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Old 05-14-2008, 11:04 PM   #15
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Well I am glad some people just never get over being scared. I bought our 28 from a doctor who towed it once and it sat for 3 years in his driveway. He never faced the issue and sold it for 5k under nada just so he would not have to look at it anymore. I know it is a sad story for him, but a dog eat dog world and no one said life is fair.

That being said it really is something that you get a feel for, like after 7-8 hours of heavy cross winds and semis etc, you just kinda sit back and let all the devices do the work and let the beast pull burden. At times I am amazed it all works so well. The airstream design and suspension really shine over time however.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Roadsub
... Any thoughts on how to alleviate this fear?
really we need more info about you, the issues and so on...

for example WHO is driving?

is it you or are you the co pilot?

yes the new fords downshift and IF you don't like that wonderful feature, turn OFF the tow/haul mode...

really, on SHORT down slopes or short rolling OPEN hills it might be easier for some to NOT use the tow/haul mode...

besides the shifting, what other things are worrisome ?

traffic, wind, slowing down, over/under passes, parking, backing, going fast....?

if everything is connected correctly and working properly...

over TIME folks desensitize to the closeness of that BIG SILVER BLOB behind the truck.

lots of short trips and short sessions towing help, so does NOT TOWING when tired or in a rush...

anyway tell us more about you and the issues...

cheers
2air'
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:48 AM   #17
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I take it out of tow mode and let it coast if the hill isn't too steep. Make sure you have the trailer braking gain set so that the trailer takes care of itself.

Tom
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:19 AM   #18
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Sit back, take it easy and enjoy the ride. The 7000lbs isn't going to go anywhere if you keep your wits about you. You have a more than ample tow vehicle and a great trailer.

I will tell you this, whatever you are feeling will pass as you get more exp. We've all been there at some point. My first tow was a U-Haul on my first move. From there I went to a 17' runabout boat for several years. By the time I got to the Airstream, towing was old hat. Granted the Airstream is larger and heavier, but again, exp towing will overcome any issues you may be exp right now.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:27 AM   #19
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You will find 4 lane interstates to be fairly reasonable with easier grades and good sight lines. Enjoy the drive! However I have towed on the very old-fashioned US-50 between Grafton, WV, and Winchester, VA. It is a tiny road with steep hills and many switchbacks. That would be a totally different experience. What route did you take?
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by shantz
I concur with all of these posts and agree that more time behind the wheel will help build your confidence. Having confidence in your gear will help you through some of the anxiety.
Always perform a safety check before you depart and when stopping for rest.. Mine goes like this
1. Check all TV fluids, tire pressure, brakes ( make sure your brakes are regularly maintained by a professional mechanic) when was the last time you had your brakes checked on both the TV and AS?
2. AS tire pressure check
3. attach hitch, distro bars, sway bars. check lights on TV and AS
4. check TT brakes while moving slowly ( 10-15mph) on flat street or empty parking lot I first check the AS brakes first without the TV brakes and get them dialed in ( I agree with Paula I get mine almost to where they are sticky) make sure you have all your gear stowed so it won't shift and carry anything heavy over your axles
5. while moving use both the TT and the AS brakes together. don't go until they are right
6. when I stop for a rest or for water I perform a walk around inspection looking for any nails in tires, fluid leaks ,hanging wires under chassis of both AS and TV or debris and I recheck the hitch and distro bars and just for grins and giggles I have a habit of making sure my trailer wiring is plugged in tight to the hitch
7. I also check my trailer brakes again before departing
Boy...I could have wrote this. Know your equipment, check, check again. When you hit the road you will be confident everything is in good order (I would add "check lug nuts" to this list also.) There are some good pre-flight check lists floating around the forum somewhere, do a search. Make your own list-and USE IT every time you head out. This will help you feel better also about not missing anything.
As many have noted, after a few trips, you will feel much more confident. In the mean time, slow down...this is one thing you can do right now to help you relax. More reaction time is a good thing.
You have a solid setup-good thing you did not start out with a 1/2 ton-you'd have the whole rig on ebay by now!

Safe Streamin',
Bill
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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.

Pat
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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:
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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!
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.

Diane
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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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