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Old 05-01-2012, 05:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Gene, I think those holes are for the hold down plate that AS added to earlier models to prevent the flexing and separation due to some of the "theories" we all banter about, like spring bar stiffness, TV suspension....etc.
That may well be the answer. I wonder why it would have been removed? Maybe there have been several owners and one didn't know what it was for and didn't like the look of it.

Gene
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #16
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I believe it is behind the outer skin, welded to the A-frame and movement between it (thus the frame) and the skin has sheared the rivets.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:47 PM   #17
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More recently they put "elephant ears" on the outside, but they may have done it differently years ago.

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:48 PM   #18
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Do the simple stuff first (modded trailer or not prior to the current owner):

Proper tires (see latest info) inflated to sidewall maximum

Proper trailer axle alignment

Proper trailer wheel/tire balance (plus Centramatic)

Hitch rigging according to scale derived numbers

TV tire pressure according to load (from scale values)

Check for axle aging (sag) according to Andy/Inland RV website

Get the baseline correct. No point in getting sideways on fixes if the numbers have not been verified.

.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #19
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Rough ride = potted rivets

There is a steel plate behind the front aluminum, which carries stress from frame to aluminum body. There has been too much stress going on, which has sheared the rivets. The rough ride is most likely caused because the axles on the trailer are old and not doing their job. Check them for function per Andy's test and replace if necessary. The next most likely cause is too stiff W/D bars. 1000 lb Equalizer bars are really stiff. See if you can get more flexible bars. The wheel balance is not likely to be the cause of this kind of failure. Unbalance usually causes problems with cabinets and interior rivets.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:32 PM   #20
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I have an Equal-I-zer brand hitch and the more I see this sort of thing, and an interior rivet missing inside my new trailer, the more I want to replace the hitch. Inland Andy calls the bars railroad tracks. Andrew Thomson at Can-Am cautions against its use. Virtually no flex. I don't believe this brand hitch is suitable for Airstreams.

doug k
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:21 AM   #21
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Here is a pic I stole from another thread showing the factory installed (I think) hold down plate which is behind the skin. See it just above the bushes on the right side of the pic.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:27 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
That front hold down plate is getting beaten to death.

What exact tow vehicle do you have?

I was pulling with a VW Touareg V8, but like I said, they had popped off before I was towing. Was like this when I purchased it, then I replaced them and the same thing happened.

What exact torsion bar rating and brand is the hitch?

I have the E2 Equalizer WD hitch with the 10K lb bars

Is the running gear properly balanced?

Not sure. I did have all new tires put on before this happened.

There is more to it than just replacing the rivets.

After the above questions are answered, I will share with you the easy fixes.

Andy


What is the rating of your torsion bars?

The 10,000 pounds is for the towing weight.

The bars will be rated at something like 600, 800, 1000, 1200 or 1400 pounds.

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Old 05-02-2012, 10:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
What is the rating of your torsion bars?

The 10,000 pounds is for the towing weight.

The bars will be rated at something like 600, 800, 1000, 1200 or 1400 pounds.

Andy

I believe they are rated at 1,000 pounds
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:08 AM   #24
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I believe they are rated at 1,000 pounds
That's part of the problem, and if they are Equalizer bars, thats even more of the problem, since they don't bend very well.

Lighten the bars first.

Then replace the Olympics using Vulkem, AND add 2 or 3 more rows of Olympics for additional hold down strength, almost doubling the number of rivets.

The front of the trailer is being pounded by the excessive rated hitch bars.

You will never stop the problem until you lighten the bars.

Andy
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:14 AM   #25
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I have used equalizer hitches with both 6000 and 10000 lb ratings. The bars for all practical purposes, do not flex. In fact, I have proved (unintentionally), that if they are flexed the amount you expect a WD bar to deflect in normal use, they will bend permanently.

Without thinking of the geometry of the situation, I backed up a steep hill with my SOB. When I hitched up to leave, I found the bars were very loose on the support brackets. When I sighted down them from the end, I could see the bend. This was the 6000 lb hitch. I turned them over and used them that way for a while until I bought the heavier rated hitch. I still have the bars and to look at them, you would never notice. However, it is enough bend to make them useless, unless you adjust the brackets or turn the bars over.

In spite of the bar rigidity, I suspect the problem is with your running gear (suspension, tires and wheels). I say this because people do use the equalizer brand hitches without trashing their trailers.

However, if the hitch is a major contributing factor, changing the hitch to lower rated one will only make the bars bend more easily.

By the way, before backing up an incline, remove the bars from the brackets.

Ken

PS For Andy: Unless they have changed the design since I used them, you can not change the bar rating on an Equal-I-Zer hitch. You must change the whole hitch.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #26
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You definitely have, as others have alluded to, relative motion between the shell and the front of the frame, which is causing the shearing of the rivets that connect your shell to the "hold down" plate in the front. I would be very suspicious of the axles--if they are original, then you have a lot less wheel travel (shock absorbtion), and you could just be pounding the heck out of your trailer everytime you go over a bump in the road. It was mentioned that you have cabinetry coming off the walls, and this might be caused by a constant rattle, but I would suspect some rather substantial hits are the cause.

The attached pic shows the hold-down plate on the frame of my '73 just after I pulled the shell off and started removing the plywood.

Clearly you have motion--you might try hitching your trailer to your TV without the equalizer hitch, and then have a weighty companion bounce up and down on the A-frame. You will probably be able to see a gap opening up where the shell meets the banana wrap if you pull off a few sections of trim. Another thing to check is for rotting floor. If you have rotten flooring in between your shell and frame in the front, then this leaves 3/4" of room for the shell to bounce around. Pull out whatever furniture you have in the front of your trailer and poke at the floor next to the wall with a sharp screw driver.

good luck!
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:35 AM   #27
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Adwriter,

Is the trailer we are talking about the '78? If so, then you should be able to slide underneath the front end and inspect the A-frame. Look for broken welds, cracks in the members, dramat rot, etc..

good luck.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:26 PM   #28
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Ad',

By now you can see there are disagreements whether the bars are too much for the trailer or not. There are no disagreements about checking axles, shock absorbers (they must be pretty old by now), interior subfloor and tires. Adding Centramatics is also not subject to disagreement. Inland Andy suggests getting the running gear balancing, but that is not easy because not many shops have the right machine for it. Standard dynamic wheel balancing and Centramatic should be good enough.

To fix the cause, I'd concentrate first of all on axles, shocks, tires and the subfloor.

Then (or simultaneously) check whether there is a plate as illustrated by the photo dzn' found behind the exterior skin and whether you have front end separation. That has to be solved too. Since the holes may be larger than they are supposed to be for standard rivets from the stress on them, you might consider stainless steel round head machine screws and bolts.

I notice that the blue decal is missing right below the area with all the holes. There has been some modification there, though I can't tell what. I suspect front end problems developed a while back, some modifications were made, the decal was left off, and the modification has failed. Perhaps floor rot occurred but was not fixed, or fixed and happened again, or the axles have been bad for a while or…. Endless speculation at this point. If you can post a photo of the side of the trailer so we can see how it sits on the axles that would be helpful.

As for the hitch, Equalizer has friends and those who think they are awful or just bad. Many of us have no problems with this brand. They are relatively easy to install, appear to do what they are supposed to and you don't have to remove them to back up (except if backing up some grade that you'd rather not back up anyway). You'll have to read up on it and make your own decision.

Gene
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