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Old 11-22-2011, 08:58 PM   #1
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Spokane , Washington
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Towing a Bambi 22FB with a 2007 Tacoma

While I've done quite a bit of searching, I'm hearing a lot of conflicting information on my question...and with all complicated circumstances...there probably aren't simple answers.

I have a 2007 Toyota Tacoma, with a V6 and factory tow package. (I bought it new, and it's still low mileage). I know it has a tow rating of 6500# and a max hitch rating of 650 lbs. The local Airstream dealer tells me it is quite adequate to handle a new Sport Bambi 22 FB (which has a GVWR of 4500#, a hitch weight of 393#, and a dry weight of 3594#). I figure, worst case, with all 3 water tanks full, that means about 517 lbs of water...which leaves me with about 389 lbs of trailer crap I can carry until I reach the GVWR of 4500 lbs.

I've been told it is reasonable to be at 80% of a vehicle's tow rating, which means with this rig I could handle 5200 lbs of trailer weight...and 4500 lbs is somewhat shy of that limit. I also have been told that I need to subtract the 393# hitch load from the truck's rated payload (is that value calculated from the 4500# trailer GVWR, assuming proper weight distribution, or from the trailer dry weight?). In the truck I'd probably carry a couple of kayaks, and a small Honda generator. There's only two of us on the trip.

I also understand that the factory hitch receiver is just a starting point, and that I will need to add a more robust rear suspension system, as well as a decent hitch system.

Finally, I should mention that most of my traveling will be well within 400 miles, with a terminal destination of small forest service campgrounds (though the routes will be through the Rockies and Cascade mountains).

I know I'll certainly be aware the trailer is back there (I once pulled a 22" Hewescraft through the Rockies for about 250 miles for my son-in-law when his Ford 350 Turbo-Diesel gave up the ghost)....but will my Tacoma destroy itself pulling this Bambi?
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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You have plenty of power. Keep speeds down (55-60 mph), shift down to climb and descend steep grades. Won't hurt the truck at all. The problem is stability.

The best and perhaps only worthwhile suspension improvements would be to get rid of the P rated tires in favor of XL tires, to get a stiffer sidewall and much more trailer stability. A set of Bilstein shocks would also be nice.

The most important item is a good, properly set up weight control hitch with sway control.

Light trucks with high center of gravity and solid rear axle are not the most stable vehicles you can get, but with reasonable speeds adjusted to weather and road conditions it can serve you well. Stay well below its limits when driving.

doug k
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:55 PM   #3
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I should add that we tow a similar combo, a step larger. 2006 Tundra 4.7 towing a 20' Safari SE last two years, then traded trailers 25' FC and tried same truck, works fine.

doug k
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:59 PM   #4
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If it's any help, we have the same truck, an 07 Tacoma, Double-cab (you didn't mention the cab configuration), V6 2WD with facotry tow pkg and no special suspention beyond factory... and tow an 06 19" Safari SE Bambi ... 3500 empty, 4500 full ... We do fine with it... I've always felt like we might be OK with a 20' rig but anything bigger and we'd want a bigger truck...however, the Sports are not as heavy as the Safari SEs...so your 22 is about the same weight as ours at 19'... The length itself would be my only concern. We've been all over the AZ mountains, a lot in NM and some in SoCal it's been a good combo for us.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:51 PM   #5
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I have a 22 foot FB that was originally towed with an 06 Tacoma Double Cab TRD. With the right WD hitch, it was quite manageable. I had a 3 inch lift kit, and went with Timbren helper springs in the back. They are basically a big fat bump stop so if you do get into some heavier loads the back doesn't bottom out so hard.

The mileage will plummet... and I'd stay in 4th as your max gear unless you are in some really easy coasting.

We tow in some extreme grades and winding mountain roads... and travel quite far... so I ended up upgrading to a 2008 Sequoia. No comparison to the Tacoma... a much calmer ride for sure. But... twice the money as our old Taco.

With the distances you are talking, get a good hitch, good brake controller, and you'll be AOK.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:03 PM   #6
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No problem at all Krusty. Leave it in 4th. I have basically the same setup as this guy^^^^. I do have an airbag system on my rig though,with WD setup. No problems whatsoever.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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Thank you! You're all making me feel a LOT better. I love the truck.. (it's the 'Access Cab' with full bed) ..it fits nicely in our garage, and it's my daily driver (when I'm not riding a motorcycle). I got rid of the minimal OEM tires about 5K ago, and have some heavy duty highway Toyo XL's on now. I'll put whatever additional tow and suspension gear on the truck that will make it 'trailer-worthy'.

The observation about gas mileage going to hell pulling a trailer was confirmed when I pulled the big boat home....it dropped from about 20 mpg to 12 mpg....but fuel is cheap compared to buying another truck (and certainly cheaper than mechanical damage...which was my main worry....aside from the safety aspects). And I've read about the damage that can take place in an automatic transmission from excessive 'gear hunting' when you run in OD....so I'll keep it in 4th unless the terrain is level.

I really appreciate the information you've all given....this is a most excellent forum....populated with people that obviously love Airstreams. When we started looking at travel trailers we visited a lot of RV dealers...and the local AS dealer really made us feel the most comfortable. Beyond the blatantly superior quality of the product, I was impressed by the fact that they were enthusiasts themselves. No hard sell...not like visiting a car (or generic RV) lot....just a simple pride in a 'one of a kind' item. As I said in another post....we keep our toys for a very long time. I like the idea of a trailer that will outlast me.

I suspect this could very well be the start of a long relationship.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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Krusty, one point not mentioned is to make sure your Tacoma has the heavier leaf springs installed. Toyota has issued a TSB to replace the factory original springs with four-leaf springs. The factory original springs will bottom out before you hit the 1,400 pound payload capacity.

I do agree with Friday, the Tacoma will be challenged pulling that trailer up and down the Rockies.

I have an '05 Taco that I use to pull a '78 25 ft. Tradewind. It works great here in the Midwest but would be slow going up the Rockies. I have disc brakes on the trailer so I'm not worried about stopping, it's the V6 that I think is under-powered for the mountains. Go ahead and use the Taco, I did two years back when I pulled a 21 ft. Safari out to Yosemite and back thru Oregon and Yellowstone. It did fine. But if I did that on a regular basis I would get a V8, you'll see.

One other thing, don't use the '80% rule of thumb', use the truck scales to measure your weights and adjust your WD bars, in particular to rebalance the Taco. THAT'S A REALLY BIG DEAL WHEN YOU ARE CLOSE TO VEHICLE CAPACITY, AS YOU WILL BE. I just did this with my rig. I feel a whole lot better knowing I haven't exceeded any of the ratings. I am damn close to some however. Okay, I have exceeded the payload by 120 pounds but not the axle or tire ratings. I know I can't even think about putting the canoe on top. I had to use 800 pound bars, the 600 pound bars would not shift enough weight forward to the front axles to properly trim the Taco. Now that I have gone thru the exercise of the truck scales and adjusting and shifting weights the Taco drives great pulling the Tradewind.

John H.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:24 AM   #9
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John, thanks for the valuable suggestions! I just took a look at my truck, and indeed, it doesn't have the 4 leaf spring upgrade. I'll be visiting my dealer to have them make the modification....a search of the Tacoma forums indicates it's covered by Toyota to bring the vehicle up to its advertised load rating.....wonder why they never sent me a notification?

If this Tacoma doesn't work out for a TV it looks like my wife might end up abandoning her Camry for something like a V8 Titan. She likes driving the Tacoma, but doesn't much care for really big trucks.....hard to park. I need to keep the Tacoma to get into the small mountain flyfishing lakes.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:05 AM   #10
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The truck does have a set of Bilsteins...I guess that's part of the TRD package?
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:24 AM   #11
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Welcome to the Forum Krusty. It is nice to see another Spokane Airstreamer. I agree with the others when they say you will be able to pull the 22 with your Tacoma. Toyota makes a great product and as long as you keep your speed down, use your gears and don't overload things, you will be fine.

You can count on the tongue weight being larger than stated. Two batteries on the Tongue, a couple of full propane tanks and it will get heavy. A good weight distributing/sway control hitch will be crucial. I wouldn't start adding suspension parts until I drove the combination around for awhile.

I am towing with the 5.7 Tundra. I have plenty of power but I am close to my weight limits for the truck. I have to be careful about loading and deciding what I want to take camping. It is just me and the Mrs. and I try to pack light.

Good luck. The guys at Airstream of Spokane are great to work with and they can offer up some great advice if you are inclined.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:25 PM   #12
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Nice discussion. I just test drove a 2007 Tacoma prerunner double cab. Nice power and I really liked the ride. After reading your thread I think it would be a good fit for my 1956 bubble (16') Last time I had the bubble out it was 2400 lbs dry and i couldn't be so lucky 10 percent ratio of 2,800 loaded with 280 lb tongue loaded weight. If The back seats are doable for three kids it may be what j end up with? The tundras look great but i wouldn't need that much truck to drive to work. I havn't looked at nissans yet. I think a Tacoma would work when it's just me and my two boys out for our man trip. But I'd probably still use the Honda odyssey for the 5 person family trips. What do you think? Can I borrow some advice from you all on this thread? Thanks for what I read do far. Cheers Ted.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:29 PM   #13
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Sorry about my iPhone spellcheck mistakes above. That looks so redneck! Cheers
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:33 AM   #14
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Poor mileage

Ted-

I towed a '63 Globetrotter with an '07 Tacoma. No issues with power, but the mileage was terrible. Since we were planning a cross country trip, we had to dump the truck.

John
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