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Old 03-21-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
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About to give up...

On Friday, the hubby and I signed a contract on a 2009 19' Flying Cloud Bambi. We love to travel, and it would be the perfect "second home" for us. It has a GVWR of 4500 lbs.

What I didn't anticipate was that trying to decide on a tow vehicle would be so overwhelming. Our Airstream dealer keeps saying that "any V6 SUV with rear-wheel drive will work fine." Here on the forums, many seem to say not to tow ANY size Airstream with less than a 1/2 ton pickup.

Thing is, the tow vehicle will be my primary around-town car as well. And I hate big vehicles! I've been driving a Honda Civic for 8 years, and before that had a CRX. I can't imagine driving anything bigger than, say, a Ford Explorer or Toyota 4Runner. But after reading more on the forums this evening, I'm thinking it's not a good idea to tow with something that "small."

Am I over-thinking this? Being too paranoid? Do you have any specific mid-size truck or SUV suggestions for a 19' Bambi that would work?

I'm beginning to think we can't find anything to meet all of our needs. Would appreciate any help or advice (or psychiatric therapy or strong drink) you have to offer.

Jennifer
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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A little guy like your's can be towed with any rig; it's the hitch that's important.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:18 PM   #3
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Do a search on the forum for mentions of the gmc acadia/Buick Enclave/Chevy Traverse platform. WAY more than enough for a bambi; The "you need a Freightliner to tow anything bigger than a little-red-wagon" school of thought is a very popular one on the forums, but its not the only one.
If money is no object, there is a small but fanatic group of VW Toureg owners here that are quite happy towing larger trailers than a bambi.
Then there's our Canadian brethren to the north, towing with all sorts of..."less than intuitive" choices...none of them have turned into a pumpkin, yet. (not that I know of, anyway). Dodge Magnum is a pretty popular option, it seems...and that doesn't seem all that "out there", to me; it has an enormous engine, after all. same as their full-size pickups. I kind of like the idea of the wagon version...looks like it would be a great tow vehicle, as well as a practical family car during the other 355 days of the year.

on edit: the pic posted above is a Buick Enclave.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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We tow our 06 19' Safari SE (rebranded to the Flying Cloud in 2009, so it's basically just like yours) with an 07 Toyota Tacoma V6 Double Cab Automatic 2WD with a factory tow package (a must) with a tow capacity of #6500 and use an Equal-I-Zer Hitch...and we get along just fine with it... If we went with a larger AS we would probably want a larger truck. This is our every-day vehicle as well, and as a double cab it does everything we need it to do...including getting us out on the road regularly with the Bambi.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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Tow Vehicles?

During the early 80's I pulled a 1966 28' Overlander with a Chevy Impala with a 350 V8. It did a great job. Big cars were much heavier back in the day. Most V6 engines in todays mid-size SUV's would not have any problem with a 19' Airstream. You would need a good equalizing hitch and the vehicle would need to be rated for the weight. Check out the Ford Flex SUV I've heard others on this forum showing interest in it. Hope this is some help.....Tim
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:22 PM   #6
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A good V6 SUV will work

The longer the wheel base the better the tow vehicle. Tacomas with a double cab are excellent. With a long bed even better.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
the pic posted above is a Buick Enclave.
Which has all-wheel drive, a big plus, I'm told, for towing.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:36 PM   #8
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hi jennifer...

v6 is basically USELESS info.

towing involves a LOT of factors besides # of cylinders.

then there are PERSONAL/specific RV related issues,

like how much STUFF u will carry in the tv or trailer, 4x4 NEEDed or not, suv/truck/van...

BIG is a relative term and YOU might need to get over the 'size issue' or keep an open mind.

not suggesting u need a GAINT vehicle, but whatever is selected will ALTER your spacial awareness briefly...

then you will adapt to the size/space/parking issues...
____________

trailer life annually publishes a towing guide which lists the towing SPECs for 100s of vehicles...

Trailer Life Magazine: Follow the Road to Adventure

scan models, make notes, read the SMALL print...

then ask about a specific vehicle u might like.

folks will JUMP all over giving feedback on a specific model/brand after you narrow the field.

again u WILL need to adjust your pre conceived ideas about size, so explore with an OPEN mind...

heres a brief thread on suv'z that would all fit your towing needs...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-39142.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Great response by 2air.

Yeah, I'd be cautious about believing opinions including phrases like any V6, or no V6 - it's just kind of irresponsible to paint a category that big with such a broad brush. Our choice boiled down to a balance of factors that works for us, and even that may change if we move to a more mountainous area, change trailers, etc.

The problem with putting too much stock in our opinions on a specific vehicle is that each of our definitions of an acceptable compromise will be different. Before I sound too new agey though, I'll definitely say there's a baseline of safety involved, and a degree of common sense that should factor in. So again, do some homework and the good people here will try and steer you in the right direction.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:09 AM   #10
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Jennifer,

As others have noted opinions vary widely on what tow vehicle is "minimum acceptable" with many people advocating derating the manufacturers tow ratings by 10% or more and uprating the trailer weight to its GVWR.

You do want to consider the distances and terrain where you plan to tow. If you are going to drive 10,000 miles a year in the mountains there are some things that won't work that would be fine for 1,000 miles a year on flat ground.

The Trailer Life towing guide should help but in short there are plenty of SUVs and minivans that would be suitable.

The Dodge Magnum mentioned upthread (now discontinued) had a towing capacity of 3500 pounds however it was widely believed to have been conservatively rated by its manufacturer and capable of more with the proper hitch and possibly with the addition of an aftermarket transmission cooler. I have the Chrysler Pacifica which is the same except for minor body and trim differences. I've pulled a 3000 pound trailer with it and it did fine.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:38 AM   #11
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Many thanks to everyone who replied! You gave us so many good things to think about. Even went and test drove a Toyota Tacoma last night, and did research on the Chevy Traverse, etc. After discussing it (ad nauseum!) with my husband, I think we've decided the best thing for us is to have 3 vehicles -- our Civic and Accord for around town, and something big for pulling the AS.

We're now leaning toward a Ford F-150. Since we're not doing a trade-in, and we'll now have the expense of another car insurance payment, we want to buy a used one without too many bells and whistles.

So, if I may shift the focus of this thread a bit...any thoughts on what to look for in a used F-150? Keep in mind it's for towing a 19' Bambi. Any advice is once again appreciated!
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeneric View Post
Many thanks to everyone who replied! You gave us so many good things to think about. Even went and test drove a Toyota Tacoma last night, and did research on the Chevy Traverse, etc. After discussing it (ad nauseum!) with my husband, I think we've decided the best thing for us is to have 3 vehicles -- our Civic and Accord for around town, and something big for pulling the AS.

We're now leaning toward a Ford F-150. Since we're not doing a trade-in, and we'll now have the expense of another car insurance payment, we want to buy a used one without too many bells and whistles.

So, if I may shift the focus of this thread a bit...any thoughts on what to look for in a used F-150? Keep in mind it's for towing a 19' Bambi. Any advice is once again appreciated!
Here's a thread with some info about the F150. And I'm sure anyone with direct experience will also chime in.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...cle-47573.html

Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:13 AM   #13
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Awesome - thanks, utee!
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:17 AM   #14
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Jeneric, I pulled my 21 ft. SOB with a V8 4Runner without incident. I know it would pull a 19 ft. Airstream equally well. The 4Runner is built on the Tacoma chasis and had a 7500 pound towing capacity. It was all wheel drive and probably the best "car" I ever owned.

There are always downsides for any vehicle so weighing a PU against an SUV will be your decision. Don't let anyone talk you away from the 4Runner, it is a very good option.

Of course, if you were trying to pull a 32 footer, well maybe not so good.

Dick
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