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Old 12-11-2013, 07:49 AM   #1
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Winter Adventure- going to Michigan for a 34

I am leaving today from Lynchburg, VA driving to Snowshoe, WV to pick up some stuff at a ski resort and on to Vassar, Mi to pick up a 34' (1995). Before I can actually tow the 34' I need to replace the wheels and tires, have the brakes and bearings serviced, install two batteries, install a new Hensley hitch and do whatever else might be needed to prepare the long Stream for the tow back to VA.

I am always up for a good adventure and road trip, I just hope this one goes reasonably well with not too many surprises before I hopefully return to Lynchburg by Friday. This may be a tall order considering all but six states have snow on the ground someplace at this time.

I am most concerned about any unknowns for this 34'. The owner is deceased. I am told that he did not have a tow vehicle. The tires are original. I believe that it has been towed and used very little in its 18 year life. The son "winterized" it. We shall see.

I will be towing it with my 08 Tundra (2wd). I have chains with me, but hope I don't need them, and certainly do not want to tow the 34' Stream in any snow. I was caught on the West Virginia turnpike in Dec 09 when a blizzard closed the highway down completely. I don't want a rerun of that.

Send some good Karma my way. I will probably need it.

Dan
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:58 AM   #2
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Good luck, Dan, and travel safely.


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Old 12-11-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Good luck with the trip...... being a Tundra driver myself, I have faith that you've got a great truck to at least get it home. I'm sure others will pipe up about the behemoth TV you are going to need in the long run.....

that trailer looks like it is in mint condition inside..... what a great find.

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Old 12-11-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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That trailer looks really nice. A good cleaning and paint the wheels and it will be like new. When I first started Airstream shopping I looked at a 1988 34' Excella. I fully intended to tow it with my '07 2WD Tundra. The owner towed it with a Lincoln Navigator. I would think the tongue weight would be even lower than a 2 axle trailer because it has one more axle to bear some weight. I will always pull my 30' with my Tundra, regardless of how many folks on the forums think I need a 3/4 ton diesel...
Be careful on the road trip. Enjoy that big long silver trailer.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #5
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Fill up the propane, so this time if you get caught on the turnpike, you will have a place to relax...
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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Dan if you need a stop over in Mich. you know where we live...
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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Good luck with what looks like a great find. We live 30 mile north east of Vassar. We have snow on the ground and are supposed to be getting more. Be safe.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:01 PM   #8
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The trailer looks really nice & clean! Bring along some long johns too....it's just 11 degrees here in NW Indiana. Have a safe trip. 24-31-34 sounds like your girls make up pear-shaped love!
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Becky- now that is just funny. I am selling the 31 to a friend.

Sorry I have not posted until now- have not had internet. I stayed on top of a mountain yesterday at Snowshoe, WV. It was 7 degrees this morning with the wind blowing about 30 mph!

I made it to my sisters house today in Milan, Mi., about 90 miles south of Vassar, Mi.

Life is throwing some more curves. The truck place that was going to service the bearings for me can not do it until Sat or Monday. That won't work. So in addition to installing the batteries, the new tires and the Haha I will need to service the bearings. I have done this before, but it has been a while, so I don't feel very confident. Anyone know of a good step by step procedure or utube video that you could send my way. I would appreciate it.

Thanks, Dan
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:49 PM   #10
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thru Ohio?

If you are cutting through NE Ohio, you are welcome to stop over. We have courtesy parking and tools if you should need them.
Have some supplies with you when traveling up here. Our temps have been in the teens and are expected to remain cold and icy.
Have a safe trip!
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:43 AM   #11
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Loudruff- Thanks for the offer, probably heading down thru Columbus way, but we shall see. Depends on the weather.

Goshawks00- Thanks for the offer of parking the Airstream on your land until spring or at least much better weather. I really don't want to tow it in snow. We shall see.

All

Would appreciate a video on bearing maintenance for an Airstream if anyone knows of one. Headed to Vassar now where it is snowing and 23 degrees- can't wait to grease the bearings, all 6 of them, on Friday the 13th, where it is snowing and 23 degrees.

Thanks, Dan
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Would appreciate a video on bearing maintenance for an Airstream if anyone knows of one. Headed to Vassar now where it is snowing and 23 degrees- can't wait to grease the bearings, all 6 of them, on Friday the 13th, where it is snowing and 23 degrees.
Here's a video on trailer bearing maintenance. Not Airstream, but then again, I don't think there's anything unique about the bearings on an Airstream trailer versus those on other trailers.
How-to guide on packing trailer bearings - YouTube
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:54 AM   #13
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Go' head on and git that beautiful long silver trailer!
Be careful out there.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:57 AM   #14
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I'm curious.
Boat trailers usually have bearing buddies so you can give them a shot of grease after launching. Do any travel trailer owners use them? It doesn't mean you don't repack, but it will keep them full and the spring loaded nature of them will help keep out moisture.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:19 PM   #15
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Protagonist- Thanks for the video on bearing maintenance.

All

Well yesterday was a very tough day, but successful. I finally got the Airstream 34 on the road at 11:30 last night and arrived at my sisters home in Milan at 2:00 am. It was snowing hard and slippery. I would have liked to continue heading south to try to beat the storm, but I was whipped and needed some rest.

I was heading north from Milan to Vassar yesterday morning, about 90 miles, and called Hensley to ask them some questions about hitch installation. I have a new Hensley hitch 5 years old that I never installed on my Airstream 31 as I bought the Tradewind and have been using it for the past 4 years. My hitch bar had a 4" drop. When talking to Hensley yesterday and giving them my Tundra measurements and the 800 lb hitch weight of the Airstream 34, they said I needed a 2" drop. Their office is in Davison, Mi (about 20 miles south of Vassar), but they did not have one in stock there, so I had to drive an hour east to their manufacturing facilities in Romeo, Mi.

I installed the two new batteries and the six new tires and wheels, and took the old tires and wheels to a truck stop to have the old tires removed. I did not end up greasing the bearings as they all spun well and the one bearing that I did look at looked just like new. I talked to the deceased owners wife about how much traveling they did in it. Sounds like they put maybe 1000-2000 miles on it over its 18 year life. I check the bearings after being on the road for a while and none were warm.

I started on the Hensley about 5:30 in the dark, I did have power and a trouble light, and with snow flurries off and on. They say it is a two hour installation. I probably could do the second one in two hours, but certainly not the first. It was 11:30 before I was finished. One gas line needed to be moved slightly, the electrical line had to be rerouted and safety chains lengthened. Thanks cwf for mentioning this stuff in another thread.

There is a snow covered Airstream and Tundra, all 55ft, in front of my sisters house as I wait out the storm. I am very thankful that yesterday was a pretty good day for working outside on an Airstream, 25 degrees and not much wind. I would not want to be outside working on it today.

I will plan to head out tomorrow morning if the weather looks reasonable. We shall see.

I will post photos when I can.

Thanks for the support.

Dan
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:28 PM   #16
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Glad to see you made it to a safe port!

Glad you are safe for the night! The storm is supposed to move out of here overnight so you should be OK to finish your journey on Sunday.

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Old 12-14-2013, 07:52 PM   #17
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The Hensley towed great. With this being the first data point, I really don't know if I have it adjusted correctly or not. All I know is that it towed well.

Fuel economy for the first 100 mile journey was 12.1 mpg. Speed was only 45-55.

The Tundra did fine.

Here are some photos.
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:59 PM   #18
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Sorry, hit the wrong key.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:05 PM   #19
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Good grief; not used to winter towing, I would probably have waited until clear weather (or next spring!).

Good luck, and best wishes for a safe trip!
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:23 AM   #20
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I left Milan, Mi about 9:30 yesterday morning (photo 1) and arrived home in Lynchburg, VA at 11.00 pm. 563 miles at 10.5 mpg. The roads were wet but were plenty safe to travel with the Airstream. The crosswinds in northern ohio (photo 2) moved the Tundra and Airstream around quite a bit. It concerned me at first because passing semis had no affect on the Airstream at all, just as expected. I got used to the crosswinds after a while. I finally ran out of the snow south of Columbus, Ohio. The Tundra and Airstream were covered in salt and filthy (photo 3).

I was amazed at how well the Tundra towed the Airstream 34' with the Hensley hitch. It actually towed easier than my Tradewind (no Hensley). At times I had to remind myself that I had a 7,500 lb trailer behind me. I generally towed at 55-60 mph, but at times caught myself going 65 mph. I am a new Hensley supporter. I also initially questioned if the Tundra would be up to the task. Plenty of power and I always felt comfortable. Mostly, I believe due to the Hensley.

Fuel economy is a different matter. I get about 13.5 with my Tradewind. This winter trip with head and crosswinds and through the mountains resulted in 10.5 mpg. I think that it may move up to 11.5 mpg in normal towing. We shall see.

No real hitch or trailer issues on the trip, except that the left middle brake drum was warm/hot to the touch sometimes. I will have to figure this one out.

It is only slightly above freezing here, but time to go get the salt off the Tundra and the Airstream 34. I am then going to weigh the rig and take it to the storage yard.

Dan
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