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Old 04-11-2010, 09:43 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1978 25' Tradewind
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 12
Help! Broke Shock Absorber Bolt - Need Welder in NorCal

Well, I tackled my first project on my recently purchased ’78 Tradewind. I enjoyed the whole process up until the point that I snapped off one the bolt heads. Despite soaking the bolt and nut with liquid wrench for 2 days and taping and chipping as much of the rust of the end of the bolt, it broke. At the moment, it was the end of the world! After reading a few posts here, I realize that I am not alone in my predicament.

This is where I need a little help. Can you confirm that the following would be the best course of action in replacing a lower shock bolt welded to the frame:

1) Purchase a replacement Shock Absorber bolt from Inland RV
2) Locate a welder to remove the existing bolt and weld in the replacement.

If this sounds about right, can anyone recommend a welder in the vicinity of Walnut Creek, CA (94597).

Thank you in advance and “Stream Safe.”

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Old 04-11-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Sorry, can't help w/ the welder... but when you replace it, use a self locking nut and a liberal amount of anti-seize compound on the threads; that way this won't happen again.

One trick that also works is to heat the stuck nut w/ a propane torch. Since the rubber bushing is right there, have a bit of water on hand if it flames up too badly... but once the bolt is hot (300-400 F), apply penetrating oil (it will smoke) and attempt to loosen the nut.

It sounds like those shock mounts aren't particularly hard; I'll get a chance to play w/ mine soon as I'm replacing the axles, shocks and brakes...

Good luck!

- Bart

Bart Smaalders
Menlo Park, CA
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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1970 31' Sovereign
danville , California
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 53
do you still need this done? I am local and could possbily do it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:31 AM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,570
You can simply go to your local NAPA or other auto parts store, and buy a replacement shock bolt. Drill a hole in the frame or flange, whichever is broken, and stick the bolt through, The replacement comes with threads on the attaching end so you don't need to weld it.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 27' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
Palmer Lake , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,881
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Many of us are convinced you don't need shocks. Torsion axles provide their own damping. Airstream may install shocks just because people expect them.

I took great pains to get the shocks perfect when I replaced the axle on my Caravel, but I didn't even put shocks on the Overlander when it got new axles. I've made two 3,500+ mile trips since then and it tows great. I don't see any significant difference--items left on the top of the table tend to stay there. Occasionally a very big bump might cause an extra porpoise cycle, but it takes an exceptional bump to do that. I think the rig would porpoise even with shocks.

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:39 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1978 25' Tradewind
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 12
Closing the loop...

Just a quick note to thank you all for weighing in on this dilemma. I did in fact find a welder who did a competent job despite having never worked on an Airstream. Took a trip up to the Fort Ross on the Mendocino Coast this past weekend and the Stream traveled like a champ.

Thanks again.

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