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Old 07-08-2020, 07:18 PM   #1
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Toyota 4Runner and 19 ft Bambi

PLEASE Help Iím new to Airstream forum!!
We are closing in on a new 19ft Bambi and have some
concerns regarding my TV.
My 4Runner limits are 5000lb and 500lb at the hitch.
My TV has no problem with a heavy 17ft BW fishing boat
but Iím I pushing its limits with the 19 ft Bambi?
We want to eventually cruise around the USA with it!?

Specs on the 2021 Bambi 19 footer

Base wt 3650
Max GVWR 5,000
With a net carrying limit of 1,350
19 ft Bambi has a hitch at of ď525Ē slightly over!?
Would my 4Runner with a good WD hitch do the trick!?
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:41 PM   #2
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Cutting it close with tow vehicle

Your going to be over your rated tongue weight for your 4 Runner right off the bat. A Weight Distributing hitch will add to the stress on the factory receiver. Lots of folks call CanAm Rv in Ontario, Canada for advice on how to modify there vehicle to tow a trailer above its factory rated capacity. Ask for Andy Thompson, the "Towing Guru".

At the end of the day if your going to travel the country your going to need a more capable tow vehicle. The sooner you get one the more enjoyable the experience will be not having to grit your teeth when you go up a long steep grade or worse yet try to keep it under control going down the other side.

Your choice. Hook it up and try it. Then decide if an appropriate tow vehicle would make you feel safer and more relaxed on your journey. Happy travels.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:46 PM   #3
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One more thought....

While your 4 Runner may tow that heavy boat it does not have the "Frontal Area" that a big old travel trailer has. Not only are you pulling weight you are fighting wind resistance of a 10' high, 8' wide trailer. Now, Airstreams do have less drag than the SOB boxes, but it still has wind resistance. Just a thought for you to keep in mind.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:46 PM   #4
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If you have your heart set on making the 4 Runner work you can. First off, you and your passengers will need to be somewhat calm and not react to the trailer testing the 4 Runner suspension. The primary reason the limits are low is because the 4 Runner is designed for off road so the suspension is soft and has long travel. While towing you will feel the spongy suspension, it will feel a bit like you're on a boat in rolling waves. Stability and safety wise you will be fine. But if you get sea sick, not so much. Consider giving up some off road capability and stiffen up the suspension with helper springs or airbags. It will make a big difference.

Check the receiver mount, it may be flimsy and weak, You want no flex in the mount, so all the torque transfers to the 4 Runner frame.

Next, the transmission and engine will heat up a bit on steep climbs out west. Consider addition of an external transmission cooler and perhaps a transmission fluid temperature gauge. You want to try to keep the fluid below 240 F. 170 is ideal, 220 is fine. 250 and you should replace it after 20k, 350 or more and you should replace it ASAP.

Brakes may also be a small problem out west. Buy a thermo scanner and take brake rotor temperatures especially immediately after a downhill run. You want them to stay under 350. If you find them hotter, get some road performance brake pads, rated for 700 F. Don't get road and track or track, they will wear out your rotors too fast and the dust and noise will be annoying. Since you have a scanner check the differential temperature. take the reading after a long climb, wait 10 minutes after stopping and add 40 F to what you get. Here you want it below 300.

All this a big hassle? Yes but it is the cost of running on the edge.

Again the vehicle will not have safety or stability issues but you will want to stiffen up the tires. If you can, over inflate the rear by 5-8 psi that will help. If you can't get a tire with a higher load rating/index. The thermo scanner will also help setting proper air pressure. I can explain that if you ask.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:39 AM   #5
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Great advice for your TV so far. Another consideration is to be aware of many past owners Of shorter ASís move to a longer trailer within a brief period of ownership. If/when that happens your current discussion on a TV will be trumped.

True story - a couple from Atlanta visited Top Of GA AS park during a Rally with a short AS on itís first trip and immediately decided to get a longer AS.

Merely food for thought. Welcome to the AS family! Hope to see you at an AS Rally on the future!
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Old 07-09-2020, 12:13 PM   #6
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You have made a wise decision in requesting help in your situation. I will say right up front that I am in the "you need a bigger truck" camp most of the time.

WD hitches were designed to compensate for insufficient payload capacity of a TV. They are only a crutch as in "I have a sprained knee so I need some help walking steadily". With a big enough TV they ARE helpful for sway and dialing in your RV to the TV.

Camping is supposed to be fun and hopefully stress free. Trying to haul an RV with a maxed out TV is not fun. There's nothing fun about white knuckle driving the whole time hoping you don't have to act fast in an emergency situation. Regardless of what anyone on here tells you one way or the other, running on the edge is irresponsible and dangerous to you and everyone else on the road. If you're already on the edge then an emergency maneuver will likely cost loss of control quickly.

Of course some folks are gamblers, and gamble with their's as well as with others lives. I bet you aren't one of them.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:23 PM   #7
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Otter Rock , Oregon
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Hello
Here’s some ‘in use’ data from our 19’ Bambi
2017 19’ International Signature
5% fresh water
1 full propane tank, other approximately 1/2 full
2 standard 12v battery
About 570# Actual tongue weight measured with a Sherline scale
So it looks like you can do it with your 4Runner but careful planning will be required.
The trailer tows beautifully I’m sure you will love it. We considered a 16, but have not regretted the 19 at ANY point.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:35 PM   #8
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the overall message is correct but allow me to clear up two points.

First, a WD hitch isn't a crutch to compensate for insufficient payload any more than are arches under or over a road surface on a bridge. WD is an integral and useful tool to compensate for imbalanced torque due to hitch point location. Can one design a flat bridge with enough stiffness in the roadway to avoid arches? Sure. Can one find a vehicle large enough so WD has negligible impact? Sure. Is it effective? How many flat bridges do you see?

Second, sometimes limits are set for comfort and confidence and as you say it is not much fun when one has this issue. In this thread the 4 Runner is safe and stable towing at 5000 lb so its hard to support the idea it is irresponsible or dangerous.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:37 PM   #9
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I tried to use my Taco towing a Flying Cloud 20’. It said it was rated to 6,000 lbs. The problem I found was that it was under powered especially on hills. Ended up with the Toyota Sequoia. Works great.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:54 PM   #10
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Do the math.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gills View Post
PLEASE Help Iím new to Airstream forum!!
We are closing in on a new 19ft Bambi and have some
concerns regarding my TV.
My 4Runner limits are 5000lb and 500lb at the hitch.
My TV has no problem with a heavy 17ft BW fishing boat
but Iím I pushing its limits with the 19 ft Bambi?
We want to eventually cruise around the USA with it!?

Specs on the 2021 Bambi 19 footer

Base wt 3650
Max GVWR 5,000
With a net carrying limit of 1,350
19 ft Bambi has a hitch at of ď525Ē slightly over!?
Would my 4Runner with a good WD hitch do the trick!?
Add another 75-80 lbs. for the weight of the WD hitch and you'll be quite a bit over the rated tongue weight for your 4-runner. Then add weights of driver and passenger(s), and additional stuff you plan to carry.

For long-distance driving, you'll feel every bump in the road, and you'll place undue stress on your tow vehicle hitch system.
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Old 07-09-2020, 05:24 PM   #11
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+1 on calling Andy

Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new Airstream!
We used to have a 4 Runner. Very nice vehicle but never tried to tow a trailer with it. I saw a presentation by Andy at CanAm at alumapalooza a couple years ago. He briefly mentioned the 4Runner and was not very complimentary about the strength of the hitch and the overall suitability of that vehicle for RV towing. That’s not to say it couldn’t be beefed up to work.

If you want to keep the 4Runner you should call Andy and see what he thinks can be done. If you can afford it, you might want to look at other tow vehicle choices (with a longer wheelbase and higher hitch & load capacity).
Pay close attention to payload and hitch ratings.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:23 AM   #12
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I tow my 22 Bambi sport with a 2016 4Runner with Husky centreline wd system. Though the tongue weight and load on the 22 sport is a little lighter than yours, the wd system hitch adds a lot of weight. It struggles to accelerate a bit, but pulls well and never felt any sway. However, after two years, I decided to upgrade to an F150 for that extra weight and performance + wiggle room to upgrade the AS in the future.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backfortyjoe View Post
I tried to use my Taco towing a Flying Cloud 20’. It said it was rated to 6,000 lbs. The problem I found was that it was under powered especially on hills. Ended up with the Toyota Sequoia. Works great.
I have a Taco and 20', tows great. Taco unfortunately has a terrible exhaust note that make you think it's struggling at 3.5k when it's actually cruising along no problem. Just made a RI to CA trip over lots of mountains this winter, so that's based on experience not just flat-land towing. Your Taco was rated 6k? What year? Mine is 6.5K, a 2016.
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4YZ View Post
Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new Airstream!
We used to have a 4 Runner. Very nice vehicle but never tried to tow a trailer with it. I saw a presentation by Andy at CanAm at alumapalooza a couple years ago. He briefly mentioned the 4Runner and was not very complimentary about the strength of the hitch and the overall suitability of that vehicle for RV towing. Thatís not to say it couldnít be beefed up to work.

If you want to keep the 4Runner you should call Andy and see what he thinks can be done. If you can afford it, you might want to look at other tow vehicle choices (with a longer wheelbase and higher hitch & load capacity).
Pay close attention to payload and hitch ratings.
As has already been described in detail, vehicles designed and marketed for off road including the 4 Runner make poor tow vehicles. Advice for how to compensate has also been provided. it is difficult to design a vehicle for two opposing purposes though. Once it is set up to tow competently and comfortably, it will no longer make a good vehicle for off road.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:08 AM   #15
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Ok tks for all the advice!
Decided to get the 16 foot Caravel instead of the 19 foot
Bambi I believe my 2020 Toyota 4Runner will be able to tow it at 4000 lb GVWR which will be at 80% of my TV limit and hitch weight at 490 just under too. Hopefully
easier and safer!
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:27 AM   #16
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Hi Gills,

We were in a similar quandary about our tow vehicle and decided to get a 2019 Sport 22FB. We did this for the added room/storage if offered but it is one of the lightest single axle trailers in many ways.

The tongue weight is published at 422 lbs. and even with our stuff onboard, we haven't seen it go over 500 lbs.

The ULW is 3,634 lbs. so there is a fair bit of room to our maximum towing capacity.

This appears to be the last year of the 3 way fridge. The 2020's have a 2-way (non propane version). which can make a difference if you are unplugged for a few days. To compensate for the lack of propane function, Airstream stuck another battery on the tongue which adds another ~ 60 to 70 lbs.

Another big benefit to this model is the width witch is 7'-4" compared to the 2020 models which are 8" wider. The narrower platform really helps for towing. We are able to see around ours without extended mirrors which is a real bonus.

There are some of these available if you check out the classifieds. I saw one posted today as a matter of fact! Good luck and I hope you get something that works for you!
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