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Old 06-02-2006, 12:03 AM   #1
Ledbehind
 
2018 16' Sport
Great Falls , Virginia
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So New I Don't Even Have My Bambi Yet

Good morning! OK I'm really psyched about plunking down a huge amount of cash for either a safari se 19' Bambi - or an International. I have always wanted an Airstream and have admired them from the outside. I have been an avid tent-camper but taking motrin every morning just to stand up after sleeping on the ground just couldn't be good for you!

I almost bought a road ready '61 tradwind 24' yesterday (which was really cool and a fairly good deal at $5900) but then we went to Safford RV in Thornberg VA and decided not to scimp on this because the new ones are REALLY cool. We also have a diesel Jeep Liberty as a tow vehicle and I am afraid a 24 footer may just be able to wag the dog as we go down the road. 19' is just our size and would tow easily.

Anyway, All of the brocheurs are good sales devices appealing to the culture and beauty - but I want to know how it all works. Where do I go for that kind of info as I patiently wait for my "ship to come in"??

Henry
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Old 06-02-2006, 04:57 AM   #2
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Go for the TW-

Check the weight- if its a single axle, you're looking at about 3200# instead of more with the Bambi. Its also a VERY comfortable trailer to stay in. The weight will determine more of how the rig behaves than the length- you'll have a weight distributing hitch and a set of electric brakes.

The late 50's and early 60's produced some great trailers from Airstream, and the wood was still in use- its before the heavy materials and nasty window systems used by the Beatrice made trailers, and these are the last of Byam influenced trailers- take it and if you don't like it- then go drop the $40K on the new- it or one just like it will be sitting there waiting for you.

If its the TW with the double bed- "24D" instead of a "24T" in the VIN- it has 2 big closets and a vanity with a window in the middle, you'll have so much space it feels like being home. Its really a great layout for this size. Maybe you'll save enough to go and buy a tow vehicle that suits it better...

Good luck whichever way you go...
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:23 AM   #3
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1989 25' Excella
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Not to burst your bubble but...you may need a more suitable TV. I know the Liberty has a fairly high tow rating (5000#?) but this is a very short wheel base vehicle. You may be able to MOVE that weight but you may not be very safe/comfortable doing it.
Juts want to give you a heads up...

Bill
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:56 AM   #4
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I agree with Bill-Tex.

The engine is sure up to it, as the 2.7L diesel in my Sprinter is a 5 cyl with 155hp and 245ft/lb of torque and the 2.8 in the Liberty is a 4 cyl with 160 hp and 295 ft/lb.

The biggest difference is the wheelbase. Mine is 140". Don't know what the Liberty is but I'm sure it's a lot shorter than that! DO some more research and don't let the tail wag the dog!!
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:56 PM   #5
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Tow Vehicle

I've just begun looking at AS after 13 years with a Hol. Rambler Navigator (38'). We don't need that big a motor home.

I've got a 2003 6 cyl Jeep Liberty, and it sounds like it might do OK towing a 16 or 19 foot Bambi? I suppose I should start by reading the Liberty's manual on towing capacity.

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Old 06-02-2006, 08:04 PM   #6
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Look under Anti-sway...

Dave-

Even if Liberty can pull the weight, the short wheelbase issue will mean you should really focus on anti-sway options and technology...

I admire dealer in the 1980's who wanted to sell us a Nomad 23' trailer we planned to tow behind a large Ford Bronco. It hads plenty of power, but dealer wisely said "If you don't buy anti-sway bar system, I won't sell it to you..." We still had issues with trailer in winds and with passing semi's, due in part to squirrelly mid-80's Ford steering gear. Switching to Suburban and then Airstream with Excursion and long wheelbases has made problem less of a concern.

John
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:54 PM   #7
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Henry,

John, Bill and Lew all make very good recommendations and if you search this forum you will find even more. Also read the attached link on RV TOWING it will give you yet another perspective... it is well written and there is great info about wheel base and many of your other concerns Read....Read...and Read some more this topic is very well covered, ask questions most important...
Safe Travels and Welcome,
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http://www.rvtowingtips.com/index.htm
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Old 06-03-2006, 07:49 AM   #8
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Now I'm hacked off. You can get a freakin Liberty with a diesel???? And I can't get my Expedition with one, what a crime.
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Old 06-03-2006, 10:12 PM   #9
Ledbehind
 
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Great Falls , Virginia
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Thanks for the great advice

Well you all sure got me reading and have pointed the way to some great resources. With all that done I am pretty sure the Liberty is up to the task of the 19'Bambi. It is clear to me that a Prodigy brake controller and sway control - of the best type - will cover the needs - All of the weight ratingsTV and TR are reasonable. I'll try to do a "test tow" before I commit.

I ride a motorcycle in the Washington DC suburbs most of the time and have been quite used to rigorous defensive driving strategies. They are a matter of life and death. While that will not cover all possibilities it does go a long way to keeping me out of trouble.

So, I think the task of safe towing will be second nature (have also towed boats for a number of years.

Thanks again for all of your input - "Keep those cards and letters coming!"

Henry
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:34 PM   #10
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Sounds like you've got it..

Henry--

Your post reminded me of another really valuable lesson learned in Motorcycle Safety Foundation training (taken late in life after riding "safely" for years as a younger person..). Instructor explained that the only safety cushion you can control is in front of you. Tailgators, speeders, swervers and cut-off'ers are all out there, and people will jam their brakes to make unsignaled turns into driveways, etc.. Giving yourself a safety cushion ahead of you is the only way to compensate, and gives you the best chance not to be struck from behind or plow into the surprisingly stopped car ahead.

Same rule applies to Airsteam towing.. No matter how good brakes and controller, you can't always stop as fast as cars around you (it's a physics/mass and momentum/tire contact patch thing..) so driving to maintain a safety cushion ahead is the single safest and wisest technique you can adapt... Adding the T-CLOCK and SIPDE practices from motorcycling wouldn't hurt either..
There's a reason motorcycle riders focus on keeping the shiny side UP...

John McG
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:08 PM   #11
Ledbehind
 
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Reconsidering the 1961 24' TradeWind

Thanks for the ideas and resources.

I think I'm going to try to further restore and update this one it is I-241D689. I will probably put a Reese Dual Cam antisway system on it and get a Prodigy brake controller. Do any of you have any comments / impressions of the Reese for this application? It has friction antisway bars currently and I understand the dual cam system is a step up from that.

As millionairtream pointed out I would be able to get a different tow vehicle if the Jeep doesn't work out - my wife needs a new truck, but I'm not selling the diesel.

Also , any ideas on where I might get pictures of what the interior originally looked like?

Henry
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:00 AM   #12
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Try this link for pictures.... http://vintageairstream.com/archives/index.html
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:47 AM   #13
Ledbehind
 
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Great Falls , Virginia
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I Got It

No not the 19' Bambi but the 1961 Tradewind!

The diesel Liberty tows it easily. It has a Reese friction anti-sway. I got the hitch ball up to 19 1/4 inches and the whole rig was absolutely level. The first lookover & I say it is in great shape.

Well now, it was a HOT day with sticky pavement so there is more testing to be done but the results so far were outstanding - I love the way you can see right through it & out the back window.

Very Cool! I'm very lucky this is working out the way it is

Henry
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