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Old 12-08-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
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Newbie Airstreamer

Hello to all,

I just purchased a new 2014 international 23' Airstream and I will be picking it up in 3 days or so. I have a bmw x5 xdrive 5.0 to pull with. Obviously as a new AS, I am not sure about a lot of things and I am sure the AS dealership will test run with me before I take it on the road. I have a small Bmw multi trailer that is about 10' and I can pull that fine and back up fine. But I am sure this is a completely new game. My main concerns are turning with this longer vehicle, stopping distance, gasping up at a pump ,and backing up.

I see all of you are so helpful with others in chiming in on helping other newbies and are impressed. Like a family helping another family member. Please let me know your thoughts as it will calm my nerves and help me drive the AS home.

I also am trying to see where to park the AS for I have a neighbor that has an RV and he parks it in the front yard to one side and grew cypress trees on both sides to block the view from the neighbors. Not sure if that will work but may have to find another option.

Thanks ahead of time for all your support and look forward to hearing from all of my new AS family.

Gary Wong
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:14 PM   #2
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You need a weight-distributing hitch and a brake controller. With those, you shouldn't have any unusual problems towing that trailer with the X5. Turns going forward aren't that different, you just need to remember not to make sharp turns around curbs and the bollards around gas pumps, etc. because the track of the Airstream is wider than that of the BMW. You'll want extended mirrors to see past the trailer (again, since it's wider than the BMW). Get used to checking those mirrors while you're making turns and you'll develop a feel for where the trailer tires track in a turn.

Reversing has more of a learning curve that going forward, but you'll get there. If you've been pulling a little short trailer and can manage to back that up, you'll do fine once you get used to the fact that you can't see as well around the Airstream. Take your time, get out and look at the path into the space, ideally have 1 (one!) spotter you know using signals you've agreed on to help with backing into spaces and you're ready for adventure!

As to parking on your property, check your local regulations and any HOA rules if you are subject to an HOA. Cypress trees don't grow that fast, that my not be a good short-term solution.

Posting photos, by the way, is the only way to keep people on AIRForums from hounding you for photos. Welcome to the Forums!
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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Welcome!

Don't worry - you are all good with your setup. A BMW X5 will be fine if you use a weight distributing hitch. That is a must. I assume your dealer will set you up with that. Your trailer is just moderate size and you will not have any trouble with turns or getting gas with a few notes:
  • You do have to make your right turns a little wider. Get used to looking out the right side mirror to watch for your trailer wheels to clear the curb. In no time, you will know how wide to go. It's not crazy, it's just a little wider than normal.
  • Most gas stations will be fine. Even the ones that require a hard left turn by the MiniMarket to get out. Remember when pulling to the pump to leave about 3 feet between your side and the pump.
  • Backing up requires practice. Go to a big parking lot that is empty and bring two plastic cones or suitable markers. Put them 12 feet apart and practice backing into them. Pull up parallel to the cones, then practice backing in at 90 degrees. A simple reminder is that when you have your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, push it the opposite way you want the back end of the trailer to move. And of course you can not keep the car wheels turned forever. Once the trailer back end is pointed in the right direction you start to unwind the car's turn and begin to push it back with your car wheels straight.
There are some people here with a BMW X5 and they will probably chime in. You will find that these trailer tow so easily and effortlessly that in short order your nervousness will go away.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips and it does help to hear about this from an experienced person. I will be interested in the mirrors also for can they see ok or not. Another BMW x5 driver can probably give me a lot of input but yours is appreciated.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary w wong View Post
hello to all, i just purchased a new 2014 international 23' airstream and i will be picking it up in 3 days or so. I have a bmw x5 xdrive 5.0 to pull with. Obviously as a new as, i am not sure about a lot of things and i am sure the as dealership will test run with me before i take it on the road. I have a small bmw multi trailer that is about 10' and i can pull that fine and back up fine. But i am sure this is a completely new game. My main concerns are turning with this longer vehicle, stopping distance, gasping up at a pump ,and backing up. I see all of you are so helpful with others in chiming in on helping other newbies and are impressed. Like a family helping another family member. Please let me know your thoughts as it will calm my nerves and help me drive the as home. I also am trying to see where to park the as for i have a neighbor that has an rv and he parks it in the front yard to one side and grew cypress trees on both sides to block the view from the neighbors. Not sure if that will work but may have to find another option. Thanks ahead of time for all your support and look forward to hearing from all of my new as family. Gary wong
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #6
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Yes I have a wt distribution hitch on my purchase and a wireless brake unit.

I think it comes down to experience.

How is it when you drive. Does the AS track with my car well with the distribution hitch?
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary W Wong View Post
Yes I have a wt distribution hitch on my purchase and a wireless brake unit.

I think it comes down to experience.

How is it when you drive. Does the AS track with my car well with the distribution hitch?
Gary,
Congratulations on your new rig and best wishes on the pickup day.
Is your wt. distribution a combo ( Wt. distribution + anti sway) ? If not, you need to test drive as is and if AS is not tracking to your satisfaction, I will advice adding the anti-sway. Best wishes.
Post picture of your current hitch set up and you will get a better feedback from this forum.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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Hi Gary: )

Just wanted to wish you a "Welcome Aboard" and may your journey/travels be safe and enjoyable !

S/
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. That's a great looking Airstream. Get out there and have fun with it. There is a learning curve, but it's not launching rockets. All these things will come. Just take your time.

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Old 12-09-2013, 09:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary W Wong View Post
Yes I have a wt distribution hitch on my purchase and a wireless brake unit.

I think it comes down to experience.

How is it when you drive. Does the AS track with my car well with the distribution hitch?
YES. The Airstream is a well designed trailer with low center of gravity, proper balance and good suspension. It definitely tracks the car. The better your car handles, the better the Airstream will handle. You have a great car and will barely notice you are towing once you are up to speed.

Watch this very famous video. JAGUAR towing Airstream 300C Towing Airstream Freestar - YouTube

If you go to CanAm RV web site, they have a lot of videos of Airstream towing.
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:56 AM   #11
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I have a question. Not sure who can help. I have the 23' 2014 international signature series. My question is with the Atwood 6 gallon water heater. Our airstream is 3 weeks old and we used the water heater 2 weeks ago. Today we got to the rv park and flick the switch but it did not turn on.

I was told to open the overflow spout at the water heater to get the air out so I am not sure if the water that came out did anything to not kick on the water heater. The propane kicked it on.

How do I get the electric portion to work.
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:51 AM   #12
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There should be 2 switches, 1 with a flame icon for propane, and 1 with a lightening bolt icon for electric.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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I was told it takes about 45 mins to heat up for electric.
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #14
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I don't know how long it takes.
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