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Old 12-11-2008, 02:28 AM   #1
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Crack in the skin

Does anyone know what would cause the skin to crack ?
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:16 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jaojamjab View Post
Does anyone know what would cause the skin to crack ?
Just a guess, but maybe a 3/4 ton or heavier truck, and 1000# or more WD bars.
A better round of answers and opinions may be found if your question were in its own thread, rather than tacked on an unrelated thread.
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:28 AM   #3
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crackin' skin..

Your 27' shares the same front aluminum skeleton design as my Safari 30. The 30s also have a large horizontal storage door behind the propane bottles and most have ripped as your pic shows. I had mine repaired under warranty and once it was opened up we saw how little support there was from above with respect to the structure. I opted to eliminate the storage door as its hard square corners were only adding insult to injury (rather than the radiused corner doors on the back and older models.) and now access the storage area under my front bed. I now have a leak at the area of the beltline that I suspect is still movement between the body and structure.

Mine is a 05 bought new in 06, and I too am now out of warranty. Mine first cracked at about 8k miles of towing and after the repair I now have close to 20 without a any cracks. I too feel bummed that I am dealing with this scenario at only a couple of years old and the original owner.
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:47 AM   #4
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Does anyone know what would cause the skin to crack ?
There are 3 reasons for the cracks, and they will continue until to alter what equipment, that you have.

After you make the correct changes, you will be left to have the shell damage repaired.

It's not unusual to also have frame damage, from the same inproper rigging.

1. Excessive rated hotch bars.

2. Excessive rated tow vehicle.

3. Lack of proper running gear balance.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Hello jaojamjab -- I've got the same storage compartment behind the battery. It comes with twin bed FB models AFAIK. From personal experiences there is a lot of flexing to the frame in that area when WD bars are engaged. I'd better have that compartment door shut before I hitch up or it'll never close. Likewise I can't open the compartment door unless I drop the WD bars. The compartment frame flexes that much! Therefore I'll say there is an issue even with recommended ratings of the WD gear. I have a Reese with 750 pound bars IIRC ... but I'd have to look and don't have my Safari at the house.

Did the dealer rig the weight distribution for you? Have you had the unit less than 2 years? That is, is it still under warranty? I'd want good dealer or factory attention to what probably is still an issue with units in production. A queen bed FB has solid skin in this area. I can imagine the inside corner skin in that area works to concentrate force in just one spot.

[on edit: photo perspective is of trailer front, curbside]
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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So, you guys think the inner strut has pulled loose also? With my Tom Swift electron microscope,
it looked like someone tried to cover it up.
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:33 PM   #7
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It looks like this is a fatique crack. The early airstreams had a vertical steel plate in that area and the load from the frame was distributed over many rivets. The aluminum strut does not seem to do the job in this design. It may be broken loose from the C channel and the sharp corner in the access door does not help either. I would call it an Airstream Engineering design flaw. It appears that this kind of failure is occuring for a number of units so I do not think it is because you abused the unit too much. Lots of high speed rough roads do not help matters. A super stiff suspension truck with heavy weight W/D bars would also add to your troubles. I do not think your tires could be out of balance that much to be contributing to the problem. When airplanes develop this kind of failure, they add more layers of rivetted aluminum around the cracked area to spread the stress out. I would complain to the Airstream engineering department.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:31 PM   #8
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A while back 2Air posted a good thread about frame separation on the front ends due to some supports being deleted in production. He had his fixed too. These RVs should be able to be hauled with a 3/4 ton vehicle and even if the bars are too high (lbs) they don't transfer that much weight. To me, 2Airs post made sense. Take away the supports and the body will flex too much. This to me seems like a textbook case if I ever saw one.

Bottom line, most all of what's been covered so far is right on. Unfort, you caught this after the damage had been done and at this point, after the root cause is addressed, and the damage repaired that allowed this to happen, you will either need a new skin or an overlay. Neither of which would make me happy, but it will be fixed.


...nothing like that great Airstream engineering and quality.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
A while back 2Air posted a good thread about frame separation on the front ends due to some supports being deleted in production. He had his fixed too.

Bottom line, most all of what's been covered so far is right on. Unfort, you caught this after the damage had been done and at this point, after the root cause is addressed, and the damage repaired that allowed this to happen, you will either need a new skin or an overlay. Neither of which would make me happy, but it will be fixed.
Correcting the problem, is not the issue.

The issue is "WHAT" cause the problem.

Until the cause has been eliminated, namely over rigging, the problem will never go away.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:39 PM   #10
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Correcting the problem, is not the issue.

The issue is "WHAT" cause the problem.

Until the cause has been eliminated, namely over rigging, the problem will never go away.

Andy
Ok, I buy the over rigging bit, but with the heavier bars, not a lot of weight gets transferred and you have the most of the dead weight on the hitch itself. Are you saying that having most of the weight on the hitch is what causes the flex or pulling too many links on the weight distribution chains due to the heavier bars? I have a 3/4 ton and I use 600lb bars and get up to 4 chains on either side and get a very level tow rig....is that a bad thing, could I have this happen, cause the same situation happened when I had the 1200lb bars, I was just up to 6 r 7 links of chain for the same effect.

In the end, would you agree that some of this (read not all) is due to Airstream pulling out key supports in the front. I don't know if they ever started to replace them recently, but the posts were pretty clear that some components that helped reduce this problem were deleted in production.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:43 PM   #11
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Square corner and thin aluminum sheeting. Looks like a notch effect crack waiting to happen. My unit has two of those compartments up front. I'm amazed that mine haven't cracked yet behind 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Should be towing with the recommended 1994 Lincoln.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:49 PM   #12
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Ok, I buy the over rigging bit, but with the heavier bars, not a lot of weight gets transferred and you have the most of the dead weight on the hitch itself. Are you saying that having most of the weight on the hitch is what causes the flex or pulling too many links on the weight distribution chains due to the heavier bars? I have a 3/4 ton and I use 600lb bars and get up to 4 chains on either side and get a very level tow rig....is that a bad thing, could I have this happen, cause the same situation happened when I had the 1200lb bars, I was just up to 6 r 7 links of chain for the same effect.

In the end, would you agree that some of this (read not all) is due to Airstream pulling out key supports in the front. I don't know if they ever started to replace them recently, but the posts were pretty clear that some components that helped reduce this problem were deleted in production.
Everyone blaims Airstream


Excessive rated bars and/or excessive rated tow vehicles cause the proble.

We have tried for years to tell people that, and for years they say we are wrong.

My only comment is, that if I am wrong, why does the problem still exist?

Stop beating the front of the trailer to death, and the problem never appears.

Sounds simple to me.

But, some owners are insistant, that they are right, but they still have the continued problem.

Yes once the front of the trailer is damaged, there are others things that should be done, other that replacing the metal, which does no more, than hide the problem.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:56 PM   #13
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Hold on a second Andy, I'm with you, I'm just trying to understand fully what yer sayin'.

I have a 3/4 ton burb. I had orig 1200lb bars. To get any flex (for sway control) and leveling out of the rig, I had to go up to 6 to 7 links with those 1200lb bars.

So, taking your advice, I went to the 600lb bars and now only use 4 links. I still get the similar flexing of the bars. So are you saying to me that I'd be better off not having any bars or are you saying with the heavier bars, if you don't go 6 to 7 links with a 3/4 ton, having the dead weight on the hitch is causing more flex?

Are you saying folks should not tow 3 ton Airstreams with 800lb hitch weights with 3/4 tons?

Are you also saying that Airstream also has had no culpability in the front end separation? Because if you are, and Airstream has in fact removed some front end supports, what normally might have been absorbed with the parts in place is no longer the case with the parts now removed during the production process 2Air had mentioned.

Besides the Airstream part, my question would be what would you say the perfect setup would be towing a 25' Airstream like mine, with a 3/4 ton Suburban? Bars? No bars? How can I avoid my front frame from separating, minus towing with a Lincoln Town Car?
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:26 PM   #14
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Been down this road..

I posted in the Bunkhouse thread some pics of what it looks like in there from the back as I had a leak to track down. There just is not much (any) support in there, it needs like a "header" in there to span the load.

If you look, the triangle of the tongue has nothing above it, I guess there is a outrigger there but for over 32" there is nothing on these front storage box units. The square storage box just highlights the issue.

I am sure a jolting ride may not help, but this is particuarly weak oversight.

From inside with door removed..(note leak, wet plywood caused from beltline seam leak)





Note seam seperation above beltline, this was sealed by dealer at the time of re-skinning 9k miles ago. I tested this area for movement by putting very sticky packing tape over the area, I then towed about 350 miles, the tape was ripped, thus proving the movement and lack there of rigidity.

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