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Old 06-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #1
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Unhappy Front damage from TV

While I've read with interest and excitement tails of missing outriggers, panels replaced and windows installed I never thought I would be fortunate enough to have to perform these magical operations!

Well it's time.


In hindsight I realize I had damage to the front apron (loose rivets and skin separation from C channel) when I purchased my coach (50,000 mi ago)

During a breakdown recently the wrecker towed both my tow vehicle with the AS attached (I removed the 600#Bars) While only a tow of 6 miles the AS was very nose down.
I guess this really helped! Upon inspection I noticed some loose rivets, and a small crack in the skin radiating from the right corner of the left battery compartment, as well as a slight buckling in the apron skin.




Checking inside the rig I see the two vertical support beams have been damaged where there meet the bottom C channel.


As a full-timer, using my coach to travel from art show to art show, I don't have a lot of down time, and when I do I need to be parked in just the right place (trailer parks frown on cleaning and re-packing wheel bearings)


My plan is to remove the front interior skin, replace both vertical supports as well as the C channel between the battery boxes.

I will be in (Friendship,WI) for 2 weeks so my window to perform these repairs is small.

I know so many of you have performed amazing repairs and restorations on your Airstreams, so to you experts and craftsmen I ask:


Where can I get the support beam stock?
Where can I get the C channel stock?
Is there any way to BEEF up this soft spot in the AS design while I'm in there?
What type of rivet should I use to reinstall the beams and attach the skin to the C channel?

Thanks in advance,

Michael
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:24 PM   #2
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Could you stop at Jackson Center before your Cleveland Heights Show? The factory has all the parts.

Maybe they will barter repairs for some artwork. And if they can't finish the job in one day, you could deadhead to Cleveland in the truck.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Could you stop at Jackson Center before your Cleveland Heights Show? The factory has all the parts.

Maybe they will barter repairs for some artwork. And if they can't finish the job in one day, you could deadhead to Cleveland in the truck.
Hi Mark,
I am hoping to do the repairs myself before the Cleveland show (which should be my best show of the year)

I'm not sure Thor would like the barter idea,
but I appreicate the thought .

Michael
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Old 06-15-2006, 07:42 PM   #4
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Michael, give these guys a call, they may be able to help you with your materials:
Wisconsin Metals
Reedsburg WI
800-438-6280
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Old 06-15-2006, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
While I've read with interest and excitement tails of missing outriggers, panels replaced and windows installed I never thought I would be fortunate enough to have to perform these magical operations!

Well it's time.


In hindsight I realize I had damage to the front apron (loose rivets and skin separation from C channel) when I purchased my coach (50,000 mi ago)

During a breakdown recently the wrecker towed both my tow vehicle with the AS attached (I removed the 600#Bars) While only a tow of 6 miles the AS was very nose down.
I guess this really helped! Upon inspection I noticed some loose rivets, and a small crack in the skin radiating from the right corner of the left battery compartment, as well as a slight buckling in the apron skin.




Checking inside the rig I see the two vertical support beams have been damaged where there meet the bottom C channel.


As a full-timer, using my coach to travel from art show to art show, I don't have a lot of down time, and when I do I need to be parked in just the right place (trailer parks frown on cleaning and re-packing wheel bearings)


My plan is to remove the front interior skin, replace both vertical supports as well as the C channel between the battery boxes.

I will be in (Friendship,WI) for 2 weeks so my window to perform these repairs is small.

I know so many of you have performed amazing repairs and restorations on your Airstreams, so to you experts and craftsmen I ask:


Where can I get the support beam stock?
Where can I get the C channel stock?
Is there any way to BEEF up this soft spot in the AS design while I'm in there?
What type of rivet should I use to reinstall the beams and attach the skin to the C channel?

Thanks in advance,

Michael
Those cracks come from two things.

1. Unbalanced running gear and/or

2. A heavy duty tow vehicle with excessively rated hitch bars.

Adding the vertical stiffners will help, but it won't stop the problem.

Balance the complete running gear and softening the tow vehicle trailer connection with a lower rated hitch bars, will do wonders.

Andy
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Old 06-15-2006, 08:09 PM   #6
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Thanks Andy,
I've eagerly read all your sage advice on this subject.

I am running 550# bars
Centamatics on all 4 wheels
Have riddin in the coach, smooth.
Have lowered the air pressure in the rear TV.

But where can I get the replacement parts ?

Michael
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Old 06-15-2006, 08:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
Thanks Andy,
I've eagerly read all your sage advice on this subject.

I am running 550# bars
Centamatics on all 4 wheels
Have riddin in the coach, smooth.
Have lowered the air pressure in the rear TV.

But where can I get the replacement parts ?

Michael
Michael.

We just salvaged out a rollover.

I will check tomorrow for some straight pieces of extrusions that you could use.

The only other thing is what kind of overload springs does your TV have?

Andy
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:00 PM   #8
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Andy, thanks.


Yeeks, rollover


My plan is to remove and replace the 2 damaged vertical beams.
Re-use the horizontal beam (the one between the 2 vertical beams)
Replace the C channel on the floor between the battery boxes (it now has to many holes from PO repairs as well as mine.

I think that most of the damage was from the PO, The bars that came with the coach were, you guessed it, 1000#, I've used 550# (thanks Terry)

I never realized the dynamics or structural significances of the loose beltline. I thought it was just a cosmetic thing and would throw a couple of rivets in now and then over the past 50,000.

Does my plan sound sound?

The forum has enlightened me.

The rear is leaf spring
I'm not sure about overload springs?

After repairs I am thinking about a few of the products mentioned by other members to soften the ride.

Michael
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
Andy, thanks.


Yeeks, rollover


My plan is to remove and replace the 2 damaged vertical beams.
Re-use the horizontal beam (the one between the 2 vertical beams)
Replace the C channel on the floor between the battery boxes (it now has to many holes from PO repairs as well as mine.

I think that most of the damage was from the PO, The bars that came with the coach were, you guessed it, 1000#, I've used 550# (thanks Terry)

I never realized the dynamics or structural significances of the loose beltline. I thought it was just a cosmetic thing and would throw a couple of rivets in now and then over the past 50,000.

Does my plan sound sound?

The forum has enlightened me.

The rear is leaf spring
I'm not sure about overload springs?

After repairs I am thinking about a few of the products mentioned by other members to soften the ride.

Michael
You have a 350. Yikes, enough to tow the Queen Mary.

Way way too much to tow your Airstream.

Loose moldings on the front end, are an excellent sign of vibration punishment.

We just had an Airstream in our shop, where the glass in the front two wrap windows, was about to fall out, because of the front end falling apart, due to excessive vibration. It's been a long time since I have seen the front end of an Airstream trailer, in that bad a shape.

The best that you can do is to remove the very bottom leaf, which is your "overload leaf".

You should be able to make the rear of your TV bounce up and down by jumping on it. Bouncing an inch or two, would be good.

Andy
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Old 06-15-2006, 11:04 PM   #10
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This super heavy duty tow vehical thing is very common and others are finding out that 1000# bars and the heaviest duty gm or ford is tearing up their trailers , the 550# bars are way more appropriate but the E350 uses E rated tires and heavy duty suspension ,big time .too much heavy suspension ,Andy has a good idea ,remove the overload leaf as it will not lower the rear of the van ,taking out other leaves will ,they support the vehical .the suspension needs to give some ,no question.

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:37 AM   #11
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reinforcement

Looking at Dennis's pic from Angel's "Hitch?" thread, I'm wondering if the problems of front end damage in current models is related to the fact that my unit 1995 Excella has no such reinforcement plate (see No. 20-21 in pic) but only 2 vertical beams between the battery box. I'm thinking of using some such system when I repair my front-end.


Question: It the part 20-21 aluminum or steel?



Thanks Dennis and Terry, and good luck Angel.



Michael
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
Question: It the part 20-21 aluminum or steel?
Don't know which is which.

The "Black" thingie in the middle of my exposed interior pic is the steel "Front Plate". Also visible about one foot to the left (Driver's side) is one of the two Gusset Plates (Right and Left) that add additional strength to the frame/shell connection. An identical gusset plate is to the curb side of the Front Plate.

Here is a frontal shot of the same area:





Note that Part No. 21 is NOT to the "front" of the shell!
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
Looking at Dennis's pic from Angel's "Hitch?" thread, I'm wondering if the problems of front end damage in current models is related to the fact that my unit 1995 Excella has no such reinforcement plate (see No. 20-21 in pic) but only 2 vertical beams between the battery box. I'm thinking of using some such system when I repair my front-end.


Question: It the part 20-21 aluminum or steel?



Thanks Dennis and Terry, and good luck Angel.



Michael
The front hold down plate is steel.

We had them made since Airstream no longer uses them.

Andy
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