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Old 10-14-2021, 02:15 PM   #1
2021 23' Flying Cloud
oakville , Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 55
The first 7000 miles, 70 nights - reflections of a newbie: C). Memory and mistakes

We took delivery in late May of our Flying Cloud 23FB. A few shake down trips locally, then a 50 day, 6,000 mile trip from Toronto to Newfoundland and back. This is what I have learned (so far!) and some reflections that may encourage / inform others contemplating an Airstream.

Big mistakes
a) Adjusting jack with stabilizers down. I intend to put a big notice on the jack to remind me.
b) Trying to drive forward with jack still down on lego blocks (our most embarrassing moment!)

Useful memory checks. We started with written checklists, but then I tended to ignore them and go from an unreliable memory. Instead I developed memory checks:

a) 15 items in place for hitch (must be able to check off 15 items when looking at the hitch) - starting from back and moving forward then up. For our set up this was:
2 pins in on torsion bars rear
2 pins in on sway bars rear
2 sway bar levers tightened to right level
2 pins in on sway bars fwd.
2 chains on
7 way in and connected ok - lights come on
Brake release inside TV
Hitch securely locked in place
Tow bar hitch locked in place
Jack raised up above torsion bars and lego blocks put away.

b) Departure sequence: Some Cows Have Cows Behind
Stabilizers up
Chocks securely in place
Hitch up (15 item check)
Chocks away
Bumper store shut

c) Pre-departure check: FACES & Wheels
2 Fans down
3 Awnings secure
Cooker vent clipped shut
Electrics and hoses away
Sewer valves firm shut, Sewer hose pipe clipped shut
Wheels Lug nuts and tires checked OK

Still learning (apart from everything)
a) Backing up - sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a lot longerÖ
b) Right balance of brake setting. Even though I had tried the 20 mph process to set the trailer brakes, I experienced a more painful way of dialling it in. After a long downhill run (13% grade, 5km) I noticed trailer brakes were very hot and emitting a distinct smell . TV brake setting was likely too high (8). I then set trailer brake gain to 7 before the next grade of 13% over 4km. The TV brakes got hot and trailer brakes were cool. Now set at 7.5 and we will see how it goes.
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Old 10-14-2021, 05:45 PM   #2
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6,243
Blog Entries: 1
Originally Posted by Waterbeach View Post
a) Backing up - sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a lot longerÖ
It's hardest when people are watching. It's really hard when the people are getting their lawn chairs out to watch.

My last visit at TopSail Hill SP, I watched a very large fifth wheel arrive at a wooded site. The male driver got out and walked into the site. The female passenger got in the driver's seat and backed the fifth wheel in perfectly the first shot. "You go girl!"
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Old 10-14-2021, 05:49 PM   #3
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2020 23' International
Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 1,448
That's a few good lessons learned and a nice way to keep up with your checklists. I must admit, I am a fan of checklists and I still use them. I had mine laminated and we use dry erase markers on them to check each list item.

We made some of the mistakes that you've made. I have also tried to raise the tongue jack with the stabilizers down. We made the mistake of not double checking the refrigerator and listening fo the click when it latched shut, resulting in the contents of the refrigerator ending up on the trailer floor. Another possibly costly mistake was running our AGM batteries to a less than optimal state of charge, mostly because we just didn't know any better. You learn as you go.

Your trailer brake gain settings are interesting to me. I know that every system is different so it's hard to compare numbers, but I typically run my gain at 3, or perhaps 3.5. I've never had any issue. I do tend to adjust it based on speed and conditions. On the highway where I might need a panic stop, I tend to turn the gain up a bit to 4 or 4.5. In rainy or slippery conditions, I try to adjust it to make sure that I don't have any premature locking of the trailer wheels when applying the brake. I don't find that there's one universal setting that I like for all conditions.

I'm looking forward to hearing about what you learn in your next 70 days of streaming!

2020 International Serenity 23 FB "Sparkle Plenty"
2018 GMC Denali 1500 Crew Cab 4x4
Airstream Club International #2805
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Old 10-15-2021, 03:26 PM   #4
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2017 27' Flying Cloud
Frederick , Maryland
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 580
Also don't forget to fold the steps up. Don't ask......
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