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Old 03-30-2015, 11:40 PM   #1
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1992 29' Excella
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Need to Repair Damage caused by Tire Blowout

On March 17th we experienced a double tire failure on the curb side of our 2 axle AS. The tires have been replaced, but the incident caused some body damage to the AS. I'm not sure how to describe it. Below are a couple of pictures. Followed by my damage assessment.

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The back side of the wheel well which appears to be steel lined is damaged (broken weld). The aluminum the covers the edge of the wheel well is bent and the rounded painted aluminum panel behind the wheel well is torn and crushed. The propane line to the water heater is in the damage area. I believe it's been bent, but it appears to be sealed and it does not not appear to be kinked. The door to the water heater was torn off, but we recovered it. Thankfully it was not even bent, but we did not recover the hinge.

We were on our way down to the lower Keys and we will be in the lower keys about one more week. Then we head home. We'd like advice on Airstream repair locations between here and our home in Virginia Beach, VA. Naturally we are will to go to a location somewhat out of our way, but we are not familiar with available AS services in the south east.

If I'm not posting in the right location, please let me know.

Thanks,
Pete & Phyllis
p.s. I'm already getting tire advice and help in the Tire forum.
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:59 AM   #2
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Do you know how the both tires failed? Did you run over something to did one fail and the other failed soon after from the excess load?


Looks like you got away lucky that there are no trailer panels damaged. Did you look at the black plastic wheel wells to see how damaged they are? You will have to remove the belly trim and then remove the side wrap and probably section in a new piece. I would replace that gas line just in case. You can probably just cut away the bent portion for the short run to see how much is bent and broken in there.

I would take this as an opportunity to rehab that rear frame that is prone to corrosion and leaks where the plate goes under the back of the trailer. Look for floor rot back there under the beds. Lift any floor covering to see what is under there. The frame looks pretty rusty and a good coat of POR15 would be a good thing to do. If you are not going to keep the trailer for a long time you could get away with sectioning in a new piece of side wrap and a lot of caulk. The steel piece right behind the wheel well is the outrigger and if that is bent you need to deal with that. A torch and a hammer will do wonders in the right hands. Or if it is really mangled a new piece can be fabricated.

They make replacement outriggers but it might be easier to patch what is there. Usually there is a bolt at the end of the outrigger that goes through the c-channel that holds the outer skin, then through the plywood floor, probably the wheel well lip and then the tip of the outrigger. There are two wheel wells and the white one on the inside then some insulation then the thicker black plastic wheel well that seals all that are against water. The white one on top usually cracks but it is not structural. Getting all this sandwiched back together is going to be the hardest thing to do. You may need to remove the water heater and whatever part of the bathroom is on the other side of it.

Perry
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:08 AM   #3
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Big ouch! If it was my trailer I would make the journey to Jackson Center to insure it was repaired properly.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:58 AM   #4
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The old "Steel Belted Chain Saw". Sorry to hear about your trailer.

Though many will not agree, and I don't want to turn it into a tire discussion, the old bias ply tires would not have done that damage, thus the reason why they are the only tire I would use on an Airstream.

Just a thought for the future,

Enjoy,
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:37 AM   #5
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The water heater line should be inspected by a professional and left alone/repaired/replaced as required.

The structural repair (you mentioned one of the outriggers seems to be torn off a bit) can be repaired by any welder.

I fixed virtually the exact same body/banana wrap damage on Dad's old 1985 Excella in the driveway with some alumuinum sheet and pop rivets. Having the access I now have to a metal roller to better mimick the curve of the banana wrap would have made the repair easier, but it was not hard at all doing all the work by hand.

It is easy to tuck the new sheet up under the belt/beauty trim and wrap it down under and secure it. Remove old panels or simply cover them as desired. When finished, a color matched spray paint off the shelf or custom mixed will make it all look seamless again.

Driveway repairs are not for everyone, but we only ever took the REALLY hard stuff to the dealers. Airstreams are complicated machines, but they were built by people and can be fixed by regular people as well.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:36 PM   #6
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Sorry I have not been more active here. I'm in the lower Keys and we came down to spend time with my DW's 92 year old father and some our DK's and DGk's, so, my attention has been elsewhere.

I'm thankful for all of the good advice and information I receive on AirForum. Normally I'm of the same mind as PA BAMBI II, but in this case I think I'll let the insurance I've been shelling out for step in. I've alerted my my insurance company and been assigned an adjuster. Per some suggestions I received I contacted Out-of-Doors-Mart-RV in North Carolina and I've already received an estimate back from Mike Taylor, the service manager there. Hopefully there repairs other than my deductible will be cover.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:46 PM   #7
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Pete,

Looks as though you have things in hand and were lucky it didn't tear up side panels on the trailer - the lower wraps should not be that costly to replace.

I don't know if you have a TPMS. It is no guarantee, but "might" have avoided the problem if rather than an instant blowout you had a slow leak that let the tire gradually go flat and it eventually self destructed.

Presume you don't know if both tires went together or if one went, then later the other went due to excessive load? Again - a TPMS might have helped if the latter was the case.

Brian.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Pete,

Presume you don't know if both tires went together or if one went, then later the other went due to excessive load? Again - a TPMS might have helped if the latter was the case.

Brian.
Brian,
Thought I answered your post a month ago. I guess for some reason it never posted.

I couldn't agree with more about the value of a good Temperature and Pressure Monitoring System. I was using Truck System Technologies TPMS sensors and monitor. No fault of the TPMS, the problem was the rear tire failed catastrophically from tread separation the pressure it exerted popped the front tire. So there was no slow leak situation. I heard a POW! and then the monitor began to beep. I even lost one of the sensors because of the loose tread slapping around. It broke the metal valve stem clean in half.

Anyway, about mid April I dropped the AS off at Out-of-Doors Mart RV near Greensboro, NC and I'm happy to report that they did a very nice job with the repairs and a few other things I had them do since it was there. I'm very happy with the work that was done and will recommend them hence forth. The AS damage caused by the blowout was covered by my Progressive RV insurance (except the tires).

I've also decided to switch to Michelin Truck LTX M/S2 225/R75/16". Ordered the tires from Tirebuyer.com and Sendel T03 SM rims from Recstuff.com. Got decent prices from both and Michelin has a $70 rebate until May 10th. The tires have already arrived and if all goes as planned with the rims I'll be getting them installed the middle to end of next week.
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Old 05-10-2015, 07:25 AM   #9
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Pete,

I'm sure you will be very happy with the 16" Michelins - I went that route a couple of years ago and as well as several short trips have made one trip to Arizona with them and one to Florida. They performed very well and still look brand new.

My previous E rated 15" ST tires (Towmasters I think) seemed to be almost worn out after about the same amount of use, with wear that looked like axle misalignment - but strangely, no such wear pattern at all with the Michelins.

Also, for some reason I find that I have not had to add any air to the Michelins at all since I installed them whereas with my previous tires, Towmaster and GYM's adding a few pounds every time I took the trailer out of storage was standard practice.


Brian.
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:05 AM   #10
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Brian,

That's very interesting. This incident has certainly opened my eyes, concerning tires. I should have put this together sooner. We use to own pop-ups and I had tire problems with them also. I guess I just made assumptions that this was normal for trailers. Since I was buying trailer tires I assumed they were the best tires I could buy for the job. Anyway, I wish I knew then what I know now.

Thanks for your encouragement.
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Old 05-10-2015, 05:41 PM   #11
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I purchased my TT from a PO who also had similar blowout. Not sure if taking my rig to an RV shop is the answer... I had them inspect my TT, repack bearings, and install a new fridge - it's been there over 3 weeks and they have yet to complete either task. Yet the bill exceeds $2500 already (assuming they will complete the inspection). And I now face the prospect of having to do some serious carpentry (to rebuild the cabinet where the fridge is located) to accommodate the newer, taller fridge. This is not an AS dealer... it is simply a national RV sales/repair facility. Cost of labor is worse than having my porsche worked on!

If I were to take this to As dealer, can anyone estimate how long (hours) it would take to repair? What does AS charge? Does anyone know what size or thickness of panel I will need? Do you need to use some sealant between panels? Our local AD dealer is maxed out... doesnt have time to service TT they did not sell. They often place anyone who did not purchase from them at the back of the line or simply keep them waiting so long that one loses patience, gives up, and takes their TT somewhere else. And they don't care. I have purchased all of my spares/repair parts out of state.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
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MtnCamper07,

Based on your post, it sounds like you may not have your AS in the right hands.

My first recommendation is to redo your post in a new thread. Outline the damage to your AS as clearly as possible. Good clear pictures are better than word descriptions alone.

This is a great site and you will get lots of help, but begin your own thread in order to get the attention you need. Helpful people scan new threads and will come to your rescue.

My next recommendation. Make sure you are using a qualified, tried and tested AS repair shop. There aren't many, but don't let a well meaning "Some Other Brand" RV dealer do body repair to your AS. You will be paying for someone's learning experience and probably get a result that reflects that.

To answer part of your last question. The repair costs for my blowout damage came to about $2200, not including tires, but yours could well be different, especially if you have side body damage above the banana wrap.

I'm not sure where you live, but post your own thread right in this section and ask all of your questions there. So one will know where the closest reliable AS repair shop is.

I hope this was some help. PM me if you have additional questions for me, but other than my limited personal experience, I don't have much to add.

p.s. Read up on tires. Before my accident I used ST tires because I didn't know any better. I also did not know how to recognize a real problem when I saw it. Just knowing how to do that would have saved me the blowout and the damage. So, if you are blissfully tire ignorant as I was, do yourself favor and get informed about tires and Tire Pressure Monitoring systems, it while give you peace of mind and go along way toward preventing a repeat of similar damage to your AS or another TT. If you want more info on this then PM me or check out the "Tire" section of the forum under "Running Gear".

Pete
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:34 AM   #13
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MtnCamper07,

I need to correct something I said in my last post. The blowout repairs actually only cost me about $1,460. I accidentally included my initial estimate which included new ST tires that I did not need. I just wanted to make that correction, but like I said your repairs may be more involved. My were actually pretty minor.

Pete
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:04 AM   #14
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We switched on 30' to Michelins, no issues. Ordered a new 2015 with Michelins, due to broken back, mine, we have not moved the trailer since picking it up in December and I checked the tires over the weekend. Same pressure as when we parked it in December. Pretty interesting as with previous AS's and other units with ST tires I constantly had to add air.

Enjoy your new tires, fixed trailer and travels.

Bud
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