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Old 02-24-2006, 07:40 AM   #1
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2006 19' International CCD
Calgary , Alberta
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Question ok, now I'm confused...

I should have known not to do more research after purchasing, but I did. Now i'm rattled. So here's my questions.

I have a new Bambi CCD 19' coming in a couple months. I am planning on towing it with my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder LE (rated to 6000lbs towing).

all of the research I have done and people I have talked to say that I can adequately and comfortably tow this trailer and I am absolutely planning on towing with an anti-sway and WD hitch. Some threads on this board though say otherwise without compromising safety.

I need specific opinions to my situation with the 19' and the Pathfinder, just muddy the water

Here are my numbers:

Curb weight LE
2210 kg (4872 lbs)
2850 mm (112.2 in.)
Payload capacity LE 512 kg (1129 lbs)
Engine4.0-litre V6, DOHC, 24 valvesHorsepower270 @ 5600 rpmTorque (lb-ft)291 @ 4000 rpm
Axle ratio: 3.13

19' Bambi

Length: 19'2"
UBW: 3575 (+200ish with my options)
GVWR: 4300
Tongue Weight: 510

So, based on those numbers, it appears that with an anti-sway hitch I should be just fine and I definitely don't plan on breaking any land speed records with the trailer in tow.

I've read countless discussions on the Hensley Arrow at 3000.00 vs. the Equal-i-zer hitch at 800.00. Most of the Hensley owners talk about how amazing they're hitch is and how it is a "cheap insurance" comparative to the cost of the AS and TV. The Equalizer people seem to have the same sentiment about their setups but view it as relatively cheap but extremely effective technology.

The end result of both technologies seem to have the same result in performance and satisfaction. So I am having difficulty buying a Hensley due to the, perhaps unnecessary cost of it but at the same time having difficulty with purchasing the Equalizer because it's so much less expensive than the Hensley (like finding the cheapest brain surgeon). The simple answer would be "just buy the best". I ask why? If the end result is the same?

Anyone who made it all the way through this ramble, thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.


edit: this is not in any way meant to be a Hensley vs. Equal-i-zer discussion, I'm looking for feedback directly related to my equation (pathfinder and 19' Bambi).


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Old 02-24-2006, 07:52 AM   #2
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2003 25' Safari
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I towed my Safari 25 with a Ford Explorer (V8) and Equal-i-zer brand hitch for 3 years without trouble. Your trailer is smaller, well withing the published rating for your tow vehicle. You will be fine with the Equal-i-zer or Reese Dual-Cam. Your V6 and 3.13 axle ratio will be very slow going in the mountains, unless different transmission gear ratios help make up for the 3.13?

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Old 02-24-2006, 07:57 AM   #3
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Well you are going to get lots of opinion on the hitch issue, none of which is definitive. It's a matter of how deep your pockets are and what level of comfort you can live with. I probably would agree that a Hensley is probably the best hitch out there. I don't own one though. I have an Equal-i-zer and based on my experience with it, its performance has been flawless.

Now if I was a full timer I might consider the Hensley, but for a person who camps once or twice a month from April-October, I'm willing to live with less than the "ultimate" hitch.

Practice defensive driving, don't drive too fast for conditions, and keep in mind that towing a trailer requires you to drive differently than driving solo. Keep those things in mind and you will be just fine with an Equal-i-zer.


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Old 02-24-2006, 08:32 AM   #4
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1997 30' Excella
Waddell , Arizona
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Towing a Bambi

I used to own a 99 Bambi. Started out with a 96 Ford Ranger Supercab pickup with a 4.0L/160 HP V6 (see my photos). The Ranger had enough power even in the mountains. In the end I upgraded to a 2000 Chevy 1500 Silverado. The Silverado had much more power (295 HP) and since it weighed more than the Ford seemed to "handle" the trailer much better.

With an adaquate hitch (I used a Reese 600 lb hitch with a Dual Cam sway control) you will have no problems with your combination. I could VIOLENTLY toss my Bambi from side to side and it would straighten out immediatly. I would NEVER consider doing that with my current rig.
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Waddell, AZ
1999 19' Bambi (SOLD)
1997 30' Excella (SOLD)
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Old 02-24-2006, 08:45 AM   #5
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great replies

thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. Keep it coming.

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Old 02-24-2006, 08:57 AM   #6
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I think hitch selection is the hardest thing to get a concrete decision on around here. Some people will only be happy with the ultimate safest hitch no matter the cost and the biggest most powerful tow vehicle. I got a lot of that when I was asking questions when I first bought my trailer. I got a lot of advice that just didn't apply. Remember, just like me, you're pulling the smallest airstream out there (though mine is lighter, being vintage). Just stay within your weight limits, get a good hitch setup with anti-sway and WD, get a good brake controller (that makes a big difference) and drive safely and enjoy.

BTW, I have heard a lot of good things about the Equalizer. I wouldn't let price turn you off on that. I wanted one but couldn't find one locally. I ended up going with a EZlift which is about as old-tech as you can get, but it has worked fine for us for three seasons now (and it cost a LOT less than an Equalizer).

So use common sense, and don't let the debate worry you too much. Enjoy your new trailer!

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:02 AM   #7
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I tow a 2002 25 ft Safari SS with a 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Reese Dual Cam and 800# bars. After changing the Pmetric, passenger car tires to Goodrich light truck tires (LT), it tows like a dream. With the soft sidewalls on the original tires, it was very squirley. Take a look at the tires on your rig. If they are passenger car tires (Pxxx), you might want to invest in light truck tires for improved stability.
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jimmickle
I tow a 2002 25 ft Safari SS with a 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Reese Dual Cam and 800# bars. After changing the Pmetric, passenger car tires to Goodrich light truck tires (LT), it tows like a dream. With the soft sidewalls on the original tires, it was very squirley. Take a look at the tires on your rig. If they are passenger car tires (Pxxx), you might want to invest in light truck tires for improved stability.
I have pretty good ones on there:
P265/65R17 General GrabberTM all-season tires

they seem to have really good reviews on them, and they sure make me look "fast".

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:09 AM   #9
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get the dual cam. WAY cheaper, and arguably every bit as good as the others...especially considering YOUR specific situation.

"A hensley is_____" fill the blank with anything you want, it won't be absolute. It will always depend on a particular individual's situation and perspective. "cheap insurance". well, not to me. to me, it is extremely expensive and wastefull (because its unnecessary) insurance. This is the perspective of someone with an older, but adequate TV and an even older still, yet not very big or heavy trailer. They are both thoroughly...lets say, "depreciated".

now, someone with a new, 34-footer, valued at $80,000 and an equally "un-depreciated" tow vehicle will have a different view.

IMO: get a dual cam. It'll be more than adequate. (I have one, and haven't felt even the tiniest hint of sway since I've had it). Even with your lighter-weight TV, the trailer still isnt' all that heavy, nor is it very long. Length=leverage, a key ingredient to this problem. I doubt there is enough of it there to cause a serious problem, in and of itself. sure, drive like an idiot, and all bets are off; I'm just saying that this 19-footer isn't likely to "push you all over the road", so to speak. now, a 9 or 10,000 lb trailer, with a 30 foot lever arm vs. a 5 or 6000lb tow might come to a different conclusion.
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Old 02-24-2006, 10:49 AM   #10
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Meridian , Idaho
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Having worked at a dealership I've had the opportunity to tow with several different hitches, including Eaz Lift, Equal-i-zer, and Hensley.
My towing experience dates back to the late 60's when I began with a Bock hitch and a Plymouth towing 26' of SOB.
Back then it was pretty much understood that towing was a whole new driving experience and you needed trainging to know how to do it and how to react to different situations. You either learned it on your own or someone showed you how.

In a fairly short time you learned to anticipate passing vehicles, learned to turn corners wider and watched the terrain and how the wind was blowing. One important lesson was the use of the brake controller's manual override to stop a sway from getting out of control.

More recently hitch engineers have made design changes that significantly reduced the learning curve for towing.
Now there are hitches out there that all but eliminate sway conditions from developing.
But like many things in life, to get more you pay more and you often gain weight as well.

The Hensley hitch does exactly what they say it will. Properly setup it tows like your on rails. But, it weights 5X as much right on the hitch and until you learn the hookup secrets will drive you crazy getting hitched up to go.

The Equal-i-zer hitch weight is nearly the same as an Eaz Lift but with an updated design.
The tradition weight distributing hitches, Reese, Eaz Lift, Drawtite etc. use chains at the back ends of the spring bars and a loose swivel connection at the forward end of the bar. The Equal-i-zer design changes those two loose connections to a more restrictive design with the idea of sharply reducing motions at points that can result in a sway condition developing.
The effect under tow is remarkably similar to the Hensley.

I have several thousand miles of towing with all of the hitches I mentioned and my hitch of choice is the Equal-i-zer.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:33 PM   #11
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Input appreciated!

Thank You Charlie for your input about the various hitch choices. I too have an Equal-iz-er hitch and love it. Easy to hook up, pulls great, easy to unhitch. Great customer support when I called with questions. Sign me up as a fan of Equal-iz-er. My 2 cents.

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Old 02-24-2006, 02:11 PM   #12
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great info

thanks for the info. Charlie great of you to chime in with experience on all 3 products.

Interesting read here on the differences between the dual cam (Reese) system and the equalizer. Definitely some good reading for the insomniac:

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:08 PM   #13
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Manchaca , Texas
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I too have been pondering the best choice for 2 years.

I have a 25A Safari with a EAZ-Lift hitch and friction sway control - while the sway control has served me well - it is at the bottom of the pile & it disturbs me that I should remove it when it is raining or traction is less than ideal.

I really see little difference regarding the traction issue except that it is easy to remove my sway control and on the others it is either impossible or not so easy.

There is no objective source of information on these products - a leap of faith is required. I have looked hard at the Equalizer hitch as well as the Reese Dual Cam unit. I have read hundreds of opinions on forums & know people who use both. All said & done - I believe the Reese is the superior product. It is somewhat proactive in a post sway event recovering to a normal configuration.

Until recently - I was leaning towards the Equalizer unit - but feel the Reese with the Dual Cam unit is the superior choice. Cost is not a factor in this specific choice.

Here is a place that is cheaper than many

There are likely cheaper places - or some that may have more desirable sales tax and shipping policies that apply to you. Due to the weight, shipping costs may be a significant issue. This one is better than average.

Most people should be able to install these themselves - just read the instructions 10 times before starting to avoid misconceptions.
WBCCI 1845
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:38 PM   #14
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I used a Reese Dual Cam set up on my 19' 2004 Bambi. Worked like a charm. Never knew the trailer was behind me. There was absolutly no sway when the 18 wheelers blew past me on the interstate. Purchased a 25' 2005 Safari from an individual and he gave me an Equal-i-zer unit with the trailer. This unit also works like a charm. I don't think you can go wrong with either product for the Bambi. My advise is to look down the road a few years. You may out grow the Bambi and get a larger trailer. Be sure you get what you want the first time. A Hensley for a Bambi is probably over-kill.

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:59 PM   #15
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Hi, congrat's on your new bambi!! How exciting. My wife and I bought our first AS several years back, it is a 22' safari. We purchsed the equalizer hitch with 800 lb. bars and we also purchased the friction sway bar. The combination of the two is remarkable. Our tow vehicle was a Jeep Cherokee 4.0 litter. Don't laugh, that Jeep does great---in the mid west that is. I pulled it down into Arkansas and into the boston "mountains" and while it labored mightily, the 4.0 did its job. I found that it has to work very hard though even on the interstate. We only get 10 mpg when towing, so you can imagine how hard the engine is haveing to work. Not to mention the transmition. I had to put an external cooler on, and even then we can't run the AC in the summer days (mornings and evenings ok). Another problem is that you can be in trouble if you have to get evasive because of your lack of weight. We had a VERY near miss where we crested a hill on a single lane hy. without a shoulder and the traffic was at a stop. I slammed on the breaks, and even though I had my breaks set a little stiff because of the light tow vehicle, we didnt stop in time. At the last minute I swerved left heading for a field and as I went I saw that there was no oncoming traffic . I stayed in the oncoming traffic lane slowing down and went around the problem area with my horn held on and went up about 1/2 mile where the shoulder returned and pulled off to go change my pants . While sitting there thanking God for his protection, my friends who were following us in their van pulled up bringing us the hubcap that flew off as we swerved to miss the back of the car in front of us. They couldnt believe that the AS didnt roll. They said we went onto 1 wheel. The lady we almost hit came up to us and told us that she knew when she went over the hill that there was no way I was going to beable to stop in time. She was waiting for the impact. She happened to hear a song on our radio while talking to us and said she had been listening to the same station. It happened to be on a christian station. We thought that was cool. Someone was definately watching out for us!!! ! The point to me sharing this is to let you be aware of the hazards. You dont outweigh your tow vehicle so when it comes to it you have more potential for problems. Let alone the HARD wear on your vehicle.(suspension, engine, tranni, and breaks.) Also, with that hard of work expect to start to see some fluid leaks after several longer trips. I highly recomend the equalizer and friction sway bar. The lighter vehicle coupled with the smaller wheel base make the sway bar a must! We now pull with a Silverado 1/2 ton and love the upgrade. My wife still drives the jeep, but I have some oil lines to replace . We feel that the only reason the AS didnt roll was because of the equalizer and sway bar combo. It kept the trailor in control and I hardly knew it was there during the evasive driving. These AS trailors are amazing!! Congrats again and happy camping. Chris
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Old 02-25-2006, 07:43 AM   #16
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Hey Brad -- Congratulations! You gotta make the leap and there's nothing but adventure ahead.

The V-6 and rear axle have been discussed. You'll probably find plenty of power for freeway driving. Altitude and normal aspiration (no turbo) will slow you down some but you'll get there.

A downside to the Hensley is about 200# weight all at the front of the trailer. Most of this would add to the tongue weight. You should try to keep tongue weight + passengers/gear in the Pathfinder at or below your 512kg payload. It's best to load the LP tanks (dealer will probably do that anyway) and weigh tongue or hitch weight yourself. The manual will have a diagram how to do this with a board and bathroom scale. Somebody once posted the diagram in the forums but darned if I can find it. Then you can pack accordingly -- probably want to have more payload in the trailer to avoid weight in the Pathfinder.

Best wishes -- and keep us posted on destinations in western Canada!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 02-25-2006, 11:21 AM   #17
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With the two Airstreams we've purchased our agreements with the seller specified, "ready to go down the road". I.E. the the dealer installed a brake controller and an anti-sway hitch, and anything else necessary to drive away fully outfitted. So we've never had to fret over after sale items. The hitches installed both were both Equal-iz-ers. Both trailers have always pulled perfectly. The only problem with Equal-iz-ers is the lock pins will bend out of shape with extremely tight turns or lots of travel over bad roads. However, Equal-iz-er customer service has shipped us replacements twice via overnight mail.
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:36 PM   #18
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I may be one of the few here who have used both products, the Reese dual-cam sway control for over 10 years and the Equal-i-zer for the last two. As I have noted in other threads before, you can't go wrong having either.

From a towing standpoint I have noticed no appreciable difference in handling or the stability of the trailer. I do like the fact that the Equal-i-zer eliminates dealing with the chains and when backing into a tight space, where the tow vehicle ends up at an extreme angle, the Equal-i-zer's bars can be easily removed, while in the same angle, the Reese's bars were near impossible to remove.

Right now if given a choice to do it all over again I would still go with the Equal-i-zer.

Jack Canavera
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Old 02-25-2006, 07:11 PM   #19
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Not to worry

I have am pulling an ’06 19ft Bambi with an ’05 Jeep Ltd 4.7L V8 which. My max Gross Trailer Weight (rated) is 6500 which is just a bit more than your Nissan. I may have a bit more power than your Nissan but it should be comparable. I am using a Blue-Ox Sway-Pro hitch which combines friction sway resistance with a self centering spring bar system. The self centering system is in many respects similar to the so called “reese cam” system. It creates a situation in which the components of the system (the “spring bars” that provide weight transfer or leveling) “want” or have a "tendency” to return to a position straight behind the tow vehicle.

I have towed trailers since the 60’s (in fact the 50’s if you include high school FFA projects), and the Airstream 19ft Safari is the most stable trailer I have ever towed. Nonetheless I am convinced that the Blue Ox hitch adds that extra measure of security that is necessary.
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Old 02-26-2006, 07:26 PM   #20
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thanks for the input

We are going to go with the Equalizer, now having seen one in person. Seems easier and cleaner that the others and it appears that the towing experience is good for all of the models listed.

I'm still slightly apprehensive about the performance of my Pathfinder as we live at the base of the Rockies, so mountain travel is a must. We'll have to see how it does, 270HP should be enough and I don't need to do 75mph everywhere.

we'll report down the road!

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