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Old 02-17-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
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Advice for a new Airstream buyer

All,

We are getting an International Signature 27FB, going to be pulling it from a Chevy Silverado 1500, 5.3L V8 with towing package. Getting the electric brake and friction sway WDH installed. We have never pulled something like this so looking for tips on how to avoid trouble early on. Where do people practice turning, backing up, etc. Is it easier than I think it is?

Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

Any big parking lot will do to practice backing up. Try placing both hands on the bottom of the steering wheel.

If you want the back bumper of the trailer to go to the right. Push your hands to the right. After that it is just learning the degree of steering input.

Just stay relaxed and enjoy.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:45 PM   #3
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Big empty space. I back alone, so I practised with big bright cooler in back left corner of where I wanted to end up and aimed for that going very very very slow. If I started going wrong way I would stop pull up just a few feet and reset. Hand in bottom of steerung wheel.

In campgrounds, I get out and check surroundings, tree limbs, table firepit, cliff rocks, electric pole etc then aim to get that back left where it needs to end up. I am 62 year old female. If grandkids in car, they stay straped in until I unhitch, same with hitching up, straped in for safety.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:03 PM   #4
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Go to uhaul and rent a small trailer.

Go practice for a few hours towing straight and backing up. Then practice backing up to light poles, and between cars! Heck, go ahead and hit something!

Now when you go get your much larger trailer, with a MUCH easier backing feature, you will be comfortable.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:04 PM   #5
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One of the biggest and costliest mistakes when moving a trailer of any type, but especially Airstreams is not looking up.

If things look tight, always have a look at the space you wish to go into BEFORE you get there and look for low hanging obstructions such as eaves/soffits on buildings, low overhangs (especially around shopping malls, motels, drive through banking), branches etc etc.

More Airstreams have needed top panels replaced than I care to say. It can get very, very expensive, very quickly. Getting out and double checking with your own MarkI eye ball is cheap.

Above all else, don't let anyone rush you.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:21 PM   #6
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good advice.. and... helpful things on YouTube.. try this as example..

https://youtu.be/lzlOfBGr1i4
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:25 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone! Much appreciated, we are really looking forward to our airstream
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:08 AM   #8
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When using a park lot fir practice you can use the white lines as straight edges to learn to back straight. In a campground you can use your water hose or other markers to ensure you are backing where you want. Just stretch the hose out along the path you wish to back.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:09 AM   #9
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Oh... Btw, never, ever be "comfortable"... Be competent... Try always to be "careful"...
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:40 AM   #10
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Backing

As slow as possible. Fast as necessary!
Get out and look! Learn to use your mirrors!
Put your tires where you want to go!
If you lose sight of the back of your trailer stop! Pull fwd.and start over.
Above all----use your eyes!

As slow as possible! !!! Don't be in a hurry.
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:58 AM   #11
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Make sure when turning you go a little wider. Use your tow vehicles side view mirrors to confirm your trailer tires are going to clear the curb or other obstructions.

When towing into a gas station be careful of the entrances. If they are too steep then find another station. Going in at an angle will reduce the chance of dragging your trailers back end too. Look for a pump on the outside islands and make sure you can make the turn getting out. Many stations when you pull in you are facing the convenience store entrance with cars parked in front. Keep the tow vehicle and trailer away from the pumps a couple more feet than when filling solo. That way if you have to turn your trailer will clear the island easier.

When you are hitched up at the campground ready to go double check all the connections. Is the hitch pin in the receiver, safety chains, electrical umbilical, safety cable, the tongue coupler locked, weight distribution safety pins in place. Take a walkaround the trailer before you pull out. Make sure all external doors are shut and locked. Is the inside prepared for travel. Make sure pantry is locked, vents down, television locked down.

Just don't get in a rush to get on the road.

Once you get the hang of everything it gets less stressful. However, don't be over confident, always perform the same checklist.

Have fun.

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Old 02-18-2016, 12:13 PM   #12
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I think everyone has made some good points to your backup question, especially never getting overly confident. You might want to invest in some traffic cones to take to a big parking lot to practice with. You can set up many different kinds of parking scenarios to practice with. Don't forget to practice with your co-pilot as well, we have used portable radios and hand signals in co-pilot involved parking ops. Another tool you might look into is back-up and side cameras for your AS. They are very effective in giving you situational awareness but nothing compares to a co-pilot/pilot's eyes-on so be careful with them. Good luck in your travels...
JDB
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:08 PM   #13
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Go to a Wal-Mart parking lot early in the morning lots of room to practice and a lot less people and cars to get in your way
That's how I taught my wife to back our boat down a loading ramp
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:51 PM   #14
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Watch the video. Use the GOAL method (Get Out And Look) before backing.
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