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Old 01-28-2007, 05:13 PM   #81
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ljmiii's Avatar
2006 16' International CCD
New York , New York
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 268
Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
Gee, drum brakes and wet batteries. Interesting topic, Leo. I'm curious - were either offered as an upgrade option on the trailer? If they had added, say $2000 - $3000 to the price of the trailer, would you still have purchased it?
My big complaint is the axle - Airstream shipped the US spec Quiksilvers with a NCC of less than 100 lbs (51 lbs in my case). I realize that this problem is common to other brands of trailers (and gas powered motor homes as well), but it really tweaks me that to save just a few bucks on a $45,000 trailer Airstream chose to make its US customers either ignore the GWVR or buy a new axle.

The wet batteries just seem silly to me. On a $4,500 popup the savings make a difference - but on a $45,000 trailer? That said, it doesn't really matter since little of my money went into the wet battery and the Lifeline is a relatively cheap upgrade.

The drum vs disc brake issue is harder. Disc breaks were not available as an option (at least as far as I know) and I don't know what the cost difference would be if they did it in volume. I doubt it is more than $1,000...but $1,000 is a bit of money. Particularly since a number of folk prefer to depend on their tow vehicle for most of their braking needs.

What I really want is an ABS system like the one from sens-a-brake that keeps the trailer wheels from locking and helps keep the trailer from jackknifing. For disc brakes + ABS/stability control I would happily pay $2000-$3000.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:39 PM   #82
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,014
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I think you've found that A/S owners are loathe to criticize the manufacturer of their trailers. As the company no longer has competition, it is obviously easy for them to a] ignore reasonable advances (batteries); and, b] no longer feel compelled to lead the pack (as there is no pack any longer).

The arguments above -- about brakes -- apply just as easily to low ground clearance/independent suspension.

Then, we'd "make the case" for higher maintenance costs for Henschen axles (against being buggy sprung); and the "virtues" of greater ground clearance in many ordinary maneuvers on and off the main roadway since the trailer would sit higher. After all, it ain't a Porsche and I ain't running 80 mph.

I notice that no one mentioned how often drum brakes have to be adjusted to operate properly. Rear drums on heavy passenger vehicles rarely stay in adjustment more than a couple thousand miles; the auto adjusters are worthless.

You are correct that a $45,000 trailer, advertised as being the best, ought to be up to date. Not to mention getting a grip on having become so porking heavy the past two decades.

The flip side of the question is a little more important: How many trailers does A/S sell yearly? It is serving a small market, and most buyers of TT's are buying p.o.s. SOB's quite happily.

I believe that you are also correct in wanting an ABS-like system. A/S ought to be in the forefront of that, and also be equipping their trailers with Hensley Arrow hitches (and putting their dealers through a meat grinder of hitch installation training, IMO).

Converting my trailer to disc brakes and Mor-Ryde independent suspension is on the list (as is an LP generator, etc, etc, etc). Some systems are simply better.

(And anyone with knowledge of the subject of big truck brakes will point out that the Europeans converted their truck fleets to discs a good while back. The truck industry lobbyists in this country convinced Congress and the DOT that the number of deaths preventable wasn't worth the expense . . . and if you've ever tried to emergency stop a big truck with those drums, well, let's keep it clean and call them worthless hunks of iron better used as anchors).

I hope you'll address your concerns to the manufacturer directly.
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