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Leah_M 11-04-2011 03:00 PM

Noob Q: Best Towing Vehicle for 1967 Airstream Globetrotter
Hey all!

First time poster - and first time in the community really. So that means I have no clue what a lot of the lingo is, but am learning as I go.

So here's my question: My boyfriend and I are interested in getting a 1967 Airstream Globetrotter (I believe it's at 20-feet-long) that we've got a lead on (and a deal). However, we don't have a vehicle to tow it, but were at this stage of needing a new vehicle anyway so it's working out.

Basically I'm wondering whether we should go with a gas or diesel, truck or SUV, and what gets OK gas mileage as this will be our second car. [I'd prefer SUV, just so we can sit more people in it, but I'm open to suggestions.]

I know we'll probably need to get a hitch or towing package (I don't know what the difference is between those two terms actually), so if you have best suggestions for that to go along with the vehicle suggestion, I sure would appreciate it.


Gerry 11-04-2011 03:49 PM

new tow vehicle
To give a good answer we need to ask a couple of questions. Inside one of the cabinets doors or inside door there will be a sticker or label of some kind giving the GROSS weight that the trailer is safe with. Before you go telling me you have no plans to load that heavy stop. Dry weight is a meaningless figure that doesn't even include the weight of the batteries or propane cylinder and after a season or two adding gear, cooking utensils, water in the fresh water tank and on and on, you'll be amazed at how close you come to the gross. After finding that number you can figure that of that weight 10-15% should be on the hitch and the remainder on the axle(s). So if the gross were say 3500 lbs you would want 350-500 lbs on the weight distributing hitch. These WDHs can be found at any Camping Worlds or RV center. This kind of weight should be easily handled by most any half ton pickup and some of the bigger SUVs. If you are going to get up into the 5-6000 lb weight a 3/4 ton truck is safer in my opinion. You would want, in my opinion, a V8 engine, with a bigger one if you can afford it, and a relatively low geared rear axle ratio for the truck perhaps something around 3:73 and not 3:35. If you will be towing a lot in mountains like we have out west the bigger motor will be a must or else you may find yourselves taking on 6% grades at 30 mph with the motor screaming. Also a good after market aux transmission cooler if it is an automatic.
I'd like to comment on your Airstream. They are a very durable, high quality RV but with time even they have things that need attending to. First you need to find out how the wheel bearings look and repaking them with fresh grease if they look good. If there's any question about their condition buy new and repak them with good grease. Second unless you know for sure that the tires are less than three years old replace them. I'm not trying to spend your money but keep you safe. Tires all have a date code, if you cannot find it take it to your local tire shop and they'll find it. RV tires are notorious for getting bulges, cord seperations and blowing out at very inopportune times and places. Same with wheel bearings. I always suggest that new RVers set up their new toy in the yard just as they would on the road but under less stressfull circumstances and even sleep in it to get familiar. It beats doing it:welcome: the way we did after dark in a strange campground. Hope this gets you started, Gerry

Gerry 11-04-2011 04:03 PM

Airstream weights
I found the dry weight for a 21 ft Globetrotter about your's age and it listed at 3350 with a 350 lb tongue weight. Remember I said the dry weight was meaningless but I would guess the GROSS weight to be in the 4500-5000 range. You need to find that figure in the trailer. Still half ton doable but in my opinion at the high end of the capacity. Others may chime in and tell about how their half tons pull 8-10,000 lbs no sweat but that's in the 3/4 ton range I believe. I have a rule I follow that says I don't exceed 80% of my truck's towing capacity. Many people pull way more everyday but to me it's not safe.

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