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Old 11-17-2019, 07:34 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by KK4YZ View Post
The shim is not welded in; its part of the assembly. If anything, its in compression while it takes up the excess clearance. I believe there is an illustration posted earlier in this thread. IMHO its a good fix.

I think the comparison with the welded fix Ford suggested for your F250 is not a valid one.
I stand corrected. I believe I read somewhere in another thread that it had to be welded in place. I assumed from the description that the coupler "cup" was too large allowing the locking mechanism to not fully engage, hence welding a shim to the cup. This image clearly shows adding a shim (part 4) behind part 5. Why would they not just make part 5 larger and provide that?

Let's speculate. The jig that was not correct at the factory allowed for many different size cups to be made. To compensate, Demco may have provided the dealer with a set of shims made in different sizes to "fit" the non-standard size cups. So effectively, you have to trust the dealer to determine which size shim to use. Ok. Pure speculation on my part and maybe completely wrong, I hope.

By the way, if the fix is just removing 1 screw (part 6), then pulling out part 5 and adding part 4 and reassembling, why would you have to wait until next January for a dealer to do this? Why not let you do it yourself?

Airstream should just make a statement about this and clear everything up.
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:37 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Posting for information only, no hands on information from me. Link is for a video showing DEMCO eZ Latch repair kit R&R from etrailer.

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...RoCciwQAvD_BwE
You might note that this is NOT the repair kit to fix the recall coupler.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:47 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by moonriver View Post
Below is PM message to and from Demco Products Manager:

Re: Demco Coupler Recall
________________________________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonriver
We recently purchased a 2020 Airstream Classic 30 RBT Travel Trailer. We just came back from our first trip and following your instructions had no issues with our Demco coupler. However, today our Airstream dealer tested our coupler (while in for other issues) and found that it failed inspection and is therefore under a recall. How soon do you believe Demco will have a fix for the recall? We have a lengthy trip to Florida with all reservations made and paid for in less than eight weeks. In addition, we pay $300 per month to NIRVC for inside, climate controlled storage to protect our Airstream. We also understand that Airstream Dealers can't sell any Airstreams where the Demco Coupler has failed inspection. Our Airstream Dealer is Southland RV in the Atlanta area. Thank You. Tom Schuck E-Mail: moonriver4@comcast.net

Tom,

Demco will be providing airstream parts for infield repairs very soon(days not weeks ) . 8 weeks should not be an issue. Did your dealer indicate by how much it failed the inspection ?


Re: Demco Coupler Recall
________________________________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonriver

They said that while it did fail, it did not fail by much.
Thank you for such a quick response!!
If it didn't fail by much than it should be a quick 10 minute fix once parts arrive at the dealership
How much did it fail the inspection? What kind of question is that? A failed inspection is a failed inspection. Does this mean they are going to make different thickness shims? Who decides which shim to use? This is crazy.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:58 AM   #124
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There is a lot of speculation being posted over the last couple days, i have been out of town for a couple days with my family and have not been able to respond. When i hit the office tomorrow i will respond and post information up that will further explain how and why the shim works and why it is also the best option.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:24 AM   #125
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. . .

By the way, if the fix is just removing 1 screw (part 6), then pulling out part 5 and adding part 4 and reassembling, why would you have to wait until next January for a dealer to do this? Why not let you do it yourself?

Airstream should just make a statement about this and clear everything up.
Having been involved in the recall process for a former employeer, the repair must be performed and recorded by an authorized repair center. There is no way to ensure that anyone else makes the repair correctly or even does anything with the parts received. Would you want to buy a used Airstream repaired by some unknown and possibly unskilled person? This is all in the name of safety and I am sure is mandated by the government.

I am sure many Airstream owners could successfully make the repair. I am as equally sure I have met some that could not be trusted to do so properly.
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:43 PM   #126
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Before you get to high on Porsche......I too had a Porsche (911) and there was this problem known as the IMS bearing. When it failed, it took out the entire engine. It was/is an expensive bearing to change (approx. $3000). They did nothing and got hit with a class action suit. Porsche settled but refused to release how many issues they had s owners could determine the risk. Ask me how I know? Oh....and don’t forget Dieselgate.
My intention wasn't to get high on Porsche. As a 35 year Porsche owner I'm well aware of the IMS issue and Dieselgate, among other things. But you have to give credit where it's due if something is done right. Regardless of other missteps, their handling of the GT3 engine problem was a textbook example of how to manage a quality concern and I could only wish for a similar response from Airstream, which was the point of my post.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:07 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by turk123 View Post
You might note that this is NOT the repair kit to fix the recall coupler.


I never said it was.

It demonstrates installing a repair kit for the Demco coupler. Adding the shim, I bet same procedure.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:53 PM   #128
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Over the last few days there has been a lot of things being discussed concerning the recall. I hope to clear up any and all questions and or concerns with this post, If I don’t please feel free to reach out and ask.

The Shim - When considering all the variables that are involved with this coupler recall, we believe that the shim is the best method for a long term solution. The issue the shim is trying to solve is not related to the cup of the coupler, the Body & cup are all within spec and not the problem we are fixing. The problem was the steel backwall that is welded into the coupler Body. The problem is that the weld fixture allowed this part to be welded to far back. The shim is to meant to take up the “extra” space. The back wall of the coupler is a commercial grade steel, the Shim is made from the same and the Ball Clamp is a casted part. The shim will be sandwiched between 2 parallel flat surfaces ( the ball clamp & Back Wall). The forces the Shim will see is a compression force. This is not something that can warp or wear the shim out. As far as long term wear issues, the shim only sees this when the coupler is opened and closed and even then is does not have a lot of friction to induce wear. In short you will never wear out the shim from opening and closing the coupler. The shim kit being shipped to the dealer will have 2 Shims. One of these shims will be the main shim used in most situations, we are sending a secondary shim as well. The second shim is slightly thinner that than the primary to account for any unforeseen variables. We are doing this to cover all the possibilities so that nobody is held up with this recall any longer than absolutely necessary. We spent many hours testing the shim and it is the best long term solution. Attached is a cutaway picture of the coupler so everybody can see how the shim works.


Phantom98-
Demco's response was:" We have already fixed the coupler issues. However I can't say directly if your trailer is affected or not so it would be best to contact your Airstream dealer directly. They should know the build date range that is affected by the recall" In other words he don't know. Phantom98 – you are exactly correct, I do not know the build date ranges of the AS trailer itself. We build a coupler for Lippert, they carry an inventory, they build frames for AS, then AS builds the RV and issues a unit build date. I can’t possibly know the build date range of the trailers through all those inventory levels and Etc. I know that couplers produced at Demco for a specific date range need to be inspected for the potential of being out of spec. The build date range that is relevant to you and any other retail owner needs to come from AS as it is different from my dates. That information is also part of the recall. I might also mention that an out of spec coupler does not immediately make it a safety concern just that it is out of spec. At this point I do not believe that any coupler has come unhooked while traveling.


turk123 -
Agreed. The coupler is defective. Put on a new corrected one or ask for the coupler they used previously. I would not budge on this one. Who knows if the fix actually works and for how long? Lots of pressure involved. Looking at all the things involved with cutting a coupler off and welding a new one on, the shim is a better long term fix. It poses no long term Wear, warpage, or corrosion issues. Its much easier to find a qualified person to remove a screw and install a shim than it is to find a qualified welder to make sure coupler is cut off and welded back on correctly no less painted.

I stand corrected. I believe I read somewhere in another thread that it had to be welded in place. I assumed from the description that the coupler "cup" was too large allowing the locking mechanism to not fully engage, hence welding a shim to the cup. This image clearly shows adding a shim (part 4) behind part 5. Why would they not just make part 5 larger and provide that? Like I stated above the Cup is not the problem, the cup is manufactured through a deep draw stamping method, it has no welding. The coupler doesn’t fail to engage due to the wall being welded to far back. The coupler “opening” is to big. The shim brings this back into spec.

It is not feasible to make part 5 larger for several reasons. 1- this is a casted part, it would take months to cast and validate a new versions. 2- this then means that the ball clamp ( part#5 ) is then a spec part for that specific coupler body, this makes any future rebuild very hard to manage. Short of measuring with a caliper there would be know way of knowing you had a large clamp or a standard clamp. The shim being an extra part, and a different looking part as well as reusable, makes accounting for the coupler down the road ten years much safer and easier.


Let's speculate. The jig that was not correct at the factory allowed for many different size cups to be made. To compensate, Demco may have provided the dealer with a set of shims made in different sizes to "fit" the non-standard size cups. So effectively, you have to trust the dealer to determine which size shim to use. Ok. Pure speculation on my part and maybe completely wrong, I hope.

This is pretty well explained above, There is one shim to be used and second shim provided if there is an unforeseen tolerance stack-up.

By the way, if the fix is just removing 1 screw (part 6), then pulling out part 5 and adding part 4 and reassembling, why would you have to wait until next January for a dealer to do this? Why not let you do it yourself?

There are a lot of dates floating around, there is no waiting until December or Jan. AS is already notifying customers and shipping lockouts, Demco Is pre-pairing to ship the shim kits for distribution by AS to dealers.

How much did it fail the inspection? What kind of question is that? A failed inspection is a failed inspection. Does this mean they are going to make different thickness shims? Who decides which shim to use? This is crazy. Yes a failed inspection is just that a failed inspection and yes there are 2 shims. However in an attempt from Demco to do the best we can to resolve the issue, it was a simple question for me to get feedback direct from the retail owner, that may just help us understand what your experiences are at the dealer level. Demco has to fix the issue without direct feedback from you the owner or the dealer on a regular basis while everything is being implemented.Every question I can ask is just another opportunity for me to better understand, or to hear a customer had an issue. Great customer service doesn’t just involve supplying a fix and wiping your hands and calling it solved, it involves following through the whole process to make sure that everybody is taken care of. Maybe we will learn something new from you guys from all this that will make us better at what we do in the future.

After I contacted Demco yesterday, I am still awaiting a direct statement from Demco. This is a serious matter, but not sure if any trailers have actually released from their balls resulting in damage. Turk, I have been getting a lot of calls and emails and messages regarding this. If I missed responding to you personally I apologize. Its hard to put forum names in line with real names and emails as I get a lot of duplicate questions from the same people through both the forum and directly at Demco at the same time. I would love to directly answer your question please send it directly to me at demco - Sales@demco-products.com Subject- line Airstream. Please note your Airforums user name as well, so I can put 2 and 2 together.



Pickles-
DEMCO: How long will it take to check and install the shim? How long will the shim last? The shim installation kit will take approx. 10-15 minutes to install.


mikeinca-

Maybe I missed it somewhere in the thread, but perhaps the Demco rep could answer the question of whether ALL couplers supplied prior to August 29, 2109 are out of spec.
No not all couplers are out of Spec.


Again, maybe I missed it, but most importantly what I haven't seen from the NHTSA, Airstream or Demco is a statement saying that it is definitely unsafe to tow my trailer until this issue is resolved. If that's the case, such a warning is the very FIRST thing that should be forthcoming. We have a trip coming up next month so this will need to be resolved for me one way or the other before I decide to hit the road. Yes it is not safe to tow your trailers. This is because it is not possible for you to directly validate your coupler. Therefore when there is an unknown, so we error on the side of extreme caution. This is why we produced the lockout device to account for all unknowns. This way we have a safe option for the trailer owner to get to the dealer, or home from a trip or wherever they may be.


eagletoo –
My concern is part #6 - the bolt (screw?) that holds all the pieces in place. Will this be another piece of hardware to periodically check, similar to checking the leg nuts for tightness? No this is not a periodical check. The screw is no different that what is used on a new coupler. The Coupler stem is Square stem and fits into a square hole in the ball clamp so it cannot rotate. The screw also has pre-applied Loctite. There is no rotational force on this screw, as well as any stress from daily use. The screw holds the stem to ball clamp so when the handle is pulled the stem pulls the ball clamp to open the coupler.




As I said above, There have been a lot of questions and information floating around. I hope that I covered everything in my post. If not, and I missed something that needed to be answered in this post, please reach out.
If you prefer you can email me Demco at Sales@demco-products.com put Airstream in the subject line, and if your from the forum please reference you user name also
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:46 PM   #129
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I received the following email from Airstream today.

Our closest dealer is 3 hours away. I asked if other Demco dealers would be able do the inspection and repair. No response yet.

Terry


Hello,

My name is Gretchen and I am contacting you from the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. The reason I am contacting you today is to make you aware of a potential safety defect that could be present on 2020 model Airstream trailers that were produced. In our 2020 model year we started using a front hitch coupler produced by the Demco Corporation. The previous model we had used was no longer available as that vendor had stopped producing it.

In October of 2019, a problem was discovered during a PDI (Pre-Deliver Inspection) where a coupler was loose on the ball of the hitch. Airstream immediately started investigating with our supplier Demco (the supplier of the coupler) to determine if there was a defect present. Unfortunately, as a result of that investigation it was determined that there are indeed couplers out of the tolerance range permitted by regulations. This defect, if present in your coupler, does not allow the coupler to create enough clamping force on the hitch ball to hold them together which could result in property damage or even personal injury. Thankfully we have had no incidents which have occurred while the owners were towing their trailers.

Clearly we need each owner to get their Airstream inspected by a dealer to ensure the coupler is performing as designed. Given it would be a safety concern to tow your vehicle, Airstream will send you a coupler lock kit including installation instructions which, after installed, will lock the coupler to the hitch ball and provide you with the security needed to tow the trailer safely to your nearest authorized Airstream dealer for further diagnosis. We have provided each dealer with the necessary gauge to measure your coupler to determine if it was built out of tolerance or not. If the coupler does not pass this test there will be a shim kit available to be installed in the coupler to remedy this defect. This will be a permanent shim and ensure that the coupler has the proper tolerances for safe towing throughout your ownership. Please keep in mind both the diagnosis and the fix, if needed, can be done very quickly.

We have contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report this issue and a recall letter will be included with the coupler lock we ship to you.

After receiving your coupler lock please contact your nearest authorized Airstream dealer to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to have the trailer coupler inspected. This will be performed at no charge to you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this action may cause you, however your safety and continued satisfaction are of the utmost importance to us.

Please respond to this email or contact me at 877-596-6111 ext. 7434 to confirm the mailing address to send your Demco Coupler Lock Kit to. We are in the office Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.

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Old 11-18-2019, 04:51 PM   #130
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I received the following email from Airstream today.

Our closest dealer is 3 hours away. I asked if other Demco dealers would be able do the inspection and repair. No response yet.

Terry


Hello,

My name is Gretchen and I am contacting you from the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. The reason I am contacting you today is to make you aware of a potential safety defect that could be present on 2020 model Airstream trailers that were produced. In our 2020 model year we started using a front hitch coupler produced by the Demco Corporation. The previous model we had used was no longer available as that vendor had stopped producing it.

In October of 2019, a problem was discovered during a PDI (Pre-Deliver Inspection) where a coupler was loose on the ball of the hitch. Airstream immediately started investigating with our supplier Demco (the supplier of the coupler) to determine if there was a defect present. Unfortunately, as a result of that investigation it was determined that there are indeed couplers out of the tolerance range permitted by regulations. This defect, if present in your coupler, does not allow the coupler to create enough clamping force on the hitch ball to hold them together which could result in property damage or even personal injury. Thankfully we have had no incidents which have occurred while the owners were towing their trailers.

Clearly we need each owner to get their Airstream inspected by a dealer to ensure the coupler is performing as designed. Given it would be a safety concern to tow your vehicle, Airstream will send you a coupler lock kit including installation instructions which, after installed, will lock the coupler to the hitch ball and provide you with the security needed to tow the trailer safely to your nearest authorized Airstream dealer for further diagnosis. We have provided each dealer with the necessary gauge to measure your coupler to determine if it was built out of tolerance or not. If the coupler does not pass this test there will be a shim kit available to be installed in the coupler to remedy this defect. This will be a permanent shim and ensure that the coupler has the proper tolerances for safe towing throughout your ownership. Please keep in mind both the diagnosis and the fix, if needed, can be done very quickly.

We have contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report this issue and a recall letter will be included with the coupler lock we ship to you.

After receiving your coupler lock please contact your nearest authorized Airstream dealer to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to have the trailer coupler inspected. This will be performed at no charge to you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this action may cause you, however your safety and continued satisfaction are of the utmost importance to us.

Please respond to this email or contact me at 877-596-6111 ext. 7434 to confirm the mailing address to send your Demco Coupler Lock Kit to. We are in the office Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.

-
Where are you located ?
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:15 PM   #131
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Where are you located ?

Hi Demco,

Im located on Hilton Head Island, SC. We are close to Savannah, GA.

BTW, you are doing a great job communicating and keeping us informed. Thank you from this Iowa native.

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Old 11-18-2019, 06:02 PM   #132
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First of all, I commend you for being on here and providing this information. Since I dont know what part or parts are out of spec, I am having trouble understanding why you are providing a shim rather than simply providing new parts that are within your specifications?


My take is that the hitch body isn't the right shape or dimension.

My reading of the recall letter indicates that the hitch body changed shape and or dimension as a result of deformation that was imparted by the process of being welded onto the trailer a-frame.

The problem with making new parts to fit this deformation is that one hitch body will be more affected than the next...

I imagine that the fix will require different sized shims depending upon the amount of deformation that the welding process imparted upon the hitch body.

The repair with shims I believe is more about practicality and a timely repair than it's about economy, although economy is always a factor that can and must be part of the equation.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:07 PM   #133
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I don't necessarily have a problem with the fix if the manufacture has done their due diligence and comes up with a solution that is both safe and effective. Almost every recall involves redesigned parts.

What is disturbing, though, is that there has been a lack of clarity around just how serious the problem is. Have there been any actual failures or is the recall being done out of an abundance of caution? Under what kind of circumstances might the coupler come loose? Surely Demco and Airstream must have some ideas about this.

A few years back, Porsche had a potential problem with a part from a supplier for the valve train in one of their GT engines which they believed may have caused catastrophic engine failures and fires in just a couple of cars. Nevertheless, within days Porsche held up all production and sales worldwide of the model involved, issued a "do not drive" notice to owners and sent a flatbed to pick up the car. They engineered and tested a fix, flew out factory technicians to replace the entire engine, compensated each owner generously for the time their vehicle was out of service and extended the replacement engine warranty to 10 years and 120K miles. As the owner of one of those cars I can tell you; THAT's the way a premium manufacturer deals with a problem and maintains the loyalty of their customers. Just sayin', Airstream....


How much does that Porsche sell per pound as compared to an Airstream?

What's Porsche's profit margin per unit as compared ti Airstream?

Details like that matter.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:08 PM   #134
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My take is that the hitch body isn't the right shape or dimension.

My reading of the recall letter indicates that the hitch body changed shape and or dimension as a result of deformation that was imparted by the process of being welded onto the trailer a-frame.

The problem with making new parts to fit this deformation is that one hitch body will be more affected than the next...

I imagine that the fix will require different sized shims depending upon the amount of deformation that the welding process imparted upon the hitch body.

The repair with shims I believe is more about practicality and a timely repair than it's about economy, although economy is always a factor that can and must be part of the equation.
The last post by Demco states otherwise.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:09 PM   #135
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I respect your opinion but IMHO it is a patch.


And?

So what?

If it's a patch that works, does it really matter if it's a "patch" or not?
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:14 PM   #136
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" THAT's the way a premium manufacturer deals with a problem and maintains the loyalty of their customers. Just sayin', Airstream...."



In my years of owning an Airstream I have seen nothing that puts them in the category of a premium manufacturer, just a premium price. Airstream's response comes as no surprise to me. They talk about customers but we all can cite companies that really do have a focus on customer satisfaction. This hitch seems like a serious problem and I hope it gets resolved quickly without any harm to people or equipment. Although it is irrelevant, what was wrong with the old, proven hitch?



Larry


Begging your pardon, but a person who has ever built a custom car, camper, etc. can attest that after components, materials, and labor costs are accounted for, Airstream isn't charging a "premium price" for their trailers.....

#JustSayin
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:21 PM   #137
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The last post by Demco states otherwise.


The Demco post indicates that the weld problem happened in their manufacturing process, not a result of welding the hitch to the a-frame, but, the rest of my answer is pretty much dead on.

Shims are used because the amount out of tolerance can vary from hitch to hitch.

The shim is both a good fix, and the best most common sense fix.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:50 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
The Demco post indicates that the weld problem happened in their manufacturing process, not a result of welding the hitch to the a-frame, but, the rest of my answer is pretty much dead on.

Shims are used because the amount out of tolerance can vary from hitch to hitch.

The shim is both a good fix, and the best most common sense fix.
Demco explained the plate was welded too far back. No mention of deformation. Not that it was damaged in the welding process.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:34 PM   #139
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Boyden , Iowa
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There is no deformation or damage because of weld or any other deformation because stamping. We quite simply failed to hold the back wall in the correct place in relationship to the center of the ball socket. This changes the size of the coupler opening while its closed. Bigger the opening= less force that it takes to remove the ball. Fail to get to the required force and you then have an issue that needs fixed.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:08 PM   #140
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You are one tough dude, hanging in here with the "knowledgeable", and wishful knowledgeable who post and like to be heard but don't always listen on this forum. I commend you.

I am guessing a Midwestern family company trying to do things right for the customers, family and employees involved in the business. I commend and respect you for continuing to post and working to educate on this forum..for various reasons. An unusual attribute in this day and age.
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