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Old 05-01-2007, 05:06 PM   #1
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lake oswego , Oregon
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bam bam

Hello everyone,
I live in Portland Oregon, and drive a mercedes ml350. I'm in my 60s and am thinking seriously about buying a 16 ft bambi. I've never traveled with a trailer before and am wondering about what the negatives might be. Does any one know how my car will handle it? Do you have to plan for overnight stops or can you just wing it, stoping on the side of the road or rest stops? If I were to park it, and leave it for a while on a lot, using it as my home. Would I have a problem with odors from the toilet? I know so little I don't even know the Questions to ask. I traveled around Australia in a combi in my 20's, wana do the U S in my 60's. Any advise would helpful.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:00 PM   #2
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1985 31' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
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Smile Bam, Bam

Welcome to the forum.
1. Buy a 3/4 truck.
2. Forget the Mercedes for towing.
3.After the truck decide what you want to tow.
4.Very few states will let you park overnight in road side rest. Especialy Calif.
4. Parking in the camp ground is safer and also they have hook up and water and sewers.
5. If you travel to Alaska Yukon, British Columbia will let you stay in road side rest.Also Alaska will let you stay. The only problem is the wild life, they come to ivestigate food smells. Bears especialy.
Regards from Russell in cloudy Tucson Az.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:13 PM   #3
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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Welcome

Bam Bam,

Welcome to the Forum. Althought the Mercedes is not the recommended tow vehicle by some, I think that for what you have in mind it would work. I found a max towing capacity of 5,000 lbs for the Mercedes and a GVW for the 16' Bambi of 3500 lbs. The wheelbase of the Mercedes is short, but then so is the Bambi. The problem is, if you decide that the 16' Bambi is too small and you want a larger trailer, in that case your Mercedes would be undersized. I know one issue with the small trailers is the small net carrying capacity (the amount of stuff you can store in the trailer) for the 16' Bambi it is only 550 lbs for the Safari to 675 lbs for the CCD.

Bill
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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2005 22' Safari
Santa Ana , California
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Bam Bam,
Not to diss Russell but there are some things I find aren't true/inaccurate.
1) A 3/4 ton for 16' is a MAJOR OVERKILL. Your ML has more power than my Suburban and I tow a 22' Safari with no issues. The only thing you might consider is something with a little longer wheel base. Although your trailer is so short, I don't think you would have much of a problem towing a 16'.

2) Maybe conside a GL 320 CDI. A little bigger. Diesel. Would tow the 16' a little better and you would get better mileage.

3)Regarding road side rest stops. You are most definately aloud to stay in rest stops. Regarding California, you are aloud to stay 8 hours in a 24 hour period. Reference here. It's also my understanding most states are similar to California. They want a place people can rest so they can be safe drivers.

Good look in your future travels. That sounds fun.
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Old 05-01-2007, 08:52 PM   #5
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wow... cars can pull Airstreams... and I thought that was just in the vintage brochures... I learn something new here every week!!
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:46 PM   #6
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1979 23' Safari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marti
wow... cars can pull Airstreams... and I thought that was just in the vintage brochures... I learn something new here every week!!
I do it all the time.

Bill
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:17 PM   #7
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Welcome

Welcome to the forums - look at the "search" feature here when you have questions about specific topics such as black tanks and waste disposal. As a brand new member may I suggest that you check the "rally' listing and find one near you that would welcome a visitor.

Most of us are glad to show off our units and give new and prospective owners a grand tour including a realistic view of what trailer life is all about. I fulltime and while some of the maintenance issues are different, I find that it is less money and time intensive than with a big old house.

It sounds like the 16' is the only thing you can tow with your current vehicle. Because Airstreams aren't inexpensive, I'd suggest that you spend some time considering how you plan to use one. If you're planning on weekend or week long trips, the 16' is definitely an easy hookup, easy tow, easy store coach. If you're thinking about spending long periods on the road a 16' might get claustrophobic very quickly. Do you plan to invite guests along? Again a 16' may not be the best choice. Are you planning to fulltime, if so I'd suggest a 25' as the best size for a single person or a couple - the separate bedroom no matter how small really makes for much more comfortable living.

Oh, one last piece of advice. Many people keep their Airstreams for decades. Tow vehicles come and go. Get the right Airstream FIRST, then decide what will to it best. (note, I bought a wonderful CCD 22... about a year and a half ago... now I have a wonderful Safari 25 FB SE... and a "sparestream" guest house.... so I know whereof I speak).

See you down the road,

Paula Ford
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:17 PM   #8
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For a bambi the ML should be enough for you to discover if you need a bigger AS and then the truck question takes on a new dimension. Or, you might discover that camping sucks in which case you only need to get rid of the bambi (or turn it into a shed in the yard). Biggest killer for any tow vehicle is heat. If things get bad, just roll down your windows and turn on the heat full blast (done that). Consider installing a trans temp gauge. Wheel base should be less of an issue since the trailer is so short.

Smell should not be a problem unless you have a leak (been there). The US is so big there is no one rule about being able to wing it or not for overnight stays. Given you're so small, you should be ok unless you are in very populated areas, such as the coasts, during peak season. Planning your overnight stays has the advantage that you can drive further and then crash rather than circle around for a place. Get a GPS and a CB.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:58 PM   #9
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Blaine , Washington
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Here is what I would do. Go to your nearest RV sevice facility and/or dealer and pick up a campground directory, either Woodall or Trailer Life. Look up a private campground near where you live, maybe 2 hours or so away with good ratings.

Then, rent the smallest RV you can. It will probably be a class C gas. Although its not a trailer, its fairly easy to drive, much like a small truck. Go for 2 to 3 days to the campground you chose from the directory. The rental place will show you how to operate the black, grey and fresh water systems and electrical. They are very similar to what you will find on a trailer.

If you enjoyed your 2 or 3 days, did not find the RV too small and confining, met some nice people who will answer you basic questions, then you are on the road to taking the next step and looking carefully at some Airstreams. Size does matter here and Paula is right, as usual, that how you will use it determines what you should buy. Let that dictate the type of tow vehicle you will need.

John
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