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hrnicho 09-05-2002 06:23 PM

Tow Vehicle
Can I safely tow a new 19' Bambi hitch wieght 500 lbs and loaded weight of 4500 lbs with a 6 cylinder front wheel drive Pontiac Bonneville? Would a Mercury Marquis with rear wheel drive be better? I do not want a truck or an SUV. Thanks

alan 09-05-2002 07:00 PM

Tow Vehicle
You need to look at GM's tow ratings and restrictions for this vehicle. I seriously doubt it has the capacity to handle this weight.

53flyingcloud 09-23-2002 02:59 AM

Now what?
I believe your on the right track to ask this question and, you've come to the perfect place for answers based on experience!

RoadKingMoe 09-23-2002 06:39 AM

Cars aren't what they used to be. According to the Crown Victoria is rated to tow a 1,500 lb load with no more than 150 lb tongue weight. They don't have towing specs for the Grand Marquis, but it's essentially the same car. Some pop-up tent campers exceed that.

I can't find the same info on the GM sites... maybe someone else here knows where it is.

If you don't want a truck, van, or SUV because you'll be commuting with it, perhaps renting a motorhome for vacations would be an option.

Road Ruler 10-18-2002 06:46 AM

Specialty Tow Vehicles
Like many A/S owners specialty tow vehicles is my specific interest.

Whether it is right or wrong, safe or unsafe I am not prepared to comment but I can tell you what I have seen on the road.

During the summer I saw a newer Crown Victoria (same as Grand M) towing a large Airstream ( about 29 Ft ). While touring the Cabot trail on Cape Breton Island I noticed a late model Pontiac Grand Prix GT towing a 25 ft. Traillite.

A couple of weeks ago I looked at a 2002 Bonneville SSI specificly to check out its towing potential. The frame from the rear wheels back is light duty. The challenge would be is to custom build a solid platform to mount the class 3 hitch to.

Hope this helps.

overlander64 10-18-2002 07:05 AM

Tow Vehicle
Proceed with extreme caution when considering a modern, front wheel drive Pontiac Bonneville as a tow vehicle. I tried towing an 18 foot Nomad with an earlier model (pre-front wheel drive) Bonneville and it was pushed arround terribly by the 3,500 pound trailer - - with that car it was a problem of power and weight not frame - - it was too light and underpowered to handle the load despite its rating to tow that amount.

I would be shocked if GM rates the 2002/2003 Pontiac Bonnevilles to tow more than 1,500 pounds as the last time I checked the tow ratings for the "full-size" GM front drive, they were all under 2,000 pounds. It has been my experience that the most comfortable towing experiences can be had when the trailer doesn't exceed 65% to 75% of the tow vehicles maximum rated towing weight.

In today's market, I believe you are going to be disappointed with the potential tow vehicles that are not in the SUV class. None of the current full-size GM vehicles (automobiles) have trailer tow ratings of more than 2.000 pounds, and the last that I heard the same thing was true of Ford/Mercury products (automobiles) even those with the standard body on frame construction with V8 engines. I believe that it has been at least three to four years since either Ford or GM had automobiles with trailer towing capacities necessary for an Airstream Bambi - - with GM, it would have been the Buick Roadmaster and Cadillac Broughams - - possibly the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser wagon as well up through, I believe, 1996, 1997, or 1998.

Good luck in your search for the ideal tow vehicle for your Bambi.


gwsullivan 10-18-2002 08:12 AM

I think the coolest setup I have ever seen was a 1941 Ford coupe pulling a Bambi.

RoadKingMoe 10-18-2002 09:55 AM

Re: Specialty Tow Vehicles

Originally posted by Wayne F
During the summer I saw a newer Crown Victoria (same as Grand M) towing a large Airstream ( about 29 Ft ).Hope this helps.
The Crown Vic is rated for a maximum trailer weight of 1,500 lbs with 150 lb tongue weight:

Road Ruler 10-18-2002 11:01 AM


Now your talkin!!!

Wish I would have seen the 41 Ford / Bambi setup.
I know someday we are going to here about a Bambi being pulled by a new T-Bird or Lincloln LSC V/8.

I have also seen a late model Camaro Z28 convertible, 6 speed manual tranny, running around Ontario towing a 31 ft. bullet.

My sister has a Hummer H2 on order. I hope it comes with a 2 inch receiver so we can hook up the 23 and try grunting up some Northern Ontario logging roads for some wilderness camping.

Got a luv it. Do you think Wally would approve??:p

gwsullivan 10-18-2002 11:28 AM

I am considering a Hummer for my next tow vehicle.

I seem to remember a picture of Wally pulling an Airstream with a bicycle??

Road Ruler 10-18-2002 12:52 PM

Tow Ratings
I recently drove a new Kia Sorento SUV from our local dealer.

In their info package it states that the Tow Capacity is

(with trailer brakes) .......5,000 lbs
(without trailer brakes)....3,500 lbs

This is interesting because to my knowledge this is the first time an Auto maker has made a stipulation of this kind. It is about time. They are now starting to take the " smoke and mirrors" aspect out of the "tow rating" number.

What Kia is really saying is that their vehicle is tow rated for 5,000 lbs. but the vehicle has a weak link, that being the brakes. If your trailer has no brakes it brings down the tow rating to 3,500 lbs.

Now then....if we told Kia that we had an Airstream ( 30%) less drag and a Hensley hitch just maybe their number crunchers would adjust the tow rating value to possibly 5,500 lbs, or maybe 6,000 lbs..... Who knows????? Just a logical thought, in my own mind anyway.

Now understanding this it would make one wonder how many other vehicles out there have low tow ratings because of "the weak link" factor. I'm sure there are many and this is what fuels the contraversy. The key is to be able to recognize the weak link and deal with it effectivly.

In the case of our new Bonneville it is fairly obvious that the stamped piece of tin they call a rear frame from the rear wheels back is our weak link. At least one of the weak links, there may be more. That would require further investigation of the vehicle that I did not do.

Any thoughts???? Sock it to me guys!!!!!!

Rickk48 10-18-2002 01:33 PM

My Land Rover also has ratings with and without brakes. And the vehicle tow ratings on the Trail Life website have with and without brakes ratings which I believe are taken direct from the manufacturers. Not sure that this is a weak link, just two different ratings.

RoadKingMoe 10-18-2002 01:49 PM

Most states have a max trailer weight w/o brakes of much less than 3,500 lbs (3 are higher). It wouldn't surprise me if this is more of a legal thing... a DOT requirement for example.

53flyingcloud 10-18-2002 10:31 PM


I seem to remember a picture of Wally pulling an Airstream with a bicycle??

Don't kid yourself, you know it had to be an empty shell...
BUT, That's a excellent research question...

Road Ruler 10-19-2002 07:02 AM

Thnxs Folks It has been a few years since I bought my last vehicle. I was not aware that the auto companies were factoring trailer brakes into the equation. Good!!!

53flyingcloud 10-19-2002 07:37 AM

Granted Wish~
1 Attachment(s)
Enjoy ur new toy~!


I am considering a Hummer for my next tow vehicle.

Road Ruler 10-19-2002 11:08 AM


I just dug deep into the filing cabinet and found an old image of what appears to be a full size 1986 or 87 Oldsmobile V6 FWD with a long A/S ( about 30ft ). It is parked beside a sign that says Independence Pass, Elevation 12,095 ft. I am not familiar with that area. Maybe some of the folks out west know where that would be. Anyway looks like someone years ago has tried a combination similar to your enquiry.

COArgosy78 10-19-2002 04:45 PM

independence pass

The Independence Pass that I know and have traveled is in Colorado between Leadville and Aspen. It used to be (many moons ago) dirt and rather an exciting ride. Now rather tame, although several switchbacks ,still scenic (up high), paved and pretty much two lane. Gotta love it here. Leigh

overlander64 10-19-2002 05:57 PM

I have been away from my computer for the past few days and was catching up when I noticed the following post from 53FlyingCloud:


I seem to remember a picture of Wally pulling an Airstream with a bicycle??
This is not myth or advertising hyperbole it has actually been done with a 1948 Airstream Liner owned by Clyde Wagner at the 1999 WBCCI International Rally in Dayton, Ohio. The bicycle used in the towing was a slightly modified mountain bicycle.

I took several photos during this demonstration, and a few can be found at:

Towing Airstream with Bicycle Demonstration

The above is one example.


53flyingcloud 10-20-2002 01:10 AM


I seem to remember a picture of Wally pulling an Airstream with a bicycle??
This was a direct quote from gwsullivan...Not me..
I do thank you for sharing with all of us your remarkable info..
Nice pictures ~!

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