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Old 10-11-2010, 09:21 AM   #1
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Bumper/Frame repair help

Removed the bumper. Found rust damage. Know I have to go to a welder. What is the best way to ask to get this fixed? Plan to remove the rivets from the storage lid. Figure the more I have exposed the less shop time they will charge me. Think I have to have the end section of the curbside (R) rear frame replaced. Not sure what to do about the roadside (L). Can they make a plate the covers the rusted out support to the sewer attachment? Noticed that the roadside belly pan has rusted especially where the sewer attachment goes. Can this be patched or do I have to have a whole new belly pan made? Are these sections of the belly pan available or do I have to have one made? Any help and guidance appreciated. Thanks. Jack
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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Jack How far do you want to go with the frame repairs? The shell is bolted down through the floor and into the main frame rails. The bolts are located between the outer skins and the inner walls. If you have to relpace the frame rails under the shell you will have to remove these bolts. Ther are 2 ways to access these bolts. The right way is to gut the interior and remove the inner walls. The quick and easy way is to cut out a section of the shell to get at them and them install a patch on the outer skins.
I would inspect the frame around the axles and the fresh water tank and also around the steps. These are other areas that are prone to rusting out. Unfortunately It will require removing the belly pan to properly inspect the frame there.
Yes you can cut out the corroded sections of the belly pan and just patch it. Make your patch larger than your opening and if you can patch them large enough to attach to the crossmembers or frame rails. Use large flange rivets so they will have more pan to hold on to.
If you like airstream sells the belly pan material in the right width to cover the entire pan. You can purchase whatever length you need. It is pricey though.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #3
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Have inspected the frame from the front to the rear. It appears that only surface rust in all other areas. The end parts of the rear frame have the most "visible" rust whereas parts have rusted through. In front of the bumper area the frame is solid all the way to the front as far as I can tell.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:48 PM   #4
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Jack Did you drop the belly pan all the way to the front? that is the only way to tell for sure if the frame rails, crossmembers,and the outriggers are rusted out or not.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:35 AM   #5
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Not sure I want to drop the belly pan at this point in my life. Spoke with Sonny Hare at Camper Repair Center in Al (great guy and source of information) and he said not to weld on a section of frame without doing possible damage/setting a fire to aluminum and wood flooring. The heat generated could be transferred through the metal. Will have to consider other options.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:10 PM   #6
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I will not cry...sniff

Removed the storage lid and plastic hose carrier. Here is what I found. Appears that water leak from rub rail let in alot of water. How do I go about repairing this. Plan to take it to a weld shop. Not really sure how to proceed. Any help appreciated. Jack
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:32 PM   #7
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Jack I hope your sitting down. I have bad news and even worse news. To repair the rotten crossmember and the frame rails you will have to gut the bathroom and remove the lower interior walls. You do this to get at the bolts holding the shell to the frame. The shell is attached to the frame through that crossmember so to replace the crossmember and repair the frame rails you will have to release the shell at that point. The even worse news is that you will probably find the floor rotten in that area as well. If you gut the bathroom,remove the interior walls, remove the belly and drop the holding tanks yourself you can save a lot of money paying a shop to do that. That will get the area ready for a shop to release the shell from the frame. The shell can then be jacked up away from the frame just enough to repair the frame & crossmember. If the welder is careful he can do this repair with the shell still on. While the repairs are on going you can get a new section of floor ready to install once welding is complete. Read the forums on rear end seperation and bumper storage leaks. There are several threads about how to repair and modify this area to stop the leaks from happening again. Basically water runs down between the lower beltline(rub rail) and runs into the floor and rots the wood, it continues down and collects in the belly and rusts out the crossmember and frame. this area is the main connection between the frame and shell so it is important to repair this and do it right.
I feel your pain I thought mine wasn`t that bad and once I opened up the belly and found that the entire frame needed to be replaced. So now I`ve done a shell off rebuild. Good luck to you sir.
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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I am sitting down and feel the sniffles coming on. Went out and cleaned all the rusted metal/debris out of the area. There is about two inches of floor rot on the right side. Beyond that the wood is solid. I was thinking the back panel in the storage area was one piece and bolted to the frame. Noticed bolts coming from underneath and felt bolts from the top. I could remove the drain lines and power cord. I was hoping this panel could be formed and bolted into place without removing belly pan or shell. Guess I will have to take it to the weld shop and get their estimate...if possible. Don't have that kind of money at this point. Thanks. Jack
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Old 11-28-2010, 03:14 PM   #9
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Jack The actual welding may only take a few hours to repair frame and replace crossmember so may not cost that much. If you do all the prep work yourself you will save bundles of cash. The crossmembers are avilable from any airstream dealer. Another member priced main frame rails and got a price of $99 for 20 ft. look into a mobile welder that can come to your place and you can have everything ready for him. Excluding welding labor this repair can be done for probably less than $500 which will cover frame, crossmember,floor and related hardware( nuts,bolts,screws,rivets and sealers.
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:00 PM   #10
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Did a quick on line check for crossmembers and did not find them listed. Will call ODM and Camper Repair in AL. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the good, bad and ugly. Gutting the bathroom was a project I had planned way down the road. Have a bad dent over the tub/shower that can only be helped with the bathroom removed. Looks like things may have to wait until the Spring. Thanks
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:49 PM   #11
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Jack check them out at this link.
Inland RV Center Inc.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:37 PM   #12
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I was spelling cross member as one word. Thanks. Will call them tomorrow. Read on some forums about using box channel or c channel. Would be so nice if I could just attach a piece from the outside without taking the bath apart. Jack
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #13
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Ah, this is deja vu all over again....unfortunately. We had hoped against hope that we wouldn't have to tear the Tross all apart but that hope was in vain. Now we know that what my son in law said day one when we got the AS was true. "So you basically bought a shell and a hitch?"

Just finding one problem leads to the next and pretty soon, you are waist deep in "stuff". The inspection of the wood plywood found lots of holes and other soft spots. Interesting "patches" with galvanized metal over plywood and wheel wells. That led to a removal of all of the belly skin. Which led to the discovery that our frame was about 100% rusted out or compromised to the point we wondered how we made it back to ND alive. Sometimes it is good not to know what you don't know; there is no way we would have pulled it home from MN had we known.

The good news is once we have it all done, with 100% new frame, we will be sure it will outlast us. Justing hoping the kids don't decide to sell the Tross at a big loss when we are gone. We plan to have lots of memory making time with it before we go!! Like granddaughter Lily says "You get what you choose" and this is what we chose. Let the reconstruction begin!
Sandy
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:58 AM   #14
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Scamper, there is more than one option that you can use. For a temporary fix you can have another cross-member welded to a set of plates, drill the frame and plates, and bolt the new cross member in place, this will buy you a few years.

I recommend what ever you do, clean everything on the frame up with a wire brush and scraper and POR-15 the snot out of it. That will neutralize any rust, and prevent any more for a good long time.

The right way to fix this however is going to involve pulling up the floor in the back of your trailer. That is going to be an adventure unto its self.
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