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Old 04-21-2008, 10:03 PM   #15
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Whew! When you said "disaster" I pictured an Airstream in a ditch, upside down. Your's was a learning experience, easily fixed! I'm so happy your trailer is fine and ready to go out again! Don't freak.... we all learn "by mistake" and this was a tiny one.

All the prior advice was spot on. Get it level and go forth again! See you down the road.


Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:47 PM   #16
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2005 19' International CCD
T , Oregon
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I remember my maiden voyage when I picked up my 2005 19' CCD. I was so worried.

One time I forgot to make sure the 7 pin plug connection to the tow vehicle was secure. (I dragged the plug and cord a good distance before I figured out the issue.) Now I always make sure the catch from the 7 pin connector cover is holding the plug securely in place.

I think you have some good advise from everyone. Especially the checklists.

Enjoy your new toy!


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Old 04-22-2008, 04:57 AM   #17
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1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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do you have a real RV dealer near you? Go to them and smile nicely, and get one of the techs to show you how to hook up properly. I bought my wd from a utility trailer place, trying to save some bucks... well they put it all on wrong and the ride was horrible. Both brackets pulled loose. I went over to Charlie's RV Center and they acted as if I had bought it there. In hindsight, I should have bought it there. Freddie was kind enough to show me the right way from backing up to disconnecting. The twenty minutes he took has paid off, for now I go right to them and they treat me great. An important thing is lifting the rear of the tow vehicle with the jack before you set the bars. Good luck....
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:48 AM   #18
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I must say I am Navy brat, my wife is a Navy brat, both father and father-in-law were Chiefs. I was in the Navy and worked for the Navy for 25 years and that Chief is not like any Chief I have ever seen, where is the coffee cup?

Hey I bent that same bolt a couple of times. I have added nuts to each side of the bolt where it is threaded through the bracket, helps hold adjustment and adds some strength. Not a disaster just an aggravation.

Nice trailer glad to see you got out and enjoyed the unit, you are on your way now.
Jim N5TJZ Air# 174
2012 International Serenity 28
2005 Safari 25 SS Traded
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:14 AM   #19
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One of the first steps in setting up your rig is to get the Bambi as close to "perfectly" level as possible. Buy a couple of the stick-on level indicators (Camping World), place a carpenter's level on the refrig and level it left-right, front-back......then attach your stick-on indicators. Each time you unhook in the future, you can easily level the Bambi.

Once you have determined the trailer is level, you can then move to setting up your WD bars, hitch, etc. This is best done in a level parking lot, and involves measuring your TV's wheel wells a few times (front and rear) to get everything properly adjusted. Reese hitches has a nice instruction sheet for setting up their product (if you like, I can scan my copy and forward it to you). Once you have everything set up (loaded for normal towing), it's a piece-of-cake to do it every time. If you're like me, and sometimes can't remember which link you used in the WD bars......paint the appropriate link.

BTW, I don't remember any of my fellow Chiefs (Navy or AF) that looked like the one in your pic!

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Old 04-22-2008, 05:39 PM   #20
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2007 19' Bambi
Portland , Maine
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THANKS EVERYBODY! ... and more questions!

Okay, so I'm sensing the consensus is a combination of perhaps not a correct install and the fact that I had the chains too tight... does that mean that I should have MORE links between the bar and the hook-point on the bracket? Or less? Which way raises the nose? Which way lowers it?

What I don't understand is why the chains were too tight when they were on the same link as the day I picked the Bambi up...? Okay, so there are some blankets and pillows and dishes on board now, but can that make so much difference? I dumped the tanks before I left the campground, and put maybe 5 gallons of water in the water tank just in case I needed it.

Thanks for all the advice about how to get the chains on correctly. I'm going to Lowes tomorrow to pick up some levels.

Is it safe to tow the Bambi at least as far as a near RV store to get the bracket reinstalled using only the ball hitch?? I was surprised that Out of Doors Mart didn't return my call today. Grrr...

Had the bracket fallen off while driving, what would have happened? When I initially discovered the problem, my fear was that the trailer might have come unhitched. But I'm sensing from you guys that's not the case. Would the ball have simply carried the weight? Sure the weight distribution bar would have been beat up pretty bad, but I can see why that might not have been the crisis I feared...

I was pretty nervous for the first time out. What's frustrating is that I don't know how "normal" feels, so I don't yet have a sixth-sense on "that doesn't feel right." One of the big challenges with moving alot is that I don't always know people around who might be helpful. For example, I don't really have anyone I know here that would be able to step through this with me, so I'm sorta on my own. I'm wary of a store, because I'm afraid that they'll sell me something sub-standard or that I don't need, and I wouldn't be the wiser to it.

To answer the more general questions...

Yup, I'm a squid! Active duty Navy Senior Chief! I love my job, but I like to joke all the time that if my job was my boyfriend, then I'm in a tremendously passive-aggressive relationship! My first visitor was lovely, no? Yeah, baby, that's how I roll...!
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:20 PM   #21
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Ok, chains... if you look between the hook that holds the chain (while chained up) and the bar, that's how many links you use... or conversely, how many chain links you have left "free." You want either more chain links (try just one more) between the hook and the bar showing, or one LESS chain link "free." Changing the links won't change the angle of the front of the trailer (and how much in the trailer doesn't effect the chains and how they look)... what it WILL do is switch how much weight is "transfered" from the trailer to either the front of rear of the truck's tires.

Navy ... hmmm... an analogy.... You have a small boat, and say there's ten people in it. You can have all the people in the front, and the weight transfer will make the bow ride LOW. Put them all in the rear, and the bow rides high... you want the right balance of "people" to make the boat ride right in the water. Same with your trailer. Imagine that the trailer has a set weight on it's two tires, and a weight on it's tongue just sitting there not attached to the ball. You hook up to the truck, and that set weight is sitting on the rear of the truck (your bow is high....). You want to "move" those people around in your truck to get it's bow "just right." Those bars (WD bars) "move" the tongue weight forward off the rear of the truck to the front.... so that 500 pounds or so of the tongue will be distributed between the front and rear wheels better.

What will happen if the bars come off? Towing short distances with them disconnected will be fine.... just reduce your speed. However, at higher speed, you'll probably find that the truck's steering wheels are "light" and feels squirelly. (sp). Don't worry, you'll be ok!

What feels 'right"? You probably are there.... or close to it. The trailer should track well, you should feel confident on the road without trailer sway... no white knuckles.

Happy trails!
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:28 PM   #22
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More links between the bars and the pull up hook.

The more links you have between the w/d bars and the pull up hook, the less force you have on the bars. Makes sense. You are pulling up less and therefore you are shifting less weight to the front of the TV. With a Bambi with its small amount of tongue weight, you really do not need to shift much weight. You and the dealer definitely overdid it for this first outing. It may be that your hitch ball may also be too high for the Airstream. It should measure about 18 inches to the top of the ball for your unit. If it is too high, it will also lead to your nose high attitude. Adjust it to the proper height by remounting the head on a lower set of holes on the drawbar. You may also have to readjust the ball angle to have the proper amount of ground clearence on the w/d bars. The proper amount will leave you with about 4 or 5 links between the w/d bar ends and the pull up hook.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:53 AM   #23
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Dewey , Arizona
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According to the document that I used to setup my Reese, you must have at least 5 links between the bars and the trailer. The head must first be tilted at the correct angle based upon several factors. With all the adjustments made, I have 5 links showing. These instructions are for Reese trunnion style WD hitches.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:03 PM   #24
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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Hayley, On our second trip I left the "foot" on the bottom of the jack and dragged it about 20 feet plowing the gravel at the RV park. It bent and came off and as I came around the park a guy was running after me with the foot. Now it fits much better than it did before.

When we brought it home from the dealer a window shattered—one of the latches hadn't been tightened and opened allowing the window to bow outward from the wind.

It's like the first scratch on a new car, gotta get it out of the way.

If that were you sitting in that chair, I'm sure 20 or 30 guys will be willing to help with any problem.


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