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Old 12-31-2006, 08:55 AM   #1
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Bambi Safari 19 towed by Toyota FJ-Cruiser?

We recently sold our 2006 Ford F-250 diesel and Safari 22’ – got tired of feeding the Ford diesel that was running within spec per Ford at 9MPG, and only 12-13 without the Safari attached. At the price of diesel here in GA we were no happy folks.

Bought a Toyota FJ Cruiser 4x4 as I do landscape photography (Fine Art Photography by Jack Brady ) and really needed a vehicle that could get down any Forest Service road, etc. Great vehicle and we are very happy with it! http://www.toyota.com/fjcruiser/index.html?s_van=GM_TN_FJ_INDEX
Specs on the FJ are:
Curb Weight 4295#, GVWR 5570, wheelbase 105.9, tow capacity 5000#, LOA 183.9”.

We currently have a pop-up (Fleetwood Evolution E-1) but would like to see if we can SAFELY tow a 2000-2007 19’ Bambi Safari.

We initially liked the 16 Bambi until we learned there are no gray/black water holding tanks – must have for us as we rarely camp where there is a sewer hook up.

Seeking input from anyone towing a 19’ Bambi with a similar vehicle about their experiences.

I’ll stick with the pop-up IF the conclusion is that the FJ would be “controlled” by the 19 Bambi rather than the other way around.

Thanks in advance.
Jack
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
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The 16' sure. The 19' may start to show signs of being stressed. The 19' is around 4500lbs, but add passengers, cargo, fuel to the FJ, based on what you've posted and you will meet or exceed that tow capcacity fairly quickly. Might not be too much of an issue on flat land, but hills and mountains it could be an issue. The wheel base is fairly small too. Not that I think it's way too small for the 16', but I'm thinking that the 19' might be pushing it a bit.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:23 AM   #3
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Silvertwinkie,

I should have posted the terrain that I travel. For instance the trips that are scheduled for this year are (home base is Atlanta):
January Great Smokies for 1 week
Feb Marco Island/Everglades for 9 days
April Glacier National Park via Colorado/Euray, Durango 4-6 weeks
June Washington state and BC 4-6 weeks
October Maine coast 3-4 weeks

As you can see, a lot of varied terrain and not much of it flat land.
With the Fleetwood E-1 the FJ tows it beautifully. No real sense the trailer is there. The E-1 is about 2000#'s and has electric brakes. No proposing or sway with a fairly low profile.

I noted on the Airstream web site that the weigth of the 19' Safari is 3680# - is that not correct?

Thanks for your comments. They reflect what my "gut level" is telling me but I sure wish I was wrong! Due to my photography work, I'm sticking with the FJ as it gets me to spots off road that I need to go. Just miss the beauty of the Airstream, but prefer safety and returning in one piece from the trip I started.
Jack
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:25 AM   #4
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Dear Tao-

Sorry to hear you sold your Safari and your truck. You should have kept the AS and gotten a Chevy Tahoe or GMC Yukon. The little V6 would be at it's max if you tried towing a Bambi, either the 16' or 19'. There are lots of things to consider when towing as you already know and being at the max is a big red flag. Also I beleive you would have to have a custom hitch installed, your wheel base is a little too short. You for sure will find any grade a hugh strain on the V6. Go the the towing forums and you will find a whole lot of very specific data and information. Good luck.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:30 AM   #5
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I've never been to ATL myself, but if it's flat, and that's the only place you'll travel, then maybe the 19' might be within reason....close, but manageable IMHO. I towed a 19' with a 118" wheelbase and was close too. Even with the V8, the 2.93 gears at the time were way not enough on good grade Interstate hills and was even harder in mountains or high winds. The issue was WAY amplified when I traded the 19' for a 25', which drove me to change tow vehicles.

If you travel elesewhere off flat land, where you could get into hill situations, I'd consider a Tundra, Titan, Trailblazer, etc. With what you posted as specs for the FJ, it's just not going to be a great idea. If you hit the perfect storm, the trifecta of towing issues, you may find yourself in a situation you'd really not like to be in. That 105.9" wheel base IMHO isn't going to give you a lot of control of the coach and in the worst case senario, I think the RV might start to drive the FJ, not the other way around.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:30 AM   #6
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Our 2001 Bambi dry weight is 3600#. If you keep your loading to a minimum you would probably be within spec. However, your likely to have pretty slow going up hills. We pull ours with a Chevy Avalanche and it does just great. If you determine the Airstream is not possible you might take a look at the Casita trailer. I believe their largest, 17' comes in right at about 2000# and talking with owners, they tow great. We've looked at them and they are quite nice. They also have both gray and black water tanks. BTW, I love the new vehicle you got -- one of the nicest on the market.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:33 AM   #7
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Hello Jack -- and welcome to the Forums! The Toyota Highlander has gotten a lot of attention here and has numerous threads (capacities/size are similar to FJ cruiser) -- the verdict is not usually too positive. I have a close friend with a Highlander and large pre-Fleetwood Coleman popup. With the 6-cyl engine & short wheelbase he gets an occasional feel of being at the margin of vehicle stress and control. It should be said that no amount of weight distribution or antisway gear will prevent a large heavy trailer from becoming the "driver" in too many situations -- and it needs only one.

The FJ has gotten one thread that I recall: http://www.airforums.com/forum...ath-23572.html You already have the FJ Cruiser. I'm glad you're considering Airstreams but I'd have to say you'll need to look long and hard at the numbers. Towing right at the maximum of payload capacity, tow vehicle GVWR & GCWR is not the best idea in the world. Many speak for finding a point 10-15% below these numbers to enhance controllability and to make sure you are controlling the combination at all times. And I'd still want more wheelbase...
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:34 AM   #8
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad you're here.

I tend to agree. I think that the 16' foot would work well with the FJ at 3500#. The 19' at 4500# would be pushing the enveope. If most of your towing is close by, you could possibly make it work with some suspension beefing.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:52 AM   #9
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Jack- small world I saw some of this on Luminous Landscaspe.

The 16' does have a combination black/gray tank of 21 gallons.

Airstream :: Bambi


That could be good for a couple nights.
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:29 AM   #10
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How about going vintage. They are lighter than the new and lots of fun. I tow my 24ft 1978 Argosy with a Toyota, V8, stepside pickup, with no problems. My Argosy weighed in at the truck scales at 3860 dry. Of course I probably have 500+lbs loaded into it now. I know vintage isn't for everyone; however, the later 70's have both black and gray water holding tanks. There is a great 79, 25ft Tradewinds on ebay right now.
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:33 AM   #11
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TPI,

Yes, I'm quite active on Luminous Landscape - a good group of chaps!
Thank you for pointing out the fact that the Safari 16 does have a Combo holding tank. When I initially checked the Airstream web site I just saw the N/A on black and gray tanks and never thougth of a combo tank!

In that light, let me change this thread to a FJ working with a 16' Bambi Safari!!

Great news!

Jack
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel
How about going vintage. They are lighter than the new and lots of fun. I tow my 24ft 1978 Argosy with a Toyota, V8, stepside pickup, with no problems. My Argosy weighed in at the truck scales at 3860 dry. Of course I probably have 500+lbs loaded into it now. I know vintage isn't for everyone; however, the later 70's have both black and gray water holding tanks. There is a great 79, 25ft Tradewinds on ebay right now.
Thanks for bringing this up. I thought of throwing it into my post but that'd have been TMI at that point. I don't think a vintage 25' trailer would be a good match but the smaller vintage Airstreams would be. You could expect over 500# less weight for the same length (see Airstream :: Customer Services, click on 'trailer weights'). I'd have to consider the numbers but I'd stick to a Globetrotter at max or else a Caravel. Argosy Minuets are the lightest Airstreams ever but have the painted look -- not quite as much cool factor. Gray tanks began with the '74 model year, thus were actually produced by about the midpoint of 1973 -- wouldn't be out of the question to find out a '74 had one.

The biggest downside could be 1-2 years to restore to anything usable unless you bought a restored unit -- still a reasonable and classy option. I've seen a couple restored smaller units for sale mentioned here in the last couple months. Smaller is in higher demand, seems pricey for what you're getting (unless comparing to new prices!), and get snapped up real fast! One can choose adding a grey tank to older units during restoration but is not always done. You might find 'restored' will still far short on functioning of some major systems; eg, still might need an axle replacement.

A very good point is that vintage trailers seem much easier to see around with rear view mirrors -- even though the new Bambis are 6" narrower than larger Airstreams. My '74 Argosy isn't the ultra-narrow Minuet but is still only about 7'9" wide.
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:05 AM   #13
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16 is fine.. 19 no way!

Since September I've travelled over 5000 miles with my rig (FJ + Bambi 16) and haven't encountered any problems what so ever... the FJ's 4.0 V6 is powerful enough to keep up to the max permitted speed, even on steep climbs (fuel consumption is not fantastic though) Never had any sway or breaking problems. You forget you have the Bambi behind you.

But I would advise highly against the 19.. you're to close to the weight limit and because of the extra 3 feet, you wont be able to go to the more remote places, like uneven dust roads. The separate shower of the 19 is a nice feature, but only useable if you're hooked up; it's easier to be economic on water with the 16.

My personal advise.. buy a 16' Bambi without the Aircon. It is way to powerful and noisy and the Bambi looks better, is lighter, more streamlined without.... buy a smaller portable unit, like the one used in the Basecamp and place it under the bed... if you really want one. Or buy mine!


Here a slightly backlit pic in Nevada...
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:17 AM   #14
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SOS 10,

Thanks for info that is specific to my issue!
Forgetting the A/C in Georgia in July/August is not a good idea - I'm stuck with that item.

I'm currently getting 18.7 around Atlanta to 21 MPG highway with my 4x4 FJ. Impact towing the Bambi 16 with your vehicle would be helpful.

If we can get enough FJ's with Bambis, we could have our own Rally!

Thanks,
Jack
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