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Old 05-23-2007, 09:28 PM   #1
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Weight Reduction

Hi All,

I posted this question in another thread on "Green Airstreams" and got no responses whatsoever. That thread, though, got me thinking.

What ideas would you all have to reduce weight in our coaches? I'm looking at a total rebuild. I mean to increase the strength of the frame (actually replace it with a new stronger one), but I want to lower the overall weight of the coach.

What ideas do you all have for making the trailers lighter?

I think the floor could be lighter. I think I could maybe lighten the cabinetry up a bit, although that will be hard as the cabinets in my '77 are pretty light already. I will be installing larger tanks so that will be a hit. What can we do to lighten them up?
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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The heavy things I removed and or rebuilt or replaced with lighter ;

Univolt, gaucho, table, fridge, doors, stove, metal ducts, copper waterlines, wet insulation, AC

It adds up to more than you would think in weight savings.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:10 PM   #3
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I put mine on Weight Watchers. It worked for awhile but the weight came back.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:24 PM   #4
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Good point. I've thought about heavy use of foam laminates and even scrapping the bunk mattresses and replacing with air mattress...Of course look at some refits and see 1/2 or 3/4 inch ply for the seats and bunks and ya know someone is adding needless weight. (See that in a rather neat, but unneccesarily heavy rig down the rod from me. It is neat just seeing how much strength one can get out of light materials.
Other ideas out there?
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:35 PM   #5
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I posted on that thread!

I have 2 rigs; the excella has solid wood cabinets, lotta weight, the 73 has el cheapo paneling. What they have in common is heavy appliances. The factory radarange in the 86 crapped out , it weighed 73lbs, replaced it with a better unit that weighed 34 lbs. The flip up tables are way heavy as are the dinette table.So I guess it depends what years you are talking about. The univolt antique can be replaced with a newer 3 or 4 stage unit and a solar panel for about an even trade in weight. Without doing a shell off and some sort of "trick" floor and frame I could see spending lotsa bucks.Composites are pretty cost prohibitive and most folks do not know how to work with them or have the correct tools, (shears, breathing apparatus, vacuum pumps etc.). The gaucho is heavy also, I found another forum member that wanted it as he will use it with kids. Thats another thing, I use my rigs for only 2 people so a lot of remodelling reduces weight. Leave all that other stuff you bring with you home. After a trip I look at what I did not use and put it on a possible ejection list. Just be carefull doing all this as you change the weight. Glass is heavy, lexan? Just how much are you wanting to spend? Its all a trade off, this could go on forever! DG
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:40 PM   #6
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Don't forget the tow vehicle

I ripped out the back 2 seats in my burb , almost 150 lbs. Lotsa room for my UAV and firewood and chaise lounge and big bulky items. DG
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:43 PM   #7
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Just for kicks, go to the Airstream web site and look up the published weights of the various years units. I just did it today but left my notes at work. A pal is looking at a early 2000's 25 classic. It weighs almost 1000 lbs more than my 29'. The only current models that are lighter than my trailer are 22' and under! Looking back in time, 10 years befor mine, nothing was as heavy as my unit.
The vintage guys definitely have an advantage on total weight/length.
For weight reduction ideas, look OLD.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:48 PM   #8
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yup old is good. every time I have something wrong the cut it out of me, that's real weight reduction!
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:57 PM   #9
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Gettin' old ain't so bad...it beats the alternative!
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:06 PM   #10
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Hi Jim,

I read your post, but was not sure of your goals in seeking a lighter weight AS trailer other than just being "more green".

A Vintage Airstream already has a very light weight aircraft type design that gives an exceptional service life.

You don't see any 25, 30, 40 or 50 year old SOB trailers on the road for a reason. They they have all deterioted to the point of unecomonical repair. The frames are recycled and the rest of the componets are in a landfill.

IMHO if I wanted to save weight on my AS TT, for the way I camp, in modern trailer park usage, it would have:

1) no fresh water tank/ pump/ fresh water tank plumbing, I would rely on "city water".

2) Empty black water tank before any long distant TT movement.

3) My tow vehicle would have a low sulfur diesel engine.

4) I would be equipped with two aluminum LP tanks, only one full.

5) I would have a load distribution hitch.

6) I would have a 110 frig. Not a two or three way frig.

7) All food would be purchase local. Also charcoal, firewood, etc.

8) If an ice chest was absolutly necessary during transport, I would use dry ice.

9) I would require my wife to attend to me in the shower, scrub my back, wash my hair, rub oil on me and massage my feet.....to save water of course.

Good luck to us both, especially me.
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:50 PM   #11
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Keith,
You have a good list there, I'll have to show #9 to my wife.
Question - if you will only carry one of your LP tanks full, why not just eliminate one of them and save the weight?
Dave
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:51 PM   #12
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Get your checkbook out

Hey Jim,
I just re read your initial post! If you're gonna redo the frame- have you thought about a composite floor incorporating a frame support system? That could be a substantial weight saving and you could build in a rear bike carrier to boot!You could also have your holding tanks molded within the framework kinda like aircraft fuel cells.Just a few late night thoughts. Ditch the carpet, use lightening holes everywhere you can, plastic mirrors not glass, off the drapes, man are they heavy. Tow cables instead of chain.Plastic eating utensils and plated, plastic skillets and pots, light water. Get rid of the airconditioner use a fan and a cold adult beverage. etc etc
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:58 PM   #13
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Since money is no object for us airstreamers, the floor could be replaced with hi-tec honeycomb laminate panels–light, strong and pricey.

PortaFab Aluminum Honeycomb Panels
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
I ripped out the back 2 seats in my burb , almost 150 lbs. Lotsa room for my UAV and firewood and chaise lounge and big bulky items. DG
Hi, like doorgunner, I removed the third row seat from my Navigator to save the un-needed weight and to have more room to carry things that I don't want to carry in my trailer. I also saved 1,000 lbs by buying a Safari instead of a Classic. [also saved about $15,000.00 on that choice]
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