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Old 04-05-2006, 11:45 AM   #1
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1994 34' Excella
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Doing research-19' Bambi-Safari OR 23' Safari-WHY?

Greetings Airstreamers....My wife and I are very interested in buying an airstreamer for the obvious reasons....Our biggest challenge which one...We currently have an 97 Landruiser (BIG 6) can haul 5 klbs..and are wondering from other Airstream owners why they picked either the 19 footer or the 23 footer and if they would do it again would they do the same....I am looking to replace the the tow vehicle with either a new diesel Ford or Dodge in the next year or so..Thanks in advance..Ernesto from San Diego CA
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:14 PM   #2
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So many choices...

Ernesto-

Welcome to the forums, and prepare for either few responses or too many... Your question hints at possibility it is early in the search process, and there are so many choices folks may not know how to respond yet... Now that you're a member, you can "search" using link in blue bar above, and search for Bambi or 23 and see what you can read about. There are also echains of messages (threads) on new v. used v. Vintage, etc etc...

With all these disclaimers, here are some thoughts...

1. What interior style is important? Safari offers vinly or bare metal interiors, Bambi's offer Safari or CCD versions which are more striking and modern.
2. Bath requirements? The 23 offers "Dry Bath" which separates shower from toilet, as does 19' Bambi, while 22' and smaller Bambi offer wet bath, taking less space...
3. Sleeping arrangements? Is a bed enough, or might a second bed someday be required? If so, then larger is better..
4. Tow Vehicle? You indicate you're getting a bigger one, and larger diesel SUV will make decision unimportant, but good advice seems to be to limit GVWR of trailer to 80% of towing capacity of tow vehicle.
5. How long will you be using it? Larger trailers offer more propane, more fresh water, larger holding tanks and more storage. If it is used for weekend trips, it may not matter, but for longer trips the extra tank space and storage might...
6. Finally, two axles offer more tires to maintain, brakes to keep repaired, bearings to maintain, etc, but less excitement in the event of a tire failure. Many many members here happily traveling all over the world with single axles, but it may be consideration to you...

If you haven't talked to owners and spent time in the different models, I'd recommend attending a get-together and visiting a larger dealer and just sitting in and imagining how you'd use each model. Happily, each member here and many in WBCCI are certified "Opinion Holders" and many are willing to share. You just need to do some filtering and evaluating after the sharing...

Good Luck!

John McG
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:57 PM   #3
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Lot of great info John already pointed out. I think if you are looking at a diesel for a 19 or 23, it'll be way overkill, but nothing wrong with that, particularly if you go the upgrade route many of us have.....

One suggestion would be to wait until you get the diesel and then you can get any coach you want. The diesel in most cases will tow even the largest of Airstreams (not that I think you'd need a 34'). I say this as a former 19' Bambi owner and my story is very simialr to others that bought a 19' or 22' (sure the 23' might be in the same boat). Once you get the coach, you find it's limitations pretty quick. I've seen countless folks (me included) that went with the 19' or 22' initially and upgraded to a 25' the start of the wide body, or larger, with gobs more storage and comforts like 2 door fridge (one for freezer, one for fridge--not freezer inside fridge compartment), dual sinks, a sofa and a dinette (not one or the other), a bit bigger bed, etc.

Between the two (19 and 23), the 23' IMHO has a lot of great features compared to the 19'. Dual axles (really, really great to have) and a bit more space (always great to have), more wardrobe and storage space (really great to have). If I were back in early 2003 and the 23' was availibe, not knowing what I know now about the 25', the 23' would have been my first Airstream, without question. So much so, I might not have been as tempted as I was with the 25', with the exp of the 19'. The 22' may have a place in between, but the lines get a bit more blurred with the availibe 23'. I'm also not a wet bath fan, which is found in the 22', so to me the 22' was never really a contender for my Airstream buying dollars. I however, I would suggest, that you look closely at the 23' and the 25' and if you fall for the 25' as hard as we did, you'll see why I suggest getting the horse first before the carrage.
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:01 PM   #4
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We had some new Airstream owners attend the last rally we were at, and they had a problem with the bathroom in the 19 foot coach, both of them had to use the facilities with the door open, as there was not enough room to sit on the throne with the door shut. Niether of these people were by any means large in size or stature. They bought a 25 SE and by all accounts are thrilled to no end with it.Two axle coaches tend not to sway so much while towing, seem to ride smoother, and are easier to back up (the exttra axle resists sharp turns).
So, I would recommend the larger coach, as long as your current tow vehicle can have a snowball's chance of pulling it. I think you will be over your limits, but it is worth checking out.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
We had some new Airstream owners attend the last rally we were at, and they had a problem with the bathroom in the 19 foot coach, both of them had to use the facilities with the door open, as there was not enough room to sit on the throne with the door shut. Niether of these people were by any means large in size or stature. They bought a 25 SE and by all accounts are thrilled to no end with it.

The funny thing is that the bathroom is the EXACT same size on the 25' SE (since it's based off the 25' SS) which is the same rear floor plan as it is the 19'. Airstream spent all the extra width (widebody 25' vs narrow body 19') on the bed's width! Glad to hear they love the 25'! HA!

I gotta say though, if you can call what we do camping, the small head is a small price to pay. I've seen some totally horrific (public) bathrooms, and at least one thing is for sure, small or not, it's yours.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
The funny thing is that the bathroom is the EXACT same size on the 25' SE (since it's based off the 25' SS which is the same rear floor plan) as it is the 19'. Airstream spent the extra width (widebody 25' vs narrow body 19') on the bed! HA!
Yeah, that is the other thing they didn't like about the 19, the bed was too small. Personally, since I spend about 2% of my time in the bathroom, I would rather have a larger bed, and deal with the bathroom .
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Yeah, that is the other thing they didn't like about the 19, the bed was too small. Personally, since I spend about 2% of my time in the bathroom, I would rather have a larger bed, and deal with the bathroom .
No kidding. 4" to 6" doens't sound like much until you have to navigate it in the dark.

I could never understand why someone brought the paper into the bathroom (or course to each their own).... I mean, I'm in and out of there. I see no reason to turn it into a library. Something even more humorous, is that the SE has the oval peep show windows in the bathroom. When I was thinking of special ordering the 25' SE, Airstream said they would delete them if I wanted, since I didn't want to evacuate the campground when not boondocking and scare the wildlife when I was boondocking.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:26 PM   #8
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hi ernesto ca

welcome to airstream'n......some time soon, and the forums now.

sorting out trailers and t.v. options is as varied as taxes.....
they both have rules, some play it safe and others cheat like crazy on both...

your 97 tlc is a fine big solid brick on wheels....
but with only 200+hp and 270torque.....
the i-6 can barely propel it.....
the tlc weights at least 5000lbs empty....

yes it's rated for 5k towing and has a gcwr 11k+....

but after the tlc is full of people and stuff....your towing capacity is gonna suffer....
as will acceleration, braking and mpg....and the tlc isn't thrifty on fuel 2 begin with.

the 19 is gonna be 4500lbs or more.....the 23, 5500lbs or more....

sure the tlc is solid and heavy....but it needs a bigger heart and lungs to drag a trailer...

go visit dealers, sit in trailers, flop on the beds, sit on the toilets...yes!!
imagine takeing a shower or frying an egg....and imagine 2 people inside, and crap everywhere.....

find the trailer you love and get a t.v. that will safely pull it....and the next bigger one too......just in case you contract enlargingairstream fever...

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernesto ca
Greetings Airstreamers....My wife and I are very interested in buying an airstreamer for the obvious reasons....Our biggest challenge which one...We currently have an 97 Landruiser (BIG 6) can haul 5 klbs..and are wondering from other Airstream owners why they picked either the 19 footer or the 23 footer and if they would do it again would they do the same....I am looking to replace the the tow vehicle with either a new diesel Ford or Dodge in the next year or so..Thanks in advance..Ernesto from San Diego CA

Welcome Ernesto,

Having both a 24' Trade Wind and a 19' Bambi, I can definitely say the 24' is more liveable. But I won't be living in the Bambi, just a lot of camping. It depends on how you're going to use it. When I was looking for a new Airstream, the 25' looked really good, and was about the same price as a loaded Bambi, but my tow vehicle would have been borderline. The 22' didn't interest me at all. That being said, if the 23' had been available, I would have probably bought it.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:33 AM   #10
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Ernesto,

It's a slippery slope you travel. We too started out thinking small for ease of camping and towing. But, when the priorities became more clear, the smaller bed free on only one side jammed in next to the bath area was not something we felt comfortable living in for days or perhaps weeks at a time. So, the minimum size for us is the 25 with either the queen or the twin beds. We also like the separate or split bath. Although we liked the 28 SO best of all, the weight was a real killer with an SUV, which we also wanted for an everyday vehicle.

Our final choice and one that pleases us more and more each day is the 25 FB LS with twin beds. The twins in the bedroom really make it seem like another room for more than just sleeping. We watch DVDs on the computer in there and it serves as a reading and relaxation room too.

Good hunting. Line up your priorities and I'm sure you will make the right choice. Then, decide on the tow vehicle.
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