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Old 12-03-2012, 11:44 AM   #1
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2011 25' FB International
San Marcos , Texas
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Confused Newbie-Help!

Hello to everyone,
I recently purchased a 2011 25FB International Serenity. We never were given step-by-step hitching directions by the dealership, and I've been unable to find any written instructions. I'm hoping someone can help very straightforward instructions, including things like when, in the process the four leveling jacks should be raised (i.e., before or after attaching the hitch to the tow vehicle), and the steps in using the front power jack.

BTW, Right now, I have a standard hitch on, because I just need to move the trailer a few feet forwards and then backwards for proper leveling.

Thanks so much!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:54 AM   #2
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For the hitching part (there's a bunch of other stuff to do beside this that you can find on this forum, search for checklists)
  1. Stabilizers up
  2. Hitch up
  3. Remove Wheel chocks
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:58 AM   #3
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I would advise checking the manufaturer's website for instructions for your make/model hitch. It's probably not covered in the hitching instructions, but you'll need to raise the leveling jacks before hitching up...if you don't, you won't be able to raise/lower the trailer and probably damage the leveling jacks in the process.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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THEY ARE NOT LEVELING JACKS. Yes, I was intentionally shouting, it's important.

They are stabilizers, not to be put down until you have the trailer level and chocked. You level with blocks under the tires on the low side, and the tongue jack for fore-and-aft leveling, THEN you put down the stabilizers to reduce motion of the trailer when you're walking around inside the trailer.

As a general rule, the stabilizers should be the first thing you retract when you're getting ready to hitch up as well, because if you forget them and start raising or lowering the tongue jack you put load on the jacks and frame.

When setting up, first level left-to-right (since you'll need the tow vehicle to pull the trailer up onto leveling blocks if necessary) then chock the trailer to keep it in place when the hitch is disconnected. Then unhitch and use the tongue jack to get the trailer level for-and-aft. Finally, after it's level, put the stabilizers down but don't crank down on them too hard.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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Newbie

Thanks so much to all who replied! The problem I've encountered has been very confusing to me. Whenever I first prepare the trailer-i.e., closing the steps, raising the stabilizer jacks, securing, disconnecting, etc., the power hitch jack (Barker) will not lower the trailer hitch far enough to connect with the ball-UNLESS the stabilizer jacks are down. All of the equipment is dealer-purchased, and installed. I just don't get it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gooddoc316 View Post
Thanks so much to all who replied! The problem I've encountered has been very confusing to me. Whenever I first prepare the trailer-i.e., closing the steps, raising the stabilizer jacks, securing, disconnecting, etc., the power hitch jack (Barker) will not lower the trailer hitch far enough to connect with the ball-UNLESS the stabilizer jacks are down. All of the equipment is dealer-purchased, and installed. I just don't get it.
It sounds like the jack may be binding somehow... perhaps it just needs to be serviced (lubricating the jacking mechanism mainly) or perhaps it's been bent at some point in its life and that causes it to bind when it has weight on it at a certain point in its travel.

In any event, you really should never put much of the trailer's weight on the stabilizers, neither the BAL stabilizers nor the trailer's frame are designed for that. If you need to take weight off the tongue to get the power tongue jack to retract you should try something like a bottle jack or (if you're careful and know what you're doing with one) an old-fashioned bumper jack on the A-frame.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:06 AM   #7
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The only thing that the old style car bumper jacks were or are good for is to sell at a scrap yard so you can buy a good bottle jack.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:31 AM   #8
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The only thing that the old style car bumper jacks were or are good for is to sell at a scrap yard so you can buy a good bottle jack.
Personally I quite agree. However, offroading types like them for particular uses and have them around. Sometimes the tool you have is more useful than the tool you should have, but don't. I prefer a bottle jack myself, and listed that first.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:58 AM   #9
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Bottle jacks are cheap. I got a 6t one in a nice clean & handy case for less than $30. Before jacking feel the lower part of the "A" frame with your hand ( or look at it ) to make sure your propane line isn't in the way. Mine was and someone mostly crushed it. If it's there move to the other side if you can't push it over. You should always carry an assortment of wood blocks to help in doing this as well as for leveling. Use them as needed both as a stable base for the jack as well as to make up some space at the top.

Is your tow ball mounted lower than usual ???? Unless there's some particular reason or a malfunction in the jack ( as mentioned ) you should not have problems getting it lowered to the ball.

It should be much easier than you seem to have it.

Good luck with it
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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Make sure the top of the ball is around 20 inches off the ground before you drop the trailer hitch on. Depending on your vehicle, it may need to be a bit higher to account for settling with the weight. I think my Durango was around 22 before hitching.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:12 PM   #11
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No dealer should let you leave the lot without a full orientation of your hitch and how it works. We are Newbie's also but, our walk thru was hours long. We were headed for an 1830 mile maiden voyage and it is their job to prepare you (somewhat!!!).
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gooddoc316 View Post
Hello to everyone,
I recently purchased a 2011 25FB International Serenity. We never were given step-by-step hitching directions by the dealership, and I've been unable to find any written instructions. I'm hoping someone can help very straightforward instructions, including things like when, in the process the four leveling jacks should be raised (i.e., before or after attaching the hitch to the tow vehicle), and the steps in using the front power jack.

BTW, Right now, I have a standard hitch on, because I just need to move the trailer a few feet forwards and then backwards for proper leveling.

Thanks so much!
Very obviouly, that dealer could care less about you and your families safety.

I would suggest you so advise Airstream of the poor quailty of that dealer.

Airstream wants you to be a "Happy Airstreamer", not an injured one because a dealer did not properly send you down the road, after a proper "customer check out".

A complete customer check out including proper hitching up, is part of your purchase price.

Makes one wonder how, if at all, they even checked out the trailer???

Andy
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:08 AM   #13
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Based on what you've posted, IMHO, you need good instruction. Find a good RV man (maybe a tech at a dealership) and hire him for a day of intensive trainning. Hooking and unhooking, backing up driving, dumping, etc. Its not rocket science, but if you don't get it right you can cause a very expensive accident .
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:09 AM   #14
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Andy, The ENTIRE walk thru lasted less than an hour, and the service manager kept interrupting the person conducting it, telling him he needed to attend to other matters. At the very start of the walk thru, we said we would like to video it. We were told there was no need, as they were providing us with a video which would "cover everything." Needless to say, the video we got was nothing like that, and, at no time did anyone say anything about the hitching process. I know that dealership was negligent, but I also blame myself for walking in so naive and ill-prepared.

By the way, they never did check out the trailer. The very day it was delivered, a number of things went wrong. So, I called the dealership and told them to come get it and fix it-I didn't have a tow vehicle yet. They told me I had to get it there, AND incur the cost because "It's written right there in the contract that you signed." I immediately called Airstream, and while they talked very sympathetically, they did absolutely nothing. I decided I wanted nothing further to do with that dealership, and had the trailer towed to a closer, authorized service center, at a cost of over $400.00 that nobody, including Airstream, would reimburse me for. In fact, Airstream even refused to cover the entire cost of the WARRANTY WORK! This other dealership was so appalled by Airstream's behavior that, when we absolutely refused to pay for any of the repairs, they immediately wrote off that amount.

Interesting...even though I lived through all of this, it remains very difficult to believe it all actually happened.
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