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Old 01-04-2007, 09:20 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
As I said earlier, the drum brakes might not be as good as disc brakes, but they are not by any measure "ridiculously underbraked"....At no time did the brakes on the Safari (drum brakes) fall short.
I did not mean to suggest that your Safari was underbraked given how we tow trailers (and I am very happy to hear that you've been though two hard braking situations without mishap).

But I doubt your Safari could stop itself all that quickly without the assistance of your tow vehicle. And more to the point, without having modeled the system and thus without my really knowing anything* I would would expect a system with three axles with a hinge between the 2nd and 3rd axle and about 40% of the weight on the 3rd axle would want at least 60% of the stopping power to be provided by the 3rd axle. Maybe more...and certainly not less than 33%. Thus my "ridiculously underbraked" comment - I think that anyone designing a TV/trailer system would put the strongest brakes in the back.

But no one (to my knowledge) designs TV/trailer systems. Some people build tow vehicles, other people build trailers, and yet other people build the widgets that allow us to connect it all together.

*perhaps the consensus opinion
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:35 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Leo. I have to believe though that the Airstream engineers knew what they were doing when they designed, built and sold RVs.
Silvertwinkie - You don't really believe that the engineers at Airstream build or sell them? Yes they do the design, but it is the management that makes the critical decisions regarding technology progress and the impact on costs. Most Airstreams still come standard with drum brakes and cheap batteries due to economics, pure and simple. The bean counters always win, and management upholds the victory to confirm their bonuses.

ljmiii - It's not a "Technology Time Warp", it's a "business as usual".

John
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:38 PM   #45
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Dragging the subject away from brakes for the moment...

Airstream is not the only trailer manufacturer that in my opinion is a little too close on weights. I looked a a brand-new SOB trailer Saturday. It was 16', 3500 pounds, similar in weight and size to your 16' Airstream. It had a 2500 pound axle under it. Unladen weight was 2700 pounds! Even if you consider 10% of the trailer weight will be on the tow vehicle, you will still only have 30 pounds of "stuff" to carry in it. Add to that 13" wheels and tires, and of course the standard 10" drum brakes, and your coach seems to have a tremendous margin of overcapacity, comparatively. It's not, really, but it is still more advanced than what other manufacturers are putting out.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:34 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by ljmiii
It was the same thing with the factory installed Airstream battery. I was amazed that they still had batteries that needed water. Not to mention that Airstream had just sold me something that wanted maintenance every two weeks! So a Lifeline went in.
Perhaps you had a bad battery? I've NEVER had a wet cell battery that required maintenance every 2 weeks. The batteries in my '04 CCD are original and I check the water levels about 4 times a year. I think I've only had to add water twice since owning them.
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:40 AM   #47
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Yea, I know the engieers don't actually build or sell the units, they design them. I'm sure that there are certain DOT rules somewhere that need to be followed in terms of braking and that Airstream, like all other RV builders follows those requirements.

I can say that without question, my 2004 Safari's brakes are more than up to the task. Hills, mountains, emerg braking....the full monte. Because they are new? Maybe. I know one thing for sure, folks do what they feel is best and there won't be any converts made on this thread.
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:58 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljmiii
I started this thread to see if anyone else had experieced the same 'technology shock' when they started to get into RVing. And it seems the thread has to a certain extent refocused into a discussion of braking systems. So let's see if I can bring these ideas back together...

The most common car in America is the Camry. A base level Camry is about $18,000 and 3300 lbs. It has 16" wheels, 4 disc brakes, ABS, and a limited braking stability system called Brake Assist. More expensive Camrys come with larger wheels and brakes and full on Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control. My Airstream was about $45,000 and an unladen weight of about 3200 lbs. It has 14" wheels, 2 drum brakes, and no electronic braking assistance. And this is considered normal.

As I've thought about this (admittedly for all of an hour or so) it occurs to me that most trailers are probably ridiculously underbraked. To compensate for the lack of braking ability we've been trained to put large vehicles in front. And to compensate for the lack of braking electronics we've been trained to introduce quirky anti-sway systems* and yet bigger vehicles in front.

Even the $18,000 Camry stops on a dime and is very difficult to put into a spin. It amazes me...;-)...that there is no one in the RV world working with Ford (or Toyota or GM) to create a trailer chassis with serious brakes that integrate into the tow vehicle's ABS and VSC systems.

enjoy,
leo

*Excepting that most elegant yet simple piece of engineering - the Hensley Arrow.
Leo- Give it up! We are here to have fun, share good info and make friends. You don't seem to be making any friends, you over think things in the wrong direction and you really need to put your thoughts on paper before posting them. That will allow you time to rethink what you want to post and an opportunity to revise before posting. Stop being so self rightous and become part of the team rather than an outcast that no one wants to hear from. This has nothing to with a Camry and if you had any expeirence in towing anything over the past 20+ years you would understand the principles of towing. With that said, relax and have fun and make some friends will ya!
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:12 AM   #49
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Hey Doorgunner- Sorry, NAVY! I had a marine cabin boy though, does that count?

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Old 01-05-2007, 09:24 AM   #50
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I disagree that the tow vehicle's brakes are to stop the entire rig. The trailer brakes are primarily responsible for stopping the trailer, and the tow vehicle brakes a primarily responsible for stopping the tow vehicle. If either fail, you will have the stopping distance of an aircraft carrier.

All my other vehicles in recent years have disks all the way around. And my airplanes have all had disks - even my 1948 Beechcraft Bonanza. I like disk brakes - easy to replace pads, easy to inspect, lighter weight, better brake cooling...

Yet, the brakes on trailers are a different animal. I do not yet trust the current generation of disk trailer brakes. They are too complex, with too many links in the failure chain. Electrical or hydraulic or pump problems could each cause total brake failure. I'll let others test them out for a few years.

I find the drum brakes on my 25 Safari to be fine. The electric drums are simple... and with proper maintenance they work for decades.

Drum brakes are not necessarily "weaker". They provide a similar friction material as disks, rubbing against similar metal as disks. Drum shoes provide more friction material contact area. As mentioned earlier in this thread, drums are used to stop semi-trucks and other heavy vehicles. Drums will overheat faster because they can't dissipate heat as well - so use them with this knowledge. Also, drums are more difficult to inspect, and require more maintenance/adjustment than disks.

Generally speaking, tires are the limiting factor in braking - although riding the brakes on an extended downhill will overheat drums faster than disks. I am carefull with repeated or lengthy brake application, and have not had noticable brake fade - including the Rockies.

Braking causes weight shift towards the front. Cars have 70% of their braking done by the front wheels. Braking a trailer has other things going on, given a multi-axle and weight transfer to the hitch. These dynamics must be of interest to someone... not me!
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:30 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljmiii
I did not mean to suggest that your Safari was underbraked given how we tow trailers (and I am very happy to hear that you've been though two hard braking situations without mishap).

But I doubt your Safari could stop itself all that quickly without the assistance of your tow vehicle. And more to the point, without having modeled the system and thus without my really knowing anything* I would would expect a system with three axles with a hinge between the 2nd and 3rd axle and about 40% of the weight on the 3rd axle would want at least 60% of the stopping power to be provided by the 3rd axle. Maybe more...and certainly not less than 33%. Thus my "ridiculously underbraked" comment - I think that anyone designing a TV/trailer system would put the strongest brakes in the back.

But no one (to my knowledge) designs TV/trailer systems. Some people build tow vehicles, other people build trailers, and yet other people build the widgets that allow us to connect it all together.

*perhaps the consensus opinion
I see you are towing with a Toyota Highlander Hybrid which is rated to tow 3501 pounds. Airstream says your trailer will come in at 3500 lbs loaded. Your are pushing the capacity of your TV, I can see why you are worried about braking. Most people like to stay under 80% of capacity. After you pull out the loaded weight of your TV and driver you look as if you could carry 300 400 lbs in the TV, if you do that you are at 100% load, not good to be at. After you tow a few thousand miles let us know how this TV works out. I don't think it will stand up to this type of use, but I am not an expert and would never tow with it anyway. Get an F-150 and you will stop with out a problem.

Good Luck Jim
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:48 AM   #52
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Hey, Squid, pull back on the stick , pop up for some air, we don't want to see any skid marks in the sky.
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:58 AM   #53
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I agree that towing at or over the TV's towing capacity is, at the very least, uncomfortable

In the area of Airstream drum brakes (2005 Safari), I think that they work pretty well. I use my manual trailer brake activator to slow down my Suburban. I play with the manual controller constantly, and have found that I can actually stop the entire rig (TT/TV) using the manual trailer bake control only. I do this with caution watching for traffic behind me as the manual controller does not activate the stop lights.
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:29 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
Hey, Squid, pull back on the stick , pop up for some air, we don't want to see any skid marks in the sky.
Good advise, thank you. This guy just seems to get to me and a whole bunch of others. Where I come from 2+2 still equals 4!
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:39 AM   #55
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Leo, I think the point of your original post is perfectly clear. I think Airstream like most manufactures are slow to change and upgrade products. Look at ABS , it was and may still be an option on some cars but the manufactures know that the buying public may not completly understand the principals of operation but still perceive it as a braking saftey feature and most choose to have it. I think the drums probably do I fine job of stopping an Airstream but given a choice I'll bet most would choose discs, And I for one would choose maintaince free battries if offered.I don't think that your over thinking this I just think some are reading into your comments more than's there.Drums and wet cell batteries ,older technology? Yes. Discs and mantinance free batteries newer (not new) technology Yes? It would be nice if Airstream offered disc and maintance free batteries with all models. I don't consider anything you've said a slam to anyone or their Airstream and believe me you have plenty of friends on this forum.
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:41 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Clark
I see you are towing with a Toyota Highlander Hybrid which is rated to tow 3501 pounds. Airstream says your trailer will come in at 3500 lbs loaded. Your are pushing the capacity of your TV, I can see why you are worried about braking. Most people like to stay under 80% of capacity. After you pull out the loaded weight of your TV and driver you look as if you could carry 300 400 lbs in the TV, if you do that you are at 100% load, not good to be at. After you tow a few thousand miles let us know how this TV works out. I don't think it will stand up to this type of use, but I am not an expert and would never tow with it anyway. Get an F-150 and you will stop with out a problem.

Good Luck Jim
Looks to be on the boarder of a train wreck! I have had two emergency braking episodes with our Safari 22' and am very happy to report that with a cool head, good driving habits, wareness of the rig and standard disk brakes on the Airstream all involved came out of both episodes unscathed. Both instances involved other drivers running red lights on mid-west thruways where we were traveling at posted limits. Most people have no idea what it takes to stop a TV and TT running at 50 MPH to a complete avoidance circumstance. Enough said, I'm going to check out any new photos for this months contest!
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