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Old 07-29-2006, 03:33 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Killo1
That's silly. 100#'s fatiguing the A frame. You should call an engineer at Airstream. I'm sure he'll tell you it's fine. Especially if you travel with empty fresh water tanks.
It's the "vertical" movement, that causes the fatigue.

I probably have replaced or did major repairs on over 100 A-frames, that had extra weight added to them, other than the LPG bottles.

Towing with a heavy duty tow vehicle, also contributes to that A-frame failure, under certain conditions. Adding extra weight to A-frames, especially on older models, is not a good idea.

Andy
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Old 07-30-2006, 06:19 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
It's the "vertical" movement, that causes the fatigue.

I probably have replaced or did major repairs on over 100 A-frames, that had extra weight added to them, other than the LPG bottles.

Towing with a heavy duty tow vehicle, also contributes to that A-frame failure, under certain conditions. Adding extra weight to A-frames, especially on older models, is not a good idea.

Andy
Hi Andy,

Your statement about towing with a 'Heavy Duty' tow vehicle left me scratching my head in wonder. What else other than a heavy duty tow vehicle could tow my A/S Classic 31' which is rated to a max of 10,000 GVWR? I certainly could not use a 'light duty' vehicle or minvan to tow with. With your experience as an A/S dealer and seeing failed A-Frames (over 100), it would tell me that Airstream's engineering in regard to specs of the A-frames need a rededsign and a recall if what you say is true.

Have you reported your findings about the A-frames to Airstream? If so, what was their response? Thanks for sharing this stat about the failures, it will make me pay close attention to this area and have it checked for any signs of stress/failure.
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Old 07-30-2006, 08:59 AM   #31
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Andy, if an AS cannot be towed safely and without damage using a standard US heavy duty pickup properly rated for the weight, then AS design is seriously lacking.

Other than a vehicle rated for 10,000 or more tailer weight ( standard 3/4 ton HD (GMC/Chevy, Ford, or Dodge) pickup, what other tow option do you propose for a Classic?
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:19 AM   #32
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I towed a '77 Excella 500 31' with an '01 Chevy 2500hd. The Reese setup I was using had 1000 lb. spring bars which attributed to rivets popping around my battery box mounting plate and the front plate behind the propane tanks. Others have used 500 lb. bars with the 2500hd truck and been much luckier.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:14 AM   #33
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How does one know the rating of spring bars? I don't see anything on the bar it's self.
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Old 07-30-2006, 11:56 AM   #34
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Some are stamped into the metal or embossed, others have a sticker on them.
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:04 PM   #35
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A-Frame Fatigue

A-Frame fatigue is not specific to Airstreams. It happens to other brands as well, albeit sooner. I am speaking more about older SOB's as I have more experience with them, but it applies to new trailers just the same. It is caused by sudden repeated jolts to the front of the trailer. Over a period of time these jolts can weaken the body to frame mounting points and the welds on the A-frame. If you tow any small travel trailer with a 1 ton truck it will beat it to death on most roads. I know most don't do this regularly. I mentioned this type of scenario as an example.

Speed on really bumpy/rough highways is also a factor if you have a set up that is too stiff. Higher speeds = stronger more frequent jolts.

I tow my Caravel with 3/4 truck and I know I have more truck than I need to tow it. I have also had my Caravel apart and have added reinforcements to the body to floor to frame connections. I removed the spare tire carrier from the skin and mounted it on the frame behind the propane tanks to lessen the stress on the skin. I also use 30lb tanks now rather than the 20 lb. that the AS came with. I don't see this as an issue either as they are rarely both full. Maybe at the start of a long trip, for example. I have also added an extra 15 gals. of water capacity to my Caravel (45 gals now). I rarely travel with the tank full tho. I try to wait until I get where I am going to fill it. I wouldn't add anymore extra weight to my A-frame as it stands right now. I am comfortible with what I have and that it will last quite a long time.

I have been up some pretty rough roads this summer and I always keep it around 10 to 20 mph max on bumpy gravel/dirt roads. Yes it takes longer but in the end my AS is not harmed. If I am on the freeway I don't worry about it too much at all. I don't use WD bars because I want give my Caravel as soft a ride as possible. My truck only sinks about an inch to an inch and half when I hook up. I also swithced from load range "E" to load range "D' tires for a softer side wall.


I like the generator set up and if it weren't for the compromised turning radius I might be inclined to do the same thing on a similar trailer. However, it would be really hard to back into some of the spots I go with the diminished turning radius.

Thats my story and I am stickin to it .
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:36 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gklott
Other than a vehicle rated for 10,000 or more tailer weight ( standard 3/4 ton HD (GMC/Chevy, Ford, or Dodge) pickup, what other tow option do you propose for a Classic?
QUOTE=classic67]Hi Andy,
Thanks for sharing this stat about the failures, it will make me pay close attention to this area and have it checked for any signs of stress/failure.[/QUOTE]

It is not so much the tow vehicle itself, it's the rear end spring rate that causes the problems. Overload springs on anything, will cause a problem when you tow an Airstream trailer, or for that matter any other brand as well.

If the rear end suspension of the tow vehicle is so tough that it does not allow the rear end to freely bounce, then front end damage to a travel trailer is gauranteed.

When you hit a bump, the whole idea is to have a flexibile connection between the trailer and tow vehicle. The more rigid the connection, the more shock is transfered to the tongue, causing a number of front end damages.

When that connection has a reasonable degree of softness or flexing ability, that damage will not happen.

If front end damage has taken place when using a HD tow vehicle, then obviously, something is wrong.

For those that use a 3/4 or 1 ton rated tow vehicle, the remedy is very simple. Remove the overload leaf spring, and or reduce the torsion bar rating.

That in itself, solves the problem. The overload spring has nothing to do with it's towing capacity, but it does have much to do with it's internal load carrying capacity.

Therefore, if your tow vehicle is lightly load, and a tongue weight of even 1000 pounds is considered a light load, then you don't need the heavy duty tow vehicle, "EXCEPT" for towing capacity, and nothing else.

Others here have said, lighten the springs, and lighten the spring bar rating, and your front end problems will either stop, or never occur in the first place.

This subject was discuss at length, years ago.

Andy
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:41 PM   #37
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aluminum Windbreaker Pix

I finally got some pix of the Aluminum Windbreakers. I have the generators removed from the carrier as I always do when we aren't traveling. However, I think you will be able to see what I'm trying to do. When I run the generators I have the Windbreaker open. The aluminum & hinges etc for this cost me about $25
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:53 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
It is not so much the tow vehicle itself, it's the rear end spring rate that causes the problems. Overload springs on anything, will cause a problem when you tow an Airstream trailer, or for that matter any other brand as well.

If the rear end suspension of the tow vehicle is so tough that it does not allow the rear end to freely bounce, then front end damage to a travel trailer is guaranteed.

For those that use a 3/4 or 1 ton rated tow vehicle, the remedy is very simple. Remove the overload leaf spring, and or reduce the torsion bar rating.

That in itself, solves the problem. The overload spring has nothing to do with it's towing capacity, but it does have much to do with it's internal load carrying capacity.

Therefore, if your tow vehicle is lightly load, and a tongue weight of even 1000 pounds is considered a light load, then you don't need the heavy duty tow vehicle, "EXCEPT" for towing capacity, and nothing else.

Others here have said, lighten the springs, and lighten the spring bar rating, and your front end problems will either stop, or never occur in the first place.

This subject was discuss at length, years ago.

Andy
Andy, Thanks for your insight on this subject. While I certainly understand that vertical thrasing (I picture a challenging bumpy dirt road) would play havoc on most any welded structure, I'm still at a loss how a 3/4 ton pickup on paved roads should lead to A-frame failure. It would seem to me that the A-frame structure for a heavier trailer like a Classic 31, 34 or 30 with a S/O would be engineered with a beefed up design to handle the added weight within it's GVWR ratings. Especially considering the trailer's GVWR are either 10,000lbs or 11,000lbs depending on the model, which is beyond the capability of most half-ton towing capacities tow ratings, which then requires a T/V that is a 3/4 ton for towing (not payload in the bed).

For example:
A Chevy Half-Ton 1500 WITH VORTEC 5.3L V8 ENGINE AND AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION:

Regular cab 2WD: w/ 3.73 gear; Max. Trailer Weight (lbs.) 8,200 <--- Not up to the task of pulling my Classic 31 at it's max GVWR weight of 10,000 lbs.
Same goes for the similar spec Dodge 1500 & Ford F-150.


As for the suggestion of modifying the suspension to soften it (in my case a new truck), I would suspect that if I had any problems becuase of a change I had made to the truck's suspension, the manufacturer could/would say I voided the T/V's warranty because of the modification to the spring assembly.

In the end, I just hope my A/S A frame is up to the task it was designed for, and that if it failed, it wouldn't be during trailering on the highway, and that A/S would stand behind it as long as the GVWR's tow rating weren't being exceeded. I'll look for the thread you mentioned on this subject.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:28 AM   #39
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Dennis.

It's not the tow vehicle at all.

But the spring rate of the rear suspension and the rating of the hitch torsion bars, determines the softness of the tow and possible front end damage.

The heavier they are, the more likely the damage.

Andy
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:25 AM   #40
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Andy,

Sounds like I better get back in touch with the dealer who sold my Aistream to me ASAP, because they mentioned none of this.
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:30 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzy
On my Bambi the standard Trailer plug/cord reaches the Parallel adapter -- all I have to do is plug it in and stat them up.

Since these pictures were taken I've added an Aluminum "wind breaker" for each generator. They cover the front, both sides, and the top, just enough to keep water from causing problems while driving in the rain. The "Wind Breakers" are hinged on the outside of the carrier with a latch in the front of the carrier to keep them in place. The cloth covers were destroyed by wind buffeting on each long trip. The aluminum "Wind Breakers" seemed to work great on our last trip. By the way, I also put a plug in each muffler to keep water out of the cylinders. Next time I get the Bambi out I'll take more pix
Grizzy,

What gauge aluminum did you use for your "wind breaker", where did you get it.

Steve
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:34 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loechli
Grizzy,

What gauge aluminum did you use for your "wind breaker", where did you get it.

Steve
Iím not sure what gauge it was. I bought it at a scrap metal dealer in Phoenix, and just walked around his yard until I found what I thought would work. What I ended up with was around 1/8th inch thick, and was quite hard to work with. I had to mark each line for the bend, place a 4x4 on the line, back my truck up onto the 4x4, and use a 5í pry bar to bend the flap up. A metal break would have been nice, but sometimes you use what you have. If I were doing it again I would use a little lighter material, something like 1/16th inch thick should work.
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