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Old 08-02-2007, 03:27 AM   #1
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Red face Suggestions Needed for a Family Friendly Tow Vehicle

My husband and I are looking into getting a 19' Bambi. Initially, we plan on doing several weekend trips (around N. California) and one or two week-long excursions a year, all with our very young children.

Currently we do not have a vehicle capable of towing anything more than 2,000lbs. Niether of us really knows what to look for in a tow vehicle. We are travel trailer novices, and quite capable of buying the wrong vehicle just because the salesman said it could tow any travel trailer. So before we fudge this thing up, I was wondering if the friendly folks here *might* have any suggestions for us.

We are hoping to find an SUV that gets decent gas mileage, has great crash/rollover ratings, can hold at least two adults and two car seats with a little extra room for more of either (a third row would be nice), plenty of room for extra gear/cargo, and enough power to haul it all around with a fully loaded 19' Bambi in tow. Does this vehicle exist?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! A Bambi is a good choice trailer but the new 19 footers are quite heavy (i.e., > 4500 pounds) and will require a larger TV such as a Tahoe/Suburban.

A side-note on the usefulness of the Bambi if you plan on taking extended trips with the trailer. My husband and I traveled to FL for two weeks with our Bambi and realized it is too small for us for trips of that duration. When everyone is packed inside the trailer, it is always a "jigsaw puzzle" game whenever someone needs to move around. Also, we had to use the rear of our TV to store everything we needed to travel with. Keep that in mind as you have children too and all their associated luggage.
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:04 AM   #3
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Look at the Suburban 3/4 ton. It will probably pull anything you want. Get the towing package.
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:25 AM   #4
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Gingers,
Congrats on ur new 19' Bambi
And, welcome to the forum.
It's really quite simple..As you may know, the weight of ur 19' is stamped on the outside of ur unit.
Fully loaded, it's considered to be abt 4500lbs, if memory serve me correctly.
1. You most likely will never travel fully loaded to the max but..
2. You have alot of choices available to you. It really depends on your budget and taste.
The norm for a safety guide in towing is; a safety margin of 20% under the max weight of ur trailer fully loaded rating.
The balance act between that requirement and, the creature comfort of your family's needs follows. You mention a third row seat.
You'll find in the end that a new or late model, low mileage Suburban type vehicle will fit the bill. Models of the 1500 or 2500 will handle ur requirements.
I discounted a pickup, simply because of ur desires for a third row.
Since you are in Calif., I am posting this website for your edification.
Sierra Hart Auto Sales
It's inventory changes constantly, I would suggest it as a "guide" for the used SUV market.
Once you find the vehicle of choice, then comes the setup for towing. Most SUV have Heavy Duty Towing setup from the factory. This is what you want to look for. Abt the only thing you will need to do then is; Have a brake controller installed. On vehicles with HDT package, the cable is pre-installed from the factory for hooking up the brake controller. Other than that, you should find a dealer to help you set up the towing vehicle to the trailer for safety in towing. This would include checking out the proper height of ur towing hitch for a proper leveling height of ur trailer when hooked to the tow vehicle. Checking out the brake controller's adjustment with the trailer under tow. (This can be done in the parking lot) A parking lot also is a great place to pratice your backing up and, parking with the trailer.
As you can see, there's alot to learn but, if taken in small steps, you can master it.
I have covered but only a vvery small portion of the requirements for you.
This is a great place to read, read, read and, ask questions.
Again, welcome to the wonderful world of Airstreaming~!
ciao
53FC
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:49 AM   #5
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We have two pickups that we use with our Bambi; a 97 Chevy 5.0L ext. cab, and an 07 Ford F-250 5.4L crew cab. Of course, with the longer wheel base, the Ford tows great, but the Chevy is also a very good tow vehicle. I would consider something the size of the Chevy a minimum to tow the Bambi. Both came with good tow packages, which is essential. Yukionna gave some very good advice regarding the size of your trailer, as we also use the truck beds (with caps) for major storage. While, we find the Bambi a good fit for us on both short and extended trips, it's just the two us, and we like being very close. Any more than that would have been a real challenge.
Good luck with your decision, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:11 AM   #6
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

For a new 19' Bambi, you would need a minimum of a full size half ton pick-up or a full size SUV (Tahoe/Expedition/half ton Suburban). A 3/4 to would even be better.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:14 AM   #7
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note on the Bambi.

We just traded ours in on a 27FB. Bambi was fine for weekend for a family of three, any longer than that and it becomes crowded in a hurry.

What we didn't like was the goofy shaped bed (hard for two to sleep on plus one person HAS to climb over the other to get up, I strongly recommend you both lie on it) and the corner bathroom (have to leave door open when doing business, again try it.)

What we liked was it's a cute trailer (emotionally attached to it,) easy to tow and will fit anywhere.

As far as trailer shopping goes, if you can, spend a couple hours in it to "try it." Close the door and try to imagine "living" in it on a rainy day with the whole family inside.

As far as TV, well I happen to live near the infamous Canamrv centre here in Canada. Their approach to towing really goes against the grain of most folk on here. While it makes a lot of sense what they say (VW Jetta diesel pulling 22') I'm still not too convinced. On the other hand, seems like most folks on here seem to believe you need some sort of monster truck to pull anything. I also find that to be the other end of the spectrum.

Right now I pull with a Toyota Landcruiser diesel (not available in the US,) I may consider replacing it with a Dodge Magnum hemi if I feel it would be up the the task and if not then a 3/4 diesel (only because I love trucks.)

BTW the Landcruiser Bambi combo tipped the scales at just over 10000#, 168hp and 268ftlbs of torque with a tow cap of 7700#. It pulled the Bambi fine and usually in overdrive.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:30 PM   #8
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Thank you for all your suggestions.

We had the opportunity to stay in a 20' travel trailer (not an Airstream) this past weekend, and boy was it crowded. It was a mad shuffle of kids, people and gear the whole weekend. While I really think that Airstreams make better use of space than most travel trailers, after this weekend, a 19' Bambi with a family of four (maybe five) seems like a bad choice.

So now we're starting our trailer search over. Once we decide on a size there, it should be easier to decide on a tow vehicle.

Thank you all again.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:06 PM   #9
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You didn't ask but...

Consider a 25FB or 27FB. Mom and Dad have their own bedroom. The sofa will sleep two tots as will the table bed. As they grow you can put one on the sofa and the other on the table bed (which easily sleeps two adults.) The commode is a seperate room from the shower so you can run kids in both.

A 3/4 (2500) Suburban or Ford excursion with a tow package will tow it anywhere with room for kids, dogs and stuff. Since fuel prices have gone up you can pick up a used Suburban for a good price.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:37 PM   #10
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Ford Excursion

We tow with kids and toys, with our Ford Excursion. What a machine! Unfortunately, Ford no longer makes them, so you'd have to find used.

We have a Limited with a split second row. This keeps the kids physically separated - they have to actually reach over to hit the other one. Bruises are down, enjoyment is up. The DVD system helps.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:41 PM   #11
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You might also have detected in the picture above we had a 34' with a slide-out - yes, a lot of space. That didn't happen by chance. One word: teenagers.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:53 AM   #12
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I would think that a Chevy Trailblazer with the V-8 and tow package would be more than enough truck for your 19' Bambi.

Another option would be a Chevy Silverado 1500 with the tow package Vortec V-8 and Z71 suspension (yes a 4x4). I have towed a 4500 lb. Streamline with one of those and it was like it wasn't on the back of the truck.

An F-250 to tow a 19' trailer seems like serious overkill to me. I use an 88 F-250 for my 34' Excella, and it pulls that beast just fine.
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:57 AM   #13
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Our son and his wife bought an '06 19' Bambi several months ago. The were originally pulling it with a 2005 Jeep Cherokee Laredo (V-8, 4x4). Their first road trip scared them to death. They replaced the Jeep with a Ford 350 PSD.
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
Our son and his wife bought an '06 19' Bambi several months ago. The were originally pulling it with a 2005 Jeep Cherokee Laredo (V-8, 4x4). Their first road trip scared them to death. They replaced the Jeep with a Ford 350 PSD.
Why exactly? It sounds to me like someone didn't have a good hitch setup.

Out my way, I see Bambi's being towed by Cherokee's all the time.

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