Archive for July, 2011

The Parts Falling Off This Airstream Are Of The Highest Quality

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the things that tend to become separated from the Airstreams they were originally attached to. Some leave because of old age, some get shaken off, some torn off, and others, well…

First up, an Airstream came in looking a bit like  a pirate sporting an eye patch, with one of its smoke colored side rock guards MIA. I looked carefully at the mounts, and found the rubberized catches behind the center rock guard had deteriorated and allowed the guard to shake around until it was caught by the wind, and away it went. I’m glad I wasn’t in the car following that trailer. I checked the rubbery mounts on the other guard, and they were ready to lose their grip on it. So, change the mounts, new hardware, and a new rock guard.

Next, we have an A/C shroud that decided it was tired of touring the country, and left the air conditioner to it own devices. They get all crumbly from ultraviolet light, and seem to enjoy launching themselves off the top of trailers with appalling regularity. Surprises aside, these make for excellent anti-tailgater devices. Usually an annual check of the shroud is enough to make sure it isn’t getting ready to leave.

Yet another item that seems to like to abandon ship is the coach battery. Usually a combination of a loose lock or broken rivets that hold the cover in place leads to the battery bouncing out of its little hole in the trailer. When this item gets jettisoned, it can cause all manner of interesting events, from watching following cars trying to play “Dodge the Battery” to not being  able to run any of the 12 volt items after you get where you’re going. Usually, a visual inspection is all that’s needed to keep your Airstream from “passing a battery”.

Then we have vent covers of various pedigrees trying to ruin your vacation by jumping off the top of your Airstream, leaving it open to the elements. Usually those elements include rain. Lots of rain.  And the vent that does this is usually the one directly over your bed. I think they get together while you’re sleeping, and plan this.

Another thing that tends to disappear is the sewer drain cap. You would think something that feels like it was installed by an 800 pound gorilla when you try to remove it could never fall off, but they do.

And last, for this time, is an Airstream that came in without its rear roll-out awning. No, the arms and tube were there, and all the hardware, but the awning fabric itself had decided to seek asylum in another place. The customer told me he lost the awning fabric with a straight face, and there were still a few shreds of fabric on the tube, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. If anybody finds a hunk of Blue Fancy Zip Dee fabric blowing around out on the highway, let me know, I’ll try to reunite it with its owner.

The Perils of a Hasty Departure

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Or, why checklists are so important.

This time around, I have a pair of Airstreams  whose owners forgot a couple of little things before they left their campsite. The first one, the customer was trying to hurry to beat a rainstorm, and simply hooked up and left without raising his stabilizers or unplugging his trailer from the campground’s power. He managed to knock out power to half the campground, and the sparks from the steel sand pads on his stabilizers added to the festive pyrotechnic display.  At least it was raining, so he didn’t start any fires when he left.

The second customer managed to endear himself to me when he left without unhooking from city water or disconnecting from the sewer.  Naturally, the first corner he went around, the sewer hose caught an obstruction and tore off his dump valves. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy working on holding tanks?  Especially ones that still have “stuff” in them? No? Well, I’ll tell you now. I don’t.

Yet another customer left without rolling up his awning. Yes, the big one over the door. It’s kind of hard to miss, and he didn’t miss it when he tore it off on the tree at the end of the driveway.

I’ve also had customers who had television antennas and roof vents  go missing after they forgot to take care of them. Probably the worst case, at least for the customer, was when he drove off with his wife still in the trailer, using the bathroom. That trailer is currently on our lot, for sale as part of the divorce.

There have been steps left down, and left along the road. Windows left open, toilets unflushed, main doors left open, even a sink left running.

So please, make a list, and check it twice. You will save yourself a lot of embarrassment, and possibly your marriage. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a pair of LP tanks and regulator to replace, because the owner forgot to clamp them back down when they refilled them.

About the Author

Lug Wrench is a long-time mechanic, multiple Airstream owner, and dyed-in-the-wool pragmatist. All tales guaranteed 100% true, although names and certain details may be altered to protect the guilty.