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Old 08-03-2004, 03:12 PM   #1
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You guys scare me!

My new-to-me 1975 25' Tradewind is (patiently) sitting in an RV storage facility, waiting for me to buy a tow vehicle. But as I read through the posts (a lot, everyday!), I feel more and more intimidated by the whole process - not just buying the perfect (but cheap) tow vehicle, but learning all the ins and outs of systems operations....even though the very nice PO has offered to give me lots of advice and help.

As i read through the posts, it seems like things are always breaking.

Or semi's are blowing trailers off the road.

Or awnings are buckling.

Or tires are blowing.

Or pipes are leaking.

And you all just seem so darn handy and capable!

I worry that I have taken on more than I can handle. Maybe I should stay away from the forum (which I have tried to do - unsuccessfully, of course - in the past week).

Am I being neurotic, or have others of you gone through this with your first trailer/airstream experience? I think I needs words of encouragement.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettepdx
I think I needs words of encouragement.
Feel the power......embrace the Dark Side.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:20 PM   #3
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great...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
Feel the power......embrace the Dark Side.
Ha...thanks a lot Dennis. That really helps!

Next?
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:29 PM   #4
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Annette,

you need to look at the forum with the understanding that the easy stuff or the trips where nothing goes wrong rarely ever get talked about. This means that the forum has a slightly "rain again" sound or attitude to it.

I have yet to read a thread where someone cheered the fact that the winterizing of their unit was perfect and they were able to start using it without issue. Or that they bought a unit with 2/4/6 new tires, fresh bearings and brakes for a song from someone getting out of Airstreaming that was perfect from day one.


Yes there are some systems you need to learn about. If the PO is willing to help, take it! Learn all you can, it will form a foundation for additional learning. The systems are not any more complicated than those in your home. The big difference is that they are mounted on a movable platform.

The Tow vehicle issue is at times a black art. Getting the right one today, but considering the possible future upgrades in trailer size, etc makes it a best fit today, and ignore the future upgrades, or buy too much vehicle now on the chance you will upgrade.

Some one here said it best. There is not a tow vehicle that will outlast your Airstream, so my advice if you are buying used is get 125% of what you need today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. V8 powered F150 (94 and up)with towing packages are normally going to be rated to tow what you have. Bigger the engine the better, and be sure it has a factory towing package. Lots of choices out there.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
.....Yes there are some systems you need to learn about....
Take up the PO's offer to help - but I think the best way is to find someone with another Airstream to camp with for the first couple of outings - and have the owner (the other camper) show you (not do it for you - show you) how to operate the other systems.

If you can't find anyone close, pull your rig to a Forum or WBCCI ralley, tell someone what the situation is, and I bet you will find plenty of advice.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:40 PM   #6
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Dear NET;

It won't be that bad once you get going. There probably is not the perfect tow vehicle, but the best I can do for my use is a B2500 Dodge Van with a 318 or 360 engine. Used ones are cheap but they are very reliable. I tow a 29' Excella with my '97 conversion model. I use a standard Reese load level hitch with 1000 lb. spring bars, a standard friction anti- sway bar, and a Prodigy Brake control. I get very little disturbance from passing trucks or side winds. Buy you hitch from a good local dealer (if you didn't get one with the trailer) and have the dealer set it up properly. If you got a hitch with the trailer, pay a good dealer to adjust it when you get your tow vehicle. If your tow vehicle is not equipped with a hitch receiver and Brake control, you will have to have that installed by a dealer. Also, if you are not handy, have the dealer check the age of your tires, repack your bearings and check the electric brakes. A tire that is more than 4 or 5 years old, and sits outside, probably should be replaced no matter how much tread is on it. Dive in - It will work for you. Good Luck. Jeff
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:41 PM   #7
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don't worry, be happy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
you need to look at the forum with the understanding that the easy stuff or the trips where nothing goes wrong rarely ever get talked about. This means that the forum has a slightly "rain again" sound or attitude to it.
Thanks Brett. Actually, so many of the posts are done with humor and in such good spirit....maybe I just need to double up on my anti-anxiety meds


With the PO's help, I now know how to a) lock the trailer door (has a stubborn lock); b) lower the step; c) turn on the power; d) extend the table; e) open the windows (at least a couple of them), and f) operate the fantastic fan! woohoo!

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.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:47 PM   #8
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camping plans

Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
Take up the PO's offer to help - but I think the best way is to find someone with another Airstream to camp with for the first couple of outings - and have the owner show you (not do it for you - show you) how to operate the other systems.
The PO bought his daughter's 1994 Sovereign, she bought a new CCD, and they have all graciously offered to go camping with me...so I agree, I think this is the way to go.

OK, I'm feeling better already.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjlingl
Dive in - It will work for you. Good Luck. Jeff
You're right, Jeff. What's the worst that can happen? If I break down - or get stuck - somewhere, I can always pull the "damsel in distress routine" (which I'm not too good at but I'll practice, practice, practice).
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettepdx
Thanks Brett. Actually, so many of the posts are done with humor and in such good spirit....maybe I just need to double up on my anti-anxiety meds
That may just be the Adult beverages clouding our recollections. But the idea is that as long as it was maintained in some fashion it will still work for you, until you figure it out. So dive in, the water is fine!
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
That may just be the Adult beverages clouding our recollections. But the idea is that as long as it was maintained in some fashion it will still work for you, until you figure it out. So dive in, the water is fine!
OK, so that's the second "dive in" advice. Did I mention that I can't swim?
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:59 PM   #12
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Annette,

Please remember that people are buying their trailers at very different stages of quality, so repairs are greatly dependant on previous owners (POs).

You are also reading issues that hundreds of people are having, rather than hundreds of issues that every person is having. Yes, some folks have some extraordinary circumstances and experiences, but I would bet it isn't the norm.

Just my two cents...
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Old 08-03-2004, 04:20 PM   #13
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Hey Annette

I see it as a sign of intelligence that you are concerned. I searched and studied, and asked for months before I embarked on a voyage. But it
is hard to know when you have learned enough.
Here is a link to a site of a guy who lived in his rig for 5 years.
There is a wealth of information there.
http://bart.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/index.htm
Many of the tasks you will learn how to do will have steps that have a specific order. I wrote them down at first. I also made lists of things
that I needed to bring. If you have questions......ask us.
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Old 08-03-2004, 04:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave
I see it as a sign of intelligence that you are concerned. I searched and studied, and asked for months before I embarked on a voyage. But it
is hard to know when you have learned enough.
Here is a link to a site of a guy who lived in his rig for 5 years.
There is a wealth of information there.
http://bart.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/index.htm
Many of the tasks you will learn how to do will have steps that have a specific order. I wrote them down at first. I also made lists of things
that I needed to bring. If you have questions......ask us.
I think it's the "searching and studying" that I like best - it's the "doing" that has me boggled!

I have visited that site - many times. Too bad he's given up the full-timing lifestyle.
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