Before I provide further updates on the progress of either dealings with Airstream or repairs I would like to reiterate that I am a single customer.
I have been involved with airstreams in one way or another since 2004. I have owned several vintage trailers, and completed various stages of repair and restorations. I have dealt with the airstream factory and at times only one airstream dealer i Southern Ontario and in all my dealings I have never been disappointed or unsastisfied with the courtious and professional manner in which I have been treated.
I have never purchased a new airstream either from the factory or from a dealer, so I withhold judgement on any quality assurance issues that others may have experienced. Although I have seen evidence of such in various friends airstreams, much of the customer satisfaction and service is how each individual address their specific issue or case.
My first priority is to attain the necessary material and professionals required to repair my Airstream to a safe useable trailer, such that I can continue to live and work from my "home on wheels" with minimal inconvenience.
My second priority is to understand why something like this happened and to my particular trailer.
I would be remise if I did not consider this whole issue in a non-biais manner. I have to take into consideration all variables and age and environmental factors. I have certain questions that I would like to receive honest answers to and I have posed those questions to the appropriate parities both to Airstream and to outside experts. Answers to those questions will determine if I need to take any further measures for additional compensation or assistance with my repairs.
There were certain serial numbers that were affected in 02 and 03 - and covered under the service bulletin #131 - my serial number does not match or fall within that scope. So by virtual rights I would not be entitled to receive such.
First and foremost Airstream's direct response without hesitation was they will most certainly send me the bracing repair kit that was used on the 02- 03's. As the evident photographs indicate a failure in the same location thus the bracing would remedy a solid repair. They may further send additional supports to the cross frames that have been now stressed and sagging due to the break in the main frame. This is at no charge nor shipping charges burdened to me.
It was indicated that changes where made to the 04 to avoid the issue the 02's and 03's experienced and further information will be researched to let me know what those changes were. Upon receipt of that information, then I can further attain assistance by metal professionals to determine the probable cause of such a break and a better timing of when the break may have occurred and possibly why.
For it to be even close to a wide spread issue, notification of other 04 owners who may have experienced stress cracks/splits or breaks would need to come forth. With out people and incident in numbers, then my case is and rightly so considered an individual occurrence.
There are any number of variables all culminating to cause such a severe break and it will take time to determine (even if possible) what they may have been.
Of course the most visible is rust and corrosion, however that variable does not add up in the nature of the break and whether the rust came before or after or a combination of both.
It is safe to say that rust in the case of the break is not the cause of the break. However it is most likely the cause of the added stress to the cross members resulting in interior floor damage. Thus it is a matter of maintenance.
Should I have got under her and nipped the first signs of rust and if so would have been in a position to inspect the frame and caught a hair line crack or saw the break sooner.
Or is it the obligation of airstream (if) they still were experiencing issues with the 04 frame to have notified the owners of additional maintenance measures to ensure their customers safety....all yet to be determined.
Onto the repair - I have been given a copy of the #131 bracing service bulletin. although to some welders and engineers out there it is not to their expectations or the way in which they may fix this or that.
It is and does give me the confidence that the repair is not as catastrophic as first envisioned—when I was all sweaty and covered in brake grease beating the daylights out of the backing plate bolts— at the point of discovering the break.
Although it will be a bit more tricky to get her perfectly level being on grass it is not impossible with care and patience—which I will press who ever is doing the job to ensure close to perfection if not PERFECTLY level and lined up before any repair welds are made. However, if they feel it would be better with a simple plate weld to provide enough support to get my baby to a shop without tempting fate of my skin to buckle on the next bump in the road and for it to be done right then that is the route I will go.
I don't know how much twisting has gone on and the frame will have to be checked for squareness - or I will be blowing and wearing tires and brakes out (on both the trailer and the TV) till the cows come home - not to mention the dang door not closing properly and letting all them dang little no-seums in to eat me alive all night long
So that is where I am at.
As I find out more I will keep you posted. However, as I had said in another thread a while back - we do not live in a perfect world. We do the best we can, and we do what gets us on the road the safest, fasted and most economical way, with the least amount of stress.