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Re: Towing an Airstream by Albert
Post New Message I'm happy to give you my 2 cents worth.

The GVWR of a 24 to 27 foot Airstream would be in the range of 5800 to 7300 lbs, depending on the year. The truck might weigh 6,000 loaded, for a total of 13,300.

You need to calculate "torque to the pavement" to figure out how steep a hill the truck can climb. Multiply engine torque (pounds feet) by the 1st gear ratio by the final drive ("rear end") ratio and divide by the tire radius (in feet). An example: 335 ft lbs x 2.9 (1st gear) x 3.73 divided by 1.25 feet = 2,899 ft lbs x 0.8 (to account for friction losses in the drivetrain) The net amount is about 2,300 ft lbs. This would pull the 13,300 lbs up a 17% grade (13,300 x.17), at sea level. You can do this for each gear if you want. In my experience, this kind of calculation provides a good indication of real capability. The ability to climb an 11 or 12% grade in 2nd gear might be a good indicator of real world hill climbing capability for most people. This should get you up the 7% grades and over mountain passes at 10,000 feet without downshifting to 1st (29% power loss at this elevation.)

A heavier 3/4 ton truck with a similar-sized engine won't do any better than a 1/2 ton unless you get a big gas engine or a diesel. It's these big engines that will also allow you to climb mountains without slowing down. It really a matter of expectations, and how much you have to spend.

Towing on level ground is simply a matter of hp vs. wind resistance. Any V8 should move an Airstream past 80 mph quite easily.

Towing stability is another matter. Many will suggest a 3/4 ton truck, but a half-ton with a precisely set up weight distributing hitch can be made to tow very well. Things to examine are center of gravity (lower is better), rear overhang (distance from rear axle to the ball) relative to wheelbase, suspension design (independent is best), and roll stiffness of the tires. Very wide and tall tires (like many SUV tires) are usually not as stable. LT tires are often used as replacements. And remember that Airstreams are relatively low, well-balanced, good riding and stable trailers.
All Messages in ThreadAuthorDate
Post New MessageTowing an Airstream Dave Clark 10-17-06  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream don Bittle 12-19-07  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Wendell Knight 12-4-07  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Bill Shotts 8-27-07  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Albert 10-31-06  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Dan Chu 2-4-10  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Julie Ann Stull 4-16-10  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Gary Cameron 8-28-11  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Bambi Robert Gordon 8-27-11  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Tami Sanders 1-19-11  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Mark 12-16-10  
  Reply to MessageRe: Towing an Airstream Rich 12-29-16  
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