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Old 09-11-2010, 08:35 PM   #15
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I agree Andy when you said "and therefore limit their liability". In our sue happy society you have to be very careful- I won't get onto politics (If that is even allowed in these forums) but we need to change that if possible. Besides our over-litigation problem, we, as a society, have gotten away from our "pride in doing the best job possible" and the very sound business philosophy of "the customer comes first, make and KEEP them happy". We desperately need to get back to those two business principles.

On to the meat- I never meant to compare my aluminum trailer to the Vinstream chassis apples to apples, two totally different animals (size being only the most apparent). What I was making a comparison of was construction material and techniques using aluminum, and that in my own personal experience it has performed very well indeed, with the added benefit of no frame rust/wood sub-floor rot that would be a highly probable issue at some point in the trailers life.

You implied in your first post that aluminum did not and could not work, I have to respectfully disagree. I think it is very possible that with the right design and materials that an aluminum frame/sub floor could out perform the traditional steel/wood setup in multiple catagories.

Some confusion here, you said "Vintage" in your reply- I have been talking about "Vinstream" the whole time. I know nothing about Vintage or their methods. Did I miss something?
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:41 PM   #16
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2 the op...

why not call the vendor

and ask for contact info for a few customers that HAVE this frame?

or just hope the 5 people on this planet who have one will C this thread...



fer every1 else...

the fact that someone associated with a/s TRIED aluminum,

and reportedly failed 3-5 decades ago...

is irrelevant to CURRENT or FUTURE attempts and alternate frame materials.

history suggests ALL of the early attempt at automobiles n aeroplanes and rocket ships failed.
_________

there have been regular threads about this notion here for years...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ase-26036.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...ial-26534.html

there are also threads on stainless steel frames and other materials beyond the soft steel currently in use.
__________

the op might wanna share WHAT is hoped to be gained with aluminum alloy.

for example, less rust or less weight or MORE stiffness or something else?

the rust issue CAN be significantly altered with galvanized bits or por15 or other coatings...

it's unlikely aluminum would be LIGHTER,

or put another way how much lighter could STEEL framing be with better design?

stiffness could also be improved on steel framing, what matters more is capacity of the frame.

the point being select the material based on projected VALUE from the alt materials.

and NEW framing needs to mesh with whatever SHELL is 2 be attached 2 it.
_________

yes there were/are aluminum floored argosy streams and insulation is a NON issue.

stability during transport is also a NON issue...

frames are flatbed'd to the factory, not towed.

this chatter about an 'aluminium frame' is circularly vague...

which alloy, forged, extruded, welded, riveted, bolted and so on are essential elements...

that would suggest there isn't ONE example of an aluminum frame about which to op'ed...

clearly others DO (and historically have) use aluminum alloys and so could a/s...

with the one sure result being higher production costs and higher pricing 2 the customer...

again why not just contact the vendor for details and sources of owners...

or share what you HOPE to gain with this specific frame/material.

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:48 PM   #17
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Correction, please

I meant Vinstream, not vintage.

Costs and more costs, and lack of in field testing by ordinary people, at least in my personal opinion, would be the downfall of an aluminum chassis, at least for the near future of perhaps 10 to 20 years. I don't believe that an aluminum chassis would ever be as cheap to build as a steel chassis.

Also I think, in field repair of an aluminum chassis would be much more difficult than repairing a steel chassis.

Steel is much easier to weld, by far, than aluminum, generally speaking.

There are far more qualified steel welders than aluminum welders, at least to my knowledge.

Andy
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:30 PM   #18
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Knowledge

Many, many things we learned in the past are still used or improved upon.

To imply that things done decades ago, should be thrown away or discarded, I think, defeats the purpose of learning.

I firmly believe, this applies to many things in our daily lives, be it science, medicine, structures, health, economics and so on.

We all learn from our past exposures and experiences, and then forge on to the futures of our lives, and hopefully with enough of history stored in our brains, that we don't make the same errors.

That certainly applies to Airstreams and Airstreaming, the past, the present and the future.

Good luck to all of us.

Andy
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #19
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I own an aluminum-floor Argosy Minuet. The floor is a sandwich of aluminum sheet with a styrofoam board inbetween. The floor gets cold, especially now that it's covered with Marmoleum Click instead of ratty indoor-outdoor carpet, but it doesn't seem to be better or worse than the plywood-floored SOB I owned. My understanding is that the composite wood-free floors used in some modern SOBs are an entirely different material.

Seems to me that a shell-off restoration that involved coating the frame with POR15 and replacing the floor with marine plywood would likely, with normal shell leak-patrol maintenance, give you another happy 40 years.

Tom
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:40 AM   #20
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BLMitch, Thanks for the shout out.

We build new steel chassis for vintage Airstream and other brands of aluminum trailers. We design and engineer each chassis to the specific use and GVWR the trailer will require upon completion. We install the vintage body on the chassis to make certain the work is done to our standards and limit liability. On our Web site you will see a 5th wheel chassis we built for the conversion of a Spartan pull-behind. We have also built several high capacity chassis for relatively small Airstream trailers which have been converted to foodservice trailers. The standard factory chassis does not have the capacity for this kind of heavy duty service.

We are in the design stages of our own lightweight chassis. One of our concerns is the durability of the aluminum and the joining systems. As an engineering professor once told me, "With aluminum it is not a matter of IF it will fail but WHEN it will fail." This is one reason why pressurized aircraft have a specific number of flight cycles between inspections and rebuilds. There are many all-aluminum chassis trailers on the road from snowmobile trailers up to and including most semi trailers. The key element in these vehicles is that flexing of the chassis does not matter a great deal. In a travel trailer flexing of the chassis can cause significant damage to the interior finish and potentially the body. Torsion axles can add to this flexing as they depend on the rigidity of the frame to work against to absorb shocks from the road.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett - TTT View Post
....
We are in the design stages of our own lightweight chassis. One of our concerns is the durability of the aluminum and the joining systems. As an engineering professor once told me, "With aluminum it is not a matter of IF it will fail but WHEN it will fail." This is one reason why pressurized aircraft have a specific number of flight cycles between inspections and rebuilds. There are many all-aluminum chassis trailers on the road from snowmobile trailers up to and including most semi trailers. The key element in these vehicles is that flexing of the chassis does not matter a great deal. In a travel trailer flexing of the chassis can cause significant damage to the interior finish and potentially the body. Torsion axles can add to this flexing as they depend on the rigidity of the frame to work against to absorb shocks from the road.
I'm getting that the coach needs to be isolated from the aluminum chassis in a way to isolate the chassis flexing. Perhaps part of this isolation could be accomplished with an insulating structural material under the marine grade structural plywood flooring. I've seen the all aluminum low-boys, and they sure do have lot of built in camber.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:03 AM   #22
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now my turn to step in and voice my two cents...

The frame is designed to flex as the trailer goes down the road. That is part of the semi monoquot construction. Many rebuilders restorers beef up the frame to remove this flex. That turns them into aluminum boxes on a steel frame.

Most trailers I work on are at least 45 years old. Once repaired, encapsulated, and painted, the frames will last even longer due to more than just a quick slap of paint being applied. How long are you expecting this to last? Will you be alive in 45 years?

All the power to Vintstream for trying this. Just because it failed in the past does not mean it will today. Any idea how many tries it took to get a man on the moon?

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:46 AM   #23
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Aluminum trailers have the advantage of lighter weight and corrosion resistance, thats it. In that trailer the problem is attaching all the pieces together. Riviting the crossmembers is the way to go, using cast aluminum brackets at the connections would be best. Generally aluminum welds are half the strength of the parent metal. Now with steel, the welds are generally stronger than the parent metal.
Just look at this pic of theirs.
http://www.vinstream.com/images/frame_2.jpg
I see they are using an inadequate blue welder as can be seen in the pic. I would say these guy's know just enough to get themselves in trouble.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:38 PM   #24
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I have solved all of these problems with my design for a carbon composite frame, which incorporates the floor and frame in a single piece. Unfortunately, this puddle of perfection costs $200,000, but hey!

Joking aside, steel frames work well, and have known flaws that we are able to cheaply and easily address with ready available equipment and labor. Aluminum frames solve those problems entirely, but introduce new and possibly unknown problems just because of our lack of experience with the specific design involved.

Ideally, they could put two or three frames out there in the hands of people who will give them a LOT of road-time, and facing regular inspections. Once we see these frames with maybe a combined million miles of travel, we'll have some real world data.

That's the advantage of the current steel frames - hundreds of millions of miles of experience with them, so they have been down-engineered just enough to know where the limits are, and avoid them.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:43 PM   #25
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I have solved all of these problems with my design for a carbon composite frame, which incorporates the floor and frame in a single piece. Unfortunately, this puddle of perfection costs $200,000, but hey!

Joking aside, steel frames work well, and have known flaws that we are able to cheaply and easily address with ready available equipment and labor. Aluminum frames solve those problems entirely, but introduce new and possibly unknown problems just because of our lack of experience with the specific design involved.

Ideally, they could put two or three frames out there in the hands of people who will give them a LOT of road-time, and facing regular inspections. Once we see these frames with maybe a combined million miles of travel, we'll have some real world data.

That's the advantage of the current steel frames - hundreds of millions of miles of experience with them, so they have been down-engineered just enough to know where the limits are, and avoid them.


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Old 09-24-2010, 03:22 PM   #26
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. o O (what if...?)

Could part of the frame rusting & rotting be due to the fact that the plywood holds water? I mean, there it is (the frame), all snug inside a fairly-well closed chamber with the belly pan underneath it, and the the absorbent plywood above it. And I almost forgot: throw in some varmint feces and insulation to the mix.

Come back in thirty to fifty years, and we're surprised it's gone south?

But, it the Mother Ship decided to change the "sponge" (plywood) for something like nyloboard, and used the same steel frame, but painted it at the factory in POR15, what would we then be finding when we open theses old tombs?

Welllll, different story, me hearties...

This is something that AS could do now, today, and add real value to their trailers.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:33 PM   #27
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Hmmm, I have a different theory. I am sure your theory is a component of the corrosion, but I think the corrosion pattern says something else is a far bigger factor.

The corrosion almost always starts at the bottom of the steel in the belly pan. This is where condensation collects, and creates a wet contact between the frame and the belly pan. The rust seems to start at the rivet holes and works out under the coating It seems to spread until the steel has eroded enough that it is no longer resting in the condensation puddle, and is no longer in contact with the aluminum.

Also, I have seen this corrosion the same even when there's a rubber mat separating the wood from the metal on to of the frame.

Just my observation from a dozen trailers in person, and the many many photos on this fine forum.

My solution?

I would use POR15, and a tape to prevent contact between the frame and belly pan.

IMHO.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:44 PM   #28
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Hmmm, I have a different theory. I am sure your theory is a component of the corrosion, but I think the corrosion pattern says something else is a far bigger factor.

The corrosion almost always starts at the bottom of the steel in the belly pan. This is where condensation collects, and creates a wet contact between the frame and the belly pan. The rust seems to start at the rivet holes and works out under the coating It seems to spread until the steel has eroded enough that it is no longer resting in the condensation puddle, and is no longer in contact with the aluminum.

Also, I have seen this corrosion the same even when there's a rubber mat separating the wood from the metal on to of the frame.

Just my observation from a dozen trailers in person, and the many many photos on this fine forum.

My solution?

I would use POR15, and a tape to prevent contact between the frame and belly pan.

IMHO.
Hi Dave Park;
Frame rust! It seems that I am not the only one that has it right. Condensation inside the belly pan is the # 1 destructive factor. The ever changing ambient temperatures from night to day and the other way around are quickly absorbed by belly pan skins as temperatures rises or falls. The temperature inside the well insulated trailer changes at much slower rate. Poorly insulated floors promote condensation as the two air masses of different temperature collide. The condensation as a rule will first try to bridge minute gaps in contact areas. Plywood absorbs the moisture as the condensation continues to linger in those areas. Liners tape in 0.060" laid on top of the frame makes a great moisture barrier. It is soft enough to compress and fill all voids. My frame is Stainless Steel and floor is aluminum clad plywood on both sides. Because of dissimilar metal composition I have the liners tape separating aluminum from Stainless. Half inch of cork floor with 3/4" of air space under the ply and bubble foil makes for exceptional temperature barrier. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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