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Old 09-05-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
Ultradog's Avatar
1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 505
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Rant! Over kill

I see a lot of folks who seem to think that more is always better.
Like if your frame is made from 14 guage steel then 12 or 10 guage (heavier)is better.
If your floor is made of 3/4" plywood then 1 1/2" of plywood is better.
If your cabinets were screwed together at the factory then screws and glue is better.
Or using lots of caulk where it's not necessary.
These things, while it may make you feel like you are improving your rig don't neccessarily add much to it's structural integrity. It's mostly just overkill. It just adds unnecesary weight.
I'm a carpenter. I remodel kitchens and bathrooms.
The worst jobs I have to do is to take apart those rooms that were remodeled in the past by DIYers.
So much extra glue and caulk and screws.
I always think about the poor guy who will have to remodel it again in 30 or 40 years. And try to have a little compassion for him.
I know that these trailers are a DIYer's dream but I sometimes pity guys like Andy at Inland RV who have to correct mistakes or re-remodel a trailer.
That's not to say that you shouldn't use modern materials and techniques. They have improved greatly since your trailer was built.
But don't get caught up in the overkill thing.
Just fix it using the same techniques that were used at the factory.
Lord knows it lasted for 40 or 50 years as it was. How are you going to improve on that?

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Old 09-05-2006, 11:02 AM   #2
AIR #8691
2006 25' Safari SS SE
Northern , Virginia
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I’m guilty of overkill on some projects and perhaps it is because I’m not a trained craftsman or expert on most things I tackle. I can rationalize that it doesn’t cost much to use one more nail, screw or dap of caulking. Another unconscious reason is that I remember the following poem:
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail

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Old 09-05-2006, 11:19 AM   #3
Site Team
, Minnesota
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I think you are right. I plead guilty.

I was laying tile in my daughters basement. It was an old basement with lots of patches from various sewer line changes.

I was chipping out and grinding some of the old concrete used to patch over a sewer line lateral. I was suprised at how soft it was. Then I realized that the plumber who mixed it and placed it was probably an oldtimer.

He knew that the next guy (maybe himself) who needed to get in there could use a large hammer to break out the patch, instead of needing to rent a jackhammer or concrete saw. The patch was strong enough to tile over, but just barely.

That experience changed my thinking.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:28 AM   #4
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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A timely post as I have just removed the rear queen bed from the back of the 345 and begun fabricating it's replacement. I was amazed at how easily the factory bed unit came out. It was nothing more than chip board, plywood and aluminum square tubing.

More than a few times during the fabrication I was tempted to over engineer or over fasten but thought about how it would effect repairs and replacements down the road.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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2012 28' International
Currently Looking...
New Orleans , Louisiana
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I agree with everything you have said except pity for Andy.

Jim N5TJZ Air# 174
2012 International Serenity 28
2005 Safari 25 SS Traded
1968 Globetrotter Sold
2011 F150 Ecoboost
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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2005 22' Interstate
Afton , Virginia
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OK, then how about Lew???
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:58 AM   #7
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1984 31' Excella
Norfolk , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I tend to agree. Take frames for instance, they were built to be strong and flexable and endure the riggors of usage. Then you kick in the rust factor. This leads most to believe that if you go stronger (thicker metal) then you are improving, well not always. Remember the frame lasted generally 20 plus years (a lot more in a lot of cases) made out of the original thinner, more flexable metal. Remember, with the increased weight, stouter tires are required and maybe even heaver axles. What should be addressed is an effective frame anti-rust/rust prohibiter coating both inside and out of the box. You see where I am going with this.
Vehicle carrying flat bed trailers have to beefy to carry a dead load that does not add to the integrety of the trailer at all. Not like our Airstreams where the total shell is actually an integral part of the chassis. Like an airplane every part has a reason and extra beefing is already figured in.
Now all that we have to contend with is the changing quality of the consumable items that require replacement on a regular basis and adjust our refitting acquitions accordingly.
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Old 09-05-2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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'Possum Holler , Georgia
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On the other hand.....

There are some models which have poor design "features" shall we say. The early seventies frames are weak aft of the axles. Plain and simple, Airstream should have used heavier guage steel. Additionally, the belly pan design on that era trailer is lousy. They are in no way water-proof. In fact, they were designed to allow water into the belly pan. These are the two biggest issues I've have to deal with on my camper. No way around either problem, they have to be fixed or the trailer won't be around to enjoy for too many more years.


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Old 09-05-2006, 01:22 PM   #9
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1956 16' Bubble
Rose Lodge , Oregon
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Location: 1961 26' Overlander
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There is one poster on the forum who, I swear, if the fixit shop told him he needed to swap out the air in his trailer at a cost of $50, he'd warn us all to beware of old air in trailers.
Of course I'm an elitist. Look around you.
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:49 PM   #10
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Lisle , Illinois
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I think I may be guilty too. I just built a goucho for my trailer and glued and screwed it all. But it weighs about the same as the old one. I am amazed at how little wood I used and it still holds me up?!?!!?
Tedd Ill
AIR#3788 TAC IL-10
1967/8 Overlander International Twin w/ bunk/s.
Yes, four kids and two adults in the thing.
Happy wife, happy life.
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:56 PM   #11
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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When I had my original furniture out I was amazed at how lightweight and floppy they are, but you bolt them in place and they are strong and sturdy. Not much to them, but they work great and have held up for 38 year!

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:18 PM   #12
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Vintage vs. New

I think your overkill guys must be working at the Airstream factory now.

I have a few issues with my new 2006 25 ft. FB SE - the mirror in the bathroom is backed by a 5/8' particle board but held in place by two riveted hinges on the top side ends. One broke loose while going down the road. LOTS of fun trying to make an emergency repair. That damn mirror felt like it weighed 25 lbs while I was holding it up and trying to put in something in place of the sheared rivit. Then there are the drawers in the bedroom... so heavy the latches don't hold them closed when towing. I added two magnetic latches to either side of the frame (the box is metal, so the magnetic type works really well). I'm amazed how much doubled up particle board there is between these drawers and the back wall of the bathroom.

And the bedframe has a lot of dividers inside it - some structural, others just seem to be there to make it harder to store stuff. I threw out all of the plastic containers, and got Glad "Big Bags" to store stuff in... More flexible and you can fill all the nooks and crannies.

Paula Ford
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:29 PM   #13
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1973 27' Overlander
'Possum Holler , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Originally Posted by summerkid
There is one poster on the forum who, I swear, if the fixit shop told him he needed to swap out the air in his trailer at a cost of $50, he'd warn us all to beware of old air in trailers.
Well, If you can't trust Emit, who can you trust?


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Old 09-05-2006, 06:12 PM   #14
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1986 32' Excella
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Citrus Heights , California
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I get the biggest kick from reading the things people type about, after reading some of them I wonder if these folks could get both their hands caught in a vise!

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