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Towing a 2017 Airstream International Signature 19CB with 2017 TRD Off Road 6sp Manual

Discussion in 'Towing' started by Denimike24, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Sep 14, 2020 at 1:34 PM
    #1
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    All - just wanted to post an update. I took the new setup out this past week and had great success. I'm on stock wheels/tires/suspension. Trailer weighs approx 4200lbs loaded up and the truck did great. I have a blue ox 750 weight distribution hitch which helped a ton and a s2 brake controller.
    I was worried, but in truth the truck pulled just fine. In some cases on a big mountain pass (Snoqualmie pass in washington on i90) i had to get to the right lane and get up around 3500k-4000k in 3rd gear to keep her humming at 50-55mph going up hill, but aside from a huge uphill, things felt really good. I ran 89octane chevron fuel and was pleased to see 12.5 MPG (I fueled up at about 16 gallons down)

    Overall, just wanted to put something up to document the trip in case others are considering this kind of set up. Also, for what it's worth, I have about 300 lbs between the leer canopy and james baroud RTT, in addition to all our gear from having climbed Rainier (That's what the trip was for - but afterwards we did a bit of exploring on the east side of the state trying to beat some of this damned smoke!)
     
    dand, NAAC3TACO, rlx02 and 6 others like this.
  2. Sep 14, 2020 at 1:42 PM
    #2
    strider98

    strider98 Rather Large Member

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    I'd love to have an Airstream like that, or maybe smaller, tbh
     
    Denimike24 [OP] likes this.
  3. Sep 14, 2020 at 1:59 PM
    #3
    Mtn Mike

    Mtn Mike Well-Known Member

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    That's a good looking truck and trailer! Personally I'd prefer a bigger truck or smaller trailer but it looks like you're doing everything right with a WDH and good brake controller. Have fun in those mountains.
     
  4. Sep 14, 2020 at 5:34 PM
    #4
    Aquatic Tacoma

    Aquatic Tacoma Well-Known Member

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    Both are Stock - built correct from the start.
    Looks like it’s still squatting too much even with the WDH.
     
  5. Sep 14, 2020 at 5:40 PM
    #5
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Any thoughts on how best to adjust? I'm using 9 links on the blue ox hitch, they told me with more weight to step up to 10 - perhaps that's what I should do. Also contemplating airbags or modifying my suspension. It was a super smooth ride, so I dont want to mess with much, but I do see that its a little off level.
     
  6. Sep 14, 2020 at 6:03 PM
    #6
    wiljayhi

    wiljayhi 3Gen Driver’s Grab Handle venture capitalist

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    OVT2.0F_REG_OL_Stock_THX, Hellwig 990 Helper springs, ATF cooler t-stat pinned open when towing, Tacowiede Radio Knobs, LED Tag lights, MESO LED white maps & dome, MESO coin bucket, MESO gasshole, MESO fuse box cover, MESO Stealth PRO Shift knob w/ECT thumb switch & Anytime Backup Camera switch, MESO minimalist key fob, MESO Red TRD S/S button, MEDO 3 B-switch panel, Scangauge2, Haul Gauge, Weathertek floor liners,OEM running boards, OEM mud flaps, OEM soft tonneau, Driver 1.5” seat lift, Tacoknob 4wd shift dial, Vehicle OCD glove box & console organizers, Tailgate letter inserts, Cdn Flag tailgate decal, Cdn flag driver door decal, Cloudrider bug screen (behind grille), TRD grille badge, Debadged tailgate, Bem-auto OBD2 port lock, Dongar dashcam USB mirror power harness, Garmin dash cam mini, KTJO4x4 “A” pillar grab handle.
    I had a bit of a sag with my trailer connected. I installed Hellwig EZ-990 helper springs. Now, when the trailer is hitched (400# tongue wt) the rig is level. Factory rake is returned when not under load. No noticeable change in ride.

    D425BB80-AA08-49A9-91C4-83BF902BFCEF.jpg
     
    Denimike24 [OP] likes this.
  7. Sep 14, 2020 at 7:56 PM
    #7
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Thanks! I'll check those out!!
     
  8. Sep 15, 2020 at 7:57 AM
    #8
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Jim - I'm curious, did you do the work yourself or is it something you'd recommend having done? I dont have much driveway space, a lift, or torque wrenches so I'm not sure I'd be able to pull it off, but it does seem like a good option the more I read up on it. And if you're saying the truck looks fine with the springs added when it isn't under load from the trailer, that's even better.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2020 at 10:43 AM
    #9
    wiljayhi

    wiljayhi 3Gen Driver’s Grab Handle venture capitalist

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    OVT2.0F_REG_OL_Stock_THX, Hellwig 990 Helper springs, ATF cooler t-stat pinned open when towing, Tacowiede Radio Knobs, LED Tag lights, MESO LED white maps & dome, MESO coin bucket, MESO gasshole, MESO fuse box cover, MESO Stealth PRO Shift knob w/ECT thumb switch & Anytime Backup Camera switch, MESO minimalist key fob, MESO Red TRD S/S button, MEDO 3 B-switch panel, Scangauge2, Haul Gauge, Weathertek floor liners,OEM running boards, OEM mud flaps, OEM soft tonneau, Driver 1.5” seat lift, Tacoknob 4wd shift dial, Vehicle OCD glove box & console organizers, Tailgate letter inserts, Cdn Flag tailgate decal, Cdn flag driver door decal, Cloudrider bug screen (behind grille), TRD grille badge, Debadged tailgate, Bem-auto OBD2 port lock, Dongar dashcam USB mirror power harness, Garmin dash cam mini, KTJO4x4 “A” pillar grab handle.
    i researched a bit, looked at a couple of videos of diy and went ahead and did the job myself. The truck was parked in my apt stall so I had to slide under to do one side at a time (no lift). Hellwig says to do it with wheels on the ground anyway.
    Tools needed are a breaker bar, torque wrench, deep socket for the rear shackle bolts and a C clamp to compress the helper spring while you install the shackles. Also recommended to re-torque the U bolts after a 100 miles or so and inspect for any damage or other.

    It was well worth it for my situation. So far no squeaks or other noises coming from the rear leafs and it works as advertised. Returned about 1” of lift to the rear so it’s back to OEM look with no load.
     
  10. Sep 16, 2020 at 12:43 PM
    #10
    NV_Spencer

    NV_Spencer Well-Known Member

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    FWIW airbags or helper springs should only be added after the WDH is dialed in correctly. They are a "cosmetic" fix but the WDH needs to properly weight your front axle which it doesn't look like its doing right now.
     
  11. Sep 16, 2020 at 1:41 PM
    #11
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Thanks, Spencer... I suppose the hard part is fully understanding how best to do that. I bought the WDH from the airstream dealership, all they told me was "If you add more weight, you might need to go up to 10 chain links..." as opposed to the 9 I am using now. Do you think I should strap it down to the 10 chain links per that advice, or is this something I need to be getting on a scale, or running some calculations?

    My priority is that I remain smart and safe here, but I did get the blue ox 750, and my trailer tongue weight is supposed to be 550, so I should have plenty of room to adjust in theory, but alas, I'm a novice with towing so I'm still learning. I assumed the springs or airbags would make the necessary change so I appreciate you chiming in.
     
  12. Sep 16, 2020 at 2:01 PM
    #12
    NV_Spencer

    NV_Spencer Well-Known Member

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    I tow a 16' Bambi so I appreciate where you're coming from. In my experience, Airstream is all over the place with their tongue weights. I've had a brutal time trying to get an accurate weight on my trailer.
    My advice would be visit your local CAT scale with your current set up. They charge only $12 to weigh your rig. Then you'll know with full confidence how you're currently weighting your axles. If the scale says you're equal, the sag is cosmetic and you can add a product to fix it. If you're light in the front compared to rear.....you've got some work to do with your WDH. Hope this helps.
     
    Denimike24 [OP] likes this.
  13. Sep 16, 2020 at 2:09 PM
    #13
    Marshall R

    Marshall R Well-Known Member

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    That looks like a very sensible rig. I wouldn't want to tow much more, especially with much gear in the truck. It appears you have some cargo in, and on top of the truck. The cap is another 180-200 lbs too so you're probably at, if not slightly over payload. I think that is why you're squatting a bit in the rear. Doesn't look like enough to be a problem.
     
  14. Sep 16, 2020 at 2:37 PM
    #14
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Thanks for the info, Marshall. I think I'm going to follow the advice here and head over to a CAT scale this weekend and run a few tests, I hope no one is behind me because hitching and unhitching this thing takes some time with these tension bars, but it seems smartest for me to get weight at all the individual axles, and weight of the truck (loaded up with stuff/canopy/rooftop tent) so I can see what we're actually working with before I go on any multi week trips.
    If I'm over payload I'll have to figure something out - I hate to get a different truck, as I really love my Tacoma and it pulled the trailer just fine last weekend, but again - I want to be smart and safe here so next step is to just weigh it. I'll jump back on this thread next week and let folks know where I was at! Thanks for all the support!
     
  15. Sep 16, 2020 at 2:50 PM
    #15
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Does anyone know what my axle ratings are for the truck? I assume its the GVWR/2
    Amazed that a few google searches all sent me to different info. I might just go read the book in the glove box, but if someone on here knows quickly that'd be super helpful. Its a 2017 TRD off road, quad cab.
     
  16. Sep 16, 2020 at 3:09 PM
    #16
    wiljayhi

    wiljayhi 3Gen Driver’s Grab Handle venture capitalist

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    GAWR is listed on your door jamb sticker. ;)
     
  17. Sep 16, 2020 at 3:40 PM
    #17
    NV_Spencer

    NV_Spencer Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry about unhitching, you want to weigh complete. The CAT scale has at least 3 pads so you'll get numbers for steer axle, rear axle, and trailer axle.

    IF you wanted to then unhitch off to the side to get a Tacoma curb weight, that wouldn't be a terrible thing to know but they're going to charge you another $12 probably. I don't like to be the towing police so I wasn't going to bring it up but Marshall is probably right about payload. 500 tongue weight + 300 gear you mentioned + ? passengers. It might be possible the WDH is set up correctly in the picture but you're just overloaded.
     
  18. Sep 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM
    #18
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    I might be wrong on that 500... it's so hard for me to know, the trailer is supposed to be 3800 dry with a max rating fully loaded of 4,500. I'm sure I have a hundred pounds or so in it at this point, maybe 300 if I filled the water tanks, so call it 4100-4200... (because it's new and I haven't put a ton of stuff in yet) so really, it could be 380lbs-500lbs tongue weight - I honestly dont know. That's kind of why I want to figure that part out on a scale... get an idea of the truck weight without the trailer on it so I can see what the tongue weight really is.

    Based on what I read, my payload max is 1680lbs, with a max tongue weight of 680... so even if I'm at 550, that leaves 1130lbs left... subtract the RTT and Canopy at 300 pounds and we're down to 800lbs... I'm 170, my girlfriend 130... another 300... so now we're down to 500lbs... that means I'd have space in the rig for up to 500lbs for my dog, and gear... is that math right?

    That all said, if I am over loaded, or right at my limit. How big of a deal are we talking as it pertains to safety? If Im pushing my luck perhaps I need to consider trading the truck for something bigger (which I hate the idea of, obviously) but I don't want to be foolish if I'm gambling unsafely. I thought I had run the numbers before I bought the trailer, but I trust this community quite a bit and maybe I was wrong with the math above.
     
  19. Sep 16, 2020 at 7:05 PM
    #19
    brtnstrns

    brtnstrns Well-Known Member

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    I've got a 2020 DCSB and my max payload according to the door sticker is 990 lbs. I think your max payload is way too optimistic, unfortunately. I can wipe out my entire payload with normal camping gear and 300-ish lbs of people and 50 lbs of dog. Most unfortunate aspect of mid size trucks. We've got a travel trailer as well but we can just throw everything in there to keep the truck payload down. You're gonna have a bit more difficult of a time with the topper and RTT though (probably impossible, to be honest)

    I'm assuming since you've got the same size truck, if you've got 4x4, you're closer to my number than the advertised max of 1620 lbs (I think that's for like a completely stripped SR RWD access cab or something)
     
  20. Sep 17, 2020 at 9:27 AM
    #20
    Denimike24

    Denimike24 [OP] Member

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    Oh Crap.

    Thanks for calling this to my attention - just looked and my door says 930lbs max payload, but everything I've read said 1680 (I made the decision to buy this airstream with that 1680 in mind... lesson learned)... with that knowledge, I am absolutely above my payload. 930, minus the leer canopy, rooftop tent, two humans and a small dog, we're probably 300 over the limit without any gear in the back.

    Tacomaworld community - is this ok? Seems like most people with trailers on here must be in the same boat as me - this really sucks (but I'm glad I know) how unsafe is this? Do I need to trade my truck in for something bigger? Ugh... this is sh*t news. You'd think the folks at airstream would know this!! They told me I'd be fine with my rig...
     
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