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Old 09-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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frame cracked, fixable?

Just pulled one of the brakes plates off (right rear) of my 1973 rear bath sovereign. When I bought it I thought it had a cool rear rack. (yes when it comes to older airstreams I was an idiot. I say was because I am getting way more of an education than I really wanted) Didn't take me long to figure out that the trailer had a rear end separation issue which someone had tried to fix.

We had bought this trailer, left our home, and went on the road full-time. I figured I would spend a month or so in Wisconsin at my parents house fixing what needed to be fixed (more and more as we went along).

The brakes weren't working very well. Now I have figured out that the axles are shot. I was going to put new brakes on and replace the axles when I saved up the money.

Then I found this and said oh @#$% to myself.

Is this fixable, patchable? We are supposed to leave here on October 7th.
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:34 PM   #2
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I don't know about Oct 7 but Id say YES FIXABLE . But you realize you will have to drop that axle that looks shot anyway. DONT PUT THOSE BACK IN unless you want the same problem all over again somewhere else.
If that break is not at the axle mounting plate I see no reason it cant be fixed.
GOOD LUCK
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:42 PM   #3
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you will have to drop that axle that looks shot anyway
I'll go one better. It was probably the bad axle that cracked the frame.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:27 PM   #4
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Definitely fixable. If it was mine, I would be thinking in terms of reinforcing plates 3 to 4 feet long bolted to the frame, not welded. It is hard to be more specific without inspecting the frame myself. I would also want to get some paint on there, 2 coats of Rustoleum. You don't have to clean off all the rust, just give it a rub with a wire brush to knock off loose rust and dirt and paint it by brush.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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So I need to drop the axles. remove the belly pan and then find someone to weld this back together. Any guesses on cost?
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:17 PM   #6
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Airstream used to have a reinforcing plate kit that looked slick.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:21 PM   #7
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I just had a welder over to fix some corrosion and outriggers. Cost about 250.00 for about 5 hours work. I would the crack then add some stiffening plates if there is room. I would jack up the rear of that member to try and get it back to the original position if it has sagged before you weld. Just my two-cents!

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So I need to drop the axles. remove the belly pan and then find someone to weld this back together. Any guesses on cost?
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:41 PM   #8
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Airstream used to have a reinforcing plate kit that looked slick.
I'm sure you can find these at all Airstream parts dealers. This is an example of reinforcing plate kit. The welder can probably come up with something too.

Main Frame Repair Plate 451120-01 [451120-01] - $279.95 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #9
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Just pulled one of the brakes plates off (right rear) of my 1973 rear bath sovereign. When I bought it I thought it had a cool rear rack. (yes when it comes to older airstreams I was an idiot. I say was because I am getting way more of an education than I really wanted) Didn't take me long to figure out that the trailer had a rear end separation issue which someone had tried to fix.

We had bought this trailer, left our home, and went on the road full-time. I figured I would spend a month or so in Wisconsin at my parents house fixing what needed to be fixed (more and more as we went along).

The brakes weren't working very well. Now I have figured out that the axles are shot. I was going to put new brakes on and replace the axles when I saved up the money.

Then I found this and said oh @#$% to myself.

Is this fixable, patchable? We are supposed to leave here on October 7th.
Fixable? Yes indeed, if done properly.

More importantly, what was the cause.

Easy answers.

Unbalanced running gear, and/or a combo of excessive rated torsion bars and tow vehicle.

Combine that wih the possibility of bad axles, and there you have it.

Andy
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:19 PM   #10
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Unbalanced running gear, and/or a combo of excessive rated torsion bars and tow vehicle.


Andy

Okay, probably a dumb question here (and, so you'll know, I'm not a blond -- no offense to any who are, but you know how guys like to kid about that) -- Andy, what do you mean by ".............a combo of excessive rated torsion bars and tow vehicle". (Especially wondering about the tow vehicle part in this.)

Thanks.

Deb
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:23 PM   #11
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"Excessive rated.. . tow vehicle" Folks buying a high load rated (3/4 ton and better) modern truck that has near zero give in the suspension when not carrying at least a good chunk of its rated payload, then add in the leverage advantage of the chassis length to the rear bumper beyond the rear axle and the trailer "A" frame ends up being snapped up and down following the hitch ball with more force than it was designed for.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:50 PM   #12
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Okay, probably a dumb question here (and, so you'll know, I'm not a blond -- no offense to any who are, but you know how guys like to kid about that) -- Andy, what do you mean by ".............a combo of excessive rated torsion bars and tow vehicle". (Especially wondering about the tow vehicle part in this.)

Thanks.

Deb
Deb.

Relax.

Questions are never dumb.

We all learn by asking them.

It's the answers that we sometimes have to weigh.

Airstream and Argosy's must have a soft ride.

Vibration caused the cracks.

The question then becomes "what caused the vibration".

A heavy duty tow vehicle transfers road shock to the trailer.

Super heavy duty torsion bars on the load equalizing hitch, do the same thing. Add those two together and you are shaking the daylights out of the trailers.

Then, you can add to that, unbalanced running gear. The tire, wheel hub and drum assembly, should all be balanced.

If by chance you had all three negatives going, then the trailer reacted to that punishment, by having fatigue cracks in the frame. You should also probably find some damage to the shell, and furniture.

The soft ride, is not a wish, it's a "got to".

What tow vehicle do you have and what brand and rating load equalizing hitch do you have?

Plenty of verbal help is available for you.

Andy
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:28 PM   #13
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Wellllll........we have been going 'round and 'round about this, discussing what we should do. We are in the process of buying a new TV, but can't quite settle on what it should be.

Our likes:

GMC; crew cab; 4x4; shortbed; at least a 6.2ltr engine with tow package.

What we'd like to have:

The above with a diesel and Allison transmission.

We'd like to go with a 1/2-ton, but that, we don't think, comes in the diesel/Allison trans. We may need to go with a 3/4-ton, but would rather not unless it is necessary.

We don't want to buy one thing now and find we really needed more power/strength.

We want to get the best mpg as possible. Most importantly is that we get what we need -- we don't want to max things out and not have enough power when needed to get over "that mountain".

I seriously doubt we'll go larger than a 25', but just in case, we may need to plan for an Overlander, should one jump into our lap.

Thanks for all the help.

Deb

PS -- We're trying to get this done before the end of this month so we can cash in on some of the rebates going on.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:43 AM   #14
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Bolts can be stronger than welds especially on rusty metal. Have you ever inspected a car or truck frame? Some parts are welded together but many are hot riveted or bolted.
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