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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR
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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Old 09-11-2006, 09:34 AM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
I measured mine right where the tongue rails come out of the shell. Mine measures 4" deep by 2" wide there.

...they didn't use a 5" frame back under the shell and neck it down to 4" for the tongue did they?
yup. you measured the a-frame. Notice that it is a "boxed" beam. The rest of the frame is an open "C"...the 4" boxed beam probably has more steel in it than the 5" C...and it is many times more rigid. They didn't want this part to flex. But the rest of the frame, they DID intend for that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
I measured my dad's Holiday Rambler 5er. It's a monster! It's got FOURTEEN INCH DEEP FRAME RAILS!!!!!!!!!!!
yeah, I'm not surprised. that is quite literally, a house on wheels. Houses aren't meant to take the jarring that driving down the road gives. That super-sturdy frame is holding up the entire weight of the trailer...and it is also transferring those shocks to all the other parts of the trailer, which is why there won't be anyone 35 years from now on a web forum discussing the purchase or restoration of one of these behemoths.
The airstream's frame is not bearing the entire weight of the trailer, at least, not in the same way. The structure gets its strength from the synergistic effect of the monocoque shell. In some areas, its the shell that is holding up the frame, not the other way around. Support comes from both the inner and outer skins, the bows that form the shell, the floor, as well as the frame, and the attachment thereto. So the frame doesn't need to be as large...yet still, it does seem that it needed to be just a little bit stronger than it was, in some cases, or else this problem wouldn't exist.

anyway, the frame channels protrude out the back of the trailer. measure it there. It'll be 5", and it is the same for the entire length of the trailer, up to the a-frame.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:12 PM   #82
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Thanks Chuck...that is good to know. BUT...what about the issue of an increase in frame size? During late '70s or early '80s???

Maybe you can shed some light on this??? Tom R in Two Harbors MN
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:56 PM   #83
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Call the tech guys at the repair facility at the factory in Jackson Center...they'll tell you what you want to know.
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:46 PM   #84
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I came across this one on eBay. Would you say this one has rear end seperation? Looks like it's got the tell tail elephant ears around the storage door, yet it still looks like the body is coming off the frame in the back.....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1979-...51283592QQrdZ1
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