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Old 03-30-2021, 08:01 AM   #1
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Hitch Weight

Hi everyone, I recently ordered a AS Bambi 19cb. My TV, a 2021 Subaru Ascent has a max tow of 5000 and hitch weight of 500. I realized that the bambi has a tongue weight of 520. Any recommendation on how to reduce the hitch weight? Im a newbie to towing a trailer.
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:16 AM   #2
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Hi. I'm going to give a unpopular answer here.
You're new to towing.
You really need a larger tow vehicle.
Your trailer has a lot of opportunity to "drive" your small ( light/ short wheelbase) tow vehicle.
Putting a bandaid on it, doesn't change the above.
Thats what you don't want happening with a combination vehicle.
It's a safety thing...
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:44 AM   #3
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I have to agree with B Cole regarding a different tow vehicle. Modifying the trailer to lower tongue weight is a dangerous idea. The physics of towing a mid axle trailer at freeway speeds require a hitch weigh around 12% to 15% of the trailer weight. Otherwise it will wobble and sway causing a really bad accident in the process of flipping over wrecking itself and probably your new car.

Your new Airstream has a tongue rated weight of 525, 25lbs over your new car rating, so you're already underwater. Add in camping supplies and things only get heavier. Airstream also recommends use of a weight distribution hitch with sway control. These units generally weigh between 60 and 100 lbs all said. Add that to your tongue weight.

At 500 lbs max tongue weight I question whether your Subaru allows use of a weight distribution hitch. Check the owners manual. If not that's an automatic deal ender.
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:52 AM   #4
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Add the chance that the tongue weight will likely be much heavier then the advertised specs.
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Old 03-30-2021, 09:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dowee_1223 View Post
Hi everyone, I recently ordered a AS Bambi 19cb. My TV, a 2021 Subaru Ascent has a max tow of 5000 and hitch weight of 500. I realized that the bambi has a tongue weight of 520. Any recommendation on how to reduce the hitch weight? Im a newbie to towing a trailer.
You won't be able to reduce the tongue weight.
Mainly because as of now, you don't know it.
AS lists an optimistic unloaded TW, there is a very good chance it will be 100-150 more than listed.
Now, load it for camping, weigh it and you'll have the actual TW.
The Subaru has plenty of HP, but the 5000lb towing capacity is the absolute max weight it can tow but it's design doesn't allow for the 12-15% TW needed for safety.

BTW...some may advise tow vehicle upgrades, that is a personal decision.
I don't

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Old 03-30-2021, 10:16 AM   #6
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I agree with the other with the other responses, you are above the max tongue weight, the gross weight of the trailer will be near your tow limit and when you add all of your camping gear you will probably be above or near your payload capacity. I see you are in California, so you will probably be driving over mountain passes which could get sketchy.

I too have a 19' Bambi, and when I bought I looked into Chevy Tahoe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, Ford F150, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Durango. Bought an older F150 that I used just for towing - just because it's always nice having an old truck around. When the truck died I bought a used Dodge Durango - dirt cheap, can tow 7,200 lbs, 4WD, high ground clearance and it's old enough that it's no big deal if I put a scratch on it while loading bikes, kayaks or skis on it.
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:25 AM   #7
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As noted, the advertised TW is for a "dry" trailer - as delivered from the factory. Once you put your stuff in the trailer, it will go up. Also as noted, you want a TW of 10-15% of actual trailer weight. If you are under that weight, don't drive over 35 mph. Speed and low tongue weight result in sway. Sway will put your tow vehicle and trailer in the ditch or worse.
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorSam205 View Post
As noted, the advertised TW is for a "dry" trailer - as delivered from the factory. Once you put your stuff in the trailer, it will go up. Also as noted, you want a TW of 10-15% of actual trailer weight. If you are under that weight, don't drive over 35 mph. Speed and low tongue weight result in sway. Sway will put your tow vehicle and trailer in the ditch or worse.
I agree.Plus, you want your tongue weight just about at 15% of trailer weight, to help avoid above.
Plus, that Bambi is a single axle.
You want weight added in front of that axle, not behind it, to avoid sway.Which adds to tongue weight.
I agree with another post, and here's for the 1/2 Ton guys .
The Ford F-150 would be a great choice of tow vehicle for that Bambi.
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Old 03-30-2021, 11:16 AM   #9
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All subarus are very much light duty. If you do decide to change, look into a body on frame suv like the 4runner. They are a solid vehicle that will last as long as your airstream. they can take real abuse and keep on kicking and they will do it for 300k+ miles.



With that said use what you got. You will probably need to look into suspension upgrades and a good hitch. Does your manual allow for weight distribution hitches? Some unibody cars can't handle the forces.
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:40 PM   #10
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Subaru doesn’t recommend WDH. I’m meeting with dealer from AS tomorrow to see what my options are
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:45 PM   #11
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I would love to have the F-150. But I just purchased my Subaru 6 months ago. At the time I wasn’t planning on towing a trailer. My friend convinced me to get an AS so we can go camping with them. Hind sight, I would’ve shopped for a 1/2 ton truck instead of a small SUV. I owned a Tundra before so I know at 1/2 ton would do the job
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Old 03-31-2021, 07:58 AM   #12
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Your Subaru would a capable tow vehicle for a trailer up to the 3,500 lb GVWR range. The hitch weight on such a trailer would be close to 500 lbs. Check out Casita trailers. They're similar to Airstream, about the size of a Bambi but much lighter and less expensive. Other options include pop-up trailers. We had a pop-up for years when the kids we're with us. I stored it in our garage, something that can't be done with an Airstream.

Good luck in your camping trailer search.
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Old 03-31-2021, 08:51 AM   #13
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You have some pretty good advice here. If it were me and all I want to do is go RV camping with friends, I'd look at the Casita 17 SD. If you have your heart set on the Airstream Bambi 19 CB then a 1/2 ton pick-up may be in your future.
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dowee_1223 View Post
Hi everyone, I recently ordered a AS Bambi 19cb. My TV, a 2021 Subaru Ascent has a max tow of 5000 and hitch weight of 500. I realized that the bambi has a tongue weight of 520. Any recommendation on how to reduce the hitch weight? I’m a newbie to towing a trailer.
In many owner's experience, the hitch weights are generally heavier than what is stated. IIRC, the water tank for the 19' is under one of the streetside front dinette seats (if similar model). If so, then you could tow without water and at 8.6lbs per gallon, maybe save 150lbs depending on tank capacity.

What you are thinking about doing though, IN MY OPINON having towed for nearly 30 years, is ill advised. The Bambi is small, and lightweight, but it's just crossing over the line and most folks like to have about 15-20% reserve, whereas you are already in the negatives. Mountainous towing is simply out of the question, unless you are not for the world, then by all mean, sure.

Can you do it on the flatland? Probably, but it won't be a pleasant experience in wind, evasive maneuvers (which happen often) and it's may not be very safe overall. IMHO, you are not grossly over, but you will have some things you are either going to have to deal with or just accept as a level of risk that is tolerable to you, making sure your insurance company feels similarly.

I also would mention that whatever the tow rating of the Subaru, it also is governed by the same laws of physics. Cargo, passengers, fuel, etc get deducted from the tow capacity, so your 5000lb rating is prob closer to 4500.

I don't think you need 1/2 pickup unless you want one, but there are several TV out there not truck based that can do this more safely.

As with many owners who buy small(er), they eventually upgrade in less than 5 years from the Bambi, so if you go ahead and decide to get a different TV, get one for a least 1-2 sizes bigger so that you are not in the same position once you become a seasoned Airstreamer, ready for a bit bigger unit.....it's all too common of a tale...ask me know I know.
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:34 AM   #15
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I agree with the general direction of the comments above. You need a more robust tow vehicle.

On a related note, I’ve owned two Subaru Foresters. I bought them both new for my sons to drive when they were teenagers. Both cars were treated well, maintained properly, etc. Unfortunately, both cars suffered catastrophic engine failure at roughly 80,000 miles, with no warning of impending failure. The narrative from Subaru corporate is that their boxer engine design is prone to overheating, which can lead to engine failure under certain circumstances. I will never buy a Subaru again, and if I owned one, I wouldn’t do something that taxed the engine like towing. Based on my experience (n of 2), I think that a Subaru engine is a bomb waiting to explode. Stressing the engine is just like lighting the fuse!
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:58 AM   #16
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All of the above - and be aware that a good WDH will add 75-100 pounds of hitch weight making your unloaded 520 pound weight grow to around 600 lbs before you add personal supplies to the AS and to the tow vehicle.
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter417 View Post
All subarus are very much light duty. If you do decide to change, look into a body on frame suv like the 4runner. They are a solid vehicle that will last as long as your airstream. they can take real abuse and keep on kicking and they will do it for 300k+ miles.
.
The 2021 4Runner towing capacity is 5,000 lbs., same as the Ascent they already own. The Tacoma (base) is 3,500 but you can get upgrades to 6,800.

Older models of 4Runners with the V8 can tow 7,000 lbs., but stay away from 2003 MY. They have frame rust problems.
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Old 03-31-2021, 06:39 PM   #18
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If you were closer, Id offer to sell you my 2020 F-150 so I could move up to the F-250 or F-350. The F-150 is a nice truck and perfect for your Bambi. Youre spending a chunk of change for the Bambi. Make the towing experience safer by picking up a half-ton truck.
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Old 03-31-2021, 07:03 PM   #19
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A 1/2 ton is nice but there are many SUVs that will work great if that’s what you prefer. Just not your Subaru.
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:54 AM   #20
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If you were closer, Id offer to sell you my 2020 F-150 so I could move up to the F-250 or F-350..
No, you'll need a 450 for sure with that 25'r. 😂
Mines big too.🥴

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