Auto User Guide

Airstream Travel Trailer Bambi 2023 Towing User Manual

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Airstream Travel Trailer Bambi 2023 Off-Road Towing User Manual

Off-Road Towing

When driving in mud and sand, let the momentum carry the rig through. Apply power gently and use as little as possible. Stay in the tracks of the vehicle ahead and keep the tow vehicle in the highest possible gear. If you get stuck, it is best to tow the entire rig together without unhitching.

When Being Passed

Despite the best hitch, you will notice that whenever a large bus or truck overtakes your rig, the displaced air first pushes the trailer rear slightly to the right and then affects the front. It may be necessary to steer very slightly, momentarily, toward the bus or truck to help compensate for the sway induced by the passing vehicle. Do not apply the vehicle brakes, as this
can tend to exaggerate the situation. You may find, however, that briefly applying the trailer brakes with your manual control will help eliminate sway.
On a two-lane road, cars may line up behind you because you travel at a lower speed. It is both courteous and sensible, if you are able, to signal, pull onto the shoulder, and let them pass. Your trailer is designed to be towed easily at any legal speed, so if you are not careful, you may be inclined to forget it is there.


On freeways or expressways, pick the lane you want and try to stay in it. Always maintain plenty of space between you and the car ahead, at least the length of the tow vehicle plus trailer, for every 10 miles per hour. Remember that in order to pass another vehicle, you will need longer to accelerate. You must also allow for the length of the trailer when returning to the right hand lane.

Backing Up

When backing up, the important thing to remember is to do everything slowly and to immediately correct if you see the trailer turning the wrong way. Concentrate on the rear of the trailer. With your tow vehicle and trailer in a straight line, back up slowly and turn the bottom of the steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. Watch out of the window or in the mirror until the rear of the trailer is pointing in the desired direction. Your tow vehicle will be following the trailer in an arc. Straighten the tow vehicle and trailer by turning the steering wheel more sharply, and then, when they are in line, straighten the steering wheel.
Always try to back to your left because the visibility is much better. When you don’t make it on the first try, it is usually much easier to pull forward to your original position and start over, or at least pull forward until the rig is straight, and then start backing.
If your spouse or traveling companion normally directs you when backing, they should position themselves forward of the tow vehicle so the driver can easily see them. Their directions should always indicate to the driver the direction the rear of the trailer should go. A little practice in a parking lot with the person giving directions can save a lot of frustration when backing into a campsite.

Stopped On a Hill

Refer to the following warning if stopped on a hill for a prolonged period of time.

Chock the trailer wheels when stopping on a hill or slope. Leaving your tow vehicle in gear is not enough for standstill safety. Do not use trailer brakes as parking brakes.

Controlling Sway or Fishtailing
Sway or fishtailing is the sideways action of a trailer caused by external forces. It is common for travel trailers to sway in response to strong winds, crosswinds, when passed by or passing a semi-tractor and trailer, or driving downhill.

Excessive sway or fishtailing of your travel trailer can lead to the rollover of the trailer and tow vehicle. Serious injury or death can occur. It is important that you read and understand the information in this section.

Sway or fishtailing of your recreation vehicle can be controlled and is primarily impacted by four factors:

  • Equipment
  • Tongue Weight
  • Driving
  • Corrective Measures

When hitched together, the trailer and the tow vehicle must be level. The tires of both the trailer and tow vehicle should be in good condition and properly inflated to their recommended pressures.
Braking is a very important factor in vehicle control; see Brakes on page 7-2 and see Electronic Brake Controller on page 7-2.
We recommend a friction sway damper or hitch with built-in sway control be provided for your unit. Please consult your dealer regarding this equipment. For more information, see Sway Control Device on page 7-8.

Tongue weight
For information about tongue weight, see Weighing Your Trailer on page 7-4 and see Equalizing Hitch Load Distribution on page 7-5.

This is the most important component. The tendency for the vehicle to sway increases with speed therefore, obey all speed limits and reduce speed during inclement weather or windy conditions.

Tongue weight
Refer to Weighing Your Trailer and, Equalizing Hitch Load Distribution in this section.

This is the most important component. The tendency for the vehicle to sway increases with speed therefore, obey all speed limits and reduce speed during inclement weather or windy conditions.

Corrective Measures
If sway occurs, the following techniques should be used:

  1. Slow down immediately and remove your foot from the accelerator. Avoid using the tow vehicle brakes unless there is a danger of collision. Reduce speed gradually whenever possible. If you can do so safely, use the brake hand controller to gently and progressively apply the trailer brakes. This will help to keep the vehicles aligned. Practice using the brake hand controller on a deserted parking lot. Do not wait until an emergency occurs before using it. Location of the brake hand controller is important and should be made easily accessible.
  2. Steer as little as possible while maintaining control of the vehicle. Because of natural reaction lag time, quick steering movements to counter trailer sway will actually cause increased sway and loss of control. Keep both hands on the wheel. Hold the wheel as straight as possible until stability is regained.
  3. Do not jam on the brakes or attempt to press on the accelerator to speed your way out of the fishtailing. Both actions make the situation worse and could cause severe injury or death.
  4. Once the swaying is under control, stop as soon as possible. Check tire pressures, cargo weight distribution, and look for any signs of mechanical failure. Travel at reduced speeds that permit full control until the problem can be identified and corrected.

Sway Control Device

Although Airstream has not intruded into the hitch manufacturer’s field of expertise and performed formal testing, we find the vast majority of Airstream owners purchase sway-control devices.
When passed by large trucks or when exposed to sudden crosswinds, the trailer will be pushed and this action will be felt in the tow vehicle. It is our understanding that the sway control device will reduce the amount of movement, make towing more comfortable, and add some safety. Follow the directions of the sway control manufacturer when having the device installed and when using it.

Reference Links

View Full User Guide: Airstream Travel Trailer Bambi 2023 User Manual

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