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Old 02-08-2004, 06:05 PM   #1
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Airstream Frame mods

Does anyone have any info on reinforcing the rear frame on any of the AS travel trailers? I am trying to figure out if it is possible to make a slight extension to acommodate a motorcycle carrier. Any input or ideas would be great. Thanks
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Old 02-08-2004, 08:08 PM   #2
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There are some threads on this topic, if you want to research it, but to save yourself time, trouble, and a major rebuild of your coach, the answer is "DON'T".

Airstream frames to not support the structure. The body and floor form a monocoque that holds up the frame. The frame is mostly there to tie the body, running gear, and tanks together.

Even a bike rack has been documented to cause the shell to separate from the frame or floor. Or both.

Mark
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Old 02-08-2004, 10:09 PM   #3
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That makes sense given the construction of the trailers. I didn't know if anybody had developed a method to do such. Thanks
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Old 02-09-2004, 10:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by j54mark
There are some threads on this topic, if you want to research it, but to save yourself time, trouble, and a major rebuild of your coach, the answer is "DON'T".

Airstream frames to not support the structure. The body and floor form a monocoque that holds up the frame. The frame is mostly there to tie the body, running gear, and tanks together.

Even a bike rack has been documented to cause the shell to separate from the frame or floor. Or both.

Mark
Mark I am no engineer of any sort but I am not sure that it could not be sucessfully possible to add a carrier behind an Airstream in all cases. The weight of the carrier and its cargo of course would be factors in determining the strengthening strategies.

Tail droop is after all ONLY the fault of a failure of frame's ability to remain plumb. Regardless of the circumstances that cause it to give way (and bend). I don't think the small (and light) frame in any way add to the cushion that the monocoque cocoon requires to survive road torture. i.e. there is no built in flex (that I have ever read) in the rear (behind axles) frame that is engineered in.

If in fact the "false ribs" in the rear of the trailer ran all the way to the front and tied to perimeter (which they dont) we would have more of a true monocoque shell wouldn't we? And a much stronger rear. But it still would not affect the strength of the frame channel.

My point is simply that if one can figure how to strengthen the frame there is no reason I can see that a carrier wouldn't work. If the extension were to be sourced from the center of gravity up around the axles maybe there would be a way. Or if the "C" channel frame rails were inserted with some torsioned insert possibly.
These may be "star wars" projects and either would add considerable weight to overall rig which opens a whole nother can of worms different axles and more MONEY.
All of which makes me so very glad I am not seeking to add a carrier to my trailer yet.
and then there was Frankenstream>>>did anyone capture that image?
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Old 02-09-2004, 10:43 AM   #5
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Frankenstream

Mad Max Beyond Aluminum Thunder Dome....or,


Is there any question that an Airstream will come out on top in a Trailer Demolition Derby???

.......as a prelude, the Theme from Deliverance, please.
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Old 02-09-2004, 10:54 AM   #6
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Jaco,

I believe you stated the situation admirably. There is likely no reason you could not support a rear carrier IF you are willing to re-engineer the coach. As you noted, the support would have to issue from the axles aft, if not in front of the axles, and the addtional weight would be significant. Probably enough to require heavier axles.

The coach body is basically stiff longitudinally, while the frame is not. It is the body that stiffens the frame, not the other way around. If you put addtional weight on the frame aft of the shell the moment arm forces will try (and may succeed) in tearing the frame away from the floor. In so doing, it may tear the floor away from the aluminum shell as well.

There are undoubtedly coaches whose design is more receptive to this kind of modification.

Mark
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:59 PM   #7
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My plans are to xtend the front and not the back , NEVER PUT ANYTHING ON THE BACK!!
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Old 03-28-2004, 04:02 PM   #8
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Frame Mod

Motorcycle carrier on the front
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:20 AM   #9
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Husky,

Jaco has summarized the problem precisely. It would be a major engineering challenge and would require frame surgery. I don't buy any of the 'frame needs to flex' theory. The stiffer the better. Might ride stiffer, but thats a spring and damper problem. I would start with total frame replacement (like add 2" to your existing frame channel depth), and maybe design in a floating connection where the rear of the frame meets the shell. You would also want to move the axles back to maintain fore-aft balance and keep tongue weight at appropriate levels.

jjonesnc's idea, adding the carrier forward, would be a lot cheaper.

Keep in mind-anything is possible with enough imagination and money. (and insurance)
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:19 AM   #10
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Keep in mind-anything is possible with enough imagination and money. (and insurance)
and beer!

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Old 03-29-2004, 10:50 AM   #11
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and beer!

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John,

With enough beer, you don't need the other three.

Beer - buys plenty of free parts and labor
Beer - leads to plenty of imagination
Beer - Insurance? we don't need no stinkin' insurance!
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Old 03-30-2004, 05:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
Mad Max Beyond Aluminum Thunder Dome....or,


Is there any question that an Airstream will come out on top in a Trailer Demolition Derby???

.......as a prelude, the Theme from Deliverance, please.

Do I hear banjos playing in the background....quick let's get outta here!
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Do I hear banjos playing in the background....quick let's get outta here!

Quite a bit of Engineering and creativity went into the design and construction of that AS thats shown above. The frame was entirely redone, a Park Pak AC unit was installed in the back and a third axel added as well as a generator. It was used as a special event Photography Studio. The pic I posted above is of the same AS during Construction.
Boy "banjo players" can do wonders with a "Banjo" huh?
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Old 03-05-2005, 09:44 AM   #14
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I've seen a schematic for the framework of deck and superstructure of older Airstreams, but I cannot remember where. I need to have this to know where I can securely fasten woodwork to the wall under the front window. Anybody know where I can get this?

1966 Caravel.

Thanks
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