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Old 03-07-2008, 05:19 PM   #1
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Towing 16' Bambi with Honda Pilot

Any thoughts on towing a 16' Bambi with a Honda Pilot V6- with the Honda tow package (3500trailer-4500boat capacity?) I tow a small T@b trailer at the moment with no problem, but it is only about 2500lbs loaded and is equipped with a surge brake. I'd like to upgrade to the 16' Airstream, but I'd like to keep the Pilot. Thanks.
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:30 PM   #2
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16' current model or vintage Bambi? The weight varies significantly!

Shari
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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You'd be fine with a 1961-1963 Bambi, but iffy with a late model, and the weight among the various flavors of late model Bambi 16s even varies a thousand pounds, from a 3500 lb GVWR to 4500 lb GVWR.

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Old 03-07-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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By comparision...an early '60s Bambi only weighs 1875 lbs (dry wt.) so probably closer to your T@B fully loaded.

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Old 03-07-2008, 06:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kestrel1651
Any thoughts on towing a 16' Bambi with a Honda Pilot V6- with the Honda tow package...
hi kestrel and welcome to the forums!

this is the only first hand report i've read here on using the pilot...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/147493-post6.html

you can also read about his experience using the pilot in more detail on his weblog...

there are a few folks here, who have reported on using a ridgeline. search that term for some links...

the mdx/pilot owners have enthusiast forums and include many threads on towing issues....

cheers
2air'

on edit, here are 2 others references...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post505115

http://www.airforums.com/forums/441331-post23.html
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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Just to clarify- I was thinking of purchasing a new one-2008.
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Old 03-07-2008, 06:20 PM   #7
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The '08 DWR Bambi have the GVWR of 4500 lbs... that's pretty heavy for your Pilot, I'd think... Apparently a standard model Bambi 16' is also still available in the Int'l CCD line that may yet have the 3500 lb GVWR. That may be do-able, although if 3500 lbs is the max you can tow, you'll be at your limit; not necessarily a good thing.

Roger
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:07 PM   #8
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Hi Kestrel

We have 200 customers that tow with Honda Odyssey's and about 20 with Pilot's or MDX's, as well as several with Ridgelines. Almost all of them are towing Airstreams much larger than the 19'.

The other tow vehicle I would take a look at is the Buick Enclave. It handles and rides better than the Pilot. As well the Buick has the Cadillac 3.6 litre engine and a 6 speed. It is a great working drivetrain and it will easily handle a larger Airstream should you get the urge.

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:45 PM   #9
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Here is what is straight off the Honda site:

Towing requires installation of power steering fluid- and automatic tranmission fluid-cooler, both available exclusively from your Honda dealer.Premuim unleaded fuel is recommended when towing above 3500 lbs. Capacity of 4500 lbs. is for boat trailers and 3500 lbs. for all other trailers. Refer to the owner's manual for additional towing information.

The Airstream 16' base model will tip the scales at 3500lbs loaded. The sport is a 17' model and is 3500lbs loaded as well. If you add passengers, fuel and cargo (which all get subtracted from the tow rating), you will exceed 3500lbs fairly easily and I woud not want to be anywhere near you if and when you start to tow that at grade.

My suggestion would be to consider a better tow vehicle. If you are willing to pay the price of an Airstream, get something that is really rated to haul 3500lbs, plus passengers, cargo and fuel. You could always keep the Pilot as a daily driver.

The Buick and the Caddy that have been suggested might be better, but to give you an example off the Caddy site:

Towing Capacity
2,000 lbs. (base)*
4,250 lbs. (with Utility Package)*

*Maximum trailer ratings are calculated assuming a base vehicle, except for any option(s) necessary to achieve the rating, plus driver. The weight of other optional equipment, passengers and cargo will reduce the maximum trailer weight your vehicle can tow. See your Cadillac dealer for additional details.

I think the 4250 is with the V8, but I could be wrong.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:07 AM   #10
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The Cadillac is not as good a tow vehicle as the Buick but the Buick has the 3.6 Litre Cadillac engine in it. This is a fabulous motor with a nice wide powerband and excellent economy.

The tow rating has very little to do with how well a vehicle handles a trailer espessially an Airstream. Some vehicles with high ratings are unstable poor vehicles. Many of the best handling and best performing tow vehicles are rated for 1000 lbs. not because they won't tow well just because the marketing department does not perceive a tow rating to be a sales advantage. For example in the case of Honda the Odyssey is a much better tow vehicle both for performance and handling than either the Pilot or Ridgeline yet it is rated for less.

Part of the problem is trying to assess towing on weight alone. Aerodynamic drag balance and suspension are all far more important than weight and this where an Airstream excells.

Andy
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
The '08 DWR Bambi have the GVWR of 4500 lbs... that's pretty heavy for your Pilot, I'd think... Apparently a standard model Bambi 16' is also still available in the Int'l CCD line that may yet have the 3500 lb GVWR. That may be do-able, although if 3500 lbs is the max you can tow, you'll be at your limit; not necessarily a good thing
I'd suggest starting with the UBW to make your decision on towing a Bambi with a Pilot, not GVWR. UBW (Unit Base Weight) is the dry unloaded weight. For a DWR Bambi, this would be 3050lbs. For a 16' International, 2825lbs.

If you do some Googling, it seems that Honda's recommendation of 4500lb for a boat (vs 3500lb for a trailer) is based on the assumption that a boat is more aerodynamic. Given the aerodynamics of an Airstream, you should be able to use the 4500lb number.

A Pilot/Bambi combo looks like it could work out well. Just make a few simple calculations considering weight of what you might want to put in the Bambi and if you plan to head out with a full tank of water. Also look at your Pilot's cargo capacity, adding on the tongue weight of the Bambi.

Check that you have the ClassIII hitch and the transmission oil cooler - the Bambi is about 1000lbs heavier than the T@B. If not, they can easily be added on.

...........Scott
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:08 AM   #12
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I suppose I'm a bit old school. I don't care for transversely mounted engine/transmission combos in cars and crossover tow vehicles. I think they are excellent as communiting and light hauling vehicles, but that's about as far as I go with them. I'm also not a big fan of unibody construction as tow vehicles. I think the V6 engine is more than stout enough to haul 3500lbs, but looking at the trans in one of these vehicles, vs that of a conventional trans, one can see the real estate and the bullet proof design of these. Honda in particular has been plagued with issues with it's V6 transmissions. How do I know? We've had two. One had a replaced trans at 30k and the other, does work, but it is an odd shifter, compared to the inline 4 and it's transmission.

3500lbs is not a lot of weight, I'll be the first to admit that point and that the handling of the Caddy and the Buick would be far more nimble than my Suburban, which is in essence a moving refined brick compared to the Subs of the past. Yet there is something to be said for old pig iron, what it does, it does very well. By no means do I think in this case a Suburban is needed, but I'd prefer myself a Trailblazer EXT having towed 19' Bambi, which is about 1000lbs more than the base 16' units out there. It's body on frame, conventional engine configuation, less expensive than both the Buick and the Caddy, of course though, it's far less plush and luxurious than the Buick and the Caddy.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:25 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies. Hard to decide if it'll work well or not. The Pilot towing capacity (3500) includes 4 passengers and cargo, so if I was careful about the load in the trailer... then I may be ok with the tongue weight too. I travel solo mostly- with 4 (not very heavy!) dogs to sheepdog field trials, about 18 weekends/year. The T@b has been great because I am usually camped in a farm field with no electricity and it's quite simple. I would love the 16' Airstream because it is such an absolute beauty and I can fit the dog crates inside if I remove the front dinette- that would make setup and keeping them out of the bad weather so much easier than it is now with the T@b. Also, a bit more room (and a bathroom) would be handy as my husband or one of my kids likes to travel along with me now and then. The Pilot has been such a great vehicle- I'd really hate to part with it. I'll keep up the research.

Thanks again for all the helpful information- what a great site.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:59 PM   #14
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Towing with the Honda

I towed a 2004 19' Safari 'Bambi' with a honda Pilot. I didn't notice any problems, however I did keep my travels to TX, LA, MS, AL, FL. I wouldn't know what the issues might be if you are planning on towing into the mountains. I was surprised that my milage went way down while towing, but I didn't use it except for week-ends and vacations.

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Old 03-08-2008, 08:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by On Air
I was surprised that my milage went way down while towing, but I didn't use it except for week-ends and vacations.

Terry
This is something we all see....all too common a tale.

I found the closer I traveled to 55mph, the better the mpgs were. I typically travel at 62mph and on the flatland, get between 12-13 depending on headwinds. A good tail wind can get me slightly above 13mpg...but before you Honda folks flip out, keep in mind I've got a 6.0L, nearly 2x that of the Honda V6. I clearly did not get a Greenpeace sticker when I bought the Burb, but ironically, I found an honorary membership card to OPEC. At over $3/gallon, to fill at 39 gallon tank, with the stated observed MPG, you can clearly see why OPEC loves me, as does Exxon Mobil....I must have contributed .5% to their gross profits last quarter.
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:35 PM   #16
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Here is a hint to the wise from a former owner and accident victim of trailer sway with a 2000 Honda Passport..... Similar SUV as yours... pulling a 16' UHaul trailer...

Sunny summer day mid afternoon, One of the tires must have been low and the trailer began to sway big time at 50 miles per hour. Within seconds the trailer became uncontrollable and swung my suv around like noodle. Next thing I remember is laying on the ground and seeing my truck laying on its side.

If you are going to pull anything with your honda, you need sway protection. The tow package of the honda vehicals ... well, downright blow arse. So, a word to the wise... If you are gonna tow with this vehical, please, please, please install a different weight distribution system and incorporate a good anti-sway system such as a Hensley Arrow...

Good luck and I hope all goes well for you.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_n_sam
Here is a hint to the wise from a former owner and accident victim of trailer sway with a 2000 Honda Passport..... Similar SUV as yours... pulling a 16' UHaul trailer...

Sunny summer day mid afternoon, One of the tires must have been low and the trailer began to sway big time at 50 miles per hour. Within seconds the trailer became uncontrollable and swung my suv around like noodle. Next thing I remember is laying on the ground and seeing my truck laying on its side.

If you are going to pull anything with your honda, you need sway protection. The tow package of the honda vehicals ... well, downright blow arse. So, a word to the wise... If you are gonna tow with this vehical, please, please, please install a different weight distribution system and incorporate a good anti-sway system such as a Hensley Arrow...

Good luck and I hope all goes well for you.

A 12' open-frame U-Haul weighs in at 2500lbs, empty, has no sway control and surge brakes. Throw in some unbalanced cargo and I would consider that a far more difficult towing configuration for a Passport to deal with than, a Pilot hooked up to 2800lb Bambi with electronically controlled brakes and a sway bar.

Hensley is an excellent product but, especially for a lightweight Bambi, there are other extremely effective anti-sway devices you could consider, for a fraction of the Arrow's price.

The Pilot/Bambi can be easily set up as a safe towing combination.

..............Scott
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:52 PM   #18
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Ditto Scott!

Articulate and well thought out response...

I might add - check out the reliability on the Pilot transmission - outstanding (per Consumer Reports rankings). Also, no comparison between a Passport and a Pilot...
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:23 PM   #19
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Very true georgezink and Wayward.... Just thought I would add a little of what is possible when towing anything... Even though Airstreams pull better than most anything out there, it is always better to be safe than sorry..

But, I am a new owner as well... and am still a bit afraid of towing anything behind any vehical. Honda's just have a sour tast in my mouth still I guess.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:14 AM   #20
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Ok, I am quite confused now, but if I install an Equalizer hitch on the 16' DWR and hitch it up to the Pilot with the Honda tow package- which includes the transmission cooler, etc. and I am very careful about the load in the trailer and the Pilot? Am I missing anything- would this be a safe way to begin?

We have a Tacoma- older one, not a great tow vehicle at all- it is the farm chore truck here. I suppose if the Pilot didn't work out I could trade that one in for the newer V6 Tacoma- I think they have 6500lb tow ratings now.
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