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Old 06-17-2015, 09:15 PM   #1
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Is towing on washboard roads cool?

What do you think of towing on washboard roads? Are Airstreams built well enough?

We had an opportunity to camp down a washboard road this week but passed because we were unsure of our 2014 International's ability to stand up to the heavy jarring and jumping around.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:54 PM   #2
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Yes... But... You will probably hold up traffic. Washboard roads are gravel? Or are you talking about I20 thru Loisiana?

Gravel will pepper your Airstream.... Go carefully.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:00 PM   #3
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I wouldn't. Cabinet damage, rivets pulling out, aluminum tears in the shell are not unusual on "normal" roadways. Shell separation from the frame was common on older Airstreams, still a possibility. Airstream repair shop owners have said they like a gentle ride, often prescribing lower tire pressures, light duty tow vehicles, and light weight distribution bars to ensure it.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:05 PM   #4
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Where is the Airstream airbag suspension when you need it?
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:26 PM   #5
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Yes... But... You will probably hold up traffic. Washboard roads are gravel? Or are you talking about I20 thru Loisiana?

Gravel will pepper your Airstream.... Go carefully.
Washboard roads are created by road graders to prevent water erosion on dirt roads. They create a continuous series of ruts that you bounce over.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:58 PM   #6
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Washboard roads are created by road graders to prevent water erosion on dirt roads. They create a continuous series of ruts that you bounce over.
I hope everyone knows you are kidding.

Washboard dirt or gravel roads are created by the traffic over them and it is certainly NOT deliberately created by road graders. Here in North Idaho it is the bane of the Forest Service on heavily traveled gravel roads. They have to be re graded at great cost almost yearly so they can be driven over.

I read a detailed article once, years ago, on the specific mechanism which causes washboard roads, but it was a pretty complex subject when they actually studied how it happens.
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:08 AM   #7
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Google something like : cause of washboard roads and you will find more than you really want to know.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:00 AM   #8
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I wouldn't skip a campsite because of it, but you'll want to go slow! These trailers traveled the length of Africa back in the day, a short trip down a washboard road won't destroy them, if you're careful.
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:59 AM   #9
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I found some highways in Wisconsin that felt like a washboard road. We still used them.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:15 AM   #10
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Drove to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico and the road is/was terrible. If memory serves me right, the road is about 21 miles off the main road and about the last 18 miles leading into the park is serious wash board road. On our way thert, there was a section of the road that a wash runs across and unlucky for us, it had rained and about 1000 feet across the wash was 8 to 12 inches of pure thick mud. When the mud dried, it was like concrete. We drove into and out of the park at a snails pace, changing from one side of the road to the other looking for the smoothest sections to ensure we did not damage our AS. The park is wonderful. The campground have NO hookup. You can drive to the visitors center and fill your fresh water tanks and they do have restrooms there. Great hiking, ruins, and ranger led night sky presentations with telescopes. Bad road!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:15 AM   #11
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Wouldn't take my Airstream over more than a half mile to a mile of washboard roads. Traveling to the Green River Lakes area of the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming, one has to drive over 15 miles or so of washboard. It's a wonderful area and people do take their trailers up there. Lots of disbursed camping everywhere. But I feel like I put a year's worth of wear on my truck alone in that 15 miles. I might take an old beater trailer up there, but not my Airstream! My wife, who was raised in that country, has a theory that you should increase your speed until you are sort of aqua-planing over the washboards. In other words, rather than going up and down over each ridge, you just sail from the top of one ridge to the next. It actually works, but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone as I think you lose a lot of control over your vehicle and could end up in the ditch. Try that with your Airstream!
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:46 AM   #12
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I pull my Airstream over washboard roads regularly. If you've got good axles that move the way they're supposed to, I don't think there should be any problem. The axle should absorb most of the bounce. Just slow down. I worry more about potholes in paved roads. As Stefrobrts said, these things traveled Africa and South America, they can handle it.

I do pull the truck into 4-wheel drive on many washboard roads, especially on uphill stretches. 4WD reduces slipping that can occur as the wheels bounce and helps maintain control.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:52 AM   #13
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I live on a gravel road. My house is 3 miles from pavement. Every time I take my AS out it’s 6 miles of gravel road in and out. The road can be good or bad depending on the weather and the last time the grader went by. I have been pulling trailers on the road for years. First an SOB and then 2 AS’s. I pull the AS at 15 mph max and get over to the right to let others pass. I have installed Rock tamer mud flaps on my truck and I installed mud flaps on my AS to avoid damage to the rear step and dump valves that are behind the wheels. I have never had any problems caused by the road. Just go slow and use common sense.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Just go slow and use common sense.
Always works for me on washboard- whether towing or not.
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