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Old 02-18-2016, 11:18 AM   #1
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2013 30' International
Lisbon , New York
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 12
Large crack in bathroom bulkhead

I have attached a photo(turned counterclockwise 90deg.) showing a long crack in the bulkhead between the bathroom and refrigerator in our 2013 International CCD 30. This started last year as a small crack just above the sink but also extended to the floor below the countertop. It will be repaired under warranty by Colonial Airstream when we return home from the Southwest. Of note is that we first noticed it a week or so after arriving in Arizona last March, by way of the Southeast. It did not really increase in size as it has now until a week or so after arriving in Las Cruces in early February. Does the dry climate play a role in this?
My reason for posting this is to ask if anyone has had a similar problem and if so, what was determined to be the cause? Also, was it resolved by replacing the bulkhead and was this a permanent solution.
I would appreciate any input/advice.
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:33 AM   #2
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
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What is your tow vehicle?

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Old 02-18-2016, 12:10 PM   #3
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No experience with this type of cracking, nor your model AS. Would not expect dry air to be the cause as it would shrink the wood. A more likely moisture related cause would be a leak that would swell the interior framing wood and push it apart.

But the true cause may just be a stress riser, which is a point of increased stress on the bulkhead material from a sharp nick that starts the tear. Once started it just keeps growing. The upper left corner of the photo looks like a penetration that might cause such a stress riser. That type of penetration needs to be smoothed in the build process if the panel is load bearing.

I would have concern that something is twisting the coach or allowing it to twist, but I do worry a bit about odd things. Weight load placement, the condition of the frame (all welds in place), the bulkhead framework (constructed correctly), and the bulkhead wall construction (a laminated structure would be stronger than a single piece of plastic which would be prone to crack) are all possible considerations.

Your inquiry for other folks to share their experience is a very good idea, as you want to identify the root cause of the problem and correct it. Additionally, posting what you determine to be the root cause may save other folks some bother.

Good luck in your investigation. Pat
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Old 02-19-2016, 10:57 PM   #4
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2013 30' International
Lisbon , New York
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Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
What is your tow vehicle?
I tow with a 2012 RAM 2500, Cummins Diesel engine.
How do you think this might be a factor?
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:56 AM   #5
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2010 16' International
Edwards , Colorado
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wall crack

I experienced a similar vertical crack in my 2010 16ft International. The crack was on the wall between the head door and bed, below a mirror. It just appeared one day for no apparent reason. Have tried filling it with a variety of products but nothing has worked well.

It does not appear to be a structural problem, so I'll probably cover it with aluminum to match the rest of the interior.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sisu View Post
I tow with a 2012 RAM 2500, Cummins Diesel engine.
How do you think this might be a factor?
What hitch are you using?

Some more experienced with towing will say you might have to much tension on the or your bars weight distribution hitch are too heavy. Other reason can be your tires are not balanced. Some have installed Centramatic wheel balancers in addition to the tires being balanced.
Have you noticed any popped rivets?
What kind of roads have you been over lately?
Hopefully once Colonial replaces the wall it won't happen again. I'd have them check your trailer's suspension and your WDH set up while there.

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2015 Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins. Crew Cab, 4x4, Silver
2010 Tundra 5.7L, Double Cab, 2wd, White
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:14 AM   #7
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2015 28' International
Ofallon , Missouri
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 226
I can't too if you mean an aluminum sheet or a wooden / composite panel.

If aluminum, Cracks are typically either from material defects in the aluminum, too much stress (from use or during mfg such as forming ), or from fatigue. For a 2013 fatigue is unlikely. Since this appears to be a relatively flat piece (at least from the pic), we can probably rule out excessive stress caused by forming during mfg. that leaves the most likely candidate as excessive stress from use. This does not mean the "use" problem is you.

A crack will often start at a hole or some defect that causes a local stress riser. It is possible that the panel was installed improperly at the factory in such a way as to put excessive stress on the panel when the trailer was assembled. There could also be too few rivets to handle the amount of stress in the panel. Or that could simply have accidentally left out some rivets thus increasing the stress on the remaining ones. In these last two cases you would probably find sheared rivers too. Without a thorough inspection it's hard to tell the root cause, but it is obviously not normal. A crack that grows that fast indicates a significant flaw in the material, design or mfg almost for sure.

I would have the dealer inspect and photo document the problem very thoroughly, then I would send the info to the Airstream factory for analysis. This is definitely abnormal and could indicate a made sign or manufacturing issue. You need to know the root cause or it could just happen again when it is out of warranty. Don't settle for a new panel and go happily on your way.

It could be an issue with how you load the trailer, though you would likely have to put a substantial weight in a concentrated area to cause such a crack to start and grow that fast.

If the panel is wooden / composite I'd be less worried. I would still want to know the root cause, but often pressboard covered with decorative sheet is used anfpd it is not the most durable product. They use composites vice wood because it does hold up better in temp extremes and changes in humidity.

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