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Old 09-13-2011, 11:38 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by zigzagguzzi View Post
Leveling jacks on the rear sounds interesting?! jim
How so? I thought most trailers had them on all 4 corners, no? Our Basecamp only had them on the back... I guess to keep it from tipping when unhooked from the TV...

Since they aren't really able to 'level' the trailer, I think maybe the term 'stabilizing jack' is better for the A/S... just keeps it from wobbling around so much if you have some heavy-steppers inside.

I'm considering grinding off the wheels... but need to consider what I am going to replace them with... Any photos of the newer models 'skids' on the back?
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:10 AM   #72
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Yes they stabilize not level, hence my comment, jim
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:05 PM   #73
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Bikes, Shells and Frames

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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
No, not exactly.


Monocoque, as defined by Webster, "is a load bearing shell".

Therefore, the shell supports the frame.


Andy
Well, it's a rainy day in Durango, so I'll add my 2 cents worth.

Monocoque (single shell) is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's exterior, as opposed to using an internal frame. A kayak is an example of monocoque construction. Airstream currently builds a double shell with framing between skins. They call it semi-monocoque, as it doesnít wrap completely around (under) the unit like an airplane, although it is actually a double hull on a deck. The shell does not support the undercarriage frame, it supports itself and accessory items (air conditioner, cabinets etc.) The shell is attached to and carried by the undercarriage frame. Excessive flexing of the frame could cause problems with the relatively inflexible shell. How strong & rigid is the undercarriage frame? My 2011 is obviously strong enough for the rear sliders to take a substantial force. So why doesnít Airstream provide framing for a bike carrier, or prescribe attachment points for a bike carrier similar to their prescribed jacking points? I guess itís the same reason that they donít offer many buyer options, or respond to buyer requests for substitutions such as larger batteries, larger wheels & tires etc. Apparently they canít be bothered.

My A/S dealer was quite confident in offering to custom install a receiver hitch. For my type of bike usage, however, a tow vehicle roof rack carrier is a better solution.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:14 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Well, it's a rainy day in Durango, so I'll add my 2 cents worth.

Monocoque (single shell) is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's exterior, as opposed to using an internal frame. A kayak is an example of monocoque construction. Airstream currently builds a double shell with framing between skins. They call it semi-monocoque, as it doesnít wrap completely around (under) the unit like an airplane, although it is actually a double hull on a deck. The shell does not support the undercarriage frame, it supports itself and accessory items (air conditioner, cabinets etc.) The shell is attached to and carried by the undercarriage frame. Excessive flexing of the frame could cause problems with the relatively inflexible shell. How strong & rigid is the undercarriage frame? My 2011 is obviously strong enough for the rear sliders to take a substantial force. So why doesnít Airstream provide framing for a bike carrier, or prescribe attachment points for a bike carrier similar to their prescribed jacking points? I guess itís the same reason that they donít offer many buyer options, or respond to buyer requests for substitutions such as larger batteries, larger wheels & tires etc. Apparently they canít be bothered.

My A/S dealer was quite confident in offering to custom install a receiver hitch. For my type of bike usage, however, a tow vehicle roof rack carrier is a better solution.
Your opinion as to what supports what, is different from thta of the Airstream engineers.

Andy
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:57 PM   #75
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I have never even seen one shell off but I'm willing to bet 1) the frame is kind of floppy by itself (relative to other trailer frames) and 2) the shell is kind of floppy by itself. Sounds like it's an airstream not monocoque or semimonocoque or unibody.

However, concerning the engineers I would only question why 1) all the rear bath models from the 70's have an inherent structural flaw and 2) why the new ones are not easily capable of carrying 50 pounds 5 feet further aft than they can admittedly carry a 100 pound a/c unit. (another inherent structural flaw).
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:06 PM   #76
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Terry,

What year marked the change to a heavier frame?
They started getting stronger in the mid 1980's, when they went to a full box channel frame from a C channel. They've gotten progressively more robust over the years, and the advent of the wide-body trailers and slide out models actually had frames that are worthy of the name.
One day when I don't have anything better to do, I'll take some measurements of metal thickness (gauge), height, and width of the frames of some of the trailers of different vintages we have on the lot.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:16 PM   #77
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sometimes we think of a trailer as a fairly rigid frame (rails) with a box sitting on the frame. like a flatbed with a box sitting on it. and with the bumper on the frame rails. But think aboutt this. on the truck you have to strap the box down to keep it from bouncing. In the Airstream the c flange is the strap and it is under tension during part of the bounce. I think the frame/body seperation occurs where the body is attached to the c channel flange. The rivets pull or the flange shears. The frame of the airstream is tapered and lightened to the back. The body is fairly rigid with its skins and ribs and rivets. As long as you are pushing down on the body to the frame, like adding and airconditioner, you are okay as long as you are within design limits. And you might get a little cushioning from some flex in the body. But sometimes in a bounce the body is headed up, pulling away from the frame. or the back of the frame bounces down against the rigid part of the body. Additional weight on the bumper or frame would tend to act as a hammer and increase the force.
The frame damage occurs out at the bumper, not in towards the axle. What I do think is that adding a weight that is bouncing up and down to the bumper can directly increase the pressure to seperate the body and the floor at the back.
Another factor is the extreme rear is a bad place to put weight balance wise. I have seen Airstreams with bicycles on the back. It does work. I probably would not do it. The frame seperation I have seen occurs on the rear and the front of the very long trailers. Saw some people repairing a 34 foot in the front corner.
Camped next to a Airstream in Florida two years ago that had a bicycle rack that went between the propane tank cover and the front of the trailer and held one or maybe 2 bikes. He said it was a commercial rig. worked well. I was suprised there was enough room but it seemd to be fine.
My 88 model refers to the bumper area as the sewer hose storage compartment. Sewer hoses are not real heavy.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:36 PM   #78
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I agree with Andy, but every time this topic pops up I have post this picture.

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Old 09-14-2011, 10:01 PM   #79
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I'd like to agree with Andy more... as he obviously has a lot of experience in the industry... but I find the random "Because the Caravaner study said..." or "Because the Airstream engineers said..." to be a bit hollow when the source isn't cited.

The whole 'why do Airstreams crash' is a good example... Andy cites 'air bags' as a huge factor... that so many of the crashes were using air bags... OK, but how many tow vehicles all-together are using air bags safely? If 50% of the travelling trailers are running bags on the tow vehicle... I'd expect them to be found on 50% of the trailers that wreck. 1/2 the statistic doesn't prove anything.

My A/S has a large "jack here" sticker under the rear corner... right beside my wheelie-wheel... who engineered THAT? Or is that an after-market sticker?

Puzzled...
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:30 PM   #80
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Here is how I solved it. Bought the front mount 2" receiver at, e-hitches.com for $130.00.

Click image for larger version

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:00 AM   #81
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I believe that the difference is in reference to "frame". Airstream refers to the "frame between skins" as being part of the integral structure. No argument there - it makes for a strong sandwich shell. The "undercarriage frame" is obviously a support for the superstructure.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:03 AM   #82
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Sorry, my terminology was incorrect. That which I called the "undercarriage frame" Airstream calls the "chassis". So yes, Andy, the shell supports the frame which supports the shell - it's a sandwich. The chassis carries the shell. I finally came across the factory tour site http://www.airstream.com/company/fac...ur-part-1.html which provides a nice pictorial of the assembly.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:20 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Bike Rack for Airstreams
For those of you looking for a custom fit bike rack for an Airstream, this is it. It mounts to the front A frame of the trailer and mounts the bikes over the propane tanks. I have used it on several trips and it is very solid and secure.
.......
There website is WELCOME to Top Pop Rails Website !
Mojo, where did you get the rack from? The website doesn't look like you can order it from there. How much was it?

As you can guess from my handle I've got bikes with me just about everywhere I go. One of the main reasons for the Airstream is a basecamp for my bike. I currently have fork mounts in the bed of my truck but with everything we'll be hauling that'll be tough. I really like the looks of that rack.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:16 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Well, it's a rainy day in Durango, so I'll add my 2 cents worth.

Monocoque (single shell) is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's exterior, as opposed to using an internal frame. A kayak is an example of monocoque construction. Airstream currently builds a double shell with framing between skins. They call it semi-monocoque, as it doesnít wrap completely around (under) the unit like an airplane, although it is actually a double hull on a deck. The shell does not support the undercarriage frame, it supports itself and accessory items (air conditioner, cabinets etc.) The shell is attached to and carried by the undercarriage frame. Excessive flexing of the frame could cause problems with the relatively inflexible shell. How strong & rigid is the undercarriage frame? My 2011 is obviously strong enough for the rear sliders to take a substantial force. So why doesnít Airstream provide framing for a bike carrier, or prescribe attachment points for a bike carrier similar to their prescribed jacking points? I guess itís the same reason that they donít offer many buyer options, or respond to buyer requests for substitutions such as larger batteries, larger wheels & tires etc. Apparently they canít be bothered.

My A/S dealer was quite confident in offering to custom install a receiver hitch. For my type of bike usage, however, a tow vehicle roof rack carrier is a better solution.

I would agree with this. My Airstream dealer was also confident installing a 2 inch receiver hitch to the rear of my trailer, welded to the frame. I now have a Thule hitch bike rack which I use without problem. The bikes are easy to get on and off. Obviously this type of mount opens up many more options with regard to aftermarket racks. Will I be sorry, maybe---but I doubt it. Now if I put a storage rack on that hitch with a generator, motorcycle, etc. on it, that would probably be a different story.

I would also agree that the reason Airstream doesn't have a formal position regarding this topic is simple----liability in the good old USA. They gain nothing by coming out with a formal position except for potential headaches. They are in the business of making money by selling as many trailers as possible. Until the consumer makes a statement that they will not consider their product because of a lack of this type of integrated feature, they could care less.

BTW, this also applies to many similar design deficiencies inherent in the Airstream---lack of integrated generator, small fresh water tank, too large a black water tank in relation to grey water...... the list goes on.
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