Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-20-2012, 01:15 PM   #57
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
I expect it is a fatigue crack that started at the top where the metal is in tension. There is probably something like a screw hole at the top of the C-channel where the crack started. The hole is called a stress concentration and any rough edges around the hole are prime places for cracks to start. Good steel is designed to flex and not crack. I expect that the metal has impurities in it that lowered the strength and made it very susceptible to cracking. Frames are usually mild steel which will usually bend and buckle before it breaks. Structural steel is not supposed to be brittle. A simple hardness test will tell you if the steel is too hard and therefore brittle. It would be nice to find out why these frames are failing. The shell should support the frame to a large degree. As an engineer, I don't like welding patches on something without knowing what the problem was in the first place. The other side of the frame is a crack waiting to happen.

Perry
__________________

__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 01:54 PM   #58
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
I found this article about metal fracture. It is a very good primer on what is up with fracture and the types of fracture and causes of each. Did you travel in cold weather with the trailer. I think it is a bad batch of steel but that is just an educated guess without data.

http://people.virginia.edu/~lz2n/mse209/Chapter8.pdf

Perry
__________________

__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 01:56 PM   #59
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
It would be nice to find out why these frames are failing.
At work, for accident investigation I was taught that there is never just one cause for any mishap. Always at least two. In this case, I can see at least three categories for potential contributing factors:

(1) Poor geometry. The crack occurred right at the trailer's suspension. Unless I've got front and back mixed up, right behind the rear wheel. Everything behind the crack is cantilevered, and free to flex. Everything forward is stiffened by the suspension members, and not as free to flex. Kind of like a swimming pool diving board. Which not coincidentally tends to break right at the outermost support as well.

(2) Poor metallurgy. Either the wrong steel was used, or corrosion reduced the strength of the steel, or where the suspension was welded, the heat from welding destroyed the temper of the steel.

(3) Poor loading. Given that the back end of the trailer is cantilevered, too much weight too far back could have overloaded the moment-resistance of the steel frame.

With regard to the cantilevering, I'd be interested to know if this trailer is towed with a weight-distributing hitch, If so, that reduces the ability of the front of the trailer to move up and down in response to road conditions, while the back end still bounces freely. A weight-distributing hitch that is too big for the weight of the trailer might contribute to either (1) or (3) above.

I haven't crunched any numbers, so this is opinion, not engineering. But I would guess that (2) above is very likely one of the causes. Toss-up between (1) and (3) for the other.
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #60
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,842
Should the frame be x-rayed or whatever will tell if there are more problems?

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #61
Rivet Master
 
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,648
Protagonist

I don't think it is number (1) because Airstream has been making these trailers the same way for decades with about the same frame size as was being used on this trailer with even more cantilever than this relatively short trailer has.

I do agree on point (2).

I think (3) could have been a contributing factor if the trailer was pulled with the tanks full over bumpy roads or with a really stiff hitch especially in cold weather. Since this trailer was owned by Airstream veterans, I don't think it has been abused. The trailer is not old enough for much of this to have been a factor in my opinion.

Perry
__________________
perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #62
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Should the frame be x-rayed or whatever will tell if there are more problems?

Gene
Doing x-ray testing on steel frames probably won't help enough to make it worth the cost. There are other non-destructive tests that would be more effective, such as dye-penetrant testing, which will show up any cracks on the surface.

X-ray is great for detecting metal defects (voids in a casting, for example) that cannot be seen on the surface of the metal. However, the small thickness of a piece of channel is such that any defect inside is probably visible at the surface, too.
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #63
Rivet Monster
 
wahoonc's Avatar

 
1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Protagonist

I don't think it is number (1) because Airstream has been making these trailers the same way for decades with about the same frame size as was being used on this trailer with even more cantilever than this relatively short trailer has.

I do agree on point (2).

I think (3) could have been a contributing factor if the trailer was pulled with the tanks full over bumpy roads or with a really stiff hitch especially in cold weather. Since this trailer was owned by Airstream veterans, I don't think it has been abused. The trailer is not old enough for much of this to have been a factor in my opinion.

Perry
Ref: (1)

Airstream has had frame cracks and failures for over 40 years. There were known deficiencies in the frames back in the 1970's. I would hope that metallurgy and engineering would have improved at least some since then. I suspect they have, but Airstream has failed to improve since then. My opinion.

I know with modern materials and availability of computers to crunch numbers things can be engineered closer to the life cycle/failure point than was possible even as recently as 20 years ago.

The only thing I know is that they continue to happen, and there is no way I would shell out the kind of money they want for a new trailer with the current lack of attention to detail, especially on something as basic as a frame.

Aaron
__________________
....so many Airstreams....so little time...
WBCCI #XXXX AIR #2495
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 05:02 PM   #64
Rivet Master
 
2005 22' International CCD
Buckhorn , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,773
Images: 59
Blog Entries: 5
Send a message via Skype™ to GT1963
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.
__________________
Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
GT1963 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 05:16 PM   #65
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,193
Fwiw

I have noticed with the 22' trailers, they have a wider space between axles than any other Airstream I can remember. While this probably helps with handling, I wonder if that space puts an extra strain on the frame. That, and the OSB floors, are the only two major deviations between the 22 and other models.
__________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
Terry
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2012, 12:31 AM   #66
Rivet Master
 
2005 22' International CCD
Buckhorn , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,773
Images: 59
Blog Entries: 5
Send a message via Skype™ to GT1963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
..... I'd be interested to know if this trailer is towed with a weight-distributing hitch,....
I use a Reece WD bars are rated at 500lbs.

I tow with a GMC 2006 1500 Quad Cab it has the 5.3L engine.

As for the notch on the chain - I put on number 5 link from the top. Number 6 is too stiff and number 4 is too light on the front end of my truck steering. There is no difference to the link whether my front fresh tank is full or not. I usually carry 1 of the two propane tanks full. In the truck I carry the normal camping gear with a couple of crates with my tools - bike - aluminum lightweight and my Honda generator - nor more that about 250 pounds in the back of the truck.

In the trailer like I said I don't have a lot of crud and my makeup does not take up hardly any weight at all - I have some things in the closet and the bins under the bed are just filled with clothes and linens.

I always empty the grey and black. Before I leave the campgrounds.

I do travel in cold weather - but nothing that is or has ever been colder than-10C- -15C

My drive south is usually gradual enough for the frame temps to climatize - not like one minute I am in -15C and the next i'm in 104F.

I don't think I am over-hitched. I keep up with the rotation and balance of my tires on the TV.

None of these things I mention even if slightly incorrect - would be the result of a clean break like this.

The other thing that is puzzling - is if it were a weak spot - why is the break about 1.5 inches forward of the axle mounting bar that is welded to the underside of the frame - would it not have broken just at the end of that weld? or even closer to the grey tank?

Another question.

My cross members are obviously sagging and that is why partly my floor has heaved along the frame right.The other part is because the back frame rail has dropped due to the break which I'm sure springs the front higher than it should be from left to right?

How do you go about pushing those back into place? and I think I read somewhere that someone had some outrigger reenforcement pieces sent to them - does anyone know what they are or where they go? Is the part of the metal frame you see in the wheel well behind the tire and in front of the front tire - is that an outrigger - or is that a cross member of the frame?

You can see the paint on the underside of the floor that is showing that indicates probably a good 1 inch out. I am really amazed that my skin has not pulled away or ever shown signs of that?



All very baffling to me.

Another little question - to save on labour costs if none of mine will be covered. Could I grind the frame clean of rust as prep for the welder? - do you take it right down to bare metal (which I am going to have to do in a lot of places to get the rust off to repaint anyway.)
__________________
Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
GT1963 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2012, 08:00 AM   #67
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by GT1963 View Post
My cross members are obviously sagging and that is why partly my floor has heaved along the frame right.The other part is because the back frame rail has dropped due to the break which I'm sure springs the front higher than it should be from left to right?

How do you go about pushing those back into place?

Another little question - to save on labour costs if none of mine will be covered. Could I grind the frame clean of rust as prep for the welder? - do you take it right down to bare metal (which I am going to have to do in a lot of places to get the rust off to repaint anyway.)
I can't answer some of your questions. Or, rather, the answers I could give you would be mere speculation and not definitive enough to be useful.

As far as getting everything back into place, use every jack you've got to get the whole trailer level and keep it that way. You'll need one jack right in front of the break, and one jack right behind the break, as well, so you can jack the frame back into alignment. Jacks by the wheels on the opposite side will also help. On the frame, not on the axles. You want rigid connections between frame and the ground all around, so the frame cannot flex. If the center is still supported by the suspension and the ends are supported by jacks, the frame can still flex in the center.

If everything is level front-to-back and side-to-side then the broken frame should be aligned properly.

Helpful hint for leveling, start at the high point of the trailer's frame, and jack everything else up to match it. If you've got a tongue jack and two leveler jacks at the rear corners, then you'll need at least three more jacks, one for the frame on the good side near the axles, and one for each side of the break. More is better (to deal with the sagging cross-members), but that's the minimum for dealing with the break.

As for grinding away the rust yourself, it may help a little. However, there is more to joint preparation for welding than just removing rust and paint, so you won't really be saving much money on the welding job.

But don't "grind" it. Get yourself a rotary wire brush for your electric drill, and use that to knock off the paint and rust. The wire brush removes anything loose like rust and paint without gouging the good metal (much), unlike a grinder. Dust mask and safety goggles are a must. Gloves and long sleeves are recommended.
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2012, 11:47 AM   #68
Rivet Master
 
2005 22' International CCD
Buckhorn , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,773
Images: 59
Blog Entries: 5
Send a message via Skype™ to GT1963
Thanks for the info Protag.

I've cleaned up metal frames on several tandem boat trailers and the landscape trailer over the years and of course not to mention work on the 69,61,and 63.

I have tried all sorts of stuff over the years. One thing I hate is the wire wheels - no matter how I protect myself it never fails that one of those wires fly off and find part of my skin to embed themselves in. There was one time I came in for lunch and Peter was laughing at me - beside all the rust forming around the safety glasses making me look like a racoon - I had a long wire sticking out from my cheek!!! I did not even feel it until I laughed!

Several years back I came across the 3M finishing discs that are on a spindle that you pop into the drill - they don't gouge and are really consistent - they wear of course over the length of the job and then you pop another one in. Not cheap but they do the job in half the time and easier to work with than the course sanding discs and do a better cleaning job than the wire wheels. I have found them to be the best and most economical for the DIY'er working to clean off rust and flaking paint from metal. They are efficient enough to bring the rust to clean metal without taking the metal away.

It will be a yucky job and I will need to jack the trailer up a little higher to get under her - with her tanks riding so low to the ground.

I'm not going to drop the tanks - but they all need cleaning up and re-painting. The aluminum belly skin is crap now too and half hanging off with all the popped rivets and screws from the corroded holes that have worn in the 7 years. I will re-vulkum - if that is the product still being used around all the openings and plumbing fittings. Mine is rock hard and no longer playable.

I was just reading about someone who had an 04 bambi and how surprised they were at the rust under there - these are CHEAP frames not made for any sort of winter - and yet 2/3 of North america the airstream market is exposed to this kind of rusting environment.

Will have to get myself some por-15, new sheets of aluminum and lots of new screws and rivets. The insulation well that stuff is useless and I don't know why they don't use a foam type insulation - that is what I will be replacing mine with.

Of course this job will be once the frame is all welded up as good or better than new I suspect.

There is a truck frame welding place just down the road I'm sure they will have all the professional tools required to do a spot on job for me. So I will stop in there tomorrow and see if they might be able to take care of me. And just have a mobile welder pop a little temporary welded side plate to get me safely out of the park to the shop. Not going to tempt fate and then be faced with a buckled skin panel.

Hopefully on Monday between Airstream and I, we will get the bracing package all sorted out and on its way here. So nothing happening too quickly till the kit gets here I'm afraid.

I am still so very curious as to what changes were made to these frames from the 02/03 - to the 04 manufacturing year. The suspense is just killing me!!!

I would like to start a thread for the 04 manufacture year of the 22' owners. I tried to do a search on this forum and man there are a billion combinations of the same thing - and each time my search comes up with NO matches. And yet I have read tons lately with lots of 04 owners expressing frame issues.
__________________
Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
GT1963 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2012, 01:25 PM   #69
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,842
I wouldn't use the stabilizer jacks to bear any weight. When jacking the trailer straight, do each jack gradually to equalize things. If any of the aluminum panels are stretched, they may buckle when the trailer is straightened and I don't know of any way to prevent that other than removing them before jacking.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2012, 12:50 AM   #70
Rivet Master
 
safari57's Avatar
 
1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
West Coast , BC
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,790
Images: 10
Send a message via MSN to safari57
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I wouldn't use the stabilizer jacks to bear any weight. When jacking the trailer straight, do each jack gradually to equalize things. If any of the aluminum panels are stretched, they may buckle when the trailer is straightened and I don't know of any way to prevent that other than removing them before jacking.

Gene
The BAL stabilizers I installed on my trailers indicates that they are not designed to bear weight, they are stabilizers only. I can tell you from personal experience that they bend fairly easily .

Hopefully you could get the service person(s) at the factory to speak to who ever is doing the actual welding and give them any advice necessary to ensure this goes well. That should include how to best support the trailer before they begin the work. No matter how good the welder or repair folks are, unless they have done this successfully already on an Airstream I'd be wanting that conversation to happen. The cost of a phone call is miniscule when considering the outcome.
__________________

__________________
Barry & Donna
Life is short - so is the door on a '51 Flying Cloud (ouch)
safari57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.