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Old 01-29-2003, 09:54 PM   #1
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Question Skeleton Framework of Newer Airstreams

I visited deMontrond Texan RV in Houston last week and looked at some of the new stuff, (I suppose they are 2003 or 2002 models).
On leaving I asked for and was given a Airstream brochure. It has no date or identification number or mention of a model year. The front of the brochure is blue with rivets across the bottom, and is labled "AIRSTREAM The Travel Trailer Fleet". Is this the newest literature?

On page 6 if you count the cover under "The Core Features" there is a photo titled "the bare bones".

I have no means to scan it or I would place it here. Or do some of you think Airstream would sue?

Anyway it shows the ribs (studs) of the trailer as 3 piece units that are connected just above the awning lines of the roof. The roofs are obviously flatter than the vintage models.
I have always believed that the ribs of the vintagers were one piece bent arches. Can anyone verify? I am not sure it makes a bit of difference, but I wonder if it were done for cost economy or engineering advancement or assembly line convenience?(Or hell maybe ol' Robroy the Rib-bender died or went lame)!
Do any recall reading anything about this change (if indeed it is one) or when or why the change. The roof skin appears to overlap the side wall skin by just a small amount, I suppose there must be a double row of rivets there but I can't see that detail in the photos. There seems to be 4 rows of longitudinal purlins or stringers in the roof section. Any ideas on which is stronger?

There is also a graphic rendering (or picture) of the chassis frame. Looks like the bellyskin is sectioned horizontally while I thought the vintagers were bellyskinned from front to rear?
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:23 AM   #2
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Cool

I don't know if Roy died or not but..... The pre 1994 trailers had one piece ribs or bows. When the trailers were made wider and in an attempt to add rooflocker space(the shell is wider at the top) , the shell was re -desisigned using the 3 piece construction.
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Old 01-30-2003, 05:11 AM   #3
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Go to Airstream.com and scroll down the page to the factory tour, there are pictures of the assembly process. It is easier, safer, faster, and better for quality to build the roof low on a jig and set it in place assembled, then only the rivets on the panel edges have to be bucked in place. Manufacturers (should) do everything possible to keep workers away from finished surfaces to prevent damage. There is a whole industry out there making belt buckle, watch, etc. guards.

John
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:08 AM   #4
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Roof Strength

On the older AS you have to be careful where you step. On the new ones you can more or less step anywhere. That is what I was told on the factory tour.
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Old 01-31-2003, 07:24 PM   #5
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Please DO NOT believe this! Always stay on the roof bows or spread your weight over a larger area by using paneling covered with a soft towel on back side to prevent scratching metal. Too much walking around on roof can loosen rivets, once loose they could cause rain leaks.
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Old 02-01-2003, 07:57 AM   #6
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Makes sense lynn!

That tourguide seemed to be a fountain of misinformation. Another thing he told us, is never jack between the wheels. When we went through the service center they were jacking one up between the wheels. When I pointed this out to him, he said "Those guys know what they are doing!" Andy from Inland RV says jack between the wheels. I trust Andy, because I know he has probably jacked up more Airstreams than all of us put together!
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Old 02-01-2003, 09:05 AM   #7
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I am sure the tour guide was just saying do not jack up in this location because if you do not jack up in the right location you can cause damage. Its better to say not to do something that can cause damage if done incorrectly then say sure and not clarify the correct location.

As far as walking on the roof as another has said spread out the weight in such a manner as they have described. or make sure you stay on the rib lines. But avoid going up there just to walk around and inspect do this from a ladder. If you need to get up to repair sealant or so fourth then by all means just be careful in doing this.
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