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Old 11-29-2006, 09:20 PM   #1
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1999 25' Safari
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Frame Droop

Does anyone know if a mid-seventies 27' trailer frame will droop like many of the 31' units have?
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:53 PM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hello Jack -- Welcome to the Forums! All trailers and how they have been treated is so individual. Buying after personal inspection is the only way to tell how a unit was maintained. You'd want to sight along the sides, looking for side panel ripples behind the wheel well area. Also inspect for symmetry at the body-rear bumper junction (that's a weak area that loses caulking seal on any trailer this old -- unrelated to rear end separation). Feel free to ask away -- multiple pictures can sure help in evaluation of any prospect. You do hear about it more with rear bath units but you can't count on generalities like that.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:25 AM   #3
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Jack,

With only 18" (approx) less frame and shell extending past the axle than a '31, it seems that without proper maintenance (rear seal @ beltline, plumbing, running gear balance), a 27' would be just as likely to droop as a 31'.

I'm guessing you're asking the question because you either have, or are contemplating a purchase.

A good rule of thumb to follow.....There are only two categories of 30 year old airstreams.....those with rear floor/frame separation issues and those in which those issues have been addressed/repaired.

Now there is a 3rd category, but there are very few out there IMO. Those are typically 1st or 2nd owner, have been rigidly maintained (no rear seal leaks or bathroom plumbing leaks) and is still structurally sound. Good luck finding one of those! (And I would never assume this unless I could visually inspect underneath, which involves removing the belly pan, etc.
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Old 12-01-2006, 07:08 PM   #4
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Im a little confused, what exactly is rear frame separation/droop etc? What exactly is happening? I know on the frames there are two main rails off to each side and the ribs that go side to side all the way up to the front. My question is are welds breaking somewhere along the ribs or are teh main frame rails bending or breaking???
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MItch
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:32 PM   #5
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I'm in the same boat as Durans there. I've been reading up on it and can't quite get the light of day on it. I have a 75 31' Sovereign and I have looked a different threads dealing with frame channel depth. Mine has the 5 inch channel frame. I did the rear end sag test and i couldn't notice much movement difference. The exposed part of the frame at the very back does have some cancerous rust, but the trailer was in florida for the better part of 25 years. I have not been able to find any water damage yet in my trailer. I do plan on keeping it awhile, and one thing I am going to have to do is to re enforce the frames that hold the blackwater and aux tanks. I have not yet dropped the belly skin in that area, which I intend to do because there is some extensive rust on the exposed part of the holding frame.
After reading that basically all 70s' model 31' trailers will be plagued by the rear end sag, I have tried to find links or pic of what the frame reenforcement kit looks like. I have the service manual for my trailer and have looked at the breakdown of the frame and have come up with a couple of ideas on how I would do the beefing up, but I was curious of what was already out there.
On the end note I am totally happy with "Silver Team #2", it will take a little bit of work to get her up to par but in the end it will be totally worth it.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:25 AM   #6
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The problem is the frame is too weak and bends or fatique cracks around where the rear wheels attach to the frame. The cause of the problem is excessive overhang combined with carring too much weight over rough roads. The factory cure is to reinforce the frame by installing a stiffener plate bolted to the fame between the wheels and installing more bolts attaching the frame to the shell. Your Airstream dealer can still get you parts and instructions on how to do this.
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:25 AM   #7
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LJ,

It's not sag but separation which leads to sag which most are plagued with. Once the integrity of the rear frame/floor/shell joint is compromised (separation) due to floor rot/rust, the shell no longer supports the frame.

Sag is certainly possible without separation (weight and unbalanced running gear), but it is usually the separation that leads to sag.

Repair the separation issue(s) and you'll prevent sag.

(Prevention cheaper than cure, but it's not cheap...believe me!)

Here's a picture of a rear frame I rebuilt for a friend who purchased another '72 Overlander from Florida. Does it look like yours?
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:26 AM   #8
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frame

PC,
My frame is not even close to that bad off. I'm not sure on how to post a picture in a reply post but I have a pic of the area I was talking about. I looked at the crossmember you made and it looks like something I might end up doing down the road. The back end just seems to be a little underbuilt in that particular area. Thanks
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