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Old 04-20-2021, 09:33 PM   #1
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2021 20' Bambi
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Towing question

Hi! New to the forum. I just bought a Bambi 20FB, yet to pick up, and will be towing with a 2015 Lexus GX 460 with factory installed hitch, trailer brake controller, and WD hitch. GvWR of the trailer is 5000lbs, tongue weight 540. These specs are under the tow capacity of the Lexus (6500# max tow capacity). I just wanted to see what a more seasoned Airstream owner thought of this setup? Thanks!!
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:38 PM   #2
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I don’t know enough about the Lexus to give you a solid answer. What I do know is that the limiting factor with tow vehicles tends to be cargo/payload capacity, not maximum towing capacity. Your tongue weight will be more than the amount published by Airstream once you’re loaded up for camping. Take a look at the payload capacity of your specific vehicle and do some quick math, including passengers, cargo, etc. to determine if you’ve got a problem. My gut reaction is that you’ll be fine, but it’s always good to know your numbers and do the math. You should be able to find your vehicle’s payload capacity on the sticker on the door jamb.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:03 PM   #3
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I have a 2004 4Runner with the 4.7 L V8. I pull a 23' with no problems. My specs are a little higher than yours but you will be well within your limits on a 20'
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Shark81 View Post
Hi! New to the forum. I just bought a Bambi 20FB, yet to pick up, and will be towing with a 2015 Lexus GX 460 with factory installed hitch, trailer brake controller, and WD hitch. GvWR of the trailer is 5000lbs, tongue weight 540. These specs are under the tow capacity of the Lexus (6500# max tow capacity). I just wanted to see what a more seasoned Airstream owner thought of this setup? Thanks!!
You'll be fine with that combination and it should work well once sorted.

Do know there's a few things to watch however. The GX460 is a softly sprung vehicle, more than most. As it has some technologies to soften the ride and maximize off-road articulation, they may not be ideal under towing performance. You may have KDSS on your model, and this generally has the sway bars decoupled in straight ahead driving, further softening its straight ahead performance (and payload control).

Some mitigations
1) Increase tire pressure 3-5 PSI to increase tire sidewall stability
2) Ensure as close and tight mounting of the ball to the rear bumper as possible, even if this may mean modifying the WD hitch. The GX has a relatively short wheelbase to rear overhang ratio, making it doubly important to keep the ball tight to minimize trailer influence on the tow vehicle, and its soft suspension
3) Dial in enough WD tension, 50% FALR is preferred. This may be a bit trickier to objectively setup with the rear air suspension if so equipped. It's hard to tacitly describe how much is enough tension, but for someone new to towing, you'll want more tension than you may judge to be enough
4) Tongue weight is your friend for stability. Avoid loading much gear and weight at the rear of your trailer. Preferably heavy things over the trailer axle or forward.
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Old 04-21-2021, 04:52 AM   #5
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Shark81,

Greetings fellow Buckeye from a transplanted Buckeye, Westlake living in SC.

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Old 04-21-2021, 06:45 AM   #6
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Thanks, much appreciated! Also considering upgrading to Timbren rear suspension enhancement bump stop springs on the GX. My thought is that it may slightly stiffen up the rear suspension when loaded. It seems to be a very simple upgrade.

https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Sus...n/TTORSEQ.html
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:08 PM   #7
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Looks like that could work well to add more stability under load.

Would be curious of their impact to unladen use, and hopefully they will still maintain the silky smooth ride of the GX. As a progressive rate auxillary spring, it has a good chance to do that well.

Only thing I'd be concerned about, and this will completely depend on your use... The GX is a wolf in sheep's clothing when it comes to off-road performance and suspension articulation. The Timbren's will likely limit that articulation to a degree. But if your GX doesn't see that type of use, it could still be a win win.
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Old 04-26-2021, 07:56 AM   #8
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Does any one know what the cargo capacity is of an average GX460 is?

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Old 04-26-2021, 09:12 AM   #9
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2021 model

Payload And Towing
Payload1408 - 1474 lbs
Cargo volume64.7 cu ft
Max GVWR6600 lbs
Max trailer weight6500 lbs
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Old 04-26-2021, 08:55 PM   #10
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Been towing my 2006 Safari 25 FB Airstream with my 2005 Lexus GX across the country. The car is a bulldog and with Reece Sway control it like to run at 72 mph. The electronic shocks makes hitching up and off easy. With 240,000 miles on it I’m now looking for a preowned for the summer .
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:42 PM   #11
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Just traded in my 2015 GX. I’ve got a 22fb Caravel. The GX pulled it fine with the eazlift elite wdh with 600lb bars. Would struggle a bit on long grades and no extra power. Ride/handling was too soft for my liking and felt like the trailer pushed me around too much. Also the 80% of tow capacity was a little to close for me. Just got a Ford F-150 with 11,000 lb tow capacity and 1400 payload. Pulls the Caravel like it’s not even there. The GX is fine, but truck just feels better when towing.
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:51 PM   #12
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Too many variables...

Takeoffs are optional, landings are not.

Lexus and other manufacturers specs are great for sales.. and are surely well planned.

- what is the trailer braking system capable of handling?
- is trailer EOH?
- what is your experience level pulling trailers?
- what terrain will you travel in?
- etc...

If you are towing in desert highway, no wind, all may be bliss. When you have to manage load close to the Lexus design limits, your tow experience will vary compared to a more task designed vehicle like an MRAP... .

For the experience, rent a huge Uhaul trailer. Load it with water bottles, then pull with your Lexus. Then, try to do an “evasive maneuver”... then an “aggressive straight line stop”, then a turning stop like on an exit or entrance ramp. Find a king “grade” to pull the trailer down. Can you stop it? Head back up the same grade, can you keep your entry speed?

Remember, takeoffs (towing) is optional..
Landings (vehicle control and safe stopping) are not optional.

Have a friend follow you and video the above.
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Old 04-27-2021, 07:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
Too many variables...

Takeoffs are optional, landings are not.

Lexus and other manufacturers specs are great for sales.. and are surely well planned.

- what is the trailer braking system capable of handling?
- is trailer EOH?
- what is your experience level pulling trailers?
- what terrain will you travel in?
- etc...

If you are towing in desert highway, no wind, all may be bliss. When you have to manage load close to the Lexus design limits, your tow experience will vary compared to a more task designed vehicle like an MRAP... .

For the experience, rent a huge Uhaul trailer. Load it with water bottles, then pull with your Lexus. Then, try to do an “evasive maneuver”... then an “aggressive straight line stop”, then a turning stop like on an exit or entrance ramp. Find a king “grade” to pull the trailer down. Can you stop it? Head back up the same grade, can you keep your entry speed?

Remember, takeoffs (towing) is optional..
Landings (vehicle control and safe stopping) are not optional.

Have a friend follow you and video the above.
I will note, however, that the GX is a body-on-frame vehicle, I believe. It is actually quite capable, or at least was in the earlier iterations.
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