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Old 04-16-2009, 10:18 AM   #1
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Recommendations for towing 2008 19' Bambi w/ '08 Tundra

Hi,

I am hoping someone here can give us some advice on towing our new '08 Bambi 19' trailer with our '08 Tundra.

I understand we will need an electric brake controller installed and a 2-5/16" ball. My question is if we really need a weight distribution hitch / anti-sway system.

We live in Jackson, WY and it seems that the complicated hitches will be harder to hook-up when we go to our favorite "out of the way camp" sites.

For reference, the last couple years we had a T@B teardrop camper and we towed it without problems all over the place with a 2000 4-Runner and no special hitch.

Any help is appreciated,

Kim & Jim
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:49 AM   #2
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Hello Kim & Jim. Welcome to AIR Forums!

Yes, you do need sway control. Fortunately sway control and weight distribution are present in all-in-one solutions like Equal-I-Zer, Reese and the like. This provides an extra margin of control and becomes more critical as trailer weights approach or exceed the tow vehicle weight.

I've encountered a control problem only once -- my Safari would have swayed sideways into the heavily wooded borders on a dirt road. And this was at a speed of approximately 25 mph. The trailer tried to swing from a sudden maneuver avoiding an oncoming truck. Freezer contents popped the freezer door open but the trailer stayed right behind me as if I was just a long bus.

I hope your Tundra has some sort of tow package. You probably could tell if you have a 2" receiver with a 7-pin plug at the back bumper. A Toyota dealer could tell if you have a towing package tranny cooler. You'll want some sort of towing mirrors.

2 5/16" balls should be rated for 10,000 pounds. You'll observe the shank is much too large to fit in a conventional hitch bar. Antisway hitch bars have the larger holes to fit high-capacity ball shanks.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response.

The Tundra has the towing package with hitch, wiring, and the extendable towing mirrors.

Do you have any personal preference in W/D hitches?

Thanks again.

Kim & Jim

P.S. I see you are in St. Cloud, MN. I grew up there & went to school at St. Cloud Tech H.S.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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Tough question, I think. When I hitched my 26' Overlander to my 08 Tundra, the truck only came down about an inch. I set the spring bars at the minimum amount of tension, and didn't use any sway control device. I pulled the trailer 1200 miles home (Arizona to Montana-typical January roads and weather) with no problem at all. I'm not making a sway control decision until I pull the trailer loaded.

A few years back, I pulled an 18' Caravel on the east side of the Divide when the wind was blowing so hard the pickup campers parked facing into the wind and put the jacks down. '76 Blazer: WD hitch, yes--sway control, no. No problem.

I don't think the hitching issue is really a big deal. Once the coupler if over the ball, it only takes a minute to hook up the bars.

I'd make some test runs and see what is comfortable for you.

Good luck and be safe!
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh83002 View Post
Do you have any personal preference in W/D hitches?
It does get personal... I prefer the Reese HP Dual-Cam. 600# spring bars at the max. I'll agree with seeleylaker that hitching up is not any different -- just a couple extra fairly simple steps.

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Originally Posted by kh83002 View Post
P.S. I see you are in St. Cloud, MN. I grew up there & went to school at St. Cloud Tech H.S.
Cool! I went to school at Jefferson H.S. in San Antonio, TX. I've come 'round to the north country completely!
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:38 AM   #6
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

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

Yes, you are probably going to want some type of WDAS (weight distribution/anti sway) hitch system. You will also definitely need a trailer brake controller installed in your Tundra.

The T@B that you have been towing probably goes under 2000#; your 19' Bambi will go over 4000#. That's a major difference. An empty 2008 Tundra goes 4700#. You are approaching the territory where the trailer weighs almost as much as the tow vehicle. The last thing that you want on the road is the trailer to be in control.

As far as the hooking up, it is not really any more difficult with most WDAS hitch systems.

Brian
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:11 PM   #7
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Hi Kim & Jim,

We pull a 2008 Safari 20' with the wrap around rear galley with a 2007 5.7 V8 Tundra. Use an Equalizer hitch. I can hook it up in about 5 minutes. The Tundra pulls the A/S between 65 and 70 without even breathing hard. Mileage ranges between 11 and 12.5 depending on hills and wind. You will love the way the Tundra pulls.

Lou
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:55 PM   #8
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We pull a 19-foot, 2005 Bambi with a 2008 Tundra CM, 5.7L. You DO NOT need an equalizer hitch. We have towed in the mountains and on the flats approximately 10,000 miles, including in a 60 mph crosswind. Other than slowing down to 45 mph in the crosswind, we have had absolutely no problems towing at all (other than a Marathon blowout on the trailer).

The Tundra and 19-foot Bambi are rock solid, and the only thing you need is a brake controller. We have a Prodigy and are very satisfied with it, although there are many other controllers that will work fine. Check out numerous Prodigy installations on www.tundratalk.net, which has lots of photos and helpful instructions.

The only problem we have is keeping it under 60 mph (that truck really wants to go!). Even though the Tundra will tow great at faster speeds, the trailer tires are the limiting factor, especially if you have Marathons. After a blowout, we never exceed 60 with the trailer.

You'll get better fuel mileage at lower speeds, and it's a comfortable ride in the
Tundra, so just slow down and enjoy cruising. (Lots less stressful too, and safer if you have trouble.) We average about 13.5 mpg on the flats, and have gotten as high as 19.5 towing in the mountains at slower speeds (probably a combination of a lot of downhill runs and 35-45 mph curves).

Good luck; you'll really like how your rig tows.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
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We pull a 19-foot, 2005 Bambi with a 2008 Tundra CM, 5.7L. You DO NOT need an equalizer hitch.
I don't agree. Anesthesiology. Flying. The same has been said -- "99% boredom; 1% sheer terror." Try an emergency maneuver when a jerk in the next lane over pulls into you. Play crack the whip the 1st time or the 3rd -- you're going to lose it at some point.

Yes, I can tow tens of thousands of miles in control. I anticipate towing into the hundreds of thousands and I do have contingency plans if I ever lose my Safari. Nothing saves any of us when on the far edge of disaster. But antisway can save you a definite fraction of time when you have one of those unforeseen 'Oh S***' moments. It becomes cheap insurance -- and I would have lost my Safari in Sept. '06 if I didn't have it.

Like many, I have carefully pulled salvage trailers several thousand miles when I've not had the setup I'd want for the long run.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:12 PM   #10
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You are bound to get a more info here on hitches than you can comprehend. There's a lot of opinions on brands and styles. In the end, it depends on how much stuff you carry in your truck and whether your trailer is loaded to the max with full tanks (water, gray and black). Which it will be if you are going to and from remote boondock sites. A weight distributing hitch will make your travels safer if you have a full load.

When you leave the highway for rough dirt roads where your speed will be lower, you can unhook the extra hitch wear and just tow on the ball to your site. It's easier to back in without it and you can hook up when you hit the flat and straight pavement again.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:20 PM   #11
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I afraid that I can't agree either. Call me a safety nut, but I would NOT pull any 40000+# trailer at highway speeds with any half ton pick-up without some kind of weight distribution and sway control. But, to each their own.

Brian
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:31 PM   #12
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Our recommendation...your Tundra will tow a 19' Bambi fine, but eventually you'll be glad to have an anti-sway/weight distribution hitch. Equal-I-Zers would be totally adequate for your Bambi. We tow a 19' with on 07 Tacoma V6 with a factory tow package (rated #6500) and use an Equal-I-Zer Hitch. The hitch-up sequence is easy and fast. Under 5 minutes, and well worth the effort. We feel solid on the road and that's what you want.

We had been towing less than 6 months when we were headed to a state park on a Sunday afternoon against heavy oncoming traffic which was headed back to the city after the weekend...an impatient oncoming truck pulled out to pass less than 4 car-lengths in front of us...everybody going at least 60 MPH if not faster...we would have been a statistic along side the road if we had not had a sway control system in place...the Bambi beautifully tracked the quick swerve we had to make to avoid hitting the jerk. We are convinced it would have been a much different ending if we did not have it.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:00 PM   #13
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Weight distribution and sway control are really pretty basic items - the advice here to get one is good.

But ...

You don't mention what kind of roads you will be taking to get to your "out of the way campsites". In this chunk of the world we have lots of those places - but getting to them paints a picture of crawling over a single track where clearance is an issue.

If this is true then you will already know that your Airstream is longer and sits lower than your T@B. Adding a couple of weight distribution bars below your hitch will give you a much less forgiving unit for manouvering through ruts and over exposed rocks on undulating terrain.

The good news is that when you reach your back road you have enough truck to be able to remove your weight distribution bars and sway control for the leg into the campsite. But you might also want to consider the clearance under the hitch head - I think I would have fabricated a second, simple ball mount made for the purpose - ensuring the hitch height is appropriate when the trailer is hooked up to the truck.

After having said this ..... there is no way on God's green earth I would ever consider taking our Bambi on any of the roads I am thinking of - but every year I will see a trailer in some remote location and wonder: "how in hell did they get that thing in here!". I guess where there is a will there's a way .....


Jay
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:12 PM   #14
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Hitch or not.

Hi, there has been many discussions about hitches on this forum; Brands, sizes, set-ups, and even color, but most all will agree that it is better to have than not to have.
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