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Old 06-22-2002, 03:45 AM   #1
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Wink Looking

Dear Sirs:
Greetings. I am learning about Airstreams travel trailers for purchase in the near future. I was hoping to get a new Bambi 19' and (per Airsteam advertising) tow it with an SUV. I have looked at Jeep Cherokees and Libertys. Jeep adnertising shows a tandem axle Airstream behind a cCherokee. Jeep claims they can meet tongue weight and GTW specs. but I am wondering if performance would be acceptable and not strain the vehicle to destruction. The Jeeps weigh approx 4000 lbs. and the Bambi is GTW 4500 lbs. I have very little towing experience an wonder if it would be safe on the highway. I intend to use at least an equalizer hitch with sway control. I do not like large vehicles and would oprefer something smaller than a suburban if it is reasonable. If anyone has an opinion about suspected performace it would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Jay Iski
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Old 06-22-2002, 06:57 AM   #2
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You'll probably be fine w/ such a small trailer....but check out the Dodge Durango. These are deceptively powerfull for their size. It looks like a small suv, but they use the same powertrains as their full-size truck cousins. I used to own a Dakota, which is what the durango is based on, (and this was before they had v-8's), and I can tell you, its a full size truck in a small package. Fully loaded, it handled just the same as when it was empty. (that's the rear-end, mostly....). Anyway, I just checked, and the dodge website says that the durango can tow "up to 7500 lbs", which is actually a little more than my full-size pickup. Its good to have extra in your tow vehicle, rather than max-out a smaller one. you never know...you might want to upgrade your trailer some day.....
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Old 06-22-2002, 07:33 AM   #3
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Thanks

Chuck,
Thanks for the reply. I have not yet looked at Dodge but I did get their 2002 towing booklet for salesman training. Your comments (from an actual equipment user) are valued more than the advise of young and possible inexperienced sales people. I cannot financially afford to make a bad decision. I am already looking at trucks as an alternative. The SUV does have appeal to me but carrying an Onan that could start an A/C package is an idea I am entertaining as well. Somewhat disabled, I can no longer tolerate extreme heat as I did in the engine rooms of the submarine and aircraft carrier so it would be a great relief to start up an A/C package at least for a limited time. It would also be more convenient than getting in the vehicle and running the A/C especially after I push myself to the point of collapse when chasing trout or back country hiking.

Again, thanks Chuck for the valued response.
I am very happy that I found this forum. It is a wonderful asset. I already wonder what I internet service is available to the RV. I have seen advertising for RV Parks that claim " modem friendly" but do not yet know the implications.
Jay Iski (Fort Worth, TX.)
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Old 06-22-2002, 08:10 AM   #4
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Second the motion

I agree that the Durango is a good towing choice. I have towed several trailers a lot of miles with my former Dakota with the 5.2 L engine and I think the Durango with either the 4.7 L (replaced the 5.2) or the 5.9 L would pull the Bambi in great style. I wouldn't hesitate to pull my 5000# International with one.

Personally, I don't think the Jeep or most other SUVs of that size are suitable for towing, regardless of what the advertising says. Too little wheelbase and too narrow for safety.
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Old 06-22-2002, 08:32 AM   #5
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Well, the other thing about the Durango is that it is the largest of the "small" suv's....so it also has a pretty good amount of cargo capacity. Don't know how big those generators are, though, or what it takes to heft them around.

A friend of mine signed up for Verizon wireless, because they have a special deal that combines a cellular modem with the same cell-phone account. I guess all the others require you to have a seperate cell account to use a wireless modem, with its own monthly charge and access fee. With this one, the special phone that he had to buy (80 bucks) acts as the modem, connecting directly to the laptop, and 'net access shares the same plan minutes as the phone. You could blow through those minutes quickly during the daytime, but the "night/weekend" minutes are some huge amount.....if you do most of your surfing at night or on the weekend, it would probably be fine. Its some sort of digital connection...faster than a 56k analog (I think 144k...not sure). He's been pleased with it. I guess the coverage area is pretty decent, too. might want to check that out......
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Old 06-22-2002, 10:33 AM   #6
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Durango

Thanks guys.
I have been up all night and read about the 4.7 liter design and will logoff, shower and go to the Dodge dealer.
I had Sprint and a cable that put 14k baud on my cell phone thru the serial port (without using the modem) but I cancelled it because I never used the phone because it would not work in most areas. I was able to pull over at a road side and get weather maps on the way to Mcdonald Observatory but could not recieve on top the mountain at the telescope. Everone else was calling home from the mountain so I had the wrong service.

Thanks guys. I feel like I now have reasonable expectations of the small modern engines and will compare wheel base of the vehicles.
Thanks guys. Ya'll should get a commission from Dodge!
Jay
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Old 06-22-2002, 10:38 AM   #7
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While the Dodge Durango would make a better tow vehicle than the Liberty or Cherokee, don't rule out the 4 door Yukons or used 2 door models which are getting harder to find. If you decide to go new vehicle, either of these will be fine. One issue i'd also like to mention, once you get a Bambi started with the Liberty/Cherokee, does it have the brakes to stop it. I tow a 31' Excella 500 with a 2500hd and last year someone lost a couch off the back of a pickup truck on Interstate 40 through Nashville, TN. I saw appx. 10 vehicles in the left lane to me at a stop. Some guy was coming up fast on my left hindquarter and didn't realize what was going on. I hit the brakes applying increasing pressure as he locked up his tires. I gave him just enough room to swerve in front of me and miss the last stopped vehicle in his lane. I have the old hydraulic-vacuum 4 wheel disc braking system of the 70's and they performed just as they were designed, great.
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Old 06-22-2002, 10:56 AM   #8
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Sprint problems and OnStar

I agree that Sprint coverage is not the best although I do have a Sprint two-mode (digital-analog) phone. I find it goes to roaming and/or analog mode far too much of the time. I recently changed the service to "Emergency only" at $5 per month and $1 a minute. I save $25 a month and a breakdown probably wouldn't cost that much to get the road service out.

Ona trip, a few years ago, a big Sprint billboard reminded me to call home, so I pulled off the road right in front of the billboard. You guessed it, the phone went to roaming! Not much of an advertisement for Sprint coverage.

My truck came with a year of free OnStar, but I won't renew it. They charge way, way more than the service is worth. In one year, I made a total of 3 checks right before major trips for a total of maybe 45 seconds of connect time. If their prices were more reasonable, I would continue the service. I would much rather see a low charge per month (like my current Sprint phone) and a charge for using the service.
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Old 06-22-2002, 11:17 AM   #9
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yeah, you'd think I should get a commision from Dodge; ironically, I actually did sell dodge trucks for a few months after I graduated from college....wouldn't ya know, I couldn't sell to save my @$$. go figure....I guess the thing is, nobody trusts "car salesmen", but they will listen to an unbiased, friendly voice on a message board...

I'm getting fed-up w/ sprint, too...thinking of changing. Its fine if you're in a metropolitan area, or if you're a businessman flying from city to city. I've used the phone in SF, chicago, couple of places in FL....and its cool that it can work in those places without paying big-bucks to roam.....but the coverage sucks once you get "out of town". I can't use it in my house, but I can use it outside. Now that I have a TT, I'm planning on spending more time in northern new england, where there is no sprint coverage AT ALL. I figure if I'm paying for the damn thing, I oughtta be able to actually use it.
National "no-roaming" plans are coming down in price, so that's where I might go. Cingulair seems to have the best deal in that arena right now, but that could (and probably will) change again....
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Old 06-22-2002, 02:43 PM   #10
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Test Drive

Gentlemen,
I went to a monster DFW Dodge dealership to look at a Dakota. However, I test drove a RAM 4x4 truck. I was impressed. It was not as much fun as a Landrover but it definitely would be a better application as a tow vehicle. The salesman tried to talk me into taking a 5.9 Liter (360 ci.) 4x4 crew cab Ram truck with tow package home for the weekend but I declined. I will have to consider these vehicles.
It has been years since I drove a big truck but I am quickly realizing that proper equipment is necessary for safe, reliable and enjoyable travel with an RV. Dave’s "war story" has put the fear of God in me and I am thankful. Like flying, I would rather learn from the stories in the back of "Flying" magazine rather than from personal experience ( though I usually said "Yep, that's exactly how it happens".

By the way, my Sprint service would not work inside my home either. The expensive Motorola flip phone and internet cable were definitely not worth the money I paid for a year. Ma Bell screwed me on my service before that. So, I will be very savvy with my next service. I had a nice network/modem combo card installed in the IBM ThinkPad that was never used because Sprint used the serial port and I know it takes a fancier card for PCS type service. But that was last year. I don't plan to keep up with technology any longer. I will settle for plugging into a phone line occasionally when an RV park has phone service to upload a photo of a trout or to post a "nightmare" story on Airstreamforums.com about using the brakes to slow my new RV.
Jay Iski (Fort Worth, TX.)
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Old 06-22-2002, 04:20 PM   #11
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Thumbs down Just in case you are still considering a Jeep...

We tow our 19 ft '64 GlobeTrotter (dry weight 2890 lbs. & tongue weight 385 lbs) with a Jeep Cherokee.

It does fine on the flats...but in the mountains it really has to work hard. (i.e. 30mph over Berthoud Pass - elevation 11,307') I wouldn't recommend it...on paper it's fine, in actuality...aaaargh! Slow going...

Just my two-cents...

Shari
"Just One of the Guys"

P.S. FYI we intend on upgrading soon to a Surburban or ??? ...who knows!
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Old 06-22-2002, 05:16 PM   #12
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I never thought about this until Inland RV Andy mentioned it, you can go overboard on a tow vehicle and actually make it too stout. He has posted that you shouldn't add additional springs to 3/4 ton trucks because it makes it hard on the rivets on the Airstream i.e. rivets will pop at a higher rate than with a vehicle more forgiving. The Ram crewcab whether 1/2 or 3/4 ton shouldn't have problems towing the Bambi but the 5.9 is not known for getting the best gas mileage in truck circles.
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Old 06-22-2002, 05:52 PM   #13
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I just saw where mwilleford posted in the airstreamphotos a 20' 1978 Argosy towed with a Dodge Dakota. You might email them and ask how they feel about their tow vehicle. If a Dakota can do it then the Durango is a cinch.
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Old 06-22-2002, 06:04 PM   #14
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Off-road model trucks

The off-road trucks like my Silverado actually have softer suspensions and much larger shock absorbers than standard models. My off-road Z71 rides much better than most trucks, darned near as good as my Buick. An off-road model should be a lot easier on the trailer, as well. If I were to go to a 3/4 ton, I would definitely get the off-road model.
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