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Old 05-12-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
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2007 19' Safari SE
Crestview , Florida
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Will a V-6 tow a 19' Bambi?

Help! Advanced calculus has nothing on towing configurations. I am planning to buy a used 19 Airstream Bambi and am considering a new Tacoma or Nissan Frontier for the tow vehicle. But when I do the calculations both vehicles fall slightly below a 20% safety margin. Is a V-6 just not enough? I will be in the mountains too.

As for Toyota vs. Nissan, the Frontier does get some very good towing reviews, and all the Toyotas here in SW Florida are loaded up with $3,000 worth of extras I have no interest in, like a $800 sound system, and useless dealer installed protective crap. Thanks for any input


Airstream
GVWR 4,500
Tongue Weight 480-510

Toyota Tacoma
PreRunner Access Cab 4x2
V-6 2WD
5-spd Automatic Transmission
GVWR 5,500
GCWR 11,100
Towing Maximum 6,500
Tongue load 650

Nissan Frontier
King Cab
V-6 2WD
5-spd Automatic Transmission
GVWR 5,185
GCWR 11,130
Towing Maximum 6,500
Tongue load 630
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Old 05-12-2014, 04:44 PM   #2
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Either truck will tow the 19, but you may not be satisfied with it. As an example, I tow a 17' Casita (3500 lbs) sometimes with a Toyota FJ Cruiser V6, with the same engine as the Tacoma has, and it does it OK. However, I would not want to tow any larger trailer with the FJ.
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:48 PM   #3
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They may be a bit slow in the mountains, but either will get the job done nicely if your expectations are reasonable.

I would expect better performance from the Tacoma over the FJCruiser due to lower weight, smaller frontal area, and less drag with the 2wd drivetrain.
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
They may be a bit slow in the mountains, but either will get the job done nicely if your expectations are reasonable.

I would expect better performance from the Tacoma over the FJCruiser due to lower weight, smaller frontal area, and less drag with the 2wd drivetrain.
My FJ is two wheel drive.

Per Toyota, the FJ weighs 4079, and an extended cab Tacoma weighs 4140lbs.
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:32 PM   #5
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We tow our 2006 19' Bambi Safari SE with a 2007 Tacoma Double-Cab Short Bed with a tow package (recommended), and we are completely happy with its performance ... we are all over the mountains of AZ, NM, SoCA, SoUT and SoCO with no issues. We feel it's a good match.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:10 PM   #6
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I stand corrected!
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
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I pull with a Frontier. My camper is a 19' SOB which is taller and more boxy than a 19' A/S. I also pull a two horse trailer with this truck, which aerodynamically is similar to your A/S. The truck pulls these trailers well.

Avg mpg pulling the camper is 11.5 to 12, and pulling the horse trailer about 13 to 14.
However, one disclaimer here, my truck is the six speed manual transmission, so my results may not directly compare to the same truck with an automatic.
I have a friend who pulls the same camper I have with a new Frontier with automatic though, and she says it pulls it well. I've just not driven her truck myself though, so I can't personally say for sure how it would compare.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:31 PM   #8
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Most modern V6s will pull reasonably well. The real issue is control. Vehicle weight, wheel base, track width, ctr of gravity are points to consider. Towing a trailer that pushes you around makes for a lousy vacation.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:34 PM   #9
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You should have no problem. I pull a 22' Safari Sport with a V6 Honda Ridgeline very often above 7,000'. Been doing that for more than 7 years now with no problems.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:03 PM   #10
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My 5 cyl Sprinter with only 154hp (but 243 ft/lb of torque) comfortably pulls my 19' Bambi. It is rated for 5000#. Trips out west and to AR resulted in downshifts on hills, but keeping up with traffic at 65 mph or so is no problem. You should be able to do the job with either of your choices, or even a properly prepared minivan.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:06 PM   #11
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A full size 1/2 ton truck with a V8 will tow it better, but a V6 truck is clearly the best match for towing the 4,500 gvwr Bambi. I agree with others who say that a V6 truck will tow it adequately and will be much preferred over a V8 1/2 ton truck when you are not towing the trailer.

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Old 05-12-2014, 09:26 PM   #12
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I tow a 20 foot 2008 Safari SE with my 2005 Toyota 4Runner V6 SR5 4x4 with no problems. I suspect you will do fine with the taco.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:11 PM   #13
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I tow our 19' Bambi with a 2003 BMW X5. It is 3.0L (and AWD).

On paper it is near the limits of the BMW recommended tongue / tow weight but it pulls, stops and handles great.

Our dealer said after the hitch / brake set up test drive it was one best "seat-of-the-pants test drives he'd had".

The BMW easily pulls the 19' at speeds greater than 65 MPH, but since we had a blowout a few years ago I'm quite content to drive at 60 MPH now. Even when the tire let loose, it was quite controllable getting to the side of the interstate.

I manually shift the car using the "sport mode" on the transmission bc I didn't like the frequent downshifting. I don't know if that would be solved by more HP or just a problem with computers/transmissions seeking lower rpms.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:12 PM   #14
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If you really want to tow with a V-6, get a Ford Eco-Boost.
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