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Old 09-15-2003, 05:10 PM   #1
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What is your favorite 'oops' story?

I have my first "oops" story to share with everyone. I went home at lunchtime last Friday to pick-up the Airstream and dogs so I could leave for my camping trip directly from work. When I arrived back at work, I turned on the water pump so I could draw some water from the kitchen faucet for the dog bowl. Knowing I would be returning in an hour or so to check up on the dogs, I left the water pump on. Unbeknownst to me, the bathroom faucet was turned on slightly -- not enough that I heard water running but enough so that water was coming out. To make matters worse, as a rule of thumb, I always keep the plug in place in the bathroom drain so nothing falls inside it.

Everyone can now certainly figure out what my "oops" is but I will keep going with the remainder of the story details for those that are interested. An hour later, when I came back into the trailer, all I heard was this rrrrrr-whrrrrrr-rrrrrr-whrrrrr noise. In an effort to satisfy the demand of the open faucet, the poor water pump was spinning around endlessly trying to pull water from the now empty fresh water tank! Horrified, I immediately knew what the problem was so wildly started searching for the source of the water draw. This story does end on a good note. The trailer was off-level and leaning lower on the bathroom sink side so all the water from the overflowing sink ended up seeping through the crevice between the back wall and the back of the counter instead of onto the carpeting (and the poor dogs).

I went outside to confirm that the water wasn't stuck inside the innards of my Airstream and found there was water leaking out from every crack and crevice in the belly pan! Later on, when I refilled my fresh water tank, I checked my water pump and found it was working just fine. I was lucky I didn't burn that out in the process.

I can't be the only one out there in Airstream-land who has an "oops" story! Feel free to share your favorite "oops" story here.
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:04 PM   #2
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How about this...

Ours was on one of our first trips, when we still had our under-powered tow vehicle, which means we arrived to our "perfect" site a bit frazzled. We both immediately jumped out of the Jeep and started setting up camp. I went inside to set-up all the housekeeping things and Rob went about his business setting up the outside things. Well, we leveled the travel on the tongue jack stand which was on somewhat sandy ground. We thought we were good to go except we forgot to place the chocks at the tires and the trailer jumped about a foot off the tongue stand while I was inside! Yikes!!! Scared me to death I though the truck hit the trailer! I sure let the neighbors know I had plenty of four-letter words in my vocabulary!

Fortunately, we've only made that mistake once! Now, no one goes inside until the chocks and the stabilizers are placed...

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Old 09-15-2003, 06:18 PM   #3
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Make sure you unplug shore power...

before you move the coach!

I had only had out 325 motorhome for a couple of weeks and had it plugged into a 100' extension cord that ran across the yard and through the basement entrance of the house we lived in then. Since I don't like having the trailer cord-extension connection exposed to weather, I had the connection inside the cord reel compartment.

A few days later, we were preparing for a trip and I needed gas. So, I jumped in, started 'er up and drove off. I heard something go 'ping' and stopped immediately AFTER pulling the female end right off the extension cord. Then I found out that I had also pulled all of the phone wires out of the wall of the house as I had run the extension cord near the foundation and behind the phone conduit!

I too uttered some naughty words, then went about calling the phone company and getting a new end for my cord. All was repaired the next day, and I learned a fortunate lesson about preparing a motorhome for travel.

havin' to fix my broken Airstreams since 1987...

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Old 09-16-2003, 05:55 AM   #4
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Not nearly as exciting, but we left for a trip and forgot to deadbolt the main door. Sometimes our latch does not catch. 5 miles down the road we were sitting at a stop light and a motorist rolled down thier window and told my wife our trailer door was open. Horrified, having visions of a new $600 screen door and or $1??? main door, I got out and made about 10 vehicles miss the green light, while I investigated. Whew! No damage done.
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Old 09-16-2003, 10:18 AM   #5
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Ops, Just did it !!!

Using aircraft stripper on the front of AS. Covered the BRAND NEW rock guard with news paper. after 15 min rinsed off the stripper uncovered the rock guard and it has streakes all down the front. Guess the stripper went through the paper !!!!
Wife dosen't know it yet.

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Old 09-19-2003, 04:40 AM   #6
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Chock both wheels!

I recently witnessed an "oops" done by a friend of mine. He forgot to chock one side of his Airstream while parked on a slight slope. The tongue "slipped" and the trailer rolled/spun in the direction of the chocked wheel. Moral of this story: be sure to chock both wheels, front and back!
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Old 09-19-2003, 05:22 AM   #7
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On my last trip over Labor Day in South Texas I left the campsite and forgot to retract the awning. A tropical storm which was supposed to miss us decided to dump 3 inches of rain. As I was at a restaurant a few miles away having a good old time it dawned on me that a major storm had settled in and I forgot the awning. I was with my wife's family so I didn't want to panic and make a big deal of it. (margaritas helped with that) After dinner I went back and was horrified, the awning looked like a pretzel, one end up in the air about 10 feet and the other end on the ground. I rolled it up the best I could and decided to survey the real damage in the morning. I checked it out the next morning and was amazed, all it did was put a slight bow in my main tube which Zip Dee says can be straightened, no bent arms, ripped out mounts or torn fabric!! I was able to use it the next day. Those Zip Dees are tough, an SOB awning would have been toast!

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Old 09-19-2003, 09:12 AM   #8
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I stopped to overnight while bringing my 31 ft. A/S back from having the rear frame separation repaired.

I left it connected to my truck and put the stabilizers down and slept in the trailer.

The next morning I arose, showered and got in the truck and drove off ------ for a few feet when I realized (too late) I forgot to raise the stabilizers.

Needless to say, they were torn off the trailer and the two rear ones were trashed.

I re-installed the front ones after straightening some minor bends and installed two new ones on the rear.

Does this sound familiar to anyone???? Fess up!
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Old 09-19-2003, 12:49 PM   #9
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Heading home after spending a weekend in San Diego I pulled into a gas station to fill up. As I was pulling in, I thought to myself these are pretty tight quarters and this is probably a big mistake pulling this 36' motorhome in here but I thought I can do this. Sure enough I got pinned in there and ended up backing up into a pole next to the pump trying to get out. Broke a taillight and tore the rubber strip off of the bumper. It was also emabarrassing as hell!
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:46 AM   #10
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Wide Swing in Tight Turn - Oops

I traded up from a 26' classic 76 GMC Royale to a 34' classic 86 Airstream 345 in 1990.

The dealer pointed out that they had just replaced the left rear window knocked out by the PO - I'm thinking "what an idiot"! I had a lot of experience driving the GMC and other big rigs and just couldn't imagine how anyone could do this.

Well, on our first trip with the Airstream I got detoured onto a very narrow one-way street in Gettysburg, PA (by the Fire Station, if you've been there). At the end of the street, I made a very cautious tight right turn onto an intersecting street.

At that moment, we heard what sounded like a shotgun blast from the back of the motorhome. I got out, walked to the rear - and guess what? The left rear window was gone and lay in a million pieces, mostly on the bed! It was near dusk and only then did I notice the offending object, a dark utility pole right at the edge of the curb.

Next morning we got up (after sleeping on the sofa), went to a car wash and plunked a whole roll of quarters thru their vacuum. A big piece of cardboard and roll of duct tape served as a make-shift repair and we continued on our journey.

But, it was a pretty humiliating experience cruising down the highway with our injured Silver Bullet. And my passengers (wife and mom) didn't make it any easier on my injured ego.

The dealer was very kind when I returned for installation of the second window within one month at 500 bucks a "pop" (no pun intended), but I bet the techs in the body shop had a good laugh at my expense.

I am still reminded of this at familiy gatherings or when finding another shard of glass hidden in some nook or cranny 13 years later.

O.K., I've come clean, but can't believe there's not someone else out there who's done this - now fess up and let's hear about it.


"That rear end sure do make a wide swing in a tight turn"
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:42 AM   #11
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Here is a picture of me right after I realized that I lost my generator door, because I unlatched it prior to departure.
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Old 09-20-2003, 04:27 PM   #12
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Ok, I've had at least one stupid near-tragedy. I feel a lot of pressure to take good care of our new toy because it has survived 35 years relatively unscathed. Still, I managed a pretty bonehead move not too long ago.

I leave the trailer plugged in while parked next to the house before a trip, so the battery can get charged up. The plug is in the curbside utility area, which is covered by a big rectangular door. I removed the door and set it on it's end, leaning against the trailer while I unplugged it and reeled the cord back in.

Somehow I got distracted and we went on about hooking up and by the time I went back around to that side, the trailer had moved forward about a foot, just enough to trap the door betwen the ground and a side marker light. It was wedged in there good, dug into the ground about three inches, and so tight I was afraid any movement would pop the marker light off!! I finally had to grab a little shovel and dig out the soft dirt under the door and pull it out that way. End result: no damage to the door, no damage to the marker light or trailer side, and a near heart attack for me, thinking I'd finally left my mark on the poor thing. Now I don't lean the door against the trailer anymore, and we check to be sure all doors are secured before anything moves (it's on the list). Lesson learned.

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Old 09-21-2003, 09:31 PM   #13
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O.K. I've got a few!
Due to several incidents of leaving the main door or the bumper storage door open flappin' in the breeze, I now practice the age -old A/S 50 ft idiot check!- pull out 50' then check your site and do the walk around.
While we're fessin', I decided to unscrew the grab handle beside the entry door so I could polish under it and replace the rusted screws- problem being there are NUTS behind the skin that fall down inside-oops! Now what do I do??
The other sin was committed by the p.o. (honest !)- I took some rivits out of the bellypan near the black tank, as I am replacing some of it.I now see moisture dripping from the center area out of a rivit hole! Methinks the P.O. drilled the tank and it only now leaks while the rivit is out!
I'm done (for now) -NEXT!
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Old 11-30-2003, 07:50 PM   #14
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50' Idiot Check

Originally posted by Creampuff

I now practice the age -old A/S 50 ft idiot check!- pull out 50' then check your site and do the walk around.

Oh man, 50' ?, the shore power cord won't stretch anywhere near that far!

I've been a motorhome owner for over 20 years and just couldn't imagine doing this. But, am now a member of those who HAVE driven away hooked up, versus those who WILL someday. No major damage, except to my aging ego.

C'mon, this is my second post to the "Favorite Oops" thread. With 3,600 members now, can't believe there are not some more good stories to be told. This ought to be the longest thread on the Forum, so let's get it going again.

Jeff The Idiot
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Old 11-30-2003, 08:03 PM   #15
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Half asleep in Mexico

Place: Campground by the gulf in San Carlos, Mexico.

Time: 7AM.

Condition: at least half asleep and water hose still hooked up.

Task: Move forward a foot to get off of a levelling block so that I could stow it.

Result: Broke off the PVC water supply pipe at ground level. No park personnel anywhere around at that hour. Geyser about 5 feet high from stub of water pipe. A growing lake next to my site.

My caravan left a few minutes later. I held my breath till we were at least an hour away from there, expecting a federale to stop me at any time.
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Old 11-30-2003, 10:03 PM   #16
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My first trip out with my 1968 A/S was the drive off error. I got 20 miles down the road, at 5 am, when a car pulled up along side of me waving his arms. He said I had a long cable following me. I guess maybe it could have been a very thin snake?, but I knew instantly what I had done. The worst part was the trip back to the house, as I had recently installed a new garage door, and I had run the cable under it. All it cost me was a new cable and a few hour delay. What a start for my first trip. PJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2003, 07:27 PM   #17
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Winterize your unit before the temp outside drops to 29 F degrees, it is dark, cold, and you are holding a flashlight in one hand and in the other a gallon of antifreeze pouring it in the tank, and wondering why you didn't do it earlier.

Now, it is crystal clear. I am an obsessive-compulsive procrastinator.

Other than that, no "oops" with A/S. A couple with my vehicles -- you know the usual stuff, like not seeing deer running into the car, etc.
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:44 PM   #18
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Oopsies? I don't make no stinkin' oopsies!

At least, not very often.

Let's see. First trip in the SOB. Being a newbie, I had the trailer brake controller set far too sensitive. Pull into a gravel drive in a campground south of Big Timber, MT, and lock up the trailer brakes in front of the owner. He was not amused, as he had just levelled the gravel a couple hours earlier.

After a day at Buttonwillow Raceway I packed my son's motorcycle into the back of the van, hooked up the trailer, and drove off with the trailer door wide open. Fortunately one of my customers got my attention before I got out of the pits and pulled onto the highway.

Last May we had a severe thunderstorm hit Northern California as my wife and I were returning from a shopping trip in Chico. I was worried about windows, etc. leaking in my 1965 AS, so instead of heading straight to a restaurant for dinner I drove to the RV park to check on my AS. Sure enough, everything was dry until I opened the door and the rain blew in behind me. Took three bath towels to dry out the mess.

But the biggest mistake I made was buying the SOB. I could have bought a nice 30-foot AS (used) for the down payment on that POS.
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:48 PM   #19
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Sorry for the newbie question, but what is SOB? I'm wracking my brain and coming up empty - I just can't imagine that so many of you would refer to your Airstreams as "the Sonuvabitch."

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Old 12-03-2003, 07:53 PM   #20
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Originally posted by bredlo
Sorry for the newbie question, but what is SOB? I'm wracking my brain and coming up empty - I just can't imagine that so many of you would refer to your Airstreams as "the Sonuvabitch."

An "SOB" is what we Airstreamers call non-Airstream trailers. It is an acronym for Some Other Brand.
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