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Old 11-17-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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Rear window frame not flat

All,

Since my traylah was new the rear window has never closed evenly. The streetside sticks out a little over an inch when the curbside is flush against the seal. After ordering and installing a new window my local dealer says that the problem is with the frame.

There is discussion of taking the trailer back to the Mother Ship.

I am, as the British say, gobsmacked.

Anyone else experience this? I don't know whether it's worth a run to the mother ship or not. Any ideas on whether smaller dealers can be trusted with frame repairs like this?
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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Jammer,

That's a pretty drastic problem. Doesn't rain and dirt get sucked inside when driving? It sure sounds like the body and/or frame is racked severely. Imagine a car with the trunk lid an inch open on one side when it's closed.

I think you have to check with Airstream about warranty coverage because they may claim it's your fault. Was it like this when you picked it up originally? Do you have any documentation to show it was racked then or shortly thereafter? I think you have to be ready to prove your case and hopefully you have the dealer on your side. It's hard for me to imagine how you could do this yourself under normal use.

Check Minnesota's lemon law and see whether travel trailers are covered. Most lemon laws are very weak, but some states have strong consumer protections.

Next question is what can be done? Can it be fixed or do they owe you a new trailer? If the frame is racked, can it be straightened?

Thanks for the new word.

Gene
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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without images the problem is somewhat vague.

my take is that...

1. the riveted frame is NOT square along the Z axis...

in other words not flat along the x-y plane.

once riveted into the outer shell, this position is difficult to alter.

or

2. the hinge at the top of the frame could be twisted or unsquared...

causing the window glass 2 b askew...

there are other possibilities based on visualz.

for example the frame may simply have a bend or 2 n it.
_________

#1 requires first trying brute force and failing that, the frame needs 2b drilled out, sealant scraped ...

then either straightened or replaced and RE goop'd, rivet'd, and so on.

#2 involves repositioning the hinge
_________

often the extrusions used for these windows are afflicted with #1...

but IF the deviation is small, it is managed with the turn latches and tension.

the same is true for small issues with the hinge unless it is off along the x or y axis...
_________

in situations like this the dealer should make contact and exchange info with their factory support.

photos are really helpful but require the service folks to make that effort.

replacing a window frame isn't hard and there is a specific multi step process, a factory guide.

speculating on the dealer issues...

1. they've little experience (none) replacing window frames

2. the time allowance (reimbursement) in the factory book is under estimated.

for example the book may allow 2 hours, but the service guy typically takes 6 hours to change a window frame.

#1 simply means they need to do a few...

and they may not have even looked at or digested the factory guide for this.

#2 is tricker and involves $$ signs and systems issues.

once out of warranty a service shop simply charges the customer for labor.

dickering with the warranty/factory time allowance

and getting warranty payment from the home office for ALL of the labor time...

takes efforts some dealers simply avoid.
_______

it is also possible the home office differs with the field tech on what is the root issue

and wants to see the problem on the owners dime.
_______

owners can and do replace window frames, it is not that difficult.

doing ONE is a great way to learn a bit about how these cans are assembled.

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:09 PM   #4
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Another word about the window. The "hinge" at the top is just 2 C channels mated. It is not a true hinge in the sense the parts are mated like a door hinge. On our trailer, one of the "hinges" caused a lot of problems and finally the factory got it working better, though the window—one on the side—still does not close as easily as the others.

Unlocked, it rested about a little proud of the frame, but it was even across the entire window. Locked, it seemed there was a some unnecessary stress on the glass. I never did find out if the C channel on the replacement window (another story) was bent and if they put in another window. I know they didn't charge me.

With a 1+" difference on one side, it could be the hinge or the frame (window frame or trailer frame? how could the window frame be out of line if there was not trailer frame problem?). I found it very difficult to replace the side window if the 2 C channels did not match perfectly, and find it hard to believe that if the C channels are so out of alignment, anyone could get the window in. That's why I think it's a more serious problem.

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Old 11-17-2010, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Jammer,

That's a pretty drastic problem. Doesn't rain and dirt get sucked inside when driving? It sure sounds like the body and/or frame is racked severely. Imagine a car with the trunk lid an inch open on one side when it's closed.
The latches will force it closed by twisting the glass a little so it does seal. The main problem, practically speaking, is that it is difficult to engage the latches without someone outside the trailer helping.

Quote:
I think you have to check with Airstream about warranty coverage because they may claim it's your fault. Was it like this when you picked it up originally?
Yes, and it's been in for warranty repair before and they "adjusted" the latch which didn't affect the problem.

Quote:
Check Minnesota's lemon law and see whether travel trailers are covered. Most lemon laws are very weak, but some states have strong consumer protections.
The lemon law in Minnesota only applies to major failures fundamental to the operation of the vehicle. So if you have a car and the engine dies in the middle of the freeway once a week, the lemon law will help you. Funny noises and windows that don't close quite right don't qualify.

The dealer seems to be trying to help. We'll see how it turns out.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
without images the problem is somewhat vague.
I'll try to take some when I get the traylah back from the dealah.

Quote:

my take is that...

1. the riveted frame is NOT square along the Z axis...

in other words not flat along the x-y plane.

once riveted into the outer shell, this position is difficult to alter.
...
A third possibility is that the rear wall of the trailer was not assembled quite correctly and the whole thing is somewhat skewed. There are some other minor signs of this visible inside where the roof lockers in the bedroom meet the corners. Only something that someone with a mechanical mindset would notice while in bed staring upward and thinking aluminum thoughts.

Quote:
in situations like this the dealer should make contact and exchange info with their factory support.... the time allowance (reimbursement) in the factory book is under estimated.

for example the book may allow 2 hours, but the service guy typically takes 6 hours to change a window frame.
So far they have been reasonably helpful and since the slow time is coming up they should be willing to do the work if the factory will authorize it.

I'll update the thread as I learn more.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I'll try to take some when I get the traylah back from the dealah.



A third possibility is that the rear wall of the trailer was not assembled quite correctly and the whole thing is somewhat skewed. There are some other minor signs of this visible inside where the roof lockers in the bedroom meet the corners. Only something that someone with a mechanical mindset would notice while in bed staring upward and thinking aluminum thoughts.



So far they have been reasonably helpful and since the slow time is coming up they should be willing to do the work if the factory will authorize it.

I'll update the thread as I learn more.
All front and rear window frames, are flat.

They can be twisted out of shape, by improper installation, but nearly impossible to happen since the end shells are made in "jigs", and have internal framing supports.

What could be more probable, is that the trailer was backed into something, that bent the window frame.

I would suggest a careful eagle eye looksee, be given to that window area. Additionally, the inner structure framing must also be bent, which is also made in a "jig" therefore if it's bent, it happened after the trailer was built.

I have never, ever, heard of a bent window frame, regardless of the year, "UNLESS" it was hit with something from the outside.

Andy
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:17 AM   #8
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Thanks, Andy.

It makes for quite a puzzle. The trailer has always been like this since new, and was a factory order. Maybe something happened on the way here from Jackson Center or at the dealership. There's no indication of any collision damage, no scratches or dings back there.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #9
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Jammer,
Maybe Gene has something there about the Lemon Law. In looking back over some of your threads it looks like you have had a lot of problems with the trailer in a short period of time, including missing parts. I mean, if you add everything up, it might be quite substantial.
I think you also have only driven the trailer for 2500 miles since new so I doubt if you or the roads are at fault. A picture like 2Air suggested would help us all see exactly what you are seeing.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #10
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most states split out travel trailers from the standard 'motor vehicle' LL definitions and coverage...

this is pretty well covered on 100s of websites on this topic.

and most written definitions include phrases like "a reasonable number of attempts" to repair a defect/warranty issue.

and that's for each issue, generally.

jammer is a long way from that threshold imo

and doesn't seem to be overly distraught or even interested it chucking the stream.

so inserting that stuff into a 'tweaked window' thread seems outta place.

my repair/replace/correct list was 100s of items during the warranty period

and included several trips and many daze in j/c and at the selling dealer.

while most folks have shorter lists, it's because a LOT of stuff is fixed by the selling dealer beforehand.

contrast this with mota vehicles, the last 1 i purchased is at ZERO defects 2date.
_______

many of these windows simply do not lay flat and that's typically solved with the knobs...

often one knob must be engaged before the other one reaches the slot.

while there is rumor that the factory is or will be using better alignment processes for window and doors...

they are still all 'one offs' and there is a lot of freehand hole cutting and assembly...

it's a wagon and buggy factory folks.

there is no evidence of being wrecked/damaged and the hinge or frame is typically the culprit.
_____

a/s used to include a booklet that spelled out LL coverage, among the other many appliance booklets...

perhaps they no longer do that or ran out of LL booklets?

here's one of the better older related threads...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f292...ime-31954.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #11
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2air speaks my mind regarding lemon law.

Sure, I've had lots of problems with my trailer. Some of them have involved multiple repair attempts by the dealer (they've tried three times to get the black water tank sensor calibrated and it still isn't, for example). But I expected most of this and just want my rig fixed properly. Many buyers might not have noticed some of these problems, or might not have cared enough to get them fixed.

How many people actually use the charge line?

How many people ever actually fill up the black water tank so that the operation of the sensor is important?

How many people figure "they're all loud" when faced with an A/C that is even louder than it's supposed to be?

And how many people buy into the dealer's BS when they say, "well the rear window is the widest and sometimes they are a little harder to close."

I've spent about 40 nights in my stream since taking delivery early this spring, in a wide variety of places, parked on everything from asphalt to alfalfa, with full hookups to boondocking and everything in between. I use all the systems on the trailer and expect them to work. I think that puts me in the minority.

But whether it's Thursday or not I like my 'stream and would not be interested in exchanging it for whatever piece of aluminum is behind door #3. For one thing, I'd have to redo all my customizations.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:30 PM   #12
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...But whether it's Thursday or not I like my 'stream...
now that's funny...

regarding the black tank sensor, accurate calibration is a pia for a lotta reasons.

contact the sensor makers (catcon/micropulse) and describe the many attempts to correct.

in my case they sent me a new display panel that was PRE calibrated...

and a couple of new sensors (i lost count after about 5 sensors)

then i simply replaced the display panel as a diy (pix in another thread)

after replacement the black tank was properly calibrated, but the wash tank was WAY off...

the hardest part related to replacing sensors is gaining easy access to them tank/areas where they are located.

a/s solved this by cutting rectangular openings in the belly pan, covered with screwed on plates.

this makes access very easy.

most dealers OR diy'ers could cut the holes if the sensor location is known.

they really should come WITH serviceable openings at the sensors and drain plumbing...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:41 PM   #13
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Everything's winterized for now. Minnesota, ya know...

Come spring I'm going to try to calibrate the thing myself following Catcon's instructions. The dealer's repair attempts have included a sensor replacement, an in-house calibration, and installation of a pre-calibrated unit. All have resulted in a sensor that goes from empty to 1/8 when the tank is 3/4 full. "Full" is reached only when there is half a foot of water standing in the head when the pedal is down.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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Jammer,

It's rare, but in the automotive world I have seen glass which somehow becomes deformed, presumably during it's cooling process when still "flexible". I believe that the rear window is relatively flat. Take a long straight edge and see if you can determine abnormalities in it's flatness (or slight curvature).
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