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Old 09-13-2004, 03:56 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
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Rear End Separation

I am looking into purchasing a 1978 31ft Sovereign International. I have seen the term rear end separation but don't understand it. What is it? What causes it? What to you look for to see if the trailer has it? How do you fix it/prevent it and how much work/cost is it? Anything else I need to know? I have found some information and it may not be a worry for the 31ft of this year.
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Old 09-13-2004, 04:25 PM   #2
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This is an often-covered topic, and you will find more than you than you ever thought by doing a forum search on rear end separation. Please reply if you need help accessing this feature.

Tom
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Old 09-13-2004, 04:35 PM   #3
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I think the problem was fixed by 1978 and the seperation was unique to the rear bath models.
The search will help with the answer and other frame related problems to look for.
Simple answer is to step on the rear bumper and if it goes down even 1/4 in from the body you have a problem.

Garry
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garry
I think the problem was fixed by 1978 and the seperation was unique to the rear bath models.
The search will help with the answer and other frame related problems to look for.
Simple answer is to step on the rear bumper and if it goes down even 1/4 in from the body you have a problem.
The problem occured after AS went to a smaller frame circa 1970 and occurs in all models longer than 25' or so up into the early 80's. Prime cause appears to be (re Andy at InlandRV) poorly balanced running gear aggravated by loading (rear tanks if carried full could do this).

Many 70's Amabassadors and Sovereigns do not have the problem but some do, even some with center bath. Center bath models were not very popular in this time frame so their population in the problem group is rather small.

AS has two tech notes for fixes. The 'elephant ear' fix reinforces the frame from the rear. The axle plate fix reinforces the axle mounting plate which has buckled in a few cases.

Besides the 'tromp in the rear bumper' test also look for telltale signs of skin warping near the center of the trailer.

Don't forget to note how the wheels fit in the wheel wells as an indicator of axle condition. Also note that overrated for load tires may aggravate vibration problems.
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Old 09-13-2004, 08:08 PM   #5
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Rear End Separation

Greetings 76Argosy26!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76argosy26
I am looking into purchasing a 1978 31ft Sovereign International. I have seen the term rear end separation but don't understand it. What is it? What causes it? What to you look for to see if the trailer has it? How do you fix it/prevent it and how much work/cost is it? Anything else I need to know? I have found some information and it may not be a worry for the 31ft of this year.
Rear end separation is an issue that is not necessarily related to sag - - a coach can have either one or both. Separation is a condition where the body becomes detached or separated from the frame at the rear of the coach - - it is identified by a situation where pressure on the rear bumper results in the bumber moving independent of the body. Separation typically is accompanied by rot in the rear floor and can be aggravated by excess weight being carried on or beyond the rear bumper (rear mounted spares, bicycle carriers, etc.), as well as axle and balance issues. Separation on my '64 Overlander was the result of having a rear mounted spare tire carrier for more than 30 years and was aggravated by rear floor damage due to overlooked leaks. The cost of repairing separation is highly dependent upon the extent of related damage such as floor rot and/or running gear issues - - on my coach the repair was in the vicinity of $1,000 but was done after the floor repairs which were approximately the same amount. The separation repair on my coach can be identified by additional rivets above the rear frame rails that support the bumper as well as the very small "elephant ears" mentioned earlier.

Frame sag was more an issue with 1970s coaches, but could be found on other eras as well - - it has generally been attributed to traveling with waste tanks at or near full as well as running gear balance issues. It is typically identified by ripples or bulges behind the wheel wells. The repair was/is a reinforcement plate added to the frame rails in the vicinity of the axles. Since my coach didn't suffer from this condition, I can't provide any information on repair costs.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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Old 09-13-2004, 10:26 PM   #6
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We had an 1979 Excella 500 and it was starting to get frame separation. The frame was starting to stretch above the axles. We could see the buckling behind the wheels above the wheel well frame and the bumper was an inch or so below the body. Had it fixed for about $700 but that was a few years ago. Jan #26931
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Old 09-13-2004, 10:32 PM   #7
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My 70 overlander 27' has rotten wood in bathroom against the wall. However, there's no separation, and I can jump up and down on the bumper without any play... How likely is a splint repair if I find that most of the wood is still good, with only a few rotten spots?
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