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Old 07-29-2009, 04:35 PM   #1
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Keeping It Simple for Bambi?

I'm a bit tangled in all the new vocabulary (Airstreams, rving, hitches, and towing vehicles). At the end of this year, my TV and Airstream will be my home, not a hobby, and I'll be on the road full time for the first year of my retirement. I need to buy a vehicle anyway and so thought I'd get one that at the end of the year I can get a Bambi (nothing larger than 20 feet at most). But the trucks mentioned--like F-250 + seem so huge to me. And all the "...I added a...) to suspensions and bars and such put me at the mercy of whoever sells me a vehicle. I like the size of the Ford Ranger, or the Dakoda for a vehicle, but I don't know about there being enough upgrades for small trucks to handle even a 16-19 foot Bambi. Many of the people posting are so generous in their advice, that you've sold me on the Airstream.

What sort of "added a..." should I ask the salespersons about? There's not an Airstream dealer or shop in my town, Charleston, SC. Plenty of auto dealers, though, and they're starting to call. Thanks.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:15 AM   #2
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We tow a 2007 19' Bambi (3500 lbs dry, 4500 lbs loaded) with a 2007 Tacoma Double Cab V6 TRD with a factory tow package (tow capacity 6500 lbs.)....07 Tacomas are not huge trucks (but larger than pre-07 models), and fine to tow a 16' of 19' Bambi. Older Bambis are lighter than newer ones, too. You need to study your tow numbers, etc to make sure you are looking for a trailer & vehicle combination that works well. There are several subforums and threads about towing that will help. Good luck and don't hesitate to ask questions. We've all had to start at the beginning at one point or another.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:33 AM   #3
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Hi, poems&songs. A Ford F-250 would be too much and a Ford Ranger wouldn't be enough. Maybe an Expedition or F-150 would be better for you if you want a Ford product.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:58 AM   #4
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Hi, poems&songs. A Ford F-250 would be too much and a Ford Ranger wouldn't be enough. Maybe an Expedition or F-150 would be better for you if you want a Ford product.
I absolutely agree with Robert.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:26 AM   #5
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I've got a small trailer too. (17' Safari) Not only will your TV work to haul the trailer but it will also carry the overflow from your camper. Either a pickup truck or an SUV will work fine. If you get an SUV, be sure it's built on a truck frame and is rated to tow 7,500 lb or more. Get the tow package. It will have options like oil coolers, pre-wired for the brake controller and have a lower ratio rear end to tow with.
If you go with the pickup, look at getting the big tool box for the truck bed. They lock and you can store things in there securely.
Ford F-150, Ford Expidition, Chevy 1500, Suburban, Dodge Ram 1500 or Dodge Durango would all do fine. Get the optional towing mirrors.
Once you get behind the wheel you will get used to the larger size very fast. All of these come with very car like interiors. Pickup trucks are used by many people as their regular car.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:02 PM   #6
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Thank you all. You've put a lot of order to the chaos of choices. I'm going up to North Carolina this weekend to actually step into an airstream just to see if they feel like they look on the web. (I've never been in one).
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:20 PM   #7
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Thank you all. You've put a lot of order to the chaos of choices. I'm going up to North Carolina this weekend to actually step into an airstream just to see if they feel like they look on the web. (I've never been in one).
Awesome! Good luck. I hope everything goes well for you.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:16 PM   #8
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Check out the KOA Web site. Some KOAs have Airstreams that you can stay overnight in, like a motel room. That way you can see what it's like living in one without a salesman pressuring you. However, I am pretty sure those models are a little larger than the size you are interested in.

We have a 19-foot Bambi, and I think that about any full-size, half-ton pickup with a V8 and towing package would be fine for a smaller Airstream. Most of them can be equipped like a luxury auto, so you won't miss your car (except, perhaps, at the gas pump).
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:56 PM   #9
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

If you intend to spend a lot of time on the road with your Airstream, I would suggest that you seriously consider going to a 20 footer. A tandem axle trailer is really a plus if you put a lot of miles on it. Trailer tires are notoriously unreliable if driven hard. Tandem wheels afford an extra level of safety when a tire fails; it also makes changing a tire much easier.

As far as a tow vehicle goes, I would recommend going with a 1/2 ton truck or SUV, such as an F-150 of a Tahoe. Again if you plan to do serious traveling, you may very well be disappointed with a mini truck or SUV. A little trucks would probably be OK for short trips, but I don't think that I would care to go cross country pulling a 4500# trailer with a mini truck.

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Old 08-01-2009, 09:17 PM   #10
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You might want to consider vans too. We tow with an E150 passenger van and enjoy the extra enclosed space inside. Vans can often be found cheaper than an equivalent truck.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:22 AM   #11
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Or one of these. Honda Ridgeline
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:49 AM   #12
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Take a look at Nissan Pathfinders, xterras, Toyota 4 runners, etc if you are interested in an SUV.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:20 AM   #13
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Another option - a last-generation Toyota Tundra/Sequoia is smaller than the domestic full-size trucks, yet can tow (IIRC) 6700 lbs, easily enough for a Bambi, not to mention considerably larger trailers. We recently talked to two Sequoia owners who were towing 60's 26-foot Overlanders; both were very pleased, including the family who was full-timing for 6 months.

The Sequoia has the advantages of having standard stability control and curtain airbags, even back to 2001. These are critical safety features that I wouldn't be without in a daily driver.

Other than the Ranger and Colorado/Canyon, small trucks aren't so small anymore.

Tom
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:02 PM   #14
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I would strongly recommend finding a TV equipped with a diesel. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of smaller models so equipped. I think the F-150 has that option.

Diesels will get you much better mileage, cheaper fuel, and plenty of torque to haul anything around. The new generations of diesels are quiet, smooth easy to start (I've started a Dodge Cummins cold at -25C).

They are, however, more expensive than gas, but they have a much stronger resale value at the end.

Cheers and good luck!
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