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-   -   Help! Caravel or Bambi 19CB - opinions wanted :) (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f548/help-caravel-or-bambi-19cb-opinions-wanted-212957.html)

DennisL 10-21-2020 11:09 PM

Hi Rushmo! Man, I am so excited to see this post - knowing what I know now, and after this past few months I have a LOT to share - in fact, we should probably just get on the phone!! So here's a few things.

#1, I just finished up three weeks on the road. Not married, but do have a girlfriend, and she was with me. I weigh about 165 and shes about 110... so we're small humans. The bed was tighter than the queen in my house, but we managed just fine. We both get up here and there to pee- and we didnt have too many issues - sort of just a part of living in the trailer. What was nice was that, instead of camping and unzipping a tent - there was a toilet right there!!

The folding door wasnt a thing in 2017, so our door is on a 45 degree angle... not ideal., but again, we're small so it works.

All in all, im SO glad I got the international signature and not a bambi as I LOVE the creature comforts - so good move on the Caravel. I wont focus on the layout of your trailer, because its purchased and its going to be amazing, and in truth - if you dont love it - you'll just trade it in and get a different one. But the meat of the subject is the old tacoma.

So. For starters. I just bought a 2020 F150 Lariat super crew with max tow package... (which tells you where I landed on things)

Heres the important detail on the tacoma... open your door and read the GVWR of the truck. There is a sticker inside your driver door and it says "TIRE AND LOADING INFORMATION" and the first main line says "the combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX" This is the critical number. On my truck (2017 TRD off road 4 door) it says 950lbs... so, running that math. Tongue weight on the 19' trailer is 550, which leaves 400 pounds... Leer canopy is 200... which leaves 200 pounds, my james baroud rooftop tent (which I know I should just take off) is 100, which leaves 100... that 100 has to account for me, my girlfriend, our dogs, and ANY gear we want to carry in the truck. Long story short, you'll likely wind up at, very close to, or likely over your payload. This means that if you go to a Certified CAT scale and weigh your axles that back drive axle will likely be over it's GAWR (gross axle weight rating) especially if you load up your trailer and fill the fresh water tank to do some boondocking.

SO then, here's the reality of it. The truck can pull it. Overloaded or not, I am convinced that there's got to be a factor of safety allowing for it to pull that load. I did 3000 miles with it, and we were ok. So, in short, with a weight distribution hitch and your tacoma, you should be ok. BUT you just spent over 70k on a trailer. You want to feel confident and certain that you're safe. So after reading 100's of threads on this very subject trying to figure out what I could do (I even bought $1000 worth of Load rated E tires when I was in Montana to help stabalize our load) I just caved and traded the truck.

I loved my Tacoma - but one fellow airforums friend said some words to me that resonated which were, "my life is changing, and I need to change with it" so I swallowed a pill and bought a 1/2 ton truck that can safely and comfortably tow my trailer and then some, and now I'll move on. Hopefully my gas mileage is slightly better as I was getting 12.5mpg with the stock tires and 11.5mpg with the new cooper AT3 load E tires... which meant filling up every few hours.

Also - heading west out of Jackson Wyoming on a pass that had 10% grade the tacoma could not pass 25 mph... I have a 6 sp manual, I was floored in second gear, and that's all I could get out of it. Brutal.

If you want to chat more, let me know!
All my best
Dennis


Quote:

Originally Posted by rushmo (Post 2424561)
DennisL, did you get your AS? Which one did you choose? We are buying a new 20FB, and will also be towing with a Tacoma. I had originally wanted the 16 Bambi, but my wife rejected the wet bath. Then we keyed in on the 19CB, which we loved until we looked at one. We didn't like the weird bi-fold door on the bathroom. You didn't say if you're married, but we felt that the bed, being adjacent to that cumbersome bathroom door would be awkward for having to get up during the night. If you're on your own, though, I think the 19 would be fine. Our dealer had a Caravel 20FB coming within the month, so we jumped on it. We don't have it yet, and are getting pretty antsy for it. I'm a little nervous about towing the 20 with my Tacoma, but the dealer doesn't seem worried. I hope he ( and several other posters on this site ) are correct, but at this point, I can't imagine crossing the rockies with it. I think the weight of the 20FB represents about 70% of the recommended max for the Tacoma. I think I'd feel more comfortable at about 50%. which would be the 16 Bambi. So every little creep upward adds to the weight, the length, the $$$ and so on. And voila we go from the 16 Bambi to the 20 Caravel. But, back to your original question about whether the $12,000 difference is worth it, I think if you can swing it, I'd say yes, for sure. The ducted AC, the powered jac, and the window package, I think will make a lot of difference. I'd love to hear if you have gotten yours, and what your impressions are. Best, Rushmo


rushmo 10-22-2020 09:52 PM

Dennis, thanks for the reply. I have tried to answer you three times, but keep doing something wrong. Anyway, I can't do it now, but I will definitely respond to you soon.

rushmo 10-23-2020 05:48 AM

Dennis, finally getting around to a response after several false starts. I’m glad you were able to get something you like, and I think the floor plan of the 19 is very cool. I like that the bed and dinette are separated so that, in a pinch, you could conceivably have an overnight guest. Not sure I will want to do that in the 20 as the dinette is right next to the bed. It would be one thing with a grandkid or two, but doesn’t seem very practical otherwise.
Anyway, as you say, the meat of this thread is the Tacoma as a TV. I won’t have the extra weight that you talked about, but I can still see maxing out pretty quick. Right now, though, I can’t trade my Tacoma, so we’re going to start out towing with it, and see what happens. I think we’ll be fine here in relatively flat N. Texas, but the mountains are probably not in the picture yet. I mentioned all this to my salesman yesterday, and he seems to think we’ll be fine with the Tacoma.
I did find a Cat Scale about a mile from the dealership, so when we pick it up, I plan to go there first and get a baseline dry weight. At least then I’ll know where I’m starting from. I’m hoping to make it at least a year before I have to think about trading the Tacoma. My salesman told me yesterday that he’s getting two trailers on Saturday, so hopefully one of them will be ours.
It’s been great talking to you, and I really appreciate your input, as our situations are so similar.
I hear it’s getting ready to get cold up your way, so I hope you’re ready. Best to you, Rushmo!

DennisL 10-23-2020 10:21 AM

Just a quick reply here so others searching can find it - I think you'll be fine with the Tacoma to start out. It's kinda of a similar logic to saying, you'll be ok with any golf clubs or any skis or any fishing pole to just get started, but I do think in time you're likely to outgrow it. Without the added weight I had, you'll hopefully be able to stay under your gross axle weight ratings. In the short term some folks have talked about beefier springs, load rated E tires, and even air bags. The ride was never the issue, with the Blueox 750 I hardly noticed any sway, once the trailer is up and running on a flat highway, I was able to maintain 65+ MPH no problem. It's just the power going up and down big hills, and then in little maneuvers where there's any power required, backing up a hill, etc. You feel it more and the Tacoma just feels a bit small. I bet you'd be fine with it for many years - in full disclosure I'm just a bit of a perfectionist and my crazy brain wont let me just enjoy if I am worried about anything, and I really didnt want to take the LEER canopy of the Tacoma and I did want to eventually carry a couple of E-bikes and the honda 2000 generator (Propane model... they are hard to find, but prevent ever needing to carry gasoline!) and I knew that with that extra weight plus a couple of adults, I'd almost always be over my weight.
For now - try to run your trailer with empty water tanks and fill it at or near where you camp, dont carry a ton of weight in the truck, and you're going to be just fine. That said - please post back in a few months and let me (and others) know how it goes for you - I think there's a lot of tacoma owners out there that are seeking this answer!! All my best - I hope that shipment is, in fact, your trailer!!! Ill be hooking the F150 up for the first time this weekend and trying out the bigger TV!

Quote:

Originally Posted by rushmo (Post 2424946)
Dennis, finally getting around to a response after several false starts. Iím glad you were able to get something you like, and I think the floor plan of the 19 is very cool. I like that the bed and dinette are separated so that, in a pinch, you could conceivably have an overnight guest. Not sure I will want to do that in the 20 as the dinette is right next to the bed. It would be one thing with a grandkid or two, but doesnít seem very practical otherwise.
Anyway, as you say, the meat of this thread is the Tacoma as a TV. I wonít have the extra weight that you talked about, but I can still see maxing out pretty quick. Right now, though, I canít trade my Tacoma, so weíre going to start out towing with it, and see what happens. I think weíll be fine here in relatively flat N. Texas, but the mountains are probably not in the picture yet. I mentioned all this to my salesman yesterday, and he seems to think weíll be fine with the Tacoma.
I did find a Cat Scale about a mile from the dealership, so when we pick it up, I plan to go there first and get a baseline dry weight. At least then Iíll know where Iím starting from. Iím hoping to make it at least a year before I have to think about trading the Tacoma. My salesman told me yesterday that heís getting two trailers on Saturday, so hopefully one of them will be ours.
Itís been great talking to you, and I really appreciate your input, as our situations are so similar.
I hear itís getting ready to get cold up your way, so I hope youíre ready. Best to you, Rushmo!


rushmo 10-24-2020 08:38 AM

I got the call from our dealer yesterday! We are so excited. We’re picking it up on Tuesday, and in any other circumstance, would be loaded to hit the road. But we’re having driveway/ landscaping/ parking pad work start on Monday, so we’ll need to be here. Fortunately, we have a neighbor with a nice circular drive who said park it here. So we’ll camp out in his yard till we can get things sorted out. Good luck with the F150.

Saluda372 10-26-2020 06:27 AM

Congrats and enjoy.

Halford1 10-26-2020 11:00 AM

If the f150 is used, no need for breaking in the engine. if its new, suggest that a break in period should be done. 1000 miles on limit 55 MPH. no hard braking, no towing. no fast starts. go easy while driving, then after 1K miles, you are free to do anything. The breaking in helps the engine last very long time.

dgordon 01-23-2021 09:59 AM

I'm jumping in uninvited on this conversation but you used a buzz word that raised my interest: Honda. Is your tow vehicle a Honda and if so what model and year. With a manufacturer's tongue weight capacity of 600 lbs., I know it's not a Ridgeline or Pilot... and that only leaves the Odyssey as a possibility. Would love to hear from you on this. Many thanks.

LNBright 01-23-2021 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dgordon (Post 2452796)
I'm jumping in uninvited on this conversation but you used a buzz word that raised my interest: Honda. Is your tow vehicle a Honda and if so what model and year. With a manufacturer's tongue weight capacity of 600 lbs., I know it's not a Ridgeline or Pilot... and that only leaves the Odyssey as a possibility. Would love to hear from you on this. Many thanks.

No, Honda as mentioned was the generator. A Honda 2200i inverter generator, used for recharging batteries and running the electricity on the AS.

He had a Tacoma, it didn't offer enough payload, he traded for a Ford F150 pickup.

I had a 4Runner, I have a FC20, and I know that there some people that tow such w/ a 4Runner, but I wasn't comfortable towing on the margin, I traded for a Sierra.


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