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Old 06-28-2015, 01:04 PM   #1
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Never Again

Well, I found out why I will never use backroads that are gravel and washboarded..
Yesterday I traveled for about 5 miles total on a dirt road. i sped up to 30 miles an hour to remove the jarring ride and smooth things out.

When I got home I discovered damage. ?I lost 2 rivets from the ceiling and screws missingh from doors. The clothes locker door had become misaligned and wouldn't close properly.

after reading some posts on washboard roads I felt that my 19 ft. Bambi was could take the stress for a few miles. WRONG..

These trailers might be the best trailers made but they can't take the pounding that average gravel roads will induce.

That will be the last time I venture off the highway to intentionally cause damage. both visual and unseen damage that I won't know about until it surfaces.

others may have different results but I have too much invested in the rig to risk it. Not worth the potential real damage that could occur to get to a remote camp site.

Stay on the well maintained roads and spare yourself and your rig from shaking the unit apart.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:12 PM   #2
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Welcome,
30 MPH was your downfall. Sometimes you just got to slow down and smell the roses. Any off-roader knows it is not about speed, it is about control and technique. I have many miles on washboard fire road cuts with zero damage. Average speed rarely exceed 5-10 MPH.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:15 PM   #3
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I hear ya

I too had damage due to driving on dirt roads. AND I was going slow

In Airstreams defense….. My trailer is 42 years old.

On the other hand, it was the mirror/cabinet/shade assembly in the rear bath that fell off. I feel like the assembly was a bit heavy to be attached by a few wimpy rivets, to a piece of plastic.

My solution and advice….Only put clothes and light objects in the overhead bins.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:20 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I am sorry for your bad experience.

We had a similar experience a number of years ago. We did not throw any rivets, but we did some other damage to interior fixtures.

We have taken other dirt roads, but have taken precautions. On a couple of occasions we have unhooked Lucy and tried the road with just the tow vehicle. If we felt that it was a little rough but doable, we have taken Lucy's tires down to 30 psi. This has seemed to work.

Brian
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:43 PM   #5
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I like to go off the beaten path and that involves dirt roads.
I had a humungous motor home that was tethered to the Interstates but I like my Airstream better.
A misaligned cabinet can be adjusted. Mine sometimes become misaligned going on normal roads.
Ditto for screws popping out of cabinets and drawers. Virtually every screw in mine has been replaced at least once. Mine us a Safari and has pressed sawdust cabinets. When the screws don't seat, I fill the hole with plastic wood, let it dry and the screw will seat. Eventually, the plastic wood wears out. Then I stick a little strip of metal mesh in there to seat the screw. Metal mesh is sold at Home Depot.
I carry a repair kit full of cabinet latches and things I know have failed in the past.
In ten years of driving on gravel roads and in Mexico where the roads can be horrible, I have never popped a rivet. I think the fact that one of yours popped is due to a manufacturing defect. Perhaps Airstream will be of help. If not, if you can get at both sides of the metal, replacing a rivet is doable even for someone semi handy. If you have to dismantle the interior to get at the other side of the rivet, it is probably a job for a pro.
Good luck and keep boondocking.
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Old 06-28-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, would dual axle trailers do better on a washboard road? I would think so since the two tires would be "out of phase" on the bumps, thereby reducing the "peak-to-peak" oscillations. This would, of course, depend on the relative spacing of the tires and the washboard bumps.
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Old 06-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #7
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It isn't just the trailer that takes a beating on these roads, the truck and us as well. We try to avoid them, otherwise travel very slowly. Lowering tire pressure is a good idea to get through it, need a good air pump to bring them back up afterwards. We should probably get a better one.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:39 PM   #8
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Yeah I go out of my way practically everyday to avoid gravel roads as it's akin to machine gunning the underside of your car and destroying your springs, shocks and struts. The fastest way to rust out the bottom side of your car and pay for expensive items like fuel/brake lines, gas tanks and sending units is to drive gravel roads.

Cheers
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:49 PM   #9
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What size rims, and what tires are you using?

Enjoy,

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislinck View Post
Well, I found out why I will never use backroads that are gravel and washboarded..
Yesterday I traveled for about 5 miles total on a dirt road. i sped up to 30 miles an hour to remove the jarring ride and smooth things out.

When I got home I discovered damage. ?I lost 2 rivets from the ceiling and screws missingh from doors. The clothes locker door had become misaligned and wouldn't close properly.

after reading some posts on washboard roads I felt that my 19 ft. Bambi was could take the stress for a few miles. WRONG..

These trailers might be the best trailers made but they can't take the pounding that average gravel roads will induce.

That will be the last time I venture off the highway to intentionally cause damage. both visual and unseen damage that I won't know about until it surfaces.

others may have different results but I have too much invested in the rig to risk it. Not worth the potential real damage that could occur to get to a remote camp site.

Stay on the well maintained roads and spare yourself and your rig from shaking the unit apart.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:15 AM   #10
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I would NEVER take my $60,000 Airstream on a dirt road, plus I'm not real keen on thrashing a $50,000 truck either. That's just me and my humble opinion. I also have hard time understanding why an individual would take a $20,000 BMW motorcycle and completely destroy it riding off-road. To each their own I suppose.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:55 AM   #11
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I don't have current data

But it was just a few decades ago that there were more unpaved roads, than paved roads in the USA.

I believe that it was an Eisenhower initiative that aimed to get roads within a mile from every farm.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:13 AM   #12
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Another reason to go slow

My farmhouse is on a dirt road. One neighbor doesn't want it paved because he says that he doesn't want tons of city people deciding to build houses on his road.

The other neighbor, who lives far off the road, likes to drive as fast as he can so that that he can kick up as much dust as he can. ( Some of us are close to the road ). You should see the shirt eating grin when people ask him to drive slow. Out in the country….you want to make friends, just in case you need help.

The dust gets into the air filters of the vehicle and reduces gas mileage by a few miles per gallon. And it really ticks off the locals.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyncloud View Post
I would NEVER take my $60,000 Airstream on a dirt road, plus I'm not real keen on thrashing a $50,000 truck either. That's just me and my humble opinion. I also have hard time understanding why an individual would take a $20,000 BMW motorcycle and completely destroy it riding off-road. To each their own I suppose.
With all due respect, what I think you are missing is that some folks ( I am one ) buy "things" in life to enjoy, use and get pleasure from. You would likely shake your head if you saw how banged up, scraped, scratched and generally worn some of my top end cameras and lenses are.
But I have many excellent images, and numerous prints hanging on my walls that came from this equipment. And for "me", that is the bottom line....not whether the camera still looks brand new.
Those of us that take motorcycles ( or campers ) off road get our pleasure from the places these machines take us.
If a camper can't take some off road abuse, then it's not "the camper" for me.
To the OP, like others have said, it sounds like your mistake was simply going too fast. Next time, slow "way" down.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:59 PM   #14
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Most 'things' have a survivable range of use designed into them. Exceeding those parameters needs to be done with care and within a narrow range if evidence of misuse or overuse is to be avoided. How much 'evidence' one will inflict on a possession is a personal choice. I'm in the same camp as gmw_photo and have many items that clearly indicate i enjoy them over a wide range of applications. I also have other items that will look nice years, if not centuries, from now.

My BMW motorcycle has been to places wheels have never been before. It was designed to do this, its named Adventure Riding, and an absolute blast if the right skills are acquired before hand. However, it can't be done without evidence. Likewise, I've sailed the oceans and been in storms which de-masted or otherwise destroyed sails and rigging while hundreds of miles from land. I believe adrenaline toys should require repair at some point. On the other hand, my Airstream has been places many would not go and yet there is no evidence i did it.

I guess it just comes down to what you enjoy doing and how you judge & manage the risks involved. With my Airstream, the rule is slow and steady as I know it will survive unscathed with the right behavior.
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