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We have a brand new 2004 Eddie Bauer 4X4 Expedition w/optional heavy duty towing package. Maximum trailer weight is listed as 8650. It's a 5.4 Liter engine/V-8 3.73 rear axle ratio, Gross Combined Weight is 14,500 lbs.

We are considering the purchase of an Outback 28BHS. Would like to know if this will be a good match?

Any experience with either vehicle is appreciated!
 

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Well you will love the 28BHS
It's working absolutely fabulous for our family of 4. We are lacking nothing and could not imagine a better unit for our use.

As to your tow vehicle it sounds like you are well within your rated weight. The only thing I'm unsure of would be your wheelbase. You may be on the short side of an acceptable length for such a long trailer (29'4"). Use a good sway control system like the Reese dual cam and you will likely be OK.

Lets hear from some of you Expy owners regarding the wheelbase and towing a pretty long trailer.
 

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chprout,

I replied to your email also. We have not regretted our decision to go with the 25RS-S


As you can see in my signature pic, the TT looks pretty longggg compared to the Expedition. Visualize an extra 3'ish feet and that's what you would be looking like


Kinda scary when on a 2 lane winding road. We went to the coast, Beverly Beach several weeks ago. There was a wreck on the way, so we were detoured
Well this detour took us across 3 or 4 one way bridges and a super narrow road... Needless to say I/we was/were very thankful we had the 25RS-S


In the end, it is your choice. Too bad they don't let you take them for a "test tow" to see how you like it. This is just the combo we are most comfortable with


Although, when we were looking at a 30' Nomad the guy told us if we had the hitch and sway we could do a test pull... only thing is we would have had to go have the hitch installed and brake controller too...

When in the end we had the Outback dealership throw that in as part of the deal with no extra charge for it


Very happy with our 25RS-S.

Happy Camping sunny
 

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I have no problems with my expedition and 28rss. I use a equi-l-izer brand hitch.
I don't think you should have any problems you just have to be careful and take wide turns. You will need a htich with anti sway too! This is the best tow vehicle and trailer set up I have had so far (3rd one). Pulls wonderfully.
Good Luck on your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you to all who have replied. My husband may reply here too, and he's not as much of a nervous-nellie as me when flying down the road. As much as I would love all of that room, I think that I, too, would be more comfortable with a couple feet shorter TT. Right now, it looks like we're swaying (ooooo - that may be the wrong word to choose
) towards the 25RSS.

We'll keep you posted on our decision. And, thanks again for all of your replies. It helps to make things more settled in your mind. It's a big purchase and I want to have fun, not be nervous going down the road!!!!
 

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Howdy,

I'm chprout's husband. I'd explain the stupid handle, but I'd probably bore you
. Suffice it to say that the misspelling makes it unique for all the forums I visit.

Thanks again for all your answers. Between here and a couple other forums, I've gotten some interesting things to think about.Let me lay a couple of them out to further refine our confusion.

As background, we live in northern VA in the Shenandoah Valley. We've got 2 kids, a girl (14) and a boy (9). We've had a large Coleman popup for the last 6 years that has been wonderful pulled by a 1996 Aerostar minivan (4400 lb. tow rating). We do primarily weekend trips, lately with additional rental kids (one friend for each of our own). We bought the Expedition as the new family vehicle a couple months ago. She got the Eddie Bauer stuff and I made sure it had as much towing capability as possible (I was pushing for an E350 with a V10 or diesel, but she promised to let me continue to sleep in the house if I let her drive something cool). With our last outing, we realized that we would like to like to take longer trips with just the kids (a week or 2 to Maine or the Grand Canyon, etc.) as well as the little weekenders, and the hassle of setting up just wasn't going to work. So we want a hardside that we can leave stocked and stop by the side of the road for a nap or a sandwich while travelling, all the while continuing to cart 4 kids around on weeknd jaunts.

So, here we are. We haven't seen all that's available, but the Outbacks are currently front runners. One thing we learned from the popup experience is that staying well within your TV limits has many benefits, not the least of which is sanity. So the models currently in the running are the 28BHS, 28RSS, and 25RSS. All are comfortably within the TV ratings (8650 lb. tow rating, 14,500 GCWR).

One question that has plagued me is this idea of some kind of TV wheelbase (119 in.) to trailer length spec. It's always presented as some kind of rule of thumb but never defined. Is there some kind of rationale (assuming a good hitch setup and wieght balancing)? What are the reasons for it? If anything, I'd think a short wheelbase TV would help with TT maneuverability, ala a semi-truck. What am I not understanding here?

Then, this seems to be a summary of the pro's and con's:

25RSS- 2 bunks. Fits our family for long trips and why tow extra stuff across the country for the rent-a-kids on the weekends? Slide out Queen bed is not that difficult and you can still access the kitchen for on-road snacks and sit down on the sofa without sliding stuff out. The sofa folds out for extra kids and there's decent distance between sleeping quarters for the warring factions. And we've got a small tent so we only need to pack 4 kids in the trailer in inclement weather. Most importantly-it's 25 feet and we're into the mountains of WV, MD, and VA routinely. Very nice.

28RSS- Ditto 25RSS except 4 bunks and 28 feet. Some suggest that this is the way to go since the kids will only get bigger and things will only get more cramped. And there's more storage capacity and available cargo wieght (about 1500 lbs vs 980 lbs). When crossing the country, our 2 have an extra bunk for throwing thier junk on. Extra kids are accomodated without modifying the living space. Of course, the warring parties are in close proximity. Nuclear disarmament might be difficult. And there's always the tent. And finally, 28 feet and 5500 lb. dry wieght through WV mountains where there might not be 100 feet of straight, flat, level pavement every 100 miles is the hang up.

28BHS- Mom and Dad get our own walk-around Queen bed (not that I haven't enjoyed crawling over you, honey
, but it's something to think about). 2 bunks like the 25RSS and 28 feet like the 28RSS. However, since it's lighter than the 28RSS by 400 or 500 lbs. with 7000 lb GVWR (vs. 6000 lbs for the 25RSS), it actually has the most cargo wieght capacity of the 3. And I don't need to slide anything out if I want to snooze the night away in the Walmart parking lot.

There you go. Thanks for the responses so far. I'd love to hear any additional random thoughts.
 

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Weight wise with your expy, you will probably be okay. The length is another issue in my mind. Towing up a hill is one thing, going down is another. With the length and weight of either 28, it will want to push you around. Semi's and crosswinds will have an impact on your setup also. If you want to go with the longer trailer, you might want to think about a hensley which will help compensate for the short wheelbase of your truck. I've never towed with one, but everyone who has one, loves it.

A short wheelbase truck doesn't have enough leverage to counteract the forces from too long of a trailer. The softer suspension and passenger rated tires don't help either. Once the trailer starts to sway, it tries to push the tow vehicle in the opposite direction. When the trailer sways left, it tries to push the rear of the truck to the right and vice versa. A truck with a longer wheelbase and stiffer suspension is able to resist the force from the trailer and keep it under control.

I used to tow a 28 footer with our yukon and almost lost it due to sway. I was using a dual cam and everything was set up properly. I think it was a combination of the "P" tires I was running and the inability of the short truck to control the trailer once sway started. My wife was too scared to drive that particular setup.

We decided we would trade feeling safer with a shorter trailer for the extra room the larger trailer had. We thought about getting a hensley or a heavier truck, but decided a shorter trailer was the way to go for us. We upgraded to "LT" tires and traded for the 21RS we have now.

We've towed our current setup up and down from Maine to North Carolina in all conditions with no problems or white knuckle moments. I feel very comfortable driving and my wife does too. We split up the driving so it was important that we both feel safe driving.

Good luck with your shopping!!

Mike
 

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Hey Mike,

Thanks. Well written and very helpful. And it helps that you've been around where we live.

In the end, I think we'll go with the 25RSS unless something else magical shows itself. When we were buying the popup, we got to test tow some Aerolites that "worked" with our TV. Learned that there are benefits to TV overkill. Makes for much more pleasant trips if the driver's relaxed. That's important when you're thinking about 1-2 weeks on the road. And heaven help me if I screw up my wife's truck
.

And besides, my wife and I grew up camping, we know the evolution. We might only have a couple years left with my daughter before she is no longer able/interested in camping with us. By the time this trailer gets as old as our Aerostar, we may be looking at just my wife and I travelling together.

However, please let me know if you have any other thoughts.
 

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The 25RSS seems a better match for your truck. With an equal-i-zer brand hitch or the reese dual cam you should do fine. I whole heartedly agree with having a comfortable and relaxing trip. Nothing like being anxious while your driving, it'll wear you out by the end of the day.

One thing to think about is switching to "LT" tires at some point. The stiffer side walls will help make for a more stable tow. We've towed our 21RS with both the original "P" tires and "LT" tires. The "LT" tires made a big difference in stability.

good luck and I hope you all become outbackers!!!


Mike
 

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If anything, I'd think a short wheelbase TV would help with TT maneuverability, ala a semi-truck. What am I not understanding here?
Geometry!

The pivot point on a semi most often just forward of the first rear axle, while the pivot point for your setup is anywhere from 12" to 16" behind the rear bumper. This is what allows the trailer to push the TV around. The forward position of the semi's pivot point resists this "tail wagging the dog" syndrome, as do fifth wheels.

That is the secret behind hitches like the Hensley Arrow ($3000), which tricks the trailer into thinking the pivot point is at the rear axle of the TV, or the Pull Rite ($1900), which places the pivot point at the rear axle.

Hope this helps clear the fog.


Tim
 

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Hi Chprout,

We have been Outback owners since 3/27/04 and have been towing with a Ford Expedition. Our truck is an exact match to yours, not as new of course. You wouldn't know it as we keep her in mint condition. She tows beautifully and we have had no problems. We have the equilizer sway control and prodigy brake controler, which is a must. We don't feel the semi's driving past at all and have had no problems maneuvering some of the more narrow roads we've traveled on.

We camp quite a bit in the foothills or the mountains, Lake Tahoe and Truckee area and are very satisfied with our TV, TT match.
Our dealer recommended against going with anything larger than 26 with our Expy. We feel we made the right choice.

It's a perfect trailer for our family and allows us to extend to 30 feet with the slides. Hubby put up a mini curtain rod just this side of the food pantry enclosing the wardrobe closet/tv area, bathroom/bunks. We hung a nice matching fabric drapery to provide privacy for the kids to sleep late or when they go to bed before we do. Also, makes a great changing area after showering. When not in use we tie back the drapery or pop it out completely.

The 25RSS is a great trailer. Good luck with your decision and Happy Kamping! sunny

lisa
 

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My experiences are with an older Expy but I feel it still has applicablity for any short wheel base SUV and a 30 ft trailer.

I towed my 28BHS about 6,000 miles last year with an older 97 Expy EB 4x4 w/5.4 and tow package. I upgraded shocks to Rancho adjustable, added a steering stabilizer and Michelin Cross Terrain passenger tires (should have been LT). I use the Equa-l-izer hitch system.

On the flats below 60mph it towed fine. It really laboured on the hills and was in 2nd gear many times near redline while climbing. Even with a tranny cooler it was starting to overheat the fluid in the mountains. The hitch system controlled sway, but I still was still pushed/pulled by semis in multi-lane traffic and with cross winds (note: it did not sway, but moved the combined unit). It wallowed over large bumps but was in reasonable control. I was lucky to get 6-8 mpg combined at highway speeds. Didn't pass many gas stations.

The newer Expy is a more powerful truck, probably stiffer side wall tires and frame, and better suspension which will help a lot. However if you are into long trips like our family (heading to WY, MT and SD this summer), you may want to consider a better tow vehicle. I now tow my 28BHS with a 2004 GMC crew cab diesel and it is night and day better with stability on the highway, not to mention the fuel economy and power. Yeah, I realize an SUV makes more sense to a family as a daily drive as it did to me, but I am very happy with my HD pickup. My 10 & 13 year old son's are very comfortable in back and it is very relaxing to drive in all conditions. In fact it is more economical to drive solo than my 2001 Honda Odyssey van (with current fuel prices).

I realize a pickup may not work for some families but everyone in our family loves it (and all the bikes go in the back too).

Marty
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks to all who have replied here. We have made the decision to go with the 25RS-S. It fits the bill all the way around. See my post under New RV's, to see why, if you're interested! I love my EB Expy 4X4 and definitely don't want to go any larger than that!
 
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