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Old 07-25-2013, 01:05 PM   #1
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1967 24' Tradewind
Greenville , North Carolina
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aluminum skin perforation

There's a spot on my 67 Tradewind where a piece of steel or other metal appears to have worn a hole through the aluminum skin. It's on the "port" side, in front of the axles, about 1/3rd of the way back on the trailer, at the bottom where the side curves underneath to meet the belly pan.

The mark is 4-5 inches long. If you look closely at the photo you can see the dark metal underneath poking through.

There aren't any dents or other damage nearby. No scuffs or dents around the hole etc.

Anybody know what can cause this or have you seen something similar? Is this just from running into something, or can shell movement cause this, etc. It's the only spot like this on the trailer, which is relatively free of dents except for a couple in the rear end-cap. Could this have been a scrape or dent that has been pulled and buffed out previously? Or could it be something more serious. Also should I just try to seal this with TremPro to keep water from running in, or is there a better way to DIY repair it?

I've attached 2 photos: a close-up, and one from a few feet away so you can see the location of the damage.

P.S. the close-up photo is posting upside down for some reason. The bit of bent aluminum that you can see, where the underlying material is coming through, is at the top of the damage, not at the bottom as it appears here.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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That is an outrigger - part of the frame. Not uncommon in vintage trailers ~

This is what they look like from the inside:



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Old 07-25-2013, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retrocar66 View Post
There's a spot on my 67 Tradewind where a piece of steel or other metal appears to have worn a hole through the aluminum skin. It's on the "port" side, in front of the axle, about 1/3rd of the way back on the trailer, at the bottom where the side curves underneath to meet the belly pan.

The mark is 4-5 inches long. If you look closely at the photo you can see the dark metal underneath poking through.

There aren't any dents or other damage nearby. No scuffs or dents around the hole etc.

Anybody know what can cause this or have you seen something similar? Is this just from running into something, or can shell movement cause this, etc. It's the only spot like this on the trailer, which is relatively free of dents except for a couple in the rear end-cap. Could this have been a scrape that has been buffed out previously? Or could it be something more serious. Also should I just try to seal this with TremPro to keep water from running in, or is there a better way to DIY repair it?

I've attached 2 photos: a close-up, and one from a few feet away so you can see the location of the damage.

P.S. the close-up photo is posting upside down for some reason. The bit of bent aluminum that you can see, where the underlying material is coming through, is at the top of the damage, not at the bottom as it appears here.
Many Airstreams suffer that same damage.

What happened is that the outrigger has worn a hole in the metal.

The cause?

100 percent of the time is lack of proper running gear balance.

All you can do is put a patch over that slit, or replace the underbelly wrap.

Andy
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:18 PM   #4
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Looks like you may need to open the belly pan to see what and why but it is better than a road surprise ! As for the tear you can patch using Olympic rivets and you can be artistic with the patch. Muggy here in Newport hope to get the frame back before the TS wanders up our way.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #5
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Cause of skin damage from outriggers

Mainly three causes for this type of damage .... 1) Bad axles and 2) Frame issues and 3) floor rot issues. You will also likely find missing or broken skin rivets inside as well as outside the trailer on the skin seams. Ed


Quote:
Originally Posted by retrocar66 View Post
There's a spot on my 67 Tradewind where a piece of steel or other metal appears to have worn a hole through the aluminum skin. It's on the "port" side, in front of the axles, about 1/3rd of the way back on the trailer, at the bottom where the side curves underneath to meet the belly pan.

The mark is 4-5 inches long. If you look closely at the photo you can see the dark metal underneath poking through.

There aren't any dents or other damage nearby. No scuffs or dents around the hole etc.

Anybody know what can cause this or have you seen something similar? Is this just from running into something, or can shell movement cause this, etc. It's the only spot like this on the trailer, which is relatively free of dents except for a couple in the rear end-cap. Could this have been a scrape or dent that has been pulled and buffed out previously? Or could it be something more serious. Also should I just try to seal this with TremPro to keep water from running in, or is there a better way to DIY repair it?

I've attached 2 photos: a close-up, and one from a few feet away so you can see the location of the damage.

P.S. the close-up photo is posting upside down for some reason. The bit of bent aluminum that you can see, where the underlying material is coming through, is at the top of the damage, not at the bottom as it appears here.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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i agree. my dad had this issue. bad torsion axles - too much friction from the skin rub against the outrigger. In his case, airstream had cut a 3" hole in the 4" frame for the sewer pipe to exit closer to the edge of the trailer. the last 1.5' of one of the frame rails was essentially falling off; this added pressure to the point where the frame rubbed through the skin.

im going to agree with ed; new axles needed.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:28 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the responses, this has been informative.

As far as the axles go, they actually look pretty good. It looks like there is plenty of positive angle between the axles and the belly pan (with empty trailer). I'm going to jack up one side of the trailer tomorrow and ensure that the axle drops accordingly, indicating that the rubber in the torsion arm is still flexible and hasn't hardened with age (as described in this article.) If it looks like the rubber is stiff, I suppose I'll replace the axles.

As far as balancing issues - I'm planning to install a set of the Centramatic wheel balancers to avoid any running gear balance issues. For $200 it seems like a worthwhile investment.

I have found no popped rivets inside or outside the trailer. If a frame issue is contributing to this, is there any way to tell that without dropping the pan?
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retrocar66 View Post
Thanks all for the responses, this has been informative.

As far as the axles go, they actually look pretty good. It looks like there is plenty of positive angle between the axles and the belly pan (with empty trailer). I'm going to jack up one side of the trailer tomorrow and ensure that the axle drops accordingly, indicating that the rubber in the torsion arm is still flexible and hasn't hardened with age (as described in this article.) If it looks like the rubber is stiff, I suppose I'll replace the axles.

As far as balancing issues - I'm planning to install a set of the Centramatic wheel balancers to avoid any running gear balance issues. For $200 it seems like a worthwhile investment.

I have found no popped rivets inside or outside the trailer. If a frame issue is contributing to this, is there any way to tell that without dropping the pan?
Torsion axles, last about 25 years or so.

Yours are 46 years old.

Most likely, you will find that the rubber rods are history.

Andy
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:36 AM   #9
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I have the exact same thing on my 68 TW. It was there when I bought it 4 years ago. The trailer had been sitting for 8 years before I bought it so it is an old "scar". I drilled out the rivets on the trim around the wheel well and a few rivets on the underside. This gave me enough space to slide a piece of aluminum in between the end of the outrigger and the skin. Yes there is a line, but it looks much better than a big patch on the outside. A little bit of silver gutter seal and no one but me ever notices it.
Colin Hyde and Tim discuss this very issue on a recent VAP podcast, which you can down load if you haven't listened to it. Someone sent in a question about it and if I recall of the outrigger poking through was the same.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 TWind View Post
I have the exact same thing on my 68 TW. It was there when I bought it 4 years ago. The trailer had been sitting for 8 years before I bought it so it is an old "scar". I drilled out the rivets on the trim around the wheel well and a few rivets on the underside. This gave me enough space to slide a piece of aluminum in between the end of the outrigger and the skin. Yes there is a line, but it looks much better than a big patch on the outside. A little bit of silver gutter seal and no one but me ever notices it.
Colin Hyde and Tim discuss this very issue on a recent VAP podcast, which you can down load if you haven't listened to it. Someone sent in a question about it and if I recall of the outrigger poking through was the same.
This is an interesting idea. do you have any pics of this? I might try something similar.

Btw, where does one get small quantities of the right kind of aluminum to make this sort of patch?

Also -- n00b question -- for this work, did you use a manual rivet gun or something more powerful like a air gun? I was thinking of starting with just a $20 hand riveter, since I shouldn't have to pull too many rivets. If that's a well-known "bad idea," I'd like to know.

P.S. I found Colin Hyde's web page, but if you have a link to that podcast or a quick way to find it that'd be awesome.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:14 AM   #11
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The podcast 68TW mentions is here, in case someone else is looking for it. The portion about the outrigger tear issue starts around minute 50:00. A good reference -- thanks.
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