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Old 03-23-2017, 10:01 PM   #1
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Rear Door Stress Cracks?

In June it will be two years since we took delivery of our Eddie Bauer 25' (2015 model). We were fortunate to get a good one. Only thing that's needed replacing was the water pump and Airstream sent me an upgrade to the original.

As June approaches, our factory warranty will expire. I have a lifetime warranty through Camper Clinic II, but I'd like to ensure that things that should be factory corrected are tended to before the warranty expires.

I've reached out to Brad at AS CS who is fantastic, but he's on vacation at the moment. I hope to hear back soon.

Here is my main concern - a few weeks ago, we noticed some cracks in the frame surrounding the rear hatch door. They don't look horrible now, but I worry that a defect that is small now might grow to be worse and eventually lead to poor support of the rear door or a point of water entry.

Has anyone else with an EB noticed this problem?











Thanks

DJarrett
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:12 AM   #2
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Not sure on Airstreams but I work on aircrafts for a living. That plane would be grounded and the metal removed. Cracks only get worse with heat, cold and stress. When your Trailer is on the move there is a lot of stress that migrates back and forth throughout the structure. When you have weak spots its like electricity finding the path of least resistance.

I would take that in sometime to get repaired or replaced.
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:10 AM   #3
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The cracks appear to be the result of insufficient weld throat. It appears that the frame was welded using a square butt joint instead of a groove joint. This is probably the same approach taken on the adjacent window frame corner weld, however when they removed the weld reinforcement from the door frame weld they reduced the cross sectional area and weakened the joint, which lead to your cracking.
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:58 AM   #4
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Looking closely at your photos, it appears that the frame surrounding the door is more a cosmetic feature than a structural one.

As pointed out, the weld is a done only to join the pieces and is completely sanded flat for appearance, like a picture frame, whereas the window frame has a proper weld for strength.

The other thing I'm using as a reference is that the rivets holding the window in are actually compressing the frame around each rivet, where again the door frame rivets have not affected the frame at all, while they hold the frame in place they don't really HOLD it together.

With it not truly being structural, it probably has room for micro play and vibration, so that every time the rear door is opened and closed it causes the slightest but of deflection and has weakened the cosmetic weld.

As for repair, that is a matter of weighing the cause and effect, what other kind of damage/leak might they cause when they rip it apart and put it back together. Me I would get it inspected by airstream, if found not structural and not dangerous, document it and get in writing, on airstream letterhead, that replacement will be covered if and when truly necessary.

Good luck, let us know what you find
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:13 AM   #5
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:30 AM   #6
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I've seen caulking applied to similar joints on front windows. If that was for the same reason then it is just cosmetic. As noted the frame was welded and then ground smooth likely for appearance BUT check with AS for sure
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:48 AM   #7
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Hi djarrett, sorry to hear of your issue. We also have a 2015 EB (27' twin). I just checked our hatch door and don't see any cracking. Here are pictures of the upper hatch corners, if it helps to compare. Good luck, and let us know what AS says. Joe
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:59 AM   #8
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I should update this post -

I reached out to Brad at Airstream regarding these cracks. My warranty expires on June 15th. Originally, I proposed that they send me a can of their $60 grey seam sealer and a written warranty extension just to cover these stress cracks. I'd fill the cracks with seam sealer and monitor them and if they grew worse, eventually take the airstream to JC to have it corrected. At first, they seemed ok with this proposal, but then this past week, they e-mailed asking me to bring the trailer on in to JC to have it evaluated and corrected. I cannot make it there until the end of June, so they are extending warranty on this item until I get there.

I'll keep you guys posted on the final evaluation and fix.

Thanks
Dendy
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:33 AM   #9
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Thanks for the update, I was wondering how you made out. Look forward to hearing what JC will have to say.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:14 PM   #10
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Update - JC couldn't get me in when I am going to be up in June (with an 8 week advance notice). I asked them to reconsider my request to extend my warranty on the rear door surround and let me keep an eye on it and bring it to JC if it gets worse. They are sending me some seam sealer to put in the cracks and doing just that. Brad H at JC Customer Service is the best.

I'll update this as necessary.

Thanks
D
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