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Old 03-19-2017, 07:37 AM   #1
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Is it a "wrong assumption"..all Bambi's are designed to be pulled by cars?

I have a 2016 Bambi Sport 22fb. I pull it with a 2016 Ford Explorer Limited with a 3.5 liter six cylinder motor.

I have been reading this forum for well over a year now and all I hear is "Trucks, trucks, trucks.....if your gonna pull an AS it 'has to be towed by a truck"!


In the first year of my TV/AS experience I've towed well over 8000 miles. 90 percent has been here in the Rocky Mountains with one cross country trip that had no mountains but a lot of wind.

I've had no problems with this combination at all with one exception. While visiting the Battle of the Little Bighorn last fall my wife had a very nasty fall, going down hard on the concrete pavement. This experience required a trip to the closest ER, Billing, Mt, a distance of 50 plus miles. Normally I drive 60 mph and everything is good. When I get to the mountain passes...I use the "paddle shifting" and shift down as required. On straight and level ground...I use "cruise control" and drive around 60. During the emergency situation I pushed it. Cruise set at 65. Driving up a long hill the car had a "hard down shift" and I knew it was the fault of my adrenaline pushing the car in the wrong way...."NO CRUISE SET AT THIS SPEED UNDER THESE CONDITIONS". I learned my lesson and thankfully there wasn't any damage.

Here's my question:
The 22FB Sport is here to stay until the wheels fall off or my legs no longer function. Give me at least 5 more years for the latter...I'm 75.

The Explorer is approaching 30,000 miles and will soon be out of warranty. It has been maintained according to the book and perfect in every way. Not an ounce of problems or issues.

All the "chatter" about trucks and trucks only has me in a quandary. I would love to have a pickup....not so with my wife. Our car is a daily driver...she doesn't like big vehicles.

So,with all that said.."am I wrong thinking that Bambi Airstreams are "designed to be pulled by cars and suv's?

Sure a pickup would be nice but looking at half ton Ford 150's I see that many are using the same 6 cylinder motor that my Explorer has...yet the towing capacity is greater. But it's a big vehicle!

Open to comments "realizing" that some maybe "burners (this is an Internet forum after all] and some may be "you gotta have a truck" but what about "outside of the box" view points.

Thanks for reading and perhaps commenting.

Pat
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:50 AM   #2
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The smaller ones can be pulled by small SUVs and some cars. Most cars would have to be properly equipped and prepped to tow, however.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:59 AM   #3
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Here is my answer to your question.

Bambi are designed to be lighter weights than the dual axel units. But it's not true to say they are designed to be pulled by cars.

Car can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Some "cars" yes.

Bambi are designed to be pulled by any vehicle that has adequate tow capacity.

We also have a 22 sport.

We would not pull a 22 with our previous vehicle, which was a Honda Pilot. We would have pulled a 16 sport with that.

I would have no qualms pulling a 22 with an Explorer, Grand Cherokee (especially diesel), or similar full-sized SUV with proper tow set up and capacity.

I would have no qualms pulling with a diesel VW/Porche Cayenne wagon. BMW also has a nice wagon. There are probably others.

But if you say car and mean something like an Accord then no, because it has been engineered with unibody construction and is not designed to tow.

But if you say vintage car from 70-80s that is not unibody, then it may be good.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:55 AM   #4
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So long as you are within all your ratings and using a properly setup hitch, tow it with whatever you'd like.

On the ratings, some will tell you that a 20% cushion is needed others that they routinely are over...

As far as the same engine, but higher capacity, you must take into account Frame, Suspension, Braking, Cooling and just how much "work" the vehicle will have to do. Trucks, for the most part, are made more for towing and will withstand the abuse better over a longer period of time with more ability.

Another aspect to safety, is wheel base and how "movable" the vehicle is, when things get squirrelly, as in the tail wagging the dog. I had a Jeep and people would always say "you must be able to get out of anything with it" and my reply was always "yup, cause it would get me INTO anything" because of its short wheel base (not used for towing)

Travel safely and smartly and an SUV is fine for a 22' Bambi (The one time you didn't, the Explorer let you know and you learned)
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:11 AM   #5
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The big truck guys will never, under any circumstances, concede that any Airstream can be safely towed by anything less than a 3/4 ton truck (preferably diesel). It is the core tenet of their beliefs.

But, lots of us have and still do without any fuss or bother.

Your TV is just now getting broken in, it works for you and you own it. Why change?
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:34 AM   #6
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We love our 3/4T truck and don't regret buying it to pull the trailer at all - it is also our daily driver at home and the 4x4 s handy in Canadian winters.

With a cap on the bed, we have all kinds of room to carry whatever we like and use the back of the truck as a "basement" for our trailer to keep the trailer clutter free.

It makes a great towing platform, especially with its long wheelbase for stability, to which the Hensley hitch adds even more control and a very relaxed towing experience. Being a crew cab, has plenty of space for just the two of us storing more valuable stuff in the rear seat area.

But certainly there is no magic to it - many many folks tow quite happily twith smaller vehicles - I don't personally hold with towing with a vehicle over its stated tow ratings and capacities, but within those limitations - and imagine you are, then if it does for you what you need I'd say great! Why change? Proof of the pudding seems the distances for which you have already towed.

As well, if your wife doesn't want a truck ..... well, you know what they say, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:58 AM   #7
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As long as you stay within the towing limits of your vehicle, you should be just fine. I towed my 21' Hi-Lo travel trailer for many years with my car. I used a weight distribution hitch and added a transmission oil cooler. I also did an annual transmission oil and filter change to keep the transmission fluid in proper condition. Just do your maintenance and consider the transmission side needing some TLC and you will be just fine.

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Old 03-19-2017, 12:19 PM   #8
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Pickups generally have lower rear end ratios, making it easier to pull a (heavier) load even when equipped with the same engine as the Explorer. As well as the pickup could have a beefier suspension for more weight on the bed and/or tongue.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:36 PM   #9
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Towing Bambis

I had a 19' Bambi (2005) that I towed with my Ford Explorer (3.73 with tow package) for 10 years without incident. This include trips across country from Virginia to Idaho and across Canada. It was a perfect marriage. I had weight distribution bars and sway control (no-name ones) that kept me safe and sound in some hairy conditions. I'm like your wife - I don't care for pick-up trucks and prefer the enclosed 'safe' place of a SUV. I sold my 'baby' 3 years ago and am replacing her next January with a 25' FC. Based on my happy experiences with the Explorer (which is still going strong BTW), I plan to pull it with another SUV, this time an Expedition with tow package, as the FC weighs a bit more than the 19-footer. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:50 PM   #10
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VW Tourareg Diesel Pulls a F150 backwards tires spinning

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Old 03-19-2017, 04:13 PM   #11
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No doubt impressive, but there are also some other considerations for some folk, depending on your needs,
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:34 PM   #12
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As long as you stay within the towing limits of your vehicle, you should be just fine.
. . .
Just do your maintenance and consider the transmission side needing some TLC and you will be just fine.

Jack

Well said.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:37 PM   #13
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I wonder how many remember Lucy & Desi in "The Long, Long Trailer" where they supposedly towed a 6,000 pound, 1953 Redman "New Moon" 36-foot in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with their 1953 Mercury Monterrey convertible and a 125 HP flathead V8 engine? During the scenes pulling the trailer in the mountains, their 1953 Mercury is subtly replaced with a larger but similar appearing 1953 Lincoln Capri convertible, equipped with a "whopping" 205 HP V8 engine! The trailer was equipped with a "third wheel" mounted under the area of the hitch.

Likewise, I've owned a 7000 pound (loaded) Winnebago 22' TT equipped with a weight distribution hitch and towed by a four-door Chrysler sedan, 383 cubic inch engine, auto transmission and weight distribution hitch many thousands of safe, steady miles, cross country, including mountains of eastern and the western North America.

So yes, a Bambi can be safely and effectively towed with an auto. It takes the proper automobile, the proper set-up and equipment and good knowledge and advice, just as with many things in life, IMHO. YMMV.


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Old 03-19-2017, 05:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rpatrick16 View Post
I have a 2016 Bambi Sport 22fb. I pull it with a 2016 Ford Explorer Limited with a 3.5 liter six cylinder motor.....In the first year of my TV/AS experience I've towed well over 8000 miles. 90 percent has been here in the Rocky Mountains with one cross country trip that had no mountains but a lot of wind.....I've had no problems with this combination at all with one exception...(which) required a trip to the closest ER, Billing, Mt, a distance of 50 plus miles. Normally I drive 60 mph and everything is good. When I get to the mountain passes...I use the "paddle shifting" and shift down as required. On straight and level ground...I use "cruise control" and drive around 60. During the emergency situation I pushed it. Cruise set at 65. Driving up a long hill the car had a "hard down shift" and I knew it was the fault of my adrenaline pushing the car in the wrong way...."NO CRUISE SET AT THIS SPEED UNDER THESE CONDITIONS". I learned my lesson and thankfully there wasn't any damage......Pat
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If you have towed for 8K miles so far and haven't had problems you might be OK. Your TV brakes are probably on the light side compared to a heavier duty TV, and I would hope your Explorer had 3.73 axle ratio, and heavier duty transmission cooling. In the old days, 1971 and on, I towed a 22' with a Ford van with a 302 cu. in. and three speed C-4 automatic. It was the automatic that failed 3 times in 3 years pulling the Rocky Mtns. but the engine was a tough little guy. Then I had a Dodge Ramcharger SUV with only 180 hp but a great transmission and it did OK too. Both were a little shy on muscle on steep grades, but we did OK. Now when I'm nearly your age I'm pulling a 29' AS with my 2016 Duramax diesel, and it is the best TV I've ever had, but too much truck for an around town driver. We have two sedans for around town. Your hard downshift didn't necessarily mean anything bad, but I would avoid pulling in cruise unless you are on relatively flat to gently rolling terrain, and you don't mind losing 5 mph on a slight hill rather than have cruise slam you down maybe two gears suddenly. See you down the road.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rpatrick16 View Post
I have a 2016 Bambi Sport 22fb. I pull it with a 2016 Ford Explorer Limited with a 3.5 liter six cylinder motor.

~~ STUFF DELETED

The Explorer is approaching 30,000 miles and will soon be out of warranty. It has been maintained according to the book and perfect in every way. Not an ounce of problems or issues.

~~ MORE STUFF DELETED
Pat,

Leaving aside the Great Tow Vehicle Debates, I want to offer you some food for thought about your specific situation.

You have an Explorer you seem to like that is still within the factory warranty and it sounds like the warranty is the main thing you're concerned about. (I may be reading too much into your comments on the matter, feel free to correct me.)

If in fact you're pleased with the Explorer overall, one thing you might consider is this: While you're still within the factory warranty period (3 yrs/36k miles) , you're eligible to buy one of Ford's "Extended Service Plan" warranties. There are a couple of Ford dealers that specialize in selling these at a discount over the internet. Ford always offers 0% financing on these plans as a standalone transaction. You can buy from one of those dealers or get a price and use it to negotiate with your local dealer that will probably go along, these are sold by the F&I guys so they'll make money whichever way you go (warranty vs. new vehicle.)

I guesstimated that your Explorer is a 2015 with AWD and 30k miles (since you said it had 30k.) The longest, most-expensive service policy (150k miles and 8 total years measured from the day your vehicle was first purchased new) is $3305 with a $100 per incident deductible, and there are all sorts of other combinations down to under $900 for short terms.

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Old 03-19-2017, 07:33 PM   #16
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The 22FB Sport is super easy to tow. You have more horsepower and torque than me (Honda Ridgeline) and I have absolutely no problems. I also have a 19' Bambi which weighs about the same but the Sport is much easier to tow. Narrower and lower, the reduced surface area makes a noticeable reduction in aerodynamic drag.

On the Ridgeline, pulling a long grade, I do slow down. I only have a 5 speed, so I need to match my speed in the lower gears to the engine's torque peak. That's probably what you encountered: the automatic dropped down a gear. If it's spinning too fast you need to drop your speed down to keep it in that gear at a more pleasing RPM.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:38 PM   #17
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I want to thank everyone for your input and thanks for the honest frank input without burying my back side.

The present tv is a 2016 Explorer Limited and I am trying to look further down the road. When we travel we take out two small grandkids...ages 4 and 2. It's just a matter of time before we are going to be needing to include bicycles and the lot to our "necessary camping equipment". I'm not new to this trailer pulling and raising kids inside some sort of a camping enclosure be it a tent, popup camper or a slide in for a pickup. The present set up is fine for the moment but give it another year and I'm gonna be on the wrong side of capacity. I'm leaning towards trading the Explorer at this point because it is a high value vehicle and very well optioned out. But as I've said in original statement I am already up against the maximums. To make matters even more difficult I am flat out loosing the battle when it comes to a pickup replacement. I'm going to have to stay with a SUV. So this week I'm going to look at and drive a Chex Tahoe and see if "Mama" can live with that. All I can say is "keep me in your prayers"....as one responder said..."if mamma aint happy....aint nobody happy. Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Pat]
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:50 PM   #18
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Pickups generally have lower rear end ratios, making it easier to pull a (heavier) load even when equipped with the same engine as the Explorer. As well as the pickup could have a beefier suspension for more weight on the bed and/or tongue.

For whatever reason, it seems that there is a lack of consideration for the rear axle ratio and the transmission characteristics in these discussion groups. Skooter has hit on a key element here.

I went to buy a beautiful Tahoe from a national used car company (Carmax) here in Albuquerque. It has a 5 day money back guarantee and I bought the car on Friday at 5:00 PM. I had an inspection scheduled with my mechanic for 0700 AM Monday just to make sure. I did a lot of quick research, but obviously I missed an important issue.

The mechanic gave the vehicle two thumbs way up! The vehicle still had the plastic protector on the entertainment system and the three wireless headphones were still sealed in their original bags. The mechanic asked what I was going to do with the vehicle. I said I would tow my 22 foot Safari (dual axle) Airstream and told him the max rated weight.

His response was "This vehicle won't pull it." We called GM this afternoon to determine that this vehicle (by VIN) had a rating well below 5000 poundsl I had checked tow capacity for Tahoe vehicles and the only vehicles I saw that didn't have at least a 5000 pound rating were Tahoe Hybrids. I assumed that only Hybrids were an issue.

Not so. It turned out that the vehicle tow rating capacity was way below 5000 pounds because it had something like a 3.03 rear end ratio. Vehicles with 3.54 or higher were fine. This wasn't despite having the same engine, body, and other features of all the vehicles rated higher.

I took the car back at 3:00 PM Monday and told Carmax the car wouldn't work and I needed to return it. I had all my money back by Thursday (check was cut and mailed from the southeastern states or I would have gotten it quicker.

The Carmax return for any reason in 5 day policy saved me a lot of money. It was a 4x4 and I was told they could change out the gearing, but it would cost twice as much being a 4x4. If I had purchased this from someone other than Carmax, that is probably what I would have done, but in this case I re-read all the posts on the towing forum, and ultimately bought a new 2014 Tundra. I got it new for $4K less than Carmax wanted for a 2 year old Tundra (same model and color) with little warranty remaining and 32K miles 'experience'.

I do not think that you have to tow with a truck. I made the right decision in my case for a number of reasons. In addition to the rear axle ratio and the transmission characteristics, there is something significant about the wheelbase length on the tow vehicle. This was impressed on me by Andy (the patriarch and individual who started the company many years ago) at Holiday Travel Trailers in Albuquerque, a family owned business. I was considering using a full sized Ford Bronco with tow package when Andy told me the story of an Airstream buyer who came to pick up his new trailer with a similarly short wheelbase vehicle. Andy suggested he may want to find a different tow vehicle with a longer wheelbase and more commanding tow profile, but the guy drove off and totaled the car and trailer within a week or two. The buyer then ordered another Airstream (same model), but when he came to pick it up, Andy said the guy had a one ton 'dually'. That may have been overkill, but that buyer became a believer.

I had towed a Mako 20' fiberglass boat (similar to a Boston Whaler) with the Bronco, but the crosswind surface was much smaller than an Airstream even though weight with 40 gallons in the tank was closer. I didn't use the Bronco as a TV.

I think that if using a 'car' to pull an Airstream, I would get a Pro-pride or Hensley hitch. I don't want one, don't feel I need one (with my truck) but I know a couple of folks who have a lot of towing experience I respect, and they swear by those hitch designs. If I thought I was using a vehicle with a relatively short wheelbase compared to the length of the trailer, I would spend the extra money on the tow hitch for peace of mind.

It seems, in general, longer wheelbase vehicles are better than shorter ones. Trucks generally have longer wheelbases than cars or SUVs.
This doesn't mean shorter wheelbases can't work, so if you are comfortable with the Explorer/22 Sport combination, by all means continue.

Drive carefully in any case.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:07 AM   #19
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Also look at the Ford Expedition...very nice vehicle and will tow a 22 sport with no problem.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:24 AM   #20
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If I had a 22' Sport I would tow it with my Nissan Pathfinder, whatever a Pathfinder is/was- car, station wagon, small SUV, crossover- not a truck.
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