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Old 03-07-2011, 07:09 PM   #43
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:30 PM   #44
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so you folks don't think i'd have any problem leaving my shell off for several months and into hurricane season here in savannah, ga? we rarely have tropical storms hit here, but we do get some big thunderstorms.
i've got the shell lifted off of the chassis now with a couple 4x4s sitting on cinder blocks.
i think if i pull the chassis out i will drive a couple posts with concrete and bolt them to those crossbeams.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:01 PM   #45
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Need Advice on floor/frame issues

We have a '79 31'. I have replaced some of the floor in the front and a small amount in the rear. I have noticed the following:
I have about an inch of separation in the rear between the frame and the top.
I have about an inch of sag along both sides (from the center out to the edge). This is across the trailer, just in front of kitchen cabinets. I told my wife these had to be problems with the frame. She has talked with someone at a RV place who told her it just could not be a frame problem, because the frame was not likely to rust. I don't see another possibility. Assuming it is the frame, and that we don't have the place or tools to repair it, can anyone help me with the following questions:
A low and high ballpark estimate on cost?
Is the trailer safe to be on the road?
I've tried to attach pics, but have had no success. Not sure if it's a website issue or my internet connection. Everytime I try, I have to restart my pc to get my connection back.
I appreciate the help.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:14 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
We have a '79 31'. I have replaced some of the floor in the front and a small amount in the rear. I have noticed the following:
I have about an inch of separation in the rear between the frame and the top.
I have about an inch of sag along both sides (from the center out to the edge). This is across the trailer, just in front of kitchen cabinets. I told my wife these had to be problems with the frame. She has talked with someone at a RV place who told her it just could not be a frame problem, because the frame was not likely to rust. I don't see another possibility. Assuming it is the frame, and that we don't have the place or tools to repair it, can anyone help me with the following questions:
A low and high ballpark estimate on cost?
Is the trailer safe to be on the road?
I've tried to attach pics, but have had no success. Not sure if it's a website issue or my internet connection. Everytime I try, I have to restart my pc to get my connection back.
I appreciate the help.
Hi Ken,
I have done a lot of frame/floor replacements & upgrades. If you can figure out how to post photos or send them to me off the Forum, I may be able to give you some pointers.
Thanks,
Colin
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:00 AM   #47
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Another reason NOT to use RV repair shops not familiar with AS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
We have a '79 31'....
I have about an inch of separation between the frame and the top.
I have about an inch of sag along both sides.
I told my wife these had to be problems with the frame.
Talked with someone at a RV place who told her it just could not be a frame problem.
Airstream construction IS different from SOB fiberslab side manufacture.

The "lightweight" main frame used by AS is both a benefit and a menace. The AS main frame reduces weight by utilizing the shell as an ingeral component to create overall unit strength, the downsize is that if the bond between the shell and the frame (the floor) is compromised the frame will soon be left with considerable damage. This means frame sag compounded by floor rot.

There is a HUGE learning curve required to recognize and satisfactorily repair damage to a shell/frame monocoque RV. Don't get sucked into paying for the education of a non-qualified repair person OR paying for a substandard repair job. The quote above from "the wife's" conversation with a "RV place" drives this point home.

The old adage "you pays for what you gets" is very true when it comes to AS repair - let someone who has done it before do it or educate yourself to do it yourself..."spend the bucks, do it right the first time".

The sad thing is, all of the information to qualify any newbie to do a satisfactory pre-purchase or pre-repair inspection is right here in the Forums - in multiple locations.

Frame-floor-shell...all three components are necessary for structural integrity....need to "get it right" prior to doing any work on the interior to make it pretty.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do with your trailer.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:59 PM   #48
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Thanks- Need more info if possible

I appreciate the responses. Really trying to get the best answer I can on the following:

Given the sag in the rear and along the sides can we assume they are caused by a frame problem?

Would you feel safe pulling the trailer down the road in this condition?

Assuming I'm going to pay someone to make the repairs, any kind of ball park estimate on what it might cost (low/high).

I'm just trying to make some decisions.

Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:40 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
I appreciate the responses. Really trying to get the best answer I can on the following:

Given the sag in the rear and along the sides can we assume they are caused by a frame problem?

Would you feel safe pulling the trailer down the road in this condition?

Assuming I'm going to pay someone to make the repairs, any kind of ball park estimate on what it might cost (low/high).

I'm just trying to make some decisions.

Thanks again for all the help.
Yes, this sounds like frame problems, however it sounds more like the rear end of the frame has saged behind the wheels along with a bunch of outriggers. Once the body has separated from the body in the rear, both parts are moving indepentantly from each other. Keep in mind that these frames will sag under their own weight when they are completely bare, less body etc. So when separation occurs, all of the weight in the rear end is working against you ie bathroom components, grey tank etc are unsupported & contributing to the sagging.
In order to ballpark costs of repair, you really need a thorough assessment. Some photos would help a great deal.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:16 PM   #50
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Added pics of sagging

This is 2 pics of the sag along the sides. I laid a straight edge across the trailer between the door and the entrance to the kitchen. Don't have a pic of the rear end sag yet.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #51
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2 More pics

These are pictures I took when I was replacing the floor in the front of the trailer.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #52
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Zipman Ken I have a question for you. You said that you replaced some section of the floor. Did you remove the inner walls to get at the bolts holding the floor to the frame. If you just cut the floor around the edge of the walls and replaced it I think that is the source of your sag. The main connection between the frame and the shell is through the bolts inside the walls.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:49 PM   #53
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Boy, that is like De-ja-voo.
The pic below is my trailer when I got it. See the sag on the side (plywood)? It was because there were no outriggers there. They had all rusted away.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:19 PM   #54
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Un-level outer flooring? Let see, umnnn, I found...
  • Damaged outriggers snagged, folded and torn but left in place and covered up with new wrap panels
  • New outrigger installed, bolted in floor but not welded.
  • New outrigger installed and welded but sagged floor-shell not jacked up level so was installed 1/4" low.
  • Lower sections of outrigger rusted out that allowed them to bow.
  • Dry rotted plywood around the edges making loose bolts which allows the shell to hammer the plywood thickness thinner; and/or rusted and broken C-Channel bolts allowing the shell to wiggle and hop and compress wood.
  • Floor fiberglass between frame and floor held water enough two-plus-plies of 3/4" plywood had vanished.
I am still plodding along waiting for warm weather to continue ignoring, errr, repairing those details...
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:23 PM   #55
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Partial floor replacement

I did remove the lower wall panels everywhere I replaced the floor. I did not remove the bolts since the wood was rotten around them. When I installed the new floor, I notched around the bolts and drove the new plywood into the channel between the wall and frame. At the time I didn't really appreciate the importance of the tie between the 3 parts and didn't know how I would get to the bottom to install the new nuts.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:35 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
I did remove the lower wall panels everywhere I replaced the floor. I did not remove the bolts since the wood was rotten around them. When I installed the new floor, I notched around the bolts and drove the new plywood into the channel between the wall and frame. At the time I didn't really appreciate the importance of the tie between the 3 parts and didn't know how I would get to the bottom to install the new nuts.
I would say you should start over and do it right the second time.
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