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Old 06-21-2009, 03:11 AM   #15
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It doesn't make sense to me to go through the hassel of an aluminum frame. It can't just be made as a duplicate of a steel one. It would have to be engineered to have the correct strength and durability to use as a replacement for the original frame.
Why not, if you really need to make a new frame, use the same type steel as before, in the same configuration and dimensions, which is a proven design? The problem with these has never been the material type so much as the poor sealing of the chassis area. I took mine apart down to the frame recently and it was apparent that water had been sitting in the bellypan soaking the frame and insulation for years. I was fortunate in that there was really only surface rust on mine though. It seems like the effort could be better spent on things like trying to keep the water out of the bellypan, or directing it out when it does get in. Alternative insulation that won't hold water like a sponge would be an improvement, and as for the flooring itself, How about just wrapping the perimeter of the plywood with thin aluminum like the bellypan material to protect it from moisture which will get on it eventually. The edges and the areas under the shower and toilet are the most prone to water damage so protecting them would add significantly to the possible longevity of a Airstream.
Mine lasted 45 years without any additional improvements over the original construction, so if I can eliminate, to the greatest extent possible, the top five to ten things that go wrong with these, I could have a 100 year old Safari when I'm Just 97, and I might be able to sell it for a profit by then!

Rich
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:31 AM   #16
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It doesn't make sense to me to go through the hassel of an aluminum frame. It can't just be made as a duplicate of a steel one. It would have to be engineered to have the correct strength and durability to use as a replacement for the original frame.
Why not, if you really need to make a new frame, use the same type steel as before, in the same configuration and dimensions, which is a proven design? The problem with these has never been the material type so much as the poor sealing of the chassis area. I took mine apart down to the frame recently and it was apparent that water had been sitting in the bellypan soaking the frame and insulation for years. I was fortunate in that there was really only surface rust on mine though. It seems like the effort could be better spent on things like trying to keep the water out of the bellypan, or directing it out when it does get in. Alternative insulation that won't hold water like a sponge would be an improvement, and as for the flooring itself, How about just wrapping the perimeter of the plywood with thin aluminum like the bellypan material to protect it from moisture which will get on it eventually. The edges and the areas under the shower and toilet are the most prone to water damage so protecting them would add significantly to the possible longevity of a Airstream.
Mine lasted 45 years without any additional improvements over the original construction, so if I can eliminate, to the greatest extent possible, the top five to ten things that go wrong with these, I could have a 100 year old Safari when I'm Just 97, and I might be able to sell it for a profit by then!

Rich
Rich.

Amen

You nailed it.

My sentiments, exactly.

Monocoque is one thing, semi-monocoque is another.

Andy
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:05 AM   #17
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"It doesn't make sense to me to go through the hassel of an aluminum frame. It can't just be made as a duplicate of a steel one."

Are you afraid to fly? Airplanes use a lot of structural aluminum alloys, but I don't see a lot of them falling from the sky.

Vinstream has already seems to have done the engineering, so why not investigate? I know that Airstream still uses steel frames - and, from what I understand, they under-engineered the frames during the 1970's. So why would I want to simply repair or duplicate a poor frame design? Yes, I know many were properly designed, but there may be better solutions. I'd like to know if there is a lighter stronger option that isn't too expensive. That's all.

"Monocoque is one thing, semi-monocoque is another."

You'll neeed to explain this comment. As far as I understand, using a different frame material in a properly designed frame does not change the design of the trailer.
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Old 06-21-2009, 06:46 PM   #18
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Dismayed, I am a person who loves flying. That has nothing to do with my reply and neither does fear. I was presenting another point of view and some reasons for having one.
Don't let anyone here deter you from what you want to do. If it makes you happy to do what you are thinking of then by all means do it.
Don't forget though, that aluminum will deteriorate eventually also. If you don't address the issues that allow water onto your frame you will have the same problem, just a little later. The amount of weight savings couldn't be very significant switching from steel to aluminum. The whole frame is only about 1/5 of the trailer weight, if that. It would be hard to get more than 2 or 3 percent of the trailer weight out of it. On my safari that would be less than one hundred pounds. This is why it's not worth the hassel to me.

This has been, and continues to be, my humble opinion.
Rich
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:23 PM   #19
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How about a galvanized trailer frame? There is a small manufacturer of utility trailers about 15 miles from here and every trailer they make is galvanized box frame and all.

I'm sure they could build you a galvanized Airstream replacement frame for a price. I would think there are other shops around the country that can do the same.
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:56 PM   #20
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This all started simply because I saw the Vinstream web site and I was curious if anyone had had any experience with them. So it seems no one has had experience with Vinstream. But Dimmer understand aluminum alloys, so I learned something. Other folks have opinions, and that's fine.
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:16 PM   #21
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If someone was really looking for the big fix and $$$$ did not mater. Im your man, just get out your wallet.. Its called Stainless Steel!!!!!
Dimmer
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:16 PM   #22
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If someone was really looking for the big fix and $$$$ did not mater. Im your man, just get out your wallet.. Its called Stainless Steel!!!!!
Dimmer

Hi, BoatDoc made his own stainless steel frame for his Argosy. Read his thread.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:43 AM   #23
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Cost Does Matter

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If someone was really looking for the big fix and $$$$ did not mater. Im your man, just get out your wallet.. Its called Stainless Steel!!!!!
Dimmer
Cost matters. That's why I asked for actual user experience with Vinstream. If cost is reasonably competitive with steel, and if it offers advantages, then I'd consider it. Too bad titanium is so expensive!

Steel is fine if you don't park your AS in a field for 25 years. But since I'll probably buy one that's been mistreated, I'll consider other options. But there have to be advantages that justify any additional cost.
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:21 PM   #24
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bumped to the top for more chatter

I posted a thread on floor material, asking why a wood product versus some other...the replies were:1) too ridgid (andy of inland should jump in here)2) wood "gives" a little. Now in this thread the rigidity of an aluminum frame is questioned-Chrome moly steel would be another lighter, relative cost effective replacement medium for the frame, also.
I am contemplating the purchase of a 74-it is cheap, $1250 but probably needs a full monty-which is what I want to do. But again, not being a purist, either, I am looking for possible alternative materials.

Water is the problem. Other threads say "...don't seal the belly pan-it has to breathe..." "Don't put insulation in the bsmt cuz it holds water." There is another thread where a couple had to replace a major chunk of floor and then covered it all with plywood and finished the ply-this on a 2005 (I think) trailer-damage was caused by themselves.

So, water is gonna get in-why not mitigate what it can do? wood rots and molds survive-steel will rust but no mold. solid insulation will not absorb or hold water-batts will-some say the solid stuff deteriorates with down the road motion. but I gotta go with the anti-water stuff. I am thinking of building a fail safe plumbing system....piping inside of piping-the materials are inexpensive and if I do the labor then it may be okay. speaking of ridgid vs flex-ever notice the lp piping is pretty dang ridgid? and the DVW black pipe is ridgid-the old grey fresh water piping is SOMEWHAT flexible, but not like Pex. So, what is it? flex or ridgid?

In drag racing, the platform needs to be RIDGID on a suspended vehicle-it needs to flex for a vehicle that is not suspended. So what is an airstream? Suspended or solid mounted axles? hmmmm kinda both. and whattsup with this over balancing of the rotating assy on the axles? those oldtimers took airstreams up and down roads that make jeep trails of today look tame. what pops rivets? Interstate highways with unbalanced wheels or mountain dirt roads? Same goes for plumbing cracks, leaks. My brain hurts thinking about all this. There are two things to remember: 1) what worked in the past 2) what is the application of new materials/methods gonna do to the whole?

For me, I kinda like the idea of an aluminum frame with a 0.180 aluminum floor-lots of vulkem and highly specialized and strategically located drains in a virtually air tight belly. I would also clean up the "dirty-ness" of the belly area-recess those jacks, place a skin over the spare tire; place a rounded "skirt" over the axles-make sure the water tanks are completely inside the belly-even if it means sacrificing some head room inside-I am 5-10 and understand that I will shrink as I get older. I may even consider a belly pan for my TV! no, not the one i watch, the one I drive....

I gotta go get that '74......fantasy airstream, here I come...
ol' bill the newbie with aluminum fantasies....
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