After reading all the positive comments from fellow Airstream owners about the benefits of properly balanced wheels and tires, we decided to order a set of Centramatic Wheel Balancers. According to Centramatic, wheel balancers increase tire life and improve fuel economy so you can accomplish your goals. Count me in.
The balancers are thin metal discs designed to fit between the wheel and hub using the existing bolt pattern. The discs have an expanded ring on the outer edge filled with dampening fluid and hardened alloy shot. By using centrifugal force the free moving weights (durametal and synthetic fluid) sealed in the balancer automatically distributes to exactly where needed, placing the entire wheel assembly in perfect balance. Our new tires and wheels were balanced by Performance Plus TIres prior to shipping so the Centramatics are balancing the entire axel/hub/wheel/tire assembly as one unit.
According to the wheel balancer aficionado's on Air Forums, our trailer needed #300-356A plates. As recommended, I called the Centramatic toll-free number to be sure I was ordering the correct balancers for our new 16" Michelin LTX M/S 2 tires with 16" Sendel T-03 wheels and asked to speak with Jerry. The lady that answered was super friendly and when I told her that I needed to speak with Jerry about Airstream wheel balancers, she said, "Sure, hang on." Jerry listened patiently to my rambling of what I was attempting and said "Yep, you need 300-356A plates. I'll get them to you right away." Two days later a UPS truck was out front with a delivery.
Do they work? Our intial impression is yes, they work very well indeed. We don't ride in the Airstream while under tow but on our first trip out it was obvious our Airstream was riding much smoother. Nothing was tossed out place during a 1700-mile trip to northern Virginia. That's saying something when one considers the state of the interstate in Virginia. Interstate 81 has deteriorated terribly in the past few years and is easily one of the worst highways we've traveled in some time. The new tire/wheel/balancer setup seemed to handle Virginia's rough roads very well.
Centramatics wheel balancers are a great product from a very customer oriented company. If the idea of smooth travel sounds interesting, give them a call and ask for Jerry.
We ended our 2015 local camping season at Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge, TN. As we were leaving, the friendly owners and staff joked that opening day was only a couple months away. They insisted that we return and last week we took them up on their offer.
It was a chilly but, beautiful, opening weekend at the park and there only a few other campers around. We counted a total of 4 RV's on the lower level including us and handful of others on the upper level. We wanted relax and enjoy the views, but also give our new Ford F-350 Platinum a test run with the Airstream in tow. More on that later. Anchor Down is a wonderful place to visit and kick off another exciting year of travel.
For our first getaway in 2016, we picked Site #41. It's our favorite site and the same one we had in the fall. It includes a beautiful stone fireplace overlooking nearby Douglas Lake with spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The sunsets from Site 41 never disappoint.
Thanks Anchor Down for a great start to 2016. See you on closing weekend in the fall.
Once again I find myself excited about a tonneau cover. When I ordered the new Ford F-350 Platinum to replace our 2013 Ford F-150 Platinum EcoBoost, there was no need for discussion on the bed cover. My new truck would have a Silver Ingot Metallic Tonneau Cover by UnderCover from Ford Accessories just like the one I had on the F-150.
UnderCover bed covers from Ford Accessories allow owners to lock the cover and tailgate for trunk-like storage, look fantastic and do an excellent job of protecting the bed from the elements. Not a single drop of water found its way into the bed of the F-150 the entire time I owned the truck. The painted cover includes LED lights and a lock that uses the truck key. A separate key for the tonneau cover is not required. Sweet.
The Silver Ingot Metallic paint matches the F-350 Platinum perfectly. The design of the Hard Painted Tonneau Cover by UnderCover mimics the lines and contours of the hood and top of the truck to give it a factory look. It also includes Ford logo's on both sides that further enhances the factory appearance.
Overall, the new tonneau cover gives our already beautiful F-350 Platinum a more finished look and provides a large, dry and locked storage area while traveling with the Airstream.
After passing the recommended 497 mile (800 km) break-in period, we hitched the Airstream to our new 2016 Ford F-350 Platinum for the first time. It was a moment we had been waiting to experience and it did not disappoint.
The Ford F-350 includes an extremely helpful trailer information display that allows you to customize the current trailer connected or the option to select other trailers that have been connected to the truck. The display screen includes an option for customizing the name for the trailer, trailer brake control gain setting, brake output and Accumulated Miles on the current trailer. Our 2013 F-150 Platinum EcoBoost had a similar display that never missed a beat during our time with the Flying Cloud 25FB.
Since picking up the new F-350 in early February, I've been waiting patiently for the total miles to reach the recommended 497 miles (800 km) before towing. It took a couple weeks of easy driving during the break-in period but we finally connected the first time at 565.8 miles.
Now to find out how the Ford 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel performs while towing an Airstream International Signature 27FB.
After holding the big Ford 6.7L back for 565.8 miles I'm guessing it will be good.
Owning and driving a pickup truck without tinted windows is just not acceptable. Our new 2016 Ford F-350 Platinum was back at the dealer the week after delivery for window tint on the front driver and passenger windows and a set of Ford Super Duty rubber floor mats to keep the interior looking like new.
The friendly folks in the Accessories shop at our local Ford dealer did an excellent job applying the Tennessee approved 35% window tint to the front driver and passenger side windows. The tint color was selected by Ford to match the factory tint and makes our already beautiful Super Duty look even better. It's a Silver Ingot Metallic and black beast of a truck. Two thumbs up!
I also picked up a set of Ford rubber floor mats that I had ordered from Ford when we traded the F-150. If you're in the market for well made, heavy duty rubber floor mats for your Super Duty, check out All-Weather Thermoplastic Rubber, Black Crew Cab, Part No: DC3Z-2613300-A on the Ford Accessories website:
- The deep grooves and raised ridges in these heavy-duty mats catch and hold snow, slush and mud, while protecting the vehicle carpeting.
- Nibbed backing and driver-side positive retention help keep mats in place
- Front mats (featuring Super Duty logo) available for Regular Cab; 3-piece kit available for Super Cab and Crew Cab.
The all-weather, heavy rubber mats makes it a simple task to keep the crew cabin looking like new. They fit perfectly and include Super Duty lettering to give it a finished, factory look.
The new window tint and heavy duty rubber floor mats were a great addition to our F-350. Next up is the Ford Painted Tonneau Cover by Undercover. Watch for a follow-up post soon.