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Old 04-13-2008, 07:00 AM   #1
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Steep Learning Curve!

Hi Everyone!

Well, despite a last minute change of plans forced because I had to work on Friday, I picked up my new darling Bambi yesterday and towed her home successfully from Winston-Salem!

By the way -- plug for "Out of Doors Mart" of Colfax, NC. They were AWESOME. Johnny in the service department came in on a Saturday to do my orientation. He was very patient, waiting while I took notes, and answering all my questions. Between my reading and the orientation, I'm feeling pretty good about the basics of most of the on board systems...

But the tow package and hitch are scaring the daylights out of me! I left it hitched up last night. I have a little VW Beetle I use for my run-around-town car, so I still have transportation. But after I parked last night I looked down at the hitch and thought, oh no way.

They installed a really good system, I think. It's a weight distribution package along with a sway bar, and I'm sure it was part of the reason why bringing the Airstream home was so easy even for a first-time-tower.

But how do I get over this learning curve???

Hayley
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:05 AM   #2
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congrats.

I bet you didn't get too much work done yesterday...hehe

As to the learning, take your time. Read the manuals, watch the little videos in the Airstream bag. read lots of the forums and don't be afraid to ask questions.

I've been a member of MANY online forums and I'd say the people and advice on this one are the ABSOLUTE best. Great people.

Enjoy.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:09 AM   #3
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Hayley,

Relax, you are doing great, take lots of pictures as you unhitch and read the manual. If you can find someone local that can walk you through it again then you will have it down for the next time. There has to be an AirForums member near by - there is a great rally this weekend in Hiawasse, GA - lots of them there.

The spring bars can be a little scary, but with the right methods you will be fine.

Congrats on the new Arstream and have fun on the road.

Mike
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:12 AM   #4
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Hayley, it looks intimidating, but it's actually pretty simple once you understand how it works and what each piece does.

These are some generic instructions regarding unhitching a weight distributing hitch. Reese, Draw-tite, and Equal-i-zer all have parts that are a little different, but you'll figure them out.

Park the Bambi where you want it and chock the wheels. If you have a friction sway control device, you can just pull the two pins at each ball at each end and remove it. (Loosening the friction clamp will help) Disconnect the electric cord (also known as a pigtail) from the Honda, disconnect your safety chains and breakaway switch line. At this point, other than the hitch ball, there shouldn't be anything else attached from the Honda to the trailer.

Leaving the Bambi and Honda hitched, put your jack stand under the jack, and jack up the trailer tongue until there is slack in the weight distributing bars. If you have an electric jack, this is easy. A manual jack will give you a workout. Once there's slack in the bars, remove them. They should come off easily. Jack it back down to level, and then open the ball latch. Jack the trailer back up until the trailer tongue clears the hitch ball on the Honda. Check again to make sure that your safety chains, electric cord, and breakaway switch line are clear and disconnected, and drive the Honda away.

Return and jack the Bambi back to level.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:44 AM   #5
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Before releasing the tension on the WD bars, count the number of links between the bars and the latch up lever. Write the number of links down in your owner's manual where you can find it next time you want to hook up.
When you want to hitch back up again, drop the coupler on the ball, latch the coupler, and raise the trailer up with the jack, then put the WD bars on. This will make it easier to raise the WD bars. Count the number of links between the WD bar and latch up lever, and make sure you have the same number as there was when you unhooked, and that they are both the same, right and left.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:59 AM   #6
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Don't forget to put a good hitch lock on after you have driven the Honda away from the trailer. You don't want to lose your beautiful Airstream.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:07 AM   #7
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The hitch system can be a bit intimidating, but understanding how it works will help you get past the curve. Knowing which type it is would help.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Before releasing the tension on the WD bars, count the number of links between the bars and the latch up lever. Write the number of links down in your owner's manual where you can find it next time you want to hook up.
I marked the correct links with zip ties.
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:26 AM   #9
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May need adjustment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam
I marked the correct links with zip ties.
Good move, as a starter. One thing to log into your memory, the amount of tension on the bars is partially related to the tongue weight of the AS and the load in the TV. If your tongue weight increases (by adding weight to your AS like filling the fresh water tank) or as you add cargo to the TV, the tesion on the bars may be increased (by decreasing the number of links) to compensate for the change. The concept is simple, adjustment may be neccessary when making change in load to either TV or AS. I am guessing that both your TV and AS were "empty" on your drive home, once loaded for use there is a good chance there will be a need for adjustmnet.

This was the first thing I learned when I started using a WD hitch.

time
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:39 PM   #10
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The video in the bag was an actually no-kidding VIDEOCASSETTE. Wow. Retro!

No, I did not get much work done Friday at all!
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:40 PM   #11
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I wished I'd had the time to just go through Hiawasse on my way home. Looks like everyone had a blast! I'm getting muy excited for my first Airstream rally...

Towing the thing home I drew a lot of interest, too. I had my dinner at a Waffle House (scatter, smothered, diced, thank you very much), and folks wanted to talk about my trailer. I got a horn beep from a cute guy in a Jeep too. Looks like the trailer's working! Har har...
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:41 PM   #12
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Wow. that is TOTALLY what I needed. Thank you SO MUCH, Roger! I'm gonna give it a go tomorrow morning before work.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:43 PM   #13
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A hitch lock on the Airstream itself?? I never thought of that. Where can I purchase this wonderful device?

I have a keyed lock on the part of the hitch that stays on the truck... is this what you're referring to? Or is there something like that I can get for the Bambi?

That's what I need, more keys... this thing has more keys than a piano...
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:44 PM   #14
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SMART!

I think I have some yellow electrical tape around here somewhere... That's an awesome tip, thank you!
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