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SharonF 08-22-2018 11:08 AM

Purchasing New 27' Tommy Bahama and Need Some Advice
We are trading in our 19 foot for a 27'. A few questions we need assistance with:

>We purchased the Nano coating with our 19 foot. We are considering saving the $$'s and waxing on our own if it is only a few times a year. Any thoughts?

>Is the extended warranty worth it? Also purchased with the 19 foot as it was our first Airstream. With only a year's experience, thoughts on whether we would typically need the coverage or should we self-insure and take the risk?

>Will a Ford F150 3.5 V6 with Ecoboost be good as a tow vehicle? (Sadly we will have to sell our red Porsche Cayenne which looks nice pulling our 19 foot!)

>Our last decision is solar or generator. May have a few instances where we want the air when off grid but not sure if the solar would be easier and on those instances we just sweat it out!

Any help greatly appreciated!!

PKI 08-22-2018 11:43 AM

Congratulations on the new coach.

Solar is difficult to run AC, but folks are making progress. The cost effective solution for AC is a generator. They make noise, so a combination of solar for those times you can make do without AC and either FHU or a generator when you can not. Note - there are better solar solutions than the OEM components. The suitcase solutions are quite good.

Warranty is a personal choice. If you have to borrow to pay for it, skip it. If you have no DIY skills, maybe not so fast on the decline. The real value is that the extended warranty gives the dealer leverage to keep your coach repaired without hammering you. The more they can do for you, the more you will pay them to do. So figure out how you want to keep thing working. A warranty is a prepay you may not ever use. Not always good idea.

Coating - yes, if you are willing to wax two to three times a year, no nano coat is needed. This is another "if you have to borrow to get" don't do it. Anyone can wax a coach. Use good quality wax and do it often. If you are paying cash for all, maybe you would rather nano-coat and go camping. However, a wash wax now and then is a good idea anyway. Personally, I'd like to have a rig nano-coated on the exterior (not the interior), but only by a quality installer. That may be worth your investigation.

There is also a consideration with respect your plan. You have tried it and like it. Now you are moving up. If this is your last coach, you will make different decisions than if you plan to go bigger later.

The warranty issue parallels this thought process. If something fails, an upgrade might be better than a replacement. We are not happy with the Microwave that replaced the original. We would really like to upgrade and likely will at some point in time.

Good luck with your consideration. Pat

The truck - folks like them and they are quite capable for an Airstream. Just do the research and get one with the right options to tow your new coach. But why give up the Porsche? Is it a base model or are you not willing to modify? Do some research - maybe, maybe not.

Squire 08-22-2018 01:03 PM

27' Tommy Bahama
I also want to say congratulations on your new coach!

My quick comments are:

1) I choose to wax my Tommy Bahama.

2) Our dealer included the Forever Warranty (I understand I still paid for it, just as I did the Equalizer hitch that was free with every trailer).

3) We pull with a 2017 HD2500 Diesel Silverado. Overkill most of the time, but, when we get there, the mountains are no trouble! Stopping is great, too!

4) We opted for the factory roof solar. I know we paid more and got less. However, I didn't know when I was going to be able to get a better system installed. Also, my batteries are always good to go out of storage.

You didn't ask, but we decided not to do either, the convection/microwave oven or the power awning options.

Fly Navy, Beat Army

uncle_bob 08-22-2018 01:14 PM


My thoughts:

1) Forget about the coating, it's not worth the money.

2) The warranty is very much not worth the money. There are probably a hundred threads here talking about "not covered by warranty" issues.

3) The F250-ish size truck is a popular choice. The F-150 with the right set of packages on it is able to handle the trailer. It's very much a choice of "how much extra margin" you want to have. Also it's a matter of how much "stuff" you put in the truck (in addition to towing the trailer).

4) Solar and generators are looked at together but really are two different things. One does not do what the other does. Generator is great for running your AC. Solar is a winner for keeping batteries charged in outdoor storage. Which is best for you depends a lot on how you do things.

5) I'd go for the power awning you didn't ask about .... much more convenient.


SharonF 08-22-2018 02:54 PM

Thanks!! One more quick question, do we need 2 AC units on the 27 foot??

uncle_bob 08-22-2018 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146274)
Thanks!! One more quick question, do we need 2 AC units on the 27 foot??


When you go to two AC units, you go from 30A to 50A electrical service. We call it 50A, but in terms of usable 120V current, it's really 100A. ( = it's a lot more power). It's tough to use to much power on a 30A trailer. It's essentially impossible to turn to many things on in a 50A trailer.

If you will be camping in the hot part of the country in the summer, you want two AC units. One of the situations you get in is arriving at a campsite at 2PM (after being on the road for 6 or 8 hours). You then want to chill down the trailer. That's *much* easier to do with two AC's.


wulfraat 08-22-2018 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146174)
>We purchased the Nano coating with our 19 foot. We are considering saving the $$'s and waxing on our own if it is only a few times a year. Any thoughts?

Do not buy the nano coating - not worth it. Don't do it. Clean and wax twice a year you are good.


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146174)
>Is the extended warranty worth it? Also purchased with the 19 foot as it was our first Airstream. With only a year's experience, thoughts on whether we would typically need the coverage or should we self-insure and take the risk?

Extended warranties are never worth it, statistically speaking. Save your $$, don't buy one. If you buy a new 2019 trailer they now come with a 3 year warrantee from the factory.


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146174)
>Will a Ford F150 3.5 V6 with Ecoboost be good as a tow vehicle? (Sadly we will have to sell our red Porsche Cayenne which looks nice pulling our 19 foot!)

Maybe. Many will say yes, many will say no. Many many threads on this topic. You will want to use the search function - there are many things to take into consideration, unfortunately it is not a simple yes or no answer.


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146174)
>Our last decision is solar or generator. May have a few instances where we want the air when off grid but not sure if the solar would be easier and on those instances we just sweat it out!

Start with a generator. That is your least cost option for boondocking and will allow you to determine how much power you need when off grid. A Genset capable of running your AC is $2,000 bucks. Compare that to a complete Lithium and Solar system capable of running your AC for several hours on a hot day - the cost for that system is $25k-$30k installed.

I have the latter, it's awesome and I never need to be plugged to enjoy all the amenities that come with "always on" 120v power, but you are best to first understand your usage needs before making any investment in solar power generation or lithium energy storage. I boon-docked for 8 years before I really knew what I wanted out of my power system - take your time.

Here is a link if you are interested to see what it takes to put in a true off-grid power system that can handle large continuous loads / demands such as the AirCon.


Originally Posted by SharonF (Post 2146174)
Thanks!! One more quick question, do we need 2 AC units on the 27 foot??

You absolutely want and need 2 ACs. Airstream shouldn't even make this optional on the 27'. A single AC with ducted air will not cool your unit if it is above 85 degrees outside. Buy 2 ACs. The cost to add a second AC after the fact is $11k and requires a trip to the factory to have it done right. The bonus is you get 50A service as Bob points out above - which is a great luxury that you only realize once you have lived with 30amp :)

Squire 08-23-2018 03:18 AM

We opted for two A/Cs on ours. In addition to the quicker cooling capability, having been in aviation, redundancy is a great thing, should one system fail.

Fly Navy, Beat Army

RandyNH 08-23-2018 04:30 AM

Depending upon which dealer you would be using to have warranty repairs done, unless you don't actually plan to use the trailer, you are basically purchasing the option to be without it for extended periods of time. Read around and it seems that 3+months for simple repairs is not uncommon, between the lower reimbursement rate, which my thinking always leads to a "when we get to it" mentality, why give up a higher paying repair, then to corporate repair approval and then parts shipping etc.. with a warranty Airstream is the paying customer, you're just using the trailer.

As to solar, it's such a usage based decision. I wouldn't waste the money on factory though, do it right and actually get the potential out of the system, in the long run, as with everything, doing it right the first time will be less expensive overall. Not counting trying to run the AC, calculate your real world usage and get what you need, don't just get the biggest system you can fit and waste the money, there are better ways to invest it.

Acheron2010 08-23-2018 05:13 AM

My 26 has two ACs. Nice for redundancy, and even to have the forward one running while I relax in the back is good for a bit more noise reduction.
I see many trailers being pulled by 150's. I just wanted the confidence of extra weight, braking power and cargo capacity, so went with the 250.

brick1 08-23-2018 05:33 AM

Get the 50amp/dual A/C.
F150 is capable, but check the payload sticker on the drivers door. May be less than you think. Towing with an F250 Diesel may be overkill, but it is effortless.
Warranty and coatings are dealer profit. Your choice.

uncle_bob 08-23-2018 07:15 AM


One of my favorite "warranty experiences" was while shopping for some odd part at the local Camping World. The guy at the counter was talking loudly into the phone as I tried to find whatever it was. The "conversation" went on for at least 15 minutes. The whole time it consisted of "item number XX on your list - yes, it needs to be fixed. We contacted your warranty provider and it's not a covered repair". Silence for maybe 15 seconds and then a repeat of the same phrase with the next number on the list. I don't recall *any* of the items on the list being covered ....

Apparently "normal wear and tear" covers a *lot* of things .....

I left without the gizmo since it appeared he would be on the phone longer than I was willing to wait. I have no idea how long the conversation had been going when I got there.


quietguy 08-23-2018 09:25 AM

Forget about the factory solar. For less than the money you save by not ordering it, you can buy a generator (or two) AND a portable 160 or 200 watt portable solar panel and still have $1000-$2000 left over!

That’s what I did. No regrets.

Hicks3456 08-23-2018 09:26 AM

In regards to the tow vehicle we pull our 2018 27’ Flying Cloud and it pulls like a dream with the Ford and ECO Boost.

jnm30327 08-23-2018 09:39 AM

Best advice I got about TV was to resist the temptation to buy more than you need. Look at weights and truck tow capacities with maybe a small margin of error. I ended up with a Toyota Tundra V8 with my 27FB Flying Cloud. I have had no problems on interstates or climbing hills.

And keep in mind, if you are like me, the truck will be used for personal transportation when not camping. 1/2 ton trucks get better mileage than 3/4 ton.

gecko 08-23-2018 12:51 PM

We have a 28’ 2009 International Ocean Breeze.

1) The F-150 will do fine if properly equipped and WD tuned. But make sure to check sticker and calc your payload needs. That would be anything in the truck including you guy, plus tongue weight.
2) if you’re not afraid to wash and wax frequently or have somebody good to do it for you, use your nano budget for that. Wax the river line and end of aluminum plates even more often—doesn’t take long to do tgatcrrkatively small area. Always wash and wax immediately before and after leaving salt water areas.
3) after working with our original dealer service department, for the original factory warranty length, we worked out a local warranty with them to our mutual satisfaction. For them, it was a guarantee that we’d return fir service. For us, we knew and liked everyone on the team. We found them reasonable, and they would let us know when they were in over their heads in a mod we requested. Worked great for regular servicing, too.
4) we made the mistake of buying factory solar—don’t. I’m sure they’ve improved it, but still... ours came with minuscule panels, a pretty but useless one stage charger, that we replaced with a BlueSky MPPT, two excellent 12 volt Lifeline AGM glassmats that the dealer immediately sold for us new and replaced with 6v’s (better life) . We couldn’t bear the thought of throwing away the pricey factory tiny panels so ended up losing valuable roof real estate. Our resulting (smallish but adequate) 272 watt rooftop system was augmented with four six volts for a 440 amp battery bank at a reasonable overall cost. Certainly not $25,000!!! But we don’t run AC or micro whilst boondocking. We really hate generators, especially with no pickup bed In which to store it (them?) . Seems when boondocking with our first trailer on crowded beaches, someone would always use a long extension cord to move their generator next to someone else! We just didn’t want to be that person.

But..if you must have AC when boondocking, generators are the smart way to go. Just check your F-150 payload again...��

Suitcase solar is a great way to go if (a) you have a place to store it and (b) you are willing to move it several times a day to follow the sun and are not in windy places like we are.Because roof panels are fixed, they are convenient but do not track for optimum sun angle so you need more to generate the same as a smaller suitcase array that you adjust for max exposure.

4) If weight and cost are not an issue (and when are they not?��) go for two AC’s. The single one we have works well to about 90 ambient temp if you’re smart about it—trees are nice, awnings are critical, firing up early in the day also essential. But if you’re in hot humid places a lot, go for two for sure!

Enjoy your awesome new coach!

Lucy Goosy 08-23-2018 01:28 PM

Congrats to you guys. We purchased the 27' Tommy in May. It has a learning experience that can only come with use.
I pull with a 2016 King Ranch 4x4, eco boost and have not had any problems. The car comes with towing gears and that has been perfect.
Good luck

switz 08-23-2018 04:30 PM

I pulled our 2013 25FB International Serenity to Phoenix from the dealer in Los Angles. The dealer had installed street side and rear awnings, a 155 watt solar panel (totally useless), Centramatic wheel balances, and filled the propane and fresh water tanks. We added the Hensley Arrow hitch head and the Tekinsha Prodigy RF remote wireless controlled brake to the front “A” frame. The literature tongue weight of 833 pounds was now 1,150 pounds. The CanAm reinforced receiver on my 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI V6 turbo diesel had the shortened and slightly bent stinger in the receiver. Had no issues towing at 55mph and climbed the grade on I-10 out of Palm Springs in 4th gear and 3,000 rpm maintaining speed.

After loading the trailer with our stuff and putting all the tools in the back under the street side dinette seat, our tongue weight was back to 1,175 pounds. At 6,900 pounds, the trailer was really too much weight for the ML.

A 2012 2500HD Ram Cummins 4x4 replaced the ML. The Ram is heavily modified and had no issues towing the 25FB and it’s successor our current 2014 31’ Classic that scales 9,200 pounds camping ready. The rig scales over 19,000 lbs with all gear and us aboard. The right truck for the job. My max speed towing is 65mph or lower depending on the listed.

We added a 2015 23D International Serenity that scales 6,028 pounds fully loaded for camping. We tow with the aforementioned ML using the aforementioned Hensley and Tekonsha equipment. I stay at 55 mph max and the ML does a good job towing.

Give CanAm a call in London Ontario CA and Andy Thompson can give you some insights on perhaps towing your trailer with the existing tow vehicle.

TxTravelsUSA 08-23-2018 06:23 PM

2 ACís are a MUST!
Last summer, I purchased the Flying Cloud 27FB with one AC because I wanted to stay in State Parks and many only have 30 Amp. It was a HUGE mistake!

The interior will only cool 10 degrees max over outside temp. That means in Texas from May to Oct, you swelter. I called AS for solutions and was told only solution is to pay $9990 to add second AC unit.

Let my mistake be the cautionary tale and if you buy a 27 be certain to get the 2 ACís.

SharonF 08-23-2018 06:44 PM


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