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Old 09-02-2016, 06:08 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
Created additional storage under the bed and made storage beside the curb side wheel well
Switz, I'm intrigued. Could you post some photos of your storage solutions??

TIA!!
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:23 PM   #58
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If your trailer interior is perfect... you have a long nose, too.

Just for those of you have had kept it a secret that your drawers, doors, pop rivets, wood screws and faucets have come loose at one time or another.

Give us all a break.

There is no way your trailer DID NOT have any of these issues covered in this Thread. I had a number of Boondocking Adventure goers that came clean... they all cheat on what they are doing in their trailers after sunset. It is not what they want you to think... they are getting everything back where it belongs.

Who are you fooling? Not me, nor Burnside Bob or 47WeeWind... we at least admit somethings in public. This is a group effort. It costs me nothing to admit that I expect more of my one dollar parts installed in my trailer than the $1,000 components that seem to run well.

If you want to see my 'handy work'... you are going to have to step inside and look for yourself. Give me a battery powered drill, drill bits, hardware and some lights to see what I am doing... and presto... a Macho Trailer is born.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:40 PM   #59
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2009 25' FB Flying Cloud
1973 31' Sovereign
Mt Angel , Oregon
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My Macho Trailer is being assembled while Boondocking and when we return from a trip. It is a slow process to discover any weak points to improve. The improvements may not be pretty... but they resolve the issue(s) one item at a time!
Ray, I'm enjoying this thread you got goin here.

I've got a list of improvements to make our trailer better, but these are nickle/dimers. The two big needs the Wyoming trip showed me are:

Dexter lift kit--nearly got high centered on easy terrain on the way to Wyoming, and the fresh water tank only has 5-6 inches ground clearance with the stock set up. It would only take one piddling rock-in-the-road to cause major problems.

solar--I sure didn't like how poorly the batteries recovered with tow vehicle charging and, of course, they only went one way the days we didn't drive.

PS, opened up that little compartment under the wardrobe you mentioned. That's where my Shurflo water pump lives, and it needs some quieting. It was a bit dusty in there--fresh new dust as I had it spiffy clean before we left--so we have some leakage somewhere.

So far have kept the silver side up.

Ciao
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:39 PM   #60
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What have I done to improve upon the original?
1. It now has a toilet (composting) and plumbing. The original had a hose connection in to the kitchen sink and the drain was a hose through the bottom to the ground. They boon docked a little different then we do today. It now has a fresh water tank and water heater. It has a make do shower. You still needs a blue boy for grey water.
2. I add 12 volt lights and a a battery bank. The original was 120v only. The refrigerator was 110. I guess in could have been used as an ice box.

I cannot say I have been to any place extreme for a trailer if you do not count the wrong ways down one way streets and the occasional gas station with no way out. I have been on a couple forest roads that could have been better maintained but I did not hesitate to go down the roads. For now I live vicariously through you I would like to join one of your planned trips one day but I cannot plan that far out to get on the list to go.


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Old 09-09-2016, 05:01 AM   #61
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Here is a video from Patrick@ Colonial, he ran into this couple from Europe who are traveling the world, while small their VW chassis rv seems very well engineered.

https://youtu.be/HBDPRYjGZi4
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:59 PM   #62
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Have the folks at Timeless Travel in Denver modify/build exactly what you want. Build it robust enough that it needs a Ford F550 to pull it on oversized off road tires. Have all the amenities of an MRAP. Or buy an EarthRoamer. They also have a supply trailer that can be towed behind for extra water/fuel/supplies. Doubt that mass produced manufacturer will ever attack this market as it is so small in the scheme of things.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:13 PM   #63
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2017 23FB Flying Cloud... almost PERFECT

A new, first time, Airstream owner purchased a 2017 23FB Flying Cloud. The manufacture's date of production was June 2016. Being a NEW Airstream owner and his FIRST trailer, as you and I know, the learning curve is STEEP. Often the sales staff have no clue what changes have been made over the years on any Airstream as they have hundreds of trailers and RV's on the lot.

The new owner brought this 23 footer over this morning to get some ideas and tips needed to tow off the paved roads, requiring some tweaking ideas.

I owned a 23 foot Safari from 2006 to 2014 and have posted on various threads, what I liked about it and what I did not. The biggest complaint were the 14" wheels and axles (I assume that the 14" wheels are on lighter Dexter axles than the six lug 15" Dexter axles.) Then the rear bed that barely rated as a bed at all. Ignoring the blatant deficit of the 14" wheels, axles and the bed... the 23 foot is my favorite length of Airstream for any kind of travel and camping.

It is small enough to be towed by a vehicle that can also be a daily driver. Almost as flexible as the single axle models... AND having TWO axles. Great for Off the Grid and Base Camping.

This 2017 23 foot Flying Cloud had 15" wheels, the same axles as on my 25 foot International, a Queen sized bed and the spring lever curved cabinets lining the ceiling on both sides. These NEVER failed on our seven years of Off the Grid camping.

Several doors had the standard hinges used in all Airstreams. One under the sink was already becoming loose. The sliders in the bathroom had been improved since our 25 footer and we could not get either to detach from their slides... unlike our 2014 where we find one on the floor frequently and everything in the cabinet spills onto the floor. This one I am still studying to fix it, once and for all time.

The black and grey dump plumbing is back of the axle a bit further and a bit more risky for irregular roads and would have to be watch closely.

The fresh water drain valve was not protected on all sides from an errant stone shearing off the lever and draining your fresh water tank. The hot and cold water valves were also exposed to errant stones and a similar fate.

This is 'little stuff' to point out and can be protected and the plumbing is a bit problematic, but the pvc appeared to be smaller diameter and would need to be watched when around sage brush or a bush getting tangled up with the plumbing.

Overall... the improvements were enough to cause me to reflect upon the smallest double axle Airstream available.

This 23 foot Airstream is almost perfect. A wonderful 8 foot wide narrow body with tires and axles to carry a load.

This does not discount the 16 foot up to 23 foot, single axle models. I just have not been under and inside any to be critical or impressed with their cabinets and any possible vulnerable exterior components. Some day, I hope, there will be a future opportunity to be looking at each as a critic so self made improvements can be made.
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Old 09-18-2016, 03:27 AM   #64
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The best way to prepare for off road adventures in your 'stream is to take a 3 month tour to Fairbanks, AK and back. Then stop by The Airstream Service Center and have them fix and beef up all the things that came loose. Now you have an off road capable Airstream. If you do this before the 2 year warranty expires this service will be on Airstream's nickel. Besides, they will look over your trailer and make notes on future production improvements needed. Warranty work really is a delayed form of QC. Problems are never eliminated entirely by QC during initial assembly. The factory closely monitors the Service Center's warranty service costs. I was really impressed with what they fixed and strengthened when they went through mine after my AK trip. I had only one rivet to replace, but several furnishing repairs. No appliance repairs either. Overall, I was glad I made the shake down trip. Great peace of mind for long term ownership. You might investigate a 2-4 inch lift kit for more ground clearance on the longer trailers. Ask Colin Hyde about this modification.
guskmg
just wondering if you would be covered under their extended warranty as well...
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:40 PM   #65
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Let's keep this thread going. I want to hear about boondocking/off road/ off-grid improvements that others have made. I just caught up, as we were busy on a 4200 mile, six week camping trip between CO and WA with lots of detours. Two young grandkids aboard for most of the trip. Mostly dry camping, some neat boondocking. Thank you, Bigfoot, for the hardshell rooftop tent that adorns our Grand Cherokee and that the grandkids so love to sleep in.

My log now shows 47,158 miles on our 2011 FC23FB and quite a bit of that has been down and off rough roads where we never see another Airstream. I love the handling, power and economy of towing her with our 2014 Grand Cherokee Diesel. Despite the acknowledged flimsy fittings in a stock Airstream, I am amazed at how well the trailer has held up. Many tell me that she looks new. Sure, I've added a few niceties, replaced more than a few interior screws, and adjusted all of the hinges and latches, but no rivets, plumbing or cabinetry failures. Well, the microwave just wouldn't stay in place - until I nailed it with 3M VHB tape. I expect some failures and repairs - our other RV is a sailboat!

My upsize/upgrade to 15" Michelin LT tires was certainly worthwhile, and the 3x 85W solar panels with MPPT controller and AGM batteries have made off-grid camping quite civilized. I have a Yamaha 2400is, but haven't carried it in over three years - just don't like the noise. We do like the microwave, but off-grid it becomes another pantry space. The biggest challenge remains water. Hot showers are non-negotiable for us. Ease of topping up water without breaking camp is desirable. Hauling jerry jugs is a pain.

What is on my wish list? Perhaps the Dexter lift kit for a couple of inches more clearance, but I sure do like the low center of gravity that makes this rig so stable on the highway. Perhaps expand the battery pack for those cold nights in deep forests where it can be tricky to position for a few hours of good solar charging during the day. Perhaps a solid carrier for my new fat tire electric bike. No, the Fiamma rack isn't strong enough. Additional exterior storage for gear would be nice, but how? We resist the option of a pickup truck. Compromises!

Our Airstream won't ever be a true four season, off-road camper, but we push the envelope and camp in comfort in some pretty amazing places throughout the year.

Safe Travels,
Joe
Back home in SW CO.
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:19 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Let's keep this thread going. I want to hear about boondocking/off road/ off-grid improvements that others have made.

My upsize/upgrade to 15" Michelin LT tires was certainly worthwhile, and the 3x 85W solar panels with MPPT controller and AGM batteries have made off-grid camping quite civilized. I have a Yamaha 2400is, but haven't carried it in over three years.
What is on my wish list? Perhaps the Dexter lift kit for a couple of inches more clearance, but I sure do like the low center of gravity that makes this rig so stable on the highway. Perhaps expand the battery pack for those cold nights in deep forests where it can be tricky to position for a few hours of good solar charging during the day. Perhaps a solid carrier for my new fat tire electric bike. No, the Fiamma rack isn't strong enough. Additional exterior storage for gear would be nice, but how? We resist the option of a pickup truck. Compromises!

Safe Travels,
Joe
Back home in SW CO.

Joe, thanks for a great post. You've already done the solar I'd so much like to have.

If I do solar I would go with AGM batteries, as you have, but I would put them inside the trailer near a heating duct. Battery performance declines with temperature so keeping them warmer enhances system performance--more available amp-hours from the same batteries at night and faster charging rate from the same solar array when the sun is up. The negative is that moving the batteries inside reduces storage, but moving the batteries opens the area between the propane tanks and the front of the trailer for something else.

I'd consider a skirt for the trailer--one that uses snaps to attach. This would keep the plumbing from freezing and the trailer warmer, allowing us to extend our season. We encountered some cold night temperatures in Wyoming and Idaho August, 2016. So much so we would run the furnace to get some heat on the tanks and plumbing. But where to store a skirt??

My AS is a wide body, so I'm not worried about raising the center of gravity 2.5". I am worried that the 5-6" clearance my fresh water tank has is inadequate. Traveling out west you frequently find rocks on the road, even on good paved roads. It would only take one of those bad boys to do some serious damage. So the lift kit has a practical element that might escape the engineering design staff at Jackson Center, OH.

Some type of physical restraint for the refrigerator door. This summer the refer door swung open so violently it crushed the woodwork on the hinge side of the refer. We did have the refer door fully loaded with liquid refreshment, BUT the door coming open was a daily occurrence, even on paved roads, until we started duct taping it.

Overall, we were very pleased with our trailer and doing these 'fixes' would extend its utility and reduce our worrying about freezing, battery charge level, and damage.
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:10 PM   #67
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Hi Dave--
We used to have the refer open in the Interstate until we used a spring loaded towel type bar to put pressure on it against the cabinets across the aisle. Don't know what your distance is, but it solved our problem. Ed
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:19 PM   #68
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We were able to fit five AM Solar 100 watt panels on the roof of our 2015 23D. The 300 amp-hour lithium battery is just forward of the street side front wheel under the sofa. The AM Solar controls and Blue Sky charge controller are in front of the battery but before the furnace. The Magnum MSH-3012 hybrid inverter is in front of the furnace along with the automatic power inlet transfer switch, new main breaker and bypass wiring. The sofa retained the slide out shelf for sleeping. Both the sofa and street side dinette seat retained all of their original factory storage space.

The battery box is now storage for wheel chocks and pads for the stabilizers.

We put matching handles on the two access panels below the pantry and curb side closet and with some blocking at either end turned those into storage areas. We cut out some of the bed support center web and now have more storage under the bed.
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Old 09-22-2016, 03:59 PM   #69
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Thanks Ed and Switz for your ideas.

On the refer, I've got to get over to my daughter and son-in-law's to look at the old Dometic refer in our 31 footer. It had a bail type safety you flipped over the front of the doors, preventing them from opening.

I'm hoping I will find that the old unit had a second hinge bracket and that the bail handle clipped into the hinge bracket to make the safety latch. Should be able to doctor something up if a 'factory' solution isn't available.

Switz, thanks for the tips on storage.

One thought I have had is to hinge the panel that the propane detector is mounted in so it can be pulled open, and then have an appropriate sized plastic container that slides in and out. This space is compromised by the fact that a heating duct runs along the floor, so the useable volume is only 9" deep, 10" wide, and 7" tall. While only small items will fit, it might be a good place for spare batteries, extra headlamps, and such, which currently occupy the drawer immediately above.

Another thought is to cut out the magazine rack, and then hinge the cut-out to access the bigger volume space that lies behind. The magazine rack would remain as is--handy for sun screen, bug spray, and flashlights which you can reach from outside the trailer. (Magazines are in with the Sony radio/CD deck.) Due to the wheel well, this space is irregular in shape but may be large enough to store 12 packs of soda and similar supplies.

Haven't figured out a good booze/wine storage solution. Hoping someone has inspiration and, better yet, hands out free samples with a demo!!!

Ya'll keep the silver side up!!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:03 PM   #70
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Bob,
Our FC23FB has a small under bed locker that faces the central hallway. It's where the Airstream briefcase was stored when our trailer was delivered. A five bottle wine rack (bamboo, from Amazon) fits perfectly. It has become my wine celler👍

Cheers,
Joe
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