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Old 03-13-2016, 09:04 AM   #29
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Back in the early 90s, we were driving at the posted 80 mph in Wyoming and came to a section of road that was really undulating. We were getting pounded in the Suburban with no trailer. I slowed to 70 and the ride was smooth. Moral - the frequency of the undulations and the wheel base of the car were such that it was still coming down from the last rise when we would hit the next one. Slowing down allowed the suspension to work properly.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:37 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Siegmann View Post
I've always wondered whether or not the monocoque structure of the Airstream was compromised when they greatly reduced the rivet density in exchange for double-stick bonding tape. Maybe not when new, but possibly with age. My '98 has numerous areas on the exterior side panels where the skin has separated from the ribs as evidenced by my ability to press on the skin and have it move in about 1/8 inch before it contacts the rib.

I wonder if your experience with the frame flexibility you encountered with your newer rig, might not have happened if you still had one of your older ones. Don't know. Just thinking out loud.
That's an excellent question. I don't know when they started using double sided tape (wasn't even aware of the possibility) but I'd really think that any shear that would pop rivets would also cause tape adhesive to fail, or vice versa. But I have no experience with that, so I won't comment further.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:34 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by switz View Post
Back in the early 90s, we were driving at the posted 80 mph in Wyoming and came to a section of road that was really undulating. We were getting pounded in the Suburban with no trailer. I slowed to 70 and the ride was smooth. Moral - the frequency of the undulations and the wheel base of the car were such that it was still coming down from the last rise when we would hit the next one. Slowing down allowed the suspension to work properly.


In this case, the suspension isn't the key point; the suspension works the same in both cases. The difference is the frequency of the undulations. In one case it's the fact that the undulations pump energy into the system at a rate higher than the dampening can work. When you slow down, it changes the frequency of the pumping energy, and it drops off dramatically.

Thanks for your input; you've hit the key.

Does anyone know whether I-40 going east is better than I-10 or I-20?
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:57 PM   #32
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Interesting ....^^^^ I would not say NEVER drive over 50! However there is a message in that post. It may be the same messages for drugs applies in some cases. Speed kills! And I know there are owners that drive 75+. There are a lot of reasons I tow in the mile a minute range. (+ or -) Uneven payment is just one.

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Please understand that the statement about 50 MPH was grossly tongue-in-cheek. Some rigs aren't safe at 50 MPH, but most are. In fact, a particular rig may be safe at 75 MPH with some drivers on some highways, and quite unsafe with others in other conditions. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway} that there are dozens and dozens of things that go into a safe rig AND a safe driver.

Not being sarcastic, but my comment about never driving over 55 was specifically pointed at safety. Why not just be ultra safe and never drive over 30? Because, of course, there's no crystal clear reason why that has to be true, but it IS safer.

Your personal choices about your driving are excellent for you, and I salute you. I also note that ANY speed can kill, and does, depending on stupidity. And I did NOT imply, nor should you infer, that you are in that category.

Happy trailering to all.....


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Old 03-13-2016, 09:09 PM   #33
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While I like doing experiments, I don't like doing them on my personal and expensive equipment. Too bad that the company that made our trailers won't do the basic modeling needed to design their product not to break apart. Instead we have to keep adjusting through trial and error (breaking in this case).
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Old 03-13-2016, 10:29 PM   #34
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Maybe the key is not to worry about popped interior pop rivets so much and just replace them when they fail?

Most of the time one can be drilled out and replaced in the same time it takes to post to a thread on A/F.

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Old 03-13-2016, 11:19 PM   #35
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Reminds me of the SpaceX barge landing failure... Elon Musk called the event "a rapid unscheduled disassembly!"

I had almost a dozen "popped/sheared" rivets behind streetwise belt line.. Last owner declared ignorance of a problem.

Removing the belt line it was clear it had been "patched".. Then the belt line stuck on with standard white double side tape!!!! Ok,,, got the picture......

Searching for a better solution I decided on these. http://m.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/...cherrymax2.php

No more "buckling" and the belt line stays in place.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:01 AM   #36
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I just quickly scanned this thread so forgive me f I missed it.
But I see no mention of the size of tow vehicle being used.
A lot of people love those gargantuan 3/4 and 1 ton pickups.
But their stiff suspension will dramatically increase the likelihood of rivit failure.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:45 AM   #37
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I fly boz #21:

My 25 foot 2014 International has the rivet popped at:

A new panel of aluminum fits between the two windows over the sink. The sixth rivet from where the first rivet joins the two sections is extended out from flush. Rivet seven has popped already.

There already seems to be a trend of popped rivets near the doors. Hmmm.
The failed interior rivets I've had have been over the axles and forward. Mostly they have been between the kitchen cabinets and the door. Maybe that indicates the load of cabinets combined with the vibrations and shocks from road hazards create enough stress in the interior skin to shear the pop rivets.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:52 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ultradog View Post
I just quickly scanned this thread so forgive me f I missed it.
But I see no mention of the size of tow vehicle being used.
A lot of people love those gargantuan 3/4 and 1 ton pickups.
But their stiff suspension will dramatically increase the likelihood of rivit failure.
I have read this a lot on this thread, but I am not sure I completely agree. Our 1/2 ton truck rode very hard over bad roads pulling the trailer with weight distribution applied. Our 3/4 ton truck seems to ride much smoother over rough roads with the trailer and weight distribution. When empty it was just the opposite. The 1/2 ton was a softer ride when empty/not towing. I tend to agree there is some settling and self aligning that takes place between the inside aluminum panels and the ribs. On mine it looks like it creates a slight misalignment between the hole in the panel and the hole in the rib. I think I will try gently drilling to align the holes and go with a larger 3/16" rivet as someone suggested.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:14 PM   #39
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To answer the prior question as a data point, our tow vehicle is soft, the hitch is soft, and the trailer is running (prior to upgrade) 45-50 PSI in the tires. We have seen minimal rivet failure (one) but intend to investigate a bit before and after our trips this year. We travel on a variety of road surfaces, but not off road.

Really have a hard time believing that the manufacturing riveting process puts stress on other rivets. The shell is produced in a fixture. That should control the initial configuration. It does make sense that over use of the stabilizer jacks could stress the coach. There are warnings not to jack the trailer with them, but the door alignment thread was the first time that a logical reason was given for using care in stabilizing. Does make sense that after use, a trailer would take a set or settle a bit and that would impart stress on some rivets. Certainly represents a design flaw if that is the case. The door alignment thread video commented that there is tolerance in the rivet holes that allows some movement. That kind of compromises the integrity of the of the structure by making it less rigid. The question then becomes, which is better, a bit of flexibility or a rigid configuration. Brick crumbles in an earthquake and frame structures seem to just ride through the motion to a point. Maybe the coach needs those shock indicators they put on packages to monitor shipping conditions.

Fingers crossed for the coming year. We have developed very mixed emotions about road maintenance delays and detours. Sure like to see the bad stuff give way to a stretch of new pavement. Pat
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:08 PM   #40
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Earthquakes and Airstreams

Much like tire failures, there seem to be many reasons concerning popped rivets. Some reasons may be excuses, and other(s)... real possibilities.

The true test. I have never tried baking a cake in our Airstream while having my wife do the driving. (Desi & Lucy reference in reverse) Whatever the ride within the tow vehicle, the trailer has to be an entirely different experience. I am not sure I am brave enough to be strapped to the bed and experience 1 mile or 50 miles in a moving Airstream. Yet...

Has someone, who can say it was a friend or a dead relative who DID..., what was the experience? Was it from 1 to 10, 1 being pure Hell or 10... baking a cake without effort?

Maybe the leaf spring trailers have an advantage over Dexter axles used on our Airstreams. Screw poppers versus rivet poppers.

Earthquakes and Airstreams:

With the amplification of the tossing left to right of our trailer closer to the top, than the floor, this could explain more rivets popped along the top curved areas. Unlike vehicles, I have never heard of trailers being tested for anything... but being environmentally friendly, as my sticker near the door claims... Certified Green.

As mentioned earlier... concrete cannot handle this movement very well. Wooden structures can. Aluminum... hmmm. Sheep Herder's Wagons may be more durable than concrete or sheet aluminum.

Has Jackson Center put a 25 foot or any trailer on a platform and "shook the rivets loose" kind of test... ever? Or just the torrential down pour to find leaks? Somehow I find that trailers are getting a pass and automobiles do get tested for quality and weak areas that need to be improved.
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:54 PM   #41
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Reading the owners manual will probably tell you correct use of the stabilizers. Never met another AS owner thst didn't know they were stabilizers and not levelers. Worn tires ride rougher than new tires whether on the tv or trailer. Dropping the trailer off the tongue jack can loosen rivits. Listening to the junk they call music today also causes the rivits to come loose and try to escape. At least that's what I've heard!
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:15 PM   #42
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As mentioned earlier... concrete cannot handle this movement very well. Somehow I find that trailers are getting a pass and automobiles do get tested for quality and weak areas that need to be improved.
Unlike passenger cars and trucks, trailers are not designed nor considered a vehicle that humans will be in when traveling down the road. Passenger vehicles that are designed for that purpose have to comply and be tested for thousands governmental regulations. At considerable cost to the manufacturer to be tested and compliant.

RVs and travel trailers do not have to comply with those standards. They only have to comply with standards that apply to keeping it a safe load when on the road. The same as a over the road tractor pulling a semi-trailer. And they have to comply as a living unit when parked.

So while they get a pass as to the safety of the ride inside, not so much for being pulled and under control. The key would also be that if it isn't under control that the user will slow down. And the auto industry pumps out far more units than RVs. Shear scale drives some things. Airstream may built a couple of thousand trailers each year. The automotive industry cranks out 10 to 15 million units a year. With that kind of volume lots of accessories and features can be added for low cost that just can not be done by Airstream. Things like active suspension or back up sensors or self parking to name a few things that can be had on a car and would be greater for a top end trailer.


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