Our First BIG trip -- a real "blow-out"
Just returned from a 10-day, 6 state trip with our Clipper 17FQ. Our TV, a 2008 Tacoma double cab short bed with factory tow package, performed admirably. Sure, on the grade eastward out of Vail, CO (11 thousand + feet) we were in third gear down around 40 mph, but we had no problems.
Coming home westbound I-80 from Cheyenne, WY we were faced with 40+ mph headwinds. Again -- down to about 45 mph in 3rd gear, but no problems... except fuel mileage: we posted a new personal worst of 7.8 mpg. Our overall average for the trip was more than 11.5.
The blow-out? On the third and final day of our westbound trek, between Elko, NV and the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range we bucked very bad crosswinds nearly all the way. No problems with controlling the trailer -- the single anti-sway bar did its job -- but when we arrived home in Sacramento and I was doing my usual walk-around I was horrified to see the entire topmost seam "blown out" along the length of our trailer! The uppermost sheet had apparently pulled loose from its fastenings (big staples) and bulged far enough outward to allow the next sheet below to pull out of the seam. It looked like a gaping metal mouth along the side of my trailer.
I took it to our dealer (Pan Pacific) and was assured it was repairable, albeit a major undertaking, and it was covered by warranty. The folks there surmised the blown-out side of the trailer was the side opposite the crosswind and a vacuum developed, sucking out the siding and resulting in the damage. BTW -- all windows were shut and the vent hatch was latched closed while we were moving.
Has anyone else with a sheet metal trailer every had this happen? Weird...