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Old Yesterday, 07:16 AM   #1
Rivet Master
 
Ray Eklund's Avatar
 
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,613
Skill Sets... for Airstream Owners

I was introduced to a 2006 23 foot Safari new off the Dealer's Lot.

The learning curve of how to just TOW was a new experience. Just recall your first experience... We left the Dealership in Denver, Colorado and made a wrong turn into an Apartment Complex, packed parking lot. Our first five minutes of towing an Airstream.

Backing up took some practice, using the mirrors and figuring out everything you remember without a trailer in tow... was WRONG.

Tire pressure. No agreement there, either. I have no clue what the tire pressure was when we left the Dealer. The Goodyear 14 inch C Rated Marathons... did not last long. I did not realize that the 23 foot was the ONLY model with 14 inch wheels. Oh... ???

How to prime the water system. We did not rinse out the fresh water tank on the first trip. That was a mistake. The taste was immediately... bad.

Removing Air from the water lines. No manual for that and never had to do this at home, either.

The Dometic Refrigerator was fine. Until the Ammonia line weld broke and we smelled ammonia... and the refrigerator quit north of Rawlins, Wyoming. A yellow material on the cooling tubing. Food now in melting mode in the freezer and the rest... eat it or lose it, too.

This went on the First Year. We took it to Jackson Center, Ohio and spent Five Days there to get the list of issues... fixed. Kept the 23 foot for 8 Years, after getting everything fixed.

YOU need Experience and Tools owning a trailer. Any kind. Airstream is no different, just more expensive with the same appliances as many other brands.

If you cannot not do:

- Minor 12 volt wire tinkering...you will soon enough. Batteries to lighting.
- Understand that 12 volt Batteries are not Flashlight Batteries.
- When screws are on the Floor... they belong somewhere... not loose spares.
- Cabinet hinges are temporary. You need tools, screws and imagination.
- Flat tire... How to get the Axle into the air, remove tire and muscle the spare.
- Leaks. A leak in one spot does not indicate where the water is coming in.
- Dust. You cannot be serious. Coming mostly from under the Refrigerator.
- Small fans to keep the Ammonia performing... outside... buzzing and whirring.

You need Tools. Buying one at TIME and then not needing them for a week or five years... or ever again.

Hand held battery Screw Driver... BEST of ALL tools.

You need to be able take things apart to fix them while parts are scattered across the floor and having EXTRA hardware that was never used.

If you did not have these or any issues... we must have been unique first time owners.

What WERE your First Experiences with your first trailer purchase?

How many tools do you now carry on a trip?
Do you carry extra screws, tape and hardware... just in case?
Did you learn this by doing it, or already been a fixer upper at home?

What and How did you manage to survive that FIRST YEAR? We did. Now... after 15 years and on our third Airstream... have everything. We can repair most problems on the road, as well as others who are staring at a smoking wheel bearing and believe... their Life is over. Right there... Lets hear it.
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Old Yesterday, 07:34 AM   #2
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2020 23' International
Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2020
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Good stuff. My first attempted repair was on the dealership lot, the day after I purchased the Airstream. One of the drawers in the galley wouldn't stay on the track. The dealership was unable to fix it and suggested that we order a new part. We were leaving on a 2-week trip that day, so I passed. At our first stop, the drawer was off the track and the contents were spilled. I ended up taking the thing apart, figuring out how it worked, and fixing it myself. It works perfectly now!

You're definitely right about learning as you go and adding tools as you go. Our first trip of 2021 resulted in me removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the mixing valve on our hot water heater to restore proper function. I bought a 10" pipe wrench at a local Home Depot for that campground repair. I'll probably never use it again, but it's in my toolbox now!
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Old Yesterday, 07:43 AM   #3
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2018 27' Globetrotter
Elbert , CO
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I don't know, Dennis. I found a pipe wrench is very handy for straightening out bent skid plates! Leverage is our friend.
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Old Yesterday, 08:24 AM   #4
CRH
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I find with vehicles, boats, campers, motorcycles, ATVs, and just about anything else with more than one part, you either have a big tool box or a big bank account because sooner or later one or the other is gonna get used.
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Old Yesterday, 09:22 AM   #5
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DYI now that is the heart of the matter. We have been Boondockers for almost 30 years from tent to T@B to this 2004 International 25 which we picked up from Airstream of Spokane (great dealer) 2018 - I started our blog marriedwithairstream.com which is a journey of DYI discovery. PS "Backing up" in those tight campsites is still a challenge when you 55 feet long.
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 AM   #6
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
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Posts: 4,613
Put the 1/2 inch Lath Screw to it... Lowes & Home Depot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
Good stuff. My first attempted repair was on the dealership lot, the day after I purchased the Airstream. One of the drawers in the galley wouldn't stay on the track. The dealership was unable to fix it and suggested that we order a new part. We were leaving on a 2-week trip that day, so I passed. At our first stop, the drawer was off the track and the contents were spilled. I ended up taking the thing apart, figuring out how it worked, and fixing it myself. It works perfectly now!

You're definitely right about learning as you go and adding tools as you go. Our first trip of 2021 resulted in me removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the mixing valve on our hot water heater to restore proper function. I bought a 10" pipe wrench at a local Home Depot for that campground repair. I'll probably never use it again, but it's in my toolbox now!
******
I just cannot avoid... getting into the mud and slinging some. This includes a laundry list of CABINETS that are not secured to the floor OR to themselves.

These pull out drawers. Simple permanent fix. Airstream Jackson Center... wake up. The slides have the 'hole' to solve Dennis's observation. Why should Dennis do the work? Why should Ray do the work. Two screws x 4 drawers going to bust the factory's budget? Replacing a drawer... what, $100? A Box of 120 screws, under $10.

These sliders have ONE THING Missing. A Screw on the left and right sides... underneath.

You will see it. If you don't, you may be looking in your closet. Maybe you need a flash light to see, as well. We keep two flashlights to get under and put the SCREW to everything. If it moves... screw it.

The slider the drawer fits into and makes it possible to pull it in and out... needs two screws. In FRONT bottom, to the left and right, are a ROUND Hole. Perfect for THE 1/2 inch Lath Screw. Underneath the drawer. Screw the Lath Screw into the Drawer. Don't strip it, just snug and tight.

It will be there today and still there in 2035 A.D.. It was always the TOP Drawer either coming totally out... denting the floor in the 2006, or sitting sideways still attached.

Screw all of them. In front. Buy a BOX of 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch Lath Screws. You will thank a Neanderthal. Why should a Neanderthal figure things out that Human Beans have doing for decades... and missed two screws per drawer? Beats me.

Airstream uses Rivets. I fix everything with Screws. If a rivet fails... screw it. Works every time. If not, you will be finding more rivets near by to screw.

Yaaaa Hooo... you will get so good at it, that you will start fixing things at home.

If your bucket leaks water. Don't fix the bucket. Replace it with something better.
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