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Old 05-30-2016, 07:23 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
versailles , Kentucky
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Cracks in interior walls due to frozen axles

Appears that PO towed our AS with frozen axles causing damage to the interior walls this damage is located at the top of the wall tracks on the curbside just rear of the refrig cabinet and the opposite side just rear of the sink cabinet. How can this be repaired or a least covered?
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:14 AM   #2
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I would say you have two choices:
1) Replace the entire sheet of interior aluminum, repaint the interior, and voilla--it is perfect again. This will be more trouble than its worth, as you will have to remove several other interior segments that overlap this one.

2) Create an aluminum patch and rivet it in place to hide the hole. You will end up with a visible patch, but if you are lucky, the majority of the patch will be hidden inside a cabinet, or at least not obvious.

The only other option I would offer would be to put some fiberglass tape over it, then either bondo or fiberglass it over. You could then sand it smooth and repaint, and it might not be noticeable. It is unlikely that this repair would last very long with the mobility of the furnishings of the trailer.

good luck!
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:21 AM   #3
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Cracks in interior walls due to frozen axles

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Old 06-03-2016, 11:47 AM   #4
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Disregard my previous post.

As I was trying to reply on my phone before auto correct took over typing for me.

Your problems could be deeper then frozen axles. Take a look at your frame too, it may have problems letting the shell flex at the cracked points you are seeing on the inner skin. Some of these older trailers also had half ribs, (they did not run completely around the top of the shell to the other side). This to me appears to be the case with the inner skin cracking where the ribs end 3/4's up the wall from the floor. See if there are any rivets following the rivets line over the crown from the cracked inner skin. From your picture it looks like an interior wall was also at that point and the shell could be flexing at the top of the wall and the wall is acting as a fulcrum.

You need to find the cause of the cracking first.. I do not believe frozen axles alone would cause the inner skin to crack that severely on both side of the trailer, dig deeper.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiechick View Post
Appears that PO towed our AS with frozen axles causing damage to the interior walls this damage is located at the top of the wall tracks on the curbside just rear of the refrig cabinet and the opposite side just rear of the sink cabinet. How can this be repaired or a least covered?
That damage was very common years ago, before the cause could be determined.

Yes, bad rubber rods in the axles, allow the complete trailer to be shocked very hard when hitting even small bumps.

The real fix was to simply replace the axles, cut down the top of the wood panels, and install patches using the original vinyl clad metal.

Unfortunately, that vinyl clad metal has been obsolete for several years.

The fix today would be to cut the top of the wood panels and wood moldings, and install a patch on the ceiling with something that won't be too distracting in appearance.

The best way to approach the fix is to change the shape of the shell.

Lower the A-frame, then place jack stands under the frame at the bumper. Then slowly raise the front of the trailer. The trailer shell will flex as you lift the front end, which will make the paneling that has poked thru the ceiling, drop down from the ceiling. The longer the trailer, the greater the drop, and on a 30 or 31 foot Airstream, that gap will get to be about one inch. Cut and trim the panel and molding as needed, install the patch, and then slowly lower the front end of the trailer so that you can remove the jack stands.

You will then see that the wood panels are now slightly touching the ceiling, depending on how much you cut off the top.

Sounds difficult, but it's very easy to do.

When replacing the complete axles, so that you also get far better electric brakes and one piece drums, you will raise the trailer about 3 inches. If you wish to have greater height, then you can also add the Dexter lift kit.

The last and most important thing to do when replacing axles, is have the tire, wheel, and hub and drum assembly balanced together. If not, Centramatic balancers can be added which balances the running gear as soon as you reach 25 mph.

Airstream and Argosy shells do flex because of the "monocoque design". Therefore the shell must have a soft ride along with balanced running gear. If not, many different damages will occur, and most of the time, rather expensive to correct.

Andy
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:37 PM   #6
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We've already replaced the axles. That's one of the first things we did. Dexter 3500 #. So now we will probably just patch the area and move on. Thanks so much for the great info. Really appreciated.
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