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Old 08-03-2004, 05:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by nettepdx
...and they have all graciously offered to go camping with me...so I agree, I think this is the way to go...
I think that is the greatest way to start out. My maiden voyage with a fully functional Overlander will occur soon, and it would be great to have a wizened individual advising me along the way, and at the campsite.

You're set

Tom
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:05 PM   #16
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Dive in...

Somebody will save you if you start drowning... although they may let you drown for a while first!

And, Annette, there IS a perfect tow vehicle, perfect trailer, perfect hitch, AND perfect brake controller. Of course, they're the ones I own! The rest of these guys just can't seem to agree with ME!

Seriously, I bought my first Airstream in '87 (a '70 Safari Special) and knew NOTHING about it but that it was silver. Immediately, I had to replace the commode (it was missing, and I got one with the wrong height, but I installed it anyway), the water heater (a daunting task for a first timer who hadn't a clue), install a deadbolt lock (I was fulltiming in a questionable are, although I didn't know what 'fulltiming' was at the time), and had to install a new heating element in the refrigerator, all without the benefit of an Airstream dealer for 400 miles or Al Gore's internet. Thank God for San Diego Trailer Supply on El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego back then. And trust me when I tell you that my skills as a plumber/electrician/handyman weren't (and still aren't) necessarily first rate!

But I muddled my way through, and the repairs held fine for the eight years we had the trailer, and the eight my in-laws have had it.

You'll do fine. None of the maintenance work is rocket science, although some of it is tedious and may require you to be a contortionist. AND the dealer network is substantially better today than it was then.

Best of luck. Don't worry, be happy. Dive right in, the water's fine!

Roger
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Old 08-03-2004, 07:16 PM   #17
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Just STAY AWAY from the RV repair shops! If there are problems, bring them here first.
Dick
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Old 08-03-2004, 07:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettepdx
And I'm glad to hear your recommendation about the F150. I don't want to get off on a tow vehicle tangent here, but that is what I'm looking at, with the 5.4L engine.
Ditto, the F-150/5.4L w/tow package is a fine tow vehicle. Also, any of the other American 1/2-ton's are fine. IMHO the import 1/2-ton's need to be proven as tow vehicles in this country...they probably will do OK, but I'd prefer someone else's money take the chance.

There is a lot to learn, but that shouldn't stop you from just 'do(ing) it! As pointed out, the perfect trips and flawless operation of our trailers hardly gets a mention (it's probably expected). JUST DO IT!!!
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Old 08-03-2004, 07:50 PM   #19
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The Force... err, Forum... is with you!

Annette,

We we purchased our 1970 in May, I had never set foot inside an Airstream. I didn't know a black tank from a gaucho. I opted for a unit that was cheap(er), knowing I would have work to do (burst pipes, new flooring, new upholstery, new water heater, tires and brakes) I am certainly not mechanically inclined but I had a vision that one day soon I would be camping in the one of the finest trailers ever built. I really began to enjoy the process of repairing and restoring an American classic. It's a cross between renovating a house and restoring an car. Along the way you learn how your Airstream operates. There will be agony and there will be ecstasy.

I needed help from a plumber once, and a carpenter once but I have been developing the confidence that comes with experience. I tried an RV technician once but found that to be a fruitless endevour. A local A/S dealership would be nice but... not one around for many miles. Initially I feared everything... from committing to a purchase (what if there's a better one somewhere that's closer??? to my tires exploding on the tow home

Far and away the best asset that we have had is this forum. From the time I joined the forum I gleaned all the info I could and searched for answers to all my questions. It was like having 5,000 mentors out there, for it seemed like everyone was further along than I was.

We just returned from our shakedown trip (close to home - just in case) and my wife and 7-year old were delighted. I spent much of the trip trying to figure out how to by-pass my leaking water heater. I finally managed to pull it last night (I actually had to hook up a tow-line to the outside and pull it out with my truck). I now have a by-pass line in place and will put the new water heater in over the off-season.

We're leaving this weekend for a 2-week trip only 2 hours away and will be parked the whole time, so we are already able to enjoy ourselves in a great Provincial Park (BC). So we'll have to boil water to do the dishes... the stove works great. We even have an oven! The campground has hot showers and the fridge works on propane. We'll be at a waterfront park and my some and I will be flyfishing for salmon off the beach.

Life doesn't get much better than that!


Enjoy the process! Don't be afraid to ask for help!


Ken.
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Old 08-03-2004, 08:07 PM   #20
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annette

if paris hilton and that other dummy form california can tow an airstream anyone can!

you will find your best advice right here!

john
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:40 AM   #21
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Talking Can't let this slip by...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Al Gore's internet.

Best of luck. Don't worry, be happy. Dive right in, the water's fine!

Roger
"Al Gore's internet"? Yes, I know I am repeating myself. You don't really believe that do you?
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:06 AM   #22
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Quote:
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"Al Gore's internet"? Yes, I know I am repeating myself. You don't really believe that do you?
Why of COURSE I believe it! Doesn't EVERYONE? Al said it and I believe it. And that's THAT!

I wondered if anyone would catch that. It was said (written?) with tongue FIRMLY planted in cheek.

Roger
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
You Guys Scare me!
Good...little fear is not always a bad thing. It makes you attentive. When you have no fear is when you end up not being prepared and having a BIG problem that is out of your control.

Bottom line is prepare for the worst and thats where most of these posts come from. The members on this site error heavily on the side of caution and do everything they can to prevent exactly the things you noted scare you.

Good hitch set up, education on how to use the equipment and a good head on your shoulders that pays attention to whats going on and you will be fine.

My club teaches a four wheel drive "Back Country awarness class" in conjunction with Land Rover. One of the things we teach is learning where your vehicle is in relation to your suroundings. Litterly stopping on a dime is one thing we have students do. We make them put each wheel on a dime. The object of the lesson is to learn where the vehicle is in relations to objects that once they get too close you can't see. Off roading is all about tire placement.

My recomendation is go find a big open parking lot and throw some cones out and practice manuvering the rig around and getting a feel for how it is going to react to different driver input. Basicly practice where your not in danger of damaging your truck and Airstream or others cars.

Big thing to do is if you have somebody that will be traveling with you and "spotting" when your parking...train them as well on how to signal you and where to be. They need to learn to make sure that they are where you can see them and you need to agree on how signal each other and practice it.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:22 AM   #24
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325
Why of COURSE I believe it! Doesn't EVERYONE? Al said it and I believe it. And that's THAT!

I wondered if anyone would catch that. It was said (written?) with tongue FIRMLY planted in cheek.

Roger
<------- wondering what Al has that I don't have. Can't seem to get people to believe everything I say.

I wonder what brand of shoes he wears and/or cereal he eats. Maybe that's it.

I have been a VP and I was "almost President". Just like Al, I lost in the courts and my wife was given the office of President. I still can't understand how hanging chads could have caused me to lose a two-person race with only two voters. Sheesh. The wonders of marriage.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:28 AM   #25
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Annette,

We certainly felt the same way as you do when we started. I didn't know the first thing about towing and maintaining our trailer. I found the forum a great source of information and with some good planning we have had a great experience so far. As we have found the most important thing is to get out there and use your trailer. Our first trip was a few days the next longer and shortly after we did a 3000 mile trip. Believe me after that many miles you learn pretty quickly how your trailer behaves. If I can pass on any advice as to what I have learned thus far is to drive slowly and enjoy the journey.

Have Fun !
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:21 AM   #26
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Wow! What great replies. Thanks to all of you. I'll respond to specific posts as the day progresses....as soon as I have my coffee and start my "work" day (hehe).
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Old 08-04-2004, 12:07 PM   #27
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I'm encouraged, ready to go!

I never ever could've bought my A/S without reading through ALL the threads on this forum. So when I did buy it, I felt like I made a good choice, and that I was a pretty well-informed consumer. (BTW, how in the world can you tell that a trailer needs new axles from a tiny photo? Some kind of weird airstream voodoo thing, I think.) I'm lucky that I have the PO, and that the trailer has all new appliances, so I don't expect any major system failures.

Hey Tom (tcwilliams)...Update me on your maiden voyage in your Overlander. Can't wait to hear about it.

Roger (85MH325)...I know you have the PERFECT tow vehicle. Believe me, I've seen your posts.

Johnhd...I watch every episode of the Simple Life just to watch Paris tow the A/S. I feel encouraged each and every time. (But I bet they don't empty their black tanks...or even string their patio lights.)

Roger (59toaster)...A friend and I plan on taking the A/S to an empty lot - probably in the industrial area - and practice backing up with cones, etc. But in general, I will be traveling alone and will probably have to take advantage of other nice trailer people to use as "spotters".

OK, so I'm feeling less fearful. Maybe I'll go buy that tow vehicle during my lunch hour...As soon as I sell the house and head cross country (maybe October?), I'll let y'all know so you can watch out for me on the road.
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Old 08-04-2004, 12:17 PM   #28
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my two words

here's my two words - preventative maintenance. We've towed our 62 Overlander 12,000 miles in the last eighteen months (just got back from the Rocky Mtn VAC rally ) and the only problem we have encountered is a faulty water heater thermostat (should have caught that one). Inspite of the troubles now and then it is definately worth it.
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