Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-29-2004, 05:19 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Which A/S can we tow safely with our Toyota?

My wife and I are considering getting back into trailering after 25 years without one and we need all the guidance we can get.

I've been reading lots of posts on this and other forums and the more I read the more perplexed I get. Our tow vehicle is a 2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport V8. Most posts referencing 4Runners are refering to pre 2003, six cylinder models and their specs. are different than ours.

To start with, Toyota's own information is contradictory. Their web site states that the towing capacity of our TV is 5,000 lbs, with 500 lbs. max tongue weight, however, our owners manual says 7,000 lbs. and 700 lbs. That's dilemma one.

Let me preface my thoughts with the fact that whichever trailer we might end up with. we would use the Hensley Hitch.

We visited the recent trailer show in Illinois and viewed a few of the new A/S models. We liked the 25 foot Safari, but question if we can safely and comfortably tow it. Neither the dealer representing A/S or the factory rep resentative could give us any useful information on towing ability. We also looked at the 19' Safari Bambi and although there are only two of us, found it a little small mainly in storage capacity and thought the single axle set-up would make the trailer bounce a bit. Then we just discussed the 22' Safari, because they didn't have one at the show. We were amazed that the 22 footer had smaller wheels and tires than all other Airstreams, even the Bambi. Also it only has a single battery and LP bottle and the battery is hanging out in the breeze on the front of the tongue. The wet bath was also a turn off.

So if we decide to rejoin the A/S world, that sort of puts us between the 19' Bambi (Bouncy and small) and the 25' Safari (which we might not be able to safely tow).

Unfortunately we purchased our TV before we even thought about getting back into trailering. I know our 4Runner only has a 109.8" WB and that that is short and the COG is high. I wondering if anyone out there is towing with a similar set up using a Hensley Hitch and what their experiences might be. Or are we foolish to even consider it. We need to be both safe and comfortable.

Any guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

John
__________________

__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 05:39 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Over59's Avatar
 
1959 26' Overlander
Putnam , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,064
Images: 37
How about a vintage Airstream.... More feet for the pound.
http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p.../weights-1.pdf
__________________

__________________
Over59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 07:22 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
dtbw's Avatar
 
1999 34' Limited
2002 19' Bambi
Allen , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 292
Images: 15
Somewhat similar

We tow our 19' '02 Bambi with an '02 Ford Sport Trac. The Sport Trac runs on a 128" WB so that makes a difference. The Sport Trac has a wonderful German engineered and manufactured V6 that cranks out 210 HP & 240 ft.lb torque through a true 5 speed automatic to a 4:10 rear end. We couple to the Bambi thru a Hensley Arrow.

The combo works great!. The Bambi 19' is just the right size for our weekend trips and vacations as we are years from retirement. Our Bambi has full sized ZeeDee awnings on both sides so that gives us the ability to spread to the outside and, after all, that is really part of getting out in the Airstream.

We get between 8MPG & 15MPG depending on whether we run at 70+MPH or at 55MPH. We have towed the rig in the mountains and the Ford powertrain handled the situation with ease.

I will say that given the weight of the new Airstreams, the 19' is about the max that I would consider if you want some margin of power and safety. Our 2002 Bambi 19' has a gross weight of 4500# with a hitch weight of 500#.

So if the 22' or 25' footers are more you fancy, better factor in a new tow vehicle into the finances.


david
__________________
david & bret
'02 Bambi LS
'99 34' Limited
Air Forums # 2159
Past President Heart of Texas Camping Unit
WBCCI # 7548
dtbw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 07:37 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,482
Images: 19
The 22' units should not be excluded simply because of a single battery. Many of us have just one battery, even if there are compartments for two. It just depends upon the type of usage. I would not care for a single lp tank, though.

Your 4-runner would be a bit iffy for my taste on a 25' Safari, even if the engine were up to it. The relatively narrow track, and the fairly short wheelbase would worry me. And if 5000 lbs. is right, you'd never get in under that limit anyway.

On the other hand, your Toyota is a much sought after model. It might be possible to sell or trade at little or on small loss. It is bound to be a smaller financial hit than having to trade up both tow vehicle AND Airstream should you find you really, really wanted a 25'. It'd be worth checking out, anyway.

...And you really DO want the 25', don't you?

Welcome to the forums, by the way.

Mark
__________________
j54mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 07:39 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks psychpw!

I appreciate your response and idea. I wouldn't have known where to find that kind of information, I thank you for that. I have to ask you at what age you consider an A/S vintage? Or do you just mean a used unit? I also don't think I'd know how to pick out which years are the "best" to consider.

I'm not looking for a project trailer. The time just isn't available to take on another hobby. Thanks again.

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 07:59 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Hi Mark,

It's not just the single battery (which sits out exposed, on the tip of the tongue), it's the smaller wheels and tires, the strange configuration of the LP bottles and battery location and the wet bath. The 22' unit seems like a bit of an orphan among the other units, as though it comes from a previous A/S generation. We looked at it as a unit that might be harder to resell if it didn't work out for us. The A/S rep even said that they don't sell many of them.

I think that you are probably right that our 4Runner might be a bit iffy for a 25' A/S. Thanks.

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 08:31 PM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Hi Mark,

It's not just the single battery (which sits out exposed, on the tip of the tongue), it's the smaller wheels and tires, the strange configuration of the LP bottles and battery location and the wet bath. The 22' unit seems like a bit of an orphan among the other units, as though it comes from a previous A/S generation. We looked at it as a unit that might be harder to resell if it didn't work out for us. The A/S rep even said that they don't sell many of them.

I think that you are probably right that our 4Runner might be a bit iffy for a 25' A/S. Thanks.

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 08:42 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Hi Dave,

I appreciate your reply. Our V8 4Runner has 235hp @4800 rpm. and 320 lb ft of torque at 3400 rpm. So I think it has enough torque, however, I am concerned about the WB and see where your rig is much longer and better suited to towing than our 109.8" Runner. These new A/S's sure aren't lightweights are they.

Afraid I'd have to win the lottery to do everything the way I'd like.

Thanks again,

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 09:17 PM   #9
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Hi Dave,

I appreciate your reply. Our V8 4Runner has 235hp @4800 rpm. and 320 lb ft of torque at 3400 rpm. So I think it has enough torque, however, I am concerned about the WB and see where your rig is much longer and better suited to towing than our 109.8" Runner. These new A/S's sure aren't lightweights are they.

Afraid I'd have to win the lottery to do everything the way I'd like.

Thanks again,

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 09:24 PM   #10
Rivet Master<br><img src="/ugala/forums/images/5rivet.gif">
 
CanoeStream's Avatar

 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,279
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
Hello John -- Your participation in the forums is greatly welcomed! Thank's for speaking up -- and keep doing it too.

The Hensley is superb for difficult control issues but there is ample support in these forums that its utility increases as you get to 28, 31 and 34' trailers. I'd suggest more research on weight distribution and anti-sway. On top of that all of its significant weight adds to your tongue load which is going to be difficult to address with a 4-Runner.

I would probably believe the manual before the website. But the short wheelbase of your SUV suggests you should stay as short in trailer as you possibly can -- 16' or 19'. A 22' CCD hitch weight without options is 620#. That means no Rockguard, no spare tire on the trailer to make that weight, nothing else on board. A weight distribution hitch will add to that -- which makes staying under 700# a hard task with a 22 footer. If you stay with the 4-Runner, looking at used Minuets would be possible -- though that would take some rehab interests, patience, etc. At least the entry fee wouldn't be measured in multiple tens of thousands...

To stick with the 4-Runner, check the manual for the tow vehicle's GVWR. Count the full 700# hitch weight -- then can you fit the number of people and a full gas tank on board? (see Airstream's FAQs for more 'splains)
__________________
Bob

5 meter Langford Nahanni

CanoeStream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 10:15 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
dtbw's Avatar
 
1999 34' Limited
2002 19' Bambi
Allen , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 292
Images: 15
Another matter

John,
There is another matter that seldom gets mentioned, sudden severe braking from moderate speeds. Modern tow vehicles typically are 4 wheel disc while current gen A/S are drum brakes. The two get along pretty well most of the time, but I can tell you that under severe braking, the normal balance of the trailer brakes leading the tow vehicle in braking force, declines and shifts to the trailer pushing the tow vehicle. This has nothing to do with the type of controller (I run a Jordon), but rather the difference in braking characteristic of the two different systems (drums brakes fade due to heat, disc brakes don't). The shift in braking dynamics is noticable and while I have never felt that it was dangerous, it is none the less noticable. Why I mention this, is that wheelbase comes into play as the trailer attempts to push the tow vehicle under severe braking. The longer the wheelbase (as well as the type/size of the tires on the tow vehicle), the better to resist any lateral motion that the forces from the trailer can exert.

I am seriously considering a change out from electric drum to electric/hydraulic disc on the Bambi. Such conversion kits exists that are relatively straightforward, but unfortunately not inexpensive (about $1500). As I mentioned, I have only noticed this tendency under pretty severe braking and from speeds above 45-50MPH.

david
__________________
david & bret
'02 Bambi LS
'99 34' Limited
Air Forums # 2159
Past President Heart of Texas Camping Unit
WBCCI # 7548
dtbw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2004, 10:28 PM   #12
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
I've towed a 19' Bambi and have started to move around our 25' Safari. I will say this besides the tow capacity issue. If it's just the two of you for a few days, but less than a week, the Bambi is your coach. If you plan on camping for a few weeks, the Bambi can get a bit crowded. Second, watch out on that dealer that was at the Chicago shows, he's not the sharpest tack or most honest....but his deals are not too bad.....

Last is the tow issue, I think your truck will tow a 19' or 22' unit just fine, maybe up to the end of the limits, but can do it. My rig has 118" (I think that's what it is) and I have done extensive mods to the car to tow the 25' unit. I would start to question how safe it is an if it's worth it. In the end if you had the proper mods done and didn't drive like you stole it, stayed away from the mountains, I think you might be able to tow a 25', but only if you have a V8. I wouldn't even consider towning a 25' with a V6 although I know some folks that do or would. Also keep in mind that the hitch weights also will be a bit higher on the 25' units. The Bambi was 460, where the Safari C we have is 750lbs. Our hitch is rated for 1000lbs and we don't have a full car when we travel, nor a fully loaded coach.

Eric
__________________
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2004, 07:34 AM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
"The Hensley is superb for difficult control issues but there is ample support in these forums that its utility increases as you get to 28, 31 and 34' trailers. I'd suggest more research on weight distribution and anti-sway. On top of that all of its significant weight adds to your tongue load which is going to be difficult to address with a 4-Runner."

Hi Canoe Stream,

Thanks for all the great information. I take it that you feel that the weight of the Hensley on the tongue may be a greater detriment, in my case, than an antisway benefit. I find that disappointing.

According to the owners manual the maximum gross trailer weight plus cargo weight must not exceed 7,000 lbs. and the combined gross trailer weight plus the total weight of the tow vehicle, occupants and cargo must not exceed 12,000 lbs.

It looks more and more like we should heed the advice, wait till we buy our next potential TV and then re-look at the Safari 25. After just recently purchasing the 4Runner it doesn't make sence to me to turn around and sell it (and take a loss) to buy something larger. Someone else mentioned the 19' Bambi is great for about three days at a stretch but after a week or so it gets crowded. We would definitely be on the road for more than a week at a time.

Thanks again Bob!

John
__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2004, 08:02 AM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
Hello Silvertwinkie,

We are both avid photographers so we would definitely be going to mountainous areas as well as the sea shore. So to set up a rig at the limits of safety and capability is definitly not something we would want to do. My preference would be just the opposite and build in some overkill.

Twenty five years ago we trailered a 26' Argosy (with two young children) and I think that size would be good for us now considering all our gear. So I guess we should probably hold off and do this right when we decide to do it. Until then $40k will buy a lot of hotel/motel rooms and breakfasts at Cracker Barrel. Thank you very much.

John
__________________

__________________
silvernewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Toyota Tundra as a Tow Vehicle evsjr Tow Vehicles 788 05-27-2016 07:55 PM
1983 Toyota Landcruiser to TOW? Can I? MuthaMustard Tow Vehicles 3 04-24-2008 11:11 AM
New Toyota FJ Cruiser as a tow vehicle? chickin Tow Vehicles 10 10-01-2006 11:15 AM
Anyone tow with toyota tundras ? Mrcrowley Tow Vehicles 26 06-09-2006 02:09 AM
How much can I safely tow with my 99 Lincoln Navigator? tslanier Tow Vehicles 9 11-06-2005 07:14 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.