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Old 07-14-2009, 06:25 PM   #1
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Need best tow vehicle for my Airstream

Man there is just way too much information out there on towing vehicles, capacities, etc. It's all over the place. Can you suggest what type and size of vehicle will be needed to tow a typical 30' Airstream? I know its all over the place because the Airstream weights vary so much over the years. I'm looking for a happy medium. I'm planning to be a fulltimer in my Airstream. Just looking for ideas, information. I do not own my first Airstream yet but I am definitely looking. I'm thinking a vintage Airstream in good condition may be the way to go. Will a USED 1/2 ton Chevy Suburban with heavy duty tow pkg do the job? Any opinions on gas vs diesel? Will I need extra equipment on the truck? Do I need a truck? Will a Suburban or SUV get ti done? Now I know this sounds crazy because there are so many variables. Gotta start somewhere huh? Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
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Here we go again...LOL

If you already have the Burb....try it, and go from there.

Get a quality WD hitch with sway control that you can transfer to a new TV if needed.

Burbs are good, we like 'em.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:58 PM   #3
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Yep, here we go again!

Like Robert said, if you already have a Suburban, try it and see how it does, or check the towing capacity and compare to the trailer you want.

If you don't have a tow vehicle, decide first what trailer you want, and use the gross weight to figure the tow vehicle capacity you will need. If I were doing it that way, I would take the weight of the trailer, and put in a safety factor of an additional 25%.

The rest of the decisions about a vehicle are yours to make. Have fun, and good luck.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:06 PM   #4
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Honestly, we have gone over & over & over this on the forums, so there is an awful lot of good information for you here. Just start searching. You'll do fine.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:11 PM   #5
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Many kinds and types of vehicles will work.

What are you interested in?

Handling and performance?

Large interior with big payload capacity?

Comfortable ride?

Fuel economy towing and solo?

etc.... Go with a vehicle that suits your needs and turns you on.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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If you don't have a tow vehicle, decide first what trailer you want, and use the gross weight to figure the tow vehicle capacity you will need.
That's really the first step: buy the dang trailer! Assuming you like having a trailer, chances are you will have several tow vehicles over the time period that you own the same trailer.

psst: and if you get an older one, you don't need some big honking truck.

Ask yourself if you would drive a truck by choice if you didn't need to?
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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That's right: buy the trailer first. When I bought mine, I didn't have a tow vehicle! Had to leave it with the sellers for several weeks. A half ton 'Burb will tow lots of Airstreams just fine WITH A PROPER HITCH, properly set up! Older Airstreams are a lot lighter, so if you go vintage, it'll be easier to tow. The other thing to consider if you're gonna' full time, is how to carry along all the "other" stuff you'll want to have with you. Simply put, larger vehicles haul more stuff.

There are lots of threads on this and similar topics on here, so spend a few days reading and it will pay off.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:23 PM   #8
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think about it

There are many things you will be carrying with you to support the life style....do you want to share your vehicle interior space with that stuff?
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:56 PM   #9
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How used a Suburban? A 1960? I think they go back to the '30's at least. What shape is it in and what engine? Does it have a tow package? The others are right, choose the trailer first because you'll be living in it, but hopefully if you already have the right TV, all the better because it means less money spent.

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Old 07-15-2009, 01:41 PM   #10
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Need best tow vehicle for my Airstream

Greetings aaastircrazy!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaastircrazy View Post
Man there is just way too much information out there on towing vehicles, capacities, etc. It's all over the place. Can you suggest what type and size of vehicle will be needed to tow a typical 30' Airstream? I know its all over the place because the Airstream weights vary so much over the years. I'm looking for a happy medium. I'm planning to be a fulltimer in my Airstream. Just looking for ideas, information. I do not own my first Airstream yet but I am definitely looking. I'm thinking a vintage Airstream in good condition may be the way to go. Will a USED 1/2 ton Chevy Suburban with heavy duty tow pkg do the job? Any opinions on gas vs diesel? Will I need extra equipment on the truck? Do I need a truck? Will a Suburban or SUV get ti done? Now I know this sounds crazy because there are so many variables. Gotta start somewhere huh? Thanks for your feedback.
For a Vintage Airstream (or Argosy for that matter), even a 30 footer, a properly equipped C or K 2500 Suburban should be an excellent tow vehicle. I special ordered my '99 K2500 Suburban in February 1998 with the 7400 VORTEC, 4.10 differential gearing, and heavy duty trailer tow package. The truck is rated to tow up to 10,000 pounds. My Suburban is now up to nearly 200,000 miles and has proven to be an excellent tow vehicle. I just returned from the WBCCI International Rally in Madison, WI -- my overall MPG for 1,200 miles was 11 MPG.

Regarding the gasoline vs. diesel, my suggestion would be consider which power source you are most familiar with. For me, the diesel brings back memories of the one and only farm tractor that we had with a diesel and each of those memories were bad -- so I went with the 7400 VORTEC gasoline and have been totally satisfied. I also have a regular mechanic who is excellent with gasoline engines but would rather not deal with diesels.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:50 PM   #11
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Ask yourself if you would drive a truck by choice if you didn't need to?
Interesting comment!

I am fairly new to trucks and now driving my second one. Truth to tell I love it, although I will admit it can be a handful to park at the mall. My solution to that is not to bother trying to find a spot close to the door and just go get an end spot at the edge of the carpark! The extra walk doesn't do me any harm!

I will be very sorry if/when I get out of RV'ing and no longer have a reasonable justification to own a truck, it is so handy (my neighbours agree!).
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:26 PM   #12
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I went the opposite route, I bought a tow vehicle that would handle anything i might buy, than I bought my airstream. My choice was an f250 PSD crewcab. it seats 6 and hauls my 28' safari like its not even back there. Now that I have the truck i cannot imagine going back to a SUV or car. Although the MPG isn't anything to brag about, it gets 11.7 empty or hauling, 20 mph or 100 mph. What ever you buy you will need a good hitch and a brake controller. If you buy an airstream from a dealer do yourself a favor and buy and install the hitch yourself, mine was set up by one of equalizer's top dealers ( according to equalizer ) and it was all wrong.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:48 PM   #13
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There are probably two SUV's that will tow the 30' with no problems as far as GVW goes.

The suburban you have, and the new Sequoia that will pull 9800 lbs. I have this one. My friend has a 3/4 ton suburban with the 8.1 litter. I have pulled his 28' safari no problem. newer one..

If you are full timing and don't mind the truck. I would get a 3/4 ton diesel.

The two half ton trucks I would use are the new F150 or Tundra, But the 3/4 ton would give all the power and stability you need.

With the 3/4 ton you would never have to worry about the load or weight.....
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:59 PM   #14
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You'll find there were many years with no 30's, but plenty of 29's and 31's. Weights in the 60's with a fair amount of stuff would be 6,000+, but decades later, 10,000 lbs. So, how old? It makes a big difference in the answer.

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Old 07-15-2009, 05:48 PM   #15
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do yourself a favor and buy and install the hitch yourself, mine was set up by one of equalizer's top dealers ( according to equalizer ) and it was all wrong.
So there isn't a single dealer out there that can install one correctly because you had a bad experience? BUT, it's so simple anyone can do it. Seriously?
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:15 PM   #16
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Ford F-250 Diesel - nothing more to say.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:36 PM   #17
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You have almost the same trailer as I do. Mine's a '71, 31' Sovereign... I'm a younger female, and I live in "Bullet" by myself. I've heard there's a cool Airstream park in Santa Barbara, CA that accepts long term stays from younger people so I'm thinking of heading there in the Spring. I'm looking for a good tow vehicle. I really don't need or want a truck unless it's the only thing that will do the job (TX to CA). If you don't mind me asking, what do you use?

Thanx,
J


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
That's really the first step: buy the dang trailer! Assuming you like having a trailer, chances are you will have several tow vehicles over the time period that you own the same trailer.

psst: and if you get an older one, you don't need some big honking truck.

Ask yourself if you would drive a truck by choice if you didn't need to?
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:39 PM   #18
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Everybody has an opinion. Mine: Altho I am using an 4WD F-150 extended cab, I would rather an 4WD F-250 or 350 with a huge Crew cab. The large back seat area for carrying clean stuff, and the bed, covered with a shell for the dirty stuff. Central to our needs is 2 Honda 2000 generators, and I wouldn't want them in the passenger compartment. 4WD is useless until you need it, then its worth every penny. I like the idea of a big vehicle loafing rather than a little vehicle struggling. Others disagree and have valid points, I never argue.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jennthevexer View Post
You have almost the same trailer as I do. Mine's a '71, 31' Sovereign... I'm a younger female, and I live in "Bullet" by myself. I've heard there's a cool Airstream park in Santa Barbara, CA that accepts long term stays from younger people so I'm thinking of heading there in the Spring. I'm looking for a good tow vehicle. I really don't need or want a truck unless it's the only thing that will do the job (TX to CA). If you don't mind me asking, what do you use?

Thanx,
J
Hi Jenn, and welcome to Airforums! It's no secret, it's right in my profile. We pull Henri (our Airstream) with a 2007 Ford Freestar Sport, which has a 4.2L V6 engine. It was set up by CanAm RV in London, Ontario and is a joy to drive. I mention CanAm because with this rig, I wanted to be sure that what I was doing was carefully performed by an Airstream dealer that believed it was a good setup. It was actually CanAm's President, Andrew Thomson, that recommended the Freestar to me. Andy is a member here, by the way.

Anyway, we put over 4,000 miles on Henri the Sov in our first trip from home here in Canada to Georgia to see my brother, the Florida Panhandle to get some beach, then down to The Villages, FL to see my wife's sister and her husband.

The only thing that went wrong on that trip was the the water heater sprang a leak and had to be replaced. Boy, was that annoying!

The trip begins more or less with this post:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...tml#post834702

There are lots of photos of Henri and the Freestar in that story.

You may find that the choice of a TV (tow vehicle) is one that seems to engender strong reactions here. Don't be offended by folks' fervour in this regard, they do generally mean well, and we are all entitled to our opinions.

CanAm always has a number of actual setups of what they recommend in TVs with Airstreams on hand, ready for their customers to test drive. I don't know how many other dealers do this, but it sure helped my wife and I to make up our minds on what we wanted.

Good luck, and keep asking questions!
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:59 PM   #20
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Jenn

Welcome to the forum. Here are some thoughts for you.

If you don't want a truck maybe an older Suburban, even one with high mileage that has done lots of towing, would be good for you since it would not be very expensive. If you are not going to be towing much you don't need a high dollar, low mileage tow vehicle.

If you want something newer, a 2008 or newer Toyota Sequiah with the 5.7L motor is a very good TV.

I second Aage's recommendation about CanAm. They are the best people to talk to. They will steer you straight.

Maybe you don't need or want to buy a TV if you will be living long term in CA. Just hire a professional to tow your Airstream to California.

Good luck, Dan
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