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Old 11-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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Dunwoody , Georgia
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Make your own Eddie Bauer rear door AS?

Hello all-

I am a newbie on forum but been lurking awhile. Starting to look for my first Airstream to use for our family of four. I am pretty handy with tools, and also an aircraft mechanic in my free time so know how to buck rivets, etc.

I really like the styling (and cost) of the vintage Airstreams and have been looking at trailers in the 25-29 ft range. This way I also have the ability to do what we want with the restoration/upholstery, colors, etc. The problem we have is that we also sail small boats and I want to be able to do both when we are on trips. Obviously it is impractical to devise a roof rack to load a 150 pound sailboat on top, and when I measured out the other plan I had (fabricate a long ten foot frame extension on front ) you would end up having to move axles and end up with a real frankenstein creation.

I was on Ebay last night and saw the one I think would solve my problem- its a 2012 Eddie Bauer "camper edition". with huge lift gate on the back. Measuring the door opening it would be no problem to fit the boat inside and work well for our application, but these cost $75,000.

Anyone ever try to make their own door on the back of an Airstream? Obviously I would have to avoid the units with rear bath, but is there anything structural that would prevent me from trying to modify my own trailer? I have come up with several ideas to make it work so far, but need to know more about what underlies the walls to make it work. You could use the lift struts airstream uses, a "drip rail" gutter over the lip to keep it dry and a weatherproof seal around it, then beef up the structure around perimeter to avoid flexing/fatigue.

Seems like I could buy a decent $7-8000 unit in need of TLC and not have too much to lose.

Thoughts and ideas on this anyone?

Rick B. in GA

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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If you do a bit of searching on this site you will find some pictures of several trailers that have been modified with doors on the ends and at least one with a clamshell type opening rear end. Very ambitious project, good luck and don't forget to post your pictures as the project takes shape.


Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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Lets be practical here for a minute.

Would it not be easier to modify/design the sail boat so that it can be carried on the roof of the tow vehicle?

That is existing capacity space that is not being used, could be 26'+ in length, (depending on the tow vehicle) and puts any weight issues on a vehicle designed for it.

The Airstream trailer has enough problems now as designed, without more help.

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:33 PM   #4
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Its a one design sailboat (like stock cars) that we race , not really able to mess with it or it won't work as intended or could be illegal to use. Its pretty easy to wheel around and not hard to slide up ramps, but pretty heavy and large to go on roof of the car.

I'm thinking if I go with something at larger end of spectrum it should work better than the original 25 ft units I was considering. I found a few photos on the website a few minutes ago and a some of them turned out pretty nice. It looks like it would take some time to do correctly.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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Maybe the solution is a classic AS motor home and pull a trailer for the sail boat?
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:36 PM   #6
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Yes, this is an option worth considering. Just know even less about the motorhomes.
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:49 PM   #7
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Great idea, Iím interested in knowing a little more, I do know about your potential as an airline sheet medal mechanic. Iíd like to here more about your door idea. Iím an Ironworker for 32 years and have worked with many types and thicknesses of aluminum. The biggest problem I see with the stress cracks on the Eddie Bauer edition rear hatch is that it really needs to be rounded an not a square 90s at edges. They did it to the entry doors and itís unclear to me why they didnít catch that. Get back to me I want to see if you or anyone else has pursued this.

Kevin Hackworth
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:21 PM   #8
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I say do it!

There's really not much concern for structure if you stay within the center portion of the end cap, between the vertical frame members that run down the side of the center window.

I'd say to take out the interior at the portion you want to make the opening. Add a new frame just inside the main vertical members, that will compose the frame of the new door opening. Once that's framed out and rivetted...cut the skin!

It would necessary to make jam or threshold that you can add bulb seal to. Fortunately, it's at the rear which is more forgiving to water pressure driving water in when under tow.

Of course you'll need to design in a hinge, securing mechanism, and lift struts. And a rain channel above the door.

Can you weld aluminum? That would help greatly.
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:25 AM   #9
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Not sure what all is in this kit but it might be worth looking into...

For a while I was seriously considering this type of project but in the end I decided I didnít really have the spare time to take it in and get all the camping I wanted to do done. I am very interested in your progress, please continue to share any updates.
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:26 AM   #10
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There is a 3 part series on Youtube about a trailer that was turned into a car hauler. Below is the link to the third part--the "reveal." They did a lot of beefing up to make this thing work.

As they say, anything can be done with enought time and money.

good luck!
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:36 PM   #11
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I know there are folks who have taken more recent model trailers to the factory and had the rear hatch door installed.
Craig and Carol
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:03 PM   #12
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I understand Airstream will make the mod for you. About 10k including parts.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:49 PM   #13
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Why not just add a rack to your tow vehicle? I suspect that would be a lot cheaper and easier than modifications to the trailer.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:30 AM   #14
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Same problem with my kayak, carry it in the 'stream, you have to take the 'stream to the water. Every time. There are systems to load 12' aluminum fishing boats on top of shell campers. Never stated your one design boat, how heavy?

"Chip Tank" is in Carson City Nv.
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