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Old 01-06-2012, 09:11 PM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
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Frame damage repair and insurance coverage

We discovered that our beautifully refurbished 1976 29' Airstream has started to develop rear sag and rear separation. Nothing real bad right now but it will get worse if we do not repair them. I took our AS to a local dealer. He wants $5,600 to strengthen the frame and repair the rear separation.

This past year we drove about 20,000 miles. We were not involved in any crashes but the roads were being repaired in almost every state and we had to drive over uneven pavement, cutouts and significant dropoffs. Even our TV had to have the front end aligned twice.

Has anyone had tail sag and rear separation repaired at an AS dealer??

Did the insurance company pay for the repairs?

If they did pay for the repair how did you convince them to "man up" and cover the costs?
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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Insurance Repair Question

From an insurance agent's perspective, I would say, without an accident causing the frame damage, there would be no coverage to repair the frame. Especially if there is rust or corrosion or the design is the cause of the sagging, then no coverage in my opinion. However, I would check it out with your insurance carrier.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle & Bear View Post
We discovered that our beautifully refurbished 1976 29' Airstream has started to develop rear sag and rear separation. Nothing real bad right now but it will get worse if we do not repair them. I took our AS to a local dealer. He wants $5,600 to strengthen the frame and repair the rear separation.

This past year we drove about 20,000 miles. We were not involved in any crashes but the roads were being repaired in almost every state and we had to drive over uneven pavement, cutouts and significant dropoffs. Even our TV had to have the front end aligned twice.

Has anyone had tail sag and rear separation repaired at an AS dealer??

Did the insurance company pay for the repairs?

If they did pay for the repair how did you convince them to "man up" and cover the costs?
Insurance companies cover sudden, accidental and direct damages.

Long term damages are always excluded, especially in your case when rust is evident.

They also do not cover manufacturing defects. However, resulting damage caused by a defect, is covered.

But,you can give it a try, if you wish.

Andy
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In

Insurance companies cover sudden, accidental and direct damages.

Long term damages are always excluded, especially in your case when rust is evident.

They also do not cover manufacturing defects. However, resulting damage caused by a defect, is covered.

But,you can give it a try, if you wish.

Andy
I did work with a guy about 15 years ago who claimed his insurance paid out on a roof leak (no physical damage) over the winter that did quite a bit of interior damage. I doubted it then....and I still do, but maybe he had some kind of special coverage. IIRC it was Good Sam. (but not 100% sure on that)
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:45 AM   #5
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Three years ago the Airstream dealer in Las Vegas NV pointed out that our AS was developing rear separation (about a 1/2 inch drop). This was before I understood what rear separation was and paid him to do the dreaded "elephant ear repair". (Be humble here Andy.) Everything seemed OK until we drove over the hundreds of miles of roads that were being repaired this summer. The contractors left the ends of the 30 to 100 yard cuts into the pavement vertical. They did not provide any transition into or out of the cut. These cuts were up to 3 inches deep and we were forced to drive in and out of them for over 100 miles. Other freeways and toll roads had yard wide pot holes that could be up to 6" deep. In towns we drove into cuts, through pot hole fields and over hundreds of speed bumps that were designed to damage a vehicle traveling over 10 mph. We drive under 60 and are very cautious but we should have stopped in every state, found the road dpt or the contractors and filed complaints. Before this trip we had put over 40,000 miles on our AS but, as Andy has predicted it would, the repair failed. On our return we found that the Las Vegas AS dealer has gone out of business. The only evidence we have of the poor condition of the roads is the damage to our AS. Since we did not take photos (tho thought of it) we have little evidence to take to the state highway depts. I am not sure how to get the insurance company to recognize the fact that the damage was due to a single cross country drive. Any ideas??
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Eagle & Bear View Post
Three years ago the Airstream dealer in Las Vegas NV pointed out that our AS was developing rear separation (about a 1/2 inch drop). This was before I understood what rear separation was and paid him to do the dreaded "elephant ear repair". (Be humble here Andy.) Everything seemed OK until we drove over the hundreds of miles of roads that were being repaired this summer. The contractors left the ends of the 30 to 100 yard cuts into the pavement vertical. They did not provide any transition into or out of the cut. These cuts were up to 3 inches deep and we were forced to drive in and out of them for over 100 miles. Other freeways and toll roads had yard wide pot holes that could be up to 6" deep. In towns we drove into cuts, through pot hole fields and over hundreds of speed bumps that were designed to damage a vehicle traveling over 10 mph. We drive under 60 and are very cautious but we should have stopped in every state, found the road dpt or the contractors and filed complaints. Before this trip we had put over 40,000 miles on our AS but, as Andy has predicted it would, the repair failed. On our return we found that the Las Vegas AS dealer has gone out of business. The only evidence we have of the poor condition of the roads is the damage to our AS. Since we did not take photos (tho thought of it) we have little evidence to take to the state highway depts. I am not sure how to get the insurance company to recognize the fact that the damage was due to a single cross country drive. Any ideas??
Losses must meet all three questions, with a yes.

1. Was it accidental? In your case, yes.

2. Was it direct? In your case, yes.

3. Was it sudden? In your case, no.

The loss was long term, so to speak, but again, give it a shot with your insurance carrier.

When the raer end separation patch was used, and the separation occured the second time, that usually means the rear quarter panels and the panel below the rear window, must be removed.

You will then typically find that the floor channel is broken in several pieces. It then must also be removed, and welded back together.

Then, the proper rear end sepation can take place, that will forever end the issue.

A "patch job" will always be a "patch job", since Disney gets mad if you call it "mickie mouse" repairs.

Sorry for your problem, but we suggest that you, learn what the proper repair is, so that you will know what to do, if you decide to under take the task.

It's not difficult, but it does take about 20 hours or so, unless the rear section of flooring must also be replaced. Then it can take up to 45 to 50 hours, if the bathroom is gutted.

Andy
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information Andy. Yes - lesson learned. The wood floor in the bath is all good. The only wood that is rotted is the 3" strip of plywood that runs along the floor channel in the very back of the trailer. Since we are full timing I have one very big question: If that is the only rot, can all of the work be done by removing the rear quarter panels and the panel below the rear window? (I am OK with this.) Or does the the inner shell have to be removed, the bath and cabinets removed and the bath flooring replaced? (I really hope not.)
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information Andy. Yes - lesson learned. The wood floor in the bath is all good. The only wood that is rotted is the 3" strip of plywood that runs along the floor channel in the very back of the trailer. Since we are full timing I have one very big question: If that is the only rot, can all of the work be done by removing the rear quarter panels and the panel below the rear window? (I am OK with this.) Or does the the inner shell have to be removed, the bath and cabinets removed and the bath flooring replaced? (I really hope not.)
Your in luck.

Remove the quarter and rear panels and you can then get the job done.

Be sure to splice the new section of floor to the original floor.

Also, the rear panel does not have to be completely removed, but drill out enough rivets where the panel can be curled upward, without putting a crease in it.

Some where, back in the Forums, are drawings of how to properly correct the rear end separation as well as adding addition strength to the hold downs.

Use 3/16" rivets instead of 1/8", and use lots of them.

From the outside, add more rivets to the interior quarter panel. to floor channel.
Granted, they will be backwards, but they also are out of sight.

Instead of removing the complete quarter panels, you can cut them in the center of the lower belt line molding. Then you can add a small strip of metal to the top section, so that you can rerivet the quarter panels on to that same strip. If your careful about the rivet spacing, after you reinstall the belt line moldings, you will never know that the quarter panels were cut and spliced. Make sure you also seal that cut area with Vulkem.

Again, use plenty of 3/16" rivets.

Andy
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:54 PM   #9
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When repairing the rear end separation, be sure to remove the sheet of metal to which the rear storage compartment cover hinges are fastened. This leads water under the plywood and start the floor rot. Also, make sure to keep the taillights/body seam caulked; leaks here will lead the water right now onto the C channel in the rear as well on our 1971.

When I repaired our rear end separation, I made a new angle plate of stainless steel, and riveted this to the rear skin of the trailer as well, since the skin was quite corroded in the area of the C channel. I replaced all the bent over and corroded #12 elevator bolts with 1/4" stainless bolts w/ locknuts.

- Bart
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