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Old 02-02-2005, 01:07 PM   #1
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the minuses of a 30' slide out

hi,

i'm pretty convinced i will buy an airstream...the question now is what size. my wife really likes the classic slide out 31'....however, i'm being told by others that this is to big and awkward to travel in....can anyone else give me feedback on this?

thanks,
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:47 PM   #2
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I would think it would depend on what kind of camping and traveling you do.I know you must have heard it before, but Airstreams do tow eaiser than probably any other trailer out there. I have a 31' Sovereign and I find it's very easy to tow and maneuver.The smaller trailers are very popular right now, but I think more people trade up rather than down. I'm going to a 34" Classic and owners say these are eaiser to maneuver than a smaller trailer. If you like the 31', I say go for it you'll more than likely love it.
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:54 PM   #3
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PM jcanavera (or maybe he'll post here), he has a 30' slide and loves it. Jack would be the best source of info for this as he is pretty objective and tell you the good, the bad and any ugly as well.

Specifically though, the hitch weight is higher than normal which should be expected given the slide and all. I believe Jack had to swap out his factory GM receiver hitch for one that could take the higher hitch weight. He tows it with a 3/4 van with the 6.0L engine and from what he's said, seems to be a good match.

Having been in his 30' slide when slid, it is a very sharp coach. The front of the coach is like an actual room with all that space. Also having seen how these are built, it's really a good solid design. I have a few pics of the slide out build area at www.silvertwinkie.org Nothing detailed, but I believe there is a pic of the slide on the floor being built before it gets installed. The two shots I have are on page two.
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:03 PM   #4
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As always it depends on what type of traveling you do and how long you intend to stay in the Airstream. We took delivery of a 30' Classic SO last September. Since then we have traveled from our home in Kentucky to South Alabama for 10 days. Western Kentucky lakes area for 10 days, we are now in Savannah Ga, and are going to put ourselves to the real test by spending four weeks in Florida next week.

We have yet to find anything substantial to complain about. The slide works great, be sure you are level, the extra room in the passage way makes the entire airstream look and feel larger.

Handling, and towing are easy. Our tow vehicle is a little over kill so most of the time we never know it is behind us. I have towed some very narrow hilly roads in south east kentucky with no problems. Additionally we have maneuvered the airstream into some very tight parking spots with no problem.

Good luck with your decision
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:13 PM   #5
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I have a 34' narrow body, would love to have a 30 or a 34 widebody slide. The 34' is easy to tow and we love the interior arangement or ours. Most people trade up in size not down. Look at a lot of them before you make that final decision. I don't think you will be disappointed in anything from 28' up.
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:27 PM   #6
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brolenmar, Welcome to the forums.

We are planning to purchase a 30' Safari because we like the bunks for our two young boys. They like it, too. Would love to have the slide for the extra room, but prefer having sleeping for four without having to make and un-make beds every night and morning.

This will be our first travel trailer and I'm not concerned about the size. Will be pulling with an F-250 Supercrew powerstroke diesel.
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Old 02-02-2005, 06:49 PM   #7
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Greetings brolenmar and welcome. Always nice to see a new member's first posting.

I attended the huge RV show in Jan. '04. Toscano had a 30' SO Classic on display. Well I stepped inside and it took me three hours to leave it. Needless to say, I was sold. I wanted the room of a 30' SO. I was all set to order until I got on the forum to research Slide Outs. Eventually, I decided on the NON-SO 30' Classic. Why? Well, the floorplan of the 30' was perfect for me. That plus the minuses of the SO made it an easy decision.

The Cons
1. Extreme hitch weight. Most stock hitch receivers are class IV rated up to 1000#. The 30' SO requires a class V and GM does not recommend anything over class IV, I read somewhere. Anyway, having to put that massive class V receiver under my truck and adding more unwanted weight was not too desirable to me, plus that massive hitch weight adding to the GCVWR.

2. Off balanced load. The massive weight of the SO is on one side creating off balanced load. I imagine this puts unusual stress on the hitch, axles, and tires.

3. Mechanics. The SO mechanics will fail some day. Like someone said on the forum before me, "it's not a question of if but when."

4. TV space is above the refrigerator past the dinette far from the living area. The 30' non-SO has a TV credenza IN the living area. A BIG difference!

5. The 30' non-SO has a bar cabinet that the SO does not! I like my bar. Happy Hour anyone?

The Pros

1. More room in the living area!

2. More room in the passage way!

3. More room in the kitchen!

Either way you go, you will not be sorry, I am sure. You are about to embark on one of the most fun things ever- ordering a new Airstream. Take your time and ENJOY it! And post some pics!
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Old 02-02-2005, 09:20 PM   #8
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I think Twink posted a lot of my thoughts. Yes I had to upgrade the hitch platform since the folks at GM only put a 1,000 lb. hitch weight platform on the vans. If you have a GM pickup your hitch platform is rated higher. From look standpoint, my Hidden Hitch receiver looks very similar to the stock GM unit. I would doubt anyone could see the difference. The 3/4 ton van frame is very well up to the task.

Hitch weight is 1,175 lbs. Nothing to sneeze at but again the van handles this weight very well. It rides great.

Bad things? Well, you gotta follow the rules. Trailer leveled and stabilizer jacks down on the ground before you open the slide. Same on closing. Slide comes in before the stabilizer jacks come up. Do it any other way and you will have problems.

Other things of note. Even though you get a neat Zip-Dee awning that automatically extends when the slide comes out, water can potentially pool on the top of the slide with wind driven rain. We found out when pulling the slide in last fall. No great water gushes but enough to make us stop and get some towels out to catch the runoff. (I'll watch for that next time and will push that water off if any is present).

Obviously the extra weight of the slide out cuts down the amount of stuff you can carry. I once weighed my Safari with my standard camping load (water tanks dry) and found I was 500 lbs. over the stated empty weight as noted on the closet door.
I would assume my Classic is in the same range.

There is a manual means to get the slide moved in case of a motor or power failure.

Yes it will break someday, but I'm a believer in good engineering. I owned a Hi-Lo trailer for 14 years. If you have seen one of those, the top is raised by a hydralic ram tied to 4 cables on pulleys. My only failure of the top to raise was in the case of a dead battery, and I easily got around this with a set of jumper cables. A lot of folks would shy away from this trailer probably stating the issue of breakdown. Hi-Lo spent a lot of time and money engineering this and I think Airstream is well past the early issues with the slide.

BTW, the early issues with the slide were related to the seals (water leaks) and the rollers on the base of the slide unit. Personally I would probably stay away from the early slides (2000, 2001) unless you knew if they had been retrofited. (I ran into one slide owner in 2001 up at Jackson Center having his seals upgraded).

I pull with an Equal-i-zer hitch. No signs of sway up to this point. I've pulled with some pretty hefty cross winds and things stay rock steady. Vans make good towing vehicles since they punch a pretty big profile in that oncoming air.

I pondered long and hard whether to order the slide out and at this point I have no regrets.

Jack
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:46 AM   #9
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I too have a 30 foot Slide out , traded up from a 25 safari six sleeper. The Slide has had no problems and I love the extra roominess it gives. Felt less crowded with 6 adults than safari did with only 4.I have been to Pa. Fla. Tenn.Oh.(from Ohio) it tows Wonderful I do use a hensley I encountered one bad sway and decided to get it.(PA.All the worst conditions at once Mountain area with wind gust channeled down a valley on a bridge and with a 18wheeler passing).Prior to that it had been to 3 of the states mentionted with a drawtite hitch and a friction sway control. You will not be sorry going with a slide out.
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Old 02-03-2005, 06:48 AM   #10
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ctdair, I had a friend loose their unit in a very similar condition. A passing rig may have hit them, they were not really certain, got into a sway conditon and finally saw a soft spot on the side of the road and ended up there. It can happen, all we can do is be aware of the dangers and take reasonable precautions.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:58 PM   #11
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Water leak from slideout

Hello fellow Airstreamers,
We have a 2005 30 foot Classic with slide out. We've only used it twice so we haven't experienced all type of weather yet. Two weeks ago we camped for a week. Mid week there was a fierce rain storm. The day after the storm we discovered that the rug between the slide out and the sofa was wet. Two days later we packed up and as we 'slid' the slide out back in water poured in and onto the floor on both sides of the slide out. Has anyone had this problem and if so, how do you solve it. We had the a airstream dealer check out the trailer and their service department said it was probably from debris.
Thanks
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:33 PM   #12
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I too, had a 30' s/o and it leaked... I took back to factory and they resealed and I have not had anhy trouble since. I would not even think about buying another without the S/O. It is so much better... "Sparkie"
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer60
Hello fellow Airstreamers,
We have a 2005 30 foot Classic with slide out. We've only used it twice so we haven't experienced all type of weather yet. Two weeks ago we camped for a week. Mid week there was a fierce rain storm. The day after the storm we discovered that the rug between the slide out and the sofa was wet. Two days later we packed up and as we 'slid' the slide out back in water poured in and onto the floor on both sides of the slide out. Has anyone had this problem and if so, how do you solve it. We had the a airstream dealer check out the trailer and their service department said it was probably from debris.
Thanks
The slide out has a large gasket around trailer body opening. That gasket bends in and out depending upon the travel direction of the slide. When the slide is moving out, the gasket is bending towards the outside of the trailer. There is a second non flexible gasket on the inside of the slide out room (and on the outside). This gasket pushes against the flexible gasket when the room is in the full open, or full close position. This provides a secondary seal.

First thing I normally do when the room is fully extended, is to check that the flexible gasket is pointing in the out direction. If it isn't I either back the slide back in and try again or manually pull on the gasket to pop it in correctly. This doesn't happen often, partially because I make it a point to keep the gasket lubed with silicone spray. This keeps it flexible.

Now your leak could have come because of the gasket not being in place, or is it possible that the room wasn't totally extended? If it isn't, you aren't getting the compression from the inner solid gasket. That's important.

The other question was were you level from side to side? Could water on the slide out roof be pooling against the gasket side of the trailer?

Finally the water on retraction issue. The slope on the slide roof isn't perfect and in a wind driven rain storm, it is possible for a small amount of water to collect under the protective awning and sit on the slide out roof. When you retract the slide, the angle changes and the water comes off the roof of the slide into the trailer. First time it happend to me it caught me by surprise.

I carry a small two step ladder, and when we packing up (when we know we've had wind driven rain), I look at the top of the slide. If I see a water pool up there, I have a long handled squeege which I use to pull the water off the roof.

Bottom line the awning does a pretty good job of protecting the slide roof and I've only had to deal with the water pooling issue twice since getting my trailer in late 2003.

Could debris cause a problem? Yes if it gets hung up in the gasket since that will keep things from sealing. But when your room is retracted into the trailer, you should be able to inspect the roof especially the area along the inside solid gasket for debris.


Next time I have the trailer home, I'll shoot some pictures to attach to this thread.

Jack
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:51 PM   #14
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Though we have a Safari slide and not the Classic, I'll pitch in with the pro-slide group. We love our slide, the extra space and the eccentricity and obscurity of it.


Tom
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