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Old 11-14-2011, 05:33 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
orlando , Florida
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Rear sag '75 rear bath Sovereign

I have a significant slope from shower/closet wall to back of RV .i cannot do major repairs until retirement.its parked under cover on my property out of state and being used occasionally.will this slope damage or cause other problems such as toilet,shower or holding tanks to not work properly.i just spent 4 days in it and seemed to get a septic tank odor at times and was not sure if this was because of floor sag or because I didn't treat tank with chemicals prior to trip.this was my first time to AS still learning.i repaired water entrance points in rear and everywhere else to prevent further damage but just need bath to hold up for a few years until restore time.thank again all, I know this is common problem just can't find info within sight.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ofdtruckie View Post
I have a significant slope from shower/closet wall to back of RV .i cannot do major repairs until retirement.its parked under cover on my property out of state and being used occasionally.will this slope damage or cause other problems such as toilet,shower or holding tanks to not work properly.i just spent 4 days in it and seemed to get a septic tank odor at times and was not sure if this was because of floor sag or because I didn't treat tank with chemicals prior to trip.this was my first time to AS still learning.i repaired water entrance points in rear and everywhere else to prevent further damage but just need bath to hold up for a few years until restore time.thank again all, I know this is common problem just can't find info within sight.
The Airstream shell holds up the chassis.

The rear end separation happens when the shell no longer properly does it's job with the frame.

The more you travel with the trailer, the worse the separation will become. Keep in mind, when the separation starts, the rear part of the floor gets wet, with rot right behind the wetness.

There are a number of causes for the separation.

Unbalanced running gear, excessive rated hitch bars, excessive rated tow vehicles, and bad rubber rods in the axles.

Andy
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:05 AM   #3
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Another cause for rear end separation is the introduction of water underneath the plywood due to design of the hinge mounting plate for the rear storage compartment. This causes rot in the plywood and rust in rear crossmember, angled steel plate and bolts attaching the C-channel to the rear crossmember. This is why you see rear-end separation even on short trailers, and ones that are not abused.

Chicken or egg, the result is the same: a need to rebuild the rear of the trailer. In bad cases, the rear crossmember may need replacement or "sistering" (adding another structural member along side to augment the failed one). You'll definitely want to improve the connection between the trailer and the frame, and eliminate that plate that may have caused the problem originally.

If you cannot fix this soon, I recommend taking whatever action you can to stop the introduction of water into the rear of the trailer via caulking, etc. You'll need to remove the rear exterior trim to do this. If your trailer has a rear holding or gray water tank, avoid trailering as much as possible (esp. on rough roads) when the tanks are full, and if carrying loads inside the trailer, keep them away from the rear (good advice in any case).

- Bart
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:45 AM   #4
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re: "seemed to get a septic tank odor at times" -- this is usually due to poor venting or a leak in the toilet seal.

Make sure that you keep a bit of water in the toilet boil - if it leaks out you have a seal problem that might just be a bit of debris caught in the seal surfaces.

Check the vent pipe to make sure it hasn't dropped to the bottom of the tank.

Use enough water when flushing to keep all solids covered.

Dump the tanks and rinse at least once a week.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:18 PM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Great info I appreciate it.i did seal up the rear separation with aluminum 3x1 channel and vulkum.seems to have stopped leak into trailer.when I bought trailer the vent tubes were full of spray foam.i dug it out but some could have fallen in and if so how do I check grey water vent for proper ops.also it will not move for a few years so I want to make sure the slope won't affect ops of toilet or shower.floor is good except behind toilet under wall.i can reach around from back hatch and feel rotten edges about 3 inches not wet though.also that upper shower head holder can I reposition more to center of tub so water will fall in tub instead of counters and floors.just thought i'd ask experts before I do it don't need any more water on floor.thanks again
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:29 PM   #6
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To test your tanks' roof vents, just get a garden hose and see if water goes down. If the vent overflows, you know you need to drill out more of that spray foam.

Why in heck do you think someone put spray foam in there in the first place!?
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:31 AM   #7
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They said they thought mice were coming in through there. They were not very handy with anything.i spent more time fixing there hatchet jobs than repairs.i took it all out with a screw driver and vacuum..does anyone know how far floor will collapse.it appears to be sloped about 2-3" from closet line to back I guess that's a plywood seam and the corners are out of wall grooves or channel and just dropped .
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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1973 31' Sovereign
pomona park , Florida
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i to have the same issue on my 74 31' posted 73 but was a year off thought i got a good deal my son and i went to look at trailer everything was in nice shape but noticed rust all around back end no seperation until we towed it 2 hours home the floor on right rearside dropped atleast 5 inches so much for my great deal lol i contacted a local welder who wont touch it told me he did another AS and it caught on fire hmmmm any suggestions for away to fix this without tearing entire trailer apart i also have limited funds but love AS trailers i also have a 50s spartan but it was to far gone for me to redo i dont do alot of my own work, but am trying to learn , i am now selling it to hopefully use my As thanks in advance for any help
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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1975 31' Sovereign
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same thing, repair well on the way

I have the same thing (as so many of us do) with my 75. I am now well into the repair. I wanted to do it right, so decided to remove all bathroom fixtures form shoulder height down. So I could remove the lower part of the walls. So I could get to the c-channel. So I could, well you know. And yes, it was a lot of work, could have been harder, but not easy either. So far, the biggest problem I am having is the c-channel bow. Mine is broken in 3 pieces. And even worse, it had a piece of what looks like it may have been angle iron (now I say looks like, because there is not enough there to be sure of anything other then it rusted) rivited to the back of it. This of course caused electrolysis and ate up the panel under the rear hatch. Now as far as the frame goes, well I think I was spared. Well I could go on, but not my thread. Anyways, point is, it wasn't as bad as it seems. So I would fix it, and fix it right. After all, isn't that half the fun of owning an older Airstream? Hey the good news is, this my qualify you for the RFC (Always have to find that silver lining).
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:29 PM   #10
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Red face my saggy butt

well im trying to fix it from underside and re weld im sure i will be sorry for not ripping out the bath after we got into it i isnt as bad as i thought but just reinforcing the frame building new boxs for tanks and replacing the channel well im not two guys are lol i just read about the body holding up the frame so i guess ill have to see about making that stronger and more rivets???? hmmmm why did i get this trailer i didnt know the long ones were worth a lot less than others guess i should have read posts first hmmm not to smart am i?
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #11
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1962 24' Tradewind
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Same problem, 69 Sovereign 31'

I have the same problem, but it has only dropped about 1/2 inch, I think. Possibly because this AS has always lived in dry climates. Anyway, I have done some temporary fiber glassing of the rear floor inside the rear hatch, sealed up everything I could and plan to Vulchem up the rest, and hope it will hold off awhile so I can do a more permanent fix. New Axles, careful driving on rougher roads, easy stiffness on hitch bars, never hauling much in the blackwater tank. Oh, and fingers crossed. I prefer using the AS to working on it and hope to keep it on the road. Sadly the resale on the long ones is not such that putting a ton of money into it will ever be recovered. So, I hope to keep it right side up, nothing falling off, comfortable, and not be rejected from nicer rv parks. When I get too old to haul it I will probably use it as a park home, or give it to my son, and let him worry about the rear sag :-)
cheers, bill b.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #12
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My wife and I are thinking of buying a 2004 22' International ccd, but was told that they have problems with the floor sections rotting out due to the cheaper osb used. does anyone have first hand user info about this model?
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:35 PM   #13
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The rear bath on my 77 has had a slight slope from the closets towards the rear since new. I've had 2 Airstream repair centers check it out and there is no rear end separation and the plywood is in good shape. I was told that happens because the 2 holding tanks are back there and there is not alot of cross members in the area to support the floor. I'm guestimating maybe an inch of slope...just enough to feel it. Not 5 inches.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:53 AM   #14
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I think the stabilizer jacks contribute to the slope at the rear of the trailer. Unlike the front stabilizer jacks there is no tongue jack to hold the up the frame extension beyond the stabilizers. When you walk into the rear bath it's kind of like walking out on a diving board but the trailer floor does not spring back.
If you put too much pressure on the stabilizer jacks it tends to arch the floor in that area. Once the arch is formed, it doesn't go away.
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