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Old 04-03-2011, 07:50 PM   #1
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Should I add wheels to the back bumper?

Hi,

I am new to the forum and Airstream trailers and I am taking delivery on a 2009 27 FB International next weekend. Here is my question... Should I add wheels to the back bumper? While shopping for over 3 years for the right AS, Becky and I have been renting 25 foot "box trailers". The one thing all of these boxes had in common was the need to be very vigilant and cautious every time we pulled into a gas station or shopping center driveway. When entering what appeared to be fairly gentle entrances or exits, the back end would get very close to the ground or scrape (never even tried to enter some locations out of fear of ripping out the back end of the trailer). I have seen wheels on lots of box trailers and even on some AS trailers. Is this a good idea, potentially dangerous to the AS, or not even necessary? Thanks for your help!

Scott
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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Never had that issue with my 25FB - heard the 30 & 31 & 34 have rub rails...

My instinct say's no - I'll see if I can find some actual data to support that theory...

Or perhaps someone here can tell us?
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott J-24 View Post
Hi,

I am new to the forum and Airstream trailers and I am taking delivery on a 2009 27 FB International next weekend. Here is my question... Should I add wheels to the back bumper? While shopping for over 3 years for the right AS, Becky and I have been renting 25 foot "box trailers". The one thing all of these boxes had in common was the need to be very vigilant and cautious every time we pulled into a gas station or shopping center driveway. When entering what appeared to be fairly gentle entrances or exits, the back end would get very close to the ground or scrape (never even tried to enter some locations out of fear of ripping out the back end of the trailer). I have seen wheels on lots of box trailers and even on some AS trailers. Is this a good idea, potentially dangerous to the AS, or not even necessary? Thanks for your help!

Scott
Don't do it. You'll destroy the trailer prematurely.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:07 PM   #4
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No, no wheels. Wheels will cause your trailer to bottom out in the rear and can cause the frame to flex upward. That will put permanent creases in the outer skin just above the floor line.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:07 PM   #5
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My 31 Classic has what appears to be skids. I would be reluctant to add wheels because this would make the trailer hit in areas that without them would not and increase the likelihood of frame or other damage. You're basically saying you plan to go where the added wheels have to support the rear of the trailer and the frame isn't designed for those type of loads.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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Just say no to wheels. They are already skid plates on the bottom. Wheels will cause the rear end to hit the ground prematurely.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:35 PM   #7
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All,

Thanks for the advice, I wasn't sure what would be worse, bottoming out on wheels or on the skid, now I know. I didn't want to damage our AS trailer when we get it and figured it was best to ask the experts earlier rather than later. No wheels will be put on my AS. I presume that I should approach a steep entrances and exits on an angle if possible, and if that is not an option, I should just proceed slowly. Is that the best tactic or should I be doing something else? I have been towing a J/24 sailboat for the last 14 years and it has great clearance and visibility so this has never been an issue with it.

I am glad to be out of the box and into the 'stream!

Scott
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:48 PM   #8
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By adding Wheels like they do on many "SOB"'s (as they are often called) you are better to risk the "road rash" than a bent frame and crumpled aluminum skin. The overhang from the rear of the trailer to the axles is less than most other brands; Furthermore, the SOB's non monocoque construction takes the entire load of the trailer. The Monocoque construction of Airstream the load is dispersed through out the entire trailer, so by placing the entire load on two tinny wheels and the trailer tong at extreme ends of the trailer will do uncorrectable damage! Think of a pop can... now think of a pop can with a ding in it... now think of the pop can with stress on it... any questions!

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Old 04-03-2011, 09:05 PM   #9
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I agree with the other members. Those little wheels would not be a good idea. Just be aware of where you are headed, like steep driveway dips, and you will be OK.

There is a learning curve to camping in an Airstream, but it is not launching rockets, either. It will all come to you in time.

We have now spent 820 nights in Lucy and have towed her over 70,00 miles, and we are still learning.

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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Never had that issue with my 25FB - heard the 30 & 31 & 34 have rub rails...My instinct say's no - I'll see if I can find some actual data to support that theory...Or perhaps someone here can tell us?
Can't find anything in writing but looks like we all agree just say no to wheels on your bumper or frame...
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:07 PM   #11
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I'll agree with the consensus that the wheels will engage the ground sooner than no wheels, and all things being equal, impart more torque on the frame.

A couple minor tips:

1 Keep tires inflated properly. You'll gain a half inch+ clearance vs. tires running low.
2. When you set hitch ball height on tow vehicle there may be a compromise where one adjustment has the trailer front slightly high and the next has the trailer front slightly low. I'd chose the latter.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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You could maybe add air shocks or something like this guy has. Then get a bike like this to tool around the trailer park.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:40 PM   #13
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Wow- so glad I found this thtead- just picked up our 2006 Classic 31 and the PO put these little wheels on the back & one looked like it took a hit- airstream friend said 2get rid of them & looks like most concur- additionally, we had 2get an 8" drop for the Hensley to tow with our Ram & it looks a little "bow-low, stern-high" so looks like we'll be keeping that 8" drop too- so greatful for all of the knowledge here!
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