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Old 09-30-2007, 08:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfood

check out this thread link for a mismatched TV, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...ost-36080.html
Upon reading all the posts on that accident, it is pretty clear that was a disaster waiting to happen. He was running with only one sway bar!! A bigger tow vehicle would not have helped much.

Bigger tow vehicles can give a larger margin of comfort but will not compensate much for a poorly setup rig. Smaller tow vehicles can be set up to tow safely within the manufactures' weight specs.
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #16
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Doing it by the numbers: See this thread...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ers-36389.html
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaaron
I certainly don't consider it a heavy duty hauler, but I am confident that it will easily handle the 19' trailer for short weekend trips. If I can gain the same confidence that it will handle the 23'er, I may go for it...Can you also explain what 'CSA' means?
CSA on the spec sheet means the Canadian spec trailer - in particular the Canadian 23'ers have a 6300lb GVWR because the 6000lb axles aren't certified in Canada.

If you are looking at trailers on a dealer's lot, open up the closet door and you should see a weight sheet - it will show you how options have eaten up the difference between the UBW and the GVWR. Depending on the 23' trailer you are looking at you may find that it is close to 6000lbs without cargo.

I share your confidence that the 19' will be no problem (assuming you have a reasonable w/d anti-sway hitch). If you intend to stay down in Southern California (e.g. Joshua Tree, Salton Sea) you'll *probably* be OK with the 23' - but you don't want to go up into the Sierras.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:21 AM   #18
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Good day aaron.. I posted this a while ago but will post it again. It is an interesting blurb on the towing prowess of the high performance X5.



The highlights below are from an article in "Automobile Magazine". It praises the towing prowess of the BMW X5, perhaps the "Ultimate driving "towing",?? machine.

"Online editor Greg Anderson called the X5 a "tall 5-series wagon with worse gas mileage." Founder and editor emeritus David E. Davis, Jr., felt it was more of an "all-wheel-drive mini-minivan" than an SUV. Executive editor Mark Gillies abandoned automotive terminology altogether, branding the X5 "an odd fish but a really good one." Most staffers agreed that whatever the X5 is, it's a good one.

The chassis and suspension inspired much praise. After a 1200-mile weekend, contributor Ronald Ahrens wrote: "There's no shake, the car remains composed over railroad tracks, and road-surface irregularities are nothing but trifles. Ride quality is simply astounding." Senior editor Eddie Alterman lauded its superb damping and over-the-road comportment. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom praised the taut suspension, preferring it to the "lumbering ride" of traditional SUVs.

The powertrain and chassis made for stellar towing. After pulling a U-Haul trailer laden with his dismantled Lotus racing car back from Indianapolis, Gillies wrote: "This is a far better tow vehicle than the GMC Yukon XL Denali I used to take the Lotus to Indy (with the same kind of trailer). For one, you don't get blown around. Just because a vehicle can haul a house doesn't mean it can tow well. The BMW may not have a huge towing capacity, but it tows superbly."

Anderson recanted his earlier dismissal of the X5 as merely a tall wagon after using it to collect an impulse eBay Motors purchase from Sacramento, California
Even with the 1972 BMW 2002tii riding piggyback, the X5 handles the trailer with ease, no jolting or wagging. It feels more like a train than a truck. If it weren't for the 2002 in the rear-view, I could forget we were pulling anything."
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:02 PM   #19
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19' vs 23'

Hi, just want to toss in my 2 cents about towing because 2 years ago when I was ordering my Airstream I was also trying to decide between the 19 ft or 23 ft.

I liked them both, and although the 19’ had everything I wanted, I really wanted the 23’ because it was a 2-axle. Theoretically, my tow vehicle – Ford Ranger – would tow either of them. I ended up going with the 19’ and am glad that I did.

One thing that helped me make up my mind was my dealer’s assurances about Airstreams being very good at holding their market value, so if in 5 years or so I decided to trade up (which I might) is that I would get a fairly decent % back on trading in for a larger unit… I am not sure if that is gospel, but it is a comforting thought anyway.

One thing that I have also noticed is that many people tend to lump all versions of a particular vehicle together when discussing towing capacity. I have seen lots of statements along the lines of “Chevy or Dodge model X can tow up to 8,000 lbs” etc etc. For instance, regarding the Ford Ranger, which I can speak to since I own one and have towed a 19” A/S for 15K+ miles with one, has a huge variance of towing capacities.

So what is a particular vehicles actual tow capacity ? The answer is “that depends”. I have attached a chart to show what I mean. With a particular vehicle, such as a Ranger, and I am sure the same applies to others, in addition to the model, you need to know which engine, which wheel base, which transmission, 4x4 or 4x2, and even which box length, in order to determine what is your actual tow capacity. In the attached you will see that a Ford Ranger with a V-6 can have any of more than 20 different tow ratings from 2,220 lbs up to 6,000 lbs depending on configuration. So my main suggestion would be to make sure you know what your particular vehicle parameters are for every combination so you can know your specific rating.

In my case, my truck is the V-6 4.0 liter 207 HP, Automatic, Supercab, 4x4, with 6-foot box so it comes out to a tow capacity rating of 5,560 lbs. I would rate it as “marginally acceptable” as a tow vehicle for a 19-ft. It is not so much a question of sheer horsepower to drag up a hill, it will do that just a little slower. The main issue is the tow vehicle is just a smaller mass compared to the trailer and it gets pushed around too much on the hwy.

By “pushed around” I mean the sudden “flexing-action” that happens when I am cruising along at 60~65 mph, and an 18-wheeler in the left lane coming at 75~80 mph overtakes me. There is a wall of air about 10 feet in front of the front bumper of the semi that as it gets up to about the hitch area of my trailer, it literally pushes the rear of the truck about an inch to the right, enough so that I have to make a correction on the steering wheel of about 1 inch clockwise with the wheel to keep everything rolling straight.

You get used to it, and now it is basically a subconscious move with the wheel, but it is annoying and tiring. Now, that being said, what I have is the Reese Equalizer and not a sway control hitch. My dealer said that you didn’t need a sway-control setup for only a 19 ft trailer, but I think they were not correct. I think because I only have a mid-size truck that sway-control is actually more important. So, since a new tow vehicle is a couple years away I am looking into either adding a sway-control system of some sort to my Reese Equalizer setup or getting a new hitch setup altogether. I am not sure yet which way to go, but I need to change something because my wife will not drive the truck with the setup as-is because she is uncomfortable with it. Some people have said that a two-axle trailer tows better, so I don’t know if that would avoid the flexing action I described above or not, but in any event, regardless of which length trailer you go with, check into the hitch setups and take a good look at sway-control hitches and I think you get what you pay for so be prepared to put some money into a decent hitch.

Regards, Dave.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:59 PM   #20
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Dave, I agree with you that it is important to avoid general rules of thumb and just look at the manufactures' numbers and understand them.

I also strongly agree that a properly setup WD and sway control has got to be the biggest factor in towing stability, even over things like the wheelbase and tonnage of the TV.

Get the sway control - it will make a huge difference in the situations you describe. Our Airstream dealer added the Reese Dual Cam sway control ($175) and it is rock steady. A semi can pass us doing 80 and the rig does not flinch.

..........Scott
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayward
Upon reading all the posts on that accident, it is pretty clear that was a disaster waiting to happen. He was running with only one sway bar!! A bigger tow vehicle would not have helped much.

Bigger tow vehicles can give a larger margin of comfort but will not compensate much for a poorly setup rig. Smaller tow vehicles can be set up to tow safely within the manufactures' weight specs.
One sway bar......I only have one on the passenger side. I have a 27'FB towed by a 2008 F250 with diesel. Should I have two? So far we've gone on 8 trips and when trucks go by there is absolutely no sway (that I feel)
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaaron
I am overwhelmed! Thanks for all the quick responses. I have heard that the AS community was large and friendly, now I have experienced it first hand!

Leo, please rest easy knowing that the future wife has been with me to check them out and loves the 19' CCD. We both agreed that it would be nice to get the 23' now, so that our family can grow into the trailer.

That said, I'm still not convinced that the X5 is the right match for the heavier load. I've read on some BMW forums where the general consensus is that the X5 is a great TV for what it is, and that it has been underrated by BMW. I certainly don't consider it a heavy duty hauler, but I am confident that it will easily handle the 19' trailer for short weekend trips. If I can gain the same confidence that it will handle the 23'er, I may go for it.

Wayward, thanks for taking the time to explain so much to me. I am still learning, and what you have described answers many of my questions. Can you also explain what 'CSA' means? I have seen this on the Airstream specifications sheet.

Again, thanks for all the advice!
I sometimes think that an X5 would be an ideal tow vehicle when I'm ready to buy something else. I've driven a BMW sedan, and was very impressed with the depth of engineering and refinement. They may not be to everyone's taste, but they are extremely sophisticated and capable vehicles.

Which engine do you have in your X5 - the 3 litre six, or the 4.8 V8? Regardless, the transmission has low gearing and the combination will produce lots of torque. The X5 appears to be well-designed for accelerating and pulling grades, even with 6,000 lbs in tow.

Last year, Car and Driver features a Mercedes ML63 pulling a 23' Safari. I don't recall any mention of instability, and very high speeed towing was intimated in the article. I'd expect the X5 to be at least as good, since BMW has an even better reputation for handling.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy the 23', or even a 25, and tow everywhere with it. The only issue is getting a suitable receiver and weight distributing hitch setup. You will want to get this right.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:55 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
One sway bar......I only have one on the passenger side. I have a 27'FB towed by a 2008 F250 with diesel. Should I have two? So far we've gone on 8 trips and when trucks go by there is absolutely no sway (that I feel)
I believe that he was running with one broken spring bar . . . in effect, he was towing with a cockeyed weight distributing hitch.

Friction control manufacturers recommend two sway controls for trailers over 25 or 26 feet. You don't tighten them down as much, and two seem to work more smoothly and consistently than one. Do you need a left side control? Your call, I guess.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:23 PM   #24
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I've read the BMW thread on the other forum through and I wouldn't put much confidence in it either. For one thing, the OP says that the GVWR of his Airstream is "GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) 8,300# (have loaded it to 8,900+#)". I'd say he has voided any warranty he has left at the time he posted...not to mention he has been unsafe. Of course that may explain the use of oil he mentions. I personally think the only way he is as successful at towing a 31' trailer behind such a short and, in my personal opinion, underpowered tow vehicle is because he has a $3,000 Hensley Arrow hitch to keep it all under control and hasn't had to make any emergency maneuvers, yet. Would you rather put an extra $2,000 into your tow vehicle or into your hitch and hope it will handle the trailer in an emergency?

He, and other posters, claim that BMW is too conservative in what their vehicles will tow. Well, I'm no automotive engineer and I doubt the OP or any of the followers on his thread are either, but you can bet the folks at BMW that set the towing limits of the X5 are and they know what is safe and what isn't. They set the limit based on extremes that you will encounter in emergencies, not everyday towing situations. Believe this, if they could open up a new market and sell more vehicles by raising that limit so people with larger boats and larger travel trailers would buy them as tow vehicles they would raise them in a heart beat.

My suggestion is decide on the size trailer you really need...not just today, but five years from now and buy based on that, not based on you and one child today. Then, trade up in tow vehicle if you need to. You will have that Airstream a lot longer than you will any tow vehicle but you might as well start off with the right match. Tow vehicles come and go, but Airstreams last nearly forever. At least some have lasted for decades.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
One sway bar......I only have one on the passenger side. I have a 27'FB towed by a 2008 F250 with diesel. Should I have two?
It depends on the design of the system. Your system is probably designed to have just one.

I once had one of my spring bars in the wrong notch and it caused one side of the rear axle to ride a little high...to the point that I lost traction when I went to pull away from a traffic light. I pulled into a near by grocery parking lot and readjusted the spring bars so they were in the same notch and there was no problem. I was afraid of a jackknife situation if I had continued in the light drizzle after I noticed the loss of traction on one side with my limited slip differential.
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:47 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF
I sometimes think that an X5 would be an ideal tow vehicle
Indicators are out there Albert to suggest that there may be some truth to your thinking. I have talked with an X5 owner who raves about how well his X5 tows his Airstream. His reference was an HD pickup he also tows with.

This past weekend we had the pleasure of following a fellow Airstreamer home from a weekend adventure south of the border. It was very windy with gusty cross winds. I commented to my dh numberous times on how stable the 25' Airstream was in the wind and when passed by 18 wheelers. The tow vehicle was not an X5 but something similar, a MB 350 SUV.
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:03 PM   #27
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The link that Aaron supplied has some interesting comments that were posted by X5 owners who were actually using their vehicles as TV's.

Quote:

I tow a 24ft boat all the time and never have a bit of problems. By looking at your picture and from the experience I have had with my X5, the bimmer is a great vehicle to tow with. This is no lie, I swear. My bimmer pulls my boat FAR better than my dad's H2 Hummer. In fact we bought the hummer to tow the boat with and ended up towing the boat with my X5. Last week my dad traded in his hummer on a F250 so he could pull the boat with his own vehicle instead of using mine. TRUE, THE BIMMER TOWS BETTER THAN THE H2

The low profile tires (keeps the X5 lateral motion in check) and relatively short distance from the hitch ball to the rear axle (short lever arm) when compared to most other tow vehicles (Surburban, pick-up trucks, etc.) mitigates sway by not allowing the trailer to "wag the dog". The transmission's manual mode when used with cruise control allows max throttle without "working" the transmission.
I don't believe BMW realizes the capabilities of their vehicle, just as other manufacturers don't really understand towing, but they seem to have stumbled into creating a really excellent tow vehicle when configured correctly (i.e. sport package, air suspension.

agree that the X5 is an excellent tow vehicle (I don't tow anything that heavy, but I have been impressed within the limits of my 3.0/5000 lb tow rating. The very short distance from the axle to the hitch centreline is a really big factor in the stability.

I think the published BMW limit has more to do with the preparation carried out by the average owner towing, and BMW needing to make sure there are large safety factors. I don't think many owners, if any, take as much care in setting up for towing as withidl does, from the sway bars to the trailer loading regime. The manufacturer needs to address the liability risks created by the lowest common denominator driver.

I tow a 2.4 tonne (5300lb) van with the 3.0D and it performs brilliantly - including great fuel consumption considering. I use trailer brakes and a weight distribution hitch. I find it surprising that when you put your boot into it the engine noise inside the car is still very low, unlike other cars I have used. Makes for nice low stress driving. QUOTE:
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:01 AM   #28
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I'm sure as long as you stay within the manufacturer's stated towing limits, the X5 is an excellent towing vehicle because of the reasons listed above. However, I am concerned that the individual on the bimmer board has exceeded those limits and is towing a trailer that is much too large for his X5. A 19' Airstream would be a great combination with the X5. A 23' would probably be approaching the safe limits. Anything heavier and longer than a 25' Safari, IMHO, would be too risky.

In an emergency maneuver, I think the heft of this other X5 owner's Airstream (remember, Classics weigh more/linear foot than Safaris) will sling the relatively lightweight X5 into the direction of the trailer's thrust. At best, the rig might jackknife. A smaller, lighter Safari or shorter CCD would have a lesser tendency because it wouldn't have the heft or the leverage.

As long as you keep the Airstream under 25', I think you should be fine as long as you understand that you probably won't take any mountains at breakneck speed.
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