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Old 12-29-2008, 02:08 PM   #1
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Trailer too Large? TV too small?

We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

regards
Lee
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:23 PM   #2
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The key to an easy, relaxing drive is the in the connection hardware, setup and adjustments.

Very few combinations have this done optimally and most are done poorly.

A high end hitch like the Hensley would give you added safety and drive ability.

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:24 PM   #3
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Oh, I imagine you can convince your wife... if anything ever happens, however, your wife will be obligated to remind you that she told you the 28' trailer was too big. Don't worry, though, she'll only remind you for the time you own the trailer or the rest of your natural life, whichever time period is greater.

My stock advice, husband to husband. It's not about convincing; it's about listening. Whatever you eventually decide, I suggest it will go better if you give your wife a full opportunity to discuss all of her hopes and fears. Whatever you decide, it will be as a couple.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:26 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums. You will find the 28' to be a unit that handles quite well. Granted with the Tahoe and the trailer you will be about 46' in length. Take it easy. Make sure you have some good tow mirrors to see the nuts coming up on either side of you. With the amount of items packed in the trailer and the TV it might push the amount the Tahoe can handle. We try to make it up to the NW at least every 2-3 years and we have found that several of the state parks have length limits on some of their camp sites but we haven't had any problem getting sites. The biggest problem is that the area is so popular that we have to make reservations so far in advance.
Good luck with your decision. Hope to see you down the line.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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WELCOME!!!

We have a 28 footer and it tows like a dream, as long as you pay attention to turning radius. You need to pull into the turn a little more before actually turning. Other than that, no worries. Keep it at or below 60 and you'll be fine. Our maiden voyage was a short trip of about 120 miles - then we did HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA! "Easy does it" should be your montra when towing - it may take you a half hour longer to get somewhere at 60, but chances are you'll get there in one piece!

Your 6.2 should be plenty big enough (check the towing capactiy for your vehicle in the manual though). The anti-sway rig is a MUST as is a brake controller! Towing mirrors help a LOT too. Religious monitoring of tire pressure is recommended.

As far as the 28, remember that on rainy days you'll be spending lots of time indoors and the extra room is great. I wanted the 22 but got talked into the 28 and I'm glad she was so persuasive.

How far are you from a dealer? You could go to one and have them hook one up for you and take a "test tow".

Best of luck - let us know what you decide!
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:55 PM   #6
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When we purchased our 31' Classic, my wife had never driven pulling a trailer before and she has done just fine with it. Our AS was made just before they started using disc brakes so we always leave plenty of room to stop. When fuel prices started climbing rapidly we found that driving between 55 to 58 saves a lot of fuel as well as insure that others on interstates are going faster than you so you have plenty of time to react. As far as the size, if you spend very much time in your 28' you will be glad that you got the longer length. Best wishes on your new adventure!
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:36 PM   #7
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I first considered a smaller trailer (20') but went with the 28' and am glad I did. Much more comfortable. Not too big in my opinion, in fact, many consider backing a tandem axle trailer easier than a single.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

regards
Lee

I have towed numerous trailers over the past 25 years, and my belief is that larger trailers are easier tow. They are definatly easier to back. It sounds like you have the right sized tow vehicle. I think your wife's concern is common. I also think many people buy small, then quickly realize their concerns were not valid, and move up in size.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:51 PM   #9
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we were not sure about towing when we bought ours, then I read here that learning to tow is a process. Once you know how, you can probably pull any size camper just as easy. In other words, it might take you the same amount of time to get used to towing a small trailer as it does to get used to a larger one. My husband had not towed anything and did fine with a 26'. If you are really worried, have someone drive behind you with a walkie talkie at first. If you need to change lanes they can help you determine if you have enough space to get over. We did this on our 5 hour drive home after buying. It works really well.
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:30 PM   #10
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I would convince her with some data.

Have the trailer weighed in full towing trim. Or look up the total weight on the Airstream site. http://www.airstream.com/files/libra...c5c1005fbf.pdf

Then research the towing capacity of your truck. You will need to know axle ratio among other things that are key.

The engine should do the job, however mated to a axle ration or manual tranny that was not designed for the job you may have an issue.

On the surface from the data you have provided it sounds like it will work.

Then the other variable is your skill. That can only be proved with practice. Church parking lots during the week are great places to practice backing into parking spots with out creating damage.

Bigger trailers are easier to back up than smaller ones.

Freeway driving should be the easiest. It is slow speed driving with traffic that is the most difficult.

Good luck! And welcome to the forums.

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Old 12-29-2008, 05:25 PM   #11
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I spent several weeks and several thousand miles traveling on a birding expedition with my sister-in-law in a full-sized, 3/4 ton, diesel truck towing a 32 foot fifth wheel with a slide. I had never towed that sized trailer. In fact my only real towing experience has become the legend of how I backed a boat on a trailer and a car into a lake. After the first 150 miles, we stopped at a rest area, and she said, "Now you drive. Swing extra wide on right hand turns. Plan ahead to stop." After the next exit construction orange cones narrowed the road to one lane for miles and miles and miles. The next summer I considered myself to be somewhat experienced as I encouraged my husband to look for something larger than a 22-ft Airstream. Our first was 28 feet. Our current model is 31 feet. We absolutely love it! It tows well, goes up and down hills well (We live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and drive a 3/4 ton Chevy) and hasn't seemed too large for any of the commercial or forest service campgrounds we have visited. One thing to keep in mind--if you are tempted to pull over at a scenic overlook, make sure there is another exit or that the parking area has ample room to turn around. It took my sister-in-law and me a long time and a lot of head scratching to get out of a tight spot on Lake Michigan.
Buy the trailer.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

regards
Lee
Hi Lee
We were total newbies when we bought our first AS. In 2007 we bought a 25SS and a new YukonXL. In 2008 we traded for a 27FB and a new Ford 250. The layout of the 25 footer didn't work for our family of 4. The Yukon was fine on the freeway but very nerve racking when towing up some of our steep hills here in Northern California. We have to back our trailer up a hill to get it into our driveway and several times I had my foot all the way down on the pedal and the trailer would not budge! That's when I decided we needed something with more power and got the truck.
With the great mirrors on the truck I can see the whole side and corners of the trailer. I also got the Hensley hitch. Vacationing now is what it should be.......relaxing and fun.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:39 PM   #13
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Lee, welcome to the Forum. I know nothing about the Yukon. Towing trailers longer than 25' seems to me to require a 3/4 ton tow vehicle. We wanted to tow with a Toyota, so that limited us to the 25', but we didn't want a longer trailer as many campgrounds are built for trailers of 25' or less anyway.

I suggest you read everything you can about towing. I was nervous when we started out, but was sure I could master it and with a little experience we have done well. Both of us tow, although I always get the hard assignments—cities, winding roads, etc. That's ok with me because I am not very good as a passenger.

I suggest "convincing" a wife is an impossible task. She has to convince herself (that way you don't get blamed for the rest of your life). Discuss all the weight factors with her. Ask her to read about it too (if she won't help with the reading, she can't blame you, maybe).

It's also important to select the trailer that fits your needs. See if the bed is the right size, do you fit on the toilet, can you store what you want, does it feel comfortable? Do you think you'll feel claustrophobic? Some people feel fine in a 16 or 19' Bambi, but I would go nuts in them. Remember that the beds are shorter than the kind you buy for your house—if you're tall, that can be an issue (some people replace the beds with standard queens, but there are issues of space with that). We ended up buying a new Tundra because our first generation one (2002) wasn't powerful and beefy enough to tow a 25'. Don't believe anything a salesman tells you about what you can tow with your Yukon because all they want is to sell you the biggest trailer on the lot.

There are a lot of threads about what can tow what. Learn about payload (very important and SUV's have less payload than the comparable pickup), gross vehicle and combined vehicle weights, and the rest. Read over your owner's manual for the SUV to find out the numbers and make sure you've got them right. Consult the Airstream website for weights. It is generally recommended to keep all weights at 80% of stated numbers to provide a safety margin for emergencies. Running right up to stated capacities, or slightly over, can provide a lot of wear to the tow vehicle suspension, drive shaft, transmission, etc. You may not feel it, but the truck does. Getting all this straight is a test and will eventually get easier. You may have to buy a different tow vehicle and that's a problem for a lot of people because after spending $50,000 and up and up for a trailer, who wants to spend more on a new truck? But an Airstream is an even more major investment and it's best to fit the truck to the trailer, not the other way around.

Remember that many people who post here have a favorite based on what they own; that's human nature. Of course, I am not that way at all and everyone should have a Tundra with a 25 Safari/Flying Cloud FB SE if they know what's good for them. Sorting it all out can take time, but you'll figure it out. You're in the right place to learn and take the time it takes to make sure you get it right.

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Old 12-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #14
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First a 31 foot, then a 34 foot - go for it. With the correct tow vehicle, you have your choice of lengths. Best of success
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

regards
Lee

Lee

You should really consider the use that you intend to make of the trailer.

My wife and I used a 27ft trailer for the last ten years (i retired ten years ago) for a 6 week trip each winter, and I would not want to spend that amount of time in anything smaller.

When we decided to move to an Airstream, I would ljke to have stayed with the same size, but AS did not offer the layout we wanted in that length, so we had to opt for the Classic 30 - which actually measures 31 ft bumper to ball.

I anticipate that there will be some sites we will not be able to get into, but feel it is a fair compromise for the added space.

On the plus side, longer trailers are generally easier to back up as they jacknife much less quickly. I have a luggage trailer I pull behind our motorcycle and it is a bugger to back up!

I would think your Yukon would be up to the challenge - with one
suggestion - I think the Yukon has a fairly short wheelbase, so you may want to consider a Hensley hitch to avoid any surprises due to trailer sway.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:04 PM   #16
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My 25 foot FB is an ok length for those rainy days. Not as good as a 27, however...
However, I can get into state parks, national parks and other tiny, but interesting camping spots, but just barely. Any longer, and I would be forced to leave some of those out. So it depends on your projected use.

Also, turning is always a problem. Shorter trailer, better turning...
You might consider a backup camera on the trailer. It takes the worry out of those mirrors, which always have significant blind spots. Helps me to avoid backing over the wife too .
Tow vehicles? I went round and round with that. But the numbers told me I needed a 3/4 ton to tow it comfortably. I have had two previous tow vehicles that both were at their maximum capacity. Though that is probably safe, it is not fun. The engines were always straining, and the trailer swayed the truck more than I like. The big, high elevation grades were miserable. Having plenty of weight, wheel base, and power makes my towing enjoyable, and the wife comfortable.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:39 PM   #17
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We tow a 34 footer and it handles like a dream, tell the wife not to worry.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:43 PM   #18
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I tow 28' CCD with 08 Hummer H2 plus Hensley. Made a trip across the continent this summer, through the Rockies and the Appalachians. The whole setup handled well at all times, and I did not experience any sway. My Hummer has 6.2 Vortec engine with new 6-speed tranny, which I believe is comparable to OP's Tahoe. The Vortec engine has more than enough power, but...

- it was the transmission temperature that I had to be careful while climbing the mountain. The temp will become high (240F+) so quickly if I'm not super-easy on the gas pedal or make stops to cool down a few times. The solution to this - which I did not opt - is to change the gearing on differential and sacrifice the mpg when not towing.

- GM's OEM hitch (class III?) didn't seem strong enough for my comfort. The original cross-member only have shallow clamps (about an inch depth) on both sides, and these hangs on the truck's frame and support the tongue weight. So, I had a local hitch specialist re-enforce the hitch by welding an additional cross-member, had the hitch's weight rating re-badged to 12000 pounds for $300.

- I also had air bag suspension installed in the rear for $200 (the parts alone are only $80, http://www.airliftcompany.com/al1000.html) Although Hummer H2 are offered with pneumatic suspension from the factory, I was afraid of possible maintenance nightmare, so I opted for aftermarket airbags in the traditional coil suspension. It's simple. when I hitch, I just need to pump up my rear suspension with bicycle pump.

My setup summary: 28' CCD, Hummer H2 (rated 8500 pounds), Hensley, reinforced hitch, air bag suspension.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiehat View Post
We are about to buy our first Airstream. It's a 28 footer and my wife is now concerned that it may be too large to handle for us. We have no experience towing a trailer of this size. I have seen many similar rigs towed with our intended tow vehicle (a yukon w/6.2 liter engine and tow package). We arent concerned with the tow vehicle's ability to pull it, more our ability to drive the combonation. The trailer comes with a sway rig for the hitch.

How do I convince my wife that we can do it with no problems.

regards
Lee
Hi, pixiehat. There is no way you are ever going to convince your wife before you convince yourself first. If you are not convinced that you can handle it, then most likely you can't. And shouldn't. Next, my opinion is, that you should buy a 25'er and be happy or plan on buying a larger tow vehicle. Also, as you stated, "we aren't concerned about the tow vehicle's ability to pull it," But there is a lot more to towing a trailer than the ability to pull it. And finally, you will never know what you can do until you do it.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:14 PM   #20
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you will be glade you got the 28fter
after we bought are first A/S a 29fter i was a little nervous i triple checked my triple checks. but after i got a few miles under my belt and a little help at my first rally to get her parked everything is now like second nature just remember to slower down and check yourself and your equipment there no need to get in a hurry you got your bed right behind you.
If you really want convince your wife take her and show her a 16-19fter after seeing those she'll think the 28fter is the taj mahal
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