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Tundra + Airstream: Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Towing & Hauling' started by robatumd, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:08 AM
    #1
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    I just got back from my first camping trip with my new Tundra. Since there isn’t a lot of Airstream content on the forum I thought I would share my experience with the group. My hope is to do more camping/towing trips so will share more experiences when I can.

    Trip Details:
    • Approximately 300 mile trip from the DC suburbs to Shenandoah National Park
    • Trip included myself, wife and 2 dogs
    • We camped at the Luray KOA for 3 nights at a full hook-up patio site
    Vehicle Specifics:
    • 2020 Tundra TRD Sport Crewmax, Convenience and Upgrade packages including the 38 gallon fuel tank
    • 2019 Airstream International Signature 25FBQ (25ft, Front Bed Queen). Approx weight: 6,500lbs, 900lb hitch weight
    Accessories:
    • I used these slide on tow mirrors from Amazon. They get a 1 star IMO - they didn’t add much rear visibility and rubbed on my mirrors and left a gouge on both of them when taking them off. Luckily the Airstream is equipped with a wireless backup camera that is excellent for ensuring you can change lanes and merge without issue.
    • I have an ARE topper/cap on order but unfortunately it wasn’t ready yet. It would’ve helped a lot as it rained one day and would’ve been nice to put gear in when at the campground.
    • We used this Orvis back seat cover for the dogs and it worked great. Bought the XL version which was perfect.
    Overall Thoughts:

    I would give the Tundra a solid B for the total trip. It handled the weight of the Airstream ok but it definitely needed to do some serious downshifting when hitting even small hills. It also squatted a full 2” in the rear when hitching the trailer. I don’t have previous experience with this but it did feel like it impacted the steering feel. I know changing the rear suspension could help but I would rather keep the vehicle as OEM as possible.

    The factory electric brake controller worked well and I love that the truck recognizes the trailer when you plug in the 7-pin. I started with a 5 on the brake pressure but moved to a 4 after the trailer tires squealed upon the first brake application at a 5.

    I wasn’t able to stop at a Cat Scale but I’m pretty sure we were over payload on this trip which is disappointing. When I ordered the Tundra Toyota’s website quoted ~1,500lbs payload for the truck but that was before any packages or accessories so the sticker on my truck has a payload of only ~1,200lbs. When you add a 900lb hitch weight + humans + dogs + 100lbs of gear we were over by ~300lbs. Add my ARE topper/cap and we’re now ~500lbs over payload. I guess that’s where the Brodozers in 3/4 ton diesels win arguments.

    We averaged 12 mpg on this trip which I was pretty happy with considering the hilly roads we took to get to the campground.


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    CavGirl21, Jtundra81, Beesta and 34 others like this.
  2. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:16 AM
    #2
    Sumo91

    Sumo91 Somewhat new member

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    Bilstein 6112/5160 leveled Big ole dent in bedside
    Nice setup!! And beautiful view. A weight distribution hitch will level the truck out to fix the squat, and make the steering feel more planted
     
  3. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:19 AM
    #3
    Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Vinyl Spinner

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    Nice!

    Did you drop the transmission into S-4 when you encountered hills?
     
  4. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:22 AM
    #4
    TheBlackPearl

    TheBlackPearl Newish member

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    What a gorgeous setup.
     
    twistedcricket and Rex Kramer like this.
  5. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:24 AM
    #5
    GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss New Member

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    What a gorgeous combo. And Airstream is a lifegoal, for sure. They're beautiful trailers.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:26 AM
    #6
    Danimal86

    Danimal86 What's a Dickfir?

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    you got 12mpg while towing?????
     
    robatumd [OP] likes this.
  7. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:40 AM
    #7
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    We did use an Equalizer 6,000 lb WDH and still had a 2” squat. Could be the TRD Sport shocks aren’t setup as well for towing as other models.
     
    Medic343 likes this.
  8. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:52 AM
    #8
    Ace402

    Ace402 New Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. I only get 7-8 mpg when towing.
     
  9. Sep 1, 2020 at 9:53 AM
    #9
    TheBlackPearl

    TheBlackPearl Newish member

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    Downhill both ways?
     
    shawn.roe24 and Armstrs like this.
  10. Sep 1, 2020 at 10:07 AM
    #10
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    The 12mpg was the total weekend MPG. It includes 300 miles of towing and ~100 miles of driving.

    I did drive max 65mph while towing so not sure how fast others go.
     
  11. Sep 1, 2020 at 10:09 AM
    #11
    aggie_tundra

    aggie_tundra New Member

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    Or it could be the 500lbs over payload :D
     
  12. Sep 1, 2020 at 10:18 AM
    #12
    kparrow

    kparrow New Member

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    Nampa, ID
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    Goodyear UltraTerrain AT 275/70/r18, Stoptech Cryo Slotted Rotors/Hawk LTS Pads, DECKED, and lots more!
    In my experience, the squat is normal, hence the factory rake. I have the same squat but my WDH puts 80ish percent of the weight back on the front axle that the trailer takes off without the weight bars attached. I'm planning to put airbags on the truck not to "raise" the rear but to help stabilize the rear end over expansion joints and dips in the road at speed. I'll probably only have 20ish PSI in the bags but should help plant the rear more. Nothing wrong with downshifting for hills....gas motors make more torque and power in the upper RPM range...at least ours do. I use tow haul and s4 or s3 when pulling hills to keep it in the 4,000rpm range and just pulls right up, no big deal.
     
    tlakeTundra, Skey44 and Rex Kramer like this.
  13. Sep 1, 2020 at 10:18 AM
    #13
    timsp8

    timsp8 Member

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    900 lb hitch weight is pretty high. Not just what was in the truck, but anything you added to the trailer in front of the axle increased that number. You could’ve easily been more than 500 lb over payload. Were the tanks full?
     
    Cpl_Punishment likes this.
  14. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:02 AM
    #14
    Skey44

    Skey44 GreenvilleOverland

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    Lift, tires, skids, sliders, fridge, camper
    There are lots of options to help with the sag. All will effect your daily ride. Toyota makes these things ride cushy spring rate wise to have a soft factory ride. As soon as you use it as a truck, you wish it was firmer.

    Beautiful camper and campsite by the way!
     
  15. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:09 AM
    #15
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    I estimated the hitch weight at 900lbs. The factory manual states 791lbs for this model but I accounted for the fresh water at 20% full and the gear/food we had in the unit.

    Good to note in the S3 or S4 transmission settings. I left it in D (tow/haul mode) the entire time. It was in the 4K rpm range often when hitting the hills. I was ‘this’ close to adding in the factory TRD exhaust but after this trip I’m glad I didn’t.
     
    Txexplorer23 and Skey44 like this.
  16. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:32 AM
    #16
    Armstrs

    Armstrs New Member

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    Amp research power steps OEM tow mirrors OEM tonneau cover TRD Sway Bar Black Texas Lone Star plates :) Auto tail gate lock KB Voodoo 22” aluminum bed rack TRD Pro headlights Katzkin seats Black badges
    Hey I just did 2000 miles to Colorado and back last week with my 2017 Tundra and Airstream 25FB. I only got 10.6 mpg through the mountains. I was constantly manually down shifting downhill, but thought the truck did ok.
     
  17. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:40 AM
    #17
    rockmup

    rockmup New Member

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    Air bags will be your friend. Nice set up.
    Don't forget the weight of the fuel, with a full tank my DS rear drops by 1.5"
     
    twistedcricket likes this.
  18. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:49 AM
    #18
    r4z0r51o

    r4z0r51o have fallen off the forum, but I’m still alive.

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    Beautiful combo you got there! The wife and I talked about wanting to purchase an Airstream, but we have no where to store it so we bought a Porsche Macan instead … lol.

    Someday maybe I'll get that Airstream. I was thinking about the 22FB Caravel or 25FB Flying Cloud. That International has got to be beautiful inside!
     
    tlakeTundra and Pyrite Tundy like this.
  19. Sep 1, 2020 at 11:53 AM
    #19
    Armstrs

    Armstrs New Member

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    Amp research power steps OEM tow mirrors OEM tonneau cover TRD Sway Bar Black Texas Lone Star plates :) Auto tail gate lock KB Voodoo 22” aluminum bed rack TRD Pro headlights Katzkin seats Black badges
    Airbags are definitely next on MY wish list. That tongue weight meant I was about 300 pounds over too.
    Oh and I highly recommend the OEM tow mirrors. Those plus the Airstream camera mean zero issues maneuvering through traffic.
    How are you liking your 25FBQ?
     
  20. Sep 1, 2020 at 12:07 PM
    #20
    Eaganite

    Eaganite New Member

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    I installed SumoSprings on my truck, and am very happy with them. Towing my boat with the truck box and back seat area full of stuff for our vacation, I only had 1.25 inch of squat. I have the black Sumo's (1500lb) and they provide a excellent loaded ride, although I would say unloaded they do provide a little rougher ride it's not enough to bother me. It's a truck, and I don't mind it riding like a truck, YMMV.
     
    UNTMatt likes this.
  21. Sep 1, 2020 at 12:13 PM
    #21
    plumber802

    plumber802 New Member

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    Beautiful rig but definitely over payload.
     
  22. Sep 1, 2020 at 12:28 PM
    #22
    DIYDad

    DIYDad New Member

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    That's a beautiful trailer!!! Any pics of the inside?

    Isn't tongue weight generally targeted to be around 10% of the trailer weight? It seems like perhaps you could shift some weight towards the wheels and gain some margin on your payload.
     
  23. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:20 PM
    #23
    Cuban11182

    Cuban11182 New Member

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    Beautiful Airstream! I've loved them for a while, and REALLY want one instead of my 2018 Mallard M28. I have airbags and a very good weight distribution hitch, and that makes all the difference in the world. To help with payload, whatever you can throw into the camper, do that. Also, make sure your hitch is setup properly. I have an Android phone and use that to monitor temps when I'm towing as well. Besides that, have fun with it.
     
  24. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:29 PM
    #24
    Armstrs

    Armstrs New Member

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    ^^^ This. My equalizer hitch was not setup correctly by the dealer. The ball was over an inch lower than the trailer hitch (when trailer is level) and the trailer was not level when hooked up. Got it adjusted and the trailer is level and the truck squat is reduced. And yeah, spread the weight around by throwing some of the truck gear in the trailer preferably above the wheels.
     
  25. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:50 PM
    #25
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    Good tips on moving the gear. We had minimal stuff in the truck bed. 2 camp chairs, 10lbs dog food, small dog kennel.
     
  26. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:51 PM
    #26
    kparrow

    kparrow New Member

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    Also wanted to say your hitch "looks" setup right because your rig is fully level. I have the K Source mirrors and I like them....but they only help to see around the back corner of the trailer. I have a camera setup on the rear of my camper now for when I double tow to monitor the ATV
     
  27. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:56 PM
    #27
    Spindifferent

    Spindifferent New Member

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    This will tell you the actual tongue weight: https://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Sherline/5780.html
     
  28. Sep 1, 2020 at 2:00 PM
    #28
    Cement4WD

    Cement4WD New Member

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    I installed icon add a leafs which add 1.5 inches of lift and when I hooked up my trailer the rear was perfectly level. Just another option besides airbags. I also have the equalizer hitch.
     
  29. Sep 1, 2020 at 2:35 PM
    #29
    CDinSeFl

    CDinSeFl New Member

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    That is a beautiful trailer and truck combo!!! :yes:

    You are bringing back some memories and setting up some future plans. In 1976-77 my parents (I was 11-12) purchased a 31' Airstream and had it custom built. We picked it up at the factory in OH. My parents bought a brand-new 1976 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 (454 cu in gas) to tow it. They took my brother and I out of school for a year, shortly after purchase, and we traveled the lower-48 for 12 months. That was a great trip, and one I want to someday repeat and expand upon.

    When I was in college my parents often let my friends and I take trips in the truck and trailer. Great times.

    Like others, I think a weight-distributing hitch is a must when towing a trailer that size/weight or larger. Especially when using a truck that has the suspension of your stock Tundra.

    I hope you keep posting as I am very interested in knowing what changes you make and how it tows after your first trip.

    BTW, how much is a full hook-up site at KOA in/near Shenandoah now? I can't remember, but I'll ask my parents what sites cost back in 1977. Also, do hook-ups now include cable TV and internet?
     
    CavGirl21 likes this.
  30. Sep 1, 2020 at 6:07 PM
    #30
    robatumd

    robatumd [OP] A_B_C

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    Sounds like an awesome trip you took. Awesome way to see the country.

    We paid ~$90 per night for the premium patio site. They have cheaper sites but this was very nice and worth the extra $ IMO
     
    CDinSeFl likes this.

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