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Old 01-01-2006, 10:13 AM   #1
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2003 19' Bambi
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Hi

I am a new member with a 19' Bambi. Not much experience towing a trailer. Previous RV was a "C" class. I have been on back roads with this unit several times, but have stayed off the interstates. Would like an opinion on how necessary a sway bar would be. I am towing this with a Dodge Durango. I don't think I need an equalizer hitch since the dealer I bought it from provided a receiver that appears to make the unit and the truck level.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:25 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. Lots of great folks here that can answer any question you may have.
Sway is not fun!!! Not to mention what the outcome can be. I'm firm on having sway bars no matter how short or long the trailor is. Take my advice sway is not fun.
The other folks here will give you all great advice on sway control or do a search. We were lucky when we bought our unit it came with everything.


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Old 01-01-2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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Greetings billr!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr
Hi

I am a new member with a 19' Bambi. Not much experience towing a trailer. Previous RV was a "C" class. I have been on back roads with this unit several times, but have stayed off the interstates. Would like an opinion on how necessary a sway bar would be. I am towing this with a Dodge Durango. I don't think I need an equalizer hitch since the dealer I bought it from provided a receiver that appears to make the unit and the truck level.

Thanks for any advice.
I am not certain, but if your hitch doesn't include weight distribution, you may be above the maximum tongue weight permitted by Dodge for your Durango without weight distribution. The empty hitch weights for recent model 19' Bambis have been listed from 425 to 500 pounds -- once loaded for a vacation I would suspect that the loaded hitch weight could increase by as much as 200 pounds (based upon my Minuet 6.0 Metre that has an empty hitch weight of 350 pounds and a loaded hitch weight of 525 pounds).

With the smaller coaches, sway control is something of a personal preference issue. Personally, I wouldn't consider towing even my 6.0 Metre Minuet without my Reese Dual Cam Sway Control. Based upon past experience with both Reese and Draw-Tite friction sway controls, I wouldn't consider either unless my loaded hitch weight were less than 400 pounds -- I had initially thought that I would be limited to friction sway control on my Minuet 6.0 Metre (gross weight 3,100 pounds) due to its gross weight being under 4,000 pounds, but when I contacted Reese, their representative advised that the loaded hitch weight being over 400 pounds was more important than the coach's gross weight being over 4,000 pounds (my dealer, who didn't usually sell the Dual Cam setup had advised me of the minimum 4,000 pound GVW recommendation).

Prior to purchasing my Airsteam, the only sway control that I had utilized was the Friction type, and it was FRUSTRATING and less than ideally effective -- if the weather changed it needed to be adjusted; loosen for wet or slippery road conditions, tighten when road surface dried out, or tighten if the wind speed picked up -- if traffic conditions changed, it was often necessary to adjust -- tighten for areas with heavy truck traffic, and loosen in light traffic areas. With the Reese Dual Cam system, on the other hand; once the hitch is properly adjusted (ball height, and ball angle) and the appropriate weight distribution bars have been installed and properly adjusted; there are no further in-trip adjustments needed on the Dual Cam system -- in fact, the only time that I have needed to make adjustments to my Dual Cam setup is when I have changed tow vehicles or have made significant changes in the loading of my coach.

I towed from 1979 through 1995 utilzing either the Reese or Draw-Tite friction sway controls and was never satisfied with either, but the Nomad coach that I towed most often at the time had neither the Gross Weight or Hitch Weight to make the Reese Dual Cam an option. When I purchased my '64 Airstream in 1995, my first addition to the hitch package was the Dual Cam Swan control, and I would never go back to the friction type sway control unless my loaded hitch weight was under 400 pounds for the coach.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

PS: The photo below, is of the Reese Striaight-Line Hitch with Dual Cam Sway control as setup for towing with my '75 Cadillac Eldorado:

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Old 01-01-2006, 11:20 AM   #4
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Boy it seems like there is no sure answer for this. I tow a 19' Globetrotter with a 2500 Dodge 4X4 . I had planned on buying an Equalizer brand hitch to get sway control but two Airstream dealers talked me out it saying I would have no problem towing my trailer. We put 7,000 miles on it last summer in a variety of conditions from New Mexico to the Atlantic coast, lots of interstates, mountains, two lanes , and high wind areas especially in Texas. At no time did I have any problem. I do have new suspension and tires. Also everything is level on the hitch and I try to load so I have proper tongue weight. There was a great article in the last issue of Airstream Life on this subject. Seems that even with the best equipment you can still get into trouble if you don't adjust to the weather (slow down in the wind) and know how to use the trailer brakes. Take it for a test drive on the interstate ,when the 18 wheelers blow by at 90 thats a real good test. You'll know.
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Old 01-01-2006, 11:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billr
Hi

I am a new member with a 19' Bambi. Not much experience towing a trailer. Previous RV was a "C" class. I have been on back roads with this unit several times, but have stayed off the interstates. Would like an opinion on how necessary a sway bar would be. I am towing this with a Dodge Durango. I don't think I need an equalizer hitch since the dealer I bought it from provided a receiver that appears to make the unit and the truck level.

Thanks for any advice.
I agree with Kevin concerning a weight distributing hitch. Even if you vehicles sit level it doesn't change the fact that ALL of the tongue weight is on the rear wheels of the tow vehicle and most importantly, weight is taken OFF it's front wheels. While it may feel ok under normal circumstances things can happen that create a violent and uncontrolable accident. Panic stops or having to swerve, a heavy gust of wind, just being a few. Being new at this it's hard to step up with another $500-$700 more after spending the family jewels for the trailer. I think some dealers don't want to press the issue for fear of blowing the deal. While this may seem like a lot of added expence it's nothing compared to what you would have if you find you vehicles laying on their top along side of the highway. ----Pieman
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Old 01-01-2006, 01:48 PM   #6
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The W/D Hitch is the only way to go, everything is better,there are new and used ones out there, Good luck
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Old 01-01-2006, 06:31 PM   #7
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Wink

Why take a chance? Get a weight-distribution hitch and sway control and don't bother trying to find out why you didn't get one in the first place. The lesson could be painful as well as scary. I remember towing a heavy boat and trailer many years ago before anti-sway and weight-distribution were hitch features. Wow, was that ever exciting once the trailer and boat started swaying. Like a circus ride without having to purchase a ticket.

We too have a Dodge Durango and pulling a 25-foot trailer is surprisingly easy. The hitch is an Equal-i-zer. With the much lower weight of your rig, I shouldn't think you will have any difficulty. But, invest in a good hitch and ignore urge to learn for yourself.
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Old 01-02-2006, 01:28 PM   #8
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2003 19' Bambi
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thanks for all the input.i cant disagree that its better to learn from your experience than my mistakes.
billr
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Old 01-02-2006, 08:23 PM   #9
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We have a crew cab heavy pickup tow vehicle and even though our dealer wanted to sell us a WD hitch only. After reading up on this forum and the Open Roads forum, I went with the Equal-i-zer hitch also.
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