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Old 10-14-2020, 05:20 PM   #1
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Norcross , Georgia
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Whoops, forgot the stabilizers!

Well I never thought it would happen to me but today we tried to lower our 30 Classic on to our hitch ball after forgetting to retract the stabilizers (we rarely use them but we needed it for this site with the jack fully extended to level).

We caught ourselves after realizing the hitch wasn't lowering but the jack was retracting and we quickly tried to recover by lowering the jack back down again which then resulted in apply in pressure to the rear stabilizers that were still down.

The stabilizers are still working and don't appear bent after holding her tongue weight up by themselves for 10-15 seconds but I'm worried about damage I might not be seeing.

Any advice out there on what to check/be concerned about? Any chance the ones they use on the Classic are strong enough to be fine?
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by PaulR-GA View Post
Well I never thought it would happen to me but today we tried to lower our 30 Classic on to our hitch ball after forgetting to retract the stabilizers (we rarely use them but we needed it for this site with the jack fully extended to level).

We caught ourselves after realizing the hitch wasn't lowering but the jack was retracting and we quickly tried to recover by lowering the jack back down again which then resulted in apply in pressure to the rear stabilizers that were still down.

The stabilizers are still working and don't appear bent after holding her tongue weight up by themselves for 10-15 seconds but I'm worried about damage I might not be seeing.

Any advice out there on what to check/be concerned about? Any chance the ones they use on the Classic are strong enough to be fine?
Yep. Weíve all been there. I caught myself quickly when I was raising the jack and realized the rear stabilizers were still down. Thankfully no damage. Does put a bit of fright through you though. Havenít experienced any negative reprecussions.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:20 PM   #3
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I wouldn't worry about permanent damage if they still go up and down.

It's less likely now that it will happen again, but...no guarantees.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:27 PM   #4
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If parked on soft ground, the potential for damage is lower IMO. On a concrete pad maybe higher. As already said, if they work that is the main thing. If any parts got bent, that will become obvious in time.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:18 AM   #5
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Thus, my firm and confirmed belief in checklists.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:25 AM   #6
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Rokitman - I was just going to write in with your comment.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:31 AM   #7
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Just wondering.

Will the stabilizer bend/break to “protect” the trailer mounting points from damage? Akin to a fuse protecting the wire?

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Old 10-15-2020, 09:36 AM   #8
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Sounds like its time to think about a switch that shuts off the power to tongue jack if the stabilizers are down....
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:58 AM   #9
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The most dangerous pilots are those with enough hours to feel really confident but not enough hours to have made sufficient mistakes to convince them to go back to being anal about using checklists. I think the same applies to Airstream owners.

I used checklists religiously until I felt like I didn't need them anymore. Then I managed to:
  • Raise the tongue without first retracting the stabilizers.
  • Rip the TV antenna off because I didn't check vertical clearance.
  • Roll the trailer backwards about 4 feet because I didn't block the tires prior to taking the hitch off the ball.

Needless to say I now use my Departure and Arrival checklists every time. Not necessarily because I'm smart enough to learn from my mistakes but rather because my wife quickly learned from my mistakes.
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:12 AM   #10
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I Broke My Tongue Jack

And if you are frazzled because of events (like fire evac) or using a borrowed TV, the possibility of damage increases.

I followed a process for unhitching that leaves the shank hooked to the ball...but I was in a borrowed TV and escaping the fires in August, and was tired, so instead of taking it slow and thinking about what I was doing, pulled away and buckled the jack tube. Had to get a bottle jack at Home Depot (5 mins before closing) just to level the trailer for bed. Eeek!

So use checklists, take it slow whatever even if you think you are safe. I agree on the comment abut experienced pilots (applies nuclear plant operators, truck drivers....)
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Old 10-15-2020, 12:14 PM   #11
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I believe the stabilizers are more than adequate for the weight from the tongue (what is the tongue weight, less than 900 pounds, divided by two stabilizers?? remember the wheels are still taking most of the load)
Why you should not use them to level the trailer is that they are not designed to take the full weight from the axles PLUS any fore-aft load (which applies a lateral load to the stabilizer and would cause them to just fold over) --
If nothing is bent, (you should be able to see the undercarriage to see if there is any deformity) and they operate smoothly -- you should be ok.
What I would be leery of is extending the jack so far onto the stabilizers that one or more wheels are lifted off the ground -- THEN you might want to worry.
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Old 10-15-2020, 12:50 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone and completely agree on the Checklist which we started today!
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:26 PM   #13
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I second Rusty B's post. The Airstream stabilizers have ample static capacity to release the tongue jack and support trailer weight. Each can support well over 1800 lbs as long as they are not being asked to do so while they are actively being used to lift or lower the weight. If you have 1500 lb on the tongue, that means the stabilizers will see about 2000 lbs total (1000 lb each).

The trouble comes in if you try to raise the jack with the back ones down. There is much greater opportunity, if you go to far, to exceed the static capacity. Worse though the rear jacks will be subject to dynamic pitch as the trailer is rotated upwards and thus experience lateral loads. Here they are weak and could easily flex, twist and bend.

So don't sweat accidentally placing load on the front jacks too much.
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:39 PM   #14
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Ive made little hang tags to use as reminders of things like shore power, hoses, Tongue Jack down attached to my steering wheel, etc. One on the tongue jack as a reminder for the stabilizers would be a help. Don't leave it there all of the time or it will become common place. tie it to something close by to use as needed. One in the door pocket of your tow vehicle to place on the steering wheel or instrument cluster would be a good idea. It is just too easy to forget stuff and a repair or serious damage can be a drag on travel time.
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:45 PM   #15
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We cal it the “cross check”. (Like the flight attendants).
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Old 10-15-2020, 03:43 PM   #16
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I have an aviation background and too use a departure and arrival checklists. But, as in a cockpit, they work only when you visually inspect EACH item on the checklist before proceeding to the next checklist item. Checklists prevent, what we call, “Whoop-ti-does”.

When we bought our 33’ Classic we were told NOT to use the stabilizer jacks to level...just to keep the coach from shaking as you walk around inside. We hardly get any movement just sitting on the tongue jack/tires, so we don’t even use our stabilizers.
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:51 AM   #17
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It is an easy task.
Upon arrival
1. Level side to side (tires) because you will need the tow vehicle to get it up on blocks if necessary. Apply wheel chalks.
2. Get it off the hitch (move the tow vehicle) Level front to back.
3. Connect Electric (ref AC/Heat), then water, sewer, tv cable or satellite, water heater.
4. Let stabilizers down to avoid any shake from movement while inside.
For departure work in reverse order.
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:57 AM   #18
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we've all been there done that, from my experience I now make raising the stabilizers the very first thing I do in my routine when tearing down and the last thing I do when setting up
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelloggKid View Post
The most dangerous pilots are those with enough hours to feel really confident but not enough hours to have made sufficient mistakes to convince them to go back to being anal about using checklists. I think the same applies to Airstream owners.

I used checklists religiously until I felt like I didn't need them anymore. Then I managed to:
  • Raise the tongue without first retracting the stabilizers.
  • Rip the TV antenna off because I didn't check vertical clearance.
  • Roll the trailer backwards about 4 feet because I didn't block the tires prior to taking the hitch off the ball.

Needless to say I now use my Departure and Arrival checklists every time. Not necessarily because I'm smart enough to learn from my mistakes but rather because my wife quickly learned from my mistakes.
Don't forget raising the tongue without retracting the steps. Don't ask me how I know
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:34 PM   #20
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Now it happened. lets do a check up. try to lower your stabs halfway and go under to shake the stab if its firm, its fine. if its loose, it needs to be fixed. It happened to my Coleman Mesa once. A ranger at Cloudland Campground ordered my popup to move a little to the site... forgot to raise the 2 rear stabs two volunteers helped me move and one was damaged and became loose.

Got plenty of SPUD stories

Check to see if the stab is loose or not.
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