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BoondockingAirstream

Towing 'UP TO' 25 feet of Oliver and Airstream

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Oliver's are bit heavier due to the fiber glass shell.  But they are built on a frame, suspension and tires that will handle it through the plains of Texas to the toughest the Rocky Mountains can throw your way.  Airstreams and Oliver Trailers have many similarities.  Towing during a Wyoming cross wind and stability while being passed by 18 wheelers... is a big deal to most trailers... but not to ours.

 

I have towed a 2006 23 foot Airstream, double axle, with a 2006 4.7L Tundra 4x4... with an Equalizer Hitch that used the chain to transfer weight from the Hitch to the Front of the Tow Vehicle.  Never needed sway control... never.  I would expect the Oliver 2 to handle no differently.  Plenty of power, loaded or unloaded trailer.  Just border line with cargo load maximums.

 

I have towed the same 23 foot Airstream with a 2012 5.7L Tundra 4x4... with the same hitch used with the 2006 Tundra.  It towed with ease and the larger Tundra only helped in the ease of towing, comfort and a slightly larger cargo capacity.

 

The 23 foot after eight years was a pleasure to Boondock and travel across the western USA.  We 'upsized' into a 2014 25 foot Airstream for three reasons.  Larger refrigerator.  Queen sized bed. Fifteen inch wheels which were upgraded to 16" Michelin  LTX tires.  The 5.7L Tundra towed this heavier trailer easily.  The cargo capacity was always borderline, although had no effect on towing, power or sway using the Equalizer Hitch with 1000# bars for the heavier trailer.  If you find the Oliver 1 wonderful... some day you will be finding yourself in an Oliver 2 for the same reasons.

 

Oliver already has the 16" Michelins!  The balance of the axles seems very well designed from sight. I see no reason that a 4.7L or the 5.7L Tundra cannot handle the slightly heavier Oliver 2.  Since I have not towed a single axle Airstream, someone else may want to add their Oliver 1 experiences.

 

Currently, due to the cargo limitations of the smaller 2006 Tundra and, even, the larger 2012 Tundra, I went to a 2016 F350 Ford 6.7L diesel and increased the hitch from a 2" to a 2 1/2" hitch shank to fit snug into the Ford's receiver.  Cargo capacity more than doubled and total... over kill... but now have high mountain elevation towing capacity and am not limited in exceeding cargo load capacity, as with the Tundra's.

 

I never had any mechanical issues with either Tundra.  I never had any towing issues with either Tundra.  This should be the same with your Oliver in tow.  Having 4x4 truck options does make gravel and dirt roads in wet or dry conditions... easy.  If you are 'flat landing'... you may not need 4x4, but in the Rockies... and going off the paved roads, it is almost a requirement.  Having a Tow Truck pull you out of a muddy stretch of Forest Service road... once... would pay for the 4x4 option.

 

Other tow vehicles and V8's with or without 4x4 can PULL an Oliver or Airstream easily.  It comes down to the Cargo Capability.  I prefer a longer wheel base tow vehicle that is heavier overall.  The pickup truck is also used for local driving and can haul whatever I need.  A SUV is great if you do not need to haul lumber or sheetrock.

 

This is my experience with tow vehicles and towing.  I hope the F350 Ford provides the same no mechanical issues as my Tundras.  Others with other tow vehicles may want to describe their experiences.  There is no right or wrong vehicle... as each of us have different reasons of owning two of America's finest trailers.  When the Oliver population begins to expand... those of you with an Oliver will discover you have made the right choice.

 

I look forward to the day that I can park my Airstream next to an Oliver and show everyone,  camping in comfort is available to anyone.

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I am a huge believer in having too much truck for the load. I don't have an Ollie yet but it will be pulled by my 2006 Ram 3500 Cummins QC SB 4wd. Too many people struggle with insufficient power, marginal load capacity, weak drivetrain and inadequate mass for the TV to balance and control the trailer.

 

It makes me feel good to see owners and future owners using trucks that are well above what is considered adequate. In the long run it saves worries, hassles, breakdowns, and frustration. A full sized truck with a big turbo diesel is a joy to drive in stressful conditions, at high altitude especially. It is a very relaxing experience for driver and passengers. A gas engine screaming at 5000 rpm while climbing a long 6% grade is a PITA, to put it bluntly.

 

I have to take exception to your description of the Oliver's suspension. The base version is very poor! With the EZ-Flex option, it can be considered acceptable at best. A conventional (tandem) leaf spring suspension is not good long term on rough roads ... it is far too complex and fragile.

 

In this day and age we can do so much better than a primitive suspension design dating back to the 1700s:

 

Carriage

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John... we can only dream of having one to six horse towing capacity.  So much for emissions and comfort.

 

I thought it best that I get some numbers from my two Airstream examples:

 

2006 Airstream Safari 23 foot (hitch to bumper) Double Axle- tongue weight 600# (aka hitch weight)

 

4,460# UBW trailer weight from factory + 1,540# NC cargo= 6,000# GVWR

 

2012 Airstream International 25 foot (hitch to bumper) Double Axle- tongue weight 860#

 

5,594# UBW trailer weight from factory + 1,760# NC cargo= 7,300# GVWR

 

Back in the 1930's a single axle Airstream was pulled by the founder... on a bicycle.  Obviously, not very fare, either.

 

2017 Oliver Legacy Elite 18 feet 5 inches Single Axle- tongue weight 375#

 

3,640# UBW dry weight from factory +1,360# NC cargo= 5,000# GVWR

 

2017 Oliver Legacy Elite 2 23 feet 6 inches Double Axle- tongue weight 420#

 

4,600 UBW dry weight from factory + 2,400# NC cargo= 7,000# GVWR

 

Getting these numbers for Airstream vary considerably with options.

 

Both Oliver trailers are probably very close to actual, unless you add more options... if possible.  Just from searching the Internet for numbers, it appears that an Oliver leaves a lot more cargo load capacity for a 1/2 ton truck or a SUV for towing.  With luck, someone with real knowledge has a tighter range of numbers.  Finding empty weight numbers can vary... how much, you would really have to own the trailer and make an assumption that the GVWR is close.

 

Many present and future Oliver owners want their every day commuting vehicle to be capable to tow their trailer.  This is very... very important.  When I was young, my 1956 VW was my commuter and 'camper'.  I understand.

 

Obviously my F350... beast... is capable of much more trailer than I own.  This is the exception... from my experiences of being border line in cargo loads.  But... the Oliver for the size and all of the neat, and I say NEAT... standard equipment, you can get away with a lighter tow vehicle.  Just consider this before buying and expecting to pull your Oliver Elite 1 or 2 with a 1956 VW bug.

 

Do your homework BEFORE purchase.  Sometimes it is better getting the larger trailer first.  You never have enough Oliver or Airstream if you are buying for the long, long term.  But... look at it this way.  There are very few Oliver trailers to be found USED.  You will no doubt get a premium price, as NEW models get more expensive over time!

 

If I were young again... lets say 35 years old would be perfect, what an opportunity for an Oliver.  An Airstream is expensive in comparison and there are many available in the USED market.  A middle aged couple are already catching on to what I am saying.  If you are waiting for new prices to plummet or used trailer prices to plummet... wake up, these are 'tiny homes on wheels'.  But, I guess, those looking for a fully equipped trailer can dream and compare the big boxes to the streamlined  options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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