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-   -   16' Bambi: What to tow it with? (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f295/16-bambi-what-to-tow-it-with-114566.html)

wrlwnd 01-01-2014 05:15 PM

16' Bambi: What to tow it with?
 
HELP! We just bought a 16' Bambi and it has sat in the driveway now without moving 1" for over 4 months and no hope in sight. We have a BMW X3 that should tow it fine, but....BMW says you can't use a weight distribution anit-sway system; the Bambi dealer says don't tow without it. I installed a tow package on the X3. Dealer told me that included trailer brake control...not true! So now I've bought a wireless trailer brake control box. Everything we do goes round and round and everyone we talk to tells us something different. DOES ANYONE TOW A 16' BAMBI WITH AN X3? From reading, I've learned a Rav and 4 Runner will. They must not have a unibody frame, but must have a solid frame? DOES ANYONE TOW WITHOUT THE ANTI-SWAY WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION? HAS ANYONE USED A WIRELESS BRAKE CONTROL? I don't know what to do! I'm looking at Tacomas and Ford 150s now but that expense was not factored in when I bought the Bambi. We're about ready to throw in the towel, forget the whole thing, and sell it. Any insight...anyone?:bb:

blmitch5 01-01-2014 05:53 PM

Before you throw in the towel I'd call Andy Thompson at CamAm in Canada. We tow with a Touareg and use WD system with a 19' Bambi so I yah ink there may be hope. Give him a call or email and I bet he can help you out.
http://www.canamrv.ca/towing/

spenfolder 01-01-2014 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blmitch5 (Post 1398334)
Before you throw in the towel I'd call Andy Thompson at CamAm in Canada. We tow with a Touareg and use WD system with a 19' Bambi so I yah ink there may be hope. Give him a call or email and I bet he can help you out.
Can-Am RV Centre | Your Towing Experts

wrlwnd,

I agree... Don't give up. Contact Andy. He can give you some great advice, and he is the nicest guy. I tow my 16' with a 2006 Jeep Liberty diesel. It's a great paring and I could not be happier. I don't think the Liberty is any bigger than the X3. I have the factory tow package and I added a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller (not wireless). I also use a weight distribution set up.

It's totally doable and it would be a shame if you did not get your Bambi out there on the road.

Stan
Salt Lake City

wrlwnd 01-01-2014 06:27 PM

Thank you both for the encouragement! The couple we bought it from had a Jeep, too, but I don't know which one. I sure didn't anticipate all these difficulties and expenses. I'll research it more. Was hoping someone knew something about the BMW. I will call Andy first thing in the morning. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

jcl 01-01-2014 06:44 PM

I have never towed an Airstream with a BMW, but I have towed other trailers regularly with a previous X5 and our current X3. The X3 performed very well towing. Ours is rated for 3500 lbs/350 lbs tongue weight with the OE hitch. I don't have a brake controller.

I would have no hesitation towing the Bambi with its published 3500 gvw. I would weigh the trailer and see what it actually weighs and what the actual tongue weight is. I would look to Andy for a hitch recommendation. I would use weight distribution and sway control on the X3. BMW engineers in Germany simply don't know anything about either one so stay away from the topic.

Jeff

blmitch5 01-01-2014 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrlwnd (Post 1398351)
Thank you both for the encouragement! The couple we bought it from had a Jeep, too, but I don't know which one. I sure didn't anticipate all these difficulties and expenses. I'll research it more. Was hoping someone knew something about the BMW. I will call Andy first thing in the morning. THANK YOU SO MUCH!


You should be fine and he will help you out on what to buy and how to instal it. I started with a Acura MDX and he helped me with that and then helped me choose the correct set up for the VW Touareg, without every buying a thing from him. Cam Am is an excellent resource. Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.

andreasduess 01-01-2014 09:14 PM

Don't be discouraged by the "don't use weight distribution" line. For historical and trade protection reasons, WD hitches are illegal in most of Europe and, as a result, poorly understood. The official line is often not to install them.

Many members of this forum have chosen to ignore that advice, so far nobody has posted any negative experiences. As others have said, give Andy a call. He set up my rig and and I could not be happier. This time of year is a good one to call as things tend to be quieter up here in Canada.

CanAm's number is 1-866-CAN-AM-RV (1-866-226-2678)

robert claus 01-01-2014 09:31 PM

You should be fine with the X3 and the 16' Bambi, just by adding a brake controller. The X3 at about 4000# and the Bambi at 3500# are close to the combo that I have. I've never used a WD set up or sway controller, and have never felt that I've needed it even under the worst conditions or situation that I've encountered. That said, if Andy Thompson recommends it for your TV, then there is a reason. If I was to consider a WD set up, it would be the Anderson, as they are light and have sway control integrated.

wrlwnd 01-02-2014 09:25 AM

I really appreciate all the encouragement! This has been such a deflating experience! I just spoke with Andy and he said I CAN tow with the X3 so we're not buying that truck today, thank God! I'm sending him photos of everything and then he'll give me all the exact details, which I will post here. Sounds like we'll have to switch out the BMW hitch for an aftermarket and install the wireless brake controller but then we should be good to go. Again, thanks, and I'll keep you all advised of what I learn. Andy is a God sent!

blmitch5 01-02-2014 09:30 AM

I'm very happy for you! If there is a will there is a way and we all are excited to hear the great news.

AWCHIEF 01-02-2014 09:59 AM

Wrlwnd, I for one would like to hear how the wireless brake controller works out.

I spotted a red X3 with Texas plates towing what looked like a vintage about 20 footer Airstream on I10 east bound yesterday. It looked like a nice combination. I could not tell what sort of WD they were using but everything looked nicely level and well behaved.

Road Ruler 01-02-2014 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrlwnd (Post 1398519)
I really appreciate all the encouragement! This has been such a deflating experience! I just spoke with Andy and he said I CAN tow with the X3 so we're not buying that truck today, thank God! I'm sending him photos of everything and then he'll give me all the exact details, which I will post here. Sounds like we'll have to switch out the BMW hitch for an aftermarket and install the wireless brake controller but then we should be good to go. Again, thanks, and I'll keep you all advised of what I learn. Andy is a God sent!

Sounds good. I really like the look and the performance of the X3's. We are towing a 23' with a combo set up by Andy and our vehicle is 700lbs lighter than the X3. Sounds like your set up should work really well. Congrats

aceflys 01-02-2014 11:26 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I have been thinking about trading up to a X3 or X5 to tow my 66 Caravel. I've been towing it with my 09 Grand Caravan. I'm not using a WD hitch. The van has done a good job. I'm getting 14 to 17 mpg towing. I got my wife a 530xi and now I have the bug to get my own BMW. I'll be waiting to see how your X3 does with your Bambi.

Ace in PA


wrlwnd 01-03-2014 09:10 AM

I sent Andy photos of the X3 and trailer. It turns out the BMW hitch BMW installed is of no use to us and the WD for the Bambi that it came with is too stiff and will bend the hitch so we're back to square zero. He's given up instructions on what to replace both with and then it should be fine. Lots of money spent to no avail at this point, but it's still less expensive to redo everything now than to buy a new truck! Then we'll have the wireless brake controller installed and we should be good to go eventually! From everyone I've spoken to, they work extremely well. The unit is attached to the trailer with 4 screws and transmits to a box (you don't have to mount) in your console so when not towing you can put the box in the glove box. It's expensive ($380) but less expensive then wiring the vehicle. So hopefully in a month or two we'll be ready for our maiden voyage and hopefully see you all out there somewhere! And we have a red X3, too, with Oregon plates: WRLWN. If anything new develops, I'll be sure to share here. Thanks again for all the excellent advice and support! I'm excited again!

Road Ruler 01-03-2014 11:11 AM

Nice!.... Be sure to post some pics when you get it all together.:cool:

GP1152 01-03-2014 08:24 PM

A little late to the party but for what it's worth, we had a 16' Bambi and towed it without a WD hitch. Granted, I know we had plenty of towing power but again, even without the WD hitch it towed just fine. No problem at all

John&Vicki 01-03-2014 10:56 PM

Hey Whirlwind....

Greetings from Central Oregon. Glad you got things straigthened out with Andy's wise counsel - he's the man. There is a lot of mis-information out there, including from auto dealers, especially foreign car dealers.

Hope to see you in one of Oregon's beautiful parks.

Poppy

bnanners 01-11-2014 07:53 PM

I am new to the forum and I have a MB GL550 - I haven't found my dream Airstream yet, and seeing your post makes me nervous about buying one and having the added expense of buying a new car. Can our SUV tow a smaller Airstream? I am trying to educate myself about the different models and vintage vs. pre-owned... a lot to cull through! Any advice on this... Thanks!

I will be waiting to hear about your maiden voyage with your Bambi!

andreasduess 01-11-2014 08:20 PM

Your GL550 can tow all but the very largest of trailers, never-mind just a Bambi.

The official towing capacity, without custom work, is already close to 7500lbs, with a payload of 1600lbs.

To put this into perspective, my 34' trailer weighs 6250lbs empty, about 7300lbs ready for camping.

switz 01-11-2014 08:54 PM

When my 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI diesel was built in October of 2006, the trailer brake control wiring was wadded up in the right rear of the car and required a special adapter wire harness. The interior would have had to be removed to get the trailer brake control wiring to the driver's footwell for the control head. In January of 2007, that model then had the brake control wiring brought to the driver footwell.

So, I used the Tekonsha RF Prodigy wireless brake controller to tow the 2013 25FB International Serenity home from the selling dealership and several trips to the CAT scales.

Brake Controllers - Tekonsha

It worked well and did not generate any Hensley hitch "bump" activity when the car braked. Since the CAT scales reported the numbers that the Mercedes front axle was overloaded and the GVW weight was exceeded when the trailer was loaded for camping, the Mercedes reverted back to the daily driver role and a Dodge 2500HD diesel assumed the role of tow vehicle for us using it's built in brake controller.

Because we sometime feel the Hensley hitch "bump" with the Dodge built in brake controller, I am considering reactivation of the Tekonsha RF Prodigy brake controller to solve that issue. The other possibility could be the Direct Link brake controller which is also sold by Airstream.

DirecLink Brake Controller

Good luck in the tow vehicle and trailer brake controller research.


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