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Old 02-24-2009, 06:57 PM   #1
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Another rear separation tale...

Here is a prime example of rear separation most likely caused by a hitch that has been installed on the rear end of an Airstream. If you look at the pics you can clearly see a hitch and the tell tale elephant ears. For all you folks that are doing this that think it can't happen to you, seriously heed the factory's warning that it's not a matter of if, but more a matter of when:

eBay Motors: 2000 AIRSTREAM SAFARI 25' LS (item 110356219563 end time Mar-17-09 16:06:39 PDT)
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:09 PM   #2
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I noticed that also...that same trailer is for sale here in the classifieds.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #3
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Sharp eye Silvertwinkie!
The rear hitch is still installed and will probably be represented as a "Great custom feature" It's sad. I hope the new owners know better that to hook a bike rack or worse yet, a genset back there.

M
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:58 PM   #4
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You guys must have a better eye than me. I would never consider installing a hitch on the rear for this reason but i dont see after looking at the pictures closely the separation that you see. Is it in the picture of the water hose??

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Old 02-25-2009, 05:08 AM   #5
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I guess I'm clueless. I see the elephant ear(s), but I don't see how that repairs the problem, if indeed the shell has come off the frame in the back.

And it's hard to believe, Michael, that a bike rack could cause separation on a 25'. I might believe it on a 31'. Help me out here.

And to think I made the rear end bed in my Soveriegn relatively heavy, but the front end bed will be aluminum and very light. Got that backwards, didn't I?

Zep
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:36 AM   #6
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What tale do the elephant ears tell? I can see them on the enlarged picture, but what do they cover up or reinforce?
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:52 AM   #7
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Here is a link to more information about the elephant ear fix. Included is part of the original Airstream Service Bulletin #146.
A Bad Case of Rear End Separation
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:14 AM   #8
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As part of rear end fix for this, the exterior is cut to gain access to the mounting areas of the body to the frame. Once fixed, a piece of alum is riveted back on both sides. Though the body issue resolved, one would hope that the internal components that are connected to the body and floor and may have parts that go below the floor and mounted to the frame, like any plumbing etc in the immediate areas would also be checked and fixed if needed. I just could not believe I found a relatively newer Airstream trailer with a hitch and the elephant ears. We've had just so many conversations with folks saying I'm doing it and I'm ok, even though the factory said not to do it. This was just a gleaming example. See pic below where you see a slightly curved piece of alum at the lower left that is riveted to the body that I can assure you was not an original factory build. There is another one just like it on the other side of the RV. This Airstream had the body separation and the odd thing is, they left the hitch on the Airstream as the smoking gun.....just look closely at all the pics on the auction.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
As part of rear end fix for this, the exterior is cut to gain access to the mounting areas of the body to the frame. Once fixed, a piece of alum is riveted back on both sides. Though the body issue resolved, one would hope that the internal components that are connected to the body and floor and may have parts that go below the floor and mounted to the frame, like any plumbing etc in the immediate areas would also be checked and fixed if needed. I just could not believe I found a relatively newer Airstream trailer with a hitch and the elephant ears. We've had just so many conversations with folks saying I'm doing it and I'm ok, even though the factory said not to do it. This was just a gleaming example. See pic below where you see a slightly curved piece of alum at the lower left that is riveted to the body that I can assure you was not an original factory build. There is another one just like it on the other side of the RV. This Airstream had the body separation and the odd thing is, they left the hitch on the Airstream as the smoking gun.....just look closely at all the pics on the auction.
The elephant ear repair, for rear end separation, coming from Airstream or not, is a "joke."

Almost always, the floor channel is broken, which must be repaired and then plated.

Doing the elephant ear repair, does not allow you to see the floor channel cracks, let alone the ability to weld the channel back together again.

Nor does it allow you to see the lack of rivets that no longer hold the interior quarter panels to the floor channel, since most of them are sheared.

Without exception, that repair has a limited life and will fail again and again.

The second time around, with that type repair, will be very costly.

Andy
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:56 AM   #10
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The elephant ear repair, for rear end separation, coming from Airstream or not, is a "joke."

Almost always, the floor channel is broken, which must be repaired and then plated.

Doing the elephant ear repair, does not allow you to see the floor channel cracks, let alone the ability to weld the channel back together again.

Nor does it allow you to see the lack of rivets that no longer hold the interior quarter panels to the floor channel, since most of them are sheared.

Without exception, that repair has a limited life and will fail again and again.

The second time around, with that type repair, will be very costly.

Andy

Andy,

I am reading this thread with interest - and a degree of trepidation!

Reason being that just last fall, I bought a 2005 Classic 30 from a dealer, and thought i was getting an added bonus when I found it had a full size hitch receiver on the rear. I figured I would use it for our bicycles.

After reading comments on this forum, I decided against using it. In fact, before leaving home on our first trip, (we are in San Diego with the trailer right now) I figured that if I wasn't going to use it I should remove it as the hitch itself is a substantial useless weight. So I took an angle grinder to it and cut the hitch off before we left home.

Now my dilemma is this .........

So far the trailer performs fine and we really enjoy it. I don't see any evidence of any problem having been caused by the previous owner - but then, I don't know what to look for, and maybe at this stage damage is hidden anyway.

Any recommendations? Should I leave well enough alone and hope I am lucky, or is it recommended to look more deeply even if this incurrs cost to remove underpanels or such?

Thanks ....... Brian.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:33 AM   #11
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Andy,

I am reading this thread with interest - and a degree of trepidation!

Reason being that just last fall, I bought a 2005 Classic 30 from a dealer, and thought i was getting an added bonus when I found it had a full size hitch receiver on the rear. I figured I would use it for our bicycles.

After reading comments on this forum, I decided against using it. In fact, before leaving home on our first trip, (we are in San Diego with the trailer right now) I figured that if I wasn't going to use it I should remove it as the hitch itself is a substantial useless weight. So I took an angle grinder to it and cut the hitch off before we left home.

Now my dilemma is this .........

So far the trailer performs fine and we really enjoy it. I don't see any evidence of any problem having been caused by the previous owner - but then, I don't know what to look for, and maybe at this stage damage is hidden anyway.

Any recommendations? Should I leave well enough alone and hope I am lucky, or is it recommended to look more deeply even if this incurrs cost to remove underpanels or such?

Thanks ....... Brian.
You can easily do the following yourself, without taking anything apart.

Stand on the bumper. Jump up and down on it. If the frame does not move away from the shell, then your trailer is in great shape.

You can be the observer and have someone else do the jumping.

If it does move, then a visualy inspection should be made by someone that can properly repair it.

Andy
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:08 PM   #12
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Another example of what not to do.

The 69 Overlander we purchased on ebay had this wonderful attachment on the rear bumper....and yes, we had rear end separation. At the time, I had no idea how bad it was to have something like this bolted on the rear bumper....I suspect they carried a tire back there. Lucky for us, we were broadsided and our trailer was totaled before we had to deal with the problems and the trailer now has a salvage title--which is probably a good thing. paula
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:34 PM   #13
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Silvertwinkie

The picture you posted above.

Looking at it I would assume that both rear quarter panels have been replaced because of the absences of the blue strip that appears forward of the quarter panels and again across the back of the trailer. I assume they removed and reused the rear panel.

Having repaired front end separation on my trailer removing these panels is only half the job. One would have to look inside to see if the interior panels have been removed to gain access to the floor channel.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:09 PM   #14
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Truk, Airstream and boat

A few years ago we pulled in to an RV park for the night. A few spaces down was a Pickup truck with a 25' or 27' Airstream hooked up and then hooked to the Airstream was a boat and trailer. I was going to go down and introduce myself the next morning and maybe take some pictures but they were already gone. I have never seen anything like that before or since.

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