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Old 05-11-2015, 11:25 AM   #1
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New Airstreams - all plywood or is there particle board?

I thought I read somewhere that Airstream does not use particle board on recent production models. Is this true? Do they use only plywood now, and no particle board?
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:30 AM   #2
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I thought I read somewhere that Airstream does not use particle board on recent production models. Is this true? Do they use only plywood now, and no particle board?
My 2012 Interstate has all laminated wood.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:54 PM   #3
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Particle board is a very good material until it gets wet. You would be surprised how much (not in Airstreams) is made with particle board. It is also useful to distinguish between particle board, oriented-strand board (OSB), medium-density fiber board (MDF), and high-density fiber board (such as Masonite).

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, our 2002 19' Bambi contains no particle board that I have ever found. There is a bit of Masonite, most notably under the laminate of the table.

There was a period during which Airstream used OSB for the floors of some trailers. You probably can find information about that with a search on the Forum

Tim
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:20 PM   #4
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We have been unable to find anything but plywood with laminate surfaces and solid wood components in our 2012 Flying Cloud. There is plastic trim where the partitions meet the aluminum walls. The drawer compartment, drawer slides and hinges are steel. The subfloor is plywood covered with a vinyl finish floor. Lift the bed or remove a drawer to get a look at cabinet and partition construction.

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Old 05-11-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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The reason for my question is with regard to the numerous posts regarding screws stripping out.

Certainly, if over-tightened, screws can strip out any material that they are driven into.

It would seem, though, that plywood is superior to particle board with regard to holding screws in, given the bouncing around that a trailer receives while going down the road.

Some people have posted here about having particle board in their trailers which has been stripped out by screws, so I'm trying to find out if it is older models which have particle board, just some models, or if they all have some particle board (rather than plywood).
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:03 PM   #6
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Excessive stripping of screws and cabinet damage while towing may indicate excessive shaking of the trailer when towing.

Cabinets coming apart suggest a look a running gear balance, trailer tire stiffness, hitch systems that are too rigid, excessive tow vehicle springs, or excessive speed over poor roadways. The cabinets can be overloaded, especially upper cabinets.

We have not had the loose cabinet problems, but there must be a simple way to see if there's too much shakin' going on inside your Airstream.

A cell phone accelerometer app perhaps? Maybe just put an egg inside the kitchen sink on the next trip. If it's cracked, things are shaking. If it's broke things are really shaking. And if it's on the floor . . . maybe should have used a boiled egg.

Ideas?

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Old 05-11-2015, 02:29 PM   #7
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Cheryl... good questions!

Our plan with the 2016 30' Serenity (ordered with 16" wheels and Michelin "E" tires) is to have the wheels balanced and to install Centramatic wheel balancers. Then to try to find the right set-up with anti-sway WD hitch and estimate the best tire pressure to run with. That should go a good ways toward reducing trailer vibrations on the road and minimizing screw loosening due to vibration, whether in particle board or plywood.

Stripped screw connections due to factory over-tightening (poor workmanship) of screws is certainly going to be on a case-by-case basis, which will definitely vary from sample to sample and have relatively little to do with plywood vs. particle board.

The particle board vs. plywood question is more a matter of general interest to me, which would be something of an indicator of Airstream's commitment to quality of materials used. Of course, I would prefer good quality plywood be used and don't know to what degree (if any) particle board is used in current production of Airstreams.
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:11 PM   #8
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One problem we had was Airstream used screws that were too short in on place. . The magazine rack came off the cabinet end wall. The old screws penetrated about .25 inches into the part that was supposed to be the support. Surprised it stayed on for 20 years before it failed.
Another failure was my fault. The folding dining table with the leg came loose when the screws pulled out of the top (particle board). But then I realized that if you run with the table standing up it does not load the screws in withdrawal from a material with a very marginal holding power.
Our trailers have OSB subflooring and lots of particleboard with plastic laminate. But they are still working, with some spot repairs to the floor, 28 years after the manufacture date.
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:39 PM   #9
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One problem we had was Airstream used screws that were too short in on place. . The magazine rack came off the cabinet end wall. The old screws penetrated about .25 inches into the part that was supposed to be the support. Surprised it stayed on for 20 years before it failed.
Another failure was my fault. The folding dining table with the leg came loose when the screws pulled out of the top (particle board). But then I realized that if you run with the table standing up it does not load the screws in withdrawal from a material with a very marginal holding power.
Our trailers have OSB subflooring and lots of particleboard with plastic laminate. But they are still working, with some spot repairs to the floor, 28 years after the manufacture date.
They don't make 'em like they used to.

We just had the factory production line folding dining table, console, and a custom cabinet installed in our 25' FC at Jackson Center. It's all laminate faced plywood, there were some leftover sections of the plywood sheet and we brought them home.

Our floor is plywood, we've pulled up a corner of the vinyl to dry after finding moisture during one of our regular moisture meter checks.

Nonetheless, an Airstream still providing good service 28 years after manufacture suggests the owner is certainly getting his money's worth.

With decent upkeep, I'm sure ours will outlast us.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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Airstream does not use any particle board in the floor or any cabinets. The last trailer with particle board floor was in 2006 ,I believe it was on the 22 Safari so they could do a one piece floor.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHart View Post
The reason for my question is with regard to the numerous posts regarding screws stripping out.

Certainly, if over-tightened, screws can strip out any material that they are driven into.

It would seem, though, that plywood is superior to particle board with regard to holding screws in, given the bouncing around that a trailer receives while going down the road.

Some people have posted here about having particle board in their trailers which has been stripped out by screws, so I'm trying to find out if it is older models which have particle board, just some models, or if they all have some particle board (rather than plywood).
Our 17 foot 2008 Safari Sport had screws that were too short. I replaced the ones that failed with screws that penetrated almost the full thickness of the panel. A little glue on the threads and a wooden match stick in the old hole can be helpful also.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:34 PM   #12
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Airstream does not use any particle board in the floor or any cabinets. The last trailer with particle board floor was in 2006 ,I believe it was on the 22 Safari so they could do a one piece floor.
Schu.... thanks for the info; that's good to know.

Being in JC, do you have connections at Airstream?
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:06 PM   #13
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Schu has connections . . .

Thank You, Dave Schumann - Airstream

cheryl
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:04 PM   #14
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You folks made me go check in the barn tonight after work.

I checked everywhere I could look in Shiny Pete, our 2014 Flying Cloud 27fb, and I only found plywood with either the woodgrain or white laminate and vinyl edgebanding on all exposed faces. All wall sections, screw blocks, cabinet doors, drawer boxes and fronts, access panels and overhead/floor locker doors and sides are plywood. Of course I knew that when we purchased Pete in Nov of 2013, but it was nice to be sure again.

We have had no screws loosen that I am aware of. We do have a "smooth" towing experience with an F150 and ProPride hitch, and maybe that helps as well. I know that we have opened the exterior door on occasion and found things on the counters where we left them and 60+ miles later they didn't move.........
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