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Old 06-30-2005, 03:57 PM   #29
Little Radio
 
1966 28' Ambassador
Chicago , Illinois
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Arrow Post-Mortem on the Ram Hemi vs. Classic

Ok, so maybe "post-mortem" is the wrong phrase to use... my father and mother made it back safe and sound from their trip from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, SC.

Here are the relevent high-lights:

> Airstream of Detroit delivered his brand new 2005 Airstream Classic to him with a hitch that didn't include ANY sway control bars. So my father towed it all the way to MB, SC, without realizing it. He became suspicious when a strong gust nearly took it off the highway while he was driving through the mountains. That great AS dealer in SC sold him the appropriate hitch set-up.

> Airstream of Detroit delivered his brand new 2005 Airstream Classic WITHOUT properly working brakes. My father drove the whole way down and back with minimal braking at low speeds, and nothing but the Ram Hemi truck's brakes to do all the work. Not even that AS dealer in SC could figure out what was wrong. Long story short: Jackson Center techs finally told him to run a 12 gauge wire directly from the battery to the Prodigy controller -- and it worked. This, of course, was realized AFTER he drove the darn thing all the way back home.

> The Hemi-powered Ram was more than enough truck to haul around the trailer, even though the trailer approached its max tow load limit. My father reported no issues regarding stability or towing up inclines. Only the aforementioned braking caused him anxiety.

> As far as quality: his new AS is suffering from many, many other defects. And he's pretty unhappy after having previous ASs (a '68 and '76) that had very few. A short list of the problems: leaking sink spray hose handle, collapsed closet false-floor cover, misaligned axles that cause sudden fishtailing at hwy speeds unless you really crank down the sway bar setup hard, peeling trim behind propane tanks, loose door lock barrel, blowing fuses when the A/C and microwave are on at the same time... probably a dozen more that I can't recall. He's towing it to Jackson Center soon to have them fix it all.

I'll post more should I discover more... thanks again for all your collective knowledge and wit!
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Old 06-30-2005, 07:53 PM   #30
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i have found that airstream is now skimping on alluminum cost's..........the new ribs they use are much lighter and almost flimsy.........i can't see how they could skimp on something so small on a $70,000 trailer? for that much they should work,and you should never have to return to the dealer
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Old 07-11-2005, 03:42 PM   #31
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I read this thread with great interest. We took delivery of a 31'Classic a month ago and town it with a k1500 Suburban. Did a 1500 mile trip and all worked fine with the exception of some whipping of the trailer when being passed by a truck during strong side winds. Less speed prevented a repeat until the wind backed off. (Equilizer hitch.) I know a guy who pulls a 34' with the same vehicle.

Agree with "Littile Radio" about the quality issues. Problems so far are miner: no accurate info on level of black water tank, peeling trim, and some sloppy fitting work. How can they build these and mount things askew. how much more time does it take to do it right!? I will check my sink spray before taking it in thursday.

Dwight
Nebraska
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Old 07-11-2005, 04:40 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16595
I read this thread with great interest. We took delivery of a 31'Classic a month ago and town it with a k1500 Suburban. Did a 1500 mile trip and all worked fine with the exception of some whipping of the trailer when being passed by a truck during strong side winds. Less speed prevented a repeat until the wind backed off. (Equilizer hitch.) I know a guy who pulls a 34' with the same vehicle.
Dwight
Nebraska
Funny, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. My wife and I just hauled the AS around town for more repairs, and we had several 18 wheelers pass on both sides and it really didn't fishtail. I just have a Reese WD hitch, no anti-sway at all (YET!) all I get is a 'up & down' sway which can probably be attributed to the TT axles.
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:04 AM   #33
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I think speed has a great deal to do with wind effects, and this was in NE South Dakota with a pretty strong wind from the left side, probably 30 mph or more. Not that common. It was a Krispy Kreme delivery truck, not even a semi. Around town you won't have such experiences. I was going 65 maybe.

My parents started towing an AS in 1966, and we have had one at least sitting ever since. This is the first anti-sway equipped hitch, and we had a pretty wild ride for a few seconds there. I am glad for firm suspension on the suburban - just kept it pointed down the road. I expected a couple zigs and it would be over, but it kept up until I slowed. The truck was not gaining so the turbulence continued until I backed off. Any panic or over correction may have put the whole works in the ditch, but if anything I'm a little slow to respond. I would like to have a video of the action from behind.

They are replacing the sensor in the black water tank and tweaking the rest.

Dwight
Nebraska
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:35 AM   #34
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Hemi-Powered Ram 1500 versus 30' Classic

Greetings Barry and Lisa!

Quote:
Originally Posted by troubleskeep
Funny, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. My wife and I just hauled the AS around town for more repairs, and we had several 18 wheelers pass on both sides and it really didn't fishtail. I just have a Reese WD hitch, no anti-sway at all (YET!) all I get is a 'up & down' sway which can probably be attributed to the TT axles.
What you are describing is often referred to as porpoising, freeway hop, bucking, etc. It is a form of resonance created by the relationship (spacing) between the rear axle of the tow vehicle and the axle(s) on the trailer as the combination traverses the expansion strips on the highway -- speed of travel can also have some impact on the severity of the freeway hop condition as well -- so in some cases a slight adjustment in speed of travel can improve the condition as well. The prevalence of the condition is highly dependent upon the individual highway and the particular trailer/tow vehicle combination in my experience.

Careful attention to hitch setup can have a positive impact in decreasing the severity of porpoising/freeway hop/bucking/etc. It made a tremendous difference with my ’95 K1500 Z-71 Club Cab pickup/Overlander combination when I switched from an extended drawbar (one leftover from my days towing with a conversion van with the rear door mounted spare tire) to a standard extension drawbar – the freeway hop was reduced significantly. Carefully adjusting the hitch according to the Reese Weight Distributing Hitch setup instructions can help as well. In addition, switching to lighter-weight rated weight distribution bars can also help to smooth the towing experience if the tow vehicle is a stiffly sprung SUV or truck.

While I am a great fan of the Reese Dual Cam Sway control and utilize it with both of my coaches, it isn’t particularly effective in reducing/eliminating porpoising/freeway hop/bucking/etc (IMHO). It will, however, create a noticeable positive change in the “firmness” of the connection between the trailer and tow vehicle when properly installed and adjusted (IMHO).

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:10 PM   #35
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1982 31' Excella
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Dodge 1500 4 door

I have had my 1981 AS Excella 31 for a year now, when I bought it had a Dodge dually diesel, power was great but 10 miles per gallon no good. Traded for a new 2013 6 speed with tow package 1500 5.7. I can't believe the power.

I live in Montana so hills are an every day occurance, and I now average 11.5 mpg at about 50 cents a gallon less. I have put 11,000 miles on pair and very happy. All these miles in western USA and Canada.

Coach and TV ride great and never a problem with stoping, but I drive like a big truck, slow down before you stop.

If your father has any experience with bigger trucks he should have no problem.

If you think that extra 1000 to 1500 lbs difference from a 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton will make a big difference if you are not driving your vehicle under control, guess again.
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