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Old 02-11-2021, 04:26 AM   #1
Advocate28
 
2020 27' Flying Cloud
Sheboygan , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 28
Tow Vehicle for Flying Cloud 25' or 27'

I am currently towing a 16' Bambi with a Toyota Highlander. I am considering trading up to a 25' or 27' Flying Cloud. I don't completely understand how to evaluate the towing capacity of a particular vehicle, and I don't trust the car salesperson to help with that. I definitely prefer Toyotas to other vehicles, but I'm not sure the Sequoia is big enough. Land Cruisers are awesome, but new ones are too expensive for me and used ones are hard to find. The towing capacity is 7,000 to 7,400 lbs. I'm also looking at a Nissan Armada (price is right). Nissan says it can tow "up to" 8,500 lbs (what does that even mean?). "Gross weight" of the 25', according to Airstream, is 7,300 (what does that mean?). For the 27', the gross weight is 7,600 lbs. "Unit base weight" (which I guess is with LP and without water and cargo) is 5,868 lbs. Does that mean gross weight includes water? Sorry for the lengthy post. Any TV suggestions appreciated. I would prefer not to buy a truck, but would consider it.
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:02 AM   #2
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2017 27' Flying Cloud
Frederick , Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth28 View Post
I am currently towing a 16' Bambi with a Toyota Highlander. I am considering trading up to a 25' or 27' Flying Cloud. I don't completely understand how to evaluate the towing capacity of a particular vehicle, and I don't trust the car salesperson to help with that. I definitely prefer Toyotas to other vehicles, but I'm not sure the Sequoia is big enough. Land Cruisers are awesome, but new ones are too expensive for me and used ones are hard to find. The towing capacity is 7,000 to 7,400 lbs. I'm also looking at a Nissan Armada (price is right). Nissan says it can tow "up to" 8,500 lbs (what does that even mean?). "Gross weight" of the 25', according to Airstream, is 7,300 (what does that mean?). For the 27', the gross weight is 7,600 lbs. "Unit base weight" (which I guess is with LP and without water and cargo) is 5,868 lbs. Does that mean gross weight includes water? Sorry for the lengthy post. Any TV suggestions appreciated. I would prefer not to buy a truck, but would consider it.
There are a number of similar threads but I will provide some highlights and our experience. First off, the "gross weight" of the trailer is that maximum allowable weight. If the Unit Base Weight" is 5,868 and the gross weight is 7,600 then you can put up to 1,732 lbs in the trailer (water, clothing, and so on). Those are guidelines as each trailer may weigh a bit more or less depending on options (the gross weight is defined structurally and doesn't change, but the actual weight of a delivered trailer may be more or less than 5,868).

There are two key things to pay attention to when pairing a tow vehicle and a trailer. First is the overall weight, which is what most people pay attention to (including me when I started). As a first cut at it, you should have a vehicle that will tow the weight of the trailer you buy (for the 27' that is 7,600). That is not hard to find. The second thing, and the thing that caused me to end up trading in my F150 for an F250 to tow my 27' FC, is payload. Similar to the calculation above, the Armada has a gross vehicle weight rating that is fixed, though each individual Armada may weigh different amounts. The difference between the gross vehicle weight rating and the actual weight of that particular one is called "payload". That should be listed on the drivers side door jam of a vehicle. My F150 was tarted up with all the fancy bits so its payload was only about 1,400 (can't recall exactly) and once I hooked up the trailer (with a weight distributing hitch), had my camping stuff in the bed, and included passengers and dog, I was right about the payload of my truck as weighed on a CAT scale. The camper itself puts about 900 lbs of weight on the truck (it varies by model and how you load it). That will likely be the limiting factor of what you can tow with.

Rule of thumb; for a 25' AS you can almost certainly tow with an SUV like the Armada or 1/2 ton truck, but with the 27' you likely want to move up to a 3/4 ton if you plan on loading up much (or if you like the fancy stuff in the truck; a stripped down 1/2 ton would still work fine). There are various schools of thought; some people will claim you can tow a 27' AS with a Toyota Camry and others feel you should have a 1-ton truck to tow a Bambi. I am passing along my experience, which is somewhere in the middle.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:58 PM   #3
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By and large what car maker mean by 'it can tow "up to" 8,500 lbs (what does that even mean?).

It's essentially the weight it can pull 'up to whatever' (starting and restarting) on a 14% gradient - on the end of a rope. The specs may also show the maximum tow ball load. If so its the lesser of both.

That '8500 lbs' may be far less if via an overhung hitch.

In this area check it out from the maker's specs - not what a salesperson tells you.

Also, if an RV seller tells you the time - check your watch.

Collyn

(In Australia)
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Old 02-15-2021, 05:55 AM   #4
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2020 27' Flying Cloud
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Haha! Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2021, 06:05 AM   #5
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2020 27' Flying Cloud
Sheboygan , Wisconsin
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Thanks, this is very helpful. I did search other threads, and I found a detailed one about a tow vehicle for a 25', which I read in its entirety. (I've now decided on the 25'.) If there's a search term I should enter other than "tow vehicle for 25'), I'd appreciate the guidance. Also, thanks for the tip about the CAT scale. It never occurred to me to do that. I travel very light, but it never hurts to check. I was thinking the Toyota Sequoia, with towing capacity of 7,000-7,400, might be good enough for the 25', with dry weight 5,503. The gross weight is 7,300 and I wasn't sure how to evaluate that. I don't generally travel with full tanks, and my cargo is almost nothing. I suppose I shouldn't take the chance.
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth28 View Post
Thanks, this is very helpful. I did search other threads, and I found a detailed one about a tow vehicle for a 25', which I read in its entirety. (I've now decided on the 25'.) If there's a search term I should enter other than "tow vehicle for 25'), I'd appreciate the guidance. Also, thanks for the tip about the CAT scale. It never occurred to me to do that. I travel very light, but it never hurts to check. I was thinking the Toyota Sequoia, with towing capacity of 7,000-7,400, might be good enough for the 25', with dry weight 5,503. The gross weight is 7,300 and I wasn't sure how to evaluate that. I don't generally travel with full tanks, and my cargo is almost nothing. I suppose I shouldn't take the chance.
The location of the bedroom on 25's affects how much real world (after loading) tongue weight there is. We have a SUV with 1,552 payload. After looking here extensively, I concluded that it would be better for us to get the rear bedroom model because the front bedroom models loaded tongue weights would likely be too much for our SUV. The receiver on a tow vehicle (the part into which the hitch ball goes) has its own rating. Ours is 950lbs, for example. Many here have reported front bedroom 25's to be in the 1,100lbs range on tongue weight.

As it is, we cannot carry all that much in our SUV because of the payload limitation. Hasn't been a problem for us, but there are just two of us and two smaller dogs.
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth28 View Post
Thanks, this is very helpful. I did search other threads, and I found a detailed one about a tow vehicle for a 25', which I read in its entirety. (I've now decided on the 25'.) If there's a search term I should enter other than "tow vehicle for 25'), I'd appreciate the guidance. Also, thanks for the tip about the CAT scale. It never occurred to me to do that. I travel very light, but it never hurts to check. I was thinking the Toyota Sequoia, with towing capacity of 7,000-7,400, might be good enough for the 25', with dry weight 5,503. The gross weight is 7,300 and I wasn't sure how to evaluate that. I don't generally travel with full tanks, and my cargo is almost nothing. I suppose I shouldn't take the chance.
The Sequoia is very marginal as a tow vehicle for a 25' Airstream. As Collyn implied the statement that it can tow a 7,400 lb trailer is not the same as assuring you it will always safely manage a 25' Airstream. Folks like Collyn have significant practical experience in vehicle design and behavior resulting from same. In the case of the Sequoia there are limits associated with performance and combination stability that make it poorly suited for a travel trailer that large. The manufacturer limits the tongue weight to 710 lbs max. The 25' Airstream will have a tongue weight near 1000 lb. If you choose this vehicle you are accepting much more risk of oversteer and sway, the primary causes of serious towing crashes than the manufacturer intends and what most informed people would advise. It will tow nicely on a straight road and gentle curves, but it will not be able to manage the trailer if you happen to get it out of alignment in an emergency maneuver at highway speeds. It will push the vehicle around and the combination will go out of control. If you are comfortable with this risk, exceed the Toyota tongue limit guidance. If you want to be as safe as the manufacturers intend and in line with best engineering practice, go with something like the Armada as was previously suggested. Your safest approach is to stay below both the towing limit and the tongue limit.
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:51 AM   #8
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Consider looking at a Ford Expedition. Among the SUV's, I believe it has the most towing capability and payload. The new GM SUV's will be pretty capable too.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:20 PM   #9
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A longer wheelbase/ heavier truck, like a 3/4 Ton F-250, just for example, would be much better for towing a large 25 foot Airstream, than a shorter wheelbase, lighter vehicle, like a SUV or a 1/2 Ton truck, like a Ford F-150.
You don't want a tow vehicle that the trailer is capable of driving.
Safety is the #1 issue with any size combination vehicle.
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Old 02-15-2021, 01:31 PM   #10
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Wish I had a little more truck

We are new to towing, too. We pulled a 2017 International 25FB home across 1500 miles with a 2020 Ford F-150 Supercrew gasser with the max tow package. The AS was mostly empty...just 10 gallons of water, plus some light luggage and the bumper of the truck (deer encounter). E2 weight distribution hitch.

I felt like the trailer pushed around the truck a little more than I would like. No real white-knuckle moments of sway but it wasnít rock solid when being passed by semis. We had planned on a 23 foot FC but accidentally found a gently used 25 footer in the heavier class that would have made the F-250 a better option as a TV. Porpoising on concrete interstate highways and driving across northern Louisiana were not fun in the F-150, too.

Bottom line...Iím investigating the F-250 and F-350. But first Iím adding the Roadmaster active suspension system to the rear suspension of the F-150 and switching to the Propride 3P hitch. I figure the RAS is an inexpensive upgrade and the expensive 3P will stay with me in the event that I trade in the truck.

But if I was searching for a tow vehicle from scratch, itíd be a three-quarter ton truck or larger.
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Old 02-15-2021, 01:38 PM   #11
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I'd be surprised if you weren't satisfied with the upgrades, as both will make a large difference in towing performance and passenger comfort. It's a bit pricey but the combination is an effective solution.

Careful badmouthing Louisiana roads!
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Old 02-15-2021, 02:02 PM   #12
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Good advice in this thread.

I tow a 23FB with a 1/2 ton GMC truck, and the top limiting factor for my trips is the max payload limit of the truck. The only reason that I stay below the limit is the fact that the 23FB has a very light tongue weight compared to 25 foot and larger trailers. There's no way that I could safely pull a 25 footer with a 1,000 lb. tongue weight. If you add the tongue weight, the hitch, my tonneau cover, and a tank of gas then I'm within a couple of hundred pounds of the limit. Add my wife and I, and our Great Dane, and we're over. And that's with an empty truck bed.
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Old 02-15-2021, 02:52 PM   #13
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Brian - Sorry about the Louisiana road comment.

Shreveport I-20 is no picnic but at least itís better than I-10 from Beaumont to the Tx/La border, a nasty stretch of TxDoT highway reconstruction.
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Old 02-15-2021, 03:27 PM   #14
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It was in jest. You are so correct and then 1-10 near Lake Charles.... Never again till that is fixed.

Years ago, my wife drove our daughter into New Orleans 6 days a week for Ballet. This was before they resurfaced New Orleans East I-10. Her vehicle tore through 2 complete front end suspensions in 60,000 miles
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