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Old 05-15-2008, 10:12 AM   #21
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Great, Great thread. I picked up my new 27 International last Thursday and feel the same anxiety. I'm pulling with a new GMC Sierra 2500 HD and noticed the downshifting when in tow mode as well.
I drove for about an hour in the dealers lot, practicing backing and trying to get used to all of the hitch noise and some again last weekend in a vacant parking lot. I've backed up boats and had a pop-up for years. The Airstream is just so much bigger. We're using walkie-talkies and that helps a lot.
I'm starting to feel better and definitely agree, that the anxiety will improve with more practice.
Going for our shakedown this weekend, and while there's definitely some nervous anticipation, there's also excitement to get her out as well!
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:49 AM   #22
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One of the big secrets to happy downhilling is to slow a bit before you reach the crest - that makes it easier to control speed as you start down.

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Old 05-15-2008, 11:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blevi
Great, Great thread. I picked up my new 27 International last Thursday and feel the same anxiety. I'm pulling with a new GMC Sierra 2500 HD and noticed the downshifting when in tow mode as well.
I drove for about an hour in the dealers lot, practicing backing and trying to get used to all of the hitch noise and some again last weekend in a vacant parking lot. I've backed up boats and had a pop-up for years. The Airstream is just so much bigger. We're using walkie-talkies and that helps a lot.
I'm starting to feel better and definitely agree, that the anxiety will improve with more practice.
Going for our shakedown this weekend, and while there's definitely some nervous anticipation, there's also excitement to get her out as well!
I love the feeling of that Allison downshifting...like driving a "Big Rig".
Walkie talkies; indespensable for backing, even after all these years. Dents are a lot easier to put in than they are to take out...and you never know when one of those darn trees will jump out at ya'.

Bill
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:21 AM   #24
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Controlling your speed on a down grade is the secret - and that's what your truck is designed to do. Use the gears and don't ride the brakes! Don't be intimidated by faster drivers who ride on your bumper and then rush to pass at the first opportunity. They may know the road better than you - or they just might be idiots! Use the slow lanes where available and, if the opportunity arises in time for you to take advantage of it, pull over and let built-up traffic behind you pass. Never tailgate the cars or trucks ahead of you and, especially on down grades, stretch your following distance way out. i.e. - Imagine that the vehicle ahead is a brick wall rather than another moving vehicle. In time you'll become more confident of your rig's abilities and actually look forward to a trip across the mountains. I've driven 55 years without an accident - including a lot of towing time. The good Lord willing I hope to keep on streamin' for many years to come!
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:38 AM   #25
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Find someone that has towed for some time and understands the mech. of the transmission and engine. Have them ride with you on a short dry run, I think you will come back with a better understanding of your rig and feel much better on your next trip.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:43 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
Controlling your speed on a down grade is the secret - and that's what your truck is designed to do. Use the gears and don't ride the brakes!
AMEN to that! We learned the hard way what happens when you ride the brakes down a hill. It took me several years to get over the fear after losing the brakes after coming down from a mountain. Luckily we were at the bottom, and rolled though an intersection when we realized we had no brakes. Downshifting is the best and safest way by far to slow your speed when going down long hills.

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Old 05-15-2008, 06:42 PM   #27
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One other thing that bears mentioning here is to not underestimate the length of time it takes for brakes to cool off! One beautiful day, coming down the auto road on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the brakes on my '95 Chevy pickup begin to fade slightly (---lousy auto tranny for down hill work) and I pulled over to let them cool off. After about 15 or 20 minutes I figured that they had cooled down enough - but just to make sure, I reached through the rim and touched the front disc. Boy was that a stupid mistake!!!
I spent the next 15 or 20 minutes nursing a burned finger and rehersing a whole new language!
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:01 PM   #28
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If you come to a steep downgrade, and the truck can't keep the speed from creeping up, don't ride the brakes. Make a firm brake application until you get about 5 mph below the speed you want to be at, then release the brakes fully, and let the speed build up to maybe 5 mph over the speed you want to be at, then repeat the process. If you think you are safe at, say 45 mph going down, shoot for 40, then slow to 35, let the speed build up to 45 and slow again. This will give the brakes a little time to cool off between applications.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:15 PM   #29
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Thumbs up samo-samo

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS
You have a very capable tow vehicle. The learning curve is different for

all of us.
It occured to me after re-reading this thread today that we are kinda

in the same situation here. We have never towed with the 06 Burb. New to

us this season. Look'n forward to it, but I'm sure we will have some issues to

work out. So it looks like a short Shakedown cruise too Old Fort Niagara is

in order before Months end. Photos to follow.

Please, let us know when you Graduate
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:31 AM   #30
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being an East Coaster, and due to the fact that we own some land in West By God, I have to tell you that you need to over come this before you go to the Real West. The highest mountain in West Virginia is less than 4000 feet. Yes, some of the roads are steep, yes there are tight curves on some of the roads, but compared to what you will encounter out in the western states, well them's just hills. I think by now enough people have told you that you have the right mechanical equipment, it is a matter of putting together the mental equipment. I am never fearful towing, but put me on a ladder taller than the first story and my legs begin to feel like jelly. We all have personal fears to over come. The rewards of overcoming yours will be tremendous.
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:51 AM   #31
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Unhappy The real fears when towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by craftsman
I confess to one fear.... dents.
There is a long list of four letter words that you really need to worry about:
"hail"
"rock"
"snow"
"curb" (as in the sharp edged tire eating variety)
and the worst:
"cell" (as in the total moron who is jabbering away on their cell phone instead
of watching where they are going and plow into you.)
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:08 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander17
There is a long list of four letter words that you really need to worry about:
"hail"
"rock"
"snow"
"curb" (as in the sharp edged tire eating variety)
and the worst:
"cell" (as in the total moron who is jabbering away on their cell phone instead
of watching where they are going and plow into you.)
Based on other threads on this forum you should add these words to your list:
"tree"
"roof"
"deer"
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:10 AM   #33
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We have a 25' SE Safari and tow it with a Ford 250 Super Duty Crew Cab. We have an Equalizer hitch. We towed it through West Virginia to the east coast last year. Going down the big hills, the truck downshifted several times and that noise and the fear of 7000+ pounds following us scared me to death. . .especially with my two kids in the back seat!

I know the truck is more than enough to tow this trailer and I absolutely love, love, love our Airstream but I am so stressed out about the thought of towing it again that it's taking the fun out of planning our vacations.

Is the truck supposed to downshift like that going down hills??? Has anyone else experienced the (irrational) fear of towing? Any thoughts on how to alleviate this fear?
Your truck makes several scary noises and they are all good!

That downshifting and noise means your truck is keeping you safe by regulating your downhill speed. When you hear it you can relax and go whew.

That loud sudden noise from the engine going up the hill means the fan is on and your engine is staying cool and working properly. That one scared the cr*p outta of the wife and I the first couple of times until we figured it out.

That patwang and thunk from you hitch means the load leveling and anti sway hitch is doing it's job.

These suden noises will jolt you until you realize that they mean the system that keeps you safe is working. When all those noises stop... PANIC!
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:43 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander17
There is a long list of four letter words that you really need to worry about:
"hail"
"rock"
"snow"
"curb" (as in the sharp edged tire eating variety)
and the worst:
"cell" (as in the total moron who is jabbering away on their cell phone instead
of watching where they are going and plow into you.)
Some (not me ) would add "wife" to the list. The other gender would maybe add "dude".
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:40 PM   #35
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Sure I'm a little afraid to tow sometimes, but not as afraid as my hubby is when I'm towing that look of panic while clutching the door handle and specially as he's telling me how to drive really inspires me to get out the pirate grin, rev the accelerator, turn up the music, and say "Lets see what this baby can do" I find that a great way to overcome fear of towing...

Seriously though, it is a little daunting but caution is a good thing!! Happy towing!!
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:07 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander
The highest mountain in West Virginia is less than 4000 feet.
At 4863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is West Virginia's highest peak.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:24 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBolton
At 4863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is West Virginia's highest peak.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
West Virginia is a state I avoided when I drove flatbed (underpowered tractor) and I'd say it's a good place to start. So's Monteagle.

One of the most notoriously hazardous stretches of Interstate highway in the United States is approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Chattanooga on I-24 in Monteagle, where the highway goes over the Cumberland Plateau. Compared to grades elsewhere, Monteagle's 4 to 6% grade does not come close to the steepest highway roads (the Siskiyou Pass of Interstate 5 in Oregon has some the steepest grades in the nation),[4] but the slope is protracted over a distance of several miles.

Monteagle Mountain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:34 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBolton
At 4863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is West Virginia's highest peak.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
Oh please. Missoula is at 3200 ft and 4800 ft is a low pass out west.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:54 PM   #39
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The only way to get over your fear is to get right back on the horse that threw you off. Don't wait for vacation with the two kids in the back, go towing locally now. Find a hill. Then go hitch up and go up and down it. Get used to the feel of it and the sounds of your truck. Lightly apply your manual trailer brakes until you feel the trailer slow you and see how that works and feels. Learn what your truck is doing. Take someone with you, perhaps an Airstreaming buddy who knows truck engines and towing to reassure you and educate you putting your qualms to rest.

Go slow downhill and there really isn't too much trouble you can get into. Going faster than you are comfortable with, being passed by trucks and going downhill around curves all at the same time will only make you nervous. Follow Terry's advice about not letting the speed creep up on you and braking at intervals and not riding the brakes. If the grade is very steep such as to have run away truck lanes you can put the truck in low gear and the engine will stop you from speeding down the mountains. Find a nice slow truck and follow him down and let the others speed by. There is no reason to feel you have to run at other people's pace.

Years ago when we moved from an 8' pop-up to 13' pop-up we set out without sway control. It was a windy rainy day (aren't they always) and I was driving downhill on a series of curves in the Smokies and had just passed an overturned 18 wheeler when I had my first and only bout with uncontrollable sway. Only having pulled the 8' popup which was like not towing at all except for length, I did not know how to react and I over corrected several times. Luckily traffic held back and I was swearing and asking DH what do I DO? back and forth across three lanes and trying to decellerate at the same time. ENTER FEAR OF TOWING I thought I would never tow again. I did not want to. We immediately went to get sway control and I learned not to over correct with the steering wheel, but I had to make myself tow again and had flashbacks every time I felt a tug with a passing truck. The only way for me to get over that was to tow again and learn and gain experience. This will not happen to you because you know better and you have sway control.

Practice, take her out for some behind the wheel towing time and then be confident as you happily plan your next vacation. You will be fine!
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:01 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBolton
At 4863 feet above sea level, Spruce Knob is West Virginia's highest peak.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
I stand corrected.... my point is that them is hills compared to out west.
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