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Old 04-12-2010, 07:40 AM   #1
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Can a small Airstream be lifted?

Just purchased a Sport 16 and I drive lots of rough dirt roads. With 6 inches of ground clearance, I'm a little worried about bottoming out. Wondering if anyone has ever seen a lift kit on an airstream??? If so, any thoughts or suggestions on the best way to go about adding ground clearance would be appreciated. If I pursue this option, I'll post the full story. Thx in advance. Best. JD
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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I am confused.

Where are you measuring a 6 in. ground clearance? The frame appears to have standard clearance. Is it the axle beam itself you are referring to?
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:14 AM   #3
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the lowest point on the trailer (2 petcocks on rear tank) is 6 inches off the ground
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:30 AM   #4
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the lowest point on the trailer (2 petcocks on rear tank) is 6 inches off the ground
There are 2 ways to lift the trailer.

The first and easiest, is to change out the axle with one that has a greater starting angle. But, that will only give you maybe another 1 1/2 inches.

The second, is to remove the axle, pull some of the underbelly, remove the axle mounting plates, add a steel channel to the frame, of 4, 5 or even 6 inches, weld new axle mounting plates to the new part of the frame, and then remount the axle.

Air shocks "WILL NOT" work.

Increasing the tire size, would add very little, but would cost probably more than it's worth.

Andy
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sport 16 View Post
Just purchased a Sport 16 and I drive lots of rough dirt roads. With 6 inches of ground clearance, I'm a little worried about bottoming out. Wondering if anyone has ever seen a lift kit on an airstream??? If so, any thoughts or suggestions on the best way to go about adding ground clearance would be appreciated. If I pursue this option, I'll post the full story. Thx in advance. Best. JD
You would need to replace the axle. One that has a different offset than your current one.
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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Can you post a picture of these petcocks?

My first thought would be to reroute them further forward if their source allowed that. Remember the clearance is measured along a line from the bottom of the rear most tire to the bottom of the bumper. Anything above that line should be considered as clearing any road conditions.

If you can turn the source of the petcocks above that line and route them forward to a point that allows access and remains above that line you should be good.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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I would opt for changing the axle for one with more starting angle. I did that with our Excella. It added more than 1 1/2 inches as the old axles were worn out, however it did put the trailer quite high. Wouldn't want it any higher.

A little more down angle may also be better for rough roads as it will be better "stepping over" bumps etc. Check out the down angle on off road vehicle trailing arms.

1 1/2 inches is really quite a lot when you see it, especially over the original height.

Adding to the frame is something that can not be undone easily, and would make the trailer very high.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:50 PM   #8
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many threads, few easy solutions and only marginal gains for a SHORT trailer.

a single axle unit RAISED will be that much less stable on the roadways and highway speeds...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f345...ads-58054.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...oud-26588.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ight-5087.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ting-8529.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...nce-43275.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...lla-27051.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...nce-25098.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ams-22102.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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I've got the same trailer and the same problem. I have not bottomed out yet, but I do worry about it. I was wondering if going to a 15" wheel would work? Is there enough clearance in the wheel well to do this. Also, would a 15" rim even bolt up to this axel?
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:07 PM   #10
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If you can't lift it look at armoring it to glide over those cantankerous obstacles. Lower COG is always better. A trailing arm suspension like used on most Adventure Trailers could be done and work quite well on and off road. It could be raised for rougher roads and lowered for highway travels. Check out Adventure Trailers website. The ir most current set-up uses a triangulated trailing arm with and airbag as the actual spring (in place of the torsion spring on the trailer currently) and then a shock absorber.

I am certain this will ruffle some feathers, but it is an option.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:01 PM   #11
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I have the same problem and had the same questions and got the same answers and one more that has worked on dirt roads all over the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and Oregon forrest roads.

I was told to do what Wally did crossing Africa. Slow down. Seems like a smart aleck statement but it has worked for several years now.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:07 PM   #12
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I was told to do what Wally did crossing Africa. Slow down. Seems like a smart aleck statement but it has worked for several years now.

Bingo !

I've taken my Caravel down dirt and gravel roads with some rather large rocks in the way. Stock height. No problems.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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The simplest solution is indeed to slow down... but since inattention can strike, how about small skid plates that protects the vulnerable areas? Having a pet cock as your first point of contact seems almost assured of causing problems on rougher tracks, even w/ a careful driver.

A bit of 1/4" 6061 w/ a gentle approach ramp would help a lot.
Alternatively, redesigning the petcocks for more ground clearance might also be a reasonable solution...
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