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Old 11-23-2011, 08:13 PM   #1
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Location: Norway House, Manitoba
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Default 189 fbr owner

New to this forum business, but it looks fun. Plus, it's winter here and I can't go camping for a while. My wife and I are teachers, have the whole summer off. 2 years ago we purchased our brand new 189FBR (I think that's the letter designation). No slide out, permanent bed in the front. It's perfect for us, and so far quite rugged. We pulled it about 20,000 km. last summer. We love the "grandchild loft" above our bed, as do our grandkids. It's absolute luxury to be traveling with your own bathroom. WOW! Who cares if it's a bit cramped. I've done several modificaitons and improvements. We like the size: it's small enought to do a U turn. takes only 2 parking spots at the mall parking lot, I can pull it with our Chev Colorado, and it has all the goodies we wanted. All in all, quite a good trailer.
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Old 11-24-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default 189 fbr owner

Hi John,
I am new to this whole funfinder thing myself. Just brought a 189FDS home last week. I have not had it out yet, but sure am looking forward to it. I've been tinkering with it since I got it home. Took the bunk bed out that was over the regular bed....don't need the bed up there and sure don't need the head-banger above me ! Today I took the steps off and cleaned them up and got a good coat of rustoleam sprayed on them.

While painting things, I pulled the propane tanks off, and the base they sit on, and got a good coat of paint on the a-frame and the front jack, as well as the base plate the tanks sit on. The paint on the front part of the frame ( a-frame ) was not too impressive, and there was surface rust where the welds were.

The end of the screws on the stabilizer jacks have now been drilled and tapped 1/4-20, and I put a stainless steel bolt and lock nut in the end so that I can use the cordless drill to run the jacks up and down.

I also do not need to make the dinette down into a bed, and since they recommend taking the table top down for travel, I fixed that situation. I made a brace on the wall, and a couple of angle brackets under that end of the table, so it is now attached to wall in addition to being on the posts. Nice and solid, and hopefully will travel well that way. It will be nice like when stopping for lunch while on the road to have it already up.

I have a Blue Ox weight distribution hitch coming my way now....should be here first of the week. Looking forward to getting that all set up. I'm towing with a Nissan Frontier.

I wish this forum was a little more active...not much going on here ! I've been hanging out and lurking on the Airstream forum....finding lots of great tips and tricks shared there.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Hi there,

You are going to love your little trailer! The size, though a bit small inside, is appreciated if you do any amount of traveling. It still costs a bundle on gas to pull it. I average around 12mpg. (high of 15, low of . A head wind is the real gas eater!!! We've been in some pretty windy weather while pulling, although you know it's there, the trailer doesn't scare you.

Sounds like you're like me, just need to tinker and make things better. I bought ours brand new two years ago, but I see what you mean about rusting on the frame. I'm going to touch up the paint this spring before heading out. We live at the end of a 2 hour long gravel road so rock damage is pretty serious. I fashioned a huge protector in the front of the trailer, which serves us quite well. We were getting serious nicks in the fibre glass front almost up to the front window. That is now eliminated with our rock guard. I''ll have to figure out how to send pictures to show you what I did.

We always travel with the table in the up position, but have had to fix the table top once. I'm still thinking about reinforcing the wall, it seems a bit flimzy. Wouldn't mind seeing what you did. If we can figure out how to put picts onto the forum. No sense having a table that can't be used when traveling. After all, why do we buy small trailers for, but to travel???? otherwise we'd buy a big unit.

Although we're quite happy with our trailer, we aren't particularly impressed with fit and finish. I've had to fix a few things, and still need to fix a few things. But then, we didn't pay "Airstream pricing" either.

I've learned some interesting things about charging the trailer battery with the tow vehicle while driving, if you're interested.

Stabilizer jacks. I ruined one trying to level the trailer. They are NOT designed to lift the trailer, so don't try. My advice. Chuck the two back jacks and get some that can handle twice the weight of the trailer. I did, and now I can pick the whole trailer right off the ground with the front tongue jack and the two back jacks. This works great when dry camping in rough areas, which is what we like to do a lot.

I think yours has a slide??? Ours doesn't. I didn't want the extra hassle and maintenance issues. (not that I know any exist, just guessing that it would create potential problems). We hope to use our trailer all summer for at least 15 years, so simplicity and rugged-ness was important to me. Course it would be nice to have a bit more room inside........

Room inside is at a premium. Have you done any modificaitons to increase storage yet? I installed a small shelf to put a garbage can right by our entry door. As it turned out, it ended up being exactly the right height and size for holding gallon jugs of water, so that has also become our drinking water storage area. We carry 4 gallons and never use tap water for drinknig, that's just for washing.

I decided to forgoe the equalizer hitch and install an air bag suspension system on our truck, which is real nice. Far easier to hitch up. I can unplug and hitch up in about 7 minutes. The equalizer hitch probably gives a better ride, the air ride suspension on the truck is faster and easier. Life is always about give and take.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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Hello John,
You are correct about the gas mileage. I bought my trailer from a dealer that is 650 miles away, and I averaged 13 mpg ( U.S. gallons ) coming home with it. This truck normally gets around 20 mpg not pulling, so I am satisfied with 12 to 14 with the trailer. In the overall usage of the truck, pulling miles will be a fairly small percentage of the total miles anyway.

I've looked at and considered the possibility of replacing the stock weakling stab jacks. I may do that, but I want to get a few trips under my belt first before I start making a lot of changes. Thanks for the idea.

One thing I am going to add is a Maxx-Air "fan mate". Looks like a well thought out and durable piece. Local dealer has them, so I'm going to pick one up this week and get it installed.

And yes, mine has a slide. I too am a bit concerned about the added possibilities of leaks and other problems that a slide presents, but it simply "opens up" the interior so nicely, I decided to try it. From what I have seen on the internet, these schwentek slider mechanisms seem to be pretty good. I'm hopeful anyway ! As for fit and finish, I have seen some things like mis-aligned drawers, etc, that could have been done better, but so far, I have not seen anything that is a real show stopper. Been reading a lot on the Airstream forums, and it sounds like the owners of them have their share of complaints and malfunctions too. There are some very disappointed owners of those trailers...justifiably so considering the cost to purchase them.

As for how I am planning storage, about all I've done so far is find some small lightweight plastic containers with stout screw on lids to put dog food and coffee in !

I did remove the overhead bunk in the front the other day. I don't need it, and it was just a head-banger for me. I must have removed 100 lbs getting it out of there !

Here's a photo from under the table of the brace I made to secure it to the wall. I have no idea if this is going work long term or not. I'll let you know later. I had a piece of oak that was 1/2" thick and 2" wide. As it turned out, the gap between the table and the wall was 1"....so as you can see, the spacing came out good. The only potential problem I see with this is that if there is significant flexing of the wall relative to the floor mounted posts when going down the road. Again....we'll see.

For sure, I'd love to see any photos or hear any descriptions of changes you've made.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:42 AM   #5
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Welcome guys You are right, not a lot of "stuff going on" here, but, what is being posted on this forum is usually worth the read. Many fine folks on here with lots of useful information.

Note on the air bags vs. Equal-i-zer hitch. These are designed for two different purposes. The air bags will, indeed, lift the rear of your vehicle making it level. The don't, however, do anything about re-distributing the weight balance between the front and rear axles, nor do they do anything to stabilize the trailer during those periods where sway may be evident. The Equal-i-zer (and any of the other good wd hitches) transfer weight off the rear axle, lessening rear axle weight overload and transferring traction and steering control weight to the front axle, and it includes sway mitigating control making your trailer more stable in cross-winds and emergency steering control (accident avoidance). IMHO, anything more than a utility trailer should have sway control and weight distribution equipment when being towed. I've even seen some utility trailers that would benefit from the addition of that type of hitch... Tongue weight is also an important factor in sway control...you'll want to make sure your tongue is level or slightly nose down (never up) and that the weight of the tongue is approximately 12-15% of your trailers gross weight for proper handling and safety.

There are, indeed, no perfect trailers. No matter the price point, they will all have their faults and problems, go to the Prevost site...$2.5 million and they still have "issues". Just the nature of the beast Slides have come a long way since their beginnings. Many of the "growing pains" involved in new technology are now "non-issues" and having slides (I've now got 3 ) is not an area of great concern. You are far more likely to have your water heater or your microwave give you problems than your slide.

One caution on the "stabilizer" jacks. They are called stabilizer jacks and not leveling jacks for a reason. These jacks are not designed for, nor intended, to lift the trailer for leveling. You level by putting blocks under the low-side wheels to level the frame left to right and changing the elevation of the nose to level front to back. Once you are level, you put the stabilizer jacks down with just enough force to "stabilize" the trailer's tendency to sway while walking around inside. The frame of your trailer is not designed to support the weight of the trailer from the corners...you will induce frame flex and may even set a permanent bow to the frame. The extreme frame flexing from the corners can even break welds, loosen wall attachments, break open wall and roof seams and create mis-alignments in doors, windows and cabinets. You can increase the efficiency of the stabilizing jacks by using blocks under their feet so that they aren't extended beyond 50%...a scissor type jack used for stabilization looses effectiveness quite rapidly the further it is extended beyond around the half way point...

Again, welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy many miles of happy traveling.
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