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Old 10-06-2019, 09:31 AM   #1
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2020 30' International
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First Nights and First Tow

Hereís a little information on picking up our Airstream, and our impressions after a few nights and our first tow.

We took delivery of our 2020 International 30 RBQ last Wednesday at North Trail RV in Fort Myers, FL. Bart, the delivery coordinator, spent all the time we needed to understand the systems. The trailer was immaculate. I had a some questions about the awning operation and they sent a tech out right away to check it and make sure I understood everything. I could not be happier with North Trail RV and our sales person Bruce Miller.

We towed it an impressive 1.5 miles the first day and set it up at Cypress Trail RV Park. The only issue setting up was releasing the hitch. My trailer towing experience is 25 yrs in the past and was farm wagons, pintle hitches and 5th wheels. A quick call to Bruce, ďmake sure all the weight is off the jack standĒ and the hitch released. So the only issue was operator error.

The Airstream works perfect. It is hot in Florida and the A/Cs are cranking away. Weíve used every system and light and everything works like it should. Iím impressed with the initial delivery quality and fit/finish. Not much to say when everything works.

First real tow was about 260 miles from Fort Myers to Cedar Key, FL. Combination of I75 and 2 lane roads. We bought a 2019 Ram 3500 with HO Cummins. Truck has air suspension and is equipped with Equalizer hitch and 1400 WD bars. Truck has a payload of 3,500 pounds, tongue weight limit of 1,994 and towing capacity of around 20,000. I havenít weighed anything yet, but I doubt Iím close to any weight issues. The back up camera made connecting a breeze. Hitching was a simple 10 minute process.

The truck is fun to drive and tows the trailer with little effort. Averaged 12.6 mpg driving 67 mph. A couple of times running up 70 to 72 mph during passing and traffic situations in almost no time and with little throttle input. Exhaust brake and tow/haul mode are going to take some time to get used to but it definitely slows everything down with minimal use of service brakes.

Iíve poured over this site for several months and learned so much from everyone. Thank you for helping to make our first few nights fun and memorable!

We are headed to Port St. Joe tomorrow. Canít wait to see whatís around the next corner.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:42 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Congratulations on your new baby. It sounds like your maiden voyage is going well.

Brian
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:17 PM   #3
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Thanks Brian. Couldnít be happier with the trip so far.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryHHI View Post
Hereís a little information on picking up our Airstream, and our impressions after a few nights and our first tow.

The truck is fun to drive and tows the trailer with little effort. Averaged 12.6 mpg driving 67 mph. A couple of times running up 70 to 72 mph during passing and traffic situations in almost no time and with little throttle input. Exhaust brake and tow/haul mode are going to take some time to get used to but it definitely slows everything down with minimal use of service brakes.
Sounds like you did your research correctly and have the best vehicle to tow with. My only advice is the speeds you are traveling. Remember, your on vacation! You don't have to be in a hurry especially since you have little experience towing your new beauty. Are you sure your trailer brake settings are correct? How about weight distribution. Is it dialed in yet? Hitch chain length? Did you shut all the vents? Do you know how the tire pressure and heat affects the pressure?

I'm not really trying to rain on your parade, but 70-72 miles an hour after just picking up the trailer seems a little quick. I've been towing for 20,000 miles and I seldom go over 65. Just a comment not a big criticism.

I meet a guy at Jackson Center this past trip who told me he drove 75 MPH all the time. I thought that was a bit odd for a truck that had no weight distribution or sway control. To each his own. I recommended he check with JC on what they could do about a new hitch.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:00 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing your GOOD experience.
Have fun!
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:24 AM   #6
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Hi turk123, you raise good points. Thank you for causing me to reconsider some critical factors. If any of my tactics donít make sense please let me know.

Driving anything new and also towing something new does take time to learn how the vehicle or combination responds to different situations. My speed strategy is to pace with trucks in right lane. In my experience, this is typically between 65 and 67 mph. Doesnít cause a bottleneck behind me and easy to maintain safe following distance. I also believe there are times when a little extra speed helps create space and isnít unreasonable for short periods.

Brakes are set with 20 mph drag test. Iím running gain of 9. I like to feel the trailer pull when braking.

Tire pressure - trailer cold pressure set at 65 psi. Since I havenít weighed I assumed max trailer GVW and used tireman9 and Capri Racer recommended formulas. Truck running 65 psi. I check pressure before starting each day. I donít give much thought to what heat does to TP during the day other then to make sure tires go up relatively the same amount. I assume ambient temperature is within limits of tire design and therefore TP is ok.

Iím running an Equalizer hitch with 1400 pound bars. My previous weight distribution hitch experience was years ago with a Reese hitch and chains and I understand the concept of weight distribution. I read about people with Equalizer hitches changing to 1000 pound bars. I assume this reduces amount of weight distribution but havenít given it much thought yet.

I usually forget to the stove vent until we take a break and I do my walk around. I also usually forget to unlock it. Though Iím not really sure it really needs locked.

Your timing was perfect. We are headed from Destin, FL to Brunswick, GA today. Good to think through everything again.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:38 AM   #7
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Hi A W, we have been out about 10 days now and canít say enough great things about our Airstream.

It has more space then we expected. Used convection oven last night for first time. We werenít sure we would like it. Previous experiences in motorhome were loud and hot. The oven worked great after we figured out the correct button pushing sequence.

Two small problems. Water line into toilet had a small drip leak. I loosened and retightened threaded line and solved the problem.

The rear outside trunk, inside trim over the two pieces of aluminum pops off when I pull items out of the trunk. Looks like black trim is just pressed on. A little glue should fix the problem.

Terry
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:44 PM   #8
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Hi Terry

It sounds like you are doing fine. Just give it some time and you will start to feel a sweet spot in the speed and weight distribution settings. Don't be afraid to adjust the weight distribution to see how low pressures feel compared to higher tension. That is how you learn. Don't try to keep up with the trucks. Following their speed only results in rock thrown against the windshield.

I used to travel 55-60 mph but found out after much adjustment to the hitch and tire pressure that my trailer really like 65 MPH as a sweet spot. I do not hit the speed with heavy traffic just to be safe. I'm carrying my favorite dog Maddie and my favorite wife Dotty!
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:15 AM   #9
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Very good. That initial positive experience paves (pun!) the way for future travels. One learning point I will pass along. After a few thousand miles, my equalizer hitch did not seem to limit sway as much - my butt in the seat seemed loose.
Looked up the Equalizer tech manual - those bolts and nuts securing the torsion arms have torque specs - mine were loose.
Something to check when you have the torque wrench out checking your lug nuts.
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:53 AM   #10
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When you get time you might want to look into getting a TPMS for your AS. TST is one that a lot of people use including myself. Just gives a headup warning about temp changes or rapid lose of pressure.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
When you get time you might want to look into getting a TPMS for your AS. TST is one that a lot of people use including myself. Just gives a headup warning about temp changes or rapid lose of pressure.
Thank you for reminder. Iíll call the Ram truck dealer this morning to see if the trailer TPMS stem caps are available. If not, Iíll get a different system ordered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron2010 View Post
...
Looked up the Equalizer tech manual - those bolts and nuts securing the torsion arms have torque specs - mine were loose.
Something to check when you have the torque wrench out checking your lug nuts.
Good idea. We are heading out to Greenville, SC Thursday. Iíll check hitch when I check wheels before the trip.

Quote:
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...

I used to travel 55-60 mph but found out after much adjustment to the hitch and tire pressure that my trailer really like 65 MPH as a sweet spot. I do not hit the speed with heavy traffic just to be safe. I'm carrying my favorite dog Maddie and my favorite wife Dotty!
We have about 1,000 miles towing the Airstream. Towing is starting to get more comfortable. Iím getting familiar with the noises, bumps and weight. My guess is 65 mph will be our sweet spot too. I have all the time in the world to safely deliver my favorite dog Violet and my favorite wife Tracy! No need to push anything.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:02 PM   #12
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Sounds like you are enjoying the new member of the family.

We are planning for a similar addition next summer and are very excited about the new opportunities it will present.
Enjoy and safe travels to you.
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