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Chriscar 02-22-2006 11:07 AM

New A/S family member
Hello everyone.. My wife Lori and I have just purchased a 1981 31' International trailer. It's in great shape, just needs some cleaning, polishing and general maintenance done. We had a 1978 25' Coachman trailer and were looking to buy a new 5th wheel; the kind you see at the RV shows, brand new, no character, all look alike and expensive. We were fortunate to come across our new "home" and got a great deal on it, as the older couple could no longer travel in their "Silver Palace" due to age. We not only got a new A/S, we also made some new friends. I need some information on an appropriate tow vehicle, a p/u truck. Happy to be a part of this family. Thanks Chris

juel 02-22-2006 11:53 AM

Welcome to the forum. You are about to get more information on tow vehicles than you can digest. The guys on this forum are always happy to help with information on tow vehicles. I pull my 24ft 1978 Argosy with a new Toyota Tundra,V8, with towing package. It works great for my trailer but I suspect you will need more for your 31ft. You've made a great decision on the trailer, now just sit back and wait for information on that tow vehicle.

azflycaster 02-22-2006 12:01 PM

I tow a 25' Tradewind with my 2003 V8 Tundra 4x4, but I am now thinking about the 2007 Tundra.

ZoominC6 02-22-2006 12:03 PM

Welcome Chris and Lori. Get ready for all the good advice on tow vehicles and once digested you'll either be very well educated or very confused. Just kidding. The best advice I can give is; once you've read everything and absorbed it all, get a little more than you need rather than the other way around if at all possible. A little more HP, a little more wheelbase and a little more torque. Have fun out there and we'll look forward to seeing you somewhere across our great country. Wave. :flowers:

Condoluminum 02-22-2006 12:10 PM

Welcome and Congrats!
Juel is Sooo right... There are several "search-able" threads, and you can start your own learning by inserting the phrase tow vehicle into search field in upper right on blue bar (only available to registered forum members.)

You'll get Chevy-Ford-Dodge advice, Japanese v. US advice, old v. new advice, safety warnings, suggestions to ignore maufacturers specs, etc etc... Part of fun of being here :rolleyes:

Since your message so fresh, I can't resist urge to get off to good start... Herewith my personal criteria.. (though since you already have truck and had trailer, you might afford to be patient...)

1. For that length and weight, try for 3/4 ton truck or Suburban/Excursion type with long wheelbase and solid chassis. Pickups with covers make better places to haul generators, chairs, etc, while closed bodies are better for hauling extra people. Depends on your needs.
2. V-8 Engine should be rated at 250hp or better, many would argue diesels with more torque even better.
3. If you can't verify factory towing package, be ready to check and add transmission cooler, as transmission and engine cooling are usual weak links.
4. With high gas prices, there are LOTS of late model trucks and Suburbans on market cheap! I'd seriously consider previously owned models.. (Here in CA you can buy V-8 Excursions with tow/4.10 rear ends for ~ $15K, and late 90's 3/4 ton Suburbans for much less than $10K)
5. Even in new market, GM and Ford financial problems are causing truck prices to drop, and great deals are being offered.. GM is also trying to rollover Suburban and Tahoe/Yukon to new "2007" models, leaving lots of unloved 2005 and 2006 models in inventory.

John McG

GStephens 02-22-2006 12:23 PM

Welcome to the Forum. You'll find a very supportive group here; especially if you run into questions about the repair or maintenance of your trailer.
Chris you will find a wealth of opinion here on the forum as to what the best tow vehicle for your particular trailer might be. There will be folks who prefer Dodge or Chevy or Ford products over everything else. There will be folks who will try and tell you that you don't even need a pickup in order to tow this particular trailer. Others will have opinions as to what brand of hitch and what size of bars should be employed with your hitch. Sit back and take it all in before making up your mind.
As for me, I pull an '82 Limited 31'. Weights for our two units should be similar though mine might be a few pounds heavier than yours when unloaded. For all practical purposes they will be very similar. I tow with a 2004 F-250 Crew Cab 4x4 Diesel with a short bed and stock Load Range E rated tires. My Equalizer hitch has 1000 pound bars. With this combination, I tow with relative ease throughout the Rocky Mountains and here in Texas. I enjoy adequate power to pull the trailer and seem to have plenty of braking when I need it. Still, even with this much power and wheelbase, it is not perfect. I used to pull with a 1996 F-350 Crew Cab Dually Diesel in two wheel drive and with a long bed. The hitch and trailer continues to be the same. Only the truck now differs. I don't know whether it is the loss 18" in wheel base or due to the dual tires, but with the old truck, everything was very, very stable and quite enjoyable. There was never any sway at all. With the current vehicle, while I don't experience actual sway, it seems to road walk quite a bit on certain stretches of pavement. I can't just point this truck down the road and relax. I now have to drive it constantly making slight adjustments in steering. It is sort of like driving with the front axle tow slightly being out of line and it isn't.
What I'm saying to you is that from my experience, the size of the tow vehicle does make a decided difference in how relaxed you can be in driving from point A to point B. That in turn affects how tired you are at the end of the day and how much you enjoy the experience of towing. While I am not advocating that you go out and purchase a one ton dually, I am suggesting that you purchase as much truck as you can afford and one with as long a wheel base as you feel you can handle. I understand that depending upon where you live and who all must drive your tow vehicle when it is not being used as a tow vehicle, wheel base length can become an issue when trying to find a parking space, but from a pure towing experience, the longer the better and the bigger the better up to a point.
There are some who suggest that you can damage a trailer by pulling it behind a one ton truck because most have such heavy suspensions. This may well be true. In my case, with my old truck in that configuration, I never experienced any damage after years of using it. The suspension in that truck actually rode (rides) smoother than the 3/4 ton. I still own both trucks. The big truck just handles and rides better than the shorter one.
Hope this helps. If you have specific questions, there will be many here willing to answer your questions. I don't pretend to have all of the answers to towing even though I pull some type of trailer most every day here on the ranch. I just felt I should share my experiences. I bought the smaller truck because plan to travel a lot more and I wanted a new truck for that. Also, my wife felt intimidated in the other truck and would not often drive it. Finally, I bought it because even after two years of using the one ton truck with no apparent issues, the general advice was that we should use a lighter truck to pull these trailers. Having listened to the advice, I can tell you that in my experience, I now wish I'd have bought something similar to what I originally had for pulling my 31'.

Chaplain Kent 02-23-2006 11:24 AM

Welcome to the forums and the world of Airstream. I am sure you know that you made many more friends that you have not met yet. Airstream's tend to attract attention wherever you camp and when you meet a fellow Airstreamer they will likely be instant friends.
My suggestion for a tow vehicle would be any of the Ford diesels. Nice comfortable and quiet.

joewinfield 02-24-2006 04:24 PM

Welcome Chris...sound like you found the right trailer for you...I have a AS mh but tow a heavy 3 horse trailer with my Nissan Titan...I love it and it does a great job...has a tow package that includes the ability to change shift points on the transmisson....305 hp, 17' wheels etc...check one out...joe...

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