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Old 10-19-2007, 11:15 AM   #1
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Wife Wants A Bambi

My wife & I are new to this site but not to the internet (been on it since 1986) or camping which we have done for even more years (had a class C camper of 1970s vintage and are now passing on our 1985 VW camper to our older son). I saw an earlier thread and do not want to set off a similar discussion but I have a question about towing with the Jeep Liberty diesel. We are looking to pick up one and we also like the 19ft Bambi Safari SE. (We just looked at them at a local RV show & my wife ‘really’ likes that trailer, which she somehow now considers ‘hers’ even though we haven’t bought one yet.) While the specs are within the design range it would be at the top of the towing capacity. Also the Airstream site does not give any guidelines about what a loaded trailer weighs. I would expect we would not be carrying much, if any liquids like water to a site but we would have propane and want to store some things in the trailer for travel; food, for instance. We are kayakers (hence the name ‘yakers’ and we would want to take ours along although I expect we would put them on the Liberty rack. But there is a bunch of gear that goes with kayaking although it doesn’t weigh that much. We could shift a certain amount of cargo to the Liberty but we do not want to overload the towing vehicle either. So with a good hitch (which would that be?) and trying to minimize weight in the Bambi, is this a viable combination?

If not, we are going to need some marital advice since my wife really wants the Bambi and I really want the Liberty.
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:40 AM   #2
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First off...Welcome to the FORUMS!

For example...our 19'GlobeTrotter weighs 2890 on paper - keep in mind this does not include any options and is "dry". In actuality, it weighs about 3500-3600 lbs when loaded for a trip - which amounts to 600+ lbs of "stuff" including:
  • (2) full 20 lb propane tanks
  • 20 gal fresh water
  • empty black tank
  • no gray tank
  • no A/C
  • no awning
  • no microwave
  • personal belongings
While your starting point would definately be different with a new trailer and your "options will vary, your "stuff" would probably weigh about the same - not less, we travel pretty light.

Check your weights carefully for both the trailer & the Jeep...add 10-20% then decide. Keep in mind you loose effeciency at altitude (if you plan any mountain travels) and also as the truck ages. We towed with a boderline on paper (which turned out to be undersized in reality) tow vehicle our first couple of was miserable. We had three options - 1) Buy a new TV, 2) Sell the trailer or 3) Jail time - one of us would have killed the other - no amount of martial counseling would have helped and our trailer is too small to bring a counselor along every trip!

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Old 10-19-2007, 12:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by yakers
My wife & I are new to this site but not to the internet (been on it since 1986)

You must know Al Gore!

We "yak" also and to be honest, the gear really adds up. I like having a pickup so I can just toss it all in (or on top). The Liberty is small (not good) and very short wheel base (even worse) for towing. Looks like the Wife will have to go out and find a truck guy...

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Old 10-19-2007, 12:20 PM   #4
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First of all you have to realize that the UBW (unit base weight) number Airstream shows for their Bambi is just a pleasant fantasy - once the trailer actually gets on the dealer's lot loaded with options (like A/C) it will be close to the GVWR minus the weight of water and propane. Then you get to add hitch weight and other trailer essentials before you even get to clothes, food, etc. A 19' Bambi will weigh close to 4500lbs and a 16' Bambi will weigh close to 3500lbs.

Second, keep in mind that the tow capacity rating for a vehicle is for a single driver with no cargo. Adding people and cargo subtracts from the tow rating.

A Jeep Liberty Limited has a tow capacity of 5000lbs.

Could you tow a 19' Bambi? Yes, so long as you get a good W/D hitch, keep it slow, and avoid any mountains. Would you enjoy it? No.

My recommendation if you are attached to the Liberty would be to find a 16' Bambi - if you are lucky you might find a used 16' Safari (they were built through the 2006 model year).

Or if you need to get the 19' Bambi to keep the wife happy there are a bunch of medium size SUVs with tow ratings in the 6000-6500lb range all of which would be fine choices.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:26 PM   #5
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All of this yak yak about T/V weights, trailer weights, yak weights is meaningless.
If you've been married very long, you know that "if momma isn't happy, nobody is happy".
So, what kind of truck are you going to buy?
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Old 10-19-2007, 02:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
All of this yak yak about T/V weights, trailer weights, yak weights is meaningless.
If you've been married very long, you know that "if momma isn't happy, nobody is happy".
So, what kind of truck are you going to buy?
ditto what dave said. also, being in pasadena, you're sure to be exploring the mountains of california and going over the grapevine so you definately want a bigger tow vehicle. it doesn't have to be the latest and greatest full ton, double hemi, tri dually, BUT it does deserve some consideration.

check out the towing threads, you'll have enough reading in there to keep you busy for awhile.

welcome to the forums and good luck with your search!

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Old 10-19-2007, 03:20 PM   #7
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Make it "Wife wants a Safari" and I've been there, done that. It was our 30th anniversary present to ourselves. I couldn't be happier.
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam
Make it "Wife wants a Safari" and I've been there, done that. It was our 30th anniversary present to ourselves. I couldn't be happier.
Why not since you are already buying a new truck!
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:21 PM   #9
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Hmmm... keep your Liberty and buy a used Suburban?
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:58 PM   #10
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Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. We are yakers also. The yak rides on the roof of the Suburban.

The Liberty might come up a little short on room for all the Yak stuff plus camping stuff that's not in the Bambi. I'm afraid that the 19' Bambi would be a real heavy tow for a little guy like the Liberty.

This combo wouldn't be in my comfort zone, but to each his own.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:39 PM   #11
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I think ljmiii said it best....nuf said.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:01 PM   #12
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The SE is a very nice package Yaker! Good choice . There are not many options on an SE so the UBW will be pretty close to what it will weigh. If you really want a Liberty it seems like a pretty good match if you keep an eye on loading. Check these numbers against what you came up with:

To get 5000lbs towing capacity it seems you need the automatic and 3.73 gears. Looks like 3.73 gears are available only on Limited model. If you wanted a Sport, you could get a shop to put in 3.73 or even 4.10 gears.

> Airstream specs put 19' Bambi SE empty weight at 3680lbs. (UBW). It's maximum total weight should not exceed 4500 lbs. (GVWR), This means you can put up to 820 lbs of propane, fluids, options and gear into the Bambi. Based on the way you said you travel – you can probably stay well under 820 lbs..

> If you fully load the Bambi with 820lbs, up to its recommended maximum of 4500lbs, The rig will be 500lbs under the Liberty’s 5000 lb towing capacity.

> The Liberty’s payload capacity is 1150 lbs. Subract the actual tongue weight the Bambi will put on the rear of the truck. By carefully setting up you WD hitch, this would be around 500lbs. Leaving you room to put appx 600 lbs in the truck.

> Combined weight limits: Add the weight of the truck to the total maximum loads you might want to put in both the truck and the Bambi. Then compare that total to the Liberty’s combined weight rating: 4100+4500+600=9200lbs. At maximum recommended loading you would be 900lbs under the Liberty’s recommended 10,100 lb GCWR.

So by paying attention to how you load things up it looks like you can stay under Jeep's recommended maximum loads. Towing with empty tanks should keep you well under.

210 HP and 235 ft-lbs torque seems adequate for the 5100lb max load but you’ll probably not be passing any diesel dudes uphill. If you are set on a Liberty, you'll be far happpier campers if you go ahead and find someone to put 4.10 gears into it. If you're not set on a Liberty, you could probably find a similar SUV that would give you a bit more breathing room with say, 6000lb towing cap and 30-40 more hp/torque.

The key to a stable rig will be to get the WD and anti-sway set up properly. Our Airstream dealer took care of that for us.

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Old 10-19-2007, 09:13 PM   #13
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Welcome yakers!

You were on the net in 1986? Wow! And I thought I was an early adopted back in 1995 when there was a handful of websites.

Anyways, my wife and I had the same dilema... almost. We already owned a Liberty and wanted to buy a new Bambi.

After mucho reading, and learning... we traded the Liberty in for a GMC Yukon. Didn't even try to haul the Bambi with our Liberty... mainly due to the short wheelbase, but also being so close to capacity on tow weight and tongue weight. We opted for a used Yukon which eased the pain in buy Bambi and new TV at the same time.

Needless to say we have never looked back.. happy campers.

Sorry to see our Liberty go though! Mind you we find the Yukon more comfortable for long hauls.
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:22 AM   #14
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Bye, Bye, Bambi

Thank you, thank you for all your informed and safety conscious postings.
Well, between an immovable object and an irresistible force something had to give. In this case it was my wife’s Airstream dream, at least for now. We decided on another lighter trailer, because trailering is new to us and $45K+ is a lot to chance on a trailering life which we are not sure of yet. Don’t be too hard on us, a good bit of this deference to each other has come as the result of heightened sensitivities from my spending last Tuesday night in the cardiac emergency ward (looks like things will be OK) so the decision is to focus on what we can do now. In a year or two we will look at upgrading to an Airstream, by then we will know a lot more about what we need both in a trailer and in the towing vehicle.
So what did we go with? A T@da 17 foot in Red. And it looks like the Jeep will be able to handle that weight pretty well. Hope to cross the paths of some of you Airstream folks and show off, inspect and play with each others toys.
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:27 AM   #15
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Good luck with the T@b. They are similarly cool....

I have a prediction: Your wife will want to stop at Airstream dealers just too look.....
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:31 AM   #16
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Yankers... You may want to have a look at the Liberty/diesel towing discussion here. Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Towing with our 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD (turbodiesel)
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:08 PM   #17
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T @ B ainst so bad! We had one at a teardrop gathering that we organize. The T @ B's have a rear outdoor galley which is great too.

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Old 10-21-2007, 08:35 PM   #18
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Sold our T@B for an Airstream

We sold our T@B in July after towing it for two years first with a volvo xc70 wagon, then a F150 V6. Our dream was always an Airstream but we couldn't justify the price back then. We loved that little T@B. Ours was the L shaped galley layout with the full closet and tent attachment. With the 2 Goldens we found we had a lot of gear to set up each time we camped. We thought about the TADA when it hit the market this summer, but it's main limitation was the fact that the ceiling height is only 5'9", same as the T@B, my husband could not stand up in either. We also thought it was a little pricey, not that the original T@B could be considered inexpensive! It was just our luck that a 4 year old Airstream showed up on Craigslist and was located at the other end of the state. The price we paid for the AS was the same or less than the TADA.

I know you will love the TADA, they are cool, but if your dream is an Airstream, you will not have the TADA forever. If it is like the T@B, you will get a decent price for it when you sell it in a couple years.

Oh ya, I forgot to mention, I hope you like company. We always had to give tours of the T@B whenever we camped. You will have lots of new friends who just have to take a peek! Enjoy it.

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Old 10-21-2007, 08:56 PM   #19
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We saw the new T@da at the RV show in Pomona and it looks like a fun trailer...I had seen the post that someone here on the forums that provided a link to it so I made a point of stopping to see sure you are going to love looks like an Airstream cousin for sure......anyway, it is all about the camping......hope to see you on the road......pj
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:43 AM   #20
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Not a bad idea. We started with a used hybrid to see if we liked using a camper and then upgraded. At least you went with something intereresting and not just a boring old box! I've swapped tours with T@b owners- I'd like to see the T@da. Good luck and enjoy it!
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