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Old 01-31-2015, 11:21 AM   #1
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silver wren's Avatar
1953 17' Clipper
Montevallo , Alabama
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 14
Need info on towing very small Airstream

Hello experts,

I am finally having my sweet 1953 17' Clipper renovated. It should be completed sometime in March and I am so excited. I need some advice on towing. At this point, I don't expect to travel further than about an hour from my home, back and forth to the family farm, about once a month. I have a '93 Mitsubishi Montero SR that is capable of pulling more weight than the Airstream but I just have a ball hitch that I had put on at the U Haul place to tow a little trailer to haul lawn mowers, etc. I have moved the Clipper around my property with that ball but not taken it on the highway. I am not a pickup kind of girl so I don't have any plans to buy one of those massive rigs with a huge towing package. Do I need that for such a small trailer? Is there something I can add to the set up I have to make it safer? When I hear about sway I get ice cold chills.

I would like to be able to go on longer trips if I want to and I will probably have to buy a new vehicle in the not too distant future but I would be thinking more of an SUV type than a big pickup. Do you have a special towing package added to those at the dealer or do you buy those and have them installed? i know most of this info is probably out there already but I would appreciate any responses.

Thanks for any advice. I love this site.

Silver Wren

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Old 01-31-2015, 06:37 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,522
Hi and welcome! You just gotta post pictures of your 53 Clipper when it's done. I would be very interested in seeing it. And post a detailed description of what was done to make your vintage Airstream travel ready.

One of the things you probably did during the renovation was verify the trailer brakes are in good working order. Your vehicle will need a trailer brake controller if it doesn't already have one. And your vehicle will need a trailer 7 pin connector if you have not already wired one in.

Check your owners manual for the towing capability of your 93 Montero. It will tell you what it can handle. Your information sticker on the door jam will tell you what the gross vehicle weight rating is (weight of the Montero plus passengers plus cargo) and the gross combined weight rating (weight of the Montero plus passengers plus cargo plus trailer in tow, both tongue weight and trailer weight).

You need a dealer or a trailer hitch shop to take a look at your Montero's hitch receiver under the bumper. It needs to be a cat IV 2" square receiver and capable of at least 600 pounds tongue weight to be safe. Make sure it does not have rusty bolts holding it on.

You will likely find a weight distribution hitch will make towing your Clipper easier. You will know when you drop your Clipper on the ball and watch the rear of your Montero "squat". If it goes down much more than an inch or two, and weight distribution hitch would definitely help your steering and control.

Your Clipper is a lightweight trailer. Your Montero should tow it easily. And stopping should be no problem if all the brakes are working properly. If you're going to trade vehicles in the future, just look for something with 6 cylinders, can tow 3500 lbs, and a "tow package" so your transmission stays a little cooler.

Hope this helps. I'm sure other Clipper owners will chime in with their experiences.


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Old 01-31-2015, 08:16 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
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I doubt a 17' trailer would require a Class IV receiver hitch. A Class III should be plenty. Especially if an equalizer hitch is used.

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Old 03-02-2015, 05:30 PM   #4
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Smile New airstream member / TV

New to this forum. I am considering purchase of 16 ft airstream Bambi, 2015 model. My TV is V6 2013 Nissan Murano with full tow package including electric brake controller, 7pin electric connector, transmission cooler, and will have equalizer stabilizer set up. The GTW is adequate to tow Bambi. I welcome comments and/or advice re: same.

I will be trading in my 2014 T@B-S....cute, but, not all the amenities that I realize I really want and need to accommodate my desire for easy camping (?glamping? Style). As a senior lady, solo camper, I look forward to more fun...less chores in my travel experiences.

This little Bambi is adorable, fully loaded, all the bells and whistles. Can't wait for summer trips! Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2015, 07:33 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,522
Hello ColoradoLady! Welcome to the Airstream community. It may be you are well on your way to becoming an Airstream owner. The Bambi is the smallest Airstream and ideal for a V6 vehicle like yours. The combination should be easy to handle once you get used to it.

It might be you have a lot of serious mountain passes to cross there in western Colorado. Pulling any trailer up and down steep grades takes more energy. You might find yourself in the right lane with your flashers on just like the big trucks as you power up the mountains on a hot summer day. This is very common. Your Morano has a CVT transmission. I don't have experience with those while towing. I think of CVTs being designed for smoothness and fuel economy. I'm glad to hear it has a transmission oil cooler.

All RVs require chores. Your 16' Bambi requires the same chores as my 34' Limited. You still have to connect to water, power and maybe sewer. You still have to add fresh water, you still have to dump the tank, you still have to purchase propane, etc. And you still have to back up and couple the trailer to the hitch. And you get to do all of this in the rain and mud. What you won't have to do is stop for fuel as often as I do. Trailering is much fun, and I enjoy the chores as opposed to sitting in a motel room.

Go for it! The Bambi is bound to draw a lot of attention in the campground.

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