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Old 01-19-2017, 12:26 PM   #1
Rivet Polisher
 
1973 31' Sovereign
Mt Pleasant , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 169
Towing with a Van?

Howdy all,
My wife and I are looking for a nice 28'-33' Airstream to do some traveling over the next few years before we retire. I was wondering if anyone tows their AS with a Ford E350 or Chevy Express 3500? We want to haul a bunch of stuff with us and have it out of the elements. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 01-19-2017, 12:49 PM   #2
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2016 30' International
Florence , Alabama
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There are a number of people on here who tow with vans. The big question will always come down to total payload. You have to account for the weight of all the stuff you'll put in the van, plus the fully loaded tongue weight of the trailer. There's people on here who pull big trailers with little Honda minivans; but at the end of the day the best way to stay safe is to know the numbers and be on the safe side of the max ratings of your vehicle.

For a 28-33' AS I wonder if you've considered getting a 2500/3500 truck and putting a topper on it?
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Old 01-19-2017, 01:30 PM   #3
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
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Wildhorses it has been a topic of interest here lately and we might consider one when our truck needs replacing.

There were also two good threads here recently discussing that and someone may link it.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:06 PM   #4
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1974 31' Excella 500
Charleston , South Carolina
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Do you want feedback on those particular vans or on towing with a van in general?
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:40 AM   #5
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2014 30' FB FC Bunk
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Here's a few threads.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...le-156975.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...le-144015.html
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:49 AM   #6
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
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I have towed our 30' coast to coast with a Ford E350, 5.4. The vehicle is more than adequate to do the job; however, there is one drawback. We bought the top of the line and all the extras and still it was not more than an airport shuttle van. The seats are uncomfortable, no-power. The back seats were a pain to get in and out,in fact I removed the third and forth rows and only put them back when I sold the van less than a year after purchasing it. Along with the lack of creature comforts you are getting a rear wheel drive no traction control truck. One time I actually got stuck when I backed the drive wheel onto a gravel shoulder. We traded it for our Excursion, a bullet proof giant SUV and never had a regret.
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:58 AM   #7
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1983 31' Excella
Everett , Washington
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We had a Ford one ton van diesel towing a 31 ft Airstream and it was the best tow vehicle we ever had. I replaced all of the seats to custom seating. Russd
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:18 PM   #8
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1999 30' Excella 1000
McIntosh , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Towing with a van

I Tow a '99 31 ft classic with a '98 Ford E-350 extended van with a 6.8 V-10, and we are on the road at least half the year. The truck has 350K and the trailer has been towed for 250k. Great truck, very comfortable and safe. I do tow with a Pull
Rite tow system. Never have any trouble with tail-wag.

Properly rigged, and with the right combination of engine and transmission, and rear end ratio, most full size vans are more than adequate. Be aware of GCVWR
ratings.

The Ford econoline vans are no longer being made, but there should be many late models available. Whether they are outfitted the way you might like is another variable.

You might also consider a Ford F-250/350 with a cap.
Enjoy,
old trucker
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:24 PM   #9
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2009 23' International
Jamul , California
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I tow my 23' with a Nissan NV2500 van (for all of the dogs). It's worked out great.
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:28 PM   #10
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2017 30' Flying Cloud
Spotsylvania , Virginia
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I was considering a new Ford Transit for my next tow vehicle but they do not have the tow the ability to tow our 30' FC. I would need to find a good used E 250/350 with a V-10 and those are hard to come by.

We have two big dogs that take up a lot of real estate and really do not fit in the back seat of a pick up.
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Old 01-20-2017, 01:03 PM   #11
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Cedar Rapids , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Towing with a van

We tow our 27'FC with a 2014 GMC 12 passenger 3500 duramax. Not what we were looking for when we started looking for a TV, but a deal we could not pass up. It has worked out great, Took out the 2 back seats and have lots of room to haul gear with no worries about weight. Gear is kept in the dry with easy access. Very stable when towing and plenty of power for the mountains. When the day comes certainly will consider another van, hopefully that is a couple of hundred thousand miles away.
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Old 01-20-2017, 01:07 PM   #12
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
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I tow a 21' Globe trotter with a 1/2 ton express, 5L. I have made 6 cross country trips, only problem is it is a light duty truck, a 3500 6L would be better. I love having a van, plenty of room for our pets, and all the stuff we bring, we also are quite comfortable, with just the standard cloth seats, I'm 6'2" and she is 5'11". I have heard Chevys have are more comfortable, I wouldn't know cause I have only driven GM for the last 45 years. I think a van (with trailer) is somewhat areodinamic.
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Old 01-20-2017, 01:59 PM   #13
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2009 28' International
Pacific Palisades , California
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We tow our 28' International with a Sprinter 3500. The van is a GREAT driving vehicle, and we've cherried out the interior to rival any high end SUV. The payload is absurd--the van is rated for 11,500 pounds! So that's not an issue.

The small diesel gets decent mileage--about 19-20 when not towing and 13-14 towing--all with the highest rear axle rating. But although the torque is very good, the hp is quite low. So it accelerates quickly to about 40-45, but then way more slowly to highway speeds. Careful planning for freeway onramps is in order. We have had no trouble pulling up steep mountain grades, but definitely in lower gears and lower speeds.

So the engine is just doable, the rest of the van is great, and it's rated for 7500 lbs max.
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Old 01-20-2017, 10:29 PM   #14
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Vermilion , Ohio
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I tow a 30TP Avion with a 2008 Savanna van 3500 with a 6L. Tows good, gets about 11 to 12mpg. Love the room inside the van, you could fit a golf cart inside. Just wish the brakes were a little bit better. Used to tow with a 2001 V10 Excursion, which was great for towing, but had no where the room inside for bikes etc.

Mike
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:05 AM   #15
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Fort Worth , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miko38 View Post
I tow a 30TP Avion with a 2008 Savanna van 3500 with a 6L. Tows good, gets about 11 to 12mpg. Love the room inside the van, you could fit a golf cart inside. Just wish the brakes were a little bit better. Used to tow with a 2001 V10 Excursion, which was great for towing, but had no where the room inside for bikes etc.



Mike

Trailers should have disc brakes. See TUSON and reviews on MR TRUCK. That and their Direclink controller should do that portion.

WD hitch adjustment to get more weight onto TT axles also helps.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:33 AM   #16
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2013 19' International
Colorado Springs , Colorado
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RAM Promaster TV

My spouse and I have put 35,000 miles on a 2015 RAM Promaster 1500, FWD, 3.0 Liter, 4 cylinder diesel, towing a 2015 19 ft. Airstream International. The cargo van easily stores a tandem electric assist bike, a mountain bike, an off road unicycle, two 10' sit inside kayaks, tools, and extra clothes (that we have but try not to use as we avoid winter and snow as much as possible). We try to travel at 62 mph. The van has averaged just over 20 mpg towing the trailer and 26 without the trailer. We have been up and down a few 15% grade roads and have had the rig up to 8,000 feet above sea level. We don't have the power to accelerate up hills but we have been able to maintain at least 50 mph on all but the steepest grades.
I know you asked about the American vans and not just any van. I believe as long as the towing capacity of the van is up to your trailer's weight, you should have no trouble at all.
I have made several trips from Colorado to Iowa in Chevy and Dodge 3500 vans with 12 passengers and 12 bikes on a custom roof rack towing a 16 ft. Cargo trailer full of a weeks worth of biking and camping gear. The only problem we experienced was a tire sidewall failure that was caught at a refueling stop when it looked like a tennis ball sized bulge.
I say go Van, go. If your total load is within the design limits.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:08 AM   #17
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1973 31' Sovereign
Mt Pleasant , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 169
Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback, I have towed many things over the years but never an Airstream (or any camping trailer). I have owned a few F350's w/7.3L diesels, a Suburban with 6.5L Diesel and a Suburban with the 8.2L gas. My wife loved the Suburbans but we realized that there isn't quite enough space inside for my dirtbike, our mountain bikes and possibly kayaks. But a good sized Van could take all that with us when we go off roading (boondocking?) with the AS.

If only Airstream made a "toy hauler" version...
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:57 AM   #18
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Fort Worth , Texas
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They did. The Panamerica.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:01 AM   #19
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1973 31' Sovereign
Mt Pleasant , North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
They did. The Panamerica.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Thanks, that changes everything!
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Old 01-24-2017, 06:56 AM   #20
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2017 30' Flying Cloud
Spotsylvania , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
They did. The Panamerica.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Yup! they sure did and it had a butt ugly interior and was extremely heavy. Hence its fast death from production. This is my 0.02 worth anyhow. IMHO AS should make the rear hatch an option on most models.
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