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Old 03-14-2022, 09:06 AM   #1
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Which tow vehicle

We have a 2006 Airstream Classic with a slideout. Gross vehicle weight is 10,000 pounds. We have been towing with a 2002 Ford Econoline V10. We are thinking of getting a new tow vehicle but need advice about what to get. E.g., Ford vs Ram, and how big and is diesel worth it.

Thanks,
Genie
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Old 03-14-2022, 09:13 AM   #2
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Hi Genie. Did you just acquire your Airstream? If so, congrats!

Tow vehicle selection causes all kinds of debate on these forums. Each brand has supporters, and each major manufacturer of tow vehicles makes something that could handle your trailer. The debate will likely focus on 3/4 ton vs. 1 ton, and gas vs. diesel.

If you tow in the mountains, the diesel is a nice option because of the torque and the engine braking. That said, it’s more expensive than the gasoline trucks, and it’s heavier, reducing payload.

If it were me buying a truck for that trailer, I’d buy a GMC Denali with a Duramax diesel. I’d probably get the 1 ton, but the 3/4 ton would do the job.

Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2022, 09:36 AM   #3
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Genie,

Tough topic, it has many considerations. I'll just off what I'm towing my 2007 Classic Slide Out with. A 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins with an ARE cap. Yup a bit older. I bought it new pre Airstream Slide Out ownership. Only do over would be get long bed not short bed like I bought.

But YOUR needs and style are YOURS. I carry a bit of extra gear, cooking stuff and tools.

Todays market, I'm not in touch with but once I hit cruising speed the Cummins yawns and says enjoy the view I've got it from here. Currently 225K miles on it.

A side topic I looked and didn't see that you found the Slide Out Society, here's the link. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f36...ry-159166.html

Safe travels,

Gary
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:26 AM   #4
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Tow vehicle

Thanks Dennis and Gary,

Our Airstream has been starcrossed from Day One. Big delay from company doing renovations, and then a near-death experience while towing. We now have a Pro Pride hitch and t seems great. We have hardly gone anywhere because of multiple problems. Also I have a really basic question: If the Airstream weighs 10,000 pounds and the truck weighs another several thousand, do we need towing capacity of the total weight of trailer and truck?

I sure don't want a dually!

thanks again,
Genie
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:33 AM   #5
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You don’t need a dually.

The total weight of the truck and the trailer is limited by the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). The truck manufacturer will publish a limit for GCWR.

Maximum towing capacity considers the weight of the trailer alone. It is one of several ratings/limits to consider when selecting a tow vehicle. Others include maximum tongue weight, payload, axle ratings (GAWR) for front and rear axles, etc.

You should obviously do your homework and verify the numbers, but most modern 3/4 ton or 1 ton trucks should easily handle your Airstream.
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:39 AM   #6
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You could buy a 3/4 ton or 1 ton van too, if thatís more your style. GMC offers some nice options. They arenít as expensive as trucks and they offer excellent capacity. I know a couple of people who have had Explorer Van conversions done to GMC 2500 or 3500 vans. Theyíre very comfortable and they are great tow vehicles.
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:39 AM   #7
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This is so helpful. Thank you very much. You can see what newbies we are!!! Thanks again.
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:46 AM   #8
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While there are POTENTIALLY a lot of factors here, I think there is only one real choice:

1 Ton pickup with Diesel

I personally would go full length bed here, and I would get the extended range tank.

Why?

Refueling long rigs on regular gas is a total PITA, and you have to do it a lot due to the lower MPG you get on gas. You REALLY want to be able to use truck lanes to fuel.

That means you have a diesel, which then lowers your payload by almost 800lbs.

With such a big trailer, you a gonna need to go to 1 ton for the payload to be able to handle the tongue weight.
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Old 03-14-2022, 10:46 AM   #9
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The slide-out Airstreams are bit heavier on the tongue weight. Aside from 'tow rating', you really want to watch the payload rating. If you travel light, it might not be as big of a deal, but if you want to put a cap on the bed of the truck and haul stuff in the bed (generator, bikes, etc.), in addition to what the trailer's tongue weighs, you may be glad of having 'enough' payload capacity. Also, while most people automatically think diesel, sometimes the diesel will have a lower payload than the same truck w/ a gas engine.
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Old 03-14-2022, 12:15 PM   #10
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Iíll be contrary here and go against the 1 ton and long bed recommendations. If the payload numbers work out for you for a 3/4 ton, there are advantages to that over the 1 ton. They typically ride better and in many places the registration is less. A lot of rules come into effect when you go over 10,000 lbs GVWR. 3/4 ton trucks are typically right at that number for a reason. In reality they are the identical truck to the 1 ton, but with a slightly softer suspension and an official GVWR sticker not exceeding 10,000 lbs.
A long bed also makes navigating a lot of places difficult to impossible. A short bed will fit in a standard parking spot. A long bed wonít (without overhanging a lot, which may or may not be an issue depending where you are). We can drive our short bed downtown in cities with no trouble and parallel park or use parking garages with no issue (except sometimes height). Iíd say 70% of the parking we use in cities would be impossible with a long bed. A short bed tows perfectly, so a longer wheelbase is unnecessary to improve towing. The only real advantage of a long bed is being able to haul more stuff in the bed. We spend months at a time on the road and havenít even filled our short bed. We have a generator, gas can, diesel can, several water jugs, fire pit, 20lb propane bottle, stroller, bike, ladder, outdoor rug, beach supplies, and a couple of totes of miscellaneous junk and still have space left over. I donít know what else Iíd want to bring where Iíd need a long bed.
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Old 03-14-2022, 12:40 PM   #11
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Thank you for that information, AKNate. We are learning a lot and I appreciate your info. We were just having the 1/2 vs 1 ton discussion!

thank you
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Old 03-14-2022, 01:53 PM   #12
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Go to your Chevy or GMC dealer and order up a 2500 or 3500, your choice, either will do the job for you, Express or Savana Passenger Van. You get a Honken 6.6lt V8, Heavy Duty 6 speed automatic. You can go right down the option list and chose what you want. Rated to tow just under 10k LBS and you will have a huge 2500 LBS or higher cargo capacity. Take out the 2 back bench seats, that leaves seating for 4 people, and you now have another 300 LBS cargo capacity. Tow monster. Get the standard wheelbase, my choice, or extended. You chose. Now, the best part is that it will cost you less than $50k out the door.

400+ Horsepower, 400+ LB FT Torque. Tough, proven combo that can take a beating and come back for more. Gives one pause for thought, eh.

A Silver colored one would look great pulling your AS.
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Old 03-14-2022, 06:11 PM   #13
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Thanks so much. We will go look at one asap
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Old 03-14-2022, 06:53 PM   #14
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Genie, congratulations on your Airstream and a slide-out to boot!

There are many threads on the AirForums about tow vehicles. I suggest using the Search function and read through some of them. It really comes down to your needs and budget.

A diesel will tow effortlessly but will cost about $10K more than a comparable gas truck. Also, the payload will be about 900 lbs. less than a gas truck. Thatís why youíll see recommendations to go to a 1 ton when you choose Diesel. Diesel trucks also have higher maintenance costs (fuel filters every 10K miles, more expensive oil changes, plus DEF fluid consumption). None are deal breakers but you need to understand the total cost of ownership.

If you choose gas, any of the ďBig ThreeĒ manufacturers have good options. We chose a RAM 2500 6.4 gas because it has rear coil springs (smoother ride) and almost 3000 lbs payload, more than enough for any Airstream.

We were able to take the $10K a Diesel would have cost and apply it towards towing safety features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Braking etc. While not required, they make towing that much safer.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 03-15-2022, 12:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
Go to your Chevy or GMC dealer and order up a 2500 or 3500, your choice, either will do the job for you, Express or Savana Passenger Van. You get a Honken 6.6lt V8, Heavy Duty 6 speed automatic. You can go right down the option list and chose what you want. Rated to tow just under 10k LBS and you will have a huge 2500 LBS or higher cargo capacity. Take out the 2 back bench seats, that leaves seating for 4 people, and you now have another 300 LBS cargo capacity. Tow monster. Get the standard wheelbase, my choice, or extended. You chose. Now, the best part is that it will cost you less than $50k out the door.

400+ Horsepower, 400+ LB FT Torque. Tough, proven combo that can take a beating and come back for more. Gives one pause for thought, eh.

A Silver colored one would look great pulling your AS.
Or do a search on Craigs List. I picked up this 2015 Express 3500 15 passenger van for $4000 below blue book. 6.0, 6 spd automatic and 80,000 miles. 3000 lbs payload. No waiting for months for delivery of a new one. I removed the rear three seats and kept one bench. Removed the interior panels and stuffed every opening with sound deadener and Havelock wool for insulation. Tows my 25' FC with ease.
And its silver!
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Old 03-16-2022, 07:19 PM   #16
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What kind of fuel mileage do you get and at what average speed on the road ? Thanks
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Old 03-16-2022, 07:35 PM   #17
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Or do a search on Craigs List. I picked up this 2015 Express 3500 15 passenger van for $4000 below blue book. 6.0, 6 spd automatic and 80,000 miles. 3000 lbs payload. No waiting for months for delivery of a new one. I removed the rear three seats and kept one bench. Removed the interior panels and stuffed every opening with sound deadener and Havelock wool for insulation. Tows my 25' FC with ease.
And its silver!
Great looking rig!
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Old 03-16-2022, 07:52 PM   #18
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I would check out tfltruck.com. They do reviews on trucks. You can search their towing tests for specific trucks. For example do a search for Ford F250 7.3 liter gauntlet test, and you will typically get a comparison with that against another pickup in a towing test. They also talk about interior comforts, etc. Good resource.

This really depends upon how much you are going to be out on the road and where you will spend most of your time towing. If I were in the mountains all the time, I would probably go with a diesel because of the jake braking. If I was mostly on flatlands or slight grades most of the time I would go with a gas. But don’t let the gas discourage you from going into the mountains. Many many have done so just fine.

The downside with diesel is fuel and maintenance costs. The upside is greater power. Diesels also have less payload than gas.

If I were going with a gas with a 3/4 ton I would check out the F250 with the 7.3 liter. It’s a beast of a gas engine.

I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Big 3. Pros and cons to all of them.

The big issue with vans for me would be lack of 4WD. But that’s because I live in WI and need 4WD often for snow conditions.
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Old 03-16-2022, 08:41 PM   #19
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What kind of fuel mileage do you get and at what average speed on the road ? Thanks
From the Van's computer MPG readout
With loaded trailer in tow at 55-60 mph - 11 mpg
No trailer at 70 mph - 20.5 mpg

Same as my 2006 half ton crew cab Silverado with the 5.3 engine
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Old 03-16-2022, 09:36 PM   #20
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Greetings Genie! When you buy the turbo-Cummins powered Ram 2500 crew cab, don't forget you'll need to swap the 2" drop we modified for the E350 and get the 2.5" for your stinger. I'll be happy to roll down and set-up the ProPride for the taller truck...just ask Jim to grab some coffee on the way as usual...Mark
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