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Old 03-04-2007, 11:16 AM   #1
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San Diego , California
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Question Newcomer Looking for Advice

Hello Airsteamers! My wife & I are looking to buy our first trailer & we are thinking of getting a newer model 16' or 19' Bambi. We have no human kids, just one large Rottweiler & would prefer a 19 footer for the extra space. But, I am not sure how our vehicle will tow it. We have a 2002 Toyota 4runner V6 4WD which has a maximum gross trailer weight rating of 5,000lbs.

How would our 4runner do pulling a 19 foot trailer with a GVWR of 4,500lbs? Will it be a total dog going up hills, etc...? Are we better off getting the 16 footer (GVWR 3,500lbs)? In the future, I plan on getting a truck that will pull better.

Your experienced advice is greatly appreciated! Hope to see you on the road real soon!
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:35 PM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hello kbinder -- and welcome to the Forums! A 6-cylinder anything will about max out on a large popup camper. It might be a different story if you had the 8. Without doing the numbers I don't think you'll get a lot of support here for towing either Airstream.

You will experience immediate depreciation when you buy an Airstream. To buy a 16' and later upgrade your tow vehicle would lead you to consider upgrading your Airstream. Two times the depreciation leads to the frequent suggestion here of aiming for the most trailer you can pull and afford. In this case I would say find a tow vehicle capable of handling the Airstream and buy the 19'. Try for a used Tundra? The 16' is cute and the bed may be somewhat more accommodating for people approaching 6' in height. The same bed is in the 20' Safari. Corner beds in the 8' wide Airstreams (22' and below) need to be proven as suitable for two people by laying in them at a dealer. The floor space between the two just can't be compared -- 16-footer is small.

We do have a 70# Airedale and she's usually out of the way -- loves having her bed under the dinette!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 03-04-2007, 01:10 PM   #3
Desert Fox
1985 31' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 250
Smile Tow vehicle

Get rid of the Toyota 6 cyl. and get a 3/4 ton Chev.,Ford or Dodge. You will need extra power for the hills. Also get a bigger trailer. Get a 19 foot AS unles you are over 6 feet tall. Our 1985 31 Foot has two beds and they are to short for me becouse I am 6.4" But it is better than one bed where one person has to climb over the other in the middle of the night.
Regards from Russell in Windy Tucson Az.
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Old 03-04-2007, 02:58 PM   #4
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2006 16' International CCD
New York , New York
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 268
Three different answers...

1. If for the forseeable future you are wedded to your 4runner the 19' Bambi is just too heavy. Even the 16' Bambi will be something of a stretch if you plan on crossing the Rockies.

2. There are a number of good threads in the Bambi subforums that discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the 16'er vs the 19'er. Basically, the 16'er is a better 'Bed and Breakfast' but too small if you expect to spend your days in the trailer. I would also suggest taking a look at the new 20' Safaris which have the 'good' bed under the panoramic window but also have a lot of floorspace. After you read and look...

3. Pick the trailer you want then figure out your tow vehicle from there. If you like the 16'er best then great. After towing with the 4runner for a while you may later decide to upgrade your tow vehicle (or not). But if you really like the 19'er or 20'er better than its time to trade in your 4runner.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:21 PM   #5
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1965 17' Caravel
Benicia , California
Join Date: Mar 2005
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My 17' Caravel is maybe 2800 lbs loaded, when I pulled it with my '94 4runner (3.0 liter engine) It was OK on flat ground, but slow up the hills or driving into a headwind. But I survived for a year or so, then switched to a 2006 4runner with the 4.0 liter engine. Much better. On both vehicles, gas mileage drops to about 12-14 mpg, because the engine is working hard to tow.

I would guess that your 4runner could handle the 16', but not the 19'

There is lots of information on this forum about towing...
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:04 PM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,742

I bought a 22 CCD in 05 - fulltiming. Got the Rabbi's uncle's deal on a 25' 06 Safari FB SE. This year I saw the 27' Safari FB SE... and have resisted temptation (so far).

Airstreaming - i.e. "Aluminitis" is catching. Go to a rally, tour a bunch of Airstreams or go to the factory and get to walk through some under construction (Friday is best as production may end early and the factory is wide open.).

Find an Airstream you can really live with, then get the tow vehicle. With luck you'll have the Airstream for 25 years. Tow vehicles come and go.


Paula Ford
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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