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Old 12-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #29
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I'm a newbie, so pardon my ignorance. I have just purchased a used 31' Sovereign, 1978, and towed it home with a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with the factory installed tow package. The drawbar I used was rated for 12000 pounds. I did not have any other hitch or weight distribution system.... the trailer pulled like a dream, and trailer and truck viewed from the side were level.

So with that description, why would I need anything else? Weight distribution or whatever? Or was I simply lucky, or did I do something wrong, or did Dodge finally put a good tow package on the 1/2 ton truck?

Thanks!
Steven
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:40 PM   #30
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To Mikethefixit,

Yes, thanks for the location of the scales. I do intend to weigh the whole rig to find out the details, but I think there is value in working out the numbers in the model, and it helps to frame the question of whether a particular vehicle's specs are 'overkill' for towing an Airstream while carrying a reasonable load of stuff. I'll use the scale measurements to verify the model.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:12 PM   #31
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Selecting setup and towing vehicle

How does one go about selecting a towing vehicle and weight distribution bar rateing to avoid having problems such as this happen?

Nick Meloy
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:59 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by nickmeloy View Post
How does one go about selecting a towing vehicle and weight distribution bar rateing to avoid having problems such as this happen?

Nick Meloy
Ask someone that's been around towing for 30 to 40 years.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:30 AM   #33
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bdlwidget
Mike my point was not only to you but to others who read these postings. That specs on paper are not enough,they make good advertisements for selling vehicles but actual scale weights for determining proper balance and weight distribution to give both passengers,cargo and trailer a smooth ride is what we are looking for.
Nick Meloy
First do lots of reading. Pick a TV to match the size of trailer,keeping in mind the TV should weigh 80% of what the Trailer weighs. (I think that's the correct rule of thumb) What TV is the correct one is like KICKN AN ANT HILL here. It depends on your personal comfort zone and how much stuff you want to carry. As for hitches again its person preference or how much money U got.? Dual cam straight line hitches with built in sway control work just as good as spending $2500 for a hitch that does the same thing. SO its all a matter of preference.Set up correctly they all do the job they were designed for. DO NOT LET Salesman set you up they are only saleman and most have no practical experience.Ok off the soap box now,
Good Luck
PS/ 45 yrs of over the road experience working with weights and balances and a few fines are a great teacher.
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Old 12-15-2008, 05:02 AM   #34
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Should be towing with the recommended 1994 Lincoln.
I'd rather go with this '79 Lincoln and get 62 mpg.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:30 AM   #35
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There is no such thing as an indistructable product but when you pay premium prices for a new Airstream, you should expect reasonable service that outlasts the product performance warrenttee. It is evident from the numerous complaints, about this model, that the recent Airstream engineering on this model trailer is lacking. I do not know how good their product endurance testing facility is but, I would guess than the small size of the market and the staff, it is are not as good as the automotive or Airplane industry. Wally tested his own products, via caravans, and got personal feedback into the engineering department. I do not see that kind of involvement from the engineering department anymore. In the winter edition of Airstream Life, Bob Wheeler, current president of Airstream, talks about his camping experiences in his personal Vintage Airstream and does not mention any engineering over the road test programs. The priorities of the engineering department have likely changed over the last 50 years due to changes in ownership and managment. The target market and expectations for use have also changed. I think engineering should refocus their priorities to include functionality and durability in addition to just following the lastest trends in fabric design and countertops. For purchasers of new units, we need to pressure the company to stand behind their warrentees to fix what they got wrong on the first pass. For the vintage owners, you need to do your own reengineering to make do and have reasonable expectations.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:37 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Everyone blaims Airstream


Excessive rated bars and/or excessive rated tow vehicles cause the proble.

We have tried for years to tell people that, and for years they say we are wrong.

My only comment is, that if I am wrong, why does the problem still exist?

Stop beating the front of the trailer to death, and the problem never appears.

Sounds simple to me.

But, some owners are insistant, that they are right, but they still have the continued problem.

Yes once the front of the trailer is damaged, there are others things that should be done, other that replacing the metal, which does no more, than hide the problem.

Andy
Andy,

I don't think you can place all the blame on the owners. I have had my share of problems with the frame of my 22' International, most likely caused by two problems: excessively rated tow bars, likely combined with an inherent design weakness in my frame. I say the latter because in reading and searching here I have found several with similar problems on the same trailer, enough that Airstream has developed a frame stiffener kit for it. (Thankfully, Airstream was good enough to repair my frame twice under warrantee, even though my warrantee had already expired. The second repair they added the frame stiffener kit. I hope to have no further problems, though I am not confident of such yet).

As far as using excessive rated bars, the knowledge is just not out there in the field. I used my 1000# bars with my 700# tongue-weight trailer because that is what my dealer set me up with. A year ago, when I discovered my first indication of frame damage I asked Airstream about my towing setup - they said I was good. I would never have known that my wd setup was destroying my trailer had I not read your warnings here on the forums. I have learned and after two frame repairs am afraid to run any WD at all.

Kudos to you for spreading the word here on the forums, hopefully sparing others the same fate. The problem is not everyone with an Airstream reads Airstream forums. If Airstream needs a "special" towing setup, different from "normal" RVs, then that word needs to be passed down from the factory to every one of its dealers.

Maybe Airstream needs to relook their design, if they can only be towed by 30 year old vehicles because todays vehicles are too robust. At the very least, they need to instruct their dealers to set up customers with lighter WD systems when they buy an Airstreams. Not everyone is a towing expert or reads forums. These people are going to trust their dealers to set them up with a system that will be safe and not ruin their trailer. If dealers do not set up their customers properly, then they share in the blame. If Airstream does not educate their dealers in the "special" towing requirements of an Airstream, then they share the blame as well.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:04 AM   #37
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Andy,

I don't think you can place all the blame on the owners. I have had my share of problems with the frame of my 22' International, most likely caused by two problems: excessively rated tow bars, likely combined with an inherent design weakness in my frame. I say the latter because in reading and searching here I have found several with similar problems on the same trailer, enough that Airstream has developed a frame stiffener kit for it. (Thankfully, Airstream was good enough to repair my frame twice under warrantee, even though my warrantee had already expired. The second repair they added the frame stiffener kit. I hope to have no further problems, though I am not confident of such yet).

As far as using excessive rated bars, the knowledge is just not out there in the field. I used my 1000# bars with my 700# tongue-weight trailer because that is what my dealer set me up with. A year ago, when I discovered my first indication of frame damage I asked Airstream about my towing setup - they said I was good. I would never have known that my wd setup was destroying my trailer had I not read your warnings here on the forums. I have learned and after two frame repairs am afraid to run any WD at all.

Kudos to you for spreading the word here on the forums, hopefully sparing others the same fate. The problem is not everyone with an Airstream reads Airstream forums. If Airstream needs a "special" towing setup, different from "normal" RVs, then that word needs to be passed down from the factory to every one of its dealers.

Maybe Airstream needs to relook their design, if they can only be towed by 30 year old vehicles because todays vehicles are too robust. At the very least, they need to instruct their dealers to set up customers with lighter WD systems when they buy an Airstreams. Not everyone is a towing expert or reads forums. These people are going to trust their dealers to set them up with a system that will be safe and not ruin their trailer. If dealers do not set up their customers properly, then they share in the blame. If Airstream does not educate their dealers in the "special" towing requirements of an Airstream, then they share the blame as well.
I do not agree with Airstream's Philosopy, about front end damage.

The fact that the damage does not occur until you tow the trailer, to me, is no reason the owner should be held at 100 percent fault. Partially, yes, completely, no.

There are things that can easily be done during production, to minimize the problem, but, for whatever reasons, it's not done.

It's sort of like the issue of the door locking when you slam it. The direct answer I got, from management, was "then don't slam the door."

One could then easily see how that type of thinking applies to the front end damage. "Don't tow the trailer"

I know many owners who buy Airstreams for many different reasons.

But, I have yet to find anyone that purchased one to use as a "back yard ornament".

Our only defense then seems to be, a program that's critical of how the trailer/tow vehicle is rigged.

My two, soon to be published articles, will directly address those issues.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:41 AM   #38
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Out of curiosity, were cracking problems like this seen as frequently in older Airstream models, say from the early '90s and earlier? I understand that somewhere in the past 10-15 years or so, Airstream made design changes that (a) went to a wider body and (b) went to thinner sheet metal for the body.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
I do not agree with Airstream's Philosopy, about front end damage.

The fact that the damage does not occur until you tow the trailer, to me, is no reason the owner should be held at 100 percent fault. Partially, yes, completely, no.

There are things that can easily be done during production, to minimize the problem, but, for whatever reasons, it's not done.

It's sort of like the issue of the door locking when you slam it. The direct answer I got, from management, was "then don't slam the door."

One could then easily see how that type of thinking applies to the front end damage. "Don't tow the trailer"

I know many owners who buy Airstreams for many different reasons.

But, I have yet to find anyone that purchased one to use as a "back yard ornament".

Our only defense then seems to be, a program that's critical of how the trailer/tow vehicle is rigged.

My two, soon to be published articles, will directly address those issues.

Andy
I look forward to reading your articles. More importantly, I hope Airstream and its dealers read them. Barring a design change, until airstream educates their dealers and they, in turn educate their buyers on this situation, people will continue to (unknowingly) break their very expensive trailers. jk
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:13 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by bdlWidget View Post
Out of curiosity, were cracking problems like this seen as frequently in older Airstream models, say from the early '90s and earlier? I understand that somewhere in the past 10-15 years or so, Airstream made design changes that (a) went to a wider body and (b) went to thinner sheet metal for the body.

Thanks,

Mike
Airstream went to a "thicker" sheet metal.

And yes, the problem has existed in the past, all for the same reasons, over hitching and Super heavy duty tow vehicles.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:58 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
I do not agree with Airstream's Philosopy, about front end damage.

The fact that the damage does not occur until you tow the trailer, to me, is no reason the owner should be held at 100 percent fault. Partially, yes, completely, no.

There are things that can easily be done during production, to minimize the problem, but, for whatever reasons, it's not done.

It's sort of like the issue of the door locking when you slam it. The direct answer I got, from management, was "then don't slam the door."

One could then easily see how that type of thinking applies to the front end damage. "Don't tow the trailer"

I know many owners who buy Airstreams for many different reasons.

But, I have yet to find anyone that purchased one to use as a "back yard ornament".

Our only defense then seems to be, a program that's critical of how the trailer/tow vehicle is rigged.

My two, soon to be published articles, will directly address those issues.

Andy
This is exactly what I was referring to earlier in this thread.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:44 PM   #42
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Crack in the skin update

Here is an update of the repair done to my trailer that I took to the JC factory. I was happy that it was covered under warranty and I finally got it fixed (After many arguments) so that it looks like nothing ever happened to it but I just wanted to share with you what was first presented to me. It looked like a bad patch job. I was horrified at how cheesy it looked. I seems that Airstream was trying to get away with as little as possible. What do you all think??
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