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Old 09-26-2020, 08:31 PM   #1
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Hitch and brake controller for 2021 Bambi 16rb

Getting a 2021 Bambi 16rb in November, but I am a total towing newbie. Planning to use a Highlander XLE (5000 towing capacity) as TV. Any recommendations on hitch? Is it ok to use a wireless brake controller?
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:00 PM   #2
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Where do you plan to buy this setup? If you don’t have confidence in their recommendations, you should go elsewhere. They should be willing to test and demonstrate the setup.
Many forum members are happy with their Bluetooth controllers - check their comments. Given the relative sizes of your trailer and tow vehicle, you want something reliable.
You can expect all kinds of vehement and sometimes contradictory responses from the towing gurus at this point.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thanks!

Not sure where I will buy. Trying to get informed beforehand. Do I need anti-sway and weight distribution?

As for the Bluetooth controller, any recommendations on reliable ones?
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:34 AM   #4
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Your setup is smaller and should be relatively stress free. If you want a preview of the possible concerns, check the thread “smallest suv with towing capacity “ started by Imdakine1.
Your learning curve will include planning in traffic (formerly called defensive driving), mountain diving, and backing. Lots of info on this forum about each.
I personally would not tow any RV trailer without WD and sway control. Keeping the hitch weight in the correct range and not driving too fast help, but having a lighter, shorter WB vehicle increase the need for sway control.
I’ve never seen a post about a wireless brake controller that “quit”, and established companies are offering them, so I would say it is an option. Keep your TV brakes up to snuff.
Welcome to the wonderful world of RV travel!
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:31 AM   #5
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Hitch and brake controller for 2021 Bambi 16rb

I use the Curt echo brake controller, due to flexibility of using it with different trailers with electrical brakes and I have 4 vehicles (Freightliner M-60, Sprinter van, Avalanche, & Benz GLE-350). The Avalance is my favorite for my 19' due to ease of RV cargo access. If you loose connectivity, the last profile is saved. In the damp Pacific NorthWest I strongly recommend carrying a can of electronic cleaner too. This is important for TV & AS light or bluetooth 7 pin connectivity in wet weather.



Last week I was at Port Worden on the Olympic Pennisula in damp high wind and trailer lights were established, however, a dampness issue was present at the 7 pin connector at TV to Curt. I first sprayed WD-40 but the water displacement was inadequate and failed to remedy connectivity. Next I sprayed the electronic cleaner and it immediately solved the issue. The next day I had o connectivity again and sprayed all male & female 7 pin plug connections and connectivity re-established.

https://www.amazon.com/CRC-05103-Ele...G9QYC2PBD6SKPH
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GetawA-S View Post
Where do you plan to buy this setup? If you donít have confidence in their recommendations, you should go elsewhere. They should be willing to test and demonstrate the setup.
Testing and demonstrating may be an impossibility. If that is a prerequisite to purchase, I'd recommend not purchasing. You do know there's a pandemic, and most states do not allow what you are suggesting, right?
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:24 PM   #7
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Congrats on the Bambi, and welcome aboard.

For the time and effort to install a hard wired brake controller, I would look into that.

I do love tech gadgets but when it comes to brakes flaking out, it's worth the trouble to run a hard wired controller to your 7 pin connector. You are going to be there anyway wiring up the rest of the pins for lights etc... You may have a this prewired and if so, this would make adding a hard wired brake controller straight forward. Does your Highlander come prewired?

When we got our Honda, it came with a prewire to the 7 pin connector so it made adding a brake controller straight forward. In our New Beetle, I had a to run wires from the controller to the 7 pin connector. A bit of work but you only have to do it once.

I think back to when we had a fish tailing situation while on windy highway and I was able to reach down to my controller and apply the trailer brakes to straighten things out. I wouldn't want to be messing around with my iPhone trying to connect to my trailer brakes while attempting to survive!

A WDH will be a very nice addition to keep the rear of the Highlander more level with the front. Without it, you could see 2 or 3" of rear sag which will point your headlights into the sky. Most of these come with some sort of sway control built in to their design. Your hitch weight will probably come in at about 500 lbs and probably more if you drive around with water in the tank. This will be felt on the rear of your SUV without weight distribution.
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:05 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the tips.

I will look into options for brake controller. My Highlander already has a 7-pin connector installed. I like the curt echo as it should be just plug and play, but will consider wired options.

As for hitch, from what I have read here on other threads the Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch seems like a good option for my setup. Any views on this?
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:36 PM   #9
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Overlander63, I’m puzzled by your reaction. My wife and I bought a trailer and then two months later had a soft start installed at the local shop, in the age of coronavirus, in Florida... You wear your mask and practice good hygiene.
Gmca has his TV and knows what his trailer will be... any business that is willing to take a thousand bucks or more of his money should be willing to propose an appropriate setup, and then level the WD and verify the brakes are being activated after installation. Safely.
With our latest trailer, I transferred the Equal-I-zer and verified brake operation in the dealet’s lot. Would I have had the confidence to do all that on my first purchase? No, but the installer cared enough about the customer to make sure I was good to go. That’s what I was trying to get across to gmca.
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GetawA-S View Post
Overlander63, I’m puzzled by your reaction. My wife and I bought a trailer and then two months later had a soft start installed at the local shop, in the age of coronavirus, in Florida... You wear your mask and practice good hygiene.
Gmca has his TV and knows what his trailer will be... any business that is willing to take a thousand bucks or more of his money should be willing to propose an appropriate setup, and then level the WD and verify the brakes are being activated after installation. Safely.
With the latest trailer, I transferred the Equal-I-zer and verified brake operation in the dealet’s lot. Would I have had the confidence to do all that on my first purchase? No, but the installer cared enough about the customer to make sure I was good to go. That’s what I was trying to get across to gmca.
I guess I misunderstood the statement. In OUR state, we are very specifically not allowed in the customer's vehicle for any reason whatsoever if the customer is also in the vehicle. A test drive would be impossible under those conditions. And no test drives have been performed since our governor issued that executive order in April.
If you feel this executive order is unfair, feel free to write our governor, Roy Cooper:
North Carolina Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:12 PM   #11
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Overlander 63. Understood. We are living in NC currently, but for our situation, the requirements are not a hardship. Hang in there.
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:38 PM   #12
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Thanks all. I have read the Andersen hitch is a relatively easy install. If that is the case, I would probably do it myself as I am a hands on person and Covid restrictions are pretty strict in CA.

Is the Andersen hitch a good choice? It is rated as 14,000 GTVR for a ball size of 2 5/16”. Isn’t that overkill for the Bambi 16?
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:12 PM   #13
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The Andersen is an excellent choice. The Hensley Cub is the ultimate but pricey option and the EAZ Lift Elite with addition of sway control is also good. There are other good options as well. The Andersen is a little different than most as it uses chains and neoprene compression springs for tension and a neoprene compression grommet for sway control so one size fits all.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:28 PM   #14
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Autobrake, electronic brake controller is what I got for my Globtrotter 23í FBT , itís installed on the RV so messing up your TV, comes with a remote to fine tune the braking.
Blue ox Swaypro is the hitch I use , weight distribution as well as sway control. If you have a heavier RV to tow in future, the same hitch with two bars with higher rating will do the job.
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Old 09-28-2020, 02:50 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone. I read some more and am leaning towards the Andersen hitch. At 160 pounds the Hensley will add a lot to my tongue weight. The Andersen weights only 60 pounds.

I saw that the Andersen is incompatible with Atwood couplers. I went and checked on the parts manual of the 2021 Bambi and saw that it comes with a Demco coupler, which I presume would be fine.
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Old 09-28-2020, 03:47 PM   #16
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Yeah Domenic bought Atwood a few yeas ago and decided the 1950's Marvel design needed to go. They discontinued it in 2019. For those with the Atwood 88xxx you can make it work with a couple of simple tweaks.

FYI the 100 lb penalty for the Hensley is not bad when you figure in the the overwhelming positives, but if you're the kind of driver that doesn't mind a little side to side movement, the Hensley can be overkill.
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Old 09-29-2020, 09:37 AM   #17
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Thanks Brian.

The highlander has a hitch weight limit of 500. The Bambi 16 tongue weight is 430. Wouldnít the Hensley cub put me above the limit? I understand some weight will be distributed, but still...

As for the Andersen I have read a lot of good reviews here on its anti sway and anti bounce properties. All that while still keeping me below my limit tongue weight as it only weights 60 pounds.

Would you mind expanding on what you think are the overwhelming positives of the Hensley?
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Old 09-29-2020, 02:55 PM   #18
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The Cub Is a bit heavy relative to the Andersen and others and is a consideration to manage. The max hitch weight is paired with the max trailer weight of 5000. As trailer weight is reduced the real allowable hitch weight rises. Since you will be at 3500 max trailer weight, you can go to 650 with no trouble. The issue is cornering stability when pulling near the max weight limit.

The cub is superior for sway control due to its design it will only have loss of sway performance on sharp curves on steep downgrades and even there it will still be excellent. If you are a white knuckle driver who gets in a small tizzy with any sideways movement of the vehicle, the Cub is the hitch to use. If you are more calm and small jogs don't bother you, the Andersen will keep you safe while permitting a little excess movement. The Cub is easy to use, once you learn how to back into it, and the independent weight distribution with the nice jacks are a plus for usability. those are the advantages. Is it worth it? IDK you will have to decide that but it is a very safe hitch.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:59 AM   #19
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GMCA, See my post here on another forum. Let me know where you end up with your hitch and controller. I will do the same.



Thanks to others for your posts here. Bob
----------------------------------------------------------


WOW, for a "newbe" and reading all the posts on Hitches and all the recommendations and all the negatives Posted, leaves my head spinning.


Here are my facts.
2021 16' Caravel (coming in end of Nov)
4,300 lb GVWR / Dry weight 3,500 / 490 lb hitch weight


TV 2020 Jeep Gladiator / Max tow 6,000 lbs / Max hitch 600 lbs


Trailer is coming from South Land RV near Atlanta. A 5 rivet dealer


The only hitch they install is a Equalizer. They are talking about a 6,000 lb model with 600 lb arms. (is that the correct model I should use ?)



So, are there any members that are towing a 16' Bambi or Caravel with the Equalizer hitch. With South Land only installing the Equalizer and a large Airstream dealer, I would think there must be some good info from these owners.


Thanks so much for your help, Bob
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:15 AM   #20
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I rarely weigh in on these matters, but look into the Redarc electronic controller. The actual controller can be mounted ANYWHERE at ANY angle as long as it is a solid mount. I secured mine inside the left kick panel, That means no knee bang. The controller adjuster and actuator can go anywhere. I installed mine in a “blind” plug on the left side of the lower dash on my first Sequoia, just transferred it to my replacement Sequoia.
https://redarcelectronics.com/produc...ake-controller
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