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Old 09-15-2019, 04:39 PM   #1
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2017 16' Sport
Mount Orab , Ohio
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Scared, But Excited!

Hello!

Last winter, I purchased Ruby Rose, my 2017 16 foot Sport, but I have been terrified to actually use it because of the huge learning curve and because of my improper TV. I do not want to damage her or my TV. I came to these forums looking for inspiration to get me motivated to make an enduring friendship with Ruby Rose and to probably purchase a different TV. I have been reading the forums all afternoon, and I am determined to start my RV life! Nice to meet all of you!
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:18 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and to Airstreaming! You’ll find many people here anxious to help. Reach out with any questions. We were all new to this once..
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:45 PM   #3
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Welcome. Here’s the good news. No one is born knowing how to tow a trailer. Everyone who does so had to learn. Keep reading. There are many ways to learn.

My wife and I chose to go the route of a weekend long RV Safe Driver Training course offered by a local CDL (commercial drivers license) school.

There’s lots to learn but you’ll pick it up in bits and pieces and I’m betting since your “scared” - you’re really invested in learning how to do this well!

Any way we can help - just shout out. Lots of folks here to help. Also - not sure where you live but check out your local unit of the National Club - being able to hang out with local AS owners can be very helpful for your learning curve and enjoyment of your new baby!

Good luck and happy camping!
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:24 PM   #4
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Baileys Harbor , Wisconsin
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Suggestion: Get it hitched up. Have someone with experience drive you to a quiet road. Get behind the wheel and just drive for awhile. Just get the feel of it. Do some practice backing up in a parking lot. I remember I was anxious my first time towing. My wife could sense it and she would get a headache. Now I am fairly relaxed. And she can even sense it.

You do have to be more alert while towing. After all you are driving with some extra weight and stopping, starting, turning all need to be done more carefully. But soon you learn to adapt and feel reasonably confident and it builds the more you tow. Things start to become a bit more second nature.

But you just need to go for it.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:26 PM   #5
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2017 16' Sport
Mount Orab , Ohio
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Thanks for the welcome and great ideas!

I am in southern Ohio, and I am trying to figure out if there is a group near me.

I definitely need practice with the driving, particularly backing up. I got to be rather good with a Ford F250 and a large two horse trailer, but this Sport and my Jeep handle much differently.


Thanks again!
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post
Thanks for the welcome and great ideas!

I am in southern Ohio, and I am trying to figure out if there is a group near me.

I definitely need practice with the driving, particularly backing up. I got to be rather good with a Ford F250 and a large two horse trailer, but this Sport and my Jeep handle much differently.


Thanks again!
If you did it with an F250 and 2 horse trailer this will be a snap. You just need a little practice. You’ve already been through the motions.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:13 PM   #7
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McHenry , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post
Thanks for the welcome and great ideas!

I am in southern Ohio, and I am trying to figure out if there is a group near me.

I definitely need practice with the driving, particularly backing up. I got to be rather good with a Ford F250 and a large two horse trailer, but this Sport and my Jeep handle much differently.


Thanks again!
Ruby Rose, welcome! Good advice so far, and since you’ve got experience with a truck and horse trailer it will be like riding a bike. There’s a towing safety video DVD in the Airstream pouch with the manuals you might watch. Also, there’s some basic instructions in the Airstream manual for your model.

Get some help with the hitch process and follow a checklist. Practice until you’re comfortable with it (won’t take long). As long as your TV’s payload and tow rating meet the 16’ Sport’s requirements, you’ll be fine to start. You can always upgrade later. Check the door sticker on the Jeep to find it’s payload rating. Subtract the tongue weight and contents inside the Jeep from the door sticker’s payload.

We just got back from Colorado where we met up with Joyce, my wife’s best friend and owner of a T@B teardrop trailer. She tows it with an older Subaru Forester stick shift. She joined a camping club and got help from other members. She does everything herself now and goes out once or twice a month. Oh yeah, Joyce is 72 years young!

Good luck and welcome to the Airstream community!
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:17 PM   #8
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What kind of Jeep do you have now?
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:38 PM   #9
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Mount Orab , Ohio
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Thanks so much for the encouragement! I believe that I can handle towing, but definitely need practice with backing up. I am more concerned about repairs and dealing with utilities. I do not even know where and how to get propane! I guess just one step at a time! If a 72 yo could do it, then I can do it as a 60 yo!
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:48 PM   #10
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2017 16' Sport
Mount Orab , Ohio
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I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee V6, but it does NOT have a towing package. (Dealer told me it did, but it only had the wiring harness - not the HD engine cooling.) I do have a brake and sway stabilizer so I am good there. I only got 5-8 mpg driving it home from the dealer on flat terrain, but I did not know I was supposed to have the Sport On button lit. So, I need to try again with the correct button lit up. I am not confident that my SUV will make it over mountains which is my eventual goal.



I have read tons of information and notice lots of conflicting information concerning whether my SUV is adequate for the 16 foot Sport. Many folks say that even if I keep my weights in proper range that the lack of adequate cooling would be a problem over mountains. I could add external cooling, but most folks say that it is not nearly as good as the proper cooling from the dealer.


I am looking into trucks now - Ram 1500 or 2500 and Ford F150 and F250. The smaller sizes would be fine with my 16 foot Sport, but if I ever want a bigger RV, then I would feel more comfortable with the larger sizes. My plan is to get used to the RV around here in relatively flat terrain to make sure that I like it before buying a truck.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post
I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee V6, but it does NOT have a towing package. (Dealer told me it did, but it only had the wiring harness - not the HD engine cooling.) I do have a brake and sway stabilizer so I am good there. I only got 5-8 mpg driving it home from the dealer on flat terrain, but I did not know I was supposed to have the Sport On button lit. So, I need to try again with the correct button lit up. I am not confident that my SUV will make it over mountains which is my eventual goal.



I have read tons of information and notice lots of conflicting information concerning whether my SUV is adequate for the 16 foot Sport. Many folks say that even if I keep my weights in proper range that the lack of adequate cooling would be a problem over mountains. I could add external cooling, but most folks say that it is not nearly as good as the proper cooling from the dealer.


I am looking into trucks now - Ram 1500 or 2500 and Ford F150 and F250. The smaller sizes would be fine with my 16 foot Sport, but if I ever want a bigger RV, then I would feel more comfortable with the larger sizes. My plan is to get used to the RV around here in relatively flat terrain to make sure that I like it before buying a truck.
A half ton truck like a F150 is easily able to handle anything up to a 25’ trailer and some people go even higher. A F250 is a much bigger truck and, in my opinion, overkill unless you are using it for something else or planning to go up past a 25’. It’s harder to use as a daily driver for sure.

If backing up worries you I have to say Ford’s computerized backup assist in the F150 with the max tow package is a huge help. At least it’s a way to get on the road quicker until you feel the need to learn the manual methods. We use it every time we backup our F150 and FC25. If you insist on a F250 the 2020 models have backup assist now.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:19 AM   #12
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Hi Ruby Rose and welcome to the forum. I can certainly relate to your excitement and the nerves. I jump into RVING just about 3 years ago. I knew nothing. I had never even gone camping but like you I had trailered horses although that was a few decades ago. I just got home from from a two month long road trip (solo). There is lots to learn but just go slow and read everything you can and know ahead of time there will be challenges. My advice would be to learn “safety “ first, check lists are extremely helpful and this site is a great resource. There may be times when the information from one person isn’t the same from another so keep digging for more information and then decide for yourself what you need to do. When looking for a tow vehicle I suggest you get one that can handle a bigger trailer, as it seems that folks who buy the smaller AS first upgrade pretty quickly to a larger model. Not always but it happens frequently. Being confident in your tow vehicle takes a ton of anxiety away. Being able to stop is more important than being able to go imo. My 2500 is my daily driver (I have just the one vehicle) and I enjoy the benefits of being able to see over most cars and it’s extremely comfortable. Just one more bit of advice: RAM BOXES. IF you forego a truck bed topper the RAMBOX is a wonderful place to keep all the small tools, chocks, blocks, hand tools, etc without having to reach into the bed of the truck.
Again, welcome to Airstreaming solo.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:59 AM   #13
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2017 16' Sport
Mount Orab , Ohio
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kendrick.l.j - Thanks for your input! I had not thought about a box as opposed to a full bed topper.

daleyocum - Glad to hear that the Ford F150 (and I assume Ram 1500) will work just fine over mountains up to a 25' trailer. I do not see every going for that size trailer, but perhaps 19 or 22 foot. It is just me and my dog so I hope that the 16 foot works well for us for many years.

everyone - You guys are the best! I just love Airstreamers! So kind and knowledgeable! I feel that it is not just me, myself and I, but that there is a community of like-minded folks.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:29 AM   #14
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Hilltop Lakes , Texas
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As to how to get propane, there’s a dealer in almost every town. Find yours, then go by and visit with them. Take along pictures of your Airstream, particularly the propane tanks—minus any covers if possible. Tell them you’re a beginner and ask for their advice. Most business people will take a little time to instruct a potential repeat customer.

Then one day while you’re towing the trailer, go by again and ask them to show you what needs to be done.

If they’re not friendly on the first visit, go find another dealer.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post

I definitely need practice with the driving, particularly backing up. I got to be rather good with a Ford F250 and a large two horse trailer, but this Sport and my Jeep handle much differently.


Thanks again!

Ruby Rose,

Checklist:

Steering wheel location. From seated position of front seat. Left front of both vehicles. Check.
Go pedal location. Operate with right boot you’re a horse person right?
Brake pedal location. Operate with right boot, it’s just to the L of the go pedal. Check.
Extra credit if manual transmission equipped. Check.
Engine under hood and in front of vehicle. Check.

The rest is covered in owners manual.

Now above is just some kidding around but from my way back in HS days going to horse shows with HS sweetheart (she rode English) there is no one on the road that is more concerned and focused and total commitment to the trailer like someone pulling a horse trailer.

Enjoy and practice. Backing up can be interesting and one of my tricks that a tanker driver showed me was figure out where you want a trailer tire to be when you are backed in and ready to disconnect.

Mark the spot with something visible. A bucket or traffic cone comes to mind.

Many sites might have a blind side as you are backing in, put your marker on the side you can see.

So you have a new horse to saddle up look em in the eyes and make sure they know who is the boss.

Gary
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post
kendrick.l.j - Thanks for your input! I had not thought about a box as opposed to a full bed topper.

daleyocum - Glad to hear that the Ford F150 (and I assume Ram 1500) will work just fine over mountains up to a 25' trailer. I do not see every going for that size trailer, but perhaps 19 or 22 foot. It is just me and my dog so I hope that the 16 foot works well for us for many years.
If it's just you backing up, besides the backup assist I mentioned above, think real hard about getting a backup camera for the back of the trailer. Makes it a lot easier to see what's going on.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby Rose View Post
Thanks for the welcome and great ideas!

I am in southern Ohio, and I am trying to figure out if there is a group near me.

I definitely need practice with the driving, particularly backing up. I got to be rather good with a Ford F250 and a large two horse trailer, but this Sport and my Jeep handle much differently.
Thanks again!
*******

Ruby... I am in the Mohave Desert of Southern Nevada.

The heat affects me more than your cold affects you. I welcome you to come and we can 'break in that beautiful trailer' of yours.

Once you beat the living hell out of your new trailer... there is nothing else to worry about. The dust is good for you. Nancy and I are the people YOU need to take you on an Adventure that usually 50% of members who come along with us... wave with one finger and depart... if they can find their way out of the forest. (A Catch 22 situation of do I, or do I not? Kind of decision.)

Keep us in mind. If you do not have what it takes... we will provide IT. Period. Underline it... have good insurance.

Read the 2016 Wyoming Adventure under Boondocking. Try any of those camp sites. Thalweg of Wyoming... can provide the maps in detail. You may want to try it on your own. Just beware there are things that go bump in the dark... like trees and steep canyons... but you will survive.

This wonderful trailer is meant to beat the rivets and interior into something livable and take photographs for memories and post them on this FORUM.

We all like to hear about the Fun, Travel and Adventure people find in places they should not be with a 34 foot Airstream... but you... perfect. Go anywhere and we will show you a great time. At least 50% of the time.

If you have a dog whose legs clear tall grass... our Blue Heelers and your dog will get along, very well. Well, 50% of the time.

Have fun. Get some miles on those tires. See what is left of the Wild Frontier. I include a photo in Utah, near Arches Monument, but maybe only in the same State... you may want to avoid. Just FYI if you see it... maybe be a 50 percenter and turn around.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:30 PM   #18
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Ruby, just remember when backing (just like screws and bolts) righty tighty, lefty lucy! Start with your hand at the 12 o'clock position for reference while using mirrors. After a few attempts you'll get the hang of it. Just be careful, not afraid!
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:02 PM   #19
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McHenry , Illinois
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2nd the Ram 1500 or bigger

I’m with Lauri on the Ram recommenced! The 2020 just got a top Safety Pick; the 2019 got the Truck of the Year award. Best interior out there. We had a 2019 Ram 1500 but moved up to 2500 for extra payload capacity for our 27’ Globetrotter.

Look for these options for towing: 5.7 Hemi 3.92 axle, 33 gallon fuel tank, towing package (integrated brake controller, towing mirrors that flip up). If you can swing it, the Safety Package includes adaptive cruise and autonomous braking. We had all on our 1500 and it pulled the 27’ without a problem. That configuration is good for 11, 400 lbs. tow capacity.

Here’s a photo of our 1500 and GT before we swapped it for the 2500.

Good luck!
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:37 AM   #20
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2017 16' Sport
Mount Orab , Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Ruby Rose,

Checklist:

Steering wheel location. From seated position of front seat. Left front of both vehicles. Check.
Go pedal location. Operate with right boot you’re a horse person right?
Brake pedal location. Operate with right boot, it’s just to the L of the go pedal. Check.
Extra credit if manual transmission equipped. Check.
Engine under hood and in front of vehicle. Check.

The rest is covered in owners manual.

Now above is just some kidding around but from my way back in HS days going to horse shows with HS sweetheart (she rode English) there is no one on the road that is more concerned and focused and total commitment to the trailer like someone pulling a horse trailer.

Enjoy and practice. Backing up can be interesting and one of my tricks that a tanker driver showed me was figure out where you want a trailer tire to be when you are backed in and ready to disconnect.

Mark the spot with something visible. A bucket or traffic cone comes to mind.

Many sites might have a blind side as you are backing in, put your marker on the side you can see.

So you have a new horse to saddle up look em in the eyes and make sure they know who is the boss.

Gary



Ha Ha! You are so funny! I would add doors to your check list. LOL! I guess I really am making things much harder than they need to be. Guess I just need to get on this horse and go for a ride!
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