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Old 10-01-2015, 11:15 PM   #1
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Eugene , Oregon
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Aluminum vs. Steel Steps

Anyone have any experience with replacing the steel double steps in a new AS with the aluminum steps? Are there any advantage over the steel besides weight and rust resistance? Are they interchangeable? I have a 25' Flying Cloud (2015).

Just curious. I recently bent the steel outriggers a bit going over a hump in the road. I unbolted the steps and bent them back in place. They should work fine, but it got me thinking about a possible replacement if needed. I know Camping World carries a replacement for about $90.00.

Lyle
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:54 AM   #2
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I am not positive, but think the only AS which now uses the traditional aluminum steps is the Classic series. They would be very expensive to retrofit onto the other models which now use an inexpensive steel step.

I have mixed feelings about the steps. The older aluminum ones were slick, and disappeared nicely into the bellypan area. But they wear, and are fragile and very expensive to replace. They never were as solid nor as wide as the newer metal steps now generally used. They slide in special metal outriggers which wear with time and are prone to rust damage as well as the wear damage. I have spent a fair amount of fiddle time with them, and have never been too impressed with them as a stair. And when they don't latch properly, they can give you a nasty fall.

The new steel steps are ugly, hang down too far and of course can rust. I have already damaged mine on the 2014 FC 20. On the other hand they are much more stable than the old aluminum ones, and if worn or damaged can be replaced for under $100 vs. what could be up to $500 to $1000 for the aluminum ones.

As I grow older, I appreciate the stability and size of the steel steps now used, as well as their low cost and ease of replacement. But they are still ugly and hang down too far.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:52 AM   #3
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. On the other hand they are much more stable than the old aluminum ones, and if worn or damaged can be replaced for under $100 vs. what could be up to $500 to $1000 for the aluminum ones.

I've had both and i agree on the stability factor and ease of opening and closing. If I had a choice i would stick with the steel steps.

>>ron<<
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:43 AM   #4
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We have the aluminum steps on our classic. They work flawlessly, and require a monthly shot if silicone to keep everything silky smooth!
Wouldn't trade them for the world. I know the factory store sells them for a ticket around $1500
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:50 AM   #5
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Iv'e had both. We had steel in our first Flying Cloud. We had Aluminum in our Classic. Now we have steel again in our new Flying Cloud.

I like the steel. Easier to operate and seem stronger. The Aluminum was difficult to get opened and closed correctly. I learned the trick like everyone else but what a pain. Steel doesn't look as nice but I like it better. Old age I guess...
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:42 AM   #6
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I just wish AS had powder coated the steel stairs aluminum instead of black and installed a thin white nylon plate across the forward support bracket to protect from stones.

Norrie
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:33 PM   #7
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I think the Classic trailers are the only ones now that have aluminum steps.
They are a little finicky to operate, but they look nice.
I have a little adjustable support that goes under the steps to keep them rigid.
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:48 PM   #8
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Too bad my 1958 Caravanner is so "outside the box" that I can be of no help in solving many of the problems/threads on this forum, I replaced the steps (which were missing at the time of purchase, happy to say) with a slant ramp. This allows the generator, perched on the A frame, as modified, with drop down bolt on wheels, to be rolled inside to prevent theft. Also allows the wood burning stove, as modified with wheels, to be taken from the cargo area of the Cadillac Escalade EXT and put inside as needed. Also the foldable "little red wagon" when loaded with 1 gallon milk jugs (now water) can be rolled up the ramp. Although not yet in a wheelchair, I may some day appreciate that slant ramp.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:22 PM   #9
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My new steel steps ran aground while backing into a raised spot this week. They carved a chunk out of a concrete step, and survived unscathed. So that kind of sold me on the durability of the steel.
But if the aluminum step doesn't hang down as far, then maybe it would not have run aground and I'd not be typing this now! The steel steps do hang quite a bit.

You should have seen how much work it was to get into this space. We were using a drop hitch to alternately raise and lower the rear of the AS, disconnecting and reconnecting to adjust, as well as raising the TV up on a series of blocks that we had to keep moving under the wheels as we went. Both the tanks in back, and the spare tire cage in front really create clearance issues.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #10
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I have a Classic and fought a curb with aluminum steps and of course the curb won. As a full-timer I followed the forum advice and got steel. Love them and do not miss those finicky steps.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #11
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This outfit sells replacement aluminum treads (AirTreads) that use the stock stair mechanism. They're gorgeous. No idea how much they cost.

Products/Skunkworks
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:19 PM   #12
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Thanks for Your Insights and Thoughts

This is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. I will stick with the steel steps and if they get damaged beyond repair, I will replace them for under $100. I must admit, they work well. Apparently not a finicky as the aluminum steps of the past, which by the way, run about $300 not including the outriggers needed. By the way, I found my steel steps easy to bend back into place after I unbolted them from my AS. Didn't even need a mallet. Just put my weight into it while holding the whole apparatus at the right angle. Thanks again for your thoughts. They seem to work fine now. I just had to do some touch-up painting from the scrape. I've also adjusted my weight distribution hitch to ride a little higher, or about level now. That should help keep the steps from getting grounded again.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:08 AM   #13
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We've always had aluminum steps





We've always had aluminum steps on each AS we've owned.
if ours were steel, we wouldn't spend $1500 to get aluminum… but, with one foot I can lower or stow one step

We've always had aluminum steps on the three ASs we've owned. If we had steel steps we wouldn't spend $1500 for aluminum… but, with one foot I can lower or stow one step (and use hands for the second step). Pretty slick!
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:10 AM   #14
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Much 'slicker' than my last post
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