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Old 09-29-2002, 06:34 PM   #1
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Pulling a Bambi with a Ranger?

Anybody out there with any thoughts or experience pulling a 19" Bambi with a 1999 Ford Ranger 4WD 4.0L V6 engine? Any insight would be appreciated. Thx
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Old 09-29-2002, 07:00 PM   #2
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According to Ford's RV Towing Guide with the automatic transmission it can handle the weight, but not with the manual (the manual in Ford's light-duty trucks is VERY light duty).

See my posts in the Hensley Arrow Hitch thread in response to someone wondering about towing a 19' Bambi with a Tacoma.
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Old 09-30-2002, 04:49 PM   #3
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I am pulling a 19 Bambi with a 99 Land Rover Disco with small V8 4.0L. Short wheelbase 100". Must admit it is a bit underpowered for steep grades in southern California mountains, but I have no problem with sway, braking or general handling. And, when I get there, the Rover is a ton of fun to have!
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Old 10-13-2002, 05:02 PM   #4
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6-cyl pulling

We have been pulling our 2002 19-footer with a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.0 Liter Six. Went from Connecticut to the Smokies, and to Maine and back twice. Thats with two adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs (yeah, we're a very close family!) The Jeep is rated to 5000 pounds, though, and I wouldn't attempt it with anything rated less than that.

We use a Reese load-distributing hitch and a friction anti-sway bar, and honestly for the most part have no problems, except for a few REAL slow climbs in the Blue Ridge MTns.

I will admit that the Jeep is a vehicle of opportunity and not our ultimate puller. When the time comes that we start full-timing, we will definitely upgrade to a V-8 based pickup or Suburban.
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Old 10-14-2002, 08:36 AM   #5
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We have a 2001 Bambi and originally we had a full size 96 chevy truck with a 4.3 V6. The truck was rated to pull the Bambi and we did some camping in the Carolinas and Mississippi. I had an opportunity to get a very good deal on a Dodge Ram extended cab 3/4 ton turbo diesel. I can tell you the difference is incredible. Over kill, probably. However, we have taken the Bambi from Florida to California, through all types of terrain and especially the rockies. I can tell you that more is better in this type of situation. You are hardly aware that the Bambi is back there. And because it is a diesel, we averaged on the Florida to California trip (bringing back 1600+payload in the truck bed) 16.26 MPG. You can't beat that mileage. If I were in the market for a tow vechicle I would look very closely at the diesel truck offerings. By the way, solo I get between 22 - 23 MPG. Hope this helps.

Bob Caldwell
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98.5 Dodge Ram Extended Cab Cummins Turbo Diesel
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Old 10-14-2002, 09:06 AM   #6
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Thumbs up Excellent choice

BOB,
FANTASTIC~!! It's always nice to hear about these type of experiences. I pull my 29' Sovereign with a 3/4 ton Suburban 4x4, 6.5 Turbo Diesel as well and, my experiences while not the same as, is still the better choice. I get abt 12 mpg while towing before. I lov the DIESEL.~! Just last week, I changed out the entire exhaust sys from the OEM to larger, 3" diameter stainless steel mandel pipes and, straight flow thru muffler~!! What a differences this has made..I can't wait to tow the "baby" now!!

It does "sound" more growler...LMAO
Keep us informed of your trips~! Sounds great~
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Old 10-14-2002, 07:47 PM   #7
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Guys, I have been desperate trying to decide between gas and diesel for our next (and final) tow vehicle! I know the mileage and durability of the diesel is far better, but keep wondering if it is overkill for a 19-footer (at the 5K extra cost). We are planning primary towing in the southwest, Baha, and possibly Mainland Mexico with forays to Oregon, Colorado, Idaho and possibly Alaska. Also, we are looking to keep our next puller on the road as long as possible.

So of course, all this points to diesel, especially in the 3/4 to 1-ton range. But it almost seems silly for towing our little 19-footer that we currently pull with a 6-cyl. Grand Cherokee.

I have never owned or driven a diesel, and am not exactly an ace mechanic, but I change my own oil and filters and am not exactly incompetant. How big a deal is a diesel? Is it worth the money, and can I still handle routine maintanance? Basically, is diesel the way to go, or is it overkill?
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Old 10-15-2002, 08:06 AM   #8
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diesel or not to diesel that is the question

I had never had a diesel either. However, I usually do my own maintenance on my vehicles so I ventured into the diesel world thinking I could do the same. In reality, it is not too different. the Cummins requires 11 quarts of oil and a relatively large fuel filter as compared to gasoline engines. Changing them is a breeze. Big engine compartment, easy access. I also do the lube, value adjustments - the typical routine maintenance items. I did just finish redoing the front brakes and truing up the discs. Again, I felt very comfortable working on the components. I did purchase the factory manuals and have found them to be extremely helpful. One thing I think helps, is that their is at least on my 98.5 no smog equipment which meand alot less electronics and sensors to worry about as well as special equipment to diagnois problems.
I also joined a group "Turbo Diesel Register" found on the internet. This group consists of only avid cummins diesel owners and it has been a very good source of how to do things from the layman's perspective. I believe you could find similar online groups for other diesel trucks. Is it overkill, maybe, but the fuel mileage either pulling or going solo is so good that I think it is a moot point to consider. By the way, maintenance on diesels has changed in todays world. You can change oil at 7500 mile increments(per factory schedule) so it isn't like the old days where you had to change oil every 3000 thousand or else.
I have gotten many positive comments when the truck and airstream are together. Never had any real negatives. I have gotten a couple jokingly from other airstream owners when I was at the airstream plant in Jackson Center. Those comments were, "you could pull my 34 footer with that", or "I wish I had a diesel like that to pull my 27 footer"
All in all, my experience to date with the diesel has been very positive and if it remains as such, I cannot see any need or reason to go back to gasoline engines.

Bob Caldwell
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Old 10-15-2002, 08:17 AM   #9
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Diesel question

What other considerations should one make when deciding diesel vs. gas? A friend told me that I would ruin a diesel with my short trips. During the week, I only drive 10 miles roundtrip each day for work. The only time my vehicle would get anything more than that is when I would be towing.
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:05 AM   #10
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other diesel considerations

I never have lived in cold country where it snows, so I am not sure what steps are needed such as warm ups etc. I do know that on the cummins you have a light that says "wait" while the fuel warmer is activated and warms the fuel. After that you wait for a few seconds until you see you oil pressure gauge register and then your good to go. I would think that diesels are diesels and if you look at the big rigs you see them in all types of weather. I would say a little warm up and your off and running. It is good to get the operating temperature up to normal range, but that goes for both diesel and gasoline engines. I really don't think diesel is that unique that the common sense things you do for your gasoline vehicles(warm ups, start out slowly etc.) are also done to your diesel vehicles. Look around in your area and see what types of diesel units people are driving. I think a casual conversation or two with these folks would answer many of your questions. Hope this helps.

Bob Caldwell
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Old 10-15-2002, 12:21 PM   #11
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I can barely justify a diesel with my rig... even at 9,800 lbs, a big block gas engine with 4.10 gears would put the same torque to the ground as my 7.3L PSD with 3.73:1 gears.

Here's what the diesel costs me:

About $5,000 up front

While oil changes are about as frequent as I'd change a car, they're 15 quarts and a bigger filter. The bigger air filters have to be changed more often. Water has to be drained from the fuel filter periodically.

When it's time to replace the batteries, you replace two.

Diesel fuel quality variability is a problem. I add Stanadyne Power Formula to make sure the injectors are getting the lube they need. I add Racor biocide to kill the bacteria and fungus that can grow in storage tanks, and create "jellyfish" in the truck tank.

Diesel fuel costs. In some areas, it's more expensive than regular gas.

The engine, and many accessories like dual batteries, add 500 lbs to the curb weight of the vehicle, which subtracts from its payload (payload = GVWR minus curb weight), meaning you can carry less of a total of passengers, fuel, cargo, and tongue weight.

It's noisey (but kinda cool sounding).

You have to wait for the glow plugs to get hot before starting it up, and wait for the turbo to cool down (if you've had it working hard) before shutting down.

Here's how I justify it... fuel range. I'm not going to be able to get this rig in just any Mom and Pop gas station along the road... truck stops will be more convenient. The diesel with 3.73 gears will have a lot more range between fill-ups than a big block gas at higher rpms with 4.10 gears, given the same tank size.

Even with a family of four, you don't really need a 3/4 ton vehicle and big-block, much less diesel, to pull a Bambi. The modern 5-6 litre V-8's put out MUCH more torque than the little engine you have in the heavy GC, which is also probably geared for gas mileage rather than towing?
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Old 10-15-2002, 02:13 PM   #12
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Diesels in cold weather

I drove a diesel Rabbit for some years when I lived in the Colorado foothills; right on down to 20 and 25 below zero. Diesel fuel you buy is typically winterized (ie, diluted with lighter product) in the winter. In addition, you can go to #1 diesel or add gasoline or kerosene to dilute the heavier #2 fuel if the conditions are really going to be severe.

I never had any problem starting the diesel and the FWD Rabbit with sticky snow tires was actually better in snow and ice than my 4WD Blazer so long as the snow wasn't so deep that the body was plowing snow. I would often drive home in powder snow conditions and find the engine compartment packed solid with snow without the operation of the engine being affected.
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Old 10-15-2002, 08:11 PM   #13
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cactushead,
I tow a '77 Excella 500 31' model with a '01 Chevy 2500HD extended cab with 8.1 engine, Allison 5 sp. auto trans and 3.73 rear gears. The trailer factory weight without options is 5880 lbs. with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8500 lbs. The truck pulls like a dream. I get either side of 15 mpg on the highway without AC and 10 in town with AC. Towing has ranged from 11-13 mpg. A 6 litre engine with 4.10 rear end ratio would get around the same towing mileage unless you added a bunch of hills because it has to try harder due to less torque. A 6 litre engine would do fine with your trailer but understand that you cannot get the fine Allison 5 sp. auto transmission with that engine. This would be enough for me to get either the 8.1 or the Duramax diesel from Chevy. Motor Trend did some tests comparing the 8.1 to the Duramax and found that the Duramax was just as fast, if not faster, than the 8.1. That's interesting! Noise? The Dodge Cummins is a good reliable engine but noisy as all get out. I hate to hear them drive up. You don't hear anything near that with the Duramax which beats the pants off the Power Stroke Diesel from Ford.

Bottom line, if you have the extra money and will keep the vehicle for a long time, get the diesel. Bob and RoadKingMoe have made some good comments about the diesel. Does your Bambi need the diesel to pull it? No, but what if you ever decide to trade up in the future? If you are sure you will never trade up, are concerned about the high initial cost of the diesel and you will not be spending time in the mountains then maybe the 6 or 8.1 is for you. Right now I am saying that if I traveled more across the U.S. I would rather go with the Chevy Duramax diesel to save on fuel costs because of the better mpg. Diesel fuel, as mentioned earlier, differs across the country. If in your area it is lower than gas then this is an added plus to go diesel. Test drive the 6.0, the 8.1, the Duramax, the Dodge Cummins and the Ford PSD. Pick the one that fits the bill and you like best. After all, with the price of vehicles today, you'd better buy one you like.
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:48 PM   #14
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Diesel or Gas

Folks;

Trailer Life Mag., April 1999 did a multi page comparison on Super Duty Pullers ( diesel vs gas shootout). Very interesting article that got into all the variables ( costs, maintainance, durability, performance, etc) in detail. I have the article in front of me and in a nutshell it boils down to personal preferrence.

For a tow vehicle didn't Wally have a Ford Mustang in mind when he brought out the Bambi???

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