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Old 09-24-2008, 06:09 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1974 25' Tradewind
Ann Arbor , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 19
Images: 4
1970 overlander frame separation - when to repair?

I'm a new airstream owner as of August (27 ft overlander, 1970, rear bath, twin beds). I happened to have bought my Airstream mostly sight unseen, which is not a good idea, but wouldn't have known to inspect for frame separation at the time anyway.

Thanks to the forum, I've done dozens of repairs - new plumbing, lots of new weatherstripping, lots of cleaning, , re-hung the main door (drill the holes out a bit for more adjustment range), etc.

My goal is to use it next May - I plan to replace the axles before then, as they are shot.

My question is - is approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch separation at the rear most point in the frame "too much" for in-state travel (~150 miles each way) on smooth roads with new axles, no overloading (maybe remove battery), and balanced running gear?

When I stand on the bumper, I appear to get another 3/8 to 1/2 inch travel (if I bounce up and down a bit).

There doesn't seem to be any evidence of body sag - the side panels and wheel well areas are straight and solid.

I basically want to divide repair of systems up in such a way that I can operate the trailer for a few seasons of relatively easy use now.

Does this make sense?

Pictures are in my airforums album - I'll see if I can post one here later.
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:05 AM   #2
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, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,636
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I'd say as long as you plan to repair it, in the not to distant future, go ahead and use it.

You need to use the trailer once in awhile, just on general principle.

Maybe you could put a temporary metal strap on it to minimize motion, until you get around to fixing it.
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:38 AM   #3
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1967 24' Tradewind
Wickenburg , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 547
I would use the trailer,gently of course. I am enjoying my 41 year old Airstream to the max. If I were loaded( which I am not) I would spend tubs of money on it. I always wanted a Airstream, this one showed up,CHEAP,and it is good fun. Kinda like a motorcycle it is good for your soul. I am franicly repairing my fridge right now, I expect to spend less than !00 bucks to make it work ,look, better. In a week and a half we are dragging it to the chopper fest in Cottonwood. Go slow and enjoy life!
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:17 AM   #4
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1972 27' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 951
I guess the only thing I would worry about is leaking/rotting in that area, as that separation usually allows rainwater to permeate into the rear plywood floor. At some point you will have to deal with it, the sooner the better.
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:02 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
1974 25' Tradewind
Ann Arbor , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 19
Images: 4
Eliminating water leaks is my first priority. I'm methodically going over everything that looks like a seam and replacing or resealing.

It is hard to accurately gauge the floor condition overall - at the moment, I don't want to drop the belly pan, but from feel and visual inspection, it doesn't look too bad ahead of the bathroom. I'm not deluding myself - I know there probably are problems right now, but the work I'm doing now needs to be done regardless, and I'd rather focus on it for the time being.

I also will probably move the battery further up front (maybe a small optima near the axle) to reduce weight in the rear bumper area.
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