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Old 11-03-2009, 08:50 AM   #1
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Phantom's Avatar
2007 19' Bambi
Delton , Michigan
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Tragedy! Bambi fell off jacks stands!

A post to warn others. Had my 2007 19' Bambi Safari up on jack stands for her first wheel bearing re-packing. Going to 'save' myself $100 from dealer service. (after buying parts... it was a $65 savings). Had both wheels off... trailer on smallish 4000 lb. jack stands (8" triangular bases). The left tire was a very tight fit coming off... between the drum and wheel well. Got the bearings well-cleaned and re-packed... no problem. Re-installing the left wheel.... very tight to get back into the wheel well. Raised left side an inch or two more with hydraulic 'bottle' jack... BIG MISTAKE! The entire trailer tipped and fell off the jack stands. Luckily AWAY from me! The tire crushed in the left wheel well side panel and ripped an 8" tear in the skin! It landed mostly on a very sturdy rear trailer hitch I had fabricated to hold a bike rack. That saved the Bambi from more serious damage. The right rear frame extension flexed a bit and put a crease in the bottom corner of the right rear rounded corner panel. The jack stand base got pinched under the sewer pipes and pushed up the belly pan a couple inches. Holding tank damage unknown as yet. I had NEGLECTED to block the trailer with wood under the rear frame or put down the stabilizer jacks with wood blocks under them. Either precaution would have averted this tragedy. Don't let this happen to you! Initial repair estimate from dealer... $6000.!!!

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Old 11-03-2009, 08:56 AM   #2
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1969 25' Tradewind
1971 18' Caravel
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Sorry to here of your damage, but thankfully you weren't injured.

Thanks for the reminder.

I always try to do one side at a time and use blocks under the frame members near the rear along with the jack. I let the weight rest on both the jack stands and the rear blocks.

I hope the repairs go smoothly for you. I know we all feel a twing of pain when we here of these types of accidents

Good Luck!


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Old 11-03-2009, 08:57 AM   #3
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
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The trailer can be fixed. I'm glad to here that you are OK. Any life lesson you can walk away from is a good one.

1973 F-250 4X4 390
1965 Chevy Suburban 454
AIR 6030
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:00 AM   #4
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1954 22' Safari
Deerfield , Illinois
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That's awful, thanks for putting aside what must be a ton of upset and embarrassment to share this warning.

As a side note, we're always arguing about whether additional racks on the back of Airstreams cause damage, or not. But NEVER have I read of a rear rack actually preventing more damage!
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:01 AM   #5
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1954 25' Cruiser
Kyle , The Republic of Texas
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Phantom - What a horror story!! I'm really sorry this happened. But (and there always is one) -
a. When repacking your wheel bearings, you only jack up ONE SIDE AT A TIME, while the other wheel(s) is chocked!! Remove the raised tire, repack the bearing, lower the tire back down, move the jack to the other side (always using the jack points marked as such under the trailer!!) and repeat. And,
b. Please know that your stabilizers are only that - stabilizers, only designed to try to stabilize the movement of your trailer as you walk around inside when unhitched. YOUR STABILIZERES ARE NOT DESIGNED TO HOLD THE WEIGHT OF YOUR TRAILER!!
I love that old time rock & roll.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:36 AM   #6
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2010 27' FB Classic
N/A , Texas
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Sorry to hear that happening to you and the trailer. I have mine sitting on 4 jack stands for the winter. I'll have to make sure that I take extra care letting it down in the Spring. Thanks for the warning!
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Old 11-03-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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1978 Argosy Minuet 7.3 Metre
Dayton , Texas
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Really sorry to hear about your mishap........glad your able to write the post!

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Old 11-03-2009, 11:39 AM   #8
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1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
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Jack stands are always a gamble - Chock & block is where it's at!

I've worked to retrieve derailed rail cars. Three-word safety rule when wheels are off the ground: Wood cribbing pylons.

A folksy rumor might be use a pair of bottle jacks to lift only enough to stack one layer at a time. No shortcuts, only one side lifted at a time. Pylons restacked to keep top layer at right angles to axle plate.

Pressure treated 6"x6" timbers stacked two, then, criss-crossed by two; lower ones 26 or 28 inches long, next tier 3 or 4 inches progressively shorter blocks, for a three point foundation, at axle flange mount plates and at hitch tongue.

A six-inch lift is HAIRY. Using 2 or 4-inch blocks and sequential lifts really reduce gray hair. That's my best advice and well worth what you paid for it - Its such a RISKY serious subject I reject any claim as to good or bad performance of above folk-ways of juggling & playing with ginormous objects.

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Old 11-03-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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1971 27' Overlander
Antlers , Oklahoma
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Sorry to hear about your trailer - Life lessons are sometime very expensive - at least you are ok somewhat embarrssed - but ok

2006 GMC 1500 SLE Crew Cab
5.3L V8 Towing Package
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:03 PM   #10
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Corona , California
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Best way in the world, to do a brake job or bearing repack on a single axle, is to do one wheel at a time, leaving the other wheel, "on the ground".

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Old 11-03-2009, 12:29 PM   #11
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Land of fruits and nuts , California
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Man that sucks. So sorry to hear. I second Andy's advice, if it isnt necessary, I never jack up more than one side of any vehicle I am working on
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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Down on the corner... , CT
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I may be wrong but I think having the AS hooked up to the tow vehicle to stabilize the front end may also have helped. Sorry about your mishap. We live and learn the hard way unfortunately.
Ann & Eric
WBCCI 6274
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #13
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Your story both saddens and scares me. Thank you very much for sharing that.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:17 PM   #14
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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OUCH, Sorry for your problems, but let me be the second one to thank you for telling the story to help others who might make the same miscalculation you did. I'm so glad you're unhurt!

If you're feeling foolish, just remember, nothing is foolproof. I'm lazy and have only the "girl's tool kit" so I have almost all of the big jobs done for me by "qualified techs". Sometimes the "qualified techs" do stuff that convinces me that they can't pour p*** out of a boot if you tell them the directions are written on the heel. Actually I am very mechanically inclined but after years of relative poverty can afford to have someone else do it for me - so I do.

There are many threads about not putting a rear hitch on an Airstream because of the light weight frame and the flexing associated with monoque design. I'd guess that on a very short unit there would be fewer problems because of the short distance between axle and bumper. On the other hand the 16' and 19' have that wretched OSB floor instead of plywood so they have less resiliancy.

Hope you get the repairs done and get back on the road soon.

Sending you some sympathy Karma (even if they don't call it Karma anymore.)


Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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