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Old 08-01-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
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Exclamation Potential Problem? Pictures included

Hello Experts,

While installing shelving in my cedar closet in my '92 Excella, I discovered what MIGHT be a problem. At the bottom of the closet, the back wall has separated from the side wall leaving a gap. Additionally, there is a similar problem in the kitchen by the sink - wall separating from outside wall.
IS THIS A PROBLEM? It has me worried about frame stuff.....I don't see the problem anywhere else. See pictures:
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hello Experts,

While installing shelving in my cedar closet in my '92 Excella, I discovered what MIGHT be a problem. At the bottom of the closet, the back wall has separated from the side wall leaving a gap. Additionally, there is a similar problem in the kitchen by the sink - wall separating from outside wall.
IS THIS A PROBLEM? It has me worried about frame stuff.....I don't see the problem anywhere else. See pictures:
Yes, unfortunately, your Airstream has a "BAD" problem.

The walls separating from the shell, is caused by excessive flexing of the shell, and/or vibration.

Note that the failures are near the axles.

That flexing can be caused by excessively rated hitch bars, a super duty tow vehicle, unbalanced running gear, and/or axles that have had their rubber rods fail.

Andy
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Do you have any black-ring or missing interior liner pop-rivets?
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
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What is black-ring? I haven't noticed any rivets missing. It had new axles in 2009 (according to the PO). It has a Reese weight distributing hitch and I bought the tow vehicle from the PO which is a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Quadcab.

Oh my - what do I do about this?
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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What is black-ring? I haven't noticed any rivets missing. It had new axles in 2009 (according to the PO). It has a Reese weight distributing hitch and I bought the tow vehicle from the PO which is a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Quadcab.

Oh my - what do I do about this?
What are the ratings of your hitch, etc.

To start with, your tow vehicle is tough enough to tow the Queen Mary.

Is your running gear balanced?

An Airstream, MUST have a soft ride, or else you pay the penalties.

Andy
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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Now, I'm thinking about this - I have only owned this camper for about 4 weeks and I don't know when this bad problem came about.

Could it be that it was BEFORE 2009 when the PO had the new axles installed?

Will the damage get worse? Should I park it until it's fixed? Is it possible that it won't get any worse now that there are new axles?
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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PT Girl...

Don't obsess, don't park it....that's probably the reason the PO replaced the axle's.

Keep an eye out for pop-rivet heads laying on the floor after a trip.
Black ring= the residue from the aluminum rubbing where a PR has loosened.

Bob
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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I checked it out - did see a rivet popped off inside the cupboard (over the wheel wells) where the microwave is and saw the black ring (only one) in a rivet next to it. I looked under the floor in the closet and the inside cover of the wheel well has some cracks and breaks right along the edge where it bends to attach to the wall - it has something going on. Checked the wheel well from the outside - doesn't seem to be compromised - has some tar like stuff on it (sealer?). Is there an inside wheel cover and an outside one? I felt around the outside one and don't seem to feel any of the inside cracks.

I'm not happy about this....supposed to put her on a Ferry to camp on an island in about 3 weeks......
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:00 PM   #9
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Check out this thread, it's not difficult to replace the rivet, then just keep an eye out for any more.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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Cracks in the Wheel Well Cover (Inside)

Here is a picture of what is going on under the floor in the closet:

Could it be that I am usually boondocking so I run with a full tank of fresh water?

This is not good.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:55 PM   #11
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palmtreegirl:
"Lost rivets are one of the first signs of out of balance tires and running gear."
Makes sense..take it for a short ride with someone riding inside..(make sure you have a 2 way radio or intercom..I don't normally advise ppl to do this, as many states have a different outlook issue with passengers in trailers while moving. in this case, it's just to check for vibrations..).
Good luck~!!
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:08 PM   #12
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palmtreegirl:
"Lost rivets are one of the first signs of out of balance tires and running gear."
Makes sense..take it for a short ride with someone riding inside..(make sure you have a 2 way radio or intercom..I don't normally advise ppl to do this, as many states have a different outlook issue with passengers in trailers while moving. in this case, it's just to check for vibrations..).
Good luck~!!
Vibrations and to what degree, is a subjective opinion.

Best way to tell, is to see if the running gear is balanced properly. If not, that's a good starting point as well as observing the tire wear pattern.

Andy
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:26 PM   #13
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Sometimes these trailers have been apart for whatever reason (frozen pipes is one) and they are not always returned to original condition . . . just another possibility. Is there any exterior body damage anywhere? Any signs of wreck or tree damage repair?
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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Could it be that I am usually boondocking so I run with a full tank of fresh water?
A full fresh tank won't cause the cracks.

If you are unsure about whether the wheels/tires are balanced, it's worth the peace of mind to have them done. "road force balance" can be done by most good tire centers.

Quite a few here, (me incl) use the Centramatic system to keep the running gear in tune after balancing.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #15
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There is a chance that the bottom on the wall just slid toward the centerline of the trailer and out of the channel. I had that happen on a '77 model, a good push and it slid back in place, a couple of screws, a bock of wood and it never moved again.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:53 AM   #16
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No, there has not been any damage - no panels off. I asked the PO.

I'm thinking it is the tires - might have thrown off a weight on the trip home from Seattle to Cleveland. Though we tried to avoid holes and bumps in the road, sometimes they caught us unaware. I am going to take the trailer to the tire store and have the wheels balanced tomorrow morning.

Regarding the Centramatic - Would I order those and have them put on (or put them on myself)? Or does the dealership order them and install them?

I would love to think that those walls that have come away would 'slip' back into position....it would make me feel tons better......the wheel well is still cracked - I'll probably put some kind of tape on those cracks just incase they might leak water.

Note: You just had to see me pushing on the framework of those cabinets, and then outside trying to push the trailer back together - comical almost - trying to get those walls back where they belong.....this has me freaked out!
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:30 AM   #17
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PT Girl,

The Centramatic's are a pretty straightforward install. Important to have the inner mount flange of the wheels, (area around the holes), and the face of the brake drums clean so they install flush.
If you call the factory or Andy at Inland RV they will be able to recommend the right application.

They have been a great up-grade for us, you won't be disappointed if you decide on them.

Bob
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:03 AM   #18
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Thanks Bob! I have a call into them right now - he's checking with the tech to see exactly which ones are for my trailer - I gave him the bolt hole measurement and count....I appreciate all the advice. I am such a novice......it is like swimming in caramel (like the commercial).
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:19 AM   #19
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We are all a novice in something.....

Just wish I had known about this resource when we got our "first"....

You are going down the right road.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:01 AM   #20
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Jerry at Centramatic

Well, I had a long chat with Jerry at Centramatic. I've ordered the correct set of balancers for my Airstream - $199 for 4 - a deal if they solve this problem. I am going to wait until they arrive in 4 or 5 days and take them and the trailer to the tire store. I can't wait to see what the tires on the damaged side look like on the balancing machine. I'm thinking/hoping that this will be the problem.

I will have my list of things to have the tire store check (courtesy of Jerry), and hope to have THIS problem ironed out before too much time goes by. Hopefully the tires are round, the rims are round and undamaged, the tire belt isn't broken and the tire is centered on the rim. I'm going to have them check the tread depth, etc. I'm armed with information...I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks for the input!
Liz
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