Originally Posted by Hrodriguez
Looking at your trailer and the damage done to the front end, I've got a question: is the upper front and rear end of the Airstream trailers interchangeable regardless of the length of the trailer?
Airstream has changed the profile of the curve over the years. Explaining this in detail is a PIA. Big general swipe is that in the 50's Airstreams had 13 segments, then they went to seven, then five, and then the 5 segments were reshaped to be more squared - less round to increase headroom and overhead storage while still staying aerodynamic.
Currently Airstream makes three widths of trailers
- widebody - all 25' or longer Airstreams (8.5 feet at midline)
- standard 16' through 24' trailers (8 feet at midline)
- sport - sport 16 & 19's (european width 7.5 feet at midline)
The only difference if you look at them head on is in the center segments - most easily seen in the top segment where you might put your WBCCI red letters.
Could you take a wreck with an intact front end and plonk it onto this one? Well, works better in theory than in practice. First severe damage tends to extend beyond the end segments. When one is hit in the front, the damage below the floor caused by the frame being bent or broken can be severe. There are RIBS in the body - none in the front segments except below the windows. Anything that smashes a side segment usually deforms one or more ribs - kinda like stomping on a tin can... even if you try to stomp it back into round, the lid won't ever go back on. Side panels can literally have the rivets ripped out of them... so before even thinking of repairing this kind of damage you want to determine that the damage doesn't include the side panel.
Lastly - go to the factory and watch an Airstream or two built. The guys doing the riveting do it BY HAND. Grab a tape measure and you'll see there are variations of up to an eighth of an inch between rivets. No laser drills the holes in a tight tolerance. The holes on one front segment will NEVER be in exactly the same spot as the holes from the side panels from another unit.
A front segment goes on top of the sides, the rear segments tuck under the side segments (wind blown water that's why). Whichever part is on the bottom will be double holed and probably have a lot of holes that are elongated. Leaks anyone?