View Poll Results: Which situation applies to you?
I have been using this set-up for years with no problems and no fear of "A" frame failures. 9 90.00%
My "A" frame was severely bent and buckled. 0 0%
My "A" frame has cracked in one or more places. 0 0%
My "A" frame broke completely off of my trailer. 0 0%
From what I've read on this forum, I'm in fear of my "A" frame failing. 1 10.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-07-2012, 01:20 AM   #1
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Damaged or broken "A" frame.

Hi, there has been lot of speculation about hitches causing damage or actually breaking the "A" frame on Airstream trailers. Has anyone actually experienced this situation? Do you have pictures of a cracked, buckled, or broken "A" frame on your Airstream trailer. [not slightly bowed, which might be considered normal] If you have or had an Airstream with this problem, what trailer do you have, what tow vehicle, and what type, size, and brand of hitch were you using at the time?
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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I personally only know of 2 cases of A frame problems but neither was hitch related.
One was rust, the other was severe overloading of the front of the trailer with hundreds of pounds of batteries
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:29 AM   #3
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Question

Stiff TV suspension/hitch set-up.

I think it would monocoque damage that is more of a worry.

On ours the A-frame looks to be up to the task. SFSG

Bob
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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To affirm and add to what the others have reported in the previous 3 posts, I have additionally seen A-frame damage caused by dropping the trailer off the hitch*, but never have I seen an A-frame bent by the torque of the weight distribution hitch itself.

* Yes, I know it's hard to imagine, but I have witnessed this twice. Daddy is in a hurry, backs up. DW lowers the trailer onto the hitch (with the coupler closed). Daddy pulls forward to align TV and TT for an easier installation of the weight-distribution bars, and pulls right out from under the hitch.

This is one reason I always put it in park, set the brake, and get out to make sure the coupler is really on the ball.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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Our '66 Trade Wind checks out very good. However, when I bought it up in Oregon 6 years ago I knew nothing of checking a frame for damage. Before paying for it I did a 'kick the tires' once over. I did discover a soft bathroom floor and stupidly accepted th POs expanation that it 'must e a loose floor attachment'. I had also noticed that the A- frame was freshly painted and did check for potential problems under the paint. There was none. A couple of months later I replaced the rotted floor AND cracked black tank. While I had the belly pan down I checked the frame....excellent given that the trailer had spent much of it's life in rainy Oregon. A few leaks but another PO had siliconed almost every seam. YUCK...a job getting that ugly off and resealing with the poly sealant. The bath floor rot I determned was from plumbing leaks as there was evidence of several repairs. I bought the trailer in April and when I first turned the water on water flowed from everywhere....it had not been winterized. NO problems, to speak of, since!
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
To affirm and add to what the others have reported in the previous 3 posts, I have additionally seen A-frame damage caused by dropping the trailer off the hitch*, but never have I seen an A-frame bent by the torque of the weight distribution hitch itself.

* Yes, I know it's hard to imagine, but I have witnessed this twice. Daddy is in a hurry, backs up. DW lowers the trailer onto the hitch (with the coupler closed). Daddy pulls forward to align TV and TT for an easier installation of the weight-distribution bars, and pulls right out from under the hitch.

This is one reason I always put it in park, set the brake, and get out to make sure the coupler is really on the ball.
That's funny because I always do my own hitching.....except one time when my then 5 yr old grandson wanted to help. So I told him, thinking 'what could go wrong', to work the electric tongue jack switch. I directed him when to lower the hitch onto the ball then wait while I secured the hiitch to the ball then to raise the hitch and ball up so that I could then attach the WDH bars. When the adequate height was reached I said, "Hold it". The trailer and car continued to rise, I hollared, "HOLD IT"! When it 'appeared' that the car's rear wheels were to clear the ground I slapped my grandson across the top his head and he ran off crying. OH, G*D, WHAT have I done and ran after him appologizing. As he was sobbing he said, "BBBut, Gramps, you told me to keep holding the switch"! We hugged for a while.
Neil
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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tongue problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, there has been lot of speculation about hitches causing damage or actually breaking the "A" frame on Airstream trailers. Has anyone actually experienced this situation? Do you have pictures of a cracked, buckled, or broken "A" frame on your Airstream trailer. [not slightly bowed, which might be considered normal] If you have or had an Airstream with this problem, what trailer do you have, what tow vehicle, and what type, size, and brand of hitch were you using at the time?
Since I just picked up and towed my new to me 93 Excella 30 and had to see the dealer in Tampa (Bates) for the awning, a technician looked mine over and was satisfied with the level setup but did mention if the weight bars are bowed to much they are seeing the saddle bolt snapping and bending the saddle when hitting a pothole or going over a speed bump to fast . Why would you?
There is a formula for loading things up front besides weighing the tongue weight with a scale, can't remember though, but know if you hold 10lbs a foot from your body it's 10 lbs, if 2 feet from you it doubles to 20lb, (that's why so many guys heft a 40lb bag stretch out 4 feet and kill their lower back, ouch ).
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
Since I just picked up and towed my new to me 93 Excella 30 and had to see the dealer in Tampa (Bates) for the awning, a technician looked mine over and was satisfied with the level setup but did mention if the weight bars are bowed to much they are seeing the saddle bolt snapping and bending the saddle when hitting a pothole or going over a speed bump to fast . Why would you?
There is a formula for loading things up front besides weighing the tongue weight with a scale, can't remember though, but know if you hold 10lbs a foot from your body it's 10 lbs, if 2 feet from you it doubles to 20lb, (that's why so many guys heft a 40lb bag stretch out 4 feet and kill their lower back, ouch ).
That's called "moment arm".

That's also why you don't mount things on the bumper.

Andy
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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Robert, you left out a poll choice, "I have a slight bow in my A-Frame and am concerned about it getting worse".

Not on my AS but definitely on my last SOB. Not interested in seeing it again.
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Old 01-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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I'd probably be in the category called: "I am not afraid of the A-frame bending, but I am afraid of other damage to the chassis or body due to hitch related forces acting on the trailer." Yeah, I know, kinda long.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:17 AM   #11
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Holy frame?

Hi, I think I would be more concerned about hitches that need holes drilled in your frame for mounting brackets. Especially ones where the owner/owners have switched to different brands of hitches and had to drill new holes without welding the un-used holes closed. If there is that much stress on the "A" Frame/tongue, I would prefer not to have any holes drilled.
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