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Old 12-19-2014, 10:05 AM   #1
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Extending the frame

Has anyone ever attempted when doing a frame off restoration on say a 27 foot of extending the frame 5 feet in the rear So after putting the body back on a platform can be made for carrying scooters or a motorcycle?
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:15 AM   #2
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I'm sorry. I guess I should have search better before making this post. I see people talk about rear frame and body separation. I was hoping a 31 foot and a 27 foot had the axles in the same place because if 31 foot did maybe we can handle the extra 5 feet added to the 27 foot.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:30 AM   #3
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If your going to extend it you can also stiffen it.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:36 AM   #4
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You really can't do it. The issue is that the frames and the shell are integrated. Modern trailers start with a solid frame, like the foundation of a house, and then build on top. Airstreams are more like just a flat attachment point, with the shell being a continuation - it acts like a big tube. The frame by itself is not nearly as structural without the shell. If you took the shell off, the frame really flexes. You really can't go beyond a foot or so, and even if you want to add something minimal, you'd want to double a plate going back, at maybe a 3:1 ratio - for every foot you go out the back, support it 3 feet under the trailer with some steel plate, otherwise, the downward flex on the frame will make it want to pull the attachment bolts of the rear away from the frame, as the shell will want to stay straight.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thezirps View Post
Has anyone ever attempted when doing a frame off restoration on say a 27 foot of extending the frame 5 feet in the rear So after putting the body back on a platform can be made for carrying scooters or a motorcycle?
This is probably an ENGINEERING question - Yes you can put a stiffer frame under an Airstream. If I were ever rich enough to pay someone else to do a frame off restoration for me, I would NOT be bound to do a historical update. I'd definitely stiffen the frame and probably put in a nyloboard or aluminum floor (brr, would then add under floor heating!). Extending the frame - really requires a lot of thought, the physics involved in making a 90 degree turn with the axles possibly being too far forward? Two feet would probably be a LOT less risky. You put a lot of weight too far aft and it screws up your tongue weight as well as


If you just wanted to make a "back porch" could you make a platform that would be something you'd set up when parked. I'm thinking about my mother's dining room table with three extra leaves that were only used for Thanksgiving and Christmas - have extensions that could pull out with a moveable bumper, then drop 1 foot sections of flooring onto the rails (I have an Eddie Bauer so It strikes me that this would be cool... but the back porch would only be about 5 feet tall if it were elevated to bumper height. Oh well nice thought while it lasted.
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your wisdom. I see this is not the answer for taking my motorcycle along. Maybe a long bed pu to pull it? lol. I do hear that you are all saying the frame flexas alot. Should I and more support on stock frame when doing the frame repair?
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Frame flex..... what's that????
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:37 PM   #8
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Your original problem was wanting to haul motorcycles along with your Airstream.
When I was younger, my uncle had a pickup truck with a high, about four foot, camper shell on the back - I built a ramp and my friend and I used to run our bikes (two) up inside and off we'd go - worked great!
I.E., you could do the same and hook up the AS behind.
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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You can do it but you need to weld something like a plate to the frame from the bottom edge of the axle mounting plate and then taper it to the thickness of the I-beam at the back. The early 70's trailers had real crappy frames with a heavy bathroom and tanks in the rear. Most of the frames on these things are completely rusted out at the back. Sometime in the late 70's they started using a box beam made of two channels welded together. You could also make some sort of truss. The main problem is that the connection between the shell and frame is really weak even when it has not rusted out. There is also a lot of room for improvement in this connection. Unless I had a really strong frame and heavier axles, I am not sure I would put anything heavy back there. You need to also consider the weight balance of the trailer. Too much weight and there won't be enough tongue weight. If you add a platform, consider adding it to the front not the back. Someone on here took a small Airstream off the frame and mounted it on a flatbed trailer. It was kinda ugly but I guess it worked. He put 4 wheelers on the front of this flatbed trailer. With frames, the strength increases real fast as the channel or box beam gets taller. You want to make the frame taller not thicker.

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Old 12-19-2014, 02:42 PM   #10
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If I was going to do that I would think about extending the tongue instead of after the axles. I have been on several trips with people carrying rather larger motorcycles in either the bed of a pickup or in the back of a E350 van. The general thought with Airstreams is that the back end is very weak and weight back there can cause the trailer to sway. Their is not much frame behind the axles to extend. And the trailers are so low to the ground that the rear will drag on a painted road stripe.
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Old 12-19-2014, 02:48 PM   #11
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The primary issue here is the effect of loading something as heavy as a scooter or motorcycle that far behind the axles. Additional weight behind the axles can significantly affect rig balance and tongue weight. You can reinforce the frame enough to carry several hundred pounds on the rear, but the physical effects caused by extending the lever arm will not bode well for towing.

Your axle(s) represent a fulcrum point and your rig is designed to weigh more on the hitch end. This is why axle(s) are usually placed slightly off center towards the rear of many trailers. Without running any calculations I would conservatively estimate that you would need to increase your frontal weight by a factor of at least 10:1, probably more to compensate for the increased tail weight. This means much more overall trailer weight and a beefier frame to carry the load. The video explains the science behind this and would help you come up with a real world number.

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Old 12-19-2014, 03:21 PM   #12
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I agree with Perry, it was sorrowful to witness the old Globe Trotter married to the flatbed toy hauler.




Worse things have happened...


As you can see, in this early edition Eddie Bauer prototype, the installation of dumpster rollers will always resolve any sag, separation, and weight issues incurred from re-engineering the aft of your Airstream.


Who will author the book: “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Airstreams”??


Yup, maybe motorcycles are best in/on the tow vehicle.



Rebuilding these old trailers is great fun. Especially if your life's lessons have taught you to enjoy "the process".



Wishing you the best, and a swift path to achieving the milestone of safe rolling tin tent condition.


Wm
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Old 12-19-2014, 03:59 PM   #13
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I have toyed with the idea of putting my DR650SE on the front bumper of the Excursion. I expect this won't happen till I retire and actually have time to ride thing thing. I would probably put a standard hitch on the front and use a standard hitch mounted motorcycle carrier.

Perry
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