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Old 02-18-2016, 12:57 PM   #15
1 Rivet Member
2014 27' FB International
Slaughter , Louisiana
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 15
Advice for a new Airstream buyer

Perhaps try to find out something about their parts and service depts. I purchased our 27 Ft. International from a dealer in Ms. and boy have we been disappointed in both departments. Those in charge of those departments are extremely rude and makes things so difficult to deal with. Just as you would do your homework on an auto dealer, you need to do the same on an Airstream dealer. Whatever you decide, the Airstream campers are fantastic. Happy Camping !

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Old 02-18-2016, 01:18 PM   #16
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,026
If you have never pulled......go slow and learn. As a general rule, if you are uncomfortable - leave, slow down, or stop.

Watch the whole LOLOHO series of videos and any others that pop up. Watch the Colonial videos on your trailer model. Read all the manuals. Spend as long as you can with the trailer deliver walk through.

Your trailer hitch may not be correctly setup when you pick up the trailer. Read the tow vehicle and hitch threads that apply to your rig. Don't be scared, just informed.

Towing a trailer is not like driving a car. You need to actively drive the rig. You need to practice defensive driving and look for what might happen before it does.

The traffic cones are a great idea. I use them for a guide and also to show the spotter where I want to go. Some folks do not have a spotter. It is good practice to use one. However, you are responsible for where you drive and back. A spotter should not be the primary control on your backing, just a backup system. We saw a fellow at JC back about 3 ft and get out and check. Then he would back a few, 2-3 ft, more. That is not a bad plan. He learned to to it the hard way. There was a big bash in the rear of the trailer that he was at JC to have fixed. Don't let that happen to you. It can happen to all. We talked to a lady who is married to a truck driver. They had an older trailer that is narrow. They purchased a new 25 and guess what. It didn't fit beside the house the same. Eves tear up trailers. Look up as said before.

Look down too. Those tire treads that big trucks throw from time to time are a real hazard. Try not to follow trucks too close. You can't see the tread they just hit if you are too close. You can't see the chuck hole they just hit either. Ten miles an hour slower will lose you 80 miles a day. Might have to drive for another two hours or take an extra day to get there. Damage to the rig costs you a lot more in the end.

If the 27 has ST tires, they are likely limited to 65 mph. You may only drive 60 mph, but if you pass someone, you can get the speed up a bit in a hurry. You do move on when you pass, right. Also, if you travel long distances, that extra 10 mph kind of pulls at you. Driving over 65 builds up heat and shortens the life of an ST tire. Read the Marathon and Michelin threads. Don't be scared, be informed.

Wind has a different effect depending on the TV hitch and AS that you configure. Force projection works different from brake pad friction, cam or spring bar sway control. Worth reading those threads as well.

Sway and wind buffet are two different events. Learn the difference and what to do. In a sway condition, apply your trailer brakes. In a wind buffeting condition, do not over control. Slow down in 5 mph increments until you are comfortable with the result or stop for the night and get an early start in the morning. Wind often builds in the mid day period. We get caught trying to make some miles after it calms daown in the evening. Makes finding a good camping site a bit difficult when you get there after dark.

Daily distance is another challenge to consider. We watched a few videos of folks who traveled 200 miles and stopped for the night. In our car travel days, we often traveled 600-800 miles. That difference kind of concerned us. Consequently, we did a trial trip and found that we could easily make 400 miles in a reasonable day of travel. We calmed down a bit. Think of it as slow and steady does the trick. After all you are pulling your shell behind you.

Take a few shake down trips. A 2 hour drive, not too far away from the dealer is a good start. Then go for a days drive to a destination you like. Soon, it's vacation or road trip time.

Transition major cities in the non-commute hours. We would not have gotten through ST Louis without both of us paying close attention to directions, signs, and traffic. The trip North to South through Salt Lake was horrible around noon because of the truck traffic. The trip East to West after 6:00pm was no trouble at all. You have to take it the way it comes and stay calm. Try to travel early in the day to arrive at your campsite in daylight. Help other drivers when possible by slowing or moving over. Do not feel you must be in the curb lane. Often it is easier for entering cars to avoid you if you are one lane over. Somehow they just never see you and never step on it to get out of the way. Plan ahead, watch how the truckers drive. You can learn a lot, but beware of the one that keeps weaving. He may need a rest stop.

If the trailer drops off the pavement, do not jerk it back in to the lane. Trailer and TVs end up out of control and roll over when that happens. Slow down and wait for a place to safely pull back onto the pavement. Folks with more experience may have better advice on this one. You have to watch the transition on highway pullouts just like service stations. ASs like smooth pavement or very slow speeds.

Go down hills at a reduced rate of speed and maintain that speed with your brakes and at least one gear lower to provide some engine braking. Apply the brakes for a period of a few seconds and then back off them to allow cooling. Remember your trailer brakes are drums. If you brake to about 5 mph less than your target speed, you can release the brakes and let the rig gain speed until it is going faster than the target speed before you can apply the brakes again. Your trailer brakes may need adjustment to help with smooth transitions. Worth discussing when you pick up the rig from the dealer and read the threads. Makes for a lot of evening's entertainment.

My brother purchased a 1/5 ton, hooked it to a SOB, and used a clone brand hitch. He drives about 60, sometimes a bit slower when there is a head wind. He made it all the way to Maine from Montana and enjoyed the trip. You can too, just take it slow and drive the rig carefully.

Travel safe with your new AS. You will enjoy the smiles from the miles. Pat

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Old 02-18-2016, 01:38 PM   #17
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2003 31' Classic
Terra Alta , West Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 208
Try to back in on the left side. Sometimes you have to go around the loop and approach from a different direction but it's worth it.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:09 PM   #18
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2014 27' Flying Cloud
Stowe , Vermont
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 163
Check out the Scoop - (funny but really good). It on youtube -
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:49 PM   #19
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2006 19' International CCD
Denville , New Jersey
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,003
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Backing in on left easier, but learn both so you are ready for anything. Relax and enjoy.
2006 Bambi CCD ("EireStream!!")
2010 Funfinder
2005 T@B
2001 Teardrop, Mountain Hardware Tent
For some perfection takes a little longer...
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:33 PM   #20
2 Rivet Member
1998 28' Excella
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 28
Get a rear view camera

We just got a wireless rear viewing camera. Helps not just when backing but also when driving.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:20 PM   #21
4 Rivet Member
1999 30' Excella 1000
Brookeville , Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 423
If you can back up a log can back up anything
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:40 PM   #22
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2014 27' FB International
Western WA , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,206
Blog Entries: 49
Rear view camera is wonderful. We love ours and would not voluntarily tow without one. However, in our limited experience it's no substitute for GOAL (Get Out And Look) when parking.

Rocinante is our 2014 International Signature 27FB
(Named for John Steinbeck's camper from "Travels With Charley")

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