Tow Vehicle Questions
We're planning to buy a 2002 Ford F-250 Crew Cab pickup with a Power Stroke turbo diesel and pull either a 27 foot Safari or a 28 foot Classic from Texas to North Florida, Southern Geogia, and west to the coast of California.
How well would this rig do in the mountains out west (like Wolf Creek Pass)?
Would dual rear wheels on the truck enhance the stability? Would someone please comment on the Hensley Hitch or other stabilizing hitches.
Also any comments on expected mileage range would be greatly appreciated.
I know it's a very subjective question, but comments are invited on the relative livibility for a few weeks' stay in a trailer park or a several months' odyssey between the Safari 27A and the Classic 28A. We are a retired couple who are not strangers to roughing it in a VW Campmobile, and are looking forward to moving up to first class from steerage.
Lastly, has anyone had good experiences with any trailer parks near St Mary's, Georgia, Pensacola Florida, or San Luis Obispo California. ?
Thanks and God Bless America !!!
Great tow vehicle
We have a '91 turbo Ford crew cab dually E4OD trans and it pulls a 1979 Airstream very nicely. I have pulled the 8300 pound trailer all over with NO difficulties..After '95 the powerstroke can be powered up even more if needed and has the new better transmission. We have been pulling with just a standard ball set up and no equalizer hitch. The brakes are also not connected. Our model trailer has disc brakes, not yet ready for use. With a powerstroke, your trips will be trouble free. We only choose an old truck because of prices of the later stuff and this truck has new engine. I recently replaced trans. With the trailer connected the ride is great, but not loaded the HD suspension is stiff. Propane can be added to increase the power more. Some kids have tweaked the powerstroke up to 400 horse power. There is a great forum for Ford at...https://forums.ford-diesel.com/ubbthreads/
There are lots of neet tricks to do to enjoy the Airstream even more. Frank
Have a look at the Equal-i-zer hitch, that will be my next hitch and I've heard good things from those who own one.
There is an Airstream park near pensacola, their link is on this site somewhere, I think under links or rally zone. Also there is one in Georgia www.topof ga.org (I'll add their links here when I find them for you).
You can get a directory of parks as advertised in the Blue Beret for $10.
John (also a VW steerage pass.)
The 250 Ford diesel will do a great job pulling your trailer all through the mountains. The Hensley Arrow and Equal-i-zer hitches are good hitches but are just cover ups for improperly loaded trailers. If the trailer has 10 to 15% tongue weight (Ideal is 12%) it will tow fine with a standard equalizing hitch. I use a Reese dual cam sway control hitch.
After you get your trailer and have it loaded as you will use it, Have it weighted and make sure it is not overloaded and you have the correct tongue weight. I have towed three different Airstreams over the last 22 years over 100,000 miles with many different tow vehicles without a problem. I typically travel between 65 and 70 MPH with my '96 30' Excella 1000. This trailer needed extra weight added under the couch to achive the 12% tongue weight. This is the result of most of the storage being in the rear of the trailer.
I love the Hensley Arrow because of the no sway. I travel on the hwy at 60-65 and semi's past me doing 70-75 and they have zero effect on the trailer. Also it's very good when you have some stiff cross winds. It's also an excellent weight distribution unit too. I keep my TT's weight balanced but it's nice to know that the Hensley has it all under control. After you become familiar with the hook-up, it's a breeze. It also provides a very smooth ride, takes corners excellent and it really improved the backing into a camp site.
It's not cheap but I feel it's worth the money. We all have different opinions and I just wanted to share mine.
Hi Geo. I use to tow with a 87 F250 diesel with no turbo & it made it over a lot of west coast mtns slowly. With a PSD ford you should have outstanding performance. The F250 is a great platform. I used a Reese duel cam hitch & it worked great. I wouldn't go for duel rear wheels. You don't need them & they make the truck a lot wider & harder to use in parking lots & other places. From what I've read, a lot of PSD owners get 10/12 MPG towing & 15/18 solo. There are a few that say they do a lot better than that. With my 87 I use to get 10/12 towing. With my Suburban/454/4.10 I get close to 10/11. It has a lot of power also.
My experience with the Dually Diesel
When we full timed for a few years we had an 85 F350 Dually, crew cab.
The diesel was strong even without the turbo, uphill climbs were slow, but it always got us there. On the dual rear wheels I liked having them because I found that if I could get the truck through a tight spot the trailer would fit no problem. There is also another benefit to a dually, additional payload in the truck. This allows you to carry the extra stuff you need/want without ever worrying about overloading the truck. When we full timed we carried a Honda Elite 250 scooter in the bed of the truck under the cap. We also packed additional canned goods, and off-season clothes in plastic tote crates. With the dually I found that the trailer towed VERY WELL. I had a Reese equalizer hitch with the spring bars. The spring bars transferred some weight to the front. With the equalizer hitch, 500-700 Lbs in the bed and a proper loaded trailer we had a very smooth ride. Our dually was equipped to up to 14K Lbs. The main differences in the tow rating was based on the rear end ratio. If you can get one with a 3.55 rear and a 4-speed transmission you will have capacity to spare. I had a 4.10 rear with a 3 speed trans.
Also one other thing to consider. With the additional payload/Dual rear wheels you can eliminate the spare tire, and change out the rear fuel tank from a 28 Gallon to a 60 Gallon tank, this would give you almost a 90 gallon carry capacity, so you can buy Diesel at lower cost and run longer between fill ups.
Needless to say you can swipe a rear tire to replace a front flat or just remove one to run one tire on a side to get to a repair shop. The crew cab was also nice as you can easily take new friends with you if you are going to dinner, or if you are pushing to get to a destination one of you can snooze in the back stretched out.
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