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Old 02-14-2008, 09:07 AM   #1
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Bambi 16' towing woes

Hello All, so glad i found this forum! im getting ready to buy a 2007 Int.CCD 16' Bambi, seems like a good deal and a solid PO. I'm stuck on the tow vehicle though, not sure if my 92 Toyota 4x4 V6 pickup will haul it. Its maximum tow rating is 3500 which seems like pushing the limit. I will eventually get a better truck to tow it, but im hoping my old Toyota would work initially. Any ideas?

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Old 02-14-2008, 09:13 AM   #2
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If you are in the mountain areas of CO, then I would rethink your TV option. It is true the the 16' Bambi is no more than say a 17' to 20' boat, but take mountains into the mix, then there is a whole 'nuther dynamic to the mix that I'm not sure is such a hot idea. If you were a flatlander, then I'd be less concerned until you got around to a TV upgrade. Where you are at right now, the 16' at GVWR would be 3500lbs and if you take your weight, the weight of any passengers, fuel, and any other thing you plan on bringing with you, you would be over the rating fairly quickly.

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Old 02-14-2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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or depending on your familys needs you can get a 17' safari sport...
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #4
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I'll second what Silvertwinkie sez, but I think you just might get away with your current TV
(and this is a big if, har har)
if the tow rating for your vehicle is 3500 pounds WITHOUT a tow package. What's the rating with a tow package installed? If it's say 5000 pounds with a tow package, you might have a workable combination for a few hundred buck investment.

We're towing a 16' Bambi with a 6 cylinder Honda Ridgline, whose capacity with stock tow pkg is 5000 pounds. We didn't win any speed records in the mountains, but were able to repeatedly negotiate climbs to above 9000 feet at 45 mph with no overheating. With a weight-distributing hitch and swaybar, we ride rock-stable.

There's a wide range of opinions here and it's important to do a more detailed analysis of your own vehicle weight, loading, combined rating, etc, etc,, but many here would agree that combinations in which the load is < 80% of the vehicle's rated towing capacity are at least worth considering.


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Old 02-14-2008, 11:08 AM   #5
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Before getting too carried away analyzing, many vehicles reduce tow rating based on altitude. A truck that, for example, would tow 3500 pounds at sea level, may only tow 3200 pounds at 4000 feet.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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You can DO it...

Having towed a number of 16 and 17' fiberglass trailers with a '94 Toyota 4x4 extended cab compact truck with the 3.0L V6 and an auto trans, and back a number of years ago having towed a '61 Bambi 16 with an '85 Toyota compact truck 22RE 2WD/auto, I can tell you that you'll not be happy with either the performance or the gas mileage, but you'll be able to get by with it.

Make sure you use weight distribution and sway control (a Reese Dual Cam with 600 lb bars will do nicely) and a Prodigy (or P3) brake controller. Make sure the hitch is set up properly, and limit the "extra" weight you plan to carry.

I won't have to tell you to "slow down" 'cause you won't "go fast" even if you wanted to! You'll know when to manually shift to help out the tranny, and NEVER use overdrive. But it WILL pull the new Bambi 16' ok.

I'll also tell you that having had the 3.4L V6 in both the '97 T100 extended cab 4WD manual 5 spd, and now the '02 Tundra Access Cab 4WD with the auto, that the 3.4L will run rings around the old 3.0. I've not yet owned a truck with the new 4.0L V6 so I can't comment on that drivetrain. I towed my '04 Bigfoot 15B17CB 17' with the Tundra and it'll do it all day long without complaint. The '94 really wasn't happy about towing a 17' Burro (both with similar weight specs to the new-body Bambi 16')

This advice will NOT apply to the DWR Bambi with a 4500lb GVWR axle nor perhaps to other Bambis with custom work done, only the 3500 lb GVWR on the standard Bambi 16s. I didn't realize until I looked at the current specs that they'd upped the rated weight and axle capicity of the '08s.

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Old 02-14-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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Greetings Uncle and welcome to the forum. There are some really great threads on TV vs. TT. Check under the forums subject section or use the really great search feature. Since your Toyota is 16 years old on top of the fact you are already over Mfg. published rating I would say NO TOW. As my fellow members have also stated and something so many folks forget to average into the number factors, Mfg. numbers only include a driver of the TV. Add to that any passangers, luggage in the back of the truck plus whatever you add to the inside of the TT; dishes, clothes, food, etc. Buy the AS and start looking for a good TV. Happy trails!
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Old 02-15-2008, 12:25 AM   #8
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Hey folks,
Can't thank you enough for all the great advice. You guys know more useful stuff than all 8 of the RV dealers and Toyota dealers I talked to, including my older brother who sells used cars! Sounds like it might be possible to tow with the '92 truck, but is probably not advisable. I'm off tomorrow to check out some used Toyota Tacomas with the 4.0L V6, sounds like that would do the job nicely. Of course my girlfriend thinks i've gone completely mad, I'm the guy who takes 2 months to choose a new pair of hiking boots, and now I'm thinking about buyin tow vehicles and RVs willy nilly.
But im determined to do this thing right, so im sure i will have lots more newbie questions as I go.
Thanks again, y'all rock!
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Old 02-15-2008, 12:32 AM   #9
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It's good you're reconsidering your TV choice. I tow a '06 16' Bambi with a 4L V6 Explorer and its fine on flat land, but hills at high elevations (i.e. Tahoe) are a strain on the truck. The Explorer's tow rating is 5400.

Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:43 AM   #10
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Welcome from Arvada. If you only towed east you would most likely be ok, but with the great horsepower equalizers to the west you will have problems with the ups and downs.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:57 AM   #11
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Your proposed TT/TV combination is marginal, at best. Another important consideration is braking. A light duty truck my not have the braking capabilities to handle that much of a trailer. You can try your current TV, but please be careful as you test it with your Bambi.

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Old 02-15-2008, 07:35 AM   #12
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The new Tacomas have a 6500 lb tow rating and weigh half again as much as your '92 compact truck. You'll be MUCH happier with it as a tow vehicle! When towing with a small truck, wheelbase is king. Get the longest you can afford that you can still herd around as a daily driver. I'd recommend at least an access cab length, but the full 4DR short bed looks great and offers about the longest wheelbase available in the Tacomas.

And, don't pass on the '00 to '06 Tundras. They're the same size as the new Tacomas, and can be had in either the 4.6L V8 or 3.4L V6. The V6 flavor has a 5,000 lb tow rating and the V8 has a 6800 lb rating. There are some killer deals to be had on low milage Tundras as owners are trading them in on new trucks. The V6 model seems to be difficult to find in a 4WD access cab version as I don't think there were that many built.

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Old 02-15-2008, 07:44 PM   #13
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Hey there, thanks for all the advice. I think I'm gonna go for the Tacoma 4.0L V6 with the TRD package. It tows 6500 lbs, and it seems better to get the auto vs. the manual for towing. Went down to the dealer today and I think I can work something out. Those old Tundras hold up really well, but it looks like I can get more truck for the money going for a newer Tacoma than an older Tundra. The only color they had in that model was silver, so I'm gonna look pretty fly towing the shiny 16' Bambi behind a silver truck!
Thanks again for all the great info.
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Old 02-15-2008, 09:32 PM   #14
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Welcome! And don't forget to sign up real soon for a rally in your area...You will learn so much more there with Airstreamers in person!

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