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Old 10-22-2011, 11:30 AM   #1
1975 Argosy 24
Germantown , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 118
What's the worst problem you ran into?

Hi ya'll.

I am interested in knowing what weird, unexpected thing that has happened to you while airstreaming, and how you managed the problem.

This is part of my "problem management" research before heading off with my two little ones this winter.

Don't hold back! Share! I might learn something that helps me project ahead of time and avoid a bad situation.

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Old 10-22-2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 257
Having a front window leak and returning to the trailer to find about 2' at the head of the mattress soaked. We were boondocking and the outside temp was 42.

Moral...check for the inevitable leaks before you go.

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Old 10-22-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,814
My thoughts sort of follow Silver's—poor workmanship including leaks.

My solution is to bring lots of tools and including a complete ratchet wrench set, 12 v. compressor, tire plug kit for flats, grease for the hitch ball, extra jack for trailer, pieces of 2x8 to drive one wheel onto if there is a flat, sealant, torque wrench, a list of Airstream dealers, gas cans for when there are no gas stations in remote areas and wheel bearing packer.

The worst thing that has happened is a wheel bearing burned out in northern Minnesota. I had all the tools I needed, but it took several phone calls to find out the proper bearing numbers before I could order the replacement parts from the nearest auto parts store. The store was 40 miles away, but they had the parts the next morning.

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Old 10-22-2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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2017 30' Classic
Loretto , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 424
My lovely wife forgot to latch a window. It blew open and shattered. (of coarse it was raining)
Many thanks to John At CanAm and Airstream for getting a new window sent to us on the road.
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:29 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
2011 23' International
clovis , California
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 86
There is a good reason that everyone says DON'T back up without help / a spotter
A dent puts a damper on your good time!
Joe Gerardi
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:30 PM   #6
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,369
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Total blowout with 100% tread loss. It's survivable, but be prepared if/when it happens!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Membership Chair, 4C
Unit #3954
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
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While going down a rough section of highway in Alaska in '08 towing a '75 23', the medicine cabinet fell off the ceiling and busted into LOTS of pieces.

A stop at a hardward store for some fasteners, some slicone glue, and a couple of hours work at our next stop had it all back together again.

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."-- Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,573
The frame of our Airstream broke in half in the middle of the Mojave desert. I fabbed up a frame out of several pieces of aluminum sheet riveted together, and we continued on--carefully.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:15 PM   #9
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,583
Ran out of beer when camped on a beach in Baja California...had to enlist the aid of a friendly fellow with a beater pickup to make a run inland to the local tienda for 'supplies'...

We need more 'beer storage' in our Airstreams!
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:20 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
2005 28' Safari
tellico plains , tn
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 29
leaks, leaks and more leaks !
i have at least 100 hours invested in trying to problem solve.....the airstream is stored under cover when not on the road but when on a trip i dread seeing rain clouds..... 2005 28' safari
anticipate the leak ....
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
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What's the worst problem you ran into?

Greetings Eaglemate!

It seems like Murphy of Murphy's Law fame has been my constant traveling companion. Friends who often travel with me have often remarked that each trip somehow becomes some type of adventure. One of the more memorable events was on our return trip from the WBCCI International Rally in North Dakota. While traveling along I-90, I noted rythmic bumping about every half to three-quarters of a mile. Contacted the friends with whom I was traveling and asked if they were noticing anything similar and their reply was no. This kept up for several more miles and I pulled to the shoulder. Of all the strange things . . . my electic tongue jack was lowering . . . striking the pavement . . . then retracted . . . repeating continually. The solution was to cut the power wire to the jack . . . then realizing that I should have waited for it to retract fully . . . had to get the manual crank out and spent nearly 20 minutes manually retracting the jack before we could proceed on our way.

A few years before the above incident, I was traveling with the same friends on a caravan near Mandan, ND. They were traveling behind me and got on the CB and told me that something flew off of my coach and that it appeard to be one of my vent covers. I immediately began slowing to pull to the shoulder . . . when they reported over the CB that it was my spare tire and wheel . . . it was mounted on the rear bumper . . . it had fallen off . . . hit the pavement immediately in front of an Oldsmobile Cutlass that had been tailgating me . . . bounced completely over that car hit the pavement again and veered onto the shoulder where my friends retrieved the spare tire, carrier, wheel cover, and tire cover all surviving without damage. The Oldsmobile that had been tailgating escaped without damage as well. When I took the spare tire and wheel to my dealer and learned that it had caused rear end separation on my coach, it was relegated to traveling in the back of my tow vehicle to preven all such forms of wayward spare troubles (a 40-year old weld had broken in the spare tire carrier).

A year or two later, I was returning from Helena, Ohio where I had my Overlander polished by the Ruths (P & S Trailer Service). I went through my usual pre-departure check-list, and thought that I had secured everything. The wind was gusting to 40 MPH and I had traveled about 20 miles from their shop when the Overlander's door blew open forcing the door handle through the side of the coach (my deadbolt lock cylinder had failed and even though it appeared to lock it hadn't). I called the Ruths and reported by dilemma and they told me to bring the coach back and they carefully riveted a patch panel to cover the hole in the side of the coach and helped me to secure the door for the return home.

Hopefully your travels will be less eventful than mine!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:54 PM   #12
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1965 26' Overlander
The Gorgeous Pac Northwest , Washington
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 408
Images: 34
Oh boy that is a loaded question

We have had a few...

The smelliest was the surprise black tank leak. We were camped in Mount Charleston just outside of Las Vegas walked outside of the camper to go for a hike and saw our black tank leaking. It was gross and no fun. This happened 3 weeks into a 3 month trip this past summer. We dumped it at a dump station and didn't use it again the rest of the trip unless we were hooked up to hook ups. It doesn't leak when hooked up. We fixed it when we returned home.

The most frustrating was loosing not one but two rear hatch compartment covers. They are somewhere over the rainbow now.

Somewhat Annoying : Breaking windows, losing vent covers, plumbing leaks. Driving down rough roads and losing all contents of the pantry to the floor of the Airstream. Something minor seems to occur on most long trips.

The point of the story is bring tools, be prepared, don't sweat the small stuff and most of all be thankful you are blessed enough to have time to travel. The great memories are worth far far more than any incidents with the AS.

Happy Travels.
WBCCI# 2578
Four Corners Unit

Our travel and resto blog:
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:00 PM   #13
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1971 27' Overlander
Currently In: Skowhegan , ME
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 703
Images: 16
Leaks, and leaks and leaks. I don't know how many times that I had to sweat copper joints out in the middle of the park we're staying at.....I've logged at least 20+ hours AFTER we left to travel replacing this piece, or redoing this, or have to tighten this connection. Anymore, each and every morning after a travel day, I go outside (providing it hasn't rained) to look for water -- as my kids say "making sure the trailer hasn't wet itself"...

Visit our crazy full-timing blog (us,kids and dogs living the dream):

Join us at the TAC Walt Disney World Rally, November 4th - 10th, 2012:
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #14
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Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6,277
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Being rigorous about using a checklist covers most items. TV coolant leaks, TT antenna retracted, etc. Memory isn't enough.

Beyond this, trusting to dumb luck and being prepared to wait in the middle of nowhere. That tool you won't have with you.

With this attitude, most everything can be borne: One cannot cover all contingencies.

So, if you has to wait at the side of the road -- and the weather is terrible -- no power available in either vehicle, are you prepared (direct hot sun, freezing rain, etc. Don't forget boredom. Or mosquitoes); can you pump water from the fresh water tank manually, for instance? (You always travel with the fresh water tank filled, right? Even heading home?)

I assume that if I can get the rig completely off of the road that I am good for several days of relative comfort compared to those without an RV.


1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
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