be mindful not to fill the truck bed with a generator and more gear.

The other thing we learned with the 1500 was at times it felt like the tail was wagging the dog. You can help that by installing Bilstein 4600 shocks and SumoSprings but we eventually switched up to a RAM 2500 with 2940 lbs payload. No more anxiety and it never feels like the trailer is pushing us around.

BTW, we towed our first Airstream, a FC23FB with a VW Touareg TDI and it was a great combination. The 23 has one of the lightest tongue weights which is why we started with that. After one season we got twofootitis (x2) and ended up with the 27'. One other fun fact, the 25' has a higher tongue weight than a 27'. Go figure!

Good luck with your search!
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Old 02-10-2024, 07:50 PM   #5
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Congratulations on taking the time and effort to look into the capacities and limitations of a new tow vehicle. Far too few do so.

Most manufacturers simply set tongue weight at 10% of the maximum tow capacity. So if the GLS has a towing capacity of 7500 pounds I would expect to see a maximum tongue weight somewhere near 750 pounds. As observed above, this is not going to be nearly enough.

I would not choose a GLS for a tow vehicle for something the size and weight of a 25' Airstream. Yes, I am familiar with Can-Am and the work they have done with European SUVs. But I own one of the older GL models and find its comfortable towing limits to be far, far lower than the current Airstream 25' models.

I cannot find a published cargo capacity for the GLS, but keep in mind that almost all of the 1,000 pounds of tongue weight on one of these will be cargo weight on the GLS itself. I am doubtful that much weight allowance will be left.
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:26 AM   #6
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Hi

You will find a range of answers to this sort of question. There are a range of people answering. Some are less bothered by "white knuckle driving" than others. Folks tow in a range of terrains. Some tow in the dead flat gulf coast region of the US for 100% of their travels. Others live right next to some *really* steep mountains ... ummm .... err... Vancouver ... errr ... Some folks tow with (apparently) absolutely nothing in their tow vehicle and the drive plus passengers come in below 200 pounds. Some folks trust the tongue weight in the manual, others weigh the trailer (and are a bit surprised by how heavy it is once loaded).

All that said, *can* you tow a 25' with an SUV? Of course you can. You see folks doing this sort of thing all the time. Some folks also tow 15,000 pound boats with a Honda Civic. They all seem to be ok with what they are doing.

If you are going to really use the trailer and be comfortable while towing, you are going to want a truck. That's not just for weight, you also need to put grungy stuff someplace ....

Bob
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:27 AM   #7
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Tow a Flying cloud

We have been towing our 22015 Flying Cloud 25FBT for five years now with a GMC Yukon Denali XL SUV with no problems. Came with the big V-8 gas engine, heavy-duty tow package, etc.

50,000 miles later, would replace the Yukon with another Yukon!
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:37 AM   #8
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
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I own a 25 FBT and had originally towed it with the F150 3.5 eco, it was at the truck's limit. F250 diesel now...................
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:20 AM   #9
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
Waynesville , Ohio
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Tow Vehicle 25 footer

Well We have a 2023 Globetrotter front bed twin ( our fourth Airstream). While buying a half ton truck is a lot better for year round driving, parking, gas mileage etc. the 3/4 ton will be a much better tow vehicle. Having the tow vehicle lighter than the trailer is not a good recipe. Then you look at the larger break setup and bigger engine and it's a home run. We are currently using a 24 Chevy 2500 Hd ZR2. It does a great job.
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:30 AM   #10
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I tow my 2018 FCRBQ with a 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 (6.2L) Crew cab with a Blue Ox hitch. Fully loaded trailer (freshwater tank full, clothes and food for 5) and fully loaded truck (grill, solo stove, chairs, generator, 43qt cooler, table, tools, etc) with 5 passengers, we travelled the country traversing mountains, experiencing 35 mph crosswinds etc, without a single white knuckle minute. My kids have 100s of miles pulling the Airstream. My youngest was 15 years old the first time he drove with the Airstream behind him. He successfully navigated rush hour traffic in city and merged into highway traffic. My daughter drove us through the Rocky Mountains. And my oldest son can manage it all. This set-up, Airstream and Truck, is the first towing experience for all three. How you pack matters. Cooler, tools, grill in front of axle of truck. A level tow vehicle matters. Torque matters. HP matters. Wheel base matters. Ratio of trailer weight to tow vehicle weight matters. A lot of variables factor into towing experience. I love my set-up and only hope to be able to replicate with a newer Silverado. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:43 AM   #11
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Tow Vehicle

I have the 25 ft Front Bed. They are heavy in the front due to all the storage is in the front and the batteries and propane plus the big storage is in the front. My tongue weight averages about 1,000 lbs. I have a 2018 Ford F-150 with the ECO Boost with the Max Tow Package capable of towing 12,000 pounds and carrying 1,200 pounds tongue weight. I have a bed cover and it’s great for carrying two small Honda generators and gas cans plus camp chairs and firewood. We love boondocking camping we have the king cab model. My wife is happy with it. The truck has a 36 gallon tank gas model. Climbs the Rockies with no problems. Don’t assume the dealer sales person knows what they are talking about sometimes. You have to get the max tow package to get the electric tow mirrors and the 36 gallon tank. Also get a good weight distribution hitch.
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:48 AM   #12
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Thanks to all. You guys are great! I think I will give up on idea of a GLS. Will be grilling my friend on his Denali later today.
I am afraid if I got the 23FB I would be trading it in for the 25FB but the hitch weight difference is pretty shocking.
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Old 02-11-2024, 12:40 PM   #13
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
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Towing a 25’

We tow our Safari 25FB with a 2023 Suburban Premier with “Max Tow Package”, and the 6.4L gas engine. Tows like a dream. Tongue weight is about 900#
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Old 02-11-2024, 01:42 PM   #14
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2023 25' Globetrotter
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My F150 had a max tongue of 1200 with a DWH. I was right at the max. Adding a topper and I was over the payload of 1800. The Ecoboost had more than enough power (definitely revs! Good and bad) and the F150 has very good brakes.
Just over payload, too many toys, lol, now my neighbor has a 30ft with a tundra. After talking, he went by a scale and was shocked at how far over he was. He has been all over the US over 5 years. Now he does drive slow and back highways.
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:24 PM   #15
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we tow our FC 25FB fine with an audi q5 3L.

it was reinforced by CAN trailers in London ON
we have no issue

it tows easier than our old sport 22FB likely do to the dual set of wheels
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:34 PM   #16
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I pull a 23' with a Ford F-150, 2.7L turbo with great results. I would not try to pull a 25' with this truck as it would not afford adequate margin for difficult towing conditions. An F-150, 3.5 turbo with appropriate tow package would probably do the job for a 25' and still fall below the "monster truck" moniker.
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Old 02-11-2024, 05:10 PM   #17
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Waninae 39.

Just when I was ready to give up on using a Mercedes GLS as a tow vehicle for a Flying Cloud 25 FB I get your reply that you have an Audi Q5 that you use to tow a 25 FB.

Does the hitch make such a difference? I am quite sure that the Q5 does not have a tongue weight anywhere near 850 lbs which is what Airstream says you should have for towing a 25FB.

Did you consider this or "just give it a go"?

Thanks
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Old 02-11-2024, 05:35 PM   #18
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My 25 FB tongue weight is pretty consistently 1000-1050. We only have clothes under the bed.
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Old 02-11-2024, 05:48 PM   #19
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call ANDy here
info@canamrv.ca
1 (866) CAN-AMRV
1 (866) 226-2678

he can tell you everything that you need
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Old 02-11-2024, 07:47 PM   #20
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Your Mercedes Benz may have a payload capacity of more than 1600 lbs - greater than most “half-ton” pickup trucks.

Andy doesn’t get caught up in ratings. He focuses on the real world capabilities of a vehicle, and makes sure the hitch receiver is strong enough and rigid enough to handle the weight of the trailer and the torsional forces imposed by a weight distributing hitch.

I tow with a Volvo station wagon with a reinforced receiver. My only concern is not overloading the axles, especially the front because I’ve realized that with a stiff unit body vehicle it’s very easy to transfer tongue weight to the front tires. We have a 22FB now; our previous trailer was a vintage 27 that I think actually towed a bit better than the single axle, at least on a winding road. I wouldn’t hesitate to tow a longer Airstream again, except I would probably work to reduce tongue weight on a newer one.
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