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Old 09-13-2016, 07:35 PM   #1
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stabilizer jack, mounting bolts

just the facts
2013 Airstream 19' Flying Cloud
Half the year North FL under a carport on well draining concrete pad, except when in use.
Half the year in North NM on well draining gravel drive, except when in use.
During last weeks hitch up procedure, to return home, TWO of the bolt heads from the front, drivers side stabilizer jack fell off while I was cranking the jack up into position. FELL OFF! Both looked to have rusted off. Squirted liberal amount of penetrating oil on remaining bolt, gave a half hour or so and tried to remove it. No go. More oil. more time and finally very carefully got it to start out. Once removed the the shaft of the bolt above the head had what looked like alum oxide on it. Yup, white and fuzzy looking. Returned to NM and figured I needed to remove the remains three jack's nine bolts and figure out just what was going on.
Four days now of twice daily applications of penetrating oil, I am still reluctant to force any of them loose. Don't relish the process of drilling and EZ outing any more than I have to. So what am I up against? When I get the others removed I can replace with stainless. If I end up drilling and EZ outing how wide is the frame member? How much wiggle room do I have? Is the frame member steel or alum? Is the source of alum oxide the belly pan sandwiched between the steel jacks and frame? Did I miss the memo about removing all bolts monthly and coating with Anti-seize?
thanks all
phm
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:46 PM   #2
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Huh, interesting. Were the bolts you took out magnetic. Will a magnet attract them? Frame is steel. Aluminum oxide could be from belly pan. 3 years ish quick corrosion. When you replace them spray some cold galvanizing paint in there to protect the new ones. You can use stainless but they are not as strong. Hot dipped galvanized should slow corrosion.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:11 AM   #3
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I noticed my mounting bolts were rusty looking, I removed them and used cat anti seize on them ,it will last 20 years...
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:59 AM   #4
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I noticed that one of the heads of the mounting screws on one of the stabilizer jacks on my 25' Safari is missing. On mine, these mounting screws are self tapping tech screws, not bolts. I assume it broke off because whoever installed the the stabilizers over torqued and twisted the head during installation.

If you want to use the existing screw holes to re-install, a larger diameter screw diameter will work.

The frame main rails on my trailer are about 2" wide. The bottom of the cross member is narrower, so not a lot of wiggle room. Moving toward either side of the trailer a 1/2" should be enough if you want to make new holes. Moving toward the front or rear will not work because the cross member is too narrow.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:24 AM   #5
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I've got a couple of bolts sheared off each of my stabilizer jacks. I'm having them all the bolts replaced while my Airstream is having some other work done.

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Old 09-14-2016, 08:31 AM   #6
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I was, at one time, the materials/metalist engineer for Johnson/Evinrude. We had plenty of steel bolts in contact and holding the aluminum diecastings together. I did lots of studies about the galvanic corrosion of bolts. The stabilizer mounting bolts push up against the aluminum casting and sheet of the belly pan. The massive area of the aluminum should be sacrificial to the steel bolts. Zinc in the galvanized steel coating will also protect the bolts for a time until it wears out. The usual cause of the bolt heads breaking off is a high residual stress inducted by the cold heading operation of making the bolt head out of a long bar of steel. This stress should have been relieved by an annealing or heat treating process after the bolt was made and before it was galvanized. Sometime, cheap manufacturers leave out this process. In the future buy bolts that are grade marked with three bumps on the head indicating their are Grade 5 bolts and therefore have been heat treated. Stainless would also be a solution.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
>> snip>> The stabilizer mounting bolts push up against the aluminum casting and sheet of the belly pan. The massive area of the aluminum should be sacrificial to the steel bolts. << snip<<
The bolt heads, in the case of a stabilizer, are pressed against the body of the steel stabilizer. Only the screw shaft is in contact with the aluminum.
Would applying several layers of paint, prior to re-installing, to the top surface of the stabilizer help prevent this galvanic corrosion?
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:16 AM   #8
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On the two airstreams, which I own that have stabilizer jacks, the bolts hold up and are in contact with a aluminum diecasting that forms the majority of the stabilizer system. I do have corrosion on those diecastings which has protected the non- self tapping bolts for 26 - 38 years.

The reality is: Airstream has a very small engineering department with no materials engineer. They do not do long term environmental or endurance testing of their products and have refused to pay for materials consulting, when I offered it to them twice.
Airstream is still living off the legend of its founder after abandoning his philosophies and policies shortly after he died. No more company conducted caravans to gain knowledge of the use and abuse of the product. Let the customers do the final engineering and quality control testing of the product.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
On the two airstreams, which I own that have stabilizer jacks, the bolts hold up and are in contact with a aluminum diecasting that forms the majority of the stabilizer system. I do have corrosion on those diecastings which has protected the non- self tapping bolts for 26 - 38 years.

The reality is: Airstream has a very small engineering department with no materials engineer. They do not do long term environmental or endurance testing of their products and have refused to pay for materials consulting, when I offered it to them twice.
Airstream is still living off the legend of its founder after abandoning his philosophies and policies shortly after he died. No more company conducted caravans to gain knowledge of the use and abuse of the product. Let the customers do the final engineering and quality control testing of the product.
Exactly why so there are many gripes about QC and other things about new AS. and why AS quit life time warranty 1974. 2 yr. warranty is a joke as takes longer for some things to show up plus mos. waiting for repair at JC.
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Old 09-14-2016, 11:10 AM   #10
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stabilizer jack, mounting bolts

They are going to be self tapping or lag bolts.

Just get it over with, break off all that wont back out, drill new holes and mount the stabilizers a half inch offset from the old bolt holes with new bolts.

IMHO, trying to extract the old bolts is wasted effort.


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Old 09-14-2016, 12:00 PM   #11
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dwightdi, ...EXCELLENT information. Thank you!
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phm31750 View Post
just the facts
2013 Airstream 19' Flying Cloud
Half the year North FL under a carport on well draining concrete pad, except when in use.
Half the year in North NM on well draining gravel drive, except when in use.
During last weeks hitch up procedure, to return home, TWO of the bolt heads from the front, drivers side stabilizer jack fell off while I was cranking the jack up into position. FELL OFF! Both looked to have rusted off. Squirted liberal amount of penetrating oil on remaining bolt, gave a half hour or so and tried to remove it. No go. More oil. more time and finally very carefully got it to start out. Once removed the the shaft of the bolt above the head had what looked like alum oxide on it. Yup, white and fuzzy looking. Returned to NM and figured I needed to remove the remains three jack's nine bolts and figure out just what was going on.
Four days now of twice daily applications of penetrating oil, I am still reluctant to force any of them loose. Don't relish the process of drilling and EZ outing any more than I have to. So what am I up against? When I get the others removed I can replace with stainless. If I end up drilling and EZ outing how wide is the frame member? How much wiggle room do I have? Is the frame member steel or alum? Is the source of alum oxide the belly pan sandwiched between the steel jacks and frame? Did I miss the memo about removing all bolts monthly and coating with Anti-seize?
thanks all
phm
If I was you I'd replace them, I'm getting mine through Airstream supply.
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:07 PM   #13
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We camp in St. Augustine FL every April. I notice that rust starts to develop on any untreated metal surface - hitch etc. - due to salt air.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:48 PM   #14
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Hey thanks to all for their replies.
The steel stabilizer jacks have three holes, the two outboard holes are 3" apart center to center, the single inboard hole is 16" from that centerline. Seems as though I should be able to move out or in an inch. NOT fore and aft. But given what Iv'e learned from three years ownership and maintenance I am sort of unwilling to bet on that. Geeze!
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