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Old 09-09-2006, 09:39 PM   #61
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Thanks Aaron, Beth, Ron and Jim...starting to make some sense.

I read Stingray82 posts and saw he spent about $17,500 for his renovation...did that include the "fix" for the sag/separation? Was there a separate price/bill for the "fix"? IF you could quantilfy the cost to have fixed by an AS repair center (qualified as having done it before?)...you could price that into your offer...as an example on the '78 31' Sovereign Rear Bath I am looking at.

I wonder if anyone has asked AS to document the model and year info re: the switch from 4" to 5" frames. It seems to me as a current "wanabe" that it would seem to make sense to start with the 5" frame and avoid/minimize? the problem completely.

Is the fix a good one that actually solves the problem?...there was some talk of it just taking care of it for awhile?

Thanks again...this is the type of info that is great to have on this site...if I become an owner I owuld enjoy "giving back"...at this point I am only listening and learning...Tom R in Two Harbors...Frost tonight!
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Old 09-09-2006, 09:44 PM   #62
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The most succeptable units are the 70's 31 foot units with the rear bath and the 4 inch frame. The rear bath models have the tanks in the rear. Ones with both gray and black water tanks might be worse, if the owners traveled with alot of liquid in the back. Units that have had alot of travel over rough roads or have spent alot of time by the oceans would also have had their frames weakened. I think the earliest 5 inch frames appeared in the early 80's but were only found on the 34 footers at first.
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Old 09-10-2006, 01:51 AM   #63
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I do not hear much about sag/separation on the '70s 34' models? Is that just because there were not very many...or were there ANY 34' at that date?

It would be nice to verify the actual model year of the AS change from 4" to 5" frames?

Also, what is the cost of the fix of sag/separation and can most dealers do it...or only some experienced ones?

Does the fix LAST...or are the reoccurances?

How many of you have had the fix done on your ASs?

I ask too many questions in one message...I think? Back to bed...Tom R in Two Harbors
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Old 09-10-2006, 04:24 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR
Thanks Aaron, Beth, Ron and Jim...starting to make some sense.

I read Stingray82 posts and saw he spent about $17,500 for his renovation...did that include the "fix" for the sag/separation? Was there a separate price/bill for the "fix"?
I don't recall if his had the rear end issues or not. That price included pretty much a complete tear down and rebuild.
Quote:
IF you could quantilfy the cost to have fixed by an AS repair center (qualified as having done it before?)...you could price that into your offer...as an example on the '78 31' Sovereign Rear Bath I am looking at.
I have heard of prices in the $1500-2000 range. But can't guarantee those numbers. Most of us do our own work.

Quote:
I wonder if anyone has asked AS to document the model and year info re: the switch from 4" to 5" frames. It seems to me as a current "wanabe" that it would seem to make sense to start with the 5" frame and avoid/minimize? the problem completely.
Seriously doubt it is going to happen. They supposedly don't even have proper production numbers, and like many manufacturers have undergone multiple ownership(s), fires, records loss, etc. And every now and again, someone will come up with an odd custom model, contact Airstream with the VIN/Serial number and they can't figure it out. They don't have the records.

Quote:
Is the fix a good one that actually solves the problem?...there was some talk of it just taking care of it for awhile?
It solves the problem, BUT the owner has to take some initiative and take proper care of the trailer; keep the caulking maintained to avoid leaks, keep the running gear balanced, etc. One interesting concept are the Centramatic wheel balancers. A few people on the board are using them, apparently with great sucess. I know there are some fit and clearance issues based on the various years and wheel combinations. We have a sets on the steer axles of a couple of gravel trucks and they greatly decreased the tire wear. I plan on putting a set on my F350 before the year is out.

Quote:
Thanks again...this is the type of info that is great to have on this site...if I become an owner I owuld enjoy "giving back"...at this point I am only listening and learning...Tom R in Two Harbors...Frost tonight!
Where is Two Harbors in relation to say New Brighton? I am going to be up there next weekend for a small bicycle gathering. Might need to pack the warm woolies...my southern blood is getting thin.

Aaron
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:09 AM   #65
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Thanks Aaron...I think I will call the local Anoka (Mpls suburr) AS dealer and just out of curiosity see if they know anything about this. They do not seem much "into" the AS line. If I had a knowledgeable dealer close that I could count on for repairs (and quantify the costs before buying) I might still be interested in the '70s 31'er...as there seems to be a lot of them and the prices are moderate.

On the other hand I will start looking harder at the later...say mid '80s used offerings...may be wiser to pay a little more and avoid this issue.

Thanks for all the info...Tom R

PS...New Brighton is a Northern suburb and is about 160 miles south of Duluth. Temps will be a bit warmer there and they are to warm up a bit here in Two Harbors.

Anoka AS dealer is not too far from New Brighton...a few miles West. I will be in Mpls this week at our Eden Prairie townhouse...may stop at the Anoka dealership and visit the service department rather than the sales department...TMR
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:55 AM   #66
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Tom,
Good luck on your service dept visit. Your best bet will be to check around and try and find one that is Vintage friendly. Typically it will be your old line Airstream dealers or an independant shop. I know that Ace Fodgall RV in Waterloo, IA is vintage friendly. A couple of members here on the board have had work done there. I have been to Anoka before, we were out there at Copper Sales/Unaclad for a sales meeting a couple of years ago. I get thru the MSP area about twice a year. I still have relative in the Waterloo, IA area and MSP is the closest airport that USAirways still flies into.

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Old 09-10-2006, 12:49 PM   #67
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Tom, here's how I did it on my '73. It's a lot of work, but worth it I think. Look toward the end of the thread for the frame work, look in the middle for how I dealt with rear separation issues. The thread is:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...nte-15132.html

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Old 09-10-2006, 01:27 PM   #68
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My 78 center bath unit has 5" main frame rails
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:48 PM   #69
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I couldn't recall the depth of my main rails, so I went out and meausred this afternoon. They're 5" (on a '73).
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:06 PM   #70
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Could that have been as switch from 5" to 6"? I am not home so I can't measure mine for you. But I am pretty sure that the 75 and the 80 I have both have the same sized rails. When I get around to tearing the rear bath(s) out I will document the carnage with pictures so we can all learn from them. FWIW the 80 doesn't appear to have seperation, just rotted wood, and some collateral frame damage.

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Old 09-10-2006, 08:12 PM   #71
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Dunno. I seem to recall this was a problem thoughout the '70's. But that is just my poor memory talking. FWIW, I hope you only have wood problems, Aaron. I've got a lot of hours in that damn frame and I'm STILL not done. I'll have an update in my "Full Monte" thread in a bit.

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Old 09-10-2006, 08:29 PM   #72
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This frame size seems critical?...and somewhat of a mystery? It would be nice if enough frames could be measured to confirm IF there was an increase in frame size?...and what was the size change?...and what year did it actually happen?

As a used AS shopper who is not capable?...or willing to do my own "full-monty"...I would really like to know the facts..."and just the facts"!

Was going to look at what I think is a nice original owner '78 31' Sovereign Rear Bath...but my heart is not in it at this point. I need to determine if there is an actual "fix" by AS by making the frame larger and stronger...and what year they did so??? Is it 4" to 5"...or 5" to 6"...and what year and model was it changed! Thanks Tom R in Two Harbors

P.S. I read the WHOLE Full Monty thread...very impressive...I also have sore eyes!...probably convinced me that my renovation needs to start with a good floor and frame...MAYBE I can handle the rest????...TMR
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:36 PM   #73
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Jim,
I know for a fact the rear frame on the 75 is pretty much toast. I already have about 200# of miscelaneous steel waiting to be welded in when the time comes. Plus I am figuring on rebuilding the holding tank box at that time. I am thinking about doing some tank finagling at the same time. 10 gallons for grey water don't cut it around my house.

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Old 09-10-2006, 08:55 PM   #74
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P.S. I read the WHOLE Full Monty thread...very impressive...I also have sore eyes!...probably convinced me that my renovation needs to start with a good floor and frame...MAYBE I can handle the rest????...TMR
Man, you must be one bored fella to read thru all of that! I would encourage you to look at as many campers as possible, even if you really think you may not buy the one you're looking at. Just gives you more experience (along with all that reading here!).

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Old 09-10-2006, 09:09 PM   #75
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Tom,
While I am thinking about it! Back in the mid 70's there was also an issue with the frames cracking near where the axles are bolted on. It usually manifests itself with buckling behind the wheelwells. You can see if it has the upgraded stiffener plate placed over the frame behind the wheels. It is pretty obvious when it has been installed. You will see a round cutout area over the shock mount with the second layer of steel. These were a factory/dealer installed repair. But apparently not all units got them in time. I have no clue as to what years they were installed. I have pictures of them...but will have to try and dig them up.

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Old 09-10-2006, 09:10 PM   #76
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Hey Jim...Not bored...perhaps obsessed with info...or anal (lytical) !

I actually really want to find a way to justify one of the "older" AS 28'-30' type size...but am realistic that I am not one who has the skills or patience to perform anything near a "full-monty". Thus...my attemp to understand and find the age/length of the "safe buy" post the theoretical AS fix of the design weakness.

I also have not been able to determine if there are dealers that do the sag/separation "fix" and if so what does it cost? That way you could budget in your purchase offer.

Thanks for all of your communication...your pictures and narrative were really great...particularly for someone who has never seen the "guts" of an AS! Tom R in Two Harbors, MN
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:29 PM   #77
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Where are you all taking the measurement?

Where are you guys taking the frame rail depth measurement?

I measured mine right where the tongue rails come out of the shell. Mine measures 4" deep by 2" wide there.

I had pulled the bellypan last winter to measure where the outriggers were, but I didn't measure the frame rail depth there.

Shame on me for not taking a photograph while I had the pan off. They didn't use a 5" frame back under the shell and neck it down to 4" for the tongue did they?

Anyway, we need to be comparing apples to apples here, so we should all measure the frame size at the same point.

I looked at an '89 Squarestream and it had a 5" deep frame rail right where the frame exited the front shell heading for the tongue; same place mine measures 4" at.

Anyway, just wondering.
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:32 PM   #78
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Oh yeah, just for kicks....

I measured my dad's Holiday Rambler 5er. It's a monster! It's got FOURTEEN INCH DEEP FRAME RAILS!!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, you heard that right, 1 foot plus 2" more. Nothing is going to bend that beast.

Even though it's got five times the room, I still like my Stream. Just something iconic about Airstreams. I can't really explain it any other way. The SOBs have more room in them, no radius in the shower to bang your head on.

I guess like many, I'm addicted to the aluminum tubes, and have aluminitis!
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:51 PM   #79
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Jim, I'm measuring the main frame rail, the one that runs from the front all the way to the back of the camper. The A-frame looks to be somewhat smaller, but I didn't actually measure it. The main rail here is where I see the problem. It's either not large enough top to bottom, or heavy enough, thickness of steel, to really get the job done, just as you suggest. It's strange why Airstream did that. Why not spend a couple of extra bucks (in 1970's dollars) to do it right? Sounds a lot like all those crappy cars the Big Three built back then, doesn't it?

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Old 09-11-2006, 08:42 AM   #80
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Jim, you've got me thinking now...maybe I need to pull the belly pan again and measure the frame in the middle. I measured the tongue rails on mine. In defence of that, the Squarestream I measured was an inch deeper in the same place, and the Avion was 6" deep there.

I measured a brand new Airstream the other week and it was 5" deep at that same location, where the tongue rails exit the shell.

Enquiring minds want to know

I had a '72 Dodge Polara that we put 274,000 miles on before the thrust bearing finally went. I had good luck with that car. Never had a late 70's car though. Went from a '72 to a '69 to an '86. Maybe I missed the bad years

Oh yeah, I did have a '75 Merc Marquis with th e 460. That was a good old car, but the frame rotted up in '95 so I wound up selling it. Still ran good. I'd like to have a '64 Lincoln. Maybe someday...
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