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Old 11-04-2005, 09:47 PM   #1
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What is the smallest vehicle that could tow a Bambi 16'? Would a Subaru Forester AWD do it?

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Old 11-04-2005, 10:55 PM   #2
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hi kathy
welcome to the airstream world.....and your first post.

folks will be kind here....usually.

trailer life publishes a new car/truck/suv and so on towing guide each year. this little booklet lists the manufacturers tow ratings for virtually every passenger vehicle that has any towing i recall this is a mid year publication....trailer life does have a website...

then visit the airstream web site for the weights of the smallest trailer produced over the bambis are much heavier than their vintage namesakes....

so you're thinking about a cute little trailer and you want a cute little t.v. to go with it? "smallest" can be defined many ways...length/width/height/gross weight/mpg/seating capacity....and so on.

there are lots of threads here on tow vehicles, so try some searches with key terms or just read through some of the many threads on towing/tow vehicles and so on....then maybe post again with a little more info about yourself/needs/airstream experience and so on...previously posted info will guide you on what folks feel is a safe % of t.v towing capacity/limits.

you know bambis are cute little trailers....but i wonder how they came to use that name in airstream history....

as for deers.....a bambi has such spindly little legs it can barely stand up....which is an early survival need in the deer world...

towing any newer airstream with a forester would be like a bambi deer trying to stay upright.......while caring momma, daddy and the hunter on her back.....


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Old 11-04-2005, 10:56 PM   #3
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Hi Kathy!

I'd suggest that a Forester probably wouldn't be appropriate, however I say that without researching the actual towing capabilities.

You don't reference whether you're talking about the original '61-'63 Bambi or the new Bambi. The original Bambi weighed about 1860lbs dry. The new ones are around 2800 lbs with a 350lb tongue weight. You could probably do an original with a Forester, but I doubt that the Forester is rated for 3500 lbs which is the minimum you'd need for the new Bambi. A realistic loaded weight for the new Bambi will be close to 4,000 lbs loaded.

There are lots of threads regarding tow capacity and recommended reserves.

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Old 11-05-2005, 05:15 AM   #4
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I think the Forester might come up short. The option for a tow package is limited.
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:44 AM   #5
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I agree, if you are talking new(er) 16' Bambis, then the answer would be, sure it could move it, but it would be highly recommended that you don't.

The best tow rating I could find for a new Forrester is 2400lbs. The lowest weight 16' new(er) Bambi I could find was 2900lbs empty, 3500lbs GVWR.

Using the basic guide of trying not to be more than 80% capacity, even empty your Forrester will be well over that mark if you are talking a new(er) Airstream. If you're talking vintage, then there are far more qualified folks here to speak to that area than I.
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:54 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, I don't think a Forrester will make a suitable tow vehicle for a Bambi. It is a 4 cylinder, Unibody station-wagon type "crossover SUV".
A better tow vehicle would be a Chevy Trailblazer, or even a Ford Explorer.
6 cylinder power would be an absolute minimum, as well as needing a heavier mass for towing. There are other suitable tow vehicles that are even better, this would be what I would consider a minimum.
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Old 11-05-2005, 07:41 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forums, Kathy! We all got further along with thinking ahead, planning for acquisitions that would work best to let us reach our goals in the Airstream world. Keep working at this!

Look closely at when you, your passenger(s), any other gear in your tow vehicle (TV), and the tongue weight would exceed the Forester's GVWR (empty wt + capacity = GVWR). So you have to add up your weight + anything else inside the TV + weight of installing hitch receiver on the Forester + estimated trailer tongue weight (10-15% of trailer gross wt -- don't forget that all of the aftermarket weight distribution gear is at the tongue, so 15% is the most realistic figure). The GVWR is federally required to be on a sticker -- look on the driver's side doorpost. Other towing info is probably in your owner's manual. Airstream's FAQ page,, is a good place to start. Note especially tongue weight and trailer weights.

Another good search for these forums would be on the word 'wheelbase.' SUVs get in a lot of trouble as a stable TV due to the short whellbase. That just doesn't give the TV as much influence in normal quick maneuvers, to say nothing of emergency handling. I am not knocking SUVs, because a larger one would work just fine for you once you get the numbers right. But if you study any prospective TV purchase online, all vehicle manufacturers list capacities in their online specifications.

It has been said 'you always want a bigger trailer.' I've reached my max size and am quite happy. Be sure you really get inside one before you buy a 16-footer -- quite small in any live-aboard analysis! Cute as a bug's ear, but...

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Old 11-05-2005, 03:47 PM   #8
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Towing Bambi with Forester

A Subaru Forester is not going to pull a Bambi - no way.

we have two RV's - a 25' spec. Edition Safari towed with a big dodge pickup

and a Subaru Forester which tows a Aliner which is a hardshell Aframe popup. My trailer weighs about 1400 pounds loaded, the towing capacity on my car is 2000 pounds (it is a 2003 model which has a little less capacity than the current models).

My conclusion is my forester tows the Aliner fine but NO way would I tow any more weight with it. need to keep things about 1500 pounds to be safe.

Now that we have the Airstream towed by the Dodge 3500 dually and having driven that rig, I can really appreciate having extra capacity as far as towing. You need a safety margin. Once you really become aware of this, and watch what others use to tow rv's, it's amazing how people push the limits. Admittedly we probably overachieved by buying the big dodge (we originally thought we were getting a 5th wheel then fell in love with airstreams at an rv show) but it pulls like a dream.


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