Originally Posted by jslowery
Thanks for the information Andy even though it looks like bad news. Both axles have a bend slightly off center and the spindles are sitting higher than the square tube axle. Do I really have to replace the brakes? how do you balance the assembly and how often should it be done?
Once I correct this I guess I will need to pull the top off and take the frame to a body shop and have it straightened? Is it possible there is a crack? I am a capable welder and I believe I could chain a heavy beam to the front and rear and jack the middle down to straighten it out. Then scab on reinforcement plates. It looks like there would be a significant stress concentration where the frame drops down for the tanks just past the rear axle.
I wish I had found this forum before I purchased. I though I was just going to do an interior restoration. Does anyone have any budget information for a restoration project? Is it worth it?
I plan on gutting the inside. Should I remove the interior skin? Can I work out some of the dents if I do? I guess you can buy painted rivets. Where do you get them? I have purchased some blind pop rivets to replace some on the outside, should I replace these while the interior is out?
I have way too many questions so I will pour over the previous posts some more.
Thanks for your help.
Hi Piney woods country.
Had a mother-in-law that worked at Texas Foundries back in the 50's and 60's.
First things first. All Airstreams are flexible. The unbalanced running gear and/or rigid hitch torsion bars and/or super heavy duty tow vehicle, bad axles, all together or individually, cause the trailer to shake far more than it should. That's what caused the ceiling problem.
That does not mean that there is a frame problem at all, but there could be.
Your description of the axles says they are shot. Further towing will cause further damage. When the trailer is fully loaded for travel, the spindles should still be below the axle tube, at least to some degree.
The bend in the middle of the axles is normal. That's how they are aligned.
You can check the frame at the axles, and see what's up.
Suspending the trailer, from front to rear, as I described earlier, should be done with caution. You do not need to reverse the shell bend any more than necessary, but just enough to make the bulkhead molding and bulkhead drop, so that you can trim it. Remove the rivets from the molding before you do any jacking.
Since the trailer has been abused, I would suggest that you pull the complete underbelly, and check the entire frame. New style brakes have oval magnets, which are far superior to the old style round magnets. If yours are round, then also be advised that some of those backing plate parts are not available. New style hub and drums are far superior to the originals on your trailer.
Balancing should be done every 10,000 miles. A major brake and wheel bearing pack should be done every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever is first. Airstream however, now suggests every 6 months or 10,000 miles. Why? Because water can get into the bearings, just being parked.
You cannot work out dents that have creases to the extent that they cannot be seen. The crease will still show.
We carry over 3300 different Airstream parts in stock. That would enable us to help you with most any part you may need, from stock.
Pop rivets can only be used on the inside of the trailer, and the underbelly, since they leak.
Exterior rivets are called "Olympic rivets." They operate similiar to pop rivets, but must be shaved.
I doubt that your frame is bent. Please don't assume that it is.
If you saw your frame, brand new, you would see that it had a dip to it.
Airstreams have a semi-monocoque design. That means the shell is load bearing.
Contrary to many opinions, the Airstream shell, because of it's design, holds up the frame. A bodyshop, as you described will have little to no knowledge as to the how's and why's of an Airstream, or it's frame.
Since your new to Airstreaming, your school has just begun.
But many members on this Forums can help you with solid facts. The key is to make sure the information is "fact" and not just an opinion.