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Old 07-18-2012, 09:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GT1963 View Post
Thanks Protag...

I guess the issue is two fold - one the split frame and two the age old toddler question WHY?
Point taken. No arguments. I too think "Why" is good to know. However, being pragmatic by profession, I just recognize that fixing the broken frame gets you back on the road. Fixing the lack of communication doesn't get you back on the road, it just puts your mind more at ease.

My intent in my previous post was to point out that if you don't trust the broken frame for towing your unit far enough to get it fixed, you do have the option of fixing the trailer where it sits. And I hope I provided enough information to tell the repairman what you need and to tell if he did a good job when he's done.

As an engineer, I won't claim to be able to design a repair sight-unseen. All of the information I provided is meant as a guide for what a repair would include, not as a real certified design. You'll want a local repair shop that is competent in frame repairs to take a look at it and design the fix, more-or-less in line with what I described.

I think you could make a strong case for reimbursement of your out-of-pocket expenses if you get it fixed locally. Besides, it will cost less to fix the damage locally than to tow it somewhere and fix not only the original damage but also whatever else got bent/broken due to sixtyleven miles of towing on a broken frame.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:45 AM   #16
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That crack is a fatique crack and it is right where a crack should be if it were going to crack. It has been there a while as you can tell by the rusted edges. Empty the tanks and remove as much stuff from the back end as you can and pull it to the repair place. It is not going to get any worse pulling it a few miles. What does the opposite side look like? I would use a doubler plate that is taller than the beam and at least a foot on each side of the crack. I would make it 1/4" thick. The plates should have 45 degree angle cut to reduce stress at the weld. So the plate would have angles at both ends.

Perry
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:59 AM   #17
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Hi Prog - yes your post was excellent and I have printed it off.

My real big issue is that I can't just give up my trailer - as I am living in it until I sort out what to do with the rest of my life. Ha perfect timing. May have to head back to the house with it - and kick the GT out of the RV garage and get my baby in there for repairs if possible.

But I seriously do not want to tow this anywhere! one good bump and that baby could rip apart and do some serious damage inside and to my tanks as well - thus far it is a good catch - so I'm not about to temp fate even further.

My first pics were of - OMG look at that - snap with iphone fast before a tornado comes (yes actual warnings last night) and takes my evidence away..

So here are some more photos taken well as they should have been. All I have done is wipe the area with a damp cloth. The one cross member is really rusty it is the one that sits behind the rear wheel and takes all the salt and usually is the first to be replaced on trailers of any kind up here in the snow.

I can now also see that there was a hair split on the frame where the cross member welds. Now if I had been given a warning or at least the PO - then I could have got that kit and had it repaired before THIS!

Enjoy the photos - kind of scary.
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I have not checked anything else right now - I would have to drill out the under panels to even see the outriggers - but I bet my bottom dollar the door ones and along that whole side are pouched.

No sign of splits or cracks on the road side - as people have indicated it has all the weight and has more structure. So even adding a bit of extra weight with the L-seating would not have made any different - Ha it is probably holding it together.

So how did this happen.....

These guys did it.
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Just kidding - but heck if I get told any stupid dumb "blond" jokes about how "I" did this from neglect or cause it is rusty - then I certainly will give it right back - Like "how do I know that "you" guys did not do this jacking it up by my rear and beating me with a hammer?"

Still think this is so serious of a safety risk - enough that the Public should be warned much better than they are and THOR has an obligation in their Ethics Policy to do so.

My Rig not only has "airstream" on it - I also drive around with THOR - and if someone from that company can not afford to take of the little guy then hum...

Give me a fix kit - help me out - but also save this happening by spending a bit of money on some administration! and get in touch with your customers! Yes they wont find them all - but they will find more than less.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:11 AM   #18
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GT', I know this is a bummer and right now it is hard to feel good about having discovered it before it got worse. I believe it to be fixable, but others know far more than me about welding, I take comfort that they believe the same thing. The trailer frame can be jacked slowly to take the dip in the inside out and everything should slowly go back in place.

About the rivets holding the belly pan—the holes in the pan are almost as big as the rivet heads. Vibration slowly eats away the metal in the pan because the difference between the rivet head and pan hole is so small. I've had about 5 or 6 rivets do the same thing. I replaced them with stainless steel screws and washers. I drilled out the rivets starting with a pretty small bit and gradually changed to a bigger one til the rivet fell out. It can take some doing to get it out. Then go to the hardware store and get screws that will fit in the hole—same size or slightly bigger plus a washer that fits on the screw and has a fairly large outer diameter. Then screw it in. This is another design defect.

I discovered it when we were replacing 2 brake plates a year ago and I was under the trailer while lewster was replacing a brake plate. Then there were three, this year there were 2 or 3 more. I keep some screws and washers with us in case more pop on the road. While I'm under the I check the wing nuts holding the stabilizer feet on because they can get loose.

So, it is a good idea to crawl around under the trailer from time to time looking for problems. You'll have to clean the rust off the frame and repaint it (after the break is fixed).

In the US cars and trucks with safety defects are regulated and that's why there are recalls. But trailers aren't motor vehicles, so there is not regulation of trailers. I don't know what happens in Canada. Manufacturers send out service bulletins to dealers so that when someone has a problem that has been in a service bulletin, you may get a free fix, even after the warranty has run out. A design defect would be covered under product liability law after the warranty has run, but lawsuits on individual problems are usually more expensive than the fix costs.

Airstream has been dealing with broken frames on an individual basis. As fixes go, this is relatively minor and can be done by a good welder locally. It would be more expensive to ship the trailer anywhere than have it fixed at home or nearby. I would ask Airstream to pay for the fix of the frame and belly pan rivets. Offer to send them photos. If the first person you talk to in consumer relations doesn't help, ask to speak to the boss, Dave Schumann. I think his e-mail is listed in the Airstream website and he may be following this thread as he does watch the Forum.

Gene
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:38 AM   #19
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Thanks Gene;

As mentioned of course it is a shock - more so to me thinking wow what could have happened while towing.

I had a similar scare with my GMC just after Christmas - the hub went on it - something also known by GMC but just never gets down to the little guy. One day I went to put my brakes on and almost went through the coffee shop window - so I went straight to a shop. Was not towing at the time - but was a few weeks earlier. Mechanic said to me good thing you were not on the highway - I asked why - he said because the speed would have broke the hub in this condition - they go really fast and take the brakes with it just as fast. I went cause I heard my brake all of a sudden rubbing weird on the way to school - Peter had the truck for several weeks and did not say anything or he may not have even noticed. Then I said to mechanic - never mind going down the highway I'm glad I was not towing with it as well!

I'm still working on replacing the brakes but since I have that side apart - I will be calling the Factory and asking for the next steps. I will get some quotes this end and find out the opinions to see if she can be towed down our low speed roads to a shop near by. I just don't know anyone here or their reputations. But I have a great fellow at the camp here that owns his own shop and is coming to have a look. And I will get some facts and stuff before I go (ha half cocked at Airstream).

I'm not into all this law suit stuff - gets people no where - just lining lawyers pockets and giving companies bad names. Airstream is obviously aware of this and now so am I. No harm has been done but it has to be fixed and it is a matter of identifying where liability rests. I think that is pretty easy to determine here so I am sure I will be taken care of one way or another.

I happen to be a customer with a problem and hope that they will be true to their own customer satisfaction ethics.

Even this would still not deter me from buying an airstream - love em and that is that. Would not tow anything else. Even with a broke frame
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #20
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known defect forum?

I had read about the 22 cracked frame stuff before, even read Paula's "...I hope I didn't send a lemon on down the line..." (paraphrased) comment on that thread. I made a mental note of not owning 22 footers. Now, there are many classes of problems with Airstreams. Some are simply age related. Oh? And just what is age? It is easy to say: "Age is easily defined-any trailer over 25 years old." (as an example). But, a 25 year old trailer may have been towed only 1500 miles a year, whereas someone like Moosetags puts that many miles on in a month. So usAGE (emphasis supplied) also enters the equation when trying to determine age related troubles. I have read about the Beatrice years of frame troubles and rear end separation, as well as filiform corrosion and the softness of the new(er) trailer's aluminum skin making for easy dents (I currently am staring at an $8500 dent in my outfit). So, what to do? I am suggesting a section under "technical" that would list known defects that affect a large number of trailers/motorhomes. There could be sub categories indicating a) assumed factory defects b) age related defects c) mileage related defects d) others? Each could have sections indicating the appropriate owner reactions/repairs. Perhaps this section could attain "STICKY" status, which I believe would keep it at the top of the technical section. I am not very computer literate, or I might consider attempting to build such a section myself. Perhaps CrawfordGene might be interested? Or? Shoot, where is 2air when ya need him? Actually, for all I know, this already exists; but if it does, why isn't it out where newbies and ding-bats like me (and GT1963) can easily see it?
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:27 AM   #21
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and another thing

GT1963, I would "do" whatever fixes the one side, to the other. Symmetry makes us linear thinkers happy. Good Luck and I am glad the trailer did not end up in a ditch somewhere with you attached. I know, silver linings are only where you look, and right now, you are seeing dark.
be cool.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:22 PM   #22
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There are many threads dealing with design and QC issues on the Forum, but they are scattered around and it is easy to miss them. The ones that has been around for about 5 years is the corrosion thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ight=corrosion

I started one called http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...Suggestion+Box and the purpose was to identify problems and offer suggestions. The idea was to avoid Airstream bashing (not always easy to accomplish because there are a lot of disappointed, frustrated and angry members) and focus on finding solutions that Airstream would listen to.

It has been quiet for a while as it is easier to identify than to solve a problem.

I know it has been followed by at least one person at Airstream.

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Old 07-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #23
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My fellow helping me with the brakes had a look and was shocked. It is not a crack it is a clean break and apparently it was NOT rusted before the break but after as a result of the break.

His first recommendation is NOT to take it to a mechanics shop in that it will need a professional welders assessment. I have contact a mobile unit to come and give me the first assessment to find out if I can at least tow it to a Professional welding shop.

I have contacted airstream requesting the appropriate person and process that I will now need to follow.

I will contact my insurance company and find out anything I can to see if anything may be covered.

I do hope that an amicable remedy will be found and not take too long either.

This is not only my home but my freedom to do my job as a freelance Photojournalist. If I get called to a job I don't want to have to miss opportunities. Ug.

But yes the silver lining is that it has been caught without it being a much more serious result.

I was given a wrong seal bearing kit for one of the wheels and now sitting waiting for the gentlemen to bring the seal and bearing up. I have two mechanics now stepping in to finish my brakes for me. Get the wheels back on. and then I will have to take the one wheel off again for when the welder comes up on Friday to inspect the frame break.

The joys of life
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:29 PM   #24
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GT', you are doing all the right things. It'll work out.

I'm assuming you bought it from Paula in Va. Beach. It used near the ocean and corrosion would be worse there, so it may have been weakening, though not noticeably, for a long time and then made a clean break. Road salt in Ontario only worsens the problem. But cars and trucks don't rust and weaken and break this way, so there is a design, material and QC problem. When I'm under my truck and SUV, both of which have more miles on them and are equal or older in age than our trailer, the frame isn't rusted. But decades ago, cars and truck did have rust problems. The manufacturers solved them; Airstream needs to catch up. I think in your case the problem is poor design aggravated by poor rust protection.

Now I'm going to look at my frame.

Gene
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:56 PM   #25
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Useless Trivia - this used to be a somewhat common problem with heavy trucks. In the truck repair industry welding a plate on the frame to repair it is referred to as "fishplating." There is an identical procedure done to repair the ribs on wooden boats, but using wood that gets bolted on. It's called "sistering in."
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:14 PM   #26
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More such trivia—when a joist sags or has more weight on it and another joist is joined to it to straighten or strengthen it, is is also called "sistering". I don't know if the original joist is the brother.

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Old 07-18-2012, 10:26 PM   #27
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Agreed - very disappointing - but you will get it fixed and 10 years from now we all will be laughing with you about this incident!
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:36 PM   #28
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Yeah happy day - my brakes are all done!!! ha that is what I started out to do Just have to do the wiring now but of course I am in no hurry at the moment.

Although under the added stress I caved and let two guys finish the job for me - well actually they both just sort of took over! - So I took on the roll of supervisor - while they slaved away in the heat.

Off the jack stands now and back on the rubber. Next I have to level the slabs and sit tight for a few days before I either move her back to the deck - or start un-packing and take her to a shop.

I wonder if I would survive two days in a tent and a blow up bed? and stay here NOT!!!

Thanks for all your support and shoulders to lean on. Yes it will get fixed and the good thing it is fixable - just a matter of who and when now.

But I bet good Ole Wally is up there shaking his head again....

Night folks and I will keep ya posted -

Mods - perhaps you might want to move this thread over to the former 02/03/04 cracked (or better stated broken frame) thread that was started in 09. ? your choice...
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