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Old 02-14-2005, 08:59 PM   #1
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"Frame rot" 23' airstream land yacht?????

I have a 23' 1974 Airstream travel trailer with alot of rear frame rail rot, holes and rust up by the tongue vee ,ect... can this be repaired ? The trailer is in perfect shape inside and out , except for the frame. Is it worth fixing this or should I try parting this unit out. What is it worth??? Glenn
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:10 PM   #2
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Are you the one that I left the message for at rvonline.com?
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjkkbberg
I have a 23' 1974 Airstream travel trailer with alot of rear frame rail rot, holes and rust up by the tongue vee ,ect... can this be repaired ? The trailer is in perfect shape inside and out , except for the frame. Is it worth fixing this or should I try parting this unit out. What is it worth??? Glenn
Depends on your abilities. If you love it enough to invest countless hours and $ 10K, go for it.
If not, stop now and get a newer unit. rehabilitating Airstreams is not cheap, and takes a long time, is what I'm getting at.
I do believe that Safari size trailers are amongst the most popular and useable, so it will always be a desirable model. Safari's are the largest "little" Airstreams, whereas Tradewinds seem to be the smallest "Large" Airstreams.
Whatever you decide, this forum has a wealth of information ready for you.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:47 PM   #4
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If you can weld it can be done but if it has that sort of rust chances are strong that there is enough rust that it would be faster, cheaper and a better repair to just make a new frame.

Personnaly I don't like the C channel main rails that many coaches have. They are much harder to work with from a fabrication stand point as well. I'll take the little extra weight for boxed rails like my 59 has. I think the weght gain is worth the stronger frame.

If you can do ALL the work yourself I would say you are looking at $3-3.5K including new axles on the conservative side. And while we were not talking axles.....at the age of that coach and the rust you speak of.....it needs axles. Once you put that in it you will proably have a $5-6k coach. If you have to pay for the fabrication and a lot of the work...It could quickly get to $10k like uwe said. I just did a frame off to replace the floor (and you are going to end up scrapping the deck if you replace the frame). Just for decking and some minor repairs that because I can weld and own a welder I was able to do on the cheap. I spent about $1200 and my frame was in pretty good shape. I'm still looking at possibly putting a new axle under it.
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Old 03-14-2005, 04:52 PM   #5
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What is the best way to check for frame rot and axles that need to be replaced. I had someone to tell me that everytime he took his unit out he always had the bearings checked and packed when needed, electric brakes inspected and 100% working and the electrical system inspected and in good working condition. He never mentioned anything about frame rot or axles. Educate me .
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Old 03-14-2005, 06:58 PM   #6
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"Frame rot" 23' airstream land yacht?????

Greetings urb2165!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by urb2165
What is the best way to check for frame rot and axles that need to be replaced. I had someone to tell me that everytime he took his unit out he always had the bearings checked and packed when needed, electric brakes inspected and 100% working and the electrical system inspected and in good working condition. He never mentioned anything about frame rot or axles. Educate me .
urb2165@aol.com
The Henschen DuraTorque axle that has been used on Airstream trailers since the early 1960s can and do need replacement - - I have been through the procedure on my Minuet and will be facing that same procedure for the Overlander before its next big trip. The best recommendation that I can make is to read the article about the Henschen DuraTorque axle at the link below:

http://inlandrv.com/articles/dura-torque-axle-92001.htm

An axle that no longer has its resiliency can produce numerous problems from a decrease in valuable road clearance to popped rivets and load shifting while underway - - prior to its axle replacement, it wasn't uncommon to find wardrobe doors open or anything left on top of the counter or lounges in the center of the floor - - after replacing the axle, it is rare to find wardrobe doors open or anything other than where it was left.

Frame rust isn't all that much different with Vintage Airstreams than with Vintage Cars. The most serious concern is rust that is severe enough to cause holes, flaking or spalling of the surface; all of which have the potential of weakening the frame. When inspecting a used coach, the usualy recommendation that I have followed is to visually ispect everything that you can see; then using a ligh-weight rubber mallet tap along the frame rails listening for the sound of rattling debris in the bellypan near the rails that might be rust flakes from a rusty frame rail. I have been fortunate that both of my coaches have had little more than suface rust on the exposed portions of the frames with almost none visible when the rails have been exposed during repairs necessitating removal of portions of the bellypan.

Good luck with your search and research!

Kevin
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