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Old 03-04-2012, 01:23 AM   #15
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Hi Lumatic, The axles (Henschen/sp?) and shocks are relativly new. We had them installed 2 1/2 years ago. The axles seem to be holding up well - no drop in height. They are rated at 4000 lbs each. The one thing I thought might contribute to the break is that the frame is not sitting directly on the perch that is welded to the axle. All of the weight is on the two bolts that attach the axles to the axle mounting plate. The coach weighs in at 7300 lbs at the axles and around 600 lbs at the hitch.

I drive slowly especially when the roads are rough. Some of the roads have been under construction. Haven't taken the AS to Chaco but we have traveled around 100 - 150 miles over washboard in the past 3 years. We have also towed it through rolling terrain in areas like Quartzite. In the process of taking everything apart this week I found that the tires we bought in October were not balanced correctly.

I am just glad that the crack does not extend any further than what you see in the photos. We are full timing and are spending the winter in Tucson. I found a guy who builds trailers here. He is willing to bring a portable welder over and put things back together. But before he starts to cut and weld I want to know what experience others have had in repairing a crack like this. I am also wondering if I need to put one of the frame reinforcing kits on.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:54 AM   #16
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So just out of curiosity, is this kind of crack due mainly to a weight issue (over for the trailer or under for the axle rating) that stresses the metal enough to crack it with the unbalanced gear, or is it more about the unbalanced gear and it could happen to a properly weighted trailer?
Cracks like that are very common to unbalanced running gear, and lastly to bad rubber rods in the axles.

Lightly loaded heavy rated axles could also contribute to frame cracking, but it would take a long time to show up.

Andy
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:29 AM   #17
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I would wonder how the cracked portion of the frame became bent.
I can understand the crack, but not the bending on each side, especially with the two sides being bent at different angles. I would think that something had to push or pull that metal into that shape. I think what ever caused that bending happened after the crack otherwise, it seems to me, it would be the same on both sides of the crack.

Any ideas?
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:39 AM   #18
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I would wonder how the cracked portion of the frame became bent.
I can understand the crack, but not the bending on each side, especially with the two sides being bent at different angles. I would think that something had to push or pull that metal into that shape. I think what ever caused that bending happened after the crack otherwise, it seems to me, it would be the same on both sides of the crack.

Any ideas?
Jim.

Airstream shells and chassis flex when traveling.

The reason the axle mounting plate flexes is because the frame flexes.

If you look at the backside of the axle mounting plate, you will clearly see that the bending of the axle mounting plate, is between welds, that are way too far apart.

Had the welds been made closer together, that outward bending would never happen.

The cure, for those that have not as yet experienced the problem, is to have the welding added to considerably shorten the distance betwwen the existing welds, in the area of the axle mounting plates, where they attach to the chassis, only.

Andy
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:31 PM   #19
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The coach weighs in at 7300 lbs at the axles and around 600 lbs at the hitch.
The dry weight of your trailer is between 4,795 and 4,855 lbs, so at 7,300 lbs you are loading it up pretty heavily.

I wonder if this could have contributed to your cracks. Is the Gross Vehicle weight of your Ambassador stated in any of your documents?
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:16 PM   #20
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The dry weight of your trailer is between 4,795 and 4,855 lbs, so at 7,300 lbs you are loading it up pretty heavily.

I wonder if this could have contributed to your cracks. Is the Gross Vehicle weight of your Ambassador stated in any of your documents?
Each axle is rated at 4000 pounds. Hitch weight is around 600 pounds. I cannot imagine what broke the lower rail and how the ends bent the way you see in the photos. Though I do not understand the mechanics behind it, Andy's explanation is consistent with the findings. I will be able to look at the other side of the frame tomorrow. Will keep you posted.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #21
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Checked the street side of the frame. Even though the axle mounting plate is distorted more than the curb side frame there are no cracks. Just to be safe I had a local iron supply shop cut me two 7.5" X 61" pieces of 3/16th flat plate that fit over the axle mounting plate. Got the axle bolt holes lined up and drilled 28 - 7/16ths inch holes at 8 inch intervals along three longitudinal lines. Welder will be here on Wednesday to repair the crack. Still need to know what kind of repair and plate configuration works best.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:03 PM   #22
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Cracks like that are very common to unbalanced running gear, and lastly to bad rubber rods in the axles.

Lightly loaded heavy rated axles could also contribute to frame cracking, but it would take a long time to show up.

Andy
Andy, How do we check for bad rubber rods in the axles? If Henchen recalls their axles will you notify us? Thanks
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