Towing a 19' Airstream

Discussion in 'Towing' started by SRanger, Sep 11, 2019 at 5:41 PM.

  1. SRanger

    SRanger Member

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    Jeff
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    I am offering this honest review of towing a 2020 19cb Caravel with my 2019 For Ranger. My Truck is a 2019 4x4 Lariat with the towing package and the FX4 package.

    The Ranger towing guide says a WD hitch is NOT needed for max towing. It only squatted about 1.5" over the rear wheels with dry hitch weigh of about 500 lb which is good. It needed about a 3" drop to level the trailer. (The receiver on the Ranger is unusually high). The truck does have electrinic sway control. The truck does have adaptive cruse control and active lane keeping assist. I turned the active lane keeping off as I did not like how quickly it reacted if you got too close to the lane markers. (too abrupt and sensitive for towing in my opinion). I did keep the lane departure on (vibrated the steering wheel). It seemed to work fine and you can adjust the sensitivity. I also turned the adaptive cruse control Off while towing. Even on the longest distance setting from the lead vehicle, it seemed to follow too close for safe towing in my opinion. I switched to standard cruse control.

    My first tow was about 125 miles from the dealer to my lake house. I made this run without a weight distribution hitch. The camper was empty and I use a Weight-Safe hitch which accurately shows the hitch weight and it was right at 500 lb. It towed ok, but it was a windy day and I could detect some sway at highway speeds. Assuming the max hitch weight allows, I like to tow without a WD hitch once to see how the trailer/truck combo reacts. I felt this combo would benefit from a WD hitch with sway control.

    I added a Curt TruTrak 4 point WD hitch with sway control. I wanted an 800 lb model, but had to settle for a 1000 lb model as that was the only one I could get a day before my trip. The spring bars are a little too stiff for the combo, but I set them on the least amount of spring weight I could and it leveled the truck/trailer combo nicely. The added sway control was a nice bonus!.

    I towed the combo from Wedowee, AL to St George Island, FL. The distances is about 325 miles with mostly two lane 55-65 mph back roads in rolling hills to the flats of south GA and FL. I averaged 15 mpg on the way down and 13.5 on the way back. The Trailer was well behaved on the trip even on a few steep down hill grades passing semis at about 60 mph on two lane roads. I ran it up to 70mph on the highway when the speed limit allowed to see how it handled. It did fine at this speed, but it was mostly flat in this area, but there were some 20-25 mph wind gusts weeping across the farm lands. You could feel the wind gusts, but the truck and trailer seems to move a little together when they hit without any noticeable oscillation.

    What I disliked about the truck is the FX4 package. The off road shocks are NOT ideal for towing. They do not dampen the rebound as well as the standard shocks and it tends to bounce more that it should. (the over size spring bars probably did not help) I got the FX4 package for the locking rear diff. If you decide to get this truck for towing I highly recommend the standard 4x4 or 2x4 and skip the FX4 or FX2 (or replace the shocks as I will). I am also not a big fan of the 18 gallon fuel tank. A 20-24 gallon would be much better, but it is what it is. This only gives a realistic towing range for this combo between 220-250 miles. (a spare 5 gallon jerry can would be advised out west)

    What I liked about the truck was the very comfortable front seats, great visibility and the good MPG average (about 24 mpg combined) when not towing. Also, if you like to do a little off roading at your destination, the Ranger is an excellent off road truck. It would be a lot of fun in Moab. The truck has plenty of power and the 10 speed made good use of the power band and 310 ft-lb of torque. It handled the few long steep grades with no issues. The BLISS trailer blind spot monitoring worked flawlessly. Interestingly it jumps from an 18' trailer to a 21' trailer in the settings, so I set it for 21'. The side mirrors are barely adequate for towing the 19' Caravel. ANY LONGER trailer and you would need towing mirrors. I tried the Dometic clamp on mirrors and they worked great. The rear camera was also a big help when switching lanes.

    With the trailer loaded the way we go camping (and about 5 gallons of fresh water) the hitch weight was right at 550 lb so the Airstream specs seem accurate on this model. With all the gear in the truck bed and accounting for the 120 lb of hitch I still had about 350 lb of reserve cargo capacity with me and my wife aboard.

    In conclusion, I rate the Ranger as GOOD for towing the 19cb. It does it all well and easily within the specifications of the truck. The FX4 shocks make it a bit bouncy. I think one can safety tow any of the Caravel trailers with the Ranger, but you will need towing mirror extensions on the 22' model and a properly sized and setup WD hitch with sway control. I think in all but the most extreme towing cases one should expect 12-15 mpg towing this combo.

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  2. SemperVee

    SemperVee Well-Known Member

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    Dar
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    Great reading your review as I want to tow RV trailer also. Hint * If you think the adaptive cruise is running too close you can adjust following distance via gradiant bars in the settings to what is comfortable to you.
     
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  3. sbacpo

    sbacpo Well-Known Member

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    That's a great write up. Thanks for taking the time.
     
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  4. Texasota

    Texasota Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I was curious what the weight of your trailer is and see that the specifications state 3850 (dry weight). I'm guessing your actual towed weight was probably well over 4000 pounds?
     
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  5. SRanger

    SRanger Member

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    Jeff
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    Our towing weight was right at 4,350 lbs.
     
  6. t4thfavor

    t4thfavor Well-Known Member

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    Chance
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    Basically my exact findings as well. I have a 207BH from Forrest River, it's 22', and about 43-4500# when loaded.
     
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  7. Lunchbox88

    Lunchbox88 Well-Known Member

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    Logan
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    Great write-up, thanks!
     

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