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Old 07-08-2012, 01:46 AM   #1
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Exclamation Electrical Short Subwoofer 12v Supply Wire FOUND and FIXED

I'm posting this for the sole purpose that it may help others with a similar issue...

Electrical Short Subwoofer 12v Supply Wire FOUND and FIXED

I carefully disassembled most of the interior of the coach - traced the short to the lower rear sheet metal screw that holds the road side low hand pop out vent interior plastic trim ring in place. That screw was driven right through the cable bundle, shorting the black and blue with white line wires (black is subwoofer power and blue with white line is radio amp control).

I thought I would pass this on in case others experienced the same problem.

A service manual on how to properly disassemble the roadside seating areas would have been helpful, but thankfully I'm a skilled cabinet maker, sheet metal worker, and automobile restorer, and so I managed.

I invested the better part of a week of labor to fully disassemble, diagnose, repair, and reassemble everything. This of course was extended since I had never worked on an airstream before nor had any reference drawings or manuals to work from...which would have greatly shortened my effort.

PLEASE sell me a service manual??!!

I found the build quality of the airstream generally good other than the mis-placed screw / cable - however I highly suggest you consider running your circuits in conduit - with the life span of these units and the likely need to replace or re-route wiring and other control lines in the coach over the next 20-30 years - it would be useful to be able to do this w/o having to drill out interior or exterior rivets just to get to the wire looms - a few hundred feet of well laid out conduit would not only make running circuits a breeze (including repair and rewiring), but it would not add much weight nor much cost. I would happily pay a few thousand extra to cover materials and labor to have ALL the wiring in conduit and ALL the circuits in proper sheet metal control panels (not just plywood panels). Perhaps I would execute this upgrade if / when I ever were to restore the coach...

I hope Airstream would consider this for a future model - offer it as an OPTION so as not to drive up cost on everyone - unfortunately, now that I've been through and through the coach - it will probably last 10 or 20 years until I can get a new one!

Other FIXES that I completed around the same time:
- one of the rear hinge nuts had come loose from the long screw that holds the middle rear hatch hinge in place - this is located inside of a C-channel accessed by removing the rear screen assembly (the whole thing that goes around the rear opening - not just the screen part) by removing the screws on the side and the screws hidden behind the black plastic hole plugs along the top

- I installed a 20A switch above the radio to turn off power to the subwoofer so as to save battery life when listening to the radio or a movie when not plugged into generator or shore power (this is an upgrade, not a fix, but was only made possible by the extensive line tracing required to fix the subwoofer power short problem in the first place - since I had wire access near the radio to that black hot line - I installed the switch - the wires run up the wall and over the radio behind the insulation...mine had fallen away from the outside of the coach wall - so I just used the slack to route to a switch and back up behind the insulation)

- I fabricated a new shower drip shield to deflect water away from the opening beneath the door - the original thin clear plastic seal was totally shredded and not blocking any water - the clearance was not uniform and very tight at the latch side - making it impossible for that little gasket to survive for long - raised the shower door 1/4" to get clearance for a new deflector / seal made from a door sweep - if you are interested in this I'll have to send you a picture - too hard to describe - but it was a custom fabrication situation - but works 100% leak proof now

- Connected second TV set HDMI - that was disconnected when I received the coach - now all TVs can play through stereo as designed and "All OFF" AnyNet functionality works - but turned it off on bedroom TV so TV stops going on every time we want to watch a DVD in the main room...

- Repaired outside fender covers - "bent" support out at each end away from trailer body - which better holds covers in place (after removing and cleaning pounds of dirt / sand from each end of each side...) - re-caulked with a much larger but streamlined 100% silicone bead for each RS and CS fender - then set two rivets in each end of each fender cover WITH a washer to distribute load against plastic fender cover - rivet goes through AL support bracket which is a V bent and screwed to coach from the outside before setting fender on...

- Had to bend back the brackets for the fold out leg on the CS fold up dinette side - leg was unfolding "too far" and ended up loosening the 3/4" face board - which I CAN NOT get to w/o removing the 1/8" plywood that is pressure-taped all around to the bottom of the AL inner support frame - so I can't repair it w/o destroying it (no access to tighten from the inside) - so I just drove three large cap-head sheet metal screws straight through the face into the AL frame below - good purchase into the frame so everything pulled tight - but now I have those exposed screw heads - not ideal

- replaced one missing rivet in the interior (minor issue)

- reset gaskets on fantastic fans that had come loose (minor issue, but important to fix!)

- cleaned garbage (both debris from assembly / fabrication and a few wrappers) from all of the nooks and crannies I exposed through my extensive wire tracing

- one last item NOT YET FIXED is my zipdee awning - the tube assembly is too long or the brackets were set too close together - b/c when I close the awning up and secure one side (can be either one) the other one is about 1" too far outside of the "securing wheel" that is to sit in the recess and secure the awning for travel. I have managed to angle each assembly enough to get purchase of the recess and be able to travel with the awning secured - but in a coach of this caliber - this is not acceptable - and since I'm limited to a vertical strut for the placement of the awning ends on the coach side - I'll have to disassemble the awning tube ends and see if I can manually shorten the offending end - so the support arms will sit vertical and plumb and BOTH "securing wheels" may FULLY seat in their recesses and properly secure the awning for transport. If anyone has information on how to do this or if it can be done - please email me at awinter@precipiollc.com.


Regards,
Andrew
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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We are still finding aluminum grindings throughout our FC. Our awning has the same "over long" issue ...likely because the spring inside forces / pushes the ends apart. This is a known issue with ZD awnings over the years ... wish we had your EB !
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:43 AM   #3
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Did you have the dealer troubleshoot the electrical problem before you decided to fix it yourself? Just curious if they were given the opportunity. Your efforts are way beyond what most owners are capable of performing, or should even attempt; and probably beyond most dealers, too.

I suspect your Airstream would have had to go back to the factory for someone find the short; and you are to be commended for your perseverance and troubleshooting skills.

Congratulations; good job!
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
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Andrew, what were the symptoms or signs that made you look for the short to the sub-woofer?

Drew
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
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Andrew,
Thanks for posting all of this. I admire your perseverance. Our Airstream is our third travel trailer, and I did a fair amount of custom wiring on the first two. However, I have found the inaccessibility of the wiring in the Airstream somewhat frustrating so far. I have found that Airstream customer service will usually email what they have access to on a what you need at a given time basis. I have managed to redo some of the radio wiring however. For some reason I do not understand, the sub woofer was wired with the rear speakers rather than the front ones where it is physically located. Since a 31 foot trailer's bedroom is distant enough from the living area, we generally leave the bedroom speaker volume set to zero, so one of us or the cats who happen to want to rest there can. That was also killing the sub woofer volume. So I opened the rats nest behind the radio and swapped the sub woofer to the front speakers. However for other things I would like to do, the uncertainty of where the wires are routed after they disappear is deterring me so far.

Ken
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:07 PM   #6
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Hey Andrew. I bought a 5-year old used stream a few years ago and immediately set out to upgrade it. When I called JC about wiring radio, entertainment, etc. They were very helpful. Now that you have seen your system, I want to share what I was told and hear your take.

The gentleman told me that they were now wiring the TV/Entertainment systems separate from the radio system. From your description it sounds like they are linked- subwoofer, etc.

Yesterday I replaced my radio unit and noticed anew the subwoofer rca cable set. My model has the wiring going the corner under the couch arm storage area. There was no sub when I looked at purchase. I believe it was removed. I bought one but it is part of the TV system using 120 volt power.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:50 PM   #7
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What brand of subwoofer or model does Airstream supply?
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Rod, I can only say that is REALLY cheap. (I relocated it about 2 1/2 feet when I built the cabinet as part of the recliner vs. L seat project). I'm seriously thinking of just unplugging it. You can adjust the output -- it has a potentiometer on it, not that it's easy to get to -- but I honestly don't think it adds much "oomph" to the sound system. A future project will be replacing all the stock speakers with stuff I'll get from Crutchfield...
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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The sub is an 8" SAS powered sub.
SAS is the same folks that made/make the Bazooka tube subwoofer enclosures.
Where is the level control/potentiometer?
The only "oomph" I notice is when I am sitting on the couch.
The stock 2 way 6 1/2" speakers sound ok to me.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:12 PM   #10
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The Airstream factory sub is in an enclosure such as would be in a car stereo system- slanted front to go in the trunk or hatch of a car- 12 volt-
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:15 PM   #11
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Hmm. My subwoofer adds tons of oomph. We had our iPod connected incorrectly and I thought we were going to blow out the windows (or get arrested or kicked out of the campground).

Settings on the tuner help a lot too. Are you making adjustments there?
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:23 PM   #12
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I think the quality of the entire system is quite good, and I am hard to please.
It is light years ahead of that generic garbage our previous SOB had.
I have been into custom car stereo 30 years and home audio for 35 years and the system pleases me.
It rocks, dude!
Sony and SAS are names that have been around for a long time in car audio.
I have Sony equipment and Boston Acoustics speakers in my home.
If I had nothing, starting from scratch, or replacing equipment in the trailer, it would mimic my car systems- Alpine, Rockford Fosgate, and Boston Acoustics- or JL Audio- but as it is suits me fine- the Sony Bluetooth deck is da bomb diggity, baby!
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:26 PM   #13
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I am kind of an audiophile and am probably much too picky about sound systems. I've taken on lots of upgrade projects in my trailer, but this one is at the end of the process. While I'm not planning on turning it into symphony hall, there is a lack of clean, crisp sound in both the mid and upper ranges. I'm not interesting in thumping bass AT ALL, but even at a fairly substantial volume with careful equalizer settings I don't get much at the low end either. I haven't looked at what kind of speakers are mounted in the overheads, but given some of the other corners they cut at JC, I'm doubtful they have a lot to recommend them. (I just installed LED lights in my Baraldi range hood, replacing the ONLY halogen bulbs to be found in my trailer.....and I won't go into other dives I've had into the range hood -- i.e., reattaching the blower wheel when it separated from the motor shaft....etc., etc...)
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:46 PM   #14
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Part of the lack,of any audiophile sound quality is due to the speakers being mounted in the thin aluminum walls.
Speaker mounting in the wooden bulkhead would provide a warmer sound.
Wood is good for speakers, as is air space. I have neither in my trailer.
Dynamat sound dreading material would help. All of my cars are gutted and stuffed/filled with Dynamat. Maybe I should put Dynamat in the trailer.
I am not too worried about a rockin' system because I don't want to disturb others in the campground.
I guess I am a wannabe audiophile on a budget, but I have built many awesome custom car stereo systems in my time, and I still do.
My cars are basically a sound system with a car wrapped around it.
Home systems are easier to build.
A system I a travel trailer is somewhere between a car system and a car system.
The big bus type motorhomes have more home stereo equipment, and they also have residential refrigerators.
I guess the ammonia gas absorption type refrigerators are considered a fire hazard these days...
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