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Old 07-23-2012, 06:32 AM   #71
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Point taken about the stabilizer jacks. My Interstate doesn't have any, so I wasn't aware of their limits. Thanks to those who pointed it out.

That increases the required number of portable jacks by at least two.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:12 AM   #72
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Okay first assessment done by Quinte Welding (have a mobile crew as well as shop)

He saw the design flaw right off he said. The plate that is welded to mount the axles just stops and down not run through the under side of the frame rail.

It is a flex point and over time the flexing has fatigued the metal in that spot and eventually it will just break as mine has done. Others will experience cracks and even warping and stretching of the metal.

My outriggers all three along that side have cracked on both sides and pushed in slightly into the main frame - dropping down. Which is the cause of my inside floor heaving along the main frame rail.

To do the job right he said the tanks have to be dropped front and back of the outriggers to get a good clean weld to the main frame and to be sure there is no other cracks or stretching. He reviewed the service bulletin #131 and agreed the tanks could stay as a precaution welding job prior to any break or cracking but mine has gone passed the precaution welding job.

He is confident it can be done on the spot and if I took the labour time of dropping the tanks and belly skin around the job area it would cut the labour in half.

He brings out large metal floor plates that levels the ground for a good ridged working space to jack up the frame where it needs to be welded.

With travel time and two people it is a 5-6 hours job - at $125/hour for mobile costs. $75.00 in the shop.

So if I spot weld a temp plate to get her to the shop then I am looking at their labour costs in prepping the area, dropping the tanks and belly skin - so I would be no further ahead with labour costs.

He also agreed that it would not be good to move this in its present state as you just don't know when it will drop further than it has and pull the skin at the outriggers away from the floor.

So I guess I need to go find The How to drop your belly skin and tank thread - ouy vey - in this heat it is going to be fun - NOT!!! I also need to get my baby higher to be able to work on her - ha I'm thin but not that dang thin!!! - so I will run out and buy a couple of jack stands to get her up onto them at the wheels. Removing all the wheels again - which is not that hard at all.

So will put my call back into Airstream to arrange for the package of parts to be shipped out.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:32 AM   #73
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It sounds like the welder knows what he is doing. If I remember correctly that plate from Airstream is just a small square plate that you weld over the crack prone region. I would think you would need something that would span a considerable length of frame to do anything more than just move the problem a few inches one way or the other.

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:34 AM   #74
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What still annoys me is that if this was a known design flaw and it really does not look like any changes were made from the 02/03 to the 04's If we were notified of this potential issue then precautions could have been notified to us. Extra care in maintenance for checking frame for signs of fatigue could also have been expressed to owners.

Anomilies inside the trailer would have been indications - and Not just blaming them on overloading or improperly hitched rigs and stuff. Like out of balance wheels or improperly inflated tires like you know who always targeted popped rivets, drawers emptying and floor wrinkling and such.

What would it take for an owner to check for frame cracks like tire rot - nothing. Instead I am looking at a huge job ahead of me.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:40 AM   #75
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Management the higher it gets can't admit fault. Each layer of management sugar coats things until a total failure becomes an added feature by the time it gets to the top dogs. This is why the Japanese were kicking our butts in the auto industry. They take input from the guys on the floor directly to top management. Our unions are too concerned about protecting jobs and back sides when screw ups happen. It never happened. As long as it outlast the warrantee period, then that is all they want. It is not an Airstream specific thing.

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:42 AM   #76
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Sorry, I am one of the folks who detest and distrust "Jack Stands"...

I surely recommend using blocks and stacking them into pylons instead of jack stands - ESPECIALLY if you are on turf, gravel or dirt.

6 by 6" stacks nicely though you can crib up many more 4 by 4"'s or even 2 x 6" or 2 x 8" if they are free and handy.

If there is a fencing company nearby they usually have used 4x4" fence posts they've pulled they give away if spending $35 or $45 on 6x6" timbers to cut up into 16-20-24-inch lengths is a no-go.

On attached picture note the concrete block is resting on railroad ties so it can't get a pinch point and crack, solid blocks would be best, and not visible here is the top board which is touching the knifes edge of the axle mounting plate is set cross-grained to keep the plate from splitting the timber.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:46 AM   #77
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Cinder blocks are great for putting anything on as long as the holes are facing up and you have a board across the top to keep from cracking the block. 6x6 wood blocks are great as well as lots of 2x6's or whatever for shims and bases for the blocks. If it rocks it can fall. If you can move it to a cement drive way to do this you will be much better off as far as stability and having a level clean place to work.

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:50 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
It sounds like the welder knows what he is doing. If I remember correctly that plate from Airstream is just a small square plate that you weld over the crack prone region. I would think you would need something that would span a considerable length of frame to do anything more than just move the problem a few inches one way or the other.

Perry

Yes that is what the fella said too. So they will wait for the kit and then add on what they feel would be more of a solution and further preventative - hence the tanks needing to be dropped (well at least the grey and fresh the stinky one can stay).

He will slightly raise the outriggers and put stiffeners on and angles where it welds to the frame. Hence the belly skin needing to be dropped behind and in front of the tandem wheels.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:59 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
Sorry, I am one of the folks who detest and distrust "Jack Stands"...

I surely recommend using blocks and stacking them into pylons instead of jack stands - ESPECIALLY if you are on turf, gravel or dirt.

6 by 6" stacks nicely though you can crib up many more 4 by 4"'s or even 2 x 6" or 2 x 8" if they are free and handy.

If there is a fencing company nearby they usually have used 4x4" fence posts they've pulled they give away if spending $35 or $45 on 6x6" timbers to cut up into 16-20-24-inch lengths is a no-go.

On attached picture note the concrete block is resting on railroad ties so it can't get a pinch point and crack, solid blocks would be best, and not visible here is the top board which is touching the knifes edge of the axle mounting plate is set cross-grained to keep the plate from splitting the timber.
Ahh that looks so pretty - wanna come and do mine Yes I have lots of stuff around here that my neighbours will let me use - all sorts of cement blocks and stuff for their trailers they are not using. I will pop it up on the jack stands as a safety and then move in the cribbing best I can.

Where I am sitting it is slopped slightly which has my tongue really low to the ground. But once I get her all up she will be fine for me to scoot under and get at stuff.

Now if someone can just install a huge fan to blow away this humidity and heat that would be very much appreciated.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:45 AM   #80
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I have heard not to use concrete cinder blocks as they can fail suddenly without warning. I would use heavy duty jack stands or wood blocks.

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Old 07-23-2012, 10:52 AM   #81
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Ha...don't worry fellas I got it covered - not about to go under where it's not safe. I have the heavy duty 4000 pound jack stands and will put wood blocks for safeties just in case some little rodent comes along and pulls the cotter pin on the jack stands.

It's dropping the tanks I'm baffled with....they look like they are in there with a double hanging system - I'm hoping once I get the belly skin off that he will have enough visual - or maybe just drop the cover to the tanks - he just wants to make sure there are no more cracks behind the break and have a good visual to weld to rather than slipping a piece in-between the tank and frame.

Off to get my glasses, mask and some box wrenches, and a new rachet! mine sucks and slips with any sort of torque to it. As well as pick up a few more jack stands....

Ye ha -
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:25 AM   #82
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They never fail if used properly. If you turn one sideways with the holes pointing to the side and you don't use a board on top they will fail everytime. If you have the holes pointing up and put a board on top the will NEVER fail. All house trailers and many houses are suspended using blocks. Anything made of concrete should be loaded in compression not tension (bending). I have put cars and heavier things on blocks for 40 yrs and have never busted one. The heavier jack stands with the rachets are pretty good. The old ones with the screw are not too good. I will go under a car on blocks alone but I never go under one otherwise unless there is a floor jack and a jack stand or some combination of blocks and jacks.

Perry

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I have heard not to use concrete cinder blocks as they can fail suddenly without warning. I would use heavy duty jack stands or wood blocks.

Bill
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:12 PM   #83
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lifting without effn up the frame worse?

Sharon, the question you need the most advice on is HOW THE HECK DO YOU LIFT A BROKEN FRAME AT ALL and keep it straight while lifting it? It's one of those which came first the chicken or the egg.... you need to lift the frame to fix the break but if you lift the broken frame the buckling and breaking will get worse.

The second question - can you lift the frame at all without taking the belly pan off?

Answer #2 - Sharon, if you need to take the belly pan off in this circumstance, you'll probably have to work in from the edges, and just cut or tear it apart. Send me the bill for the new belly pan. I got your back sister.

Lifting the frame evenly? I'm sure there are brighter minds than mine - please CHIME IN if you think my idea is stupid!!!! My feelings will NOT be hurt. You've got to brace each frame rail somehow so you can lift the whole thing as if it were still one piece - and it might not even be a bad idea to lift both the left and right sides together just to minimize stress on the floor, side panels and all that stuff. OK, what's 20 feet long that could brace a frame? 2x10 joists can be found in that length maybe 2x8's which would be a bit cheaper. But you can't fit a 2x10 under a frame rail and not risk it falling off... so sister 2 of them together with screws and you've got a reasonably stiff 10 inch wide board for the frame rail to rest on. I'd go with at least 3 bottle or floor jacks to lift each side - one in the middle of the broken section and 2 near the ends of the unbroken section. Being nervous and already owning a laser level, I'd use that to make sure the jacks were all being lifted in synch (working alone I'd have to raise each one about 1/4 inch at a time) - then once up, wood, blocks or jack stands to hold the unit up safely. Without a laser level - a good old string level or two works for me or even a 5 foot carpenter's level.

Paula

Let's talk about getting the heavy hand of the government in on this - someone IS going to die one of these days when a 22 falls apart on the road. Asking Airstream to make it right is like expecting Joe Paterno...
Random thought - I'm glad I'll never be the president. I couldn't be trusted with power. It's nice to be small enough that people WILL tell you when you're full of ****. It's so easy to be judgemental... but Paterno became someone who wasn't accountable...

Airstream could even go the way of Avion or Silver Streak when three or four children die in an accident traced to a broken frame in a 5-7 year old trailer! They don't THINK that a trailer that is self destructing could swing into oncoming traffic and take out a compact car.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:40 PM   #84
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Hey Paula - thanks for the kudos and sticking by a sista!

As for jacking and prying and lifting and bending and twisting and all that - it really is not as complicated as everyone "thinks" it is.

From the suspension forward she is nice and tight other than the downriggers being bent on the curb side - but we are only talking about 3/8 to 1/2 inch drop from the frame to the outside of the trailer.

Jacking her up higher on the suspension/stiff side right now for me to do the work will not be an issue.

My black tank was just emptied this morning and I am keeping my grey valve open so I have no real weight in the back other than what the desk and shower unit is.

Once I get the suspension/stiff side up on jacks - I will place too bottle jacks on the rear bumper guards to relieve the pressure a bit on the break - she aint going anywhere.

As for the welding job - as he explained he has it covered and knows exactly how to jack up the frame to get it straight to weld.

It's like wearing a bra - with my bra on the girls are fine and nicely sitting, but if I take my bra off - it is not like my boobs are going to fall off my chest - same deal with the back of the trailer right now. Lots of floor and structure still holding her in place along with the outriggers to the main frame - The shell and the whole structure still has her straight as the fella mentioned - or the frame would not be where it is right now which is straight but dropped inside the break - not pulling away to the left or the right.

Hope this puts ya'll at ease a bit.

As for the political side of this issue - lets just wait and see what happens and the answers I'm given - One Step at a time here okay.
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