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Old 10-27-2009, 02:12 AM   #21
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Airstream versus Ford & GM.

Hi, FACT is, that this square box is weak and is going to crack sooner or later no matter what you do.

Fact, Ford & GM will repair a bad finish coating; Airstream won't.

Fact, Ford & GM manufacture vehicles with balanced running gear; Airstream doesn't.

Fact, Ford & GM will repair cracks caused by known weak areas or by out of balance running gear, from the factory; Airstream won't.

Fact, Ford & GM have a rust through policy for five years; Airstream doesn't.

Fact, Ford & GM have had recalls for body cracks; Airstream hasn't yet.

Fact, Ford & GM will send factory engineers out to diagnois problem vehicles; Airstream doesn't.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:05 AM   #22
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"The test is simple. When hooked up ready for travel, jump up and down on the coupler. That should make the coupler move vertically a couple of inches."

Regarding the test... is this a guy who weighs in @ 270lbs or say a smaller guy that's a little over 160?
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:11 AM   #23
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"The test is simple. When hooked up ready for travel, jump up and down on the coupler. That should make the coupler move vertically a couple of inches."

Regarding the test... is this a guy who weighs in @ 270lbs or say a smaller guy that's a little over 160?
How high should he jump?
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:25 AM   #24
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St*ff happens, folks. 'Cracking'- whether it's structural or not (waiting for pix), on a few units does NOT mean there's a fundamental design flaw with Airstream frames. 66% still in service, right?
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:41 AM   #25
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Good points made by all. But if we want to hook up our Airstreams and go, Inland Andy's advice cannot be ignored. Experience is valuable and we are fortunate to have that input. Can we have the "soft" connection Andy recommends with the balance and stability needed for safety, and still have the reserve power to pull the long grades? Is it in suspension, the hitch arrangement, or are there other factors? We adore our new Airstream and are about to leave on an extended trip, so I guess we will learn as we go.

Doug and Cheryl
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:49 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airslide View Post
"The test is simple. When hooked up ready for travel, jump up and down on the coupler. That should make the coupler move vertically a couple of inches."

Regarding the test... is this a guy who weighs in @ 270lbs or say a smaller guy that's a little over 160?
Any size and weight "adult" can do the job.

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:51 AM   #27
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How high should he jump?
12 to 14 feet.

Nah, only kidding.

2 to 4 inches is plenty.

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:59 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Good points made by all. But if we want to hook up our Airstreams and go, Inland Andy's advice cannot be ignored. Experience is valuable and we are fortunate to have that input. Can we have the "soft" connection Andy recommends with the balance and stability needed for safety, and still have the reserve power to pull the long grades? Is it in suspension, the hitch arrangement, or are there other factors? We adore our new Airstream and are about to leave on an extended trip, so I guess we will learn as we go.

Doug and Cheryl
Doug.

A rule of thumb for what rating torsion bars to use is rather easy.

In your case, you don't have much tongue weight to start with.

If you have a 1/2 ton truck, use a 750 to 800 pound rating.

If you have a tow vehicle that's heavier duty than that, drop to 550 to 600 pounds.

Using a "torsion type" sway control, further increase the safety margin.

Friction type sway controls are not good in slippery road conditions.

What kind of tow vehicle do you have?

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #29
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Andy, we have a 2006 Tundra crew cab with 6800# towing capacity. The trailer is 4200# with 600# tongue wt empty. The dealer installed 1000# Equal-i-zer brand hitch because that is what they sell (next size down is 600# and the bars are not interchangeable from one weight to another), and at $700 each I am not too happy to change hitches. There seems to be a tradeoff here between bar tension for a "soft" ride and enough tension to have effective sway control. Equal-i-zer's method of adjustment is basically transferring enough load to the front wheels to keep the truck at the same level front and rear with the trailer on, as with it off, and maintaining a level trailer.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:36 PM   #30
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Everyone one of the previous 28 posts is partially true. We just ran the African Capetown to Cairo Caravan movies at our weekend rally. The pounding those units endured and survived was outstanding. However, some did not make it all the way and neither did the heavy duty trucks they were using.

Current Airstreams are selling based on the legacy of their durability in the past. Airstream no longer has company sponsored caravans or engineering product support to fully test the durability of their product. The aluminum alloy the new trailers are made from is a higher strength but less corrosion resistant alloy. The old trailers in the African Caravan were made from 2024 with the T-3 treatment like they used in airplanes of that time. The new ones are made from 6061 also in the T-3 condition and is actually stronger than the 2024.

The trucks are no stiffer than was used on the caravan. I tried to see just what hitch bar system they were using but could not determine this from the fussy pictures. Dale might be able to tell you better, since he is the only person I know of that was on the caravan and is still associated with WBCCI.

Despite their big reputation, Airstream is actually a very small company with a very limited budget for true structural engineering and testing. Ford and GM are much more sophisticated large companies and unbelievably are also in poor financial condition. They do own large test tracks to test the durability of their products. We, the customers, are now serving Airstream as their product durability test team. If they do not listen to the results of our testing and improve their product as the result of our testing, then their reputation and legacy will be lost and they will have a more difficult time marketing that legacy in the future.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:46 PM   #31
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The rating of the hitch bars is irrelevant. The load you place on them (preload, tension…choose the term you like most) is the important factor. “Proper” hitch setup is what matters. This whole theory about heavy duty tow vehicles causing damage to AS frames…did anyone tell Wally?
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:58 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Andy, we have a 2006 Tundra crew cab with 6800# towing capacity. The trailer is 4200# with 600# tongue wt empty. The dealer installed 1000# Equal-i-zer brand hitch because that is what they sell (next size down is 600# and the bars are not interchangeable from one weight to another), and at $700 each I am not too happy to change hitches. There seems to be a tradeoff here between bar tension for a "soft" ride and enough tension to have effective sway control. Equal-i-zer's method of adjustment is basically transferring enough load to the front wheels to keep the truck at the same level front and rear with the trailer on, as with it off, and maintaining a level trailer.
Goes to prove what I have said for years.

"Most dealers and especially sales people, don't have a clue" about load equalizing hitches.

What the dealer did to you, proves that point.

Drop the rating to 600 pounds.

Torsion bars "DO NOT" provide sway control. They transfer weight.

All you can do is lower the bar rating, and add a friction type sway control.

Or, and probably at additional money, install a dual cam Reese 600 pound rated hitch bars, and you would be doing the best that anyone could do.

Installing the Hensley, in your case, would further the problem you now have, since they do not have small rated bars, not to mention the cost.

Now, sit back and relax, and watch the "nay sayers" jump on this one.
Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:10 PM   #33
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Goes to prove what I have said for years.

..................................

Torsion bars "DO NOT" provide sway control. They transfer weight.

All you can do is lower the bar rating, and add a friction type sway control.

...............................................And y
The Equal-I-Zer has friction sway control built in. There is friction where the bars mount on the tongue and friction where the bars attach to the ball mount. You cannot change bar size on an Equal-I-Zer, you must buy a whole new hitch with different weight rating.

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Old 10-27-2009, 01:22 PM   #34
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Shouldn't instructions for correct towing setup come from the factory with each trailer purchased?
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:26 PM   #35
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The Equal-I-Zer has friction sway control built in. There is friction where the bars mount on the tongue and friction where the bars attach to the ball mount. You cannot change bar size on an Equal-I-Zer, you must buy a whole new hitch with different weight rating.

Regards,
Ken
Ken'

Equalizer bars are attached to snap up brackets on the A-frame, with a chain.

How does that provide friction?

Also the end of the bars that are inserted into the ball mount, must be lubed.

Any remaining friction therefore, is very small, at the ball mount.

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:27 PM   #36
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Hello Andy,
Your advice was taken to heart last year and we down sized the torsion bars from 1200 lbs. to 600, the ride for us is much softer and for the trailer much improved. My question. Should I change the ball mount as well? The trunnions are smaller but of course the chains keep them snug.

Time for 4 tires on the AS. What is AS putting on new trailers.

Jim Irwin
Hope BC
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:31 PM   #37
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Shouldn't instructions for correct towing setup come from the factory with each trailer purchased?
Nope.

The one word answer, is "LIABILITY".

There are way to many ways for someone to sue the manufacturer, for lack of a coma in the right place, or an I not doted, etc.

The second reason being, the manufacturer could "NEVER" get away with telling you what tow vehicle you must buy.

Bottom line. Attorneys would get rich over things like that.

Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Shoe manufacturers, would never tell you where not to walk with their shoes, either.

Many things in live are governed by our individual choices, therefore we, as the consumer, must accept responsibilty.

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:39 PM   #38
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Hello Andy,
Your advice was taken to heart last year and we down sized the torsion bars from 1200 lbs. to 600, the ride for us is much softer and for the trailer much improved. My question. Should I change the ball mount as well? The trunnions are smaller but of course the chains keep them snug.

Time for 4 tires on the AS. What is AS putting on new trailers.

Jim Irwin
Hope BC
What brand hitch do you have? If it's a Reese, all the trunions are the same size that go into the ball mount. The different in size is the square hole for the bars.

Airstream switched to Goodyear Marathons, many years ago, and still use them today. Make sure you get the running gear balanced. If you can only get the tire and wheel balanced, there are other options available to complete the balancing setup.

Andy
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:41 PM   #39
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Weight Distribution Bars

Does tongue weight have anything to do with what size weight distribution bars to be used? I have a 30' SO with an empty tongue wt of 1125#. The trailer gross wt is 9100# and newer models gross at 10000#.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:44 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Ken'

Equalizer bars are attached to snap up brackets on the A-frame, with a chain.

How does that provide friction?

Also the end of the bars that are inserted into the ball mount, must be lubed.

Any remaining friction therefore, is very small, at the ball mount.

Andy
Hi Andy,
Go look a Equal-I-Zer's web site. The bars rest on brackets mounted to the tongue. when the hitch is adusted correctly there is significant fricton between the bars and brackets. the sockets where the bars mount to the head are also designed to provide friction as the bars swing left or right. I'm not a fan of the Equal-I-Zer, but that is how they say it works. I used an Equal-I-Zer on my previous TT, but use a ProPride on the airstream.
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