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Old 10-31-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Raising the 'Blimp' for Wyo Dirt Roads

Hi! I am getting the swing of this forum so here is a question. I need some advise. We live in Wyoming, do fly fishing anywhere, and pursue the perfect photo far from the maddening crowds. Our cabin is mile off the main road on a steep (in spots) and bumpy dirt road. We have a 22' Safari Sport single axle and my question is has anyone raised a AS to gain more clearance. I have been talking to a welder who will weld a 3 - 3.5" channel under our AS to raise it the 3 or so inches. Is this advisable? Any issues I have not considered? We have discussed how to get everything lined up and bolted back into place after the 'lift'. Thanks in advance for any input.... Tom
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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I would be a little concerned that raising the center of gravity might have some negative effects on pulling the trailer on the highway. I am wondering if there is some kind of air shock or air bag that could be used to raise the trailer temporarily for the rough terrain.

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotozone View Post
Hi! I am getting the swing of this forum so here is a question....
...bumpy dirt road.
We have a 22' Safari Sport single axle
...and my question is has anyone raised a AS to gain more clearance....
hi foto'

swing over to the search feature and u will find this question asked dozens of times...

many versions of this ? are VERY cockeye'd...

here are just a few that are not...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...oud-26588.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ting-8529.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ams-22102.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ift-10805.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ift-53269.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ler-21949.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...lla-27051.html

ne1 with money, time, tools, a torch and parts can lift a trailer,

but is it SMART or USEFUL or SAFE to do so ?

u decide.
______________

the PRIMARY issue with that model/size is not ground clearance,

but CARRY CAPACITY.

wanna share the carry capacity after adding water, lp gas and options?

so given how LITTLE this unit is rated to CARRY,

a reasonable about of GEAR, food, water and toys...

will stress the axles and effectively LOWER the ground clearance.

______________

so the most DIRECT approach to both of these issues (clearance and CARRY CAPACITY)

is to install a HIGHER rated axle with a STEEPER angle,

directly fitted withOUT frame mods.

this would allow for a little more gear AND space underneath.

one could followup this with slightly larger wheels n tires, adding another 1 or so to clearance.
______________

among the many reasons NOT to alter the ride height some OTHER way (like welding) ...

1. the POOR handling/hiway manners and negatively altered control from hackin' her UP...

2. the likelyhood that welding/lifting will VOID the warranty on axles/frame/shell and so on...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotozone View Post
Hi! I am getting the swing of this forum so here is a question. I need some advise. We live in Wyoming, do fly fishing anywhere, and pursue the perfect photo far from the maddening crowds. Our cabin is mile off the main road on a steep (in spots) and bumpy dirt road. We have a 22' Safari Sport single axle and my question is has anyone raised a AS to gain more clearance. I have been talking to a welder who will weld a 3 - 3.5" channel under our AS to raise it the 3 or so inches. Is this advisable? Any issues I have not considered? We have discussed how to get everything lined up and bolted back into place after the 'lift'. Thanks in advance for any input.... Tom

Tom.

Raising the trailer, will not add ground clearance, since the axle tube is closest to the ground. Raising the trailer has zero effect on the axle.

You can replace the axle, with a greater starting angle, which raises everything.

Andy
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:02 PM   #5
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Tom
What parts of Wyo do you go to the most? I used to live in Cheyenne & now am in Utah -for jobs, etc

My range is Wind Rivers, Big Horns, & Yellowstone. Mostly we camp in NFS campgrounds -almost always some gravel roads with washerboard & ruts to get in - always take the really bad parts slow & never had trouble with standard suspension - are you going to go off road?

Upgrading wheels & tires will give you an extra ~1" & is easy to do ((check out the wheel well clearance first).

Bob
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:09 AM   #6
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The most common bottoming problem with the low profile of Airstreams is the tail drags because of the rear overhang. It is usually not that the axle hits the ground. The way to raise the back end is to lower the front end. Use a lower than usual hitch ball and no w/d bars when you encounter bad conditions. I regularly carry a spare 6 inch drop hitch for just such occasions. Remember to go slow because these types of roads will destroy your Airstream at higher speeds. Put the higher hitch and W/D bars back on when you hit the freeway.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:00 AM   #7
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Your place sounds wonderful, just camp at home.

I am kidding. Welcome Tom, greetings and all that good stuff

What some of my friends did to get up to a
mountain campsite, was to mount a set of wheels
( casters ?) on the rear of their trailer. It was easier for them
do, because they have SOBs and didn't have
a belly pan. They could easily see where the frame was and
where to mount the wheels. But I guess it could be done on an
Airstream.

Oh and do try to use the Search function. ( If you have 2 hours to waste and not find what you are looking for )
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:08 AM   #8
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Caster are no good on dirt roads. Their small footprint quickly digs in and only causes more problems. Casters are good for getting out of gas station driveways (slowly), when a dip at the gutter of the road causes the back of the Airstream to drag. They are not the ideal solution, but may serve a need backing into a paved driveway or campsite that goes up hill and causes the rear of the trailer to drag.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
Caster are no good on dirt roads. Their small footprint quickly digs in and only causes more problems. Casters are good for getting out of gas station driveways (slowly), when a dip at the gutter of the road causes the back of the Airstream to drag. They are not the idea solution but may serve a need backing into a paved driveway or campsite that goes up hill and causes the rear of the trailer to drag.
The first "major" hit with casters on the rear frame, will be one or two quarter panels that get damaged at the bottom.

We replace many of them for that reason.

Airstream installs "skid" plates.

They work ok, as long as the trailer is not turning.

Ricky dirt roads with big grooves, is not a place for Airstreams.

Airstream use to publish "Your Airstream will go wherever your tow vehicle can".

NOT TRUE.

It can't go under 8 to 9 foot bridges and it shouldn't be asked to go, without enduring problems, down dirt roads with big ruts, and that are never maintained.

Nor can it go thru two feet of water, without serious problems.

Andy
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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Ditto on the rear end drag thing.

I also once went up a good hill at the top of which was a knob resulting in the front half of the trailer bottoming out as it went over and ripping off one of the BAL stabilizers.

I also have never had a problem with axle clearance.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:44 AM   #11
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Andy is right about the casters and the rest, too. If you put casters on the rear of the trailer, the most appropriate points are the frame extension for the rear bumper. The issue is that when you add them, you lower the point of the rear that will drag, thus lowering the clearance...again, coming out of driveways and gas stations. This defeats the purpose of the casters. You hit the pavement at shallower angles than you would without them. Hope this makes sense.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
...mount a set of wheels( casters ?) on the rear of their trailer...I guess it could be done on an Airstream.

Oh and do try to use the Search function. ( If you have 2 hours to waste and not find what you are looking for )
how 'bout 2 minutes...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ers-56859.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...els-28369.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...nce-25098.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...ate-10183.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
The first "major" hit with casters on the rear frame, will be one or two quarter panels that get damaged at the bottom.

We replace many of them for that reason.

Airstream installs "skid" plates.

They work ok, as long as the trailer is not turning
...............................................
Andy
Hi Andy,
Why are casters worse than the skid plates alone? It would seem to me that if casters or wheels were mounted on the ends of the skid plates so that the bottom of the wheels were say 1/2 inch or less below the skid plates, it would also save grinding down the skid plates.
Regards,
Ken
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
...Why are casters worse than the skid plates alone?...
they aren't worse but almost NO one who adds them does it in a way that keeps the departure angle the same...

and skid plates MAKE A LOT OF NOISE, which warns the driver about dragging...

wheels just roll along, WHILE allowing 4 flex in the frame and shell UP (not good)

skid plates also are better when backing UP because they DIG IN sooner and warn the driver to STOP digging.
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the ideal set up would be a belly mounted camera with views of the tires AND skid plates....

or a dash mounted beeeeping/ FLASHING light connected to a 'contact sensor' on the skid plates...

or a DUMP VALVE release/firing mechanism to lubricate the skid plates on contact with the ground...

think 007 but with poop not oil sprayed on the roadway...

some gizmos is good!

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:58 AM   #15
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Red face The Diaper theory

Hi Tom,


In an effort to elaborate on my esteemed Airforums colleagues sage advise, I'd like to employ a little visual if I may


Let us use the underwear analogy.


Think of your underwear as the skid plate under your Airstream.
A visible skid mark in your underwear is a warning that you cut one a bit to close , same as the noise created by the skid plate mounted under your Airstream indicates you cut an incline a bit to close .

On the other hand, think of casters as a diaper. The false sense of security created by the "casters/diaper" may lead to overconfidence, hence cutting one a bit to close. Equipped with this overconfidence, and coupled with no skid mark warning sound, you may find yourself in a load of c@#p.


Hope this simple little visual/olfactory example helps
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:46 PM   #16
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Well I guess they told me.

Andy, to me you are the Airstream Guru. I trust your advice about Airstreams without question. Thank you for setting the record staight.
However, I live at the top of a hill on a dirt road. Where I am from
" dirt " roads are anything but dirt. Gravel alone is never used except for
a thin layer for traction in the winter. My road surface is a mixture of clay
rock dust, and shale. It is vibrated, and compacted. It is hard as rock.
I believe you, that many of your customers have damaged their trailer by using casters. Perhaps the people that didn't damage their trailers, never showed up at your shop.
I can not, in all good faith recommend casters, but I think that I would rather roll over a small mound than scape my trailer on the ground. My friends have had good luck with theirs for now. But thanks for the heads up. I think I will nix my idea of casters.

Oh ...I have rarely had good results with the search function. I always have to wade through a lot of threads about anything but what I am looking for. That's why I am so appreciative of the forum members who
take the time out to help me. I side step the search funtion out of frustration, not lazyness.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w7ts View Post
Hi Andy,
Why are casters worse than the skid plates alone? It would seem to me that if casters or wheels were mounted on the ends of the skid plates so that the bottom of the wheels were say 1/2 inch or less below the skid plates, it would also save grinding down the skid plates.
Regards,
Ken
Ken

Skid plates can easily and very cheaply be plated to compensate for the wear.

Quarter panels, cost as a minimum, $1200.00 EACH to replace.

Not much to decide.

Andy
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtStream View Post
...In an effort to elaborate on my esteemed Airforums colleagues sage advise, I'd like to employ a little visual if I may


Let us use the underwear analogy....
excellent advice art'

and from a guy who KNOWS about seat of the pants 'streaming...

first hand.
___________

given the demographics here the mods are rapidly at work on a DIAPER FORUM...

with subFORUMS on...

-which brand is best pampers/snuggies (the answer is it depends)

-with warnings about SUBER HEAVY DUTY diapers, since they're bad for your back...

-then there will be elaborate discussions on LOAD distribution....

-and some will promote LIGHTER load bars, so as NOT 2 shake yer poo so much.

-there will be a section on AIR RIDES (ya know those doughnut inflated things)

-and how to determine when the suspension is shot (dragging poop is a clue)

-of course folks with TINY units will be dealing with CARRY CAPACITY (see super heavy duty diaper section)

-sway control and stopping power will have much different meanings...

-then they'll be the disposable vs organic factions and feuds,

-and warnings about those evil chinese diapers that blow-out without warning...

-and a complete video library, where folks can post pix of THEIR sid marks and ask for feedback...

-no doubt someone will be against EXPORTING used/vintage diapers for profit.

-and so on...

naturally they'll be a group promoting the wb' diapers (which come with red number and a hat)

but THAT model will have a LOT of trouble keeping its members in line...

and issues with the officers getting paid to run around in their diapers.

lets not 4get the lot of historical purists, trying 2 get back 2 what is was like to haul crap in the good ole'daze...

along with vendors pedaling diaper replacements, oem vs aftermarket and issues with shipping or price increases...
________________

i predict there will be a LOT LESS help looking INSIDE belly pans for problems...

with very few volunteer inspectors willing 2 check out a set of vintage diapers for a buyer.

and searching the past diaper threads for pearls will be discouraged...

finally a good reason NOT to look in the archives...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:23 PM   #19
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HA!
Some where in here is the answer to...

Stick with a rope...

Where is that thread...
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:06 PM   #20
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...Stick with a rope...Where is that thread...
this one ???

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...hed-57167.html

......

cheers
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