Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   2008 Safari SE (
-   -   Worst camping weekend (for me at least) (

wayner61 11-23-2009 04:10 PM

Worst camping weekend (for me at least)
Warning - Long post ahead.

I have always been of the opinion that the worst day of camping was better than the best day of work. I think I put that to the test over the weekend....

It started off badly. I was trying to leave work early on Friday for a short weekend trip to the closest state park. Work conspired against me though and instead of leaving early, I actually left late.

Grabbed stuff in a hurry at home and headed off to pick up the trailer. Got stuck in a monster traffic jam. A trip that should have taken 45 minutes ended up taking a little under 2 hours.

Hooked up in the dark and the rain and pulled out to head to the state park. Very NEARLY hit the gate post on the way out of the drive. Stopped just in the nick of time. Backed up and tried again. Got out onto the road without any more issues (at least that I knew of).

Arrived at the park. Found a site, set up camp in the sprinkling rain and had dinner. After dinner, I noticed that the water heater had failed to light. It hasn't ever done that. I cycled the switch. Still nothing. I could hear it click a few times outside but nothing. I turned it off and left it for about 30 minutes. Turned the switch back on and it lit fine. No clue what kept it from working earlier.

About 2:30 AM, I woke up and heard water dripping somewhere. I listened for a minute then got up to investigate. We had been running the heat pump as the temps were in the low 50's. I had the fan on low instead of auto. It wasn't raining any more, so it wasn't a roof leak. I guess the high humidity caused the heat pump to have some condensation that didn't make it to the drain outside. Not sure exactly what the deal was. I just shut the heat pump off, switched to furnace and went back to bed.

Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and planned out the errands we needed to run. After that, we took a short walk around the campground. As we came back to the trailer, I saw something just below the glass in the rear window. It kind of looked like bird poop but I couldn't figure out how it had gotten there. I walked up to it and brushed it off with my hand. It was kind of powdery like mold or something. Because I was so focused on that, I didn't even notice the DENTS just below that. :mad:

There are now two dents on the curbside lower corner of my trailer. They are about 8" - 10" in diameter. Roughly circular and about 3/4" - 1" deep. There is mild scratching in the clear coat.

I honestly don't know if someone hit the trailer with something while we weren't in it or if I backed into something and never knew it. :huh:

My mental state went quickly from confused to angry and then to just feeling like I took a punch in the gut.

After looking at it a bit and realizing there really wasn't anything I could do, we went ahead and started running our errands.

First stop - fuel. My Truck is Diesel. I have heard many stories of people accidently putting gasoline in their diesel and I never could see how that could happen. Now I know. Distracted / angry driver pulls up to a pump. Sees a green handle and starts fueling. I was very lucky to have caught my mistake quickly. I had pumped less than a gallon in when I saw what I was doing. I moved to the actual diesel pump and started fueling again. After about 5 gallons, I saw that it was low sulfur diesel, not the ultra low sulfur that I needed. I don't really know how much of a problem that would be, but I just about lost my temper at that point. I pulled the door handle so hard getting into the truck that it stuck in the unlatched position and I couldn't close the door. I fixed that - no permanent damage - and we went to another station to finish filling up with the correct fuel.

We finished our errands with no further issues.

Sunday morning though didn't go as smooth. I lit the pilot light on the oven. It is making a fairly loud noise when lit. In August, we were on a trip and the pilot light quit working. No amount of effort would make it light. I had that repaired and they reported "adjusting" it. It worked fine for a couple of uses at least. Now it sounds like a distant jet taking off. It looks like the flame is higher than normal. We used the oven then turned it off. The water heater Friday night and then the oven pilot light make me think there is something going on with the LP system, but I don't know what. The other LP appliances seem to be working fine.

We hitched up and headed back to park the trailer where we keep it stored. When I went to un-hitch, the power jack refused to work. 30 minutes earlier, it worked fine. Now, it makes noise but doesn't move. A little bit of troubleshooting revealed a reduction gear that was stripped. How that happened is beyond me. The limit switchs are working. Nothing unusual happened during the hitching up process. With the troubleshooting on the jack and having to figure out how to use the manual crank, it took nearly an hour to get away and head home.

A day later and I still feel sick about the whole thing. A few little things. A couple of big things. All added together though........

I got the ball rolling this morning for the insurance claim. I plan on taking it back to A/S for the repair. I don't know of anyone in the DFW area that I would want doing that kind of metal work. I called H&H about the jack. They are sending parts under warranty so I can get it going hopefully. The LP problems remain a mystery. I need to spend some time on that and work through the issue. The truck seems none the worse for wear for the fueling mishaps at this point but I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.

I am sure I banked enough problems on this trip to keep the next few worry free ;)


Wayne&Sam 11-23-2009 04:22 PM

Hey, it could have been worse.

Wait, no it couldn't.


Alwhisman 11-23-2009 04:44 PM

Ok, that pretty much sucked! Glad it's over! You shoulda used your quota for about three years the way I see it!

Hope your next trip is better. I've had similar trips, just not as loaded up as yours........

......all in all, I think you did good, most assuredly better than me!


1953 Flying 11-23-2009 04:51 PM

wow tough weekend, glad you made it home safely.

ASwifey 11-23-2009 04:55 PM

Sorry to hear about your weekend Wayne.

Hopefully the good weekends of camping will make up for a few stinkers now and again. ( ;

slowmover 11-23-2009 05:05 PM

Having just moved away from Dallas a couple of years ago, well, I sorta got the "picture" right away: No way to get in the groove.

Some places to live are just ratcheted too tight.

I may have to move back to a big city, but I hope I have now done my share of those ills -- plus the pollution and heat -- that only Big D offers.

I, too, have had similar weekends. There seems no real explanation for it (well, without whisky anyways).

Kevin245 11-23-2009 05:46 PM

Man that's a tough weekend. Here's hoping for better outings in your future. :flowers:


bredlo 11-23-2009 06:00 PM

Boy, sometimes you wonder how Airstreams end up sitting in a farm field for 30 years?
It's weekends like Wayne had.

2airishuman 11-23-2009 06:03 PM


Originally Posted by wayner61 (Post 774712)
...I got the ball rolling this morning for the insurance claim. I plan on taking it back to A/S for the repair. I don't know of anyone in the DFW area that I would want doing that kind of metal work...

there are 2 shops in the dfw zone that could do this skin replacment/repair nicely...

the dealer/service center in arkansas is ALSO capable of doing the work.

i've seen the results of nearly new unit/skin replacement at it's TOP NOTCH.

is a gallon of gasoline really OK to run through a modern diesel, even diluted?

is this issue covered in the tv owners manual, and if so what's written there?

did you add any extra diesel lubricants to the fuel mix?


danalee 11-23-2009 06:18 PM

We are gettting ready for our first long trip starting Jan.1 You just made me aware that I don't know how to use the manual crank if the electric one dies. Thanks-I will be sure to put that on my list of things to do. Sorry you had a rough weekend but hopefully you will have all the kinks worked out for your next one.

mandolindave 11-23-2009 06:22 PM

Hopefully your bad luck has run out.
Dents are no fun. But the intermitant problems can drive you crazy.

so sorry for all of that happening at once.

Gene 11-23-2009 06:46 PM

Wayne, you seem to have survived pretty well, though what a bummer.

The big plastic gear in the jack throws off the grease as it spins and needs to be regreased periodically. I just reused the grease by reapplying it to the gear. Considering what the jack does I'm surprised the plastic gears last more than a few minutes. Dannie, there should be jack instructions in that package you get when you buy the trailer along with the crank and an allen wrench to remove the cover. Not too hard to crank it, resetting it is a pain. It's a good idea to have spare fuses for the jack—we could only find them in an RV store and I am able to blow a lot of them very quickly. When you have to raise the jack all the way up with the truck attached, this exceeds the jack's capacity and the best thing that can happen is to blow the fuse. These jacks aren't made for the weight of today's trucks when leveling the trailer at some campsites.

The Magic Chef pilot light was designed by sadists. It takes us a flashlight to see it, a match to light it (those butane lighters haven't worked for us) and a 2nd person holding the control pushed in. I did it once by myself but with the pilot light all the way at the back of the oven, it takes a contortionist to do it easily. Before perfecting this process, it took many matches to get it lit. It was a nearly 2 year training period. Some people don't seem to ever figure it out; I don't blame them.

As for the dents, sounds like a hit and run as someone may have backed into you with two tail lights making the dents. Are they in the same vertical line?

I hope you've used up bad weekends for a while.


LJH 11-23-2009 07:14 PM

Wayne, look on the bright side, nothing exploded and no one died. LJH

wayner61 11-23-2009 09:36 PM

All - Thanks for the kind words.

As for the dents - They are kind of in line, but it's really hard to see if they are truly in line or not. I didn't have a camera with me but I will post a photo or two when I get back down to the trailer.

The jack was pretty frustrating, but I think if it wouldn't have come after all the other stuff, I would have been less stressed about it.

I just read through the thread on the roll-over and in comparison, I had no problems at all. I should be thanking the stars that things weren't worse instead of griping about what happened.

As for the fuel -- I really don't know. I should have taken the time to read the manual but to be honest, it didn't cross my mind. I kept a close watch on the temperature and kept my fingers crossed. I was (and still am) a little more worried about the effects of low sulfur diesel rather then the required ultra low sulfur fuel. My current plan is to keep diluting it by filling up frequently. Maybe I should give the dealer a ring.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.