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Old 08-25-2016, 12:37 PM   #29
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1973 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
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Headed back from the Colo.mountians a few weeks ago,,,in the middle of the night.. Not far out of Denver,,,east on I70,,,,,out of no where we hit a turn on a over pass.. speed limit was 65 and we were running 60... This turn with trailer was more in line to 40 mph..
To make matters worst was the bridge seams Were like a massive 5mph speed bumps.. I truly feel we went air born 100 feet while still in a hard left hand turn..
TV and trailer was a full lane off center when we landed the first time only to deal with another one 2seconds later..
Good tires,,airpressure and a lot of luck we made it home alive.. I have towed millions of miles from lawn mower type trailers to 45 foot semi types and never had such a moment in my life and hope never to equal such event.
So it boils down to a proper loading,,limits and lots of luck with moment like this.. sodbust

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Old 08-25-2016, 12:57 PM   #30
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
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33 years of corporate flying prop aircraft and frequent recurrent training in simulators with certified instructors teaches many lessons that relate to towing. Situational awareness" is drummed into a pilot's head from the first lesson to retirement as is use of flight planning, check lists, equiipment maintenance and fuel management. All this relates well to towing with a few additions.

I cringe a bit when I read threads about tires and folks complaining that certain types of tires have a 65mph speed limit. I believe speed is the #1 cause of towing accidents. If you want to tow faster than 65 you have no business on the road with other citizens.

Situational awareness is simply knowing everything it is possible to know about what is going on around you. Planning is knowing as much as you can find out about your route, road conditions, fuel management, your equipment limitations and anything else that might have some effect on your trip. The first lesson a pilot learns after take off is "fly the airplane". When towing you must drive the TV at all times and not allow any distraction to keep you from that task while moving at any speed.

All the things mentioned by other posters true. Disc vs drum brakes may give you a little more peace of mind but the most important thing is to know the limitations of yourself and your equipment and act accordingly even if that means not leaving the driveway.

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Old 08-25-2016, 01:48 PM   #31
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2016 28' Pendleton
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Love this thread

We've now towed our 2016 Pendltion just over 5K miles. Tow vehicle is a 2015 F-150, Supercrew, short box, Lariat, V-8 gasser. Didn't realize we'd be pulling such a heavy load so soon. Luckily the Ford came equipped with Tow Pkg and heavy load option. The build sheet calls it the "6800#" option. I have the Hensley Arrow with 1400 lb. weight distribution bars. I load the bed carefully, heaviest items in front of the axel and load the trailer with weight distributed as evenly as possible.
Did 300+ miles on the Blue Ridge Pkwy and and found the whole rig to be comfortable to drive and brake. Michelin's (20") on the truck and the Sendel 16" alloy wheels with Michelin's (LT) on the trailer. Plus Dill TMPS and Centramatic wheel balancer's.
So I really tried to leave nothing to chance, have a fair amount of towing experience but still want to take a towing class.
Accidents? Bummer. Have heard some horror stories from fellow Airstreamer's.
Great advice here: Every story had one or more of those elements. Wind, ice, fog and speed.
Haste makes waste. In our case very very expensive waste!!!
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:49 PM   #32
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2008 19' Bambi
2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
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So, here is the visual set-up. Place your fingertips together end to end, right hand to left hand. Now flex up and down, thinking of one hand as the TV, the other the AS, and where your middle fingers touch, the hitch. In a very short distance, when the front of the TV goes up, the front of the trailer goes down....and the reverse action is also true in a very short distance.

What happened is over a distance of about 10-12', there was pavement that had buckled (on an I-10 entrance ramp) to about 35-40 degrees. At no more than 15mph, the resulting up and down opposing heaving of the TV and AS totally disengaged the trailer from the hitch; the emergency brake engaged, the trailer hit the pavement on the electric jack, and the AS slid into the back of the TV. Yes, correct hitch ball, and locked in place. When I took it in to replace the jack, my repair guys had never heard of an actual dis-engagement. They did check to ensure that there was no crack or other issue with the hitch receiver that may have contributed to this incident. BTW, getting the trailer back on the hitch, without an operable jack was a challenge, made easier by helpful good Samaritans.

While I was not driving, I have said before that since getting the AS, I drive slower, even when not towing. I don't need Michelins to allow me to go 10mph faster...much more enjoyable at 65. The lesson learned here is about reading the road surface immediately in front of you, and not going so fast as to not being able to adjust. I would like to think that I will never again be able to respond to a thread such as this!
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:49 PM   #33
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2016 30' International
Boerne , Texas
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Posts: 62
I certainly agree with previous comments and in my mind, these address the big hitter items. Having the right TV for your trailer, the right hitch, properly set up, good tires, correct weight and balance and towing at a conservative speed are all hugely important and need to be done right from the beginning.

Two other things I would add is paying attention to driving conditions and the "last mile" before you stop for the night.

When I drive on the interstate, I can think of several conditions that increase the challenge and, in my mind, the potential for a mishap. Heavy high speed traffic (and a lot of large trucks), adverse weather (high winds and/or rain), poor road conditions / construction that goes on for miles / hills, windy roads, etc. What we have decided is that if there are any combination of two of these, we exit the interstate and find a back road even if it causes delays in our travels.

The last mile is when you have been driving close to your individual limit (6 hours for us) and you are close to where you are staying for the night. Most times, this is close to or in a town and maybe there is heavier than normal traffic 'cause it is close to rush hour. Maybe you are thinking about getting set up at the camp ground and what's for dinner so your mind wanders a bit. In my experience, that is the when the potential for an accident is the highest. I have learned not to be complacent just because you are close to the end of your journey for the day.

Good luck in your travels.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:03 PM   #34
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2011 30' Flying Cloud
Greenback , Tennessee
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This thread has mostly been about preventing serious accidents on the highway, but a goodly number of the Airstreams I have seen in campgrounds and elsewhere have dents and dings in the bumpers and surface aluminum, caused by low-speed impact with stationary objects. On our first extended trip with our previous AS, a 25', my wife backed me straight into a huge rock in Yosemite NP. I see others with upper corner dents which must have come from tree limbs, etc. The danger to your AS certainly doesn't end when you leave the highway! Drive slowly and deliberately, especially in campgrounds, filling stations and at home. Be sure your parking assistant is actually paying attention and don't be afraid to get out of the TV and check for yourself. Most of my accidents or near-accidents have been when I allowed myself to get in a hurry.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:51 PM   #35
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Anna Maria , Florida
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Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
I thought I'dbe losing out on engine braking by not getting a diesel. Pleasantly surprised that the F150 ecoboost in tow mode automatically downshifts and uses the turbos to effectively engine break. With the extra cooling that came with the tow package I haven't had any temp problems. Downhills have been pretty comfortable. Start slow at the top. Eyes looking well ahead. Act early and plan well ahead of where you are. If you find yourself acting for where you are you are behind the power curve. Don't be afraid to pull over if there is room and you think you need to.
Good pointers. I would only add one very important item. Slow down to your planed descent speed before you actually are on the down slope. It takes a lot of engine and actual braking effort to shave 20 MPH of your speed once you are rolling down hill.
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:34 PM   #36
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1990 29' Excella
Stone Mountain , Georgia
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Originally Posted by riffin-rich View Post
Thanks to everyone's participation so far. Sorry about the fractional paragraph, avionstream - I was typing on my iPad and accidentally hit send three lines into the post...

Boxite: excellent, excellent info ... I'm looking for the stuff that "many of us already know" but we newbies don't know ...

I've done a lot to mitigate risk with technology, incidentally learned by reading this forum every night for several months:
- Tow vehicle: Ram 3500 with diesel (for exhaust braking while descending in the mountains, and even to help slow the whole thing on the highway in a panic stop) ... It's excessive, and stiff and beats us up pretty badly, but it will hopefully pull the boat I want too ... Hopefully ...
- Hitch: ProPride 3P w/1400 lbs of weight distribution - the projection hitch will manage, if not completely eliminate the sway
- TPMS: TST 510RV (6 sensors to cover our 4 wheels and the spare, with one extra sensor, just in case)

Precautions to take:
- Manage speed ... Slow it down ... Perhaps under 65 (or follow speed limits)
- Drive defensively
- Stay alert ... Don't drive tired ... Minimize mileage (I remember Protagonist mentioning once before that he follows the JTR) while others follow other similar prescriptive approaches
- Maintain safe distance and time intervals
- Follow road signs and don't exceed posted exit ramp speeds
- Avoid crosswinds, ice, low visibility conditions ... "Get-There-itis" ... Good point because I'm inflicted with this illness
- Avoid downhill turning and braking simultaneously - visualize, anticipate, and reduce speed ahead of time to preclude "the trifecta" resulting in jack-knifing and rolling-over
- Find a "safe driver course" ... that's been on my list since I read it a few weeks ago but haven't begun looking ... I don't think the one the judge made me attend for 8 hours on a Saturday counts (seriously ... Just about 8 years ago ... For riding my bicycle through 5 stop signs without my hands on the handlebars in Old Town Alexandria with no vehicular traffic except for the two overzealous Motorcycle Officers that were part of a task force to stop people from running stop signs). That day in court is worth another whole thread over a couple of beers...
- Ensure trailer brake controller is properly adjusted (question below about "how?")
- Start slow at the top of a descent
- Eyes looking well ahead
- Act early and plan well ahead of where you are

What else? Any more about the physics, ref. "high-level concepts" like Boxite shared?

Any stories or anecdotes about what can go (or went) wrong, and how it goes/went wrong, and what to do about it (or not do)? Hearing about your hair raising experiences would be very helpful. I saw the video also posted ... It was a duelly pulling a trailer that was swaying badly, recorded from the dashcam of the vehicle behind ... That was really good to understand what sway is, and what can happen as a result.

More importantly, how does one properly adjust the trailer's brake controller? I'm planning to use the stock integrated brake controller on my 2016 RAM 3500. Is this okay? How do you set it up so it's set "strong/sensitive enough" but "not too sensitive?"

Thanks for all of your attention on this thread!
A few more to add: Good wet weather tires for the Airstream. I always adjust the trailer brakes to come on just before the TV brakes bite, so it pulls the unit tight. Or if slight sway, again pulls it tight. I use engine braking going downhill unless it is very wet, as in actively raining, or ice or snow. Then I reduce the speed considerably before starting down. If raining or ice or snow on road I put the TV in 4WD, so I have power to the steering axle.

WBCCI 2456 Georgia Unit 32
1990 Excella 29' Centramatics
2016 GMC Sierra Crew Cab 2500 HD 4x4
6.6L Duramax + Allison, 3.73 axles
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:50 PM   #37
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
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The downhill control part is something we go over when doing an orientation with new trailer owners. In order to keep from going too fast downhill, or possibly worse, overheating the brakes of the trailer and tow vehicle, you will need to do this (it's easy, once somebody bothers to explain it):
Pick a downhill speed you will be comfortable with, for example, 45mph. As your rig descends, the speed will creep up to, and probably over that speed. When you get more than a couple of mph over that speed, firmly but not aggressively brake the rig to around 40mph, then completely release the brake pedal. Allow the rig to gain speed back up to a little over 45, and repeat.
You won't be going too fast, and by controlling speed in this manner, you won't be overheating the brakes and causing failure.
Even if your truck has downshift braking, or exhaust braking, you will probably eventually be in a situation where that alone won't keep everything slow enough.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-25-2016, 08:34 PM   #38
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Sacramento , California
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This is one of the more enthralling threads I've read in a while. We jumped in over our heads 10 years ago with a small SOB. We took our time, made mistakes (nothing major). Now with a new AS we still go slowly. Best advise--when in doubt, slow down. I still see ASs flying by us 70+ mph...oh well.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:05 PM   #39
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2015 22' FB Sport
Kansas City , Missouri
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We had a wonderful 10 day trip this summer, and had the most troubles and accident potential getting gas. Fortunately we didn't have any major issues, but that was as much luck as anything.

Lesson? Don't be on the lookout for the cheapest gas. Be on the lookout for the best place to gas up. A dollar or two difference for a tankful Just Doesn't Matter.

Several times the "best" pumps on the outside with wide open turns were Out of Order. Especially at the lower priced stations.

Or the location of the pumps put the trailer and TV in the path of vehicles backing up from parking at the door at the convenience store.

And then there was that curb cut that was smaller than it looked, and we didn't clear it quite squarely. Ouch baby.

Flat and wide open = Good

Piggy Bank
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:08 PM   #40
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2000 25' Excella
fallbrook , California
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Tips for pulling a trailer

Speed kills!!! Moderate speeds lead to safe journeys!! Give yourself enough time and you will arrive safe and ready for the next adventure!! Bruce
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:30 PM   #41
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2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
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The Anatomy of a Towing Accident -- What is?

As an engineer, I would contend that the difference in velocity is what kills. 😀

(I also say the glass is too large)

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'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:15 AM   #42
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Towing my 34' all aluminium Featherlite SURV trailer with my V-10 Ford Excursion 4X4, I felt totally safe & wasn't worried about anything on the road.

Then, in 2012 on a road north of Sheridan, WY; I came upon a trailer rollover that had just happened. The trailer was a heap of debris in the median.

The rolled over Ford Execursion was disconnected & sitting on its wheels in a paved median crossing. Every window was broken by its multiple rollovers. Several occupants were injured & laying on the pavement except one who was tossed down an embankment.

We stopped & joined about 10 other people & rendered what aid we could. I mainly helped direct the sparse traffic as it backed up. Others with medical training aided the injured while we waited on EMT's to arrive (about an hour).

This event has a profound impact on me. I am much slower on the highway, more patient, & stop to check the equipment more often.

My one bit of advise to the OP: do NOT accelerate downhill to build up speed to climb the next hill.

Let's Roll !

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