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Old 08-27-2014, 08:54 AM   #197
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Dear Len & Jeanne - I am glad that the Bambi took the brunt of the damage, not you or your husband. Airstreams are replaceable, people aren't. I see by your page that it's a fairly new unit, so at least replacing it with a similar unit won't be a long futile hunt like it could have been for a vintage Bambi.

I do hope the person who caused the damage to the pole is insured to cover the loss. It's quite likely that it's a total loss. Airstreams LOOK better with fatal damage than any other RV, but you can't squash one side and the roof without affecting the other side too. Do let us know how it all works out - and if you can bear it, send pictures.

Let everyone know what happens with repair vs. replacement - and what you'd like to replace it with (It's an opportunity to go to a 23ft if you want to?)

When you start removing stuff from the trailer make sure you have a LARGE supply of medium size cardboard boxes, some plastic shipping tape to seal them, and a couple of markers to describe the contents of each box. ... This is also a good chance to lighten the load of things that invariably accumulate - so have a "DONATE" and a "TRASH" box too.

Paula
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:01 AM   #198
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Len and Jeanne,

You couldn't make that up!

At least you're all OK. As others have said, Airstreams can be repaired or replaced; you can't.

Good luck with the insurance and I hope that you're back on the road soon.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:25 AM   #199
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I dutifully read this entire thread yesterday, and whilst I don't buy into some of the opinions expressed, it did make me think that we should all take in an interest in what happens when there's an accident, whether it involves us or not.

Paula was most eloquent in her re-writing of her recent incidents and she's to be applauded for having the courage to write it all down; we all benefit from that in the long run.

I have put a dent and a scratch in my Airstream; nothing serious, but I did go back through what happened and learned how to avoid it in the future.

A few years back I had an accident when on my motor-cycle. A guy in a car, who I'd seen weaving in and out of the lanes on the highway up ahead of me, side-swiped me as I came up alongside. It wasn't my fault, the car driver simply wasn't looking, but in my own analysis after the accident I realised that I had more than ample opportunity to avoid the crash, simply by hanging back and not moving up beside the guy, who was acting like an idiot and had been for a few miles. Lesson learned, and thankfully without injury.

I've also had the opportunity to review some very detailed case files on fatal (non-trailer) accidents; gruesome reading but the bottom line in all of them was that they all happened because of a series of small things that came together to make one big thing. The lesson there is that we have to sweat the small stuff to avoid the big stuff.

We should record our crashes, and near-misses, because we'll always spot something that we could do to prevent something similar again. Hopefully we can resist pontificating on people's mistakes by giving them a sympathetic ear; constructive criticism is better than destructive criticism.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by MrUKToad View Post
We should record our crashes, and near-misses, because we'll always spot something that we could do to prevent something similar again. Hopefully we can resist pontificating on people's mistakes by giving them a sympathetic ear; constructive criticism is better than destructive criticism.
Thanks for the thoughtful post Steve. The above paragraph is spot-on. My hope for this thread is that it will provide an opportunity to learn more about safety by providing factual information from veterans and from incidents. Also a place to commensurate with those who have the misfortune to have an accident. Stuff does happen as we all know.

Cheers,
John

Edit: Great blog!
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:34 AM   #201
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After parking our trailer in a difficult spotting exercise after driving 330 miles, I moved the truck forward and heard a loud mechanical pop/bang noise from the front. I looked and could not see anything. We drove out for some supplies and the steering wheel suddenly shifter 45 degrees clockwise with a noise. I looked once again and could see nothing. We went back to the park (about a half mile) at the posted 25 mph and parked the truck until the next morning when an alignment shop opened.

We found an attachment bolt must have NOT been torqued properly on the new alignment bar, but because the tie rod the connected both front wheel steering arms was in place, the bolt could not fall out.

If this had happened earlier as we were driving 55 on a secondary highway and the bolt had been able to completely escape, there would have been total loss of steering. Not an event one wishes to contemplate.

The local shop took the front end apart, cleaned the threads, and put lock rite on the bolt and reassembled the front end. I had a nice "chat" with the original installer. We will replace the original unique design bolt when I can get to the original installer next week.

I thought some more about the possibilities of such an event and the process of stopping in the event of loss of steering would probably be full application of the trailer brakes along with the diesel engine braking to bring the unit to a stop (we have disc brakes on the trailer) as any brake effort on the front wheels could be problematic.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:26 AM   #202
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I thought some more about the possibilities of such an event and the process of stopping in the event of loss of steering would probably be full application of the trailer brakes along with the diesel engine braking to bring the unit to a stop (we have disc brakes on the trailer) as any brake effort on the front wheels could be problematic.
Don't forget the parking brake in your scenario. That sort of event may not be what the parking brake is designed for, but it's better than no tow vehicle brakes at all. And hopefully the parking brake is activated by a foot pedal and not a hand lever so you can leave both hands on the wheel for what little steering effect you'll have with only one front wheel still connected to the steering wheel.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #203
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Thanks, everyone, for your expressions of concern about our recent accident.
Fortunately we are fine, just getting antsy now waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster. I just heard from one located in the Vancouver area-- we're located just north of the tip of the Idaho panhandle, so apparently the front office didn't get that BC is a huge province.

We heard back from the two dealerships I contacted, after we sent them photos. Doug at Airstream of Spokane wrote that the damage would probably cost about $25K to repair, and our unit would retail for about $20K Write-off. The folks at Midtown RV in Penticton, BC have also been really helpful, also assessing it as a write-off, and noting that their sales people were standing by.

Paula, you've got great advice about belongings. Fortunately we weren't far from home when the accident happened, and we were able to drive home and park the Bambi along the road. It has become sort of a local sight-seeing attraction in the neighbourhood, with all sorts of people stopping to ask what happened. Ironically, the accident wrecked the Bambi but left most of our personal belongings completely intact.

We do hope to be back on the road with another "little guy" as soon as this one gets handled.

Here are some photos.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:07 PM   #204
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Since PRO mentioned the parking brake. It used to be called " emergency brake" and that was it's OTHER function. In the old days they were either foot operated or a pull handle under the dash. Later many became a pull handle in the center console. Some newer cars now have electronically applied PARKING brake that are applied by a button on the dash and only a indicator light to show application. These new fangled parking brakes CANNOT be applied while in motion so the can no longer function as an emergency brake.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:56 PM   #205
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I consider my trailer marginally safer with my HA, to me the hitch was worth what I paid for it and more for the ease in driving alone.

There are some folks who are content to travel at 55 on the interstate, (and that is fine!), I am not one of these, never have been, doubt I ever will be.

My Hensley is the better option for my F150. I don't set speed records, though. I leave more room between my combo and the vehicle ahead. There are , I'm sure, other combos for various trailers and TVs. The biggest factor in any crash is driving too fast for conditions. Conditions can vary, by weather, by traffic volumes, by time of day, time of the year. What is safe and prudent today may be wreck less and dangerous tomorrow on any given stretch of road, regardless of hitch used.


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Old 08-27-2014, 08:03 PM   #206
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Agreed. Reasonable and prudent have A LOT to do with conditions, equipment, and traffic.

Driving is about considering and weighing risks and keeping them reasonable and slight.

It might be argued by some that if 55 is safe, 45 is even safer, I don't think that this is always true, and at the same time with regard to interstate/highway driving, 55 is not always safer than 65.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:28 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
Thanks, everyone, for your expressions of concern about our recent accident.
Fortunately we are fine, just getting antsy now waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster. I just heard from one located in the Vancouver area-- we're located just north of the tip of the Idaho panhandle, so apparently the front office didn't get that BC is a huge province.

We heard back from the two dealerships I contacted, after we sent them photos. Doug at Airstream of Spokane wrote that the damage would probably cost about $25K to repair, and our unit would retail for about $20K Write-off. The folks at Midtown RV in Penticton, BC have also been really helpful, also assessing it as a write-off, and noting that their sales people were standing by.

Paula, you've got great advice about belongings. Fortunately we weren't far from home when the accident happened, and we were able to drive home and park the Bambi along the road. It has become sort of a local sight-seeing attraction in the neighbourhood, with all sorts of people stopping to ask what happened. Ironically, the accident wrecked the Bambi but left most of our personal belongings completely intact.

We do hope to be back on the road with another "little guy" as soon as this one gets handled.

Here are some photos.
Thanks for posting, painful as it is (for you and us!). Your accident really was one of those that you just can't legislate for; half a pole on wires? However do you plan for that?

Anyway, let's hope that you're back on the road soon one way or another.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:45 PM   #208
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Agreed. Reasonable and prudent have A LOT to do with conditions, equipment, and traffic.

Driving is about considering and weighing risks and keeping them reasonable and slight.

It might be argued by some that if 55 is safe, 45 is even safer, I don't think that this is always true, and at the same time with regard to interstate/highway driving, 55 is not always safer than 65.
I've never been a fan of the idea that you have to keep up with the bulk of the traffic on a highway. Yes, driving slowly on a fast road can be considered dangerous and certainly irritating for people in a hurry, but for me there's a balance to be struck. I'm comfortable at around 100 kilometers an hour, that's 62 mph, on a good and dry road; slower in the wet, of course. My TV likes it and my Airstream behaves very well, too. I can go faster but the gas mileage begins to get silly and I also need more room around me to allow for for reaction time. Also, even an additional 5 mph makes the stopping distance of TV and trailer quite a bit longer. That there are people flying past me at speeds above 80 mph is immaterial really. There are two, three or more lanes to be used on a highway and I really don't see how my maintaining a reasonably safe 60-65 mph in the right-hand lane is causing anyone any major inconvenience. Some vehicles move more slowly than others, get used to it.

There are a few highways with minimum speeds posted, and I'm happy with that. Also, just so you know, I wouldn't drive at 45 mph on a highway, either. As I said, it's a matter of balance.
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:53 AM   #209
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...However do you plan for that?
Side air-bags?
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:15 AM   #210
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On further review, the reason that there is such a large dent in the trailer is that it was unable to yield to the lateral force of the swinging half-pole. The trapezoidal linkage of a Hensley would have allowed the trailer to shift gently to the side, thereby avoiding damage.
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