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Old 07-16-2007, 10:15 PM   #1
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shop repair of 1970s rear frame separation (non elephant ears repair) RV shop review

Traveland RV in Langley, British Columbia is due to start the repairs to my 1974 31' Sovereign this week and I was wondering how many people would be interested in having me document the whole process. From quotation to final bill. We are not taking the elephant ears approach. It is a full skin off, the whole nine yards deal.

Is there enough interest out there for pictures, and detailed explanations?

Some of you may know my trailer. I was part of the team in Ontario that did the P&B designer unit with all the granite and mahogany. The one being worked at Traveland RV is my own personal unit that has experienced frame separation due to the all too common rear floor rot.

Let me know if you guys want to watch the whole things as it proceeds.

For those in Western Canada, it will be a great chance to see the quality of repair and service that Traveland RV is capable of.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:07 PM   #2
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Sure, I'm interested in seeing the progress of this repair. I've had the official Airstream repair, aka "Elephant Ear" repair, performed on my trailer, so I'd love to see how this progresses.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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I myself am very interested in following this process since i am considering doing the same on my 1970 Int 27 footer. Thanks for offering.
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:39 PM   #4
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As much documentation as you can provide would be appreciated by many of us with the l-o-n-g trailers.

Has a game plan been worked out as to how the repairs are to be carried out? If so, I'd love to here what is going to be done.

Thanks,
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:28 PM   #5
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I just returned this afternoon from the shop to see the progress and take some pictures. At the same time the rear end is being repaired I am having a on-demand hot water heater installed, the skin on the trailer door replaced after some bad damage , new fibreglass banana wraps, and a hot /cold water outlet installed in the rear compartment for an outdoor shower.

So far the rear skins have been removed and we can now get a better look at just how bad the separation is. I already know I do not have the more serious rear sagging, as there is no bending in the frame. It is just a structural separation between floor and frame. This unit has also already received the additional frame supports that AS issued many, many years ago.

What we are looking at is having to replace the sections of the floor that have rotted, fashioning a new c-channel and reattaching the floor to frame to skin. In addition the are many steel elements under the rear that have simply rusted away. My tanks will be removed and this whole are will be redone.

This week they will raise the trailer, drop the tanks and we will get a better look at the full extent of the deterioration of the rear sub structures.

They have unfortunately made a small error so far with the door skin. If you look at that picture you will see that the door seam no longer is in line with the seam of the trailer. The service writer was unhappy to find this and has said he will have they redo the whole thing. He is used to picky Airstream owners! What do you guys think? Would you accept it?
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Old 07-21-2007, 10:05 PM   #6
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You have to live with the door for the rest of the time you own the trailer and every time you open or close it you will have the reminder that it wasn't done the way you expected. With that in mind if it were me I would expect them to redo it properly. If it really doesn't matter to you then leave it.

Looks like they are really into it. Are the fellows working on it experienced with Airstreams? And Airstream owners? Or is it just the service manager who is.....when you buy the best you expect quality service.

I look forward to how this progresses and the end results. I'd expect it will be well done. They are noted for good work.

Thanks for sharing,
Barry
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:36 AM   #7
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Can anyone tell me how to check my AS for the additional frame supports? I have a photo of the bumper but I am unable to attach it. I can attach the photo to an email.

Thanks,

Tony

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Old 07-22-2007, 08:36 AM   #8
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thanks for sharing

Thanks very much for sharing your experience. I am in the middle of doing similar repairs our 29' rear bath 1974 Ambassador, and doing most of the work myself. I am trying to avoid the "skin off" approach since I don't have indoor storage.

The frames holding the black and grey water tanks are mostly rusted away, and the vertical angle that comes down from the horizontal "c" channel under the rear access door has the lower half rusted away. I am having new frames fabricated, and since the connection between the vertical angle and tank frames is gone, I was wondering if you would consider including a picture of that connection in one of your future posts.

You mentioned the additional frames supports, could you include a picture of them as well? It looks like you are having a really first class refurbishment done, congratulations and kudos for your approach.

Did you have a hinged cover for the storage compartment behind the bumper? We do, and I suspect that the poor design of that connection (plus lack of maintenance over the years) contributed to the advanced deterioration of the supporting steel. I do not want to simply replace that cover, and would be very interested in how Traveland RV suggests that your compartment lid be done.

Thanks again, great job so far, I would agree with safari 57 on the door question, it really is up to you.
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Old 07-22-2007, 12:18 PM   #9
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The serviceman working on my unit is a gentleman by the name of Albert. The service writer is Bob Bowles. Both are highly experienced with Airstreams. It seems to me that Albert works exclusively on Airstreams. I have seem a few other projects he is working on and his work seems very careful and meticulous (I will find out more about what went wrong with the door this week).

I have not considered what I will do to ensure moisture does not get back into the rear floor area (the main cause of the rotted floor and the seperation). I do have the original hinged rear storage compartment. The service writer and I will look at the issue closer once the unit has been raised on blocks. What have other people done to solve the wet floor problem in the rear of these models?

I will certainly include pics of the frame supports and the underside once I can get under there...It should be sometime later this week.

Having thought more about the door I will have them redo it. I just hate to see someone have to redo work and waste materials. I feel bad for the guy. Nonetheless, we have all built or assembled something only to discover that we have made a mistake. It is frustrating but what can you do except redo it.

Have any of you installed an on demand hot water tank in your trailers?

Okay it is sunday morning and my sausages are ready!

Thanks everyone, for your comments and questions. It is nice to know that I have people to share my experince with and people interested enough to want to contribute to my restoration.

Cheers,
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonhanbury
...
They have unfortunately made a small error so far with the door skin. If you look at that picture you will see that the door seam no longer is in line with the seam of the trailer. The service writer was unhappy to find this and has said he will have they redo the whole thing. He is used to picky Airstream owners! What do you guys think? Would you accept it?
First, let me say THANKS for documenting this project. I learn something from all these "maintenance" posts--it gives me the confidence to do some of the moderately extreme things I've been able to do so far.

Regarding the door--unless I had specifically contracted for a "perfect" job, I'm quite happy with competent workmanship. Having built a house and remodeled a number of Airstreams, I know that I take considerable care in my work and yet I still screw up. It makes me much more accepting of others' small errors. I don't think the door looks bad. What would be important to me is the door function, as in, does it shut smoothly and fit the trim line? Accepting good but not perfect work is a formula for great relations and a better overall project.

Hey, it's Vintage! I've got a few scars and wrinkles myself....

Zep
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Old 07-22-2007, 02:29 PM   #11
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All I can say is it all looks great I just viewed your picts. We have a 75 what I would give for ours to look like that!!!!! As far as the door if it bothers you now it always will so make the call. I just can't get over how great it looks, was the inside laminate painted and if so what with, the finish is just beautiful.
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Old 07-22-2007, 03:34 PM   #12
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Thanks for taking the time to document this. I'm in North Vancouver and have no experience with Traveland RV, so I'm very interested to see how this works out and how happy you are with the level of service. In answer to you question about on demand water heaters, I'm quite certain that lewster has installed these and has one in his trailer. You might try sending him a PM and asking him about them, or he may chime in here himself.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:21 PM   #13
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On demand hot water heater - next on my to-do list for the Flying Cloud. Several of our group we tow with have added one to their trailers and they are delighted with the results. Not in Airstreams mind you, but in that regard it doesn't matter. So, I'll do one this winter.

Barry
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:30 PM   #14
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Zep raises a point - if you are looking for perfection with the trailer then redo the door but if you are looking for quality work without the barrier of it being exactly perfect then given the workmanship is otherwise very good you may get used to it. No one is perfect and I'm high on the list of the not so perfect.

You might find that taking Zep's attitude may ease some of the tension I'm sure they find when dealing with "fussy" Airstream owners. My own stuff is not perfect by any means, I'm just one of those kinds of people that when I finally do take something to someone to have it done "properly" and am paying them for that I expect it to come back better than if I'd done it myself.

I've not used Travel Land but have heard of them and their work. I'm more of a do-it-yourself person. However, as that ability is diminishing somewhat I am very interested in how this goes. We may also add a later model to our "campground out back" and it will be interesting to see how these folks do with taking care of you as to whether it's where we go for our addition.

Keep the pictures and commentary coming.
Barry
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