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Old 01-22-2004, 12:15 PM   #1
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2005 19' Safari
West Palm Beach , Florida
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Bambi Towing versus SOB

In going back through the archives, I see several references that seem to indicate that the Bambi 19 does not tow well. Some say it bounces a lot and another service rep. says he prefers towing a 34 Classic because of the single axle on the Bambi.

So ... which trailer do you think would provide the better towing experience, the 19' Airstream Bambi single axle bouncing along, or the similar sized Sunline 1950 (actually one foot longer) with two axles.

I like the idea of paying less tolls with the single axle on the one hand. On the other hand, I like the idea of having an extra wheel on each side in case of a blow-out.

Which one would tow better behind a one ton truck on just the ball only?

Stephen & Miriam
2005 Bambi Safari 19 LS with Sofa
2006 Harley-Davidson Road King Custom
2005 Dodge Ram 3500 CTD QuadCab SRW Long Bed
Sir Wooferman Wellington, Cock-a-poo Watch Pup
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Old 01-22-2004, 12:41 PM   #2
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Our SOB was a 2001 Coleman Bayside, 20 feet long, roughly the same weight as the bambi with a single axle.

Because it was a pop-up, I expected little or no sway back there -- my tow vehicle was about as long as the camper, a 1996 dodge 1500 slt extended-cab long bed.

The Coleman was about 5 foot tall in towing configuration. It had 13 inch tires on it.

It squirmed around an awful lot back there. It was a lot worse with a full water tank, and we used a friction sway control with the dang thing. The water tank was just behind the axle, and even counterbalancing it with an even greater amount of gear in the trunk (in the front of the unit) did not seem to help an awful lot. It bounced and squirmed -- not very badly, but it seemed to do it a lot. It had a tongue weight of about 350 pounds.

I have not towed our 28W yet -- it is between the factory and the dealer right now, so we have not taken delivery of it. Plus, we have a new tow vehicle.

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Old 01-22-2004, 12:59 PM   #3
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those danged Coleman/Fleetwood campers with the front storage trunk were poorly engineered period! I have a Coleman Niagara, with ours you couldn't tow with the water tank full it would put you over the GVW. Even with the front storage trunk at it's max of 150# it was still tail heavy. We used friction sway too. I wish we had bought the Reese Mini 350 for it. A dual axle trailer is always going to pull smoother than a single axle if everthing else is the same. I would think a light WDH/Sway control would help tame the Bambi. I was very happy with how well our AS behaves it's self, it tows a lot nicer than my Coleman ever did. It weighs about 2000# more, but that is only noticeable on take off and braking. Once up to speed it handles beautifully. BTW anybody want a good used Popup?

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Old 01-22-2004, 05:00 PM   #4
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Aw-right hohne!!!

My dad was a C-47 pilot between B-17s and -25's, T-33s and T-29s. His best memory of Thailand was flying Roy Acuff when the USO's C-130's had mechanical problems. (Based at Takhli RTAFB 1966-67)

I have spent rough time bouncing on the side seats in back. He gave me his left seat on a 1959 flight from Wiesbaden back to Chateauroux and I got to keep the wings level flying into the sunset. I sure learned to listen for the difference between a radial and inline engine!

I'd love to Nuvite an old DC-3!!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 01-22-2004, 05:42 PM   #5
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single axle never again for me
i have owned SOB before both with single and dual axel
single is easy to put on the spot by hand but its like a happy dogs tail behind your car
I had a SOB 20 FT could not get it over 60 mph
I did 95 with a tabbert dual axle no problems
still did not realy try the A/S but at 80 it was towing great
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Old 01-22-2004, 05:58 PM   #6
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I have always pulled tandem axel sob trailers, so I was concerned when buying my first airstream Bambi. My experience so far has been great, use sway bar but no signs of excess sway or bad handling. My tow vehicle is a escalade ext which is over kill.

Hope this helps sure enjoying the Bambi!!!

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Old 01-22-2004, 06:31 PM   #7
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I have a Friend that has a 60's Bambi. He says his tires will never wear out as the trailer spends at least 50% of the time he is towing it in the AIR. The also has a 34 footer and a LY motorhome. He tows the Bambi with the same 'burb that he tows the 34 with.

The new Bambi's are heavier so this should not be as much of an issue, but the single axle will have different towing/backing characteristics vs. a dual or triple axle.
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 01-22-2004, 06:44 PM   #8
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I think the short description is that the Bambi tracks pretty much steady as a rock.

Bouncy?? - nope - on our final outing last fall we had a 3 hour drive from our home to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay - after packing the trailer to leave, my wife left had her glasses on the counter strip between the sink and the dinette - this is no more than a two inch strip - glasses were exactly where she left them when we arrived at the campground -wouldn't want to make a bet that this would ever happen again but we thought it quite a testimony on the stability of the trailer.

Haven't had a flat tire so can't comment there.

Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

"I'm not young enough to know everything ....."
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Old 01-22-2004, 06:52 PM   #9
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I have had 3 single-axle SOBs and I never had a sway or bouncing problem with any of them. Two of them used Dexter torsion axles without shocks, the third was a leaf spring. The last of the 3 was a 24' TrailManor and its towing manners were impeccable.

I also had blowouts at highway speeds on both sides of both of the torsion axle trailers over the years. Lots of noise and vibration; absolutely no control problems.
John W. Irwin
2005 Classic 28 "Sabre-Dog III"
2013 Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison LTZ
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:43 PM   #10
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I have a Friend that has a 60's Bambi. He says his tires will never wear out as the trailer spends at least 50% of the time he is towing it in the AIR.
You know, I hear this sort of single-axle horror story all the time but I don't get it.

Towing of my single-axle Caravel (2400 lbs dry) is a non-event. In 4,000 miles of towing since last July, it hasn't bounced, swayed, or in any way given me less than stellar performance.

Frankly, I think single-axle trailers have a bum rap. But then, I do have an Equal-i-zer hitch ... I wouldn't tow even such a light A/S on the ball alone.

which trailer do you think would provide the better towing experience, the 19' Airstream Bambi single axle bouncing along, or the similar sized Sunline 1950 (actually one foot longer) with two axles.
I'd put a good sway control and weight distributing hitch on the Bambi and forget the Sunline ... not even a close call, IMHO.

-- RL
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Old 01-22-2004, 08:13 PM   #11
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I agree, our Caravel has also given us no trouble at all. I thought it felt a little bouncy back there once when we forgot to fill the water tank before leaving for a trip. I think it rides a little better with the full tank, which is right in the front center. But other than that I can't imagine how it could possibly be any easier to tow. We use an ez-lift hitch with WD bars and friction sway control. No complaints.

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Old 01-22-2004, 08:18 PM   #12
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I am going to weigh in again The Sunline 1950 was on our short list of trailers to buy, the other was a Nash. We had looked at the new AS but the price was way out of line for our budget. A vintage 31' Sovereign showed up on a semi-local dealer's lot, it went home with us. A little bigger than we had planned on but the price was right! Even if I end up spending the price of a new Sunline, I will come out ahead, look at the pictures on this link Beautiful! I don't know if mine will ever be this nice, but it gives you an idea of what can be done with some perserverance, no SOB ever looked that nice!

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Old 01-22-2004, 08:42 PM   #13
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My Caravel is the first trailer I ever owned that was a single axle, all the other ones were tandem. I was a little leary about a single axle because of stories I've heard, but this Caravel tows great sometimes forget it's back there. I do use a sway bar when towing, but thats all. No lift bars.

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Old 01-22-2004, 09:19 PM   #14
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Greetings Stephen and Miriam!

There are a number of differences between the Vintage Bambis and the recent Bambis. One of the biggest is that the new Bambi outweighs its predecessor by something a bit more than 1,000 pounds. I have followed a number of recent Bambis and have yet to note any unusual bounce while underway - - with Vintage Bambis there has been a noticeable tendency to bounce on secondary roads with rough expansion joints where I have followed friends towing a '61 Bambi.

After a very bad experience with a single axle Nomad light weight special in 1980, I never thought that I would own another single axle trailer. Eighteen months ago I met my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre and it followed me home less than 72 hours later. So far, most of my towing has been with my K2500 Suburban and it has been a very pleasant surprise from a towing perspective. I do use a Reese Strait-Line Hitch with Reese Dual Cam Sway control, and find that it makes for a solid link between the two with absolutely no tracking issues between tow vehicle and trailer.

The only difference that I note between the Overlander (26' tandem) and the Minuet (20' single) is that the tandem Overlander is easier for me to back into a parking spot than the Minuet - - the Minuet seems to react much more quickly than the Overlander. One of the nice side benefits of towing the Minuet over the Overlander is that it only reduces my MPG by about 1 MPG whereas the Overlander usually reduces the MPG by 2 or 3 MPG. The Minuet has a gross weight of 3,100 pounds which is still somewhat lighter than the current Bambi, but I suspect that towing performance would be similar.

Good luck with your decision!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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