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Old 10-28-2013, 10:39 PM   #15
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Which Airstream dealer set up your tow vehicle?

I suggest checking out a few other threads on tow vehicles. It's a very controversial topic. It seems that people are shying away from arguments.
I think that you have to add passenger weight, hitch weight and all cargo to the weight of your camper.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:06 PM   #16
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I suggest checking out a few other threads on tow vehicles. It's a very controversial topic. It seems that people are shying away from arguments.
I think that you have to add passenger weight, hitch weight and all cargo to the weight of your camper.
I think the OP is OK with towing the Bambi, he just wants to know if he needs a weight distribution set up.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:05 AM   #17
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Thinking about this again, he probably doesn't need it, especially as with a Bambi he probably won't go camping with a large family. 400lbs from the trailer on the rear axle, driver and passenger 350lbs forward in the vehicle, there's your WD right there. Just make sure to carry all luggage in the trailer.

I would still install it, just for peace of mind and to ensure the best possible handling under all conditions.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:15 AM   #18
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I think the OP is OK with towing the Bambi, he just wants to know if he needs a weight distribution set up.
I suggest OP check to see if weight distribution hitches are even allowed on Sienna and also what is Sienna's hitch weight limit and towing capacity. Towing at max ratings usually is not a good idea.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:53 AM   #19
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Think, guess......or go to the scales and find out for sure.

Any trailer/TV, especially a single axle, will benefit from a properly set-up WD hitch with sway control.

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Old 10-29-2013, 07:20 AM   #20
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I would not tow a 3,000 lb trailer using a FWD vehicle without a WD system.

I believe that every pound you put on the rear deducts load from your front wheels, the ones that supply drive power AND steering. The ratio may or may not be 1:1 but it is most certainly significant.

Just do it, to quote some old ad.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:27 AM   #21
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Keep in mind that the Sienna is an eight person vehicle, with a payload of 1400lbs - it will outperform many 1/2 ton trucks. The Bambi's hitch weight is the equivalent of three (slim) passengers in the second row seats or two average weight people in the third row, so no biggie at all.

Having said that, I agree, I'd still get a WD hitch installed to get the best possible towing experience. Toyota recommends them for trailers above 2400lbs. Hitch weight limit depends on the hitch installed, but hovers around 520lbs with WD for a factory installed, non braced, hitch IIRC from when I researched this two years ago.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:21 AM   #22
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Keep in mind that the Sienna is an eight person vehicle, with a payload of 1400lbs - it will outperform many 1/2 ton trucks. The Bambi's hitch weight is the equivalent of three (slim) passengers in the second row seats or two average weight people in the third row, so no biggie at all.
Andy, I know you do not like trucks, but I would not say Sienna will outperform many 1/2 ton trucks :-) Most 1/2 ton trucks have more horsepower, more torque, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, and equivalent payload.

Also, Sienna may be fine with 3 people sitting in the third row, but may not be OK with putting the same weight on the hitch. It all depends on the weight the hitch is designed to support. Putting too much weight on the hitch might cause it to break, or come off the frame.

Cheers,
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:10 PM   #23
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Just a data point regarding Sienna as a tow vehicle. I have a friend who towed her funfinder ( that is one of them there SOB's in y'all's parlance ) with a Sienna. She towed that trailer all over the US, including up to Alaska and back. She used some sort of WD hitch, can't remember which one, but it was just one of the normal generic kind. And agree or not, this gal does not like to pedal along in the slow lane....she runs at whatever danged speed she likes, and when she is heading back home, that usually means long days at 70 plus mph. Her experience was it was an excellent tow vehicle, and this gal can "drive", so I take her at her word in evaluating this kind of thing.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:48 PM   #24
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I suggest OP check to see if weight distribution hitches are even allowed on Sienna and also what is Sienna's hitch weight limit and towing capacity. Towing at max ratings usually is not a good idea.

My Sienna's manual makes no mention of weight distributing systems, either for or against.

Using WD I suppose that you'd need to be aware that the hitch mounting points on the tow vehicle now need to handle a lifting and forward twisting effect rather than the downward force the mountings are expecting when towing straight on the ball, but the only way you're going to know that is to try it. I run a WD system with no issues at all on my Sienna, and I know that others do, too.

Tow ratings? I'm not going there!
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:25 PM   #25
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Andy, I know you do not like trucks, but I would not say Sienna will outperform many 1/2 ton trucks :-) Most 1/2 ton trucks have more horsepower, more torque, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, and equivalent payload.

Cheers,
More horsepower and more torque I'd agree, even though modern V6 minivans are reasonably powerful these days and have sophisticated six or seven speed transmissions to deliver said power to the road.

Truck suspension is mostly of the leaf spring live axle type, comparatively ancient technology, and whilst good for taking a load in the bed of the truck, does little to aid the handling of either the tow vehicle or the trailer. Minivans have semi-independent coil spring suspension at the rear; not as good as fully independent, but better for handling an Airstream that has independent suspension itself. I will concede, though, that I can't take a generator and 250 lbs of firewood in the back of my Sienna!

Brakes? Well, I'm not so sure that a truck's bigger brakes are going to stop it any more quickly than a minivan can stop; the mass of a truck, and its relatively high position on its springs, are working against it. A bit of basic research on road tests shows an unladen 2011 F150 stopping from 60 mph in around 125 feet whereas a 2011 Sienna will stop in around 121 feet. Add identical Airstreams to the back of each vehicle and you'll still see the same differential.

I appreciate that minivans can't take that cargo and the Airstream at the same time but once unhitched, the 28 mpg is quite an attractive prospect.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:20 PM   #26
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I appreciate that minivans can't take that cargo and the Airstream at the same time but once unhitched, the 28 mpg is quite an attractive prospect.
The 16 mpg that I am routinely getting on a straight and level highway tow at 55mph aren't unwelcome either.

The newer Hondas have a fully independent suspension setup both front and back. Not sure about the Sienna, but both will have far superior handling to most any truck out there.

My WD recommendation didn't come from the Sienna's manual, it came from a dealer when I looked at vans. TIFWIW.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
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My Sienna is AWD and only 7 passager.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:16 PM   #28
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My Sienna is AWD and only 7 passager.
The AWD model Sienna is better for towing since it has a lower final drive ratio.

You might want to take a look at Anderson's weight distribution / friction sway control hitch.
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