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Old 03-01-2019, 07:31 PM   #1
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2004 28' International CCD
Austin , Texas
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First Time Towing

We're about ready to buy our first trailer (28'), and neither of us has any experience with towing. The trip from the seller to home will be about 1,000 miles. Debating whether to have it delivered or drive it back ourselves. We've done our research and know the mechanics of towing on paper, will have a sway bar and towing mirrors of course. Appreciate any feedback.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:52 PM   #2
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It'll be a steep learning curve for sure! Private seller or dealership?

A lot of this depends on the condition of the trailer, your tow vehicle, and setting up of the hitch.

What condition is the trailer in? Is it road-worthy and ready to go? Or has it been snowballed for awhile? Tires, batteries, brakes all in good condition?

What's your tow vehicle? Hopefully you have a solid and reliability tow vehicle, with a brake controller installed and working. The smaller your tow vehicle, the more work you're going to have to do to ensure the lashup is correct and the rig will be stable.

What kind of hitch? Is this something that is coming with the trailer, that's already setup? Hopefully the seller can help you with it, but don't rely on it as many don't fully use or set them up properly. If private seller, ask them to measure their hitch height on their vehicle. Measure yours. This should give some idea of drop shank height needed. Once you figure out the actual hitch, do research and get comfortable on how to adjust it, specifically how to adjust height and increase/decrease WD tension.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:56 PM   #3
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Google “RV Safe driver training” and see what you can find beast you. Some CDL (commercial driver license) centers do it. Good luck!
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for replying. We're buying from an AS dealership. The trailer is in great shape, road ready. Have a 2018 Ford F-150 with Max tow package we bought in anticipation of buying this size trailer. Brake controller is already installed. Thinking we'd purchase the hitch from the dealership and have them help with initial setup. We're wondering how many others out there learned with a trial by fire approach while towing home their first trailer.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:01 PM   #5
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Don't forget good mirrors and don't be in a hurry. It'll take some practice and time to get used to the handling and braking. At least double your following distance too.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thanks, SteveSueMac. Have every intention of taking a safe driving course once we get home. Every course we've found requires you to have your own trailer when you take the class.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:06 PM   #7
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Thanks, Hyo. Fortunately the drive is a straight shot down I-10 through West Texas. Not anticipating a lot of traffic, but will definitely be taking it slow
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:18 PM   #8
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First tow

Take your time. Hopefully dealer will set up hitch well enough to get you home. As you get more miles behind you confidence will build. Still, take your time. Welcome to the Airstream world!


I have almost 2 million miles driving Class 8 semi tractor trailers. Yet, I was still a bit nervous doing my first tow with our 23D Airstream. Towing will become more easier as you rack up the miles. Happy travels.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:48 PM   #9
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Don't go far the first day. After spending a night or 2 at dealership, go a bit to nearby campground.

Take tools to adjust the hitch. All dealers don't get the hitch set up right. Ours didn't tighten up the shank bolts and had the trailer nose down.

After a day of settling paperwork and going over the trailer, setting the hitch and TV up was a big hurry.

I started towing little tire and tool box trailer behind my race car, then race car on a open 16 ft car trailer, then 16 ft Shasta travel trailer. That first short trip from dealer to campground with 30 ft Airstream was serious stress. Writing a check for something hooked to my truck that was more than my first house was part of it.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:52 PM   #10
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Thanks, uraljohn. Appreciate the encouragement and the welcome!
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:54 PM   #11
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Thanks, Al. We were tempted to drive back right away. Good to know about the hitch setup, too. Much appreciated.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:59 PM   #12
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Make sure to do things to reduce your anxiety.....gas up the TV before picking up the trailer, instead of trying to find a gas station with enough access to facilitate truck and trailer.

Remember to completely re-evaluate gap judgement for entering traffic, or stopping distances. If someone beeps at you, wave a friendly hand at them and don't worry about it; take your time.

Check tire air pressures on TV and trailer, because you don't want a blow out.

If unsure......stop....get out and check for clearances, (remember height clearances are most important, as your trailer will be taller than your TV).

As you drive the route to pick up the trailer, note areas, (rest stops, big parking lots at roadside dinners), that would allow you to practice pulling off the highway and re-enter the highway in a safe manner. This will build your confidence, and give you an indication to the changes in TV performance your trailer will have on your truck. However remember to spot low lying branches OR height restriction beams.

Goodluck and remember to breathe.

Cheers
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:12 PM   #13
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Thanks, Tony! Appreciate all those tips. Taking some deep breaths now.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:13 PM   #14
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If time permits go to rental yard or whatever and rent the longest flatbed trailer they have and spend a day dragging it around as well as backing it up.
A flatbed gives a good veiw of what is happening 20 feet back while maneuvering.
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