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Old 03-10-2014, 11:15 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
huntingdon , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jan 2014
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A-Frame flex

i noticed on my 74 soveriegn that when my wife would move / or jump up and down in side the front of the trailer that the A-Frame on the front flexes. is this normal? is it sopposed to give to prevent it from breaking? i have the inside skin off and you can see the outside skin move / flex when i jump up and down in the trailer
when looking at the outside the a frame flexes where it goes under the the body shell
thanks
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:22 AM   #2
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
Peru , New York
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Originally Posted by kokomoscalls View Post
i noticed on my 74 soveriegn that when my wife would move / or jump up and down in side the front of the trailer that the A-Frame on the front flexes. is this normal? is it sopposed to give to prevent it from breaking? i have the inside skin off and you can see the outside skin move / flex when i jump up and down in the trailer
when looking at the outside the a frame flexes where it goes under the the body shell
thanks
Sounds like front end separation. There is a double row of bucked rivets 6" or so inches above the front crossmember, visible from the outside. Are these intact? If so the front "hold down" plate may be rusted away. This is not normal & must be repaired properly. We have repaired many problems like this, but they are generally on trailers 81 & newer...............right up into the 2000's.
Colin
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:24 AM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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My guess is you have front end separation. This is where the connections between the frame and shell become loose. You could also have a cracked A-frame causing problems. I would remove the belly skin up front to see what is going on.

Perry
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:29 AM   #4
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Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Colin Hyde, what do you think causes this? It's been suggested too-heavy tow vehicle suspension, and/or rigid weight distribution itches. Or in some cases an Airstream design flaw.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
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1981 31' Excella II
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Also on trailers that have the batteries up front, acid can rot the frame and frame/body connections. You are spot on about the tow vehicle springs and the load bars being too heavy. The new trailers don't even have that steel hold down plate that Colin talks about. You can seen the steel plate in this picture between the battery box openings.


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Old 03-10-2014, 01:13 PM   #6
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
Peru , New York
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Colin Hyde, what do you think causes this? It's been suggested too-heavy tow vehicle suspension, and/or rigid weight distribution itches. Or in some cases an Airstream design flaw.
Hi Doug,
This problem is pretty rare in this era of trailer, even if the front floor is rotted out. We did however encounter this last year in a late 70's Trade Wind 25'. A bunch of the hold down plate rivets were missing & many other were sheared, but the heads had not fallen out yet. After removing the interior wall, we discovered that the problem originated at the Factory. This era of trailer has two large washer plates seated inside the "C" channel just above the frame structure bridging the "A" frame & the front end of the ladder frame. There are typically 3/8" diameter bolts running through these washer plates, the "C" channel, the plywood floor & the frame. As this trailer also had a single battery box located on the CS front face of the trailer, the washer plate was omitted in favor of a regular flat washer. The "C" channel was also shortened slightly to cope with the battery box position. The flat washer pulled through the end of the "C" channel & into the dried out plywood, allowing movement, thus beginning the process of shearing off the hold down plate rivets etc. As this client was in the shop for new axles in preparation for a trip to Alaska, they mentioned the missing rivets up front. Fortunately this was discovered as a journey of this magnitude would have certainly caused greater issues. They have since returned from the trip with no issues, although others on the caravan had numerous issues.
I'm afraid I can't stress this enough, front end & rear end separation issues are critical & should not be brushed off.
Thanks,
Colin
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