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Old 10-05-2011, 01:12 PM   #21
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Port Orchard , Washington
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Originally Posted by easplund View Post
The greater hitch weights of the Airstreams seems to me to be the bigger problem. They are much greater than 10% of trailer weight, and a lot of tow capacity ratings are specified using that 10% metric.

Looking at the specs on, I am guessing you are comparing unit base weight to the Hitch weight( w.o LP options water or Cargo).

When you are towing your Airstream to use it, neither of those numbers has much significance. Under actual use you have a great deal of control over what percentage the hitch weight is of the total weight, by how you to choose to load the trailer. Where you put the heaviest items etc. If you feel you have too much hitch weight, move heavier items toward the rear. On our trailer for instance, most of the storage is in the rear of the trailer, so when we use it the actual hitch weight percentage will go down if we don't take care with what goes where.

Now, if you use a weight distribution hitch as many do, then that is a whole different set of calculations.

This is why published numbers are misleading and why accurate scale weights of both truck axles and the trailer are necessary to keep within the safe limits when fully loaded. I am not saying to weigh it every time you tow it. Just weigh it once as you typically tow it. From there you can intutively figure out what differences minor changes will cause.

My understanding is that current towing advice says from 10% to 15% and it is better to be a little high than any low.

Since you will select a tow vehicle that can tow your trailer fully loaded, it does not matter what percentage (within reason) the hitch weight is when the trailer is empty as long as it is above 10%.

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Old 10-05-2011, 01:28 PM   #22
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It is funny how technology has gotten better as far as strength to weight ratios but the trailers are heavier. I think a lot of it maybe the use of particle board instead of plywood and maybe also the use of actual wood cabinets similar to what is in your kitchen at home. The older trailers had laun plywood and tambour cabinet doors which was very light compared to conventional wood cabinet contruction. Corian counter tops etc are heavy. The other ironic thing is tow vehicles are getting smaller and less able to carry heavy loads. Once the 2500 Suburbans are gone, you are stuck with a full size pickup. The newer trailers are nice but there is a price. I am sure older trailers rebuilt to modern standards are much heavier as well.

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Old 10-05-2011, 02:01 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
If you really want light, you can go back even farther. The stated OEM weight of our 1959 Pacer 18' model was 2130 lbs. But it only had- a bed, sofa, sink, stove, fridge, closet, and toilet. Imagine that...
Yeah--our 1960 Pacer 16 footer only weighed 1760 pounds gross. But no shower, no A/C, no microwave--not even an oven, just the stove top. Fifteen gallon fresh water tank, 7 gallon black tank, and no gray tank. And as it came from the factory, no coach battery. (We added one.) We enjoyed traveling in the Pacer for several years, but wanted a few more creature comforts, so we snapped up the1980 Caravelle when some friends decided to sell it.

And, very significantly, I never noticed any difference in towing mileage between the two trailers. Our 1994 half ton pickup truck got 19-20 MPG not towing (overdrive engaged) but only 10 MPG towing either trailer (overdrive disengaged). I think the air resistance is more significant than the weight in most situations.

Conversely our 2009 half ton pickup truck also gets 19-20 MPG when not towing, but 12-14 MPG towing either trailer. In the 2009 you don't disengage the overdrive when towing, you push a button to tell the computer you are towing. It juggles the transmission shift points and who knows what else, resulting in a significant improvement in towing mileage.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:23 PM   #24
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Streamline used all-aluminum cabinetry. No rot, adds structural strength -- rivetted in place, no screws, no staples -- and weighs a great deal less than alternative materials. Sad it wasn't/isn't used by other trailer makers.

A/S is too heavy compared to what it should be. There's no way a 9,000-lb trailer of this design (semi-monococque) is a good idea without a complete re-design. I had "difficulty" getting our '34 Silver Streak much above 7k loaded heavy for full-timing.

Weight is it's own penalty after awhile. Aerodynamics means more outside of mountainous terrain and stop-n-go, but there is a reasonable limit somewhere for what should constitute a high end travel trailer, IMO.

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Old 10-08-2011, 10:05 AM   #25
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Cobourg , Ontario
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It's not just the trailers. Believe it or not a brand new Ford Taurus weights more than a 1964 Ford Galaxie, 427 V8 and all.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:38 AM   #26
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Got a question on 25' from the trailer weights pdf. of Airslide. What is the difference between a 25A and a 25B?
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:29 AM   #27
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Interesting thread! I read this some time ago, and reread it again just now. In our case, gross weight is less of an issue that carrying capacity, since we're looking at a full-time coach. We'll buy a truck for a tow vehicle if we decide on an Airstream.

As far as the tambour door, Corian countertops, etc., those are individual taste questions. Someone who has the money to order a new coach should be able to equip it with lightweight items or heavier ones according to their own tastes. Those of us who buy used coaches either take what's there or keep looking.

Personally, I like the tambour doors, not because they are lighter, but because they don't try to close automatically when my hand is in the way. I wonder how hard it would be to put them on a coach that has the auto-close cabinet doors, and how much weight would actually be saved.
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