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Old 11-15-2013, 01:02 AM   #1
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Essential spares: advice for Kiwi newbies please

Advice needed from American cousins please!

Apart from the obvious routine maintenance items (spare bulbs, fuses), what would experienced Airstreamers recommend in terms of spares to carry on the road?

The reason I ask is that we've just had a spectacularly successful day fettling our newly acquired 2006 16 footer (fixed the malfunctioning fridge - misaligned electrode, fixed the non-flushing toilet - build up of calcium deposits in the filter, figured out why the battery kept 'going flat' - dodgy terminal connector) without having to replace any parts. Which is good, because we live in New Zealand and the nearest Airstream dealer is in Australia. Ok, so some of the appliances are also used in Kiwi RVs but....

...what are the most common, potentially show-stopping spare parts that we should order in from the US 'just in case'.

Apologies if this is a dull and un-answerable question but we'd be interested in any thoughts on this.

PS We also had a great conversation with our neighbour who was totally blown away by the whole Airstream thing. I've got a feeling we might have the only 16' in the country.
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:08 AM   #2
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For the toilet: extra seal, vaccum breaker, water valve.......they sometimes leak

LP hose for the propane tanks......they leak too

sewer hose fittings.......they break

replacement end for the power cord......sometimes they melt

city water inlet valve, w/ the built in regulator......prone to leaking

extra door keys.......don't keep them in the trailer



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Old 11-15-2013, 06:35 AM   #3
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...what are the most common, potentially show-stopping spare parts that we should order in from the US 'just in case'.
Take this for what it's worth, which like most opinions is exactly tuppence…

If you're looking specifically for show-stoppers— meaning "the lack of a spare ends your trip right now"— there are fortunately very few. Not because there's redundancy built-in (there's really no redundancy at all) but because so many of the Airstream's features fall into the "nice to have" category and not the "essentials" category.

It's hard to say what spares and tools any given Airstreamer will need to carry. A lot has to do with how much of a do-it-yourselfer you are, how far away from civilization you intend to go— I hear rumors that there ARE places in New Zealand that ARE civilized— how much room you have to carry it all, and how much you can afford to spend on it all.

In general terms, though, there is a heirarchy of spares and tools to carry:
1 - Safety. Anything that compromises your safety is a show-stopper. Electricity can kill, so I rate the means to diagnose and repair electrical faults to be high on the list.
2 - Health. Anything that compromises your health is a show-stopper. Some overlap between this category and the Safety category. CO detector, LPG detector, water filter, etc.
3 - Mobility. Anything that leaves you stranded is a show-stopper. Again, some overlap between this category and the Safety category.

Things that are NOT show-stoppers include:
4 - Comfort. Some misguided people think that being uncomfortable is part and parcel of camping, and that's why they use tents and sleep on the ground. So comfort isn't essential, even though it's one reason you bought an Airstream.
5 - Appearance. A trailer doesn't have to be beautiful to be functional, even though that's another reason you bought an Airstream as opposed to some other brand. You can always make it pretty again once you get back home.

Or perhaps you're considering a different class of show-stoppers, ones that keep you from even starting out on the trip in the first place. These are spares you'd store at home instead of taking them on the road. The list here is endless, but fortunately again, the only parts of an Airstream that are unique to Airstreams and not found on other brands are the frame, skin (inner and outer), and surprisingly the awning— few if any other trailer brands use a Zip-Dee awning. Some other parts (appliances, etc.) may be used on other brands as well, and can be ordered from any RV parts supplier, but are still uncommon in New Zealand. Since I don't know what's available there, you'll have to decide on those for yourself. Especially if you would need a drop-in replacement and not a different brand that can be cobbled in with a few modifications to your cabinetry.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:37 AM   #4
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Duct tape.
Safety wire (.032 stainless wire used in aircraft maintenance).
Basic hand tools.
Spares for any little parts on your towing gear ((clips, fasteners, locks)
I really like the "Lego" blocks - you can use them to level the trailer, raise the nose, as footers for the stabilizers.
Sense of humor.
Beer.

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Old 11-15-2013, 08:43 AM   #5
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With the exception of the sheet metal, items with the Airstream name on them and the sewer cap everything else is common travel trailer stuff and any RV shop should have them.

As for carrying I would carry a spare, wheel bearings and seals mainly because these are get me home item.

Having RVed in New Zealand I can say you people are much adapt at fixing things on the fly then we are. I needed windshield wiper blades. I stopped at a service station and went in only to find they had only 2 sizes. The gal behind the counter grabbed one and a pair of scissors and walked out to the rig. Held the blade up cut it to length and we were off and running. Cost about 1/3 of a blade over here. Another stop on the way back from Jackson City, about 1/10 the size of Jackson Center we stopped at the first garage and rebuilt the door lock set with a small roll pin.

All in all have fun and go RVing.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:29 AM   #6
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Apart from the obvious routine maintenance items (spare bulbs, fuses), what would experienced Airstreamers recommend in terms of spares to carry on the road?
I don't know what is and is not available in NZ. Almost all of the really critical parts interchange with other (U.S.) RVs.

The spares I carry are:
- tire
- electrical cord for connecting trailer to tow vehicle
- shore power cord
- light bulbs
- sewer hose
- fresh water hose
- keys

Since your trailer is old enough that it does not have the cartridge wheel bearings, I would suggest carrying spare bearings and seals.

If you would be unable to obtain a replacement tongue jack locally, you might want to carry a spare.

I don't know what you're doing about the 120v power. Might want to carry some north american style plugs and sockets if you haven't switched them.

I believe the propane connectors are U.S. specific so might want to carry spare pigtails and regulator.
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Old 11-15-2013, 04:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sandlapper View Post
For the toilet: extra seal, vaccum breaker, water valve.......they sometimes leak

LP hose for the propane tanks......they leak too

sewer hose fittings.......they break

replacement end for the power cord......sometimes they melt

city water inlet valve, w/ the built in regulator......prone to leaking

extra door keys.......don't keep them in the trailer



John
That is a good start. In addition, I would carry an extra fresh water pump, parts for the latches and cabinets, a wheel bearing if not available locally and electrical adapters to adapt to the local power.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:39 AM   #8
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Thanks John. I'll check out how many of these items I can source in NZ.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:40 AM   #9
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Thanks - really useful tips. And I'd heard the rumour about civilised places in NZ too!
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:43 AM   #10
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Thanks Mike. I don't carry wire at the moment but it's a good suggestion. Mostly I remember to take my sense of humour but not always enough beer. Good tip!
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:46 AM   #11
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Ok - so wheel bearings I would not have considered but I can see the logic. These could truly be show stopping. And you're right, Kiwis are pretty good at fixing stuff up, mostly using No. 8 wire. But it's good to get some recommendations for items to order in from the US just in case.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:48 AM   #12
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Thanks Jammer. The LPG connectors are fine but I'd been thinking about the tongue jack. I might just carry a beefy scissor jack as a back up?
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:49 AM   #13
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You see - this is why Airforums is so helpful. Cabinet latches: a pain if they break but not a big investment to have a few in hand.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:55 AM   #14
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Sincere thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiAS View Post
Advice needed from American cousins please!

Apart from the obvious routine maintenance items (spare bulbs, fuses), what would experienced Airstreamers recommend in terms of spares to carry on the road?

The reason I ask is that we've just had a spectacularly successful day fettling our newly acquired 2006 16 footer (fixed the malfunctioning fridge - misaligned electrode, fixed the non-flushing toilet - build up of calcium deposits in the filter, figured out why the battery kept 'going flat' - dodgy terminal connector) without having to replace any parts. Which is good, because we live in New Zealand and the nearest Airstream dealer is in Australia. Ok, so some of the appliances are also used in Kiwi RVs but....

...what are the most common, potentially show-stopping spare parts that we should order in from the US 'just in case'.

Apologies if this is a dull and un-answerable question but we'd be interested in any thoughts on this.

PS We also had a great conversation with our neighbour who was totally blown away by the whole Airstream thing. I've got a feeling we might have the only 16' in the country.
I really appreciate the helpful suggestions. I'm sure some of the appliance parts will be available in NZ but it's still good to get some pointers. But stuff like wheel bearings and cabinet fittings may not be in stock over here. So I can now sort out an order for a few bits to be shipped 'just in case'. My wife already has a long list of Airstream 'accessories' so it's about to get expensive.

Mind you, I think I might start charging for visits to see 'Little Al' (our Airstream). Everyone in town seems to be finding an excuse to drive down our road VERY slowly...

Thanks guys!

Roger
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