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Old 04-02-2010, 02:52 PM   #1
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2008 27' International CCD FB
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Frame and Floor Pre-purchase Inspection Tips

Could anyone help with some quick tips on inspecting the frame and subflooring. I don't have a friend over 300# to make this easy, so besides falling through the floor are there “tell tell” signals?

The seller just replaced the floor, which raises the question with me. I am not expecting the '75 Overlander Int’l to be perfect, just want to understand the commitment.

I am planning to have a PDI done at a dealer / service center prior to finalizing the sell, but don't want to waste my time (or the seller’s) if the frame and floor are shot.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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Nobody really wants a prospective buyer to have their #300 friend jump up and down in or on their Airstream. I have heard that's the way to check for rear end seperation, but it's also the way to cause it on a trailer you haven't bought yet!
The best thing is to get an experienced person to come with you. Try the trailer inspection link on the forum page and search for one in the area. If you are doing this yourself try poking in the floor with an ice pick, or a sharp screwdriver, around the perimeter of the floor where it goes under the walls. Most likely places are under the front window, by the entry door, and under the bathroom(especially a rear bath model), but you should get under the cabinets and everywhere you can to poke at it. Soft wood is rotten wood.

Best to you,
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jremling View Post
Could anyone help with some quick tips on inspecting the frame and subflooring.
Thanks for the help!
The only way is to drop the belly pan, then you would be 100% sure.
I have seen Airstreams that look like they would never have a problem and
have major frame and floor problems.

Check out this 1975, 29 ft, Ambassador
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...rot-39673.html

toastie
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:45 AM   #4
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The only way is to remove the belly pan, then you would be 100% sure.
I have seen Airstreams that look like they would never have a problem and
have major frame and floor problems.



toastie
Ours never had any indication it had a problem until the frame broke in half in the middle of the desert. A possible way to check is to see if the rivets and the areas around them, where they attach the belly pan to the frame, are badly corroded. While not foolproof, it is an indicator.
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:40 AM   #5
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I'm no expert but if its not too far I'll take a look, a floor replacement is a BIG job, just ask terry, rich and toastie. Sometimes a short conversation with the owner will give you a lot of info, most of the time when they say a new floor, they are talking about laminate. Most (all?) of the 60's and 70's that I have looked at and a majority of the ones I have read about here have at least some subfloor/frame issues.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:19 PM   #6
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Any new ideas on this topic? I have the same question.

Thanks
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:12 PM   #7
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If you buy an expensive boat, the last thing you want is a wet balsa core. It can be even more expensive than a shell-off restoration. Yacht surveyors are usually hired to check for moisture, among other issues. I've seen them use this meter, which is held against the hull and gives a signal if moisture is found. They are considered relatively accurate for percentage moisture but very reliable for showing relative moisture -- i.e. they find the wet spots well. For the technically minded, they work on capacitance measurement.

The price is a little steep, but there is a less expensive, but less accurate and more difficult meter for a LOT less money. Notice that you'll have to get both pins on the top of the meter to contact wood below the surface to get a good reading.

If the PO has covered a wet floor, the first will pick it up with high probability as long as the temperature is not too cold. The second should find it -- if and only if -- the pins can access the moist wood. I'll bet that uncovered spots in quick cover-up jobs shouldn't be too hard to find.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:01 AM   #8
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You could ask the seller if they took any photos of the floor replacement project. You might be able to see the frame in some of those, if they share any photos with you.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:49 AM   #9
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First question to ask is just what do they mean when they say they replaced the floor. Did they do a proper subfloor replacement, or did they just slap new flooring over a rotten subfloor. I've seen trailers where the seller, who is in the business of flipping Airstreams, screwed and glued new OSB to a rotten subfloor. Doing this kind of half-assed fix will foil most efforts to detect rotten floor, but is by no means a correct or adequate fix--just lipstick on a pig.

Your best bet to detect rotting floor is to take a skinny screwdriver or ice pick and go all the way around the interior perimeter, as close to the wall as possible, and poke at the subfloor. The rot prone areas are around the door, under the windows, behind the refrigerator, and across the rear end, usually at the perimeter.

For rear-end separation, look for a gap between the shell and the rear bumper trunk surface. Stand on the bumper and bounce a little--the shell and bumper should move together, and no gap should open up. Don't get barbaric--it isn't your trailer yet. There may be a row of bucked rivets near the bottom of the center rear exterior panel. Look for heavy corrosion and/or tearing of the aluminum around these rivets.

Beyond this, it is hard to tell how bad of shape a frame is in, as very little of it is exposed. But, look at the A-frame in front, and the frame rails that meet the bumper in the back. Get underneath and poke at the undersides. Take a look at the mounting plates where the axles bolt on. Look on the interior and exterior for any wrinkles in the skin or sheared rivets--these could indicate a frame that is already compromised.

Finally, it is my opinion that practically every trailer built in the 70's, especially those that have spent a significant part of their lives in wet, tropical climates, are going to need floor and frame repairs. So buy one that has already had the heavy lifting done, or buy one knowing that you have a shell-off in your future. Make sure you understand what "good" looks like in terms of a floor repair/replacement. Ask to see pictures. Ask for a detailed description of what was done. Ask about materials that were used. There are plenty of sellers out there that don't even know how bad of condition their trailer is in, and will honestly tell you that it is in great shape and ready to camp. Don't take their word for it.

good luck!
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