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Old 01-01-2013, 03:43 PM   #253
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1966 24' Tradewind
2005 22' Safari
Bastrop , Texas
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Smile

Right rear where the truss connects to the frame via the 1/2 inch plate, and bumper
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:48 PM   #254
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2009 34' Panamerica
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So is this problem only on the 22 feet models or are all airstream affected like my 2009 34 feet Panamerica. On my trailer all those supports are covered up.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:50 PM   #255
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1966 24' Tradewind
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part of the beefed up front frame and tongue. No more up and down movement . Should be able to hold up well if you needed to use a load equalizer hitch . The short bed Dodge 3/4 ton handles it quite well without one. With the big Cummins diesel, and 12000. pound winch mounted on front it welcomes the added tongue weight on the rear axle.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:56 PM   #256
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Howdy Pedecanada ! Hopefully they used real steel channel iron and top to bottom outriggers with full crossmembers between each one . Have not heard of failures like are common on the 22 ft tandem axle models on any of the larger ones
Happy New Year !
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:48 PM   #257
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2009 34' Panamerica
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I hope the 34 footer have no problems or I would be pissed. The trailer seemed well built but time will tell.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:27 AM   #258
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2003 22' International
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Well done. Maybe a bit over done but a whole lot better than under-done.
I am going to bring your Post to the attention of Dave Schumann, General Manager, Customer Relations Group at Airstream.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:42 PM   #259
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Thanks Don,
I do tend to build things a tad bit stronger than just good enough .
Of coarse in the case of Airstream frames on the 22 ft. trailers , No one in their right mind could possibly think the flimsy , light weight pressed sheet metal junk frames they built would ever hold up to even low speed occasional trips !
They are more like the cheap lightweight frames that are stuck under house trailers. With barley enough ass to get it from the factory to wherever it's gonna sit for years and years with support every few ft under the frame


Have you ever looked under one of the newer single axle Bambi's that Airstream builds? Holy Mother of God if they have have put the same cheap pile of crap frames under them with only one axle, they must be having even worse problems than the 22 ft tandem axles ! just saying .

Hang in there !
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:04 PM   #260
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Thanks Don,
I do tend to build things a tad bit stronger than just good enough .
Of coarse in the case of Airstream frames on the 22 ft. trailers , No one in their right mind could possibly think the flimsy , light weight pressed sheet metal junk frames they built would ever hold up to even low speed occasional trips !
They are more like the cheap lightweight frames that are stuck under house trailers. With barley enough ass to get it from the factory to wherever it's gonna sit for years and years with support every few ft under the frame


Have you ever looked under one of the newer single axle Bambi's that Airstream builds? Holy Mother of God if they have have put the same cheap pile of crap frames under them with only one axle, they must be having even worse problems than the 22 ft tandem axles ! just saying .

Hang in there !

Please understand that Airstream has "NEVER" claimed to have a tough chassis.

Why you ask?

Because the strength of an Airstream is in the shell, not the chassis.

The method of construction is "Monocoque" or more especially with Airstream, "Semi-monocoque".

Monocoque means load bearing shell.

Actually, the stronger the frame, the more trouble you will have "IF" it's not attached to the shell correctly.

Andy
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:06 PM   #261
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It appears that Avion and Silver Streak used strong frames. How did they attach their frames to the shell? I know that it is different, and I know that they rarely have the issue that Airstream has. I've never taken an Avion trailer apart, mainly because I never had the need to.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:40 PM   #262
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Andy, You are so very correct in that the shells are built very well !!
The skin on my 22 never wrinkled at all and the door always opened and shut just fine. The shell being very well fastened to the frame in the very front and rear would be a great way to build a trailer. But for the fact that there are no floor Joists , the OSB flooring laying on top of the frame with a few weak outriggers to the left and right walls looks good on paper till the main frame breaks in half just behind the rear axle transferring the entire load to the rear outriggers and as they slowly break due to metal fatigue the center part of the frame and floor where the axles are under slowly rises up toward the ceiling wrecking the cabinets along the way , and if the trailer were to continue down the road the great shell would be dragging the pavement on its rear but would still maintain it's integrity . The frame HAS to be able to carry the load of the trailer and stuff in it ! anything less is unacceptable especially in an AIRSTREAM which has been for decades synonymous with THE VERY BEST , it is a shame what has become of the brand. But with a little effort , they can remedy these problems and continue to build legends.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:20 AM   #263
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Andy, You are so very correct in that the shells are built very well !!
The skin on my 22 never wrinkled at all and the door always opened and shut just fine. The shell being very well fastened to the frame in the very front and rear would be a great way to build a trailer. But for the fact that there are no floor Joists , the OSB flooring laying on top of the frame with a few weak outriggers to the left and right walls looks good on paper till the main frame breaks in half just behind the rear axle transferring the entire load to the rear outriggers and as they slowly break due to metal fatigue the center part of the frame and floor where the axles are under slowly rises up toward the ceiling wrecking the cabinets along the way , and if the trailer were to continue down the road the great shell would be dragging the pavement on its rear but would still maintain it's integrity . The frame HAS to be able to carry the load of the trailer and stuff in it ! anything less is unacceptable especially in an AIRSTREAM which has been for decades synonymous with THE VERY BEST , it is a shame what has become of the brand. But with a little effort , they can remedy these problems and continue to build legends.
Based on over 46 years experience repairing Airstreams and writing the crash book some 43 years ago, I hate to tell you, but facts are facts.

Your frame broke where it did because of vibration, simply caused by lack of proper running gear balance. A secondary effect could be a bad axle, excessive hitch bar rating and/or excessive rated tow vehicle, or a combination of these things.

That has happened hundreds of times, and will continue unless balancing is properly used.

A broken frame, is not the result of design, but is the result of improper use.

That has also proven itself over the course of many years and many failures.

Andy
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:22 AM   #264
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There is no doubt that the shell is a significant part of the structure on an AS trailer. The first time that I studied one was when I was looking at an Airstream Bambi. Seeing the 3" structural channel frame on a 19' trailer, it was obvious that the shell had to be part of the structure. That was the point where I knew that I would definitely rebuild my Avion camper and build a trailer for it. There is no way that the Bambi could do what I wanted it to do. There is a reason that it only holds 24 gallons of water. Once wet it can only hold less than 500#. I'll bet most owners are over gross weight when traveling and don't even know it.

As far as the failures go on the 22' AS trailers, I wouldn't mind getting a bad one cheap (with a perfect shell) and building an entirely new frame for it. It seems to me that the shell will keep the frame from twisting as much as it normally would. I would like Andy to give us some ideas on how to fasten them better. My idea would be to use 5" (maybe 6") structural channel with 3" (vetically centered) structural channel cross members and outriggers, with 2"x2"x 1/8" angle iron to make it flush with the top of the frame. For the 22' model, I would use a single Flexiride 5200# axle and I would give the trailer more ground clearance. I would put at least 80 gallons of water underneath it (most in front of the axle). It would sit a little higher but with full water it would still have a low center of gravity. There is a reason that I would use a single axle. With rubber torsion axles you actually get more strain on each axle than you do with a leaf spring axle. Some rubber torsion axle manufacturers actually make you order the axles 1.25x heavier than your combined gross weight. An example would be that a tandem axle 7,000# trailer that would normally take two 3,500# axles would now need two 4,375# axles (as if they actually make that rated axle). The reason that they do this is because the rubber torsion axles don't have an equalizer like leaf spring axle have. With a single axle, the frame won't have the need to twist as much because it acts more like a tripod when it is being towed. It is supported at three points instead of 5 points. Picture pulling an AS trailer through a parking lot with 6"+ speed bumps. The entire load of the trailer is on the first axle, then the second axle.

The beauty of the leaf springs are the equalizer. On normal road surfaces, the rubber torsion axles ride better. I think that a tandem set of rubber torsion axles attached to an equalizer (rocker) might be a nice way to go. The attachment points would be a small steel member to take the place of a leaf spring. It would require shackles just like the leaf springs have. That gives me something to work on later.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:38 AM   #265
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Based on over 46 years experience repairing Airstreams and writing the crash book some 43 years ago, I hate to tell you, but facts are facts.

Your frame broke where it did because of vibration, simply caused by lack of proper running gear balance. A secondary effect could be a bad axle, excessive hitch bar rating and/or excessive rated tow vehicle, or a combination of these things.

That has happened hundreds of times, and will continue unless balancing is properly used.

A broken frame, is not the result of design, but is the result of improper use.

That has also proven itself over the course of many years and many failures.

Andy
ANDY - I rarely dispute with your opinions BUT THIS TIME?

First - Airstreams 43 years ago were made with Alclad aluminum and had solid one piece ribs - neither are true now. Airstreams have fewer rivets tying the Ribs and the shell together than they did 43 years ago. The shell isn't CAPABLE of holding the frame together!

Secondly most of these 22' Airstreams had frames break with relatively LOW miles - and most of those miles on interstate highways. Almost all of them broke within months of the warrantee expiring.

Thirdly and most important - how can "improperly balanced tires and rims" cause the frames to break ONLY ON THE 22 foot Airstreams? The factory doesn't balance the rims and tires any more.... Centramatics CAN balance them dynamically. And again it's ONLY the 22 footers!


The lousy OSB makes a weaker floor, Airstream makes a weaker shell, then they plop the whole mess on a weaker frame and bad stuff happens. "Engineering for Cheaper" finds the failure point.

I'm sure every Airstream - every trailer - and every car ever manufactured could benefit from having properly balanced running gear. But having a FRAME BREAK because your tires are out of balance?

Couldn't possibly be because the frame was crap in the first place?

Mr. Spock and I both think this is simply NOT LOGICAL.

Paula
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:32 PM   #266
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The most significant problems seem to be on the 22 foot models, but many of the others are having issues. I can't imagine owning a travel trailer and have to worry if I have anything in the gray or black water tank when I travel. I don't want to have to worry about that. There are AS owners that feel that traveling with waste water will destroy their "dream" trailer. My "dream" trailer would be able to handle any kind of normal usage. There are folks who worry if they have the rear bath. Why? There is no doubt that all modern AS trailers could use a better frame.
My question is, how to attach the shell to a better frame so that I don't create any structural issues. I can build a better frame for less than $1,500, not including the axles for the 22' model. The biggest hassle is buying 40' material and cutting it the proper length to get it home.
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