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Old 04-23-2013, 07:42 PM   #29
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1991 34' Excella
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From what I know, the Elephant Ear patch is a 1/2 a$$ way of repairing rear end separation. All it did was chop holes in the skin to access the C channel, add some extra bolts then rivet the visible patches over the mess. The true fix is to remove the interior skins, replace the rotten wood, reassemble and seal the leaks. I have never seen a 34' rear bath but if I recall, perhaps the very 1st build MAY have offered a few since it was basically a lengthened 31'.

Just as a point of reference, my 26' trailers bare frame flops 4" all by it's self.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:52 PM   #30
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1981 31' Excella II
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My bare frame dropped about 1/2" when it was cut loose from the frame but it is doubled up 5" channel. I don't know when they started doing this but it must have been around 1980. They may have stopped at some point and gone back in the other direction. I don't know. They also started using OSB flooring sometime in the 80's. Mine had plywood in it but I still had to replace the last 4 ft of it.

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Old 04-23-2013, 09:31 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post

Just as a point of reference, my 26' trailers bare frame flops 4" all by it's self.
That's some good information to know!

How many service bulletins have been issued for rear sag and/or separation? I have run across two that were mention while reading online today.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #32
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elephant ear patch

I found this photo online, of a 71 Excella 30' with the elephant ear patches.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Airstream 71 excella with elephant ears.jpg
Views:	202
Size:	72.1 KB
ID:	184220

I made an offer for the 34' trailer, mentioned in post #1 in this thread. I was assuming I would need to repair the rear sag. The owner did not think a repair was needed. So he and I could not agree on a price.

I'll keep my eye open for another 1996 to early 2000 34'.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream 71 excella with elephant ears.pdf (29.0 KB, 40 views)
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:21 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
I found this photo online, of a 71 Excella 30' with the elephant ear patches.
Attachment 184220

I made an offer for the 34' trailer, mentioned in post #1 in this thread. I was assuming I would need to repair the rear sag. The owner did not think a repair was needed. So he and I could not agree on a price.

I'll keep my eye open for another 1996 to early 2000 34'.
Stay with it Alan , they are out there. There have been some nice looking 34's in the classifieds lately. 'course they are usually way off somewhere.

I am no where near an expert, but it seems to me there would have to be rear and maybe front sepertation if there is sag, and seperation should be easy to spot with the bumper jumping test.

John
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:31 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
From what I know, the Elephant Ear patch is a 1/2 a$$ way of repairing rear end separation. All it did was chop holes in the skin to access the C channel, add some extra bolts then rivet the visible patches over the mess. The true fix is to remove the interior skins, replace the rotten wood, reassemble and seal the leaks. I have never seen a 34' rear bath but if I recall, perhaps the very 1st build MAY have offered a few since it was basically a lengthened 31'.

Just as a point of reference, my 26' trailers bare frame flops 4" all by it's self.
Have a look at the attached bulletin and let us know what you think.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:53 PM   #35
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Was there not another service bulletin, #26 or #29? I found reference to it online, but never able to find the document anywhere.

I can't figure out how to directly access Airstream's online library, though I can find access an occasional document there when I use a search engine.
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:52 PM   #36
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Add more rivets to cure wavy skin?

Excella 1000 1998 34 foot: add exterior rivets to prevent wavy skin around wheel wells?



This thread starts out with the same wavy side skin we have. I saw somewhere else in threads that airstream used that Scotch 3M thin foam double sticky tape that was so popular in the 80s and 90s in place of rivets. We have less than 1 rivet per foot of bow/frame. I noticed that the newer Airstreams have rivets about every 6 inches or so. Far more than we have. Is there any good reason not to install more rivets in the skin/bow lines? I would level the frame and then I would use the correct rivets, and pilot drill all holes and then re-drill all holes with the correct number drill, high speed of course. And a dab of water-proof goo under every rivet.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:41 PM   #37
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You have a photo of your particular problem? There is basically no structure around the wheel wells. They are supported with flimsy plastic from the wheel wells and some trim. It is normal for there to be some wrinkling in aluminum skin that is carrying some sort of load. Bulging between rivets would be a case where more rivets would help you. A certain amount of sag is necessary. Airstream's structural weakness are the connections between the shell and frame. The frame and shell structure can be a very strong combination if the connection between them is very rigid. If the frame and shell move relative to each other the frame will sag more than it should. The situation will get worse as the trailer is towed like this.

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Old 03-21-2014, 02:52 PM   #38
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1998 34' Excella 1000
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Thermal coefficient of expansion?

I tried to get some pictures, but both myself and the wife agree that right now, the wavy sheet metal looks far better than we have noticed previously. It happens to be 35 degrees outside. Frosty. Normally when we look at this problem, it has been on a typical sunny, warm (or hot) summer day. We also have been in a RV park for the past 4 weeks (typically the rig is in our driveway) and because of winds we have the feet cranked down rather stoutly.
So, here is a way-out thought:
Could the apparent comings and goings of the wavy skin be due to temperature changes and thermal coefficient of expansion differences between the aluminum body and the steel frame? I tried to figure out what this change would be in practical terms using several web sites' data, and the best I can figure is that going from a cold freezing day to a hot sunny day (about 100 degrees F change) that there would be a difference between the aluminum body and the steel frame of about 1/4 inch total length change over the 30 feet. Could that cause some sheet metal distortions? Yes, when things are rigidly fastened together, for sure. Extra rivets sure wouldn't hurt, and might protect the scant number of rivets the trailer came with. The best fix would be a stout aluminum frame. That is way outside of anything I am willing to consider.
Almost everywhere else that I can think of metal being used for skin, the metal is corrugated or else hung on slotted holes for expansion issues. Airplanes are all aluminum and are riveted to death.
I was mainly concerned with problems associated with installing rivets after-the-fact, but since this is how these trailers are repaired, careful work should give good results.
I did the jump-on-the-bumper-test, and nothing is even remotely loose concerning the bumper and body.
Math:
Thermal Expansion Coefficients at 20 C
Material
Fractional expansion
per degree C x10^-6

Fractional expansion
per degree F x10^-6

Glass, ordinary
9
5
Glass, pyrex
4
2.2
Quartz, fused
0.59
0.33
Aluminum
24
13
Brass
19
11
Copper
17
9.4
Iron
12
6.7
Steel
13
7.2
Platinum
9
5
Tungsten
4.3
2.4
Gold
14
7.8
Silver
18
10

Aluminum .000013 x leingth per degree F. 100 degrees F: 100 x .000013 x 360 inches= 0.468 inches
Steel .0000072 x leingth per degree F. 100 degrees F: 100 x .0000072 x 360 inches = 0.2592 inches
30 feet x 12 = 360 inches.
100 x 360 = 36,000
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:00 PM   #39
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If you want to measure sag look down the trim that is about half way up. Mine looks straight if you sight down it. If there was much sag in the shell you would see it. You can get some leveling string and do the same thing. The older these things get the more likely you are going to see some wrinkles and bulges as things shift around.

Perry
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