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Old 08-08-2006, 01:25 PM   #1
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2006 28' Safari SE
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Trailer Clearance

Hello all,

My wife and I have just purchased a used '06 28' Safari SE (first TT ever) and an '05 Excursion diesel tow vehicle to take our family of 5 on the road. We are very excited and are looking forward to getting the rig in the next couple of weeks

One problem I just ran into (not literally) is the ground clearance for the trailer. I have a 2400 sf building that I want to store the trailer and tow vehicle in -- the only problem is that the building drive is fairly steep. I took some measurements on the trailer when I saw it this weekend -- the plumbing on the LHS, the rear stabilizer jack and the rear bumper all looked like candidates for dragging. I took out an optical level and shot elevations last night on the drive, and from what I can tell, the bumper will definitely drag -- but it is a near thing.

My options seem to be tear out a brand new driveway and try to repour at a different slope or do something to the trailer. One person suggested putting heavy duty casters at the rear of the trailer in case it did drag -- that way it would roll instead of scrape. This is an appealing idea -- it would cost much less than redoing a drive.

Has anyone done this and is it a good, bad or just plain old dumb idea?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:44 PM   #2
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Hi bradjbolt--My experience has been that the bumper is usually the contact point, rather than the rear stabilizer jack. How about a low tech solution. Mount a small piece of 2x4 with beveled ends at the contact point below the bumper. Then when you make contact with the drive just slowly drag the A/S over the high spot. Should work with no damage to the drive or A/S. Sure wish I had inside storage for my A/S.--Frank S
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:47 PM   #3
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Another possible solution is to use a greater drop on the drawbar on the rear or front, which would raise the rear of the trailer. This might be enough to allow you up the driveway. Since you will be moving the trailer at low speed, you won't need any weight distributing equipment.

Bill
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:04 PM   #4
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wheels?

Although adding wheels to bottom of the bumper is a popular feature on SOB's I wouldn't think further reducing the available room by roughly 4-6" would be worth the trouble.

My '03 Safari has a piece of frame angle (cut at an angle) welded to the bottom of the frame, just forward of the bumper on each side. This has hit only once in a pretty steep service station drive. Yours probably has the same "skids". I'd just let 'er slide up on those if you only needed a few inches.

Although you have a longer trailer, I would think that a temporary adjustment in the hitch height and/or letting some air out of the t/v rear tires might help. Then you might end up dragging the tongue jack, spare carrier (done that) or sewage hose (done that too) if too low in front....

I too wish for covered parking and would do everything I could to get that beauty in there!

My previous house's parking spot for my trailer required me to raise the rear slightly to clear a curb but then level once over...I solved that by using my Kubota tractor and a receiver hitch assembly on the 3 point hitch...just raise and lower the front of the A/S as needed...great, now you've got to go buy another toy!
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:16 PM   #5
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More low-tech options...

If entry to garage is straight, you could also just buy a couple of 2x10's, and lay them out under where wheels start to need a boost to raise rear end. Rolling over single board would raise rear bumper about 3" until tow vehicle gets to board, and second board would double that.. Would require some skill in backing up, but the cost of several boards is less than re-paving driveway or rebuilding scraped metal things under trailer...

By all means, have a helper with loud voice or CB/FRS Radio to act as spotter and yell at you if bottom is going to scrape...

John McG
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:56 PM   #6
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welcome

Hello,

I go along with the majority, an artificial (boards or ramps) method for raising the rear is by far the least expensive and with a little practice will become second nature. Just to add a bit of caution, the Airstream is not designed to have additional stress put on the rear of the frame by using casters or rollers. The frame could be damaged if excess weight were put on it.

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, try adding an asphalt berm on the existing driveway, like a smoothed out speed bump, to assist the trailer into the storage. There is no need to restucture the entire driveway.

Best of luck,
John
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:14 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback

I appreciate the welcome and the responses. Good ideas -- the main issue I have is I want to be able to use the Airstream often, and I want to be able to move it in and out quickly and easily.

I talked to a dealer, and he stated that the Airstream has a 4-wheel independant suspension and should be able to handle a couple of inches lift in the rear via skid plates or castors -- as long as the tires continue to carry a lot of the trailer weight.

Plus -- I will be doing this dead snail slow.

I'll let you know how the idea progresses.
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradjbolt
I talked to a dealer, and he stated that the Airstream has a 4-wheel independant suspension and should be able to handle a couple of inches lift in the rear via skid plates or castors -- as long as the tires continue to carry a lot of the trailer weight.

Plus -- I will be doing this dead snail slow.

I'll let you know how the idea progresses.
Ask him if he will take responsibility if he's wrong. You need to be really careful here since you really don't know how much weight is too much or when the tires are carrying too little. Those aluminum panels will crinkle quite easily if that frame flexes the wrong way. My recommendation is to forgo the castor idea.

Jack
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradjbolt
I talked to a dealer, and he stated that the Airstream has a 4-wheel independant suspension and should be able to handle a couple of inches lift in the rear via skid plates or castors -- as long as the tires continue to carry a lot of the trailer weight.
I don't claim to be an engineer, but it sounds like a sketchy plan to me. If you do it remember to say "hey guys, watch this...."
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:01 PM   #10
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BTW, welcome to the forums. There is a wealth of advice on this forum from the "been there, done that" crowd. I would heed their advice and look at either of the ramp modification solutions that have been offered. Having seen how little it takes to create rear end sag/droop, I would be dis-inclined (pardon the pun) to expect the rear bumper to absorb any of the vertical stress of dragging across concrete. Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:10 PM   #11
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bradjbolt, Just another idea if it is a departure/ entry angle problem would it help to back the trailer into the drive instead of pulling the AS into the drive?
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:40 PM   #12
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Hello bradjbolt and welcome to the Forums!

On my 25' I could drag the steel rail at either rear corner entering many service stations if they have anything of a slope to the entry and those little 2-3" curbs at the gutter. It gets dicey and I have to take it dead slow.

Pahaska had those rollers on the back of his 22' CCD if I recall -- even posted a picture once. It drew a verbal 'raised eyebrows' from Inland Andy, saying that it was a very bad idea.

Please re-read Jack Canavera's post and try to find a different way.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:16 PM   #13
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In and out

Getting in is only half the problem. If you have to back out, you will find that the steel on the back of the trailer tends to dig in. I have a steep driveway and construction trailers when they built houses around me have put big gouges in the asphalt road in front of my drive. They drag a bit when they pull in to turn around and then plough the asphalt when they back out.

The wheels I put on the 22' only projected 1/2" or so below the drag loops on the bumper, so they didn't appreciably raise the trailer, they just prevented digging in. There are photos of them from years ago on the forum that can probably be located with a search. Once I doped out the perfect approach to the driveway which meant turning in the cul-de-sac 1/4 mile away and coming in the other way, I almost never touched the wheels.
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:47 AM   #14
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I really appreciate all of the feedback -- the years of experience represented on this forum is amazing. As to what I will do -- I will not be able to tell which way to go until I get the trailer in two weeks.

I think the most I would do is similar to Pahaska's setup -- setting the wheels to mimic the function of the skid plates on the bumper. Pahaska did you ever see any damage from the wheels?

However, I agree with the majority opinion that it is best not to stress the trailer at all. If I have to modify the drive I will.

I have attached a photo of the barn.

BTW -- the plan has always been to back in. The problem area is at the first part of the drive. The bumper skid plates should kiss the drive before the tires leave the asphalt.
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