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Old 01-14-2010, 10:57 PM   #1
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1968 20' Globetrotter
fair oaks , California
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Rear End Separation-What Years Are Worse

I'm currently in the market for an older airstream but understand that many are plagued with rear end sepration. I was wondering if there are specific years and/or models where rear end seperation is more of a problem. I've done a search but havent been able to find any specific answers to this question.

Thanks for any information you can provide.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:08 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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As a very general rule, mid 1960's through late 1970's trailers. Separation was more prone in mid '70's rear bath models, when Federally-mandated grey tanks were added, but frames were not strengthened sufficiently to handle the increased load and stress.
I've seen 1967 Tradewinds with separation, and I've seen 1985 Sovereigns with separation. So, any trailer could have it (some more than others), just check carefully for it before purchasing.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:35 AM   #3
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I Agree With Terry...

Although there may be many more ways to look at this specific problem, I trust in Terry for and to lead us in the right direction...
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:52 AM   #4
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What would you look for?
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:35 AM   #5
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
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The longer 69 models suffered from it. It showed up mine after I had to make several high speed runs to get up a washboard hill on a dirt road

Some clues

Center partition between bedroom and kitchen is trying to push through ceiling

Bulging over the wheel wells as you look down the side of the trailer.

Double closet doors don't line up properly. Matching corners one higher than other
When looking under trailer from the rear there will be slight wrinkling visible on the plates that the axles mount to.

There was a repair. reinforcement plate available from the factory as well as a service bulletin.

I think these plates may have been factory installed on some of the later 70's

Occasionally you will find one with the plates and patches on the rear where the frame was reattached.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:32 PM   #6
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1975 29' Ambassador
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Be careful. There are two problems identified here: rear end separation and axle mounting plate folding.

The 'fix' for rear end separation is to add bolts to re-attach the bottom shell rail to the frame members. The 'fix' for the axle mounting is to strengthen the plate between the axles.

As Rick noted, and you'll find InlandRV Andy rather heavy on the point, the ultimate source of the problem is vibrations such as you can get from unbalanced running gear or rough roads.

Rear end separation isn't so much a weak frame as it is frame and shell separating. The shell is a major structural component so when it ceases to support the frame, the frame can sag.

The axle plate folding is why lifting a mid 70's Airstream with a jack between the wheels is risky. It is a thin plate compared to its height that holds the shock and axle mounting bolts.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:19 PM   #7
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if it's more than 20 years old, expect frame & floor problems particularly at rear. i've yet to encounter a seller that would let me pull belly for a look. in my experiance most overlanders with rear bath (are there any without rear bath?) are sagged over the axles to some extent. the last 1 i did was a 66 and had a 1.25" rise in center, i have come to expect this with overlanders, noticable buldge over axles and if you look closely at verticle rivets you may see some with popped rivets and elongated holes.
not the end of the world. but interesting to repair. on the other hand if not prepared to work on them ,antiques (anything over 25 yrs) stick with younger trailers. to bring back most of these older units requires a diverse skill set or piles of money.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:53 AM   #8
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
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Attached is a repair bulletin from Airstream regarding rear sag repair.

Lot of good posts from Creston RV. I should stop and visit sometime as I am only a few miles north of there. Have seen the sign pointing that way but never been there.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf rear sag Bulletin146.pdf (199.4 KB, 366 views)
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