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Old 04-02-2007, 06:11 PM   #1
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Reese & Holes in Chassis

I just took a look at the latest dual cam Reese hitch and noticed that the installation of the trailer-mounted gear required drilling two holes in the trailer chassis for each cam support device. The RV supplier I was talking to said that they do it every day and have never had a problem - however they don't deal in Airstreams and I seriously doubt that they have any lingering concerns once the trailer is out the door! They're too much like an unscrupulous truck salesmen! All that said, is there any harm in drilling the two holes through the frame to attach the cam support devices??? Note that the holes are not located in the "neutral" center of the chassis member, but somewhat towards the bottom - which adds to my concern.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
I just took a look at the latest dual cam Reese hitch and noticed that the installation of the trailer-mounted gear required drilling two holes in the trailer chassis for each cam support device. The RV supplier I was talking to said that they do it every day and have never had a problem - however they don't deal in Airstreams and I seriously doubt that they have any lingering concerns once the trailer is out the door! They're too much like an unscrupulous truck salesmen! All that said, is there any harm in drilling the two holes through the frame to attach the cam support devices??? Note that the holes are not located in the "neutral" center of the chassis member, but somewhat towards the bottom - which adds to my concern.
No structural engineer here...(but I did stray at a Holiday Inn Express a couple of weeks ago ) I have 4 holes in my 1975 where something was mounted at some point in time eons ago and it hasn't caused problems yet. I don't think 2-4 1/4" hole with screws in them are going to cause any problems.

Aaron
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:37 PM   #3
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I had my reese dual cam installed by an Airstream dealer. Hasn't broken yet. even on the California roads!
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:46 PM   #4
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I Vote For No Holes... Unless...

Seems like this is a good question for the Airstream service center. I would not rely on a local dealer. If the factory says it's okay to install the equipment (including drilling the holes) then I would trust them.

In my line of work I do not design heavy duty equipment like trailer frames but I am involved with designing equipment to support electrical/electronic equipment. I would not want somebody drilling holes into equipment (brackets/frames/rails) that I designed without engineering consent.

A hole is a hole - by drilling the hole you have reduced the strength of the original member. The original member may be overdesigned so it may be okay. Inserting a screw in the hole does nothing to regain the original strength of the member.

It's likely that Reese has considered the forces involved, but it would be prudent to check with the Airstream factory.

Lucius
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:12 PM   #5
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Reese & Holes in Chassis

Greetings Cracker!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
I just took a look at the latest dual cam Reese hitch and noticed that the installation of the trailer-mounted gear required drilling two holes in the trailer chassis for each cam support device. The RV supplier I was talking to said that they do it every day and have never had a problem - however they don't deal in Airstreams and I seriously doubt that they have any lingering concerns once the trailer is out the door! They're too much like an unscrupulous truck salesmen! All that said, is there any harm in drilling the two holes through the frame to attach the cam support devices??? Note that the holes are not located in the "neutral" center of the chassis member, but somewhat towards the bottom - which adds to my concern.
If you have reservations about drilling the holes for the newer HP Dual Cam design, the tried and true original design is still available. When I outfitted my Minuet, the HP Dual Cam had just been introduced -- I didn't like the idea of adding holes to the hitch on my Vintage coach so opted to special order one of the original Reese Dual Cam setups that mounts with heavy duty "U" bolts.

I have utilized the original Reese Dual Cam model for more than ten years on my Overlander; and for three seasons on my Minuet and I have been totally satisfied with its performance under all conditions.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:40 PM   #6
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Added Holes

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly
Seems like this is a good question for the Airstream service center. I would not rely on a local dealer. If the factory says it's okay to install the equipment (including drilling the holes) then I would trust them.

In my line of work I do not design heavy duty equipment like trailer frames but I am involved with designing equipment to support electrical/electronic equipment. I would not want somebody drilling holes into equipment (brackets/frames/rails) that I designed without engineering consent.

A hole is a hole - by drilling the hole you have reduced the strength of the original member. The original member may be overdesigned so it may be okay. Inserting a screw in the hole does nothing to regain the original strength of the member.

It's likely that Reese has considered the forces involved, but it would be prudent to check with the Airstream factory.

Lucius
Lucius has reinforced my concern. Sometimes an engineering background can be a real curse! In my past life, I was equipment manager, from time to time, for a couple of large construction firms. One day I was personally operating a hydraulic crane (cherry picker), mounted on a new Ford truck chassis, when the truck chassis failed - almost breaking in half. The break occurred where bolt holes had been drilled in the chassis to mount the hydraulic crane. It took us several months to get reimbursed for the rig - since the installation had been approved by Ford and performed by the crane supplier. I know that Reese is a very reputable company but it's my Airstream and my butt!
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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I am a graduate mechanical engineer. The holes will add a stress concentration but the local stress by the holes still should not be close to the amount necessary to cause deformation or end up with a fatique crack. If in doubt, get a letter from the hitch supplier and Airstream that the modification will not effect the warrentees. If they agree to than, you are assured they have checked it out. They will not accept responsibility unless they know they will not get socked with charges or legal claims.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
I am a graduate mechanical engineer. The holes will add a stress concentration but the local stress by the holes still should not be close to the amount necessary to cause deformation or end up with a fatique crack. If in doubt, get a letter from the hitch supplier and Airstream that the modification will not effect the warrentees. If they agree to than, you are assured they have checked it out. They will not accept responsibility unless they know they will not get socked with charges or legal claims.
I really wonder if you could get that kind of assurance from Airstream or Reese. Most manufacturers tend to shy away from taking responsibility for anything they didn't fully install themselves. This is an age-old problem for General Contractors. Owners never look to the equipment vendors for resolution of problems.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:45 PM   #9
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Cracker ---- They still make the old style that uses U bolts to attach it--no drilling nec. While a little more difficult to adjust it's my preference , I hate drilling holes-----pieman
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:00 PM   #10
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The HP Dual-cam has been out for several years now, and I haven't heard of any structural failures as a result. I have it installed on my new trailer's tongue. I've also had holes in the tongue/frame of just about every trailer I've ever owned, and never seen stress cracking as a result. Not that it can't occur, I'm sure, but these frames just aren't stressed that hard.

Roger
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:54 PM   #11
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One modification I made when installing anti-sway was to use grade 8 bolts and nuts to mount the hardware instead of expansion rivets supplied by Reese. I attached the nut onto a piece of welding rod to insert it into the hollow frame and hold it in place while I started the bolts. Tricky, but doable and the bolts wont work loose.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:19 AM   #12
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Hollow Frame!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excella CM
One modification I made when installing anti-sway was to use grade 8 bolts and nuts to mount the hardware instead of expansion rivets supplied by Reese. I attached the nut onto a piece of welding rod to insert it into the hollow frame and hold it in place while I started the bolts. Tricky, but doable and the bolts wont work loose.
It had not occurred to me that the bolts only penetrated the outside wall of the frame member! Duhhh! I thought that they were thru-bolted! I would be far more receptive to this procedure. The pictures of the assembly, as furnished by Reese, aren't that revealing. There is basically no weight on these specific attachments - but, rather, the loads are all a combination of compression against the bottom of the frame or shear on the bolts. Interesting!
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
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I installed my myself. No issues at all. Get a punch to start and simpy drill it out with a drill bit that is for drilling metal and you'll be done in about an hour. I also put some caulk on the backside of the mounting plate and on the bolt heads to seal them to the frame so that moisture is kept to a minimum.
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:27 AM   #14
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I am about to perform the same process of installing a new Reese Dual Cam on my new AS 31 Classic. After reading this, what are your thoughts about having it welded on? Thanks
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