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Old 11-19-2015, 10:14 AM   #15
Rivet Master
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Using the "Lego blocks" which are plastic, allows the foot of the stabilizer to slide around. A square of 3/8 exterior plywood works great on top of the Lego block. Sliding minimized. Also, I "treat" the plywood with home version bug spray... It keeps the "picnic" ants and roaches from climbing to your AS. So far it has worked!!!

Wash hands after "landing" your AS.... Lots of reasons...

Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:22 AM   #16
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,552
Congratuations on your new Tiny Tin! (aka Bambino, Bamster..... Have you got a name yet?)

Our rule of thumb is that if the chances of something going wrong are small but the consequences of something going wrong are huge, we take the precaution. Rarely we've seen a trailer fish-tailing on the highway, but it happens.

So yes, we drive with sway control. But you might want to detach it for serious backing or turning.

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Old 11-19-2015, 10:58 AM   #17
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,505
Welcome to the world of AS. You are going to like it. Towing Highway 1 is an experience, so you have some under your belt. Good start.

We are new to an RV as well. There are lots of folks who are new just like you. You are not alone, so ask those questions.

Contact Bay Area Airstream and get on their E-mail list. They held a free seminar last Saturday which discussed winterizing and general questions from the floor. The you-tube videos are great, but the individual experiences of a group of AS owners is "Priceless" We learned that liquid spills could flow into the trailer from the storage compartment, because it is the same level as the interior floor. We learned that the area around the storage compartment is prone to condensation, because it is not directly heated. We learned that we may need to get a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the trailer. We learned that the heat pump would remove moisture, while the propane furnace will add moisture. We learned to keep an eye out for moisture forming on the front wall between the bed and the shell. All that came from folks who attended the event.

You might consider joining WBCCI. The Greater Bay Area unit was quick to contact and welcome us. They seem to have an active group.

Yes, look into a WDH. Understand the difference between weight distribution and sway control. Most folks think the smaller trailers do not need much, but if you plan to drive as fast as most folks do in CA, it's a consideration you need to address.

Also consider the age of your tires. A blow out does very expensive damage to an AS. Tire maintenance/replacement is important and not difficult or expensive. The problem is that tires with a lot of tread depth can be past their sell by date or damaged by a road hazard hit. They fail from the inside out. And keep them balanced. Vibration is not good for rivet life and we have some really bad roads in CA.

If you don't know when the grease in the hubs was last serviced, it's a maintenance item that should be considered. It's is a good time to inspect the brakes as well. The best controller won't help out of adjustment or worn brakes.

A lot of folks do the maintenance on their trailers themselves. Knowing how the systems work makes you more self sufficient on the road and will help resolve simple problems that might keep the trailer in the driveway.

Again, welcome to the group. You are going to like the smiles.

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Old 11-19-2015, 12:30 PM   #18
4 Rivet Member
1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 385
There are lots of things to learn, most by using common sense. I see most of your questions have been answered so I will touch on a subject you didn't ask about.....leveling your trailer. If you have an absorption refrigerator like Dometic or Norcold on board your Bambi, you should never let it stand unlevel while it is operating for more that 15 or 20 minutes. Doing so will shorten the life of this expensive piece of equipment. By leveling, I mean the refrigerator itself, within the inner bubble space of a level placed in the freezer in two dimensions (fore and aft and side to side) you will ensure the longest possible life of the reefer under otherwise normal circumstances. Don't worry about unlevel conditions while in motion as these situations cancel each other out as you move to, fro, and side to side. I mentioned two dimensions to level. Airstream for years provided a small circular bubble level for this purpose. You can get one from any RV store for a few bucks. I have bubble levels on the outside of my trailer for reference but I check my little round one on the counter above the reefer every time I park. If I stop for anything like food or gas and can't get level easily, I switch the reefer off until I am ready to go again.

Welcome to Airsteaming. I would also encourage you to go to to find out how to join the international Airstream club. There are many folks there who want to meet and help you enjoy your camping experiences.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:34 PM   #19
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
Hillsboro , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4
The best hitch

Welcome to the group. I do have experience with more than one type of hitch. And I can HIGHLY recommend the Andersen hitch. It is a weight distribution hitch as well as an anti-sway hitch.
It is a elegant masterpiece of engineering!
#1 The part of the hitch that is attached to your tow vehicle weighs only 28 pounds. Easy for one person to mount and unmount.
#2 The Andersen hitch provides automatic sway damping based on tongue weight. Nothing to adjust.
#3 The Andersen is available on the Internet for $450. UPS can deliver.
#4 You can backup the trailer without having to undo the anti-sway assembly as is required with other hitches.
You will love this hitch.
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:23 PM   #20
3 Rivet Member
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Center Moriches , New York
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 248
Welcome and congratulations on your Bambi. I would STRONGLY recommend that you find and attend an RV Boot Camp. The Escapees RV Club run an excellent Boot Camp (other groups also offer them). In RV Boot Camp you, and about 200 other "newbies" will have the basic systems found on modern RVs explained and demystified. Mistakes made with RVs are often expensive and sometimes dangerous. Folks can attend a Boot Camp even before / without an RV. Escapees usually run their Boot Camp from Friday afternoon through Sunday noon. Mark Polk at has a DVD series on RVing. I was lucky enough to get many of the titles from my local public library. I bought other titles I was interested in. The DVDs run about $20 for each topic. Chuck Woodbury publishes an eNewsletter: It's free to subscribe (donations are appreciated). Using GOOD check lists will help keep you safe. You've found a great forum here. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Again, WELCOME!
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:29 PM   #21
2 Rivet Member
2010 22' Sport
Boise , Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 54
All of the above advice is absolutely dead on! We have a set of walkie talkies too. My wife gets out and guides me while I'm backing up...very handy!
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:10 PM   #22
2 Rivet Member
2014 16' Sport
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 49
There is a reason the speed limit in California is "55". Do the limit and you will not need a sway bar nor worry about rivets popping. We have had a 16' Bambi for over two years with no sway bar and no problems. Enjoy
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:19 PM   #23
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4,282
I will gently disagree. Rolling downhill at 55mph through the Cajon pass with my rig before anti-sway was a white-knuckle experience I don't want to repeat. Felt like the rig was just barely under control every time I braked or downshifted to maintain speed. Anti-sway of some sort is a safety item you should not do without.

Anytime you tow on a ball, the trailer will always sway, either a little, or a hell of a lot without warning. I went with a ProPride because a) I could, and b) I don't ever want to try to straighten out an AS that's doing its darnedest to pass my TV, and c) overkill is better than under kill when it comes to sway control, IMHO.

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'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:43 PM   #24
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Venice , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 989
You'll work out the weight distribution issue after a few more tows. The Equalizer 4 Point WD Hitch is not only a excellent hitch but a good choice for a newbee as it incorporates Weight Distribution & sway control into one very easy to use hitch. They can be purchased online for the best price & just about any RV Dealer will install it for a fee. Google Equalizer WD Hitch for videos & prices, I got mine for around $450.00
Venice, FL
2016 FC 25RTB
2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins Diesel
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:29 PM   #25
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2006 23' Safari SE
Lexington , Kentucky
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Originally Posted by tunnelboy View Post
Hi everyone. We're proud owners of a 16' 2011 Bambi. I have a 2006 4Runner V8 Ltd for towing (Toyota says 7,000 pounds... Bambi is 3,500). Drives reasonably well from what little experience I have (have driven about 20 miles with it).


3) Really, the #1 issue is the brakes. The vehicles hitch is all factory. I don't understand what a brake controller is and whether I need one. The guy at the RV place said to read my manual (was not friendly or helpful), but it doesn't mention a thing about it. When I apply the brakes on the 4runner, doesn't that apply the brakes on the Bambi? Do I need a controller?

Thanks so much!
Hi Tunnelboy, welcome to the forum. Interesting name, I'm sure it goes with an interesting story

I have the '04 4Runner with the 4.7L V-8 and I pull our 23' Safari with it. Handling is very good.

If your 4Runner has the towing package, like Alumineer said, get the Tekonsha brake controller and make sure you specify that you want the cable for Toyotas. You can mount it under the dash just in front of your right knee. (I couldn't find a better place, but it makes it handy.)

On the left side kick plate, by your left foot and at the top of the kick plate is a wire with a plug (You may have to search in the wiring bundle, but it's there if you have the towing package). This is for the brake controller. That plugs into the supplied cable which plugs into the back of the Tekonsha.

(Tekonsha P2, not sure if P3 is different)
When you start the 4Runner, the Tekonsha window displays NC (Not connected) if the trailer is not plugged into the 4Runner 7-pin plug. If it's plugged in you will see a series of numbers depending on if your'e in park (0) or stepping on the brake. (Numbers increasing as you stop harder.)

On the top left is a dial, this sets how much trailer braking is applied when you step on the brake; higher the number, more brake. On the bottom of the Tekonsha is a lever. This is manual braking. To set the brake, move the manual lever to the opposite side, then turn the dial to set a number about mid range or less. Start out with the trailer and apply the brakes to see how the Tekonsha registers and how easily the trailer stops. Adjust the left knob up or down as necessary.

For hitch, our previous owner (PO) gave us the Equalizer hitch that he had on his Tacoma. He said it was great on his tow vehicle (TV). I've used it for a couple of years now and it's fairly easy to use. I feel very confident at 60-65 although I've had it up to 75 for short periods. It loses 1.5 mpg at 70 so I dial it down to the lower speeds.

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

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Old 11-19-2015, 05:15 PM   #26
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4,282
P3 adapter for Toyota trucks is readily available. Dittoes on the hard to find plug. I had to pull out the kick panel to fund it, and it was twisted behind the harness where it was well hidden. From there, it was plug and play. Ours is mounted below the fuse panel on the left bottom of the dash. I tend to drive right handed and hit trailer brake left handed. YMMV.

With our 22 footer, I run boost 1 and adjust the gain to avoid the Hensley 'bump' effect by breaking the trailer a bit harder than the truck. As always, drive carefully and remember that you are controlling a lot more weight than just your toe vehicle. Plan your moves as far ahead as possible...,

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'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:27 PM   #27
1 Rivet Member
2011 16' Sport
Berkeley , California
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 5
Wow, I didn't expect this outpouring of support! Thank you, thank you! It's a little overwhelming but I'm taking it all in.

1) I already ordered the P3 controller with the 4Runner harness. Thanks for the tips on finding the connector and what to expect.

2) On the anti-sway issue that's where it gets overwhelming. Everyone has a different take. Sounds like I could get away without it and possibly never have an issue, BUT, I'm a very safety conscious guy and don't want to wait to encounter a bad situation. Can I just get away with a setup using these two items? Do I have to get the whole elaborate $500 deal? CURT 45820 Sway Tab Ball Mount: CURT: Automotive

Thanks to everyone for their tips and suggestions. I read all of them and appreciate all of it.

@richw46 My username comes from my historical interest in old abandoned railroad tunnels.

@baldwin6601 My 4Runner has a built-in backup camera aimed right at the ball. Can line things up super easily.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:19 AM   #28
4 Rivet Member
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2008 19' Bambi
2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 310
Brake Controller

We've had our 2008 19' Bambi for 3 years. I just installed a brake controller for two reasons. First, my service guy said it is required by law in TX. Second, and on the $$ side, I was spending about $300 per year having my brake rotors turned because of excessive braking heat without the controller. No longer a problem, and it does make a difference. We tow with an '08 Expedition, no sway or weight distribution gear and have never felt concerned (except for a freak west Texas squall this year with 40+ mph winds).

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