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Old 05-04-2004, 09:00 AM   #1
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Hitch/Frame Rusted Out

I thought I would ask you for your thoughts on the hitch on my Airstream. I have attached a picture so you can see the extent of my problem. I have chipped away at the rust on the hitch and there is not much left as you can see. I guess I need to pull the aluminum from the underbody and check the frame further for corrosion. I wonder if I am better off to replace the complete hitch or have it repaired by welding plate around the existing material. If you would be so kind as to tell me your thoughts, it would be appreciated. I also have no clue where to get a replacement or repair work done. Thanks for your advice/help.
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:15 AM   #2
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Needs to be cut back to good metal. That amy involve going back a significant way under the body.

Honestly, as bad as that is it might be better in the long run to make a new frame.The rust out fro mthe bottom indicates water has been in the frame rails. It may well have weekend the bottom of the frame the whole length of the coach.

Florida coast?
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:18 AM   #3
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To weld plate or encapsulate the hitch would just be covering up a problem that is not going to go away. I would guess that your vintage model has spent alot of time on the coast. You need to pull the underside and inspect for further damage. You don't want to have a break away. Where are you located? Some other member may have a line on a repair facility in your area.
Leonard
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:45 AM   #4
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We are located in the Central Florida area close to Daytona Beach. Do you have any advice on replacing the hitch/frame?
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:57 AM   #5
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Dang - I'm skeered that's how mine will look when I pull the belly pan this summer. I haven't searched the forums for this yet, but anyone have a ballpark price for a whole new frame? Let's say... for a 20 footer? With recessed areas for gray water tanks n' such? In the midwest?

I suppose if I decided to have a whole new frame made, I'd need to choose a material to have it made from... cold-rolled box frame steel, tempered, stainless steel... okay, I'm just rattling off names here. Give me and our new pal Airdreamer some idea of cost, 'cause I don't think he's going to be saving that frame.
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Old 05-04-2004, 10:36 AM   #6
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I'd sit on it for a year if your serious about restoring it. Steel prices are up over 200% in the last 6 month.

Even still its the labor that is the real cost here. No labor I would say you couldbuild a frame and replace a floor for around $2k. That NEW FRAME AND NEW FLOOR and all that goes with it. Replacing the floor in our 59 22ft has set me back about $1500 and that was before it got really bad on the wood prices. You have to pay somebody to build the frame...I would say to expect another $2k.


I hate to say it but this is going to be quite an expensive repair if you cant do the labor.

You might be able to replace the frame without totaly dissassembling the coach but it will be a pain. You would basicly build a support system for the floor through the frame directly to the wood floor. Cut the rotten frame away. Now your left wit ha coach sitting on suports. You build the frame around the suports and lift it back up to the coach. THe only reaso to go this route is if the wood floor is in good shape. Somehow I bet the wood has some problems as well.

This would still be a horendus undertaking and your still going to need to get some of the walls appart to acess the bolts in the U-Channel.

Not to hurt your feelings but the rest of this coach would have to be in quite good shape to justify this repair from a finacial stand poiint. You could part that coach and get enough to buy another coach in much better shape.

What we did with our made no finacial sence looking back on it. By the time I'm done I will have an easy $6k in it. Our coach has some sentimental value. It's been in the wifes family for quite a long time.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info. We just bought the airstream a few months ago. We thought that it was in good shape. Now we realize that it doesn't look safe to pull. We need to pull the skins away and inspect the whole frame. The inside of the camper seems to be in good shape. We are hoping that maybe the rest of the frame is ok we can get away with replacing the hitch. We found this pic of the frame it helps us imagine what it looks like. We are hoping that the problem is isolated. I guess we need to investigate. Thank You.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:31 AM   #8
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Yeah, what you actually need to be concentrating on in that picture is the flat part that sits under the floor. From what I understand, everthing above that is actually aluminum, and won't look like your rusted out tongue.

Thanks Toaster for the sobering advice. I'm not planning on letting my GT go, even if it does need that much put into it. It only cost me $1800, and there's a good chance I can save the frame. If not, we'll reconsider - those steel prices must be war related, no?

Anyhow, it's something to chew on.
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Old 05-04-2004, 12:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo
Yeah, what you actually need to be concentrating on in that picture is the flat part that sits under the floor. From what I understand, everthing above that is actually aluminum, and won't look like your rusted out tongue.

Thanks Toaster for the sobering advice. I'm not planning on letting my GT go, even if it does need that much put into it. It only cost me $1800, and there's a good chance I can save the frame. If not, we'll reconsider - those steel prices must be war related, no?

Anyhow, it's something to chew on.

Chineese are buying all the steel in site as well as the war.

There are some pictures of frame out from under the coach in here.
http://www.airforums.com/forum...ead.php?t=6554
There are several of us doing frame offs right now. We were al lcontributing to that post to document what it takes to do. Greg is building a new frame for his. Mark has repaired his and done some modifications for a Gray tank. I was lucky and had minimal frame problems. One bad crossmember in the back. The rest was minor.
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Old 05-04-2004, 02:11 PM   #10
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different frame?

Just curious. Why couldn't you substitute a flatbed trailer for the bad frame. Seems like you could buy a used one for much less money than rebuilding or repairing the existing frame? Granted it would need a few mods.
Eugenie
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Old 05-04-2004, 02:43 PM   #11
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Granted it would need a few mods.
Eugenie
Too many mods- axle location, exact width and length, curved corners, tank interference with crossmembers, etc. It would be easier to start from scratch.

John
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Old 05-04-2004, 02:47 PM   #12
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I am currenty replacing the frame on ny overlander and it had a lot less corrosion than that.It would definately be a good idea to open the belly pan enough to check out the rest of the frame.If you don't see that kind of corrosion at other locations perhaps just the front end could be replaced.See my thread titled frame repair for some more pics of frame.I will post more soon.
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airdreamer
We are located in the Central Florida area close to Daytona Beach. Do you have any advice on replacing the hitch/frame?
I found this link on Dogpile, you should be able to find a reputable repair facility in this list.
Leonard
http://www.readybrake.com/sites/fl.html
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:39 AM   #14
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Nice find~!

Quote:
Originally Posted by upallnight
I found this link on Dogpile, you should be able to find a reputable repair facility in this list.
Leonard
http://www.readybrake.com/sites/fl.html
upallnight,
If I may add another choice~
www.gmccoop.com
airdreamer,
depending on where you're located in FL, it may pay you to ask them to take a look at your problem..
ciao
53FC
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