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Old 09-02-2020, 11:27 AM   #21
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2017 27' Tommy Bahama
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SUV as Tow Vehicle

On a whim, I just made a one-way reservation at Enterprise Rental car from JFK to LAX. Premium SUV which is a Chevy Suburban. 9 days for $1,400 or 14 days for about $2,000.
I tow my 27 foot Tommy Bahama with a GMC Yukon XL which is identical to the Suburban.
I once rented a Suburban from Enterprise after I hit a deer and had a lot of body work done. It came with the heavy duty towing package/ brake controller, and 7 wire plug.
Why buy a TV for cross country when you won’t need it for around SoCal? Why put that wear and tear on you TV if you can rent one for about the depreciation you would experience for first 6 months?
What a better experience your family would have, and the adventure could be about camping, not worrying about the TV?
Above prices include SuriusXM satellite radio.

Ps. We used to live in Laguna Beach, just up the coast from you.
PPs We love making your trip along I-40.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
I tow a '69 Caravel with a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, which for that year has a rated capacity of just 5000 lbs. towing.

I have had zero problems, but I have not taken this combo over the rockies, but through smokies without an issue. I am not loading up the Pathfinder with a lot of weight in either passengers or cargo.

A couple of thoughts; The Pathfinder is notable in that it has the largest towing capacity of SUVs in it's class and is one of the few SUVs to have a covetable third row seating (really only suitable for kids and small adults, btw). The Pathfinder also has a number of "Senior Driver" creature comforts like heated seats and so on.

However, I am curious as to your plans and expectations. How many of your brood are you planning on going camping with, and for how long, and where?
If you take everyone boondocking in such a small trailer, you have an exceptionally closer and more tolerant family than most.

While the Pathfinder has a decent seating capacity and towing capacity, I am not sure it can do both at the same time, so you might have to weigh stuff to be sure. Then, where are you going to put all your camping gear and supplies? Are you taking supplemental tents? What about everyone's clothing? Food and drinks? If you are camping at a KOA or someplace that has easy access to purchase stuff on site, with campground restrooms and amenities, that is vastly different from roughing it for a week out in a remote BLM site.
We tow a '64 Bambi II with a 2014 Pathfinder and it is quite capable. We are only about 3200 lbs. loaded for a week of camping, though. It has seemingly unlimited SMOOTH power when towing our little trailer.

The "stuff" includes all required for two adults and two pre-teen girls. When we are loaded for camping at the beach, storage space in the Pathfinder and the trailer is very tight, but we make it work.

All this to say, we have been very happy with a mid-sized SUV (and also a 2012 Chrysler T&C minivan) for our towing needs over the past 7 years, but our Airstream is tiny and fairly light compared to the new ones.

I can easily see one getting overloaded, though.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:06 PM   #23
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Hi Drew,

I don't know if you've read through this Porsche Cayenne/VW Touareg/Audi Q7 & other Euro & Asian SUVs as TV topic linked below, but it's well worthwhile:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46...rs-134917.html

AndyT. at CanAm can send you his reccos for hitch reinforcement for whatever TV you buy, then you can find a local SD trailer shop to do the mods for that. Others here in SoCal & the west coast/SW have done so.

Yes - always get the factory tow option on any on your list, although you can add the factory hitch later to any Cayenne, Touareg (Atlas??), Audi Q5/Q7/Q8 & possibly to the BMW & MBZ options. The P/VW/Audi SUVs are all rated & equipped for towing at 7700+/- lbs & +/-770# hitch wt (with a bit less for the HEV/PHEV due to batteries.

However, most others do NOT equip their SUVs with the HD trans, brake, suspension, etc. equipment unless you pay more for their factory option - & that includes the USA Big 3. In face the standard Ford F150 1/2 tom pick-up is only rated for 5000# trailers unless options are added, & the same for the rest of the FMC line.

Judging by your list & hometown, I'm assuming that you're not shy of trying out the Euro-Premium mid-size SUVs, but not clear on your kid hauling needs - e.g.: 2-3 or 3+ kids, as to whether you'll actually need a 3rd row long term.

You mentioned a 3 row is needed in a later post, but I'm not clear if that's just to get your mother-in-law from NY to CA, but it sounds like you could get by in a 5 seater SUV with you & your wife taking turns in the back seat 3-across for that one trip & at home only when all 5 are going somewhere - but otherwise not locked into having a bigger 3-row, when a 2-row really fits your needs. It seems odd to pick a bigger SUV than your actual needs, just for one trip, & where you could make it work with a 5-place 2-row SUV.

We did many long camping trips in our `88 VW Vanagon Westfalia with its narrower than the 7-passenger Vanagon's bench seat, with an extra 3rd seat belt added for 3 kids in the rear seat - which was 12-18" narrower than any of the 2-row SUV's rear seat. Not quite NY to CA, but still over several days. Heck - on one trip we even had my wife's aunt in back wit the 2 kids about 7 & 9 years old then, from Seattle to Friday Harbor/San Juan Island WA! So I know that it can work on long trips for you with 3 adults & 2 small kids.

That will open more SUV options with the 5-place, as well as giving you a bit more towing capacity (e.g.: the Q7 is slightly lower than its Cayenne & Touareg cousins due to it's added 10-12" L & 3rd seat etc. - at 6700-7000 lbs IIRC)

BTW - the Dodge Durango & Jeep Grand Cherokee are corporate cousins, & IIRC there are some years with a 3rd row (optional?) in the GC. The Ford Explorer & Lincoln Aviator cousins are also 3 row, see more further below.

For a 3rd row variant - you should also look at the new Audi SQ7 &/or RSQ7 for their V8 TT versions, which I think came out in 2019 & 2020 respectively - so now both are around as used/lease returns, dealer/corporate exec cars & shop loaners, &/or prior year close-out deals.

Likewise, the MBZ GL & ML/GLE are 3 row with V8 TT & capable TVs & DDs over the years that you might consider for new & used, as well as the Cayennes discussed below for 2-row 5 passenger options.

While the old school naturally aspirated (N.A.) V8s & turbo V8s plus diesel/TDI options have a lot of pulling power - the newer V6 TT/T/SC & Hybrid PHEV/HEV engines now are putting out as much or more power, as were the early series N.A. V8s in the X5, Q7, Touareg, Cayenne, etc. So it might be worth taking your Bambi to the dealer for a real test towing drive to see how they stack up to your needs.

Unfortunately, VW/Porsche/Audi (V/P/A) screwed up their excellent TDIs with their cheating scandal, but they're still out there for those wiling to take them on (read more at the link above). But if you'll be a long term owner of them - like I am, then my V/P/A Tech (see below) said to stay away from them, because V/P/A will wash their hands of them after the settlement warranty is over, & parts will be hard to find, if at all.

If a PHEV works for you for towing, then it would be a benefit for your wife/you in the daily driver role too for less fuel & emissions - especially if her/your trips are mostly local & you can charge at home - plus the instant full or e-motor+gas torque from 0 rpm. The PHEV/HEV SUVs do lose maybe 500-1,000 lbs of towing capacity due to their added battery/e-motor/etc's. weight - but that's generally still in the 5500-7000 lbs range for the Euro SUVs.

If you don't need 3 rows, then the Porsche Cayenne is another great option seating 5, & towing +/- 7700 lbs in any flavor (PHEV/HEV is 6700-7000 lbs IIRC). 2014 was their last year for the N.A. V8 CayS, then they went to the V6 TT CayS 2015>, but the Turbo V8s are still around - including a PHEV V8 TT for 2019 or 2020>, & their V6 T base & V6 TT S/GTS & PHEV V6T are at or more than their prior 2003-06 CayS N.A. V8 4.5L made - so they're all worth that towing test drive.

And as noted by another person above, the Lexus LX (Land Cruiser based) & GX (4Runner based) Toyota twins are additional options to the Toyota Land Cruiser, Sequoyah (no twin) & 4Runner for your consideration, if you can live with the ugly Lexus front ends.

FYI- we dropped the LX 460/470 after a test drive of a nice low mile 2013 locally because the seats were hard as church pews from the start, & it had a lot of sway on an simulated "Esses" maneuver - which was to confirm a post on Air Forums a few days before about a gal rolling here LX-470 + Bambi (don't recall if 16' or 19') up in Idaho while passing 18-wheelers in winds (topic is linked in the topic link above).

As for Nissan/Infinity - my long time since 1975 imports mechanic said to stay away from them for quality & reliability reasons, & reccos the Toyota/Lexus, as well as the Audi/Porsche/VW triad SUVs. He also says to stay away from salty roads states' cars, if you look at used. He knows his stuff having started his shop in 1972, after several years with Circle Porsche+Audi & VW in Long Beach. He started with V/P/A in Austria in the 1960's, & is a long time factory certified tech with them, Toyota, Nissan/Infinity, BMW, etc. & takes care of my classic 914-2.0, `85 BMW E30 325e & `88 VW Westfalia.

The new Lincoln Aviator could be another option for you after the 1st year or two for them to get the bugs out - as with any new model. They're all the 400 HP V6 TT or PHEV version of same, & IIRC they're rated to tow 6-7,000 lbs. (only the Ford Explorer SVT gets the 400 hp TT V6 & not as nice).

Also, the new Kia Telluride & Hyundai Palisade twin mid-sized SUVs, & the Honda Pilot would be other 3-row mid-sized SUVs to consider, but they too are limited to around 5000 lbs towing, & you should google about smelly Telluride/Palisade interiors before buying as well.


FYI -

We have a similar but lighter vintage restored 1960 Avion T20 weighing in at 3,000-3,500 wet/loaded/options with 542 lbs hitch wt. (2,680# dry/empty/no-options with 285 HW per factory) - for comparison to your 19' Bambi's 4500# GVWR or max it can carry & 480-500+ HW. For your TV selection you should use the max. GVWR trailer wt. as wet & loaded, but you'll need to weigh the tongue for the accurate HW as loaded & can play around with what you load where in your Bambi to get the actual HW.

2007 AS Spec Sheet:
https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...tions-1066.pdf

We had towed it in 2013 with several BoF 2013 Nissan Pathfinders with the 4.0L V6 N.A. EFI & Auto Trans (CVT?), but found it noisy & searching for gears on the freeway speeds, & it struggled a bit on the grades, such as on the southbound 101 up from Camarillo, & on the north & south grades I-5 grade up & over to the Valencia/Tragic Mountain area. While it had a V8 N.A. option then - the newer unibody Pathfinders & Infinity QX60 cousin only have a smaller 3.5L V6 motor with less torque pulling power for towing.

Since then when the Long Beach dealer was sold & stopped renting, we've been renting 3/4 ton F250 & RAM 2500 crew-cab pick-up trucks from Enterprise Truck Rental until we find our own mid-size SUV TV, & that made more economic sense when we could only do 3-5 weekend vintage trailer rally/camp-out trips a year - since the $100/day - $700/week rentals were far less than the purchase, insurance, maintenance, etc. for owning a TV. When my wife retired in 2019 it opened up our schedule to do more trips, & the breakeven was somewhere around 6-8 weekend/week trips per year.

So if you don't need a new/used DD for your wife, & won't be doing a lot of camping trips with your Bambi here in SoCal - then it may work better for you to just rent the trucks from Enterprise Truck (not the car rental place nor other Hertz, Budget, etc. car rental places which contractually prohibit towing). And it could also work for your NY-CA one time trip - since their bench front & rear seats are wider than the mid-sized SUVs, & seat 6 (3+3) very comfortably, plus you can carry kids bikes & other stuff in the truck bed with a good watertight cover. Then you won't have to worry about another vehicle except when you need it.

It's worth checking with the closest SD Enterprise Truck Rental on cost for the CA-NY-CA trip on either a weekly or monthly rental + any extra miles. as well as for longer term for weekend rentals - vs the cost of buying/leasing & owning the SUV, because it may be much less annual cost to rent. Depending on the included 50/day & 450/wk miles

https://www.enterprisetrucks.com/truckrental/en_US.html

Also - I disagree with the post about Euro SUVs not testing & rating their SUVs to US standard, since they all rate with both TUV/Euro/UK agencies - as well as for the US-DOT & SAE trailer rating tests. So their US test numbers are accurate & include both "bare ball" & WD towing ratings - but unfortunately there are many cases where they don't bother to update their USA owners manuals to reflect the US ratings & allowance for WD hitches, but the dealers' service techs have them in their service manuals, and they're on the hitches, as below.

Note that the Euro SUVs don't allow WD hitches in the UK & Euro-land ONLY because those countries banned WD hitches since the 1960s in order to protect their lightweight trailer/caravan manufacturers over there. However, they are indeed rated for WD hitches despite what some of their owners manuals say as translated from the Euro/UK manuals, & they all DO have weight bearing (bare ball) & distributed/WD ratings on the hitch receiver's rating plates/decals - so go by that. You can read more on that at the Cay/Treg/Q7 topic linked above.

And if you don't already have a WD/AS hitch installed on your `07 Bambi, then I'd recco the Hensley Cub WD/AS hitch for your 19' Bambi for its stability, zero sway, ease of use, safety, driving comfort, ease of adjusting torsion with the winder jacks (chain option is cheaper, but a pain IMHO), & not having to remove the hitch head & bars when parked. While you can certainly use the somewhat less expensive EazLift, Blue Ox, etc. WD+AS hitches for $700-$1000 all in with the AS & other options - you can get a new & much better Cub in the $mid-teens or less for a reconditioned one from Hensley - & both will have their lifetime warranty. We have the Cub on our Avion T20 & love it.

https://hensleymfg.com/products/the-hensley-cub/


I was originally looking for a 2010-14 N.A. V8 CayS as our sweet spot for primarily towing vs. DD use (80:20), but may expand to the 2015-18 & 2019-21> full Cayenne range - & perhaps the 2017-18 & 2019> PHEV if it's towing performance real world test drive proves out, because we'll probably use our TV for my DD use now that my wife has retired, & 90% of our DD will be local on EV mode, & it may be more like 50:50 TV vs DD use now.

Our back-ups would be the SQ7, Sequoyah, Land Cruiser/LX or maybe Aviator or Durango/Jeep GC in that order - with the Audi & Toyota/Lexus options pretty close. The added reason that I like the Cayenne, beyond it's great handling & driving characteristics (for which the SQ7/RSQ7 would be close) - is that we're Porsche Club (PCA) members, so the Cayenne would also get some added recreational use at PCA events, as well as for towing my `73 914-2.0 "914S" to their Concours shows - whenever I can get it's resto/repairs done, that is!

However, for now we're barely putting 100 mi/mo on all vehicles during CV-19 - so we'll wait to resume our TV search until we can actually go somewhere with our Avion. So I'll resume our search sometime 2021+/- probably, & keep renting Enterprise trucks until we get something.

Hopefully this helps you with some additional options.

Happy Hunting TVs & Safe Travels!
Tom
///////
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:22 PM   #24
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Toyota Sequoia is basically a tundra with a roof. Payload is about 1400lbs.. May want to look at that.
Sequoia has a much lower towing capacity than a Tundra. Tundra goes up to 10,200 whereas a Sequoia maxes out at 7,400. Still, it's more than enough for the AS the OP is considering.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:30 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansett View Post
On a whim, I just made a one-way reservation at Enterprise Rental car from JFK to LAX. Premium SUV which is a Chevy Suburban. 9 days for $1,400 or 14 days for about $2,000.
I tow my 27 foot Tommy Bahama with a GMC Yukon XL which is identical to the Suburban.
I once rented a Suburban from Enterprise after I hit a deer and had a lot of body work done. It came with the heavy duty towing package/ brake controller, and 7 wire plug.
Why buy a TV for cross country when you won’t need it for around SoCal? Why put that wear and tear on you TV if you can rent one for about the depreciation you would experience for first 6 months?
What a better experience your family would have, and the adventure could be about camping, not worrying about the TV?
Above prices include SuriusXM satellite radio.
A word of warning on the above for Gansett & others - Note that for at least 10-15 years, that ALL of the car rental branches of Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, etc. specifically prohibits towing with any & all of their vehicles within their rental contracts.

The above was exactly our plan when we got our vintage kin Avion T20 in 2012, but I rapidly was rudely awakened to this fact.

So instead - you can use Toyota's TRAC rental system at Toyota/Lexus dealers - if any of them near you do rent SUVs &/or pick-ups (most dealers just use TRAC for service loaners); or you can use the above car rental companies' commercial divisions - including: Enterprise Truck Rental, Hertz Commercial, Budget Commercial, Penske - but all of them but ETR either only rent box trucks to tow, or require you to set up a commercial business account with $1 MM/$3 MM umbrella insurance coverage with them a s named insured. There is also U-haul, but their F150s are basic trucks with only 4-pin connectors, since all of their trailers use surge brakes.

Only ETR rents trucks with 7 or 7+4 pin connectors, & rents with their CDL Insurance Rider without an account/umbrella coverage set-up with them named. While some of TRAC vehicles have 7 or 7+4 hook-ups, but others are only 4-pin, & they used to restrict to in-state use only.

https://www.enterprisetrucks.com/truckrental/en_US.html

https://www.toyota.com/rental/

So those are anyone's best 2 options for either an emergency rental on the road, etc., or for low annual use not justifying buying/leasing your own TV.

We used TRAC for 2013, then ETR since then - otherwise I have no skin in the game for either.

Unless some of them have changed that restriction from towing - if you do what Gansett is suggesting above, then you would be fully liable for any damage, because NEITHER your insurance NOR the rental companies insurance won't cover you (I verified with our AAA & all of those companies in 2012).

Be aware!
Tom
///////

PS on my prior post, since it's edit time has expired -

If you're looking at the 4Runner, it had an optional 4.7L N.A. V8 up to about 2007+, and the cousin Lexus GX470/460 all came with the 4.7L or 4.6L N.A. V8.

Also check the SUV spare position under the rear vs. the hitch receiver for clearance of the tow bar when inserted into the receiver, since it's a bit tight & may require either removing the SUV's spare &/or cutting the end of the tow bar shorter. This is true on the Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti & some other SUVs.

When I measured the 2013 GX460 that we test drove in 2018, it was clear that I'd at least have to cut off a few inches off the end of our Hensley "Stinger" tow bar in order to fit with the spare mounted.

Cheers!
Tom
///////
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:28 PM   #26
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We tow a 2018 16' Bambi with a 2011 Ford Explorer (with the factory towing package) and it does a wonderful job. Around 13mpg depending on terrain.

Your Bambi is a bit longer but not a big difference in weight.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:05 AM   #27
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AirDrew - Welcome to the Airstream family! You are receiving excellent advice. I will add two ideas for you to consider:
1. When searching for a used TV, first check it out with a new car dealer and ask them if you can take a test drive towing your Bambi up I-8 to Alpine, or further up the mountains to see how it manages the climb and descent back into SD.
2. Assuming your small kids are like my three grandchildren, they become bigger kids quickly. What is the likelihood that you will need a larger AS in the near future? A lot of folks with at least two children move to a larger trailer quickly. Since you do not know the answer at this time, just consider what TV you would need with that larger trailer.

NOTE: I am writing this note, while traveling with three grandchildren, aged 8,6 & 5. We have a 26’ twin bed, with bunks over the beds for the two smallest and the third sleeps on the bench up front. Their booster seats all fit into the backseat of our F250. You might want to consider a Nissan NV 3500 which has a lot of seats and towing capability?

Do not be surprised if you take that cross country trip that after returning home, you will quickly look for a larger trailer!
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:39 AM   #28
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Thank you thank you. You all all so helpful, this is a great community. I'm used to message boards where people tear you to shreds for asking newbie questions or tell you to "just google it."

In this case, I've literally spent days on the forums. Every day I learn another "gotcha."

Really looking forward to getting this TV and moving onto our first trip! At this point, I think I need to take a harder look at the Durango (bigger than I'd like but CanAm swears by it) and X5/Q7 at least. EV would be nice but I'm not finding a lot of inventory there.

I really wish the better / reliable family SUVs (Toyota 4R, Honda Pilot) rated up to, say, 6000 vs 5000. Or that my Bambi weighed 1000 lbs less.

Tradeoffs to everything I guess.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:12 PM   #29
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The wealth of knowledge on airforums is truly incredible and has been such a great resource. It singularly held my hand to help me confidently begin the journey when I was new.

AirDrew, while there' always better if we're talking about different specific qualities, if you're priority is a competent and reliable TV in those flavors you mention... For a 19' Bambi, I'd put the GX460 (even used, which can often be found cheaper than a comparable 4R) very high on the list of potential tow vehicles. It is in the same vain (chassis as the T4R). But with a larger cab that has the ability to seat 8, standard V8, and swaths of comfort and capability. It has a softer suspension but will be just fine for that trailer. For future larger potential trailers, it can be augmented via several strategies including aftermarket springs, airbags, having the ball close and tight to the bumper, or even a PPP type hitch. If you pay attention to the setup (as one should with any tow vehicle), this can be a very satisfying tow vehicle.

You didn't ask, but the GX has a huge breadth of competencies. Luxury date night vehicle. Family minivan. Strong tow vehicle. Relatively compact and easy to park daily driver. Jeep type overlanding, as it has a full complement of tractive and off-road capabilities better than majority of its competitive set. Full-time 4WD, center locker, ATRAC, low-range, etc. The low-range especially I find to be a huge boon for backing into and setting up the trailer in off-camber campsites, with strong torque and control (getting on leveling blocks) And of course, benchmark levels of service and reliability.

It's little known in the US, but this same model known as the Land Cruiser Prado overseas, is sought after for its core strength and capability
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:07 PM   #30
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Thanks @Pteck--I see you are in SD too. I'm in La Jolla. Do you have a favorite local shop that's good at tuning towing setups?

What year range would you look for on that Lexus GX?
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:57 PM   #31
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The problem we had in 2015 with the Lexus, was that the rear door was restrictive when it was opened, as the whole door sweeps the area directly behind the vehicle. The vehicle warning lights on the mirrors were problematic on the demonstrator we tried out. Pat
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Old 09-03-2020, 03:19 PM   #32
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Sorry, I don't have a recommendation as I generally do everything myself. There is an Airstream dealer in Kearny Mesa but I haven't used their services.

Just about all the GX460s are similar through the years with mild face-lifts. I recommend finding one with KDSS suspension that includes user selectable damping, as it'll have better lateral stability. Also, rear leveling will be particularly helpful for hitching up and towing. Rear air isn't a liability like other suspect brands and have proved to be rather robust. Not unique to the GX, but make sure whomever sets up the WD bars is aware to dial in the WD tension AFTER the system levels. Otherwise it may work to reduce WD tension. Sufficient WD tension to restore front axle weight is important for this setup.

The swingout rear door can be a boon or a pita depending on how you look at it. Trucks have issues too with large drop down tailgates hitting the tongue jack. Or van-like full hatches hitting the jack. The GX does at least have an upper glass hatch to allow good access even without opening the swing door. Whatever tow vehicle, it's never advisable to use an horizontally extended hitch ball to facilitate clearance as that's a bad recipe for loss of stability and sway.
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Old 09-04-2020, 02:19 PM   #33
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Another advantage to the Hensley Cub on our Avion T20, is that it gives enough space to clear either the SUV rear hatches, pick-up tailgates, & we did measure the 2 rear doors swing on the `13 GX 460 which we test drove (but didn't test hitch & tow, since we didn't like other things with it) - where the larger door is the issue, but by measurement it seemed to clear by several inches.

So if Drew likes the lexuse GX460/470 otherwise, then I think that he can solve the rear door clearance with a Hensley Cub WD/AS hitch that's safer, more stable for smaller TVs, & lifetime guaranteed ($1300-1600 range still I think).

The 4.6L NA V8 is a great pulling engine in them, but if you look at the Sequoyah, go for the 5.7L due to the heavier SUV.

I gave Drew a recco from one of my SD area HS buddies, which he can report here if they work well for him (since I don't have 1st hand with them, we being up north in Orange/AC for our local shop).

So please do post back your experience from whatever shop you use Drew, for others in SD who may read in here wanting a shop recco.

Cheers!
Tom
///////
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Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-22 Cayenne S, EH, etc
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner) + 1970 Eriba Puck
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:35 AM   #34
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2018 25' International
Covington , Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 15
SUV works fine

We started with an F150 without a heavy duty tow package, 7700 tow rating, 5.0 V8, pulling our 25’ International Serenity. It worked well, but seemed to work hard in the mountains, with a six speed transmission and 3.55 gearing. We upgraded to an Expedition Fx4 with 9200 lbs towing capacity, 3.5 liter ecoboost, 10 speed and 3.73 gearing. Night and day difference! It has plenty of power, lower step in height, better ride And stability with the independent rear suspension. We travel light so have plenty of room for our gear in the vehicle and don’t even approach the 1500 lb. rating. It is our daily driver, so the three seats and 8 passenger capacity work well. It gets better fuel mileage and has more power than our pickup, so what’s not to like about that?
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:55 AM   #35
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 4
We just completed a long trip with our 19' Flying cloud towed by a 2014 Durango. No complaints with towing. It handled the cascade and rocky mountains, prairies, great lakes and northern Ontario over days of driving.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:16 AM   #36
MSL
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2019 22' Sport
Sharon , Massachusetts
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 84
2019 Sport 22FB w 2019 Ford Ranger

When we bought our 2019 22FB Sport I was hoping to tow with an SUV, but I didn't want a huge one, also didn't really want a full size truck (think F-150). (The TV is my wife's daily driver.) I thought seriously about a Nissan Pathfinder; didn't go that root partly because of not having a full-size spare, partly because it was just too close in specs. Really wanted a Honda Ridgeline; also not quite enough in the payload/GCWR capacities. I ended up with a 2019 Ford Ranger (7500# tow capacity, 750# tongue weight, 1435# payload). I haven't been out west in mountains, but been from MA ro Baltimore with some hills in NJ, and up to Lubec, ME with some hills. Tows fine, 15 - 17 mpg depending on speed.

I advise the OP to think seriously about payload and GAWR, as others have cautioned. At the scales I was about 200# below trailer and TV axle ratings, with a 580# tongue weight, and I don't bring what I would consider a lot of stuff. I find myself wishing I went something with a bit more payload at times.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:30 AM   #37
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2020 16' Caravel
Shoreline , Washington
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 46
2017 Pathfinder

We use the 2017 Pathfinder with the factory tow package to pull our 2020 16' Caravel. Caravel with full fresh tank is 4300 lbs and we're fairly light packers in both the tow vehicle and the trailer itself. Fully loaded with water going over our mountain passes, Snoqualmie pass (3015 elevation, grade and length of incline unknown) and Stevens Pass (5845 elevation, grade and length of incline unknown) it struggles a bit. Tachometer is at a steady 3.5 up those passes (about 3.0 with no fresh water on board) which I guess is normal but it makes me edgy for the 10-15 minutes it takes to crest the summit. We pulled her empty up a pretty steep pass in Montana (tach was at 4) and a truck pulling our same Caravel BLEW past us. Probably laughing. I don't know what the truck was.

I'm not a truck person, but when the Pathfinder meets it's maker I'll probably go in that direction just for a little more power.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:52 AM   #38
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Currently Looking...
Myrtle Point , OR
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirDrew View Post
Hi all. I'm new to AS but excited to hit the road. I finished some pretty exhaustive research on TVs and thought I'd share for anyone considering an SUV as a TV. (I've spend about a week digesting thoughts on this forum, reaching out to RV centers).

Background: I just bought a 2007 19' Bambi. My family and I are going to do some local trips around SoCal and a cross-country in the fall. Not a lot of mountain stuff but occasionally I suppose. I care most about safety.

I bought the AS before I bought my TV ... so now I guess I have the luxury of finding a used TV that will work for me.

Here were my requirements for a TV:
  1. SUV not a pickup or van. Why? Because this will be a daily driver for my wife, kids, dog, and occasional grandparent. Lots of trips to the beach, school, and stuff.
  2. Not too big of an SUV. Can't see a Suburban or Expedition or Humvee in our garage. My wife is petite!
  3. Decent gas mileage, or at least the better the mpg the better. See #1 above.
  4. Three row SUV. I've got a lot of kids.
  5. Passable if not good for my 19' Bambi (GVWP is 4500)
There seem to be a slew of mid-size SUVs that tow up to 5000 lbs. I'm guessing all would be passable for the AS. But if I wanted to give myself some wiggle room, here were the Make Models that seemed to fit:
  1. Nissan Pathfinders 2017 onward. Towing capacity for these years is 6000.
  2. BMW X5. In general the German cars can tow a tree out of the ground. The X5 tows 6000-7500 lbs and with diesel even more.
  3. Audi Q7. (See above, though I've had more issues with Audi reliability in the past.)
  4. Toyotas (Highlander, 4Runner) and Hyundais (Santa Fe). Highlander being better for the daily drive thing, 4Runner for the towing due to frame. All, however, rated only to 5000.

I half wanted to share my findings here, half wanted to run these by the community to see if I'm about to make a major mistake by choosing any of them off a used car site. Any red flags?

Thanks!

PS: Everybody seems to love the CanAmRV team ("Andy"). They seem like real trusted experts. But I'm not local for them--any options like that here in SoCal / San Diego?
My everyday driver is a 2015 BMW X5d (diesel). Great ride, sporty handling, 3rd row seating (optional). Best of all is fuel economy: 35 mpg. We do not tow with it as it isn't equipped with a hitch.

You would need to look for a used one, since they aren't making the X5d now. Good luck finding a used one. I do see they are now building an X5 hybrid. However, I would say the diesel would be a better choice for towing considering the available torque it provides.

This being said, I have not intention of using my X5 to tow. I don't want to wear it out prematurely . . . . . best car I've ever owned . . . . . love it!
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:06 AM   #39
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2019 16' Sport
Vista , California
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 97
Smile Towing with an SUV

Hi, we have a 2019 16' Bambi (3500 gross weight) and tow it with a 2015 Range Rover Sport SE. Powered by a supercharged 3L V6 gas engine with 7716 lbs of towing capacity and a tongue weight of 550 lbs. 1700 lbs payload capacity.

We have a dealer installed hitch and 7 way plug (AS dealer would not do it; in fact they highly recommended that we have the hitch installed by a Land Rover dealer). Range Rovers come with stability assist as a standard feature and a tow assist as an option. The tow assist can guide the RR in backing up; either straight line or into a campsite. The back up cam has a standard feature that guides you right onto the tow ball when hooking up. No guessing or a "helper" telling you to turn this way or that way to line up with the tow ball.

The Range Rover tows the Bambi beautifully and with no effort. Level, uphill, and downhill. We bought ours used from CarMax in Temecula with only 28,000 miles on it (a lease turn in). It is also a great vehicle to have at campsite; it's 4WD prowess is unmatched. Also a good everyday driver.

That's my experience
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:17 AM   #40
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1970 27' Overlander
Asheville , North Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 24
Sequoia is a great SUV

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewk View Post
Toyota Sequoia is basically a tundra with a roof. Payload is about 1400lbs.. May want to look at that.
I haven't looked recently at the latest towing and payload numbers, but just as a general comment I'd say that my 2005 Toyota Sequoia 4WD was one of the best vehicles of any type I've ever had.

I had it for nine or 10 years, put a hundred thousand plus miles on it, towed with it, took it across country a time or two, off road a lot and never had one single thing go wrong with it except once the power rear window stopped working (fixed under warranty.) Mileage wasn't very good but in every other way it was a great SUV.

Best vehicle I've ever owned, and I've had a lot of different cars and trucks over the years from a '46 Packard to a Rolls Royce Silver Spur II. Finally traded it for a top-end Toyota Highlander, which is fine but doesn't compare with the Sequoia in comfort, power or off-road ability. Got a big trade-in allowance for it even with 100,000+ miles but still regret trading it and still miss it.
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