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Old 03-29-2004, 12:04 PM   #1
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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Urgent: frame damage caused by improper jacking?

I need help in determining what may have caused the below illustrated damage to my frame and belly pan.
The frame is twisted on the rear curbside, causing the belly pan to tear loose from the rivets in that area.
I had the trailer totally inspected by a local full service RV dealership on 3/19/04 including testing the brakes.. I just noticed the damage yesterday. It was not there before the visit to the shop.
The trailer cannot be towed in it's present condition without causing more separation of the belly pan.
I called them to ask how they jacked it up, and they advised that they jacked it up by the frame as they always do, but the service manager has agreed to come and look at the damage in the next couple days.
I urgently need input and opinions from my fellow streamers here before he comes.
I don't know of any other way this damage could have occurred.
Since the plastic sewer cap is also broken, I'm thinking they may have lifted that corner with something such as a forklift??
Thanks.

Rog
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:07 PM   #2
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Photos? Be sure to check photo size....
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:10 PM   #3
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I guess the real question without pics is where on the frame did they jack it up. There is only one place you can safely jack up an Airstream and that, from my understanding is right by the axle on some plate. If they did it anywhere else.....
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:22 PM   #4
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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Sorry, I used the URL link to attach the photos. They show up on my end but obviously not on yours, so here we go:
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:26 PM   #5
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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another view
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:33 PM   #6
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Rog...

Are there any marks on the belly skin that would correspond with a shop floor jack or similar? It's a little difficult to tell from the photos. You mentioned that the frame is tweaked in that area? It looks like they must have jacked it up using a floor jack or something on that corner of the bumper...

Roger
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Old 03-29-2004, 12:52 PM   #7
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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Roger, the circled item IS the bent side member of the frame, which extends slightly below the bumper and belly pan (before damage). Sorry for the poor photo quality. My digital camera is only 1.3 MP

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Old 03-29-2004, 01:28 PM   #8
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In order for the C-channel frame member bottom to have torn and bent like that, it would have had to have caught something stationary while the front of the trailer was was turning to the right. It would almost have had to have been in motion; If the trailer wasn't in motion, than whatever was under it was; and it wasn't something light to bend steel in that fashion. The belly pan would have bent easily with a jack, but if that is truly the frame rail... there was a substantial amount of force involved.

If it were up on a jack and moved while the jack was under it and the jack wedged into something when it started to fall over, that might have occurred. That's the only way I can think of that the steel would not only be pushed down, but outboard from the inside like that... Unfortunately the quality of the photos isn't quite adequate to match holes and damage, etc.

There still ought to be some kind of tool mark or transfer marks from whatever caused the damage.

Roger
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Old 03-29-2004, 02:37 PM   #9
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
 
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Roger, I very much appreciate your input. I think I may be confusing the issue with incorrect terminology and poor photos. The portion of the frame that is bent (not torn) is not "C" channel.
If you look at the undamaged frame on the streetside in this photo, perhaps you will have a better idea
of what I'm referring to.
After re-reading a post from Inland Andy on THIS thread, I am convinced that the damage was caused by improper jacking (the post starts with "Stephanie. The "ONLY" place to lift a single axle Airstream.....).
I think that post is a 'must read' for anyone who will be jacking up a trailer.
Guess I'll just have to duke the issue out with the RV guy when he shows.

Thanks,
Rog
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:12 PM   #10
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Rog,

I think you may be right. After looking at all of the pictures it looks like they placed a floor jack under the rear of the trailer and lifted it causing the additional metal that is normally straight to become deformed. I do not know if the deformation of that piece could cause enough twist to pull the belly pan loose, but it is hard to say without seeing it in person.
I wonder why only one side is bent?
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:30 PM   #11
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One side could be bent cause they figured out they made a mistake the first go at it..... I do notice a bit of rust under there and by the bumper...not that it would have twisted the frame, but could be why a bit of jacking could have finally broke the belly pan free.

I was jacking my '80 Olds at the side jackpoint about 2 years ago. I heard this thunk....then I smelled gas....the stress/torque that the frame was going through finally broke the then severely rusted metal fuel line...perhaps the sam thing happened to the bellypan.
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:22 PM   #12
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agree, all around. The idiots at the RV location were the guilty parties!
Sweet little lady, does not deserve to be treated like this!
Will teach a lesson for future airstreams that may be heading in their direction.
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:44 PM   #13
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On the plus side, I see no creases or dents in the skin.

Mark
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Old 03-29-2004, 05:01 PM   #14
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Scary stuff, Rog! Now I don't feel like such a paranoid for hanging over someone's shoulder when they're working on my trailer. I think I'll make that a rule from now on. Sorry to see that happen. Can't wait to hear what the mechanic says when they look at it.
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