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Old 05-20-2007, 10:10 AM   #61
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One more thing to think about, onc, years ago, I had a rear tire blow out on my 71 VW camper. I took it to our local shade tree garage and asked them to replace this tire with a new one. A couple of days later, I nearly hit a streetcar, and slowly drove back to the garage. I got the manager to put the VW on the hoist and found that they had put one BIAS tire on and the rest were radials. The tread was similar, so I didn't pay much attention to it when I picked the car up. Is this a possibility?
I can't explain exactly how it happened, either.
We'd all be interested in the eventual solution of this puzzle.
regards
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:51 AM   #62
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Exclamation Could it be faulty electronics?

I hope your parents recover quickly, that is the most important part of this thread.

Since this thread looks like a brain storm here it goes.
The trailer has two brakes, left and right. What would happen if one of the brakes engaged the trailer? I have a Prodigy Brake Controller. It is hard to believe my stopping safety depends on an electronic gadget the size of a deck of cards. Any chance that could be a factor?

John
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:51 AM   #63
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Glad your folks are out of hospital. They'll have a story for the campfire for a long time to come. Especially would like to hear dad's debriefing when he's up to it. This stuff scares the hell out of folks.
Several recommendations for the overly cautious do follow from the specualtions here. Always travel with a full fresh water tank, an empty waste tank, ect.
My waste tanks are over the axels above the floor inside the coach. I hadn't thought it out before but that 250lbs on each side when hitting a bump or wavey surface could on the bounce back completly unload the ball. Since bumps at bridge - highway transitions are often followed by uneven surface under-repair I could suddenly be in a world for hurt. Especially if the front 50 gallon fresh tank is empty. I will update my departure check list and be more weary of uneven road surfaces.
How could one correct for an unweighted ball and trailer sway once it starts?
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:01 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnerges
I hope your parents recover quickly, that is the most important part of this thread.

Since this thread looks like a brain storm here it goes.
The trailer has two brakes, left and right. What would happen if one of the brakes engaged the trailer? I have a Prodigy Brake Controller. It is hard to believe my stopping safety depends on an electronic gadget the size of a deck of cards. Any chance that could be a factor?

John
ALL of your stopping in modern vehicles is dependent on electronics. As well as almost everything else in your car or truck.
Dave
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:29 PM   #65
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Accident

Jnerges
Have you read my posts #47, #51 and #60.
The brake circuit is like this: One blue wire leaves the controller in the cab. It goes through the cable that plugs into the back of the tow vehicle (still one blue wire).
It (the single blue wire) then goes to an area close to the axles, preferrable in the center of the trailer over the axles. There is a junction there of five wires. One wire from each brake electromagnet (four in all) and the single blue wire.
The brake electromagnet has two wires comming from it. The blue wire feeds electricity to one of them (from the controller), the other is bonded securely to the frame to supply a ground and complete the electric circuit. The difference in braking between the wheels is caused by:
1. bad grounds
2. bad electrical (supply from the brake controller) connection
3. Difference in the brake spring tension (springs inside the drum)
4. Greae on the brake linings
5. Brake linings cracked and partially gone
When you apply brakes the current is supposed to divide by four evenly and go to each brake evenly. The difference in electromagnets is too small to be imporntant as long as you have the same model electromagnet installed in each wheel.
The springs also make a difference in braking performance.
If one spring brakes you really should replace the springs in the other three wheels also.
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:33 PM   #66
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As a pilot of 39 years, 20 of which was in the USAF, and included a tour as Chief of Safety at a Major TAC base (with the associated accident training), I find we all are jumping to conclusions that we cannot back up with FACT. All military accidents are treated as ''hands off' until the official and final accident report is filed. That is the word....anything else is speculation and is harmful. Speculation is our enemy...all we do is scare people and point blame in the (perhaps) wrong direction. I would like to recommend that we wait until qualified individuals look at the facts and evidence and make a determination as to what the 'experts' think was the cause. We may never know...but we can sit here and second guess the experts forever...and never know for sure.
sorry for the soap box....just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:30 AM   #67
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Scott

Thats right
This is an isolated incident, not a class problem.
This one trailer was having peculiar problems not problems shared by a number of trailers on a regular basis.
As the class at UCLA taught you, if that is where you went, the Air Forces equivalent of the NAVY Safety Center sought out the root cause with out wanting to burn people for possiblely screwing up. This attitude allowed the lines of communication to remain open no matter what happened.
There is no similiar activity here.
I had a similiar problem but with far less severe results.
I bought my trailer used. All of a sudden the brake lights on the trailer would come, then go out. I could see this because of the fiber optic thing on the drivers side of the trailer. Other times the running lights could come on for no reason. Because of the isolation I installed in my tow vehicle, the problem did not feed bact and cause problems there.
I found it to be in a damaged plug on the end of the cable that plugs into the tow vehicle. The anchor had come loose on the plug allowing the cable to twist in the plug. Due to the nature of the failure, the 12 VDC feed could have just have easily been intermittently touching the Brake control (blue) feed wire.
I was just lucky.
I found it because on the day I started to look for the problem, the runnings light were on and would not go out, I happen to touch the cable going to the male connector and heard an arc and saw smoke come from the connector.
As you well know, catastropies are very very rarely caused by one singular mechanical failure, but a single electrical failure can snow ball very fast and set up its own set of failures (F-16 wire chaffing, F-14 wire chaffing, bootstrap turban failure and on and on, Kapton).
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:30 AM   #68
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I agree 110% with ScottW...I don't think this is a wide spread problem with Airstream's...I also think the title to this thread is VERY, VERY strong and should be changed as none of us know that this was the trailers fault...

I know none of us like being falsely accused!

I also pray for your parents speedy recovery and I hope you find the true cause of this horrible accident not matter what's to blame.

Just my 2 cents worth...

G
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:50 AM   #69
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Thread Heading Change

I am very glad to hear your parents are en route to a full recovery and this experience must have been very traumatic - my thoughts and prayers to both of them.

Having read through all of the speculative causes of this severe and rare accident including the blame resting on the TT, TV, Weather, Road Conditions, Brakes, Electronics, Weighting, Trans, Axles, Hitch/Frame, User, or an Infinitie Combo of the above and not meaning to make light of the seriousness of this incident, maybe the heading for this thread should be revised until an expert conclusion based on every on-site detail has been reached.

I am awaiting delivery of a 2008 AS with family travel plans in our near future and the title of this thread scared the heck out of me. Until the cause is determined, maybe the thread should read "Severe Fishtail Rollover Accident - Cause Under Investigation" with the trailer brand left out for now.

Towing a trailer is not childs play - everyones posts on this thread are very helpful in reminding us to always be prepared and to check and re-check our travel equipment. Thank you.
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:13 AM   #70
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Thread title has been changed.

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Old 05-21-2007, 11:37 AM   #71
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We should all consider whether the human factor becomes involved in these kinds of events. I know that I am not as fast to react nor see as well as I did when I was in my twenties. I am 58 now.

Rather than expect to be able to tow all day and into the night, as I once did with impunity, I now realize that the longer I am on the road, the more fatigued I get, and the more likely I will make bad decisions. A bit of inattention or a bad choice at the wrong time can be costly.

So I try to embrace the wisdom of arriving before 4pm so I can be all set up in time for cocktail hour. After all, what is most important - the destination or the journey?

Pat
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:47 AM   #72
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We hope your parents will experience a good recovery from this harrowing experience. We applaud your change of the Title of this thread as well. Best wishes,
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:18 AM   #73
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What is the serial number of the trailer and date of manufacture. This may help see if anyone close to this range has had any issues.Just a thought.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:43 PM   #74
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The original title of the thread was very scary indeed, as were a few posts.

The well thought out posts on what could possibly cause an accident like this one, were very informative.

As a result, we have re-reviewed our loading plans and maintenance schedules for the AS and TV, also our personal driving schedules, hopefully making for safer journeys.

My formal safety training is limited to munitions, usually just one chance for error. However, that could apply here also.

Be safe and enjoy your travels.

See you on the road our AS friends,

John
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:37 AM   #75
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Thank You

Little Radio et al:

Thank you for changing the thread title - I saw lots of late models trailers coming up for sale on ebay following your parents horrible ordeal. I have only been towing an AS for 3 years and have tried my darnedest to load and pull it properly based on wisdom from airstream veterans I have met at rallys and on AIR.

The responses from so many in this great aluminum community expressing their concern for your parents and attempting to pinpoint the problem has been heart warming and very educational. I have re worked my checklist and promised myself no more sunset stretch drives to the "better" camp site after a long day of towing with my family.

I hope your parents experience helps to prevent similar accidents in the future. Please let us know what the investigation uncovers as everyone is obviously very curious.

In Omnia Paratus!
"In All Things Prepared"
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:55 PM   #76
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Everything is still under investigation. I hope the findings substantiate the Administrator's decision to change the title of my original thread. I will share the findings with the group as soon as I am permitted. Thanks again for all the best wishes and astute insights. What an incredibly knowledgeable group you are!
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Old 05-23-2007, 03:16 PM   #77
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I'm not seeing any thread name change?

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Old 06-06-2007, 03:39 AM   #78
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I had a similar experince

I was doing a pre-trip shake down cruise with my '63 20 foot Avion and F-250 PSD tow vehicle (I posted earlier about those in that thread)
We had gotten off the freeway and where doing about 25mph down the main street. My 2 your old daughter in her child seat right next to me and my 5 year old in his seat riding shotgun, when the truck lurched to the left twice, then pulled back over to the right.

I was able to straiten out before hitting any parked cars and started thinking about LittleRadio's post, but the paramaters where vastly different, then started going throught the catalog in my head of tie-rod and IFS bushings that might have just fallen out.
Then it happened again.
I reached down to squeze the brake controller in case the trailer was starting to fishtail, and then I saw it......
A little, pink sandle on the steering wheel.
My daughters car seat has since been moved to the back seat of the supercab.
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:23 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volvophile
I was doing a pre-trip shake down cruise with my '63 20 foot Avion and F-250 PSD tow vehicle (I posted earlier about those in that thread)
We had gotten off the freeway and where doing about 25mph down the main street. My 2 your old daughter in her child seat right next to me and my 5 year old in his seat riding shotgun, when the truck lurched to the left twice, then pulled back over to the right.

I was able to straiten out before hitting any parked cars and started thinking about LittleRadio's post, but the paramaters where vastly different, then started going throught the catalog in my head of tie-rod and IFS bushings that might have just fallen out.
Then it happened again.
I reached down to squeze the brake controller in case the trailer was starting to fishtail, and then I saw it......
A little, pink sandle on the steering wheel.
My daughters car seat has since been moved to the back seat of the supercab.
God love the little children...and may we all (parents and children) survive the child raising experience!
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:44 AM   #80
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Talking

F250 PSD + 20' Avion @ 25 MPH.

Funny story! (for me, anyway) You really had me going for a minute, because I had something very similar happen a long time ago.
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