First time towing my Airstream with the Gladiator

Bobzdar

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Airstream is a '67 Overlander which is around 4200lbs dry, probably 5000lbs loaded for camping. We had around 350lbs worth of passengers, maybe 150lbs worth of bikes in the back with ~500lbs tongue weight, so right around 1000lbs of payload, leaving only about 160lbs left (it adds up fast!).

Trip was about 2 hours each way including crossing the shenandoahs, which involved one long mountain pass. My usual speed is whatever the speed limit is (so up to 70mph, which is about all I'm comfortable taking the old A/S up to), slowest we went on the highway was 55mph in 5th gear heading back up the moutain into a head wind, which was faster than a lot of others in the slow lane. It could have gone faster in 4th but would have been running 4000rpms and I think the speed differential to some of the other cars would have been dangerous as some of them decide to pull out and pass at the last second. Temps hit around 234 oil, 220 coolant and 210 on the trans going up the hill in 90 degree ambient with a/c on.

I could definitely feel some movement in cross winds or when being passed by tractor trailers or large vehicles, but nothing scary. I have a wd hitch with sway damper, trailer has electric brakes and I have a Hopkins agility brake controller. No issues stopping.

It tows about equivalent to my 2005 Silverado with 5.3. That was rated 305hp and a 4spd auto, and has a similar tow rating and payload. That was a little less susceptible to sway but the engine would get hotter on hills and it bounced around a little more - it's an LS 4x4 which has a fairly soft suspension.

We go camping 8-10 times per year, so not like I'm towing every day and that mountain crossing is usually the worse one we do, so in all I'm fairly pleased with it. Does the job with little drama and can easily maintain highway speeds. Oh, mpg dropped from 19 to around 12 while towing. My Silverado would do 16 empty and 12 towing. Most of the time was in 6th and 7th gear, with the occasional drop to 5th for hills. I left it in auto about half the time, but in hilly areas I switched to manual so it wouldn't be doing a bunch of shifting. Adaptive cruise works pretty well, I just set it to max distance and it leaves a good gap to the car in front if they're not traveling the speed limit.

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smlobx

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Great report and I’m glad you had/have realistic expectations on the Gladiator’s capabilities.
Where did you camp? I’m always looking for new places.
 
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Bobzdar

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Great report and I’m glad you had/have realistic expectations on the Gladiator’s capabilities.
Where did you camp? I’m always looking for new places.
We went to stony creek, it was a nice place with both a pool and a lake with a beach and camped in the upper area which was a lot less crowded than the lower area - but also made bringing the bikes a waste as there was a big hill between the upper area and the lower area, so we either took the jeep or my buddy's golf cart to the activity areas.

The only real complaint I had was that the roads get really dusty so everything ended up with a fine coat of dirt. They mitigated it somewhat by wetting the roads periodically, so not a huge deal, especially where we were a there was little traffic and the crush was newer so not as dusty. But every time we ventured to the beach or pool we'd deal with it.
 

bgenlvtex

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Looks good, good to know it works for you. I love Airstream, but I'm 6'6" which makes me a friction fit in one.

Have you had that trailer on a scale, meaning are you pretty sure of that weight or is that an "educated" estimate.

I am looking at a trailer that checks all of my boxes and is 4157 dry. I'm pretty confident it will be fine with reasonable limitations and expectations, but am looking for some validation to go along with that confidence.
 
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Bobzdar

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Looks good, good to know it works for you. I love Airstream, but I'm 6'6" which makes me a friction fit in one.

Have you had that trailer on a scale, meaning are you pretty sure of that weight or is that an "educated" estimate.

I am looking at a trailer that checks all of my boxes and is 4157 dry. I'm pretty confident it will be fine with reasonable limitations and expectations, but am looking for some validation to go along with that confidence.
Educated estimate - dry weight is 4200lbs per airstream, AC adds 200lbs and we pack in probably 500-600lbs of stuff. We don't carry water in the tanks, that'd push it up another few hundred pounds but I don't have any concerns. If we filled the tanks, fridge and were boondocking with a generator, it'd probably be 5500lbs.
 

Jeepdude413

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Airstream is a '67 Overlander which is around 4200lbs dry, probably 5000lbs loaded for camping. We had around 350lbs worth of passengers, maybe 150lbs worth of bikes in the back with ~500lbs tongue weight, so right around 1000lbs of payload, leaving only about 160lbs left (it adds up fast!).

Trip was about 2 hours each way including crossing the shenandoahs, which involved one long mountain pass. My usual speed is whatever the speed limit is (so up to 70mph, which is about all I'm comfortable taking the old A/S up to), slowest we went on the highway was 55mph in 5th gear heading back up the moutain into a head wind, which was faster than a lot of others in the slow lane. It could have gone faster in 4th but would have been running 4000rpms and I think the speed differential to some of the other cars would have been dangerous as some of them decide to pull out and pass at the last second. Temps hit around 234 oil, 220 coolant and 210 on the trans going up the hill in 90 degree ambient with a/c on.

I could definitely feel some movement in cross winds or when being passed by tractor trailers or large vehicles, but nothing scary. I have a wd hitch with sway damper, trailer has electric brakes and I have a Hopkins agility brake controller. No issues stopping.

It tows about equivalent to my 2005 Silverado with 5.3. That was rated 305hp and a 4spd auto, and has a similar tow rating and payload. That was a little less susceptible to sway but the engine would get hotter on hills and it bounced around a little more - it's an LS 4x4 which has a fairly soft suspension.

We go camping 8-10 times per year, so not like I'm towing every day and that mountain crossing is usually the worse one we do, so in all I'm fairly pleased with it. Does the job with little drama and can easily maintain highway speeds. Oh, mpg dropped from 19 to around 12 while towing. My Silverado would do 16 empty and 12 towing. Most of the time was in 6th and 7th gear, with the occasional drop to 5th for hills. I left it in auto about half the time, but in hilly areas I switched to manual so it wouldn't be doing a bunch of shifting. Adaptive cruise works pretty well, I just set it to max distance and it leaves a good gap to the car in front if they're not traveling the speed limit.

20190524_154628s.jpg


20190527_102021s.jpg


20190527_151038s.jpg
Thanks for the report. I grew up in that area of VA. and familiar with the roads through the mountains as well as the trails. I am sure they have changed in the last 35 years or so but still nice to reminisce. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, especially in a JT.

 

 
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