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Old 08-18-2007, 04:38 PM   #1
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Body Separation

This pucture shows how the body on my 19 34ft. has come loose from the floor and frame. When the trailer is hitched to the truck this gap srinks to 0. However when there is little or no load on the jack the gap opens as shown.

Looking into the gap i can see the channel that goes around the floor and it appears to still be attached to the frame. Thus I think the seperation is the skin and framing has come free of the floor.

I am considering removing the interior skin behind the coach and seeing if there is material to reattach things.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-18-2007, 04:58 PM   #2
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as i understand it....

the initial inspection and repair for this

'front end separation' starts from the outside.

-remove the blue trim and the beltline at least as far back at the curved segments...

-at this point most of the failed or stretched rivet holes will be visible.

-then make the decision to pull the sofa, mouse fur and lower sections of inner skin.

the inner skin isn't really contributing much structural support in this area.

so new holes/rivets can be placed interspaced in the outer skin, IF those lower segments aren't completely replaced.

the frame has 'flexed' some as a result of using appropriate w/d gear...

so this is an example of just how UNDER designed the modern a/s trailer is...

of course someone will blame this on over hitching or too much truck..

that tired, lame excuse is a complete load of crap.

front end separation like this, and the skin tearing seen in the bunk house units...

IS the new rear end separation issue revisited.

a/s has incrementally removed rivets, and bracing and structural elements in the name of...

lean/efficient design

to the extent that we are towing eggshells made from paper mache...

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:30 PM   #3
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HowieE,
On my 75 the problem was an unknown leak had rotted out the floor and the bolts were missing apparently they had rusted and sheared. If yours is built the way mine was (and no reason not to believe it) there is a large steel plate at the front. There is an aluminum channel that sits on top of the plywood. This whole assembly is thru bolted with 2 good sized bolts. If the bolts are loose, the plywood is bad, or the bolts have pulled thru the channel you will get problems like you have.

Here is a Picture of mine with the plywood out. The big black thing in the center is the steel plate. The bolts go in about where the frame comes up at an angle.

After taking another look at your picture...are the rivets in the plate sheared? Do you have the plate?

Aaron
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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Yea, what 2air said.

There is a standard fix for this all to often issue.
Once you remove the belting take some photo's, you may need to add a panel to the front area between the battery boxes.

I spent some time at the factory a few months back and most owners were there for just such a defect. About 1,500 to 1,800 in factory repairs, 99% labor,

Michael
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
HowieE,
On my 75 the problem was an unknown leak had rotted out the floor and the bolts were missing apparently they had rusted and sheared. If yours is built the way mine was (and no reason not to believe it) there is a large steel plate at the front. There is an aluminum channel that sits on top of the plywood. This whole assembly is thru bolted with 2 good sized bolts. If the bolts are loose, the plywood is bad, or the bolts have pulled thru the channel you will get problems like you have.

Here is a Picture of mine with the plywood out. The big black thing in the center is the steel plate. The bolts go in about where the frame comes up at an angle.

After taking another look at your picture...are the rivets in the plate sheared? Do you have the plate?

Aaron
Hi Aaron!
The 1991 does not have a center plate like yours does.

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Old 08-19-2007, 06:37 AM   #6
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Airstream folk do not subscribe to the "throwaway" philosophy of life. As such we are constantly working on ways to repair or improve our Airstreams, much like Harley Davidson folk.

There are very few "perfect" products out there. Those that think they can build a perfect Airstream should start a business that takes new Airstreams, tears them apart and rebuilds them to perfection. Stand by for sticker shock!
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:05 AM   #7
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Sorry to hear about your problem. When I saw the title of the thread I assumed it was another 1970s era Airstream with this problem. I'm surprised this is still an issue with newer Airstreams. You'd of thought Mother Ship would have learned their lesson by now.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by 2Airishuman
that tired, lame excuse is xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Last edited by john hd : Yesterday at 10:25 PM
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artstream
Hi Aaron!
The 1991 does not have a center plate like yours does.


OUCH! I am not an engineer (and I sometimes question if Airstream has any on payroll) but I cannot see how you could eliminate that plate and still have a durable system...but that is my opinion.

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Old 08-19-2007, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
Airstream folk do not subscribe to the "throwaway" philosophy of life. As such we are constantly working on ways to repair or improve our Airstreams, much like Harley Davidson folk.

There are very few "perfect" products out there. Those that think they can build a perfect Airstream should start a business that takes new Airstreams, tears them apart and rebuilds them to perfection. Stand by for sticker shock!
That is one of the main reasons I went vintage...for less than 1/4 the cost of a new 31' classic. I can completely gut, upgrade and rebuild my vintage unit. For about 1/3-1/2 the cost of a new one I could pay someone else to do it for me. (I work cheap )

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Old 08-19-2007, 10:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
OUCH! I am not an engineer (and I sometimes question if Airstream has any on payroll) but I cannot see how you could eliminate that plate and still have a durable system...but that is my opinion.

Aaron
Don't get me started on seperation.
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
OUCH! I am not an engineer (and I sometimes question if Airstream has any on payroll) but I cannot see how you could eliminate that plate and still have a durable system...but that is my opinion.Aaron
hi aaron

attached are photos showing what's typical of front end skeletons on modern units....

no plate. there are bolts attaching the floor channel to the frame...

the short vertical aluminum stays at the front have replaced the plate...

of course these are only riveted to the floor channel, NOT attached to the frame...

the 2 pix show 'with' a front hatch and without...

the last pix shows a wider view of the full insides...

and makes it clear 'semi monoque' is a thing of the past...

it is easy to see where the wall sections, roof section and end cap section are tacked together...

so newer units really do rely on the frame/floor for structural integrity...

i'm not sure frame construction has kept up with the new load demands.

of course they claim these segmentally assembled units are stronger than the one piece rib and higher rivet counts skins...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
... Those that think they can build a perfect Airstream should ...
no one has suggested perfection is the benchmark,

but units have gotten heavier and wider until this new interest in little/lite

and gradually removing key elements of construction while shortening the warranty...

isn't suggestive of company trust in the design, materials OR construction.

this year a/s considered SHORTENING the warranty to ONE year....

rebuilds, repairs, leaks, and repeat fixes of the same problems are killing their bottom line...

the good news is buyers don't need to wait 20 or 30 years for front end separation to appear....

the service center is seeing this issue in nearly NEW units and back into the 90s (like howieE)...

the fact is most a/s trailers and owners travel very little....

they sit in the yard or storage lot or roll to the lake an hour away...

but folks who put on miles or take long long trips should all be aware.

real travelers are the ultimate laboratory and the mouse is falling apart!

front end separation IS the new rear end issue revisited... and beatrice isn't too blame.

cheers
2air'

i posted these pix in fairly high resolution so you will need to open them in a new window and zoom some...
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:03 PM   #13
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Hi 2airishuman

From looking at your pics and what I have seen on my unit so far. If I am correct there is a channel end cap all the way around the floor and a floor plate on top of the floor. I can see the end cap channel through the sepeartion and it appears to still be fastened to the frame. If so the floor plate may have seperated from the floor and the body framing, inner and outer skins and floor plate have seperated as a unit.

If this is the case I think I can get to the problem by removing the inner skin. Once removed what is the best way to tye it down again. Considering toggle bolts and fender washers down through the floor plate and floor end cap channel. Once the body is secured down I will rerivit the bannan strip hopping to hit the end of the end cap channel as additional structural support.

By the way this is no stay at home trailer. It has over 115,000 miles on it. At the Tampa trailer show this year one of the factory reps asked if I was considering trading. I said yes if they gave me a new trailer and $5,000.00 we would starting the negotiations.

Your Thoughts?
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:23 PM   #14
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howieE...

don't confuse me with a skilled service tech, i'm just an owner.

i've got photos of the repair for this and it was all done from outside.

certainly you will be able to see the issues by tearing out the interior and inner skin,

but that's a lot of deconstruction just to look.

the question is, has the shell separated from the floor, or the floor (and channel) lifted from the frame?

again removing the beltline trim 5-6 feet back on each side wlll give ya some idea of just how far around this gap issue goes...

and the trim is easy to put back.

one section of belly wrap might need removal to inspect for floor/channel lifting from the frame...

as too the best repair it will depend on just how much is separated and at what level...

artstream has mucho experience with this (he fixed his own) and has seen many units with the issue.

he did a craftsman like job of the repairs too!

i'd suggest exposing more, shooting more pix and then considering the repair options....

but i wouldn't start from the inside.

cheers
2air'

also these photos are widebody construction. the 91s may look a bit different...

and i know your unit is a traveler, which makes my point about which folks will find this...
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