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Old 05-17-2009, 08:46 AM   #1
2007 19' Bambi
West Boylston, , Massachusetts
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1
Advise please/Honda Pilot towing Airstream Bambi SE

We are concerned about towing our Bambi (4500 max) with our Honda Pilot.
Honda dealer claimed a 4500 max capacity but our research suggests 3500 may be more accurate.

Hope to tour Canada and wonder if the Honda can handle it.

Help, please, we are new to camping.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:57 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,237
Welcome to the forums. While I haven't checked lately, I think you and the dealer are correct. The tow rating for the pilot is (or was a couple of years ago) 3500 for a regular trailer, and 4500 for a boat. Your Bambi will weigh around 4000 pounds ready to go, depending on what all you put in it. It would be doable, but with zero room for error. If you want to get more info about what you can do to your Pilot to allow it to tow your Bambi, you can contact AndrewT here on the forums. He runs Can-Am RV in Canada, and one of their specialties is altering smaller tow vehicles to tow travel trailers.
I do know several people here on the forums that tow Bambis with Ridgelines, have you looked at those?
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:42 AM   #3
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2005 19' Safari
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If you are like us, you may be running close to the maximum weight on the trailer. No reflection on the Pilot, but I would hesitate to do that.

Also, you didn't mention the engine. That may also be a concern, if you travel in the mountains, both for climbing and braking.

Just my opinion, but I'd really watch the weight, or consider getting a little larger tow vehicle.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:47 AM   #4
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2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
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Towing the Bambi with the Pilot, you are 12.5% OVER the manufacturer's stated towing capacity.

That would be the equivilant of me towing a trailer weighing 8,775 pounds with me 7800 pound rated GMC 1500 pickup...something I wouldn't even consider doing. But, that's just my opinion.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:58 AM   #5
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2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
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Originally Posted by astroart View Post
We are concerned about towing our Bambi (4500 max) with our Honda Pilot.
Honda dealer claimed a 4500 max capacity but our research suggests 3500 may be more accurate.

Hope to tour Canada and wonder if the Honda can handle it.

Help, please, we are new to camping.
************************************************** ***

Most RV authorities I have read seem to recommend not towing at more than about 75% of your tow vehicle's rated capacity.

Many people focus primarily on the tow rating aspect, but IMHO,
a big factor contributing to safe and relaxed towing and a general good experience relates to the wheelbase of the tow vehicle - generally, the longer the better for a good stable tow platform.

There are probably folks who will say your setup will be fine, and no doubt "chances are" you will be ok, but I have towed with too little and too much tow vehicle and prefer the "too much" option in every respect!

I enjoy our trips much more knowing that I have done all I can to maximize our safety, relaxation, and the probability of reaching our destination without issue!

You pays your Money and you takes your choice!!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:06 AM   #6
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,474
If I am reading the Honda website correctly, 2wd is 3500lbs and 4wd is 4500lbs tow capacity.

The Bambi weighs about 4500lbs wet and with fuel, passenger(s) and cargo (all things that get subtracted from tow rating), you will any way you cut it be beyond the tow rating. I concur with the advise out there that suggests you find a different tow vehicle.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:18 PM   #7
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2008 20' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19
Honda Pilot towing Bambi SE


We purchased a 2008 Safari 20 SE at George Sutton's RV in Eugene, OR on July 26th 2008. Though enamored with Airstream Trailers, we had not planned to buy one. Well, we did, and we were driving a 2005 AWD Honda Pilot with tow package. We live in Tucson, AZ. Relatives of ours, also from Tucson, were in Eugene with their large class A motor home and asked us to accompany them on a trip to S. Dakota. They would introduce us to the RV lifestyle and we could all see a part of the country we had never visited. I was a little concerned about the Pilot towing the AS to Tucson, let alone to S. Dakota and then back to Tucson, but was assured by the Sutton people that I should have no trouble. Sutton installed an Equal-i-zer hitch gave us excellent training on towing and the AS trailer. All went well. We put 4500 miles on the Pilot/AS and learned a great deal about Towing, camping, etc. The fact that the Pilot was rated to tow 4500# and the Safari 20 SE is rated at 5000# still continued to bother me. It bothered me enough that within two weeks of arriving back in Tucson I had traded the Pilot in on a 2008 Toyota Sequoia rated to tow 10,000#. We did consider the Honda Ridgeline, but it still does not have the margin of safety that makes me a lot more comfortable.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:33 PM   #8
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2002 19' Bambi
Northwestern Ontario , - on the backside of the map and just above the big green spot
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Welcome to the club.

We tow an 02 Bamibi with an 03 Pathfinder.

Although it is rated for 5000 lbs it’s specs are generally smaller than yours - horsepower is less, torque is less, wheelbase is shorter, weight is less. My recollection of the Pilot is that in 2wd it is a front -wheel drive vehicle which may be a negative factor.

We’ve towed our trailer well over 50,000 KM now behind the Pathfinder and feel confident in the combination. I do recognize that its use as a TV is marginal - SUV’s at their best are not strong tow vehicles and ours is approaching its capacity. Over time, we’ve done a bit to compensate - changed out our P rated tires to LT, settled on a Hensley Arrow, use a quality brake controller, keep the weight down, rarely use OD, and perhaps most important - we’re never in a rush - 100 KM/hr max (60 MPH). Adding the Henlsey was a huge step forward in towing comfort. Can’t say that we’ve done any serious mountain driving - but long grades are no stranger.

I agree with the advice given earlier - give Andy Thompson at Can-Am RV a call - he will tell you whether the combination is doable or not - and will advise what you need to do to feel comfortable with it.

Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

"I'm not young enough to know everything ....."
(Oscar Wilde)
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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1956 22' Safari
Ossining , New York
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Some people like a lot of power, so your personal feeling on this is more important.

The wheel base is short on the Pilot, so you may have to tow more slowly. The Pilot is really better for shorter trailers. In any case, I recommend a good anti-sway hitch, like a Reese Dual-Cam.

Here is my Pilot towing a 21' 1956 in front of Colin Hydes ole shop. Don't all those Airstreams look like they are having fun?
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:43 PM   #10
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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Have to agree with the consensus here that you'd be stressing your Honda Pilot AND stressing yourself with this towing combination. Our Tacoma is rated for #6500 towing a 19' (#4500) and I'm certain if we had a heavier trailer than 19' we'd want more of a truck.
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair & PastPrez, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:50 PM   #11
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Payload, payload, payload

Do you have 2WD (base weight 4356#) or 4WD (base weight 4524#)?

Step 2: Look in your manual or the drivers doorpost. If they give you GVWR, subtract the appropriate base weight. Better yet if they did the math and give you payload capacity. This is the sum total of how you can load your Pilot. Include the tongue weight (including WD/antisway gear & full propane tanks all up front), added option weight of Class III/IV hitch receiver on the Pilot, and every human, pet and Wii you'll be driving with.

Tow limits often are calculated with a quart of fuel and Calvin Borel aboard. Payload capacity will usually cut off the size of a tow before you ever approach the tow capacity.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 06-08-2009, 08:40 PM   #12
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1977 23' Safari
Clemmons , North Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5
Towing with Honda

Just got back from my second trip towing our 1977 23' Safari (4000#+) with our 05 Pilot, this trip was in the mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I use a Reese Equalizer with antisway and 4X12" Kodiak disc brakes and it towed great. Stopping is no problem. 250 hp is more than enough and it is very stable.
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