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Old 05-05-2008, 03:25 PM   #15
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I always pack a tire repair kit and a 12 volt compressor. It saved me about an 8 hour round trip to the nearest tire repair shop when I flattened both tires on my single axle trailer and also the spare. I have since upgraded the tires, but still carry a fresh kit.

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Old 07-16-2008, 06:40 PM   #16
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I decided it was time to give rockdocking a try. Can't say I was very good at it. Seems like I couldn't get the hang of it! Everyone told me it was a snap and if I hung in there with the right crowd I'd get it. I jumped at the opportunity but I was like the worst kid on the basketball team. All I could to throw were "air" balls. Not to leave you dangling, I had to quit it and quick.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:22 PM   #17
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Rockdocking the Airstream

Making the change from tent camping to trailer camping is a giant leap in comfort, but an astronomical leap into survival instinct for off road travel.

Water: An addition to past comments about filling the fresh water and hot water tanks. Before filling the fresh water tank, connect to the "city water" connection and bleed the hot and cold water lines. This also fills the hot water tank at the same time. Just have a water pan to run the water through the system to force out the majority of air bubbles from the water lines and toss the fresh water onto the grass outside each time. I estimate this would save yourself several gallons of water from the total fresh water tank capacity and fill the hot water tank (6 or more gallons). You will be carrying the maximum possible fresh water, but the weight will be noticed by the tow vehicle. That is why you should fill the fresh water system as close to the off road destination AND not be carrying grey or black water from earlier use.

Wash Board Road Travel: Other than dodging holes in the road, wash board roads are an experience we Rockdockers would like to avoid at all costs. Try to find a "sweet" spot in the wash board road and keep your speed under 10 miles per hour. Some times too slow is rougher than a speed increase to a compromise. Try it. You will get good at it. Not all wash board (road with "waves" on usually an uphill grade on gravel and dirt roads) are the same. You just take it easy, stay calm and refrain from cursing... too much. The most common problem the Airstream will endure are the backing out of wood screws on door hinges, faucets may need to be tightened, air bubble might cause water pump to engage- so keep it off while traveling at all times and anything within trailer not placed well will... move. A LOT.

Believe it or not the center of the bed can handle a water melon or keep tomatoes travel fine in the shower floor, using a sleeping bag as a cushion. The insulation will keep fruit cool and safe using the bed, under pillows or the shower floor as "moving storage". We have had NO fruit escapes... thank goodness.

Rockdocking Cabinet Solution: The hinges in Air Streams are very nice, solid and match those in well built homes. They are also POOR for off the asphalt road travel. The hinges WILL become loose or just vibrate off the cabinet permitting the cabinet doors to wander within the living space. Trust me. If you are not tightening your cabinet hardware after each trip, you are setting yourself up for some interesting "opening the Airstream door" SHOCK.

Solution. Remove the doors and hinges to the sink and closet. You will note that the door to the shower is secured with a strip hinge. Use it as an example of the door swing direction desired and the placement of the replacement hinge spine placement. I have NEVER had a problem with the strip hinge. I have not had any trouble with the overhead curved, spring loaded hinges or the pantry hinges. The hinges that use the "house hinge" can be replaced with CONTINUOUS HINGES/ STRIP HINGES. They can be bought at any hardware store in 36 inch or 48 inch lengths, and can be cut down to fit. Using the shower door strip hinge as an example of mounting, or follow the directions from a competent salesman in the hardware department. These come with mounting screws, provided. Measure what you need, cut slightly short. Mount the hinge onto the door first, letting the spine of the hinge stick out. Mark the top and bottom hole with a felt tip or pencil, drill with a small bit to prevent splitting the "plastic looking fake wood cabinetry". (It takes two people. One to curse and the other to hold.) Do the same mounting procedure with the cabinet side. Test the swinging door slowly... close and note that the door will close and latch, as before. If there is a bind in the hinge, you do not have the spine outside the cabinet/door space. Mark another spot to drill and start over... you still have a dozen or more screws to secure the door. When satisfied, you use the same small drill bit to put a hole, centered on each hole provided on the hinge. You need to be a little hands on doing this. My wife and I did the closet and sink hinges within an hour, profuse forehead sweating at first, but they work PERFECTLY. The house hinges keep the doors some swinging open when not latched, so with this change you need to close the door and hear the latching mechanism click.

I hope this description gives you the idea. I do not know why the factory does not secure the doors on the "house hinge" cabinets, other than the house hinge restrain the door from swinging out on its own. Our strip hinge adaptation has been 100% secure and if any beveled flat head screw becomes a problem... yet to happen... use a slightly longer screw when possible.

While traveling, short sections of rope are used to secure the doors through the cabinet handles. Even the slide out drawers on the 23 footer can be secured by knotting the bottom hinge, run the rope through the second and top drawer hinge and tie the other end onto the magazine retainers. Even the swinging door below the bed can be secured with a sliding latch bar and a rubber band to hold the latch from vibrating out.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:56 PM   #18
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Rockdocking the Airstream curved sink cabinet

I am sorry to make some Rockdocking "upgrades" a bit... wordy. But then you can always read the classified ads in the local paper for relaxation.

The 2006 and other Safari Airstreams have the curved cabinet that the sink is fitted. We LOVE this design. No pointy edges. But there is a very weak spot in the sink cabinet while off road... or probably even asphalt travel (concrete travel to those of you in the civilized parts of the world).

The curved cabinet has, our 23 footer is the example, near the entry door into the Airstream, below the two hinged tinted swinging glass doors and open area. We use it to stick two pairs of sandels, tennis shoes... The cutout continues to the side of the Airstream wall. There is NO SUPPORT at this end and if you look at the side and the top of the cabinet joining, there should be NO SPACE. If there is space, you need to do a bit of "correction".

First. Tighten the long screws that attach the side to the cabinet. I had to use slightly larger screws, but if they are too LONG you will run the screw into the surface of the counter. By pushing up from the opening by one helper, tighten the screws and the space will close. The side and counter are now firmly attached. NOW, part two.

Second: When the side and counter top are tight and snug, observe that the side of the open space has no support. I used a one inch square steel spacer to sit onto the floor surface and cut a copper water pipe to fit snug, supporting this end of the side wall. Occasionally on a rough road you might have to tap the "support" back into place, but this has solved a serious problem of the sink cabinet coming apart.

IF, you have the old MOEN FAUCETT with internal water filter... There is a new model, smaller, nicer and has a cannister that fits below the counter into a bracket. Works fine and no matter the water quality on the road, it will always taste fine with this new model. Use the old faucett as a sledge hammer, as it has to be the most oversized faucett installed in a trailer... ever. The replacement is much smaller and the wife loves the style and the filtering capacity. Again, you need to be a bit hands on type of repairman or find someone who is mechanically inclined to assist... it is WORTH IT.

OK. We have been on the road for six weeks, or should I say off the road, and every problem has a sometimes simple solution. WHAT IS YOURS??? Every little bit of new adaptations can help someone else that has not looked into the problem... yet. There are more Rockdocking Dingos out there that have solved some additional problems with a screwdrive and some wood screws. What about the vent covers! You can spot a true Rockdocker with an easy solution for the all weather protected added covers... and that is another story.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:07 PM   #19
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Finally tuned the Safari for off road

The last two camping seasons into the backwoods have tested the Safari and modifications made over four years. NO problems. No cabinet hinge problems. No sink faucets coming loose. No dust coming in from the fender wells. No cabinets opening up traveling gravel roads. The faucet water filter for drinking water is excellent no matter how the water did taste.

I replace a tire when I... even suspect... the tire is getting thin on tread. The cost of the tire replacement is minimal considering the problems of running without a spare temporarily.

The rivets are holding the AS together and no failures.

I can not consider replacing the current AS with a newer model, as we are now content, considering the AS problems experienced for the first two years.

The rubber grommets on the metal grill on the gas stove are a work in progress. On gravel roads the vibrations cause the rubber grommets to drop into the gas burner area. Just a matter of finding a sturdy grommet replacement and that will be corrected.

The End and happily so.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:38 PM   #20
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Ray - I have enjoyed reading your thread, and learning from your experiences. Maybe we will run into you sometime as we drag our AS down one of these dusty gravel roads in Colorado.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:11 PM   #21
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Great thread! Being an off-roader myself, I have had a few laughs reading your thread thinking of some of the things we have learned as well (although not with an AS in tow).

When we were in Utah running the trails with a Jeep, we made sure we got a the "Jeep Trail Guide" for each area. It has the road markings, levels of difficulty and MOST IMPORTANT, direction of travel. On the roads with only 1 lane, it is important to know which direction traffic is supposed to run so as not to have a head to head meeting with another driver and need to backup next to a cliff for a mile or 2. I couldn't imaging doing that with an AS in tow. Beautiful country though.

For the stovetop grommet, our new stove is the same way. A slight push on the grill and the grommets fall inside. They make a grommet that has a smaller overlap on one side but the other is much wider eliminating the ability for it to drop inside. This site would have something for sure.

Will continue to read this thread!
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:28 PM   #22
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Rockdocker versus Boondocker camping

I read in the Airstream Forums Boondockers complaining that their television requires a generator and the furnance uses up the batteries faster than their generator can recharge the AS batteries. I almost want to laugh... digitally as I cannot laugh out loud on the forum. Posting comments on a Boondocking forum would be out of place, because Rockdockers are a very small number of AS or trailer campers.

That is just one difference, but you understand the difference. I Rockdock and do not need television. I have yet to see ANY Rockdocker in the back country with a television, an air conditioner running or a satellite dish for internet computer operation. Maybe... that is why people confuse Boondocking with camping. Boondocking is going from point A to B and wanting the convenience of living at home, hooked up to the power grid. Where we park our AS, there is NO television. We are lucky to find an AM radio station! At night I will find a high wattage AM radio station that fades in and out, but I can get some current news and weather report. I have noticed that Spanish language stations come in strong and clear... What's up with that... but I wander.

What ever I have in our AS on our off road camping "adventures" have been filtered through years of tent camping and five years of trailer camping. My tools out number our stainless steel kitchen utensils, for obvious reasons. Airstreams have a tendency to shake interior hardware loose, as well as plumbing and cabinet screws. Airstreams were built for Boondockers. Not for off the electrical grid and gravel back road camping. Rockdockers need to modify some of the original hardware to keep the AS road worthy. I have never encountered another AS in the back country, off the asphalt roads. Hunters seem to avoid the AS for camping due to the cost, and you are not putting an ATV or two in the back for traveling! I understand... I do. But when a Boondocker is complaining, read into the complaint. Such as, "my wife likes long showers while traveling"... Not while Rockdocking you don't! Our AS is lit up like a Las Vegas Casino at night... not while Rockdocking, you don't. If you are a practicing Boondocker, please, it is not necessary to tell me about the hardships of needing a flush toilet and WiFi connections to a tent camper or Rockdocker... I appreciate the fact that 95% of trailer owners ARE NOT CAMPING off the beaten path.

Whew... I do feel better now.

I understand that I am an odd ball among AS owners. I compared trailers at RV Shows in Denver and the AS was better built. Better built does not mean... well engineered. But no cardboard walls and floors that strained under the weight of a mouse. I see the AS Boondocker traveling off the grid like seeing a new Corvette on a 4x4 road in the mountains (which I have done in a 1964 red Corvette Convertable). When you see a Silver Toyota Tundra and Airstream covered with dust... you have just encountered the Last of the Rockdockers heading to the next wilderness outpost that I will just call... the 21st Century American Frontier.

Added: The best thing with AS camping... the refrigerator. Now that is living in luxury! Ice Cream just outside a wilderness area... remarkable.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:47 PM   #23
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If I am not mistaken Ray, I had a VW Vanagon Westfalia one time that had 'D' range 14'" tires on it, they were BFG All terrain tires, it was an 1986
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:13 AM   #24
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Lighten the AS Gross Vehicle Weight- Rockdocking

I do not recall mentioning some alternative uses of AS factory equipment in the past. At times I cannot keep up with what day of the month, within a day or two of the actual date. While Rockdocking you will discover that traffic is coming up to camp on a Friday PM and departing on a Sunday. So we like to arrive at a destination on a Thursday and leave on a Sunday or other weekday. Just prevents getting opposite direction traffic and finding a "comfortable" spot to pull over and let traffic pass.

Micro Wave: We took out the microwave above the refrigerator, as we never use it. The wife put a curtain over the opening and filled the space with disposable plates, bowls, paper towels and toilet paper. Although light, these require a lot of volume.

Oven: We never use the oven. This area is for storing bread, muffins and other soft foods that you do not want flattened, crushed or transformed into a useless clump of breading.

Bed: We always use the bed, so there are some AS items used for the purpose intended! While traveling from point A to point B, we will put anything we want to keep cool under the pillows (produce in plastic containers), water melon ride very well in the middle of the bed. Also a sleeping bag on the floor of the shower will keep a melon in one piece. The cutting board covering to the sink rides on the bed very well. Left on the sink it will be on the floor immediately as you turn off the asphalt road.

Hauling extra water: The water containers fit well into the heavy duty plastic containers that were originally used for one gallon milk delivery's are the most stable. Some hardware stores sell them. Just check to see if your water jug fits. Nothing like having 6 gallons of water getting loose in the back of the pickup. These plastic containers, flipped over are good for reaching for the awning lock downs and re-rolling the awning when getting ready to leaving the camp site.

Five Gallon buckets: You know, the usually white ones with a plastic lid. They could have had pie filling to stucco originally. On windy days and the awning is kept out for rain/sun shelter. Tie a good nylon rope to the awning and to the bucket filled with rocks. Keeps from bending your support rods. A metal rod can be driven into the ground at an angle and the rope tied to it. The bucket will weigh less and can be a portable table, seat, water hauler from a river, short ladder or just to put those interesting rocks you keep throwing into the back of the truck. They stack very well and if you put a tennis ball inside each one, the buckets do not get locked in as tight while hauling them. A bucket to stand upon to tighten down the rolled awning is a light substitute for a heavier ladder.

Bow Saw: A bow saw, an extra blade, for cutting back brush and branches that would otherwise leave a good scratch from one end of the truck and trailer. Also some long handled tree branch trimmers work well for the smaller branches. It will save your AS finish.

Wheel Bearings: Keep an extra set of inner and outer bearings and seal, wheel bearing grease and know how to take out the inner oil seal with a hammer and available soft "punch" to remove the oil seal. This is when you have a wheel bearing go bad. You might do no worse than a professional mechanic in an emergency in the back woods. Having the small tool to back off your brake shoes helps, but a screw driver will do in a pinch... Remember. The nut holding the bearings with the cotter pin do NOT need to be tight. You will find that they are put on finger tight... as you will discover if you tightened them too much and burn up the spare set of bearings. Maybe watching someone pull the bearings, cleaning them and packing them with grease would help. The first time is the hardest. After that you are an experienced wrench head.

Ladder: The tube ladder. It compacts into two feet and extends to ten feet. Light and easily adjusted for getting on top of your AS, if necessary.

Antenna: The factory 12 inch or less provided antenna... stinks. Find a two foot metal whip that screws onto the threaded nut. Your reception changes from ZERO to UNLIMITED in seconds. The threads could vary, so find the whip antenna you like and just figure it will be there for the life of the trailer. Cross threaded or not, it will not fall off!

And... just a preventive maintenance advice. The rear tail lights. They fill with water over time. The water gets in through the tail light seals... a misnomer. I took an electric drill, and drilled a drain hole at the base of each of the rear tail lights. The water will then drain out. An 1/8" drill seems to do the trick. Just find the area you would expect the water to drain the best and go to it. Starting with a small hole and then the larger drill makes a cleaner hole and easier to get a hole that is closer to where you want to drill.

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