Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-24-2003, 07:49 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
1975 31' Sovereign
Eau Claire , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 202
rear end sag

As some of you know I recently lost my AS to a very inattentive driver. In anticipation of replacement I have been browsing a bit. There are several units listed on eBay that I am watching and I have a question regarding the "dreaded butt sag".

Item #2424415960 is a rear bath 31' unit that looks like it is sagging to me. I see it lower in the rear and a bit of crease near the rear wheels. Is this indeed indicative of the sag and is this sufficient evidence to stay away from such a unit?

Thanks in advance to you learned ones of Airstreamdom.
__________________

__________________
Brouck

Wherever you go... there you are!
bhsl8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 08:37 AM   #2
Just a member
 
thenewkid64's Avatar
 
1978 28' Argosy 28
Tampa Bay , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,539
Images: 21
Send a message via AIM to thenewkid64 Send a message via Yahoo to thenewkid64 Send a message via Skype™ to thenewkid64
Brouck,

I am not seeing anything in the pictures that would lead me to belive there is a sag issue on that unit.

There is some skin wavyness in front of the wheels, but usally the symptoms show up behind the wheels. It looks like the unit was "updated" to look newer and the lower body wrap does tend to hang down a bit to cover all the way to the frame rail. This could be why it looks lower in the rear.

Other than the awning over the front window(an affront to the shape and design in my book) it looks like a nice unit.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but nothing beats the old mark 1 eyeball!
__________________

__________________
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
-------------------------
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato


thenewkid64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 09:14 AM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pick's Avatar
 
1972 31' Sovereign
High Springs , Florida
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,310
Images: 36
Send a message via AIM to Pick
That unit looks OK, to me. I did not see any "elephant ears" on the back, so it has not had the update, but it may not need it. Looks tight around the rear bumper. Price is not bad so far.

Some camera lenses can contribute to a "curvey" look also. Like Brett said, nothing beats beats "being there".
__________________
ARS WA8ZYT
2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 D/A Ext. Cab
Propane Powered Honda EU2000i
Lots of Hot Sauce!
Air # 283
WBCCI 1350
Pick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 09:32 AM   #4
3 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 184
Images: 55
Wavyness behind the rear wheelwells in itself is not an indication of rear end separation. The easiest way to inspect is for someone to stand on the rear bumper and "bounce". have someone look for any movement between the body and rear bumper area. (straight from the man himself-Inland Andy) I think the wavyness can be caused by the multiple compound curves the aluminum must follow in that area.

I have a 73 31' Center Bath with the same wavyness, but NO indication of rear end separation. As I understand it, if the rear end separates, the body of the trailer will remain elevated and not sag with the frame due to the "aircraft style" construction.

The only way to be sure is to see it in person!


Tripp
__________________
Tripp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 10:21 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
1975 31' Sovereign
Eau Claire , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 202
Thank you all. I guess it would be well to see the problem in person and obviously to inspect a potential purchase first hand but as we know it isn't always practical. I just keep learning as I go.
__________________
Brouck

Wherever you go... there you are!
bhsl8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 03:50 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
 
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
 
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,499
Images: 1
I am not sure about rear end separation on the Excella.

But, I am pretty positive that it has bad axles.

Good axles would display more of the top of the tires.

Andy
__________________
Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 03:57 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Chas's Avatar
 
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 949
Images: 22
I've got a bit of waviness at the front and rear of my fender areas as well. I have jumped on the bumper and get maybe a 1/4 inch of movement out of it which doesn't seem excessive to me. Maybe I should post a pic so "EagleEye Andy" can give me his expert opinion? He has already seen my axles and says "they appear to be good" or am I pushing my luck?

Chas
__________________
Chas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 07:31 PM   #8
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
 
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
 
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,499
Images: 1
Chas.

"ANY" movement at the frame/ floor seam at the rear, is not good news.

The greater the movement, the greater the problem.

A 1/4 inch movement sets you up for rotten plywood, along with when you tow, that seam will move everytime the trailer hits the smallest of bumps, which increases the problem.

I would suggest you test the plywood now, with an ice pick, to determine the condition of the plywood.

The sooner you address the issue and take corrective measures, the less it will cost.

Andy
__________________
Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 08:13 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
overlander76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 84
Send a message via ICQ to overlander76 Send a message via AIM to overlander76 Send a message via Yahoo to overlander76
Andy and anyone else,

I have a few questions for you about this topic. Thanks in advance for your time in responding to my questions. Ive read a few of these threads on rear end seperation and these questions come to mind. When I bounce on the floor in my bathroom, it seems to give, but it feels like the front end is coming off the ground. I don't have anything weird going on with a crumple behind the wheels or any rivets missing outside or anything like that. I am still worried about this as it seems to trash the Airstream (I saw your picture on the topic where the entire rear end was gone) Why does rear end seperation happen? Isn't there a set of frame rails that go all the way to the end of the Airstream? Was this a defect? Does anything cause this becides running gear unbalanced? Water rotting the plywood? Is there a way to reinforce it? I have a 76 overlander rear bath (27').

Thanks
Brian
__________________
overlander76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 08:35 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,482
Images: 19
What is called tail droop, rear end sag, rear end separation, and some names not suitable for print is essentially this: the frame has parted from the body/shell unit.

One of the things that confuses a lot of people is that the body/shell of an Airstream are a unit. This "monocoque" construction is then attached to the frame. The frame does not hold up the body, rather to the contrary, the body holds up the frame! This is why the frame will "droop" if the attachments fail. The plywood floor need not be rotted when failure occurs, but once it happens water will begin to seep in through the bumper area and rot the plywood from the bottom up.

The point of attachment is the "C" or "U" (depending upon how you look at it) shaped channel that runs around the perimeter of the body, attaching the shell to the floor. The are several reasons why failure occurs, depending upon who you ask:

1. Unbalance running gear sets up vibrations which are amplified by the moment arm from the axles back to the rear of the coach. This distance becomes progessively longer as the size of the trailer gets larger, making failure more common on 30' models than on 19'.

2. The addition of grey water holding tanks to rear bath versions without corresponding structural improvements. Support for this theory comes from the availability of a factory supplied frame strengthing kit. The weakness of this theory is that it is sometimes seen in side bath units, although not often.

3. Beatrice Foods could not be bothered with petty details like their trailers falling apart.

4. Using the bumper for a support for spare tires, bike racks, generator boxes, or storage compartments created more stress on the frame than it was designed to handle. This is closely related to choices "1" and "2" above.

5. The Nixon/Ford years. Hey, for some people that explains everything.

You can choose any of the above, or any combination. I am sure Andy will chime in and straighten out where I have gone astray.

Mark
__________________
j54mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 08:38 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
flamingo-kid1's Avatar
 
1967 28' Ambassador
Rockford , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,160
Images: 17
Send a message via ICQ to flamingo-kid1 Send a message via AIM to flamingo-kid1
DON'T do it! You really need to SEE the unit. Maybe it would be worth driving out OR taking a $99.00 flight!!!***
We just got OUT of a disaster on Ebay. (not the same seller) The guy told me no leaks and the butt was ready to fall on the ground. We cancelled the deal and the guy was being crappy.. although we haven't heard from him for awhile now. *** Do a study on which years are the best. *** We are new to the Club and have purchased a 1967 Ambassador from a WONDERFUL lady close to our home location. We're taking her out for the first weekend tomorrow night. GOOD LUCK in your hunt !!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	holmberg airstream-02.jpg
Views:	619
Size:	56.4 KB
ID:	2406  
__________________
flamingo-kid1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 09:37 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Chas's Avatar
 
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 949
Images: 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Inland RV Center, In
Chas.

I would suggest you test the plywood now, with an ice pick, to determine the condition of the plywood.

Andy
Andy,

I do have some rotted plywood at the rear. It leaked around there when i first got it but I have since fixed the leak. I can see where it is gone by opening the rear compartment door where the dump valves are, probably all of it beneath the rear wall C-channel and a few inches towards the trailer. I think it was from either a leaky rear window, thru the bumper seam or maybe the taillights. I have figured on having to replace it at some point but figured I would get some enjoyment out it for a year or so before I commence a major repair job which I am sure it will be. What would be easier, repairing it from the top or from underneath? I don't mind seaming in the last foot or so, anything other than tearing the bath interior out, right?

Chas
__________________
Chas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2003, 09:57 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 37
My wife and I just purchased a 1978 31' International LY. It has the rear bath. There is no rear sag in the unit presently. Should I be proactive and strenthen the rear? If so, what is involved? Is it possible for a do it yourselfer or should a cerified RV shop complete the modofications?

Thanks,

Slade Weaver
__________________
sladew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2003, 10:38 AM   #14
4 Rivet Member
 
DPeakMD's Avatar
 
1975 23' Safari
1978 31' Excella 500
Franklin , Indiana
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 472
Images: 2
Send a message via Yahoo to DPeakMD
SladeW--I think you should be proactive and address it before there is a problem. If you're handy, the repair is well documented. There's a PDF file of the Airstream Factory Service Bulletin that is on Tom Patterson's Website

Our '72 31' had BOTH problems of:
1. Frame sag-- this is simply a problem caused by (insert a multitude of debateable causes) resulting in a bend to occurring near the axles which affects of the entire rear half of the trailer. One of the ways to assess this is by the tell-tale buckle along the sides near the wheelwells. It is fixed by installing a "fish plate" around the frame near the axles. The axles have to be dropped in order to do this. The Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, OH did ours and they did a good job. I have heard of others having this done at reputable Airstream dealers and even some fixed by backyard welders! Use your own judgement there.

2. Rear-end separaton: Our rig's got this too! We all know the wonderful monocoque system of the aluminum shell is designed to be somewhat self-supporting. The frame ideally would be as well. But as above, tends to let gravity take over the rear end! This results in the shell and the rear bumper/hose carrier/frame parting ways. The two will move indepently of each other. Eventually a gap may develop. The gap, if unsealed, will allow water intrusion. This rusts the bolts that hold the shell to the rear frame by sandwiching the floor in a C-channel along the lower edge. The bolts rust out over time. Water will also eventually rot the wood and weaken the area further. The way to assess for this is to look for movement of the rear bumper/frame relative to the shell. You should check for this by bouncing on the rear bumper. That strip of caulk that seals the area directly in front of the rear hose carrier is KEY. Keep that area impenetrable to water and you'll save yourself heartache. However, if the shell and frame have become disattached, you'll probably need to have them joined back together as in the PDF above...

Just look at your rig carefully for the tell-tale signs described. If you don't see a problem and follow the precautions advised by many in other posts about attention to weight in rear, traveling with tanks empty, balancing wheels, drive slower, etc--you may never have to fix anything!

Happy Airstreaming!!!

Pic of rear end gap, stripped of old caulking and awaiting new...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	rearendgap.jpg
Views:	687
Size:	30.3 KB
ID:	2413  
__________________

__________________
Dallas Peak, MD 'That 70's Guy!'
VAC 1VP President
WBCCI/VAC #8481
AIR #9
W9CDC
.-- ----. -.-. -.. -.-.
DPeakMD 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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Saggy Bottom ( rear end ) smily Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 127 10-01-2006 09:28 PM
Droopy Rear End (Motorhome) smily Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 57 02-10-2004 11:17 AM
Rear end Sag? Fun-Lovin Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 2 10-27-2003 09:03 AM
Rear sag- or no rear sag? aviontt Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 14 08-27-2003 06:38 PM
Z71 or Z85? River Rat Tow Vehicles 7 05-09-2003 05:40 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:20 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.