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Old 06-21-2010, 01:46 AM   #1
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Frame bent, or normal?

Hi, I have been making adjustments on my tow vehicle and trailer. I noticed that when connected, that my trailer was 1" higher in front. A somewhat simple adjustment on the tow vehicle's air suspension should do the trick; just lower the rear end by 1/2" to 3/4", but it wasn't that simple. After making these adjustments, my tow vehicle remained too low in back while unhitched. So I raised it back up. Next I dropped my hitch down one hole on the shank; That should do it. I guess after several years of use and with the normal load in my trailer that it has settled a bit, so dropping the hitch, one bolt hole, should compensate for that. Now I take measurements again and don't like what I see. I will set this up and take pictures, but meanwhile please look at your trailers.

With my trailer level, in my driveway or on the street, I get something like this:

(1.) Bottom of frame by rear bumper = 16"s from the ground.

(2.) Bottom of frame by front of trailer body = 16"s from ground.

(3.) Bottom of frame at coupler = 17"s from the ground.

I don't see any signs of movement where the frame meets the front body panels. I don't see any buckles in the front frame section. Is it possible that when they [Airstream factory] [or frame builder] welded the front "A" frame to the main frame rails, it was slightly upward? I never measured my trailer this way so I can't say things changed or always was like this. This is assuming that the "A" frame and rails are separate pieces welded together.

Opinions and thoughts please. And do any other trailers measure like this?
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
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Are you sure you are on perfectly level ground when doing all of your measurements?
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:13 AM   #3
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Not sure about the newer ones, however on some the a frame was a different thickness than the frame itself. i don't think you have a problem. Just level the trailer based on the fridge freezer compartment or the floor and adjust hitch head or air suspension accordingly.
As Kevin said, you drive may not be perfectly level either
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
With my trailer level, in my driveway or on the street, I get something like this:

(1.) Bottom of frame by rear bumper = 16"s from the ground.

(2.) Bottom of frame by front of trailer body = 16"s from ground.

(3.) Bottom of frame at coupler = 17"s from the ground.
Is this when connected to tow vehicle or unhooked? Does that change it?

I'll take a look at mine this week and let you know what I see.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:30 PM   #5
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The factory did not do it

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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
... never measured my trailer this way so I can't say things changed or always was like this... do any other trailers measure like this?
I noticed the same issue with my '67 Airstream. After thoroughly examining all aspects while the belly skin was dropped, I decided the A-frame was bent, and the bend was not manufactured in.

In my opinion, this particular damage was caused by the previous owner's use of 1000-pound spring bars coupled to his 3/4-ton tow vehicle's suspension.

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Old 06-21-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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(1.) Bottom of frame by rear bumper = 14.2"s from the ground.

(2.) Bottom of frame by front of trailer body = 14.2"s from ground.

(3.) Bottom of frame at coupler = 15.2"s from the ground.

So other than the frame being lower in general (my tires have less than 50 PSI right now), mine exhibits the same thing. My trailer is parked forward on slight downhill slope, and I leveled it parallel to the slope. If the gradient is not consistent there could be errors.

There is no sign of deformation where the A frame enters the sheet metal, or any other signs of deformation which should be evident by a 1 inch sag.. One side of the A frame entry point the caulk is completely intact. The other side has a very small hairline crack in caulk. I can see no indication the A frame has grossly changed position since manufacture.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi View Post
(1.) Bottom of frame by rear bumper = 14.2"s from the ground.

(2.) Bottom of frame by front of trailer body = 14.2"s from ground.

(3.) Bottom of frame at coupler = 15.2"s from the ground.

So other than the frame being lower in general (my tires have less than 50 PSI right now), mine exhibits the same thing. My trailer is parked forward on slight downhill slope, and I leveled it parallel to the slope. If the gradient is not consistent there could be errors.

There is no sign of deformation where the A frame enters the sheet metal, or any other signs of deformation which should be evident by a 1 inch sag.. One side of the A frame entry point the caulk is completely intact. The other side has a very small hairline crack in caulk. I can see no indication the A frame has grossly changed position since manufacture.
(4.) Please share the hitch you are using (with all pertinent details about weight ratings).

(5.) Please share the rating of your tow vehicle's suspension.

I can not come up with a good reason why the factory would have spent the money to tool-up for a pre-bent A-frame. I stick by what I posted earlier.

Tom
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #8
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a/s frames are NOT rigid.

they can be seen to bow/flex/twist before assembly with the NAKED eye.

they can be seen to FLOP when off loaded or stacked.

in fact when stacked/shipped they have blocks/bracing at the preimeter, between frames.

MOST of this movement is hidden/reduced after the floor/shell is attached.
_________

the A frame can be seen to flex/bow with the naked eye or on lighter trailers with some SIMPLE measuring devices.

the A frame movement (even when NOT traveling and with NO w/d bars) can be seen in SHELL bulges OR lp tank movements...

or UNDER the trim as the rivet/screw holes stretch.

this is discussed in detail is several threads like this one...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-35237.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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Too cool

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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
a/s frames are [so forth & so forth]
I feel honored that 2air did not shoot holes in my last post.

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Not that there's anything wrong with that...
While I may never snatch the pebble from his hand, I feel I'm finally on the road...

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Old 06-21-2010, 05:58 PM   #10
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(4.) Eaz Lift Elite w/ 1000 lb bars

(5.) 1999 F250 extended cab short bed 2WD w/ Bilstein shocks.
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:10 PM   #11
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I think you bent your Airstream's A-frame with your setup.

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Old 06-21-2010, 06:17 PM   #12
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At this point I disagree. I would like to check or hear reports from brand new trailers. and later model trailers..

My setup is very typical for this trailer. If it bent the frame, there will be numerous others with the same condition, many with far more miles than mine not displaying overt symptoms of failure. The OPs trailer is pulled with a cushy Lincoln Navigator displays the exact same measurements.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:51 PM   #13
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Go With The Flow Airstreamer

Grasshoppa,
If you have one tough pick up and very strong arms hooking the trailer frame to the trucks heavy duty suspension watch out, especially if you have a short light trailer.
All it takes is a rough ride on crumbling American roads or a mistake, whoops.
I have bent a frame or flexed it very handy.
It is easy to do.
The secret is safe with us. Not that it happened to you.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:57 PM   #14
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Pictures today.

Hi, today I was able to take some pictures and some measurements. If my math is correct, weight on the tongue whether on the ground or on my tow vehicle, my frame is flexed upward about 5/8" at the coupler. Bent, I don't know. Maybe if I supported my frame behind my spare tire, it would be straight, or maybe not. Right now I don't feel it's a problem, but concerned.

My tow vehicle is a 2000 Lincoln Navigator 4X2 with rear air suspension and is rated to tow 8,900 lbs. My Safari is rated at 6,300 lbs. I use an Equal-i-zer hitch with 1,000 lb spring bars.

(1.) & (2.) Rear frame, in rear bumper area. 15 13/16"

(3.) & (4.) Front frame area, as close to body as possible. 15 13/16"

(5.) & (6.) Front frame area, as close to coupler as possible. 16 7/16"
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