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Old 06-18-2007, 07:23 PM   #1
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Bent Frame on 2005 22' Intl - How bad is it?

Just removed the fresh water tank on our 2005 22' International we purchased in February to replace due to overfilling. See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ank-33300.html . Tank came out easily, thanks to the advice from other forum members. However, once the tank and cover were removed we discovered a bent frame. There is no way this was caused by overfilling the tank, however we never would have noticed it had we not removed the tank as it was hidden by the tank cover.

The first two pictures are of the right side frame just forward of the wheels. You can see the bend in the lower section of the frame. Not seen is that the vertical section is bent inward, and there is about a 2" horizontal crack just behind the electrical lines (where you can see the rust spot). Picture #3 is the same section but from the outside. The crack is just above where the outer sub-floor starts (you can see a bit of rust there). Picture #4 is of the left side of the frame, from the inside, showing a similar but much smaller dent on the lower section of frame. No crack here and the vertical section is straight. The last picture is of the cracked floor caused by the overfilled water tank.

We are pretty disappointed in finding this on a 2 year old trailer that we've owned for less than 6 months. The funny thing is we never would have found it had we not had to remove the tank.

So.... How bad is it and what do we need to do to repair? Can we simply have the frame pounded straight and some reinforcing pieces of steel welded on? Can we leave it alone? (the crack makes me think no).

Please help. Appreciate any information you can provide. jk
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:38 PM   #2
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Where the damage is...

It almost looks as if the previous owner/shop tried jacking the trailer up right there and then tried to bend it back into shape. I think that you should talk to Airstreams factory repair people and see if the frame is "heat treated". If it is then you cannont weld, If it is not heat treated then you could have a angle or strap welded over the crack.

How hard was it taking the tank out?
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariSS
It almost looks as if the previous owner/shop tried jacking the trailer up right there and then tried to bend it back into shape. I think that you should talk to Airstreams factory repair people and see if the frame is "heat treated". If it is then you cannont weld, If it is not heat treated then you could have a angle or strap welded over the crack.

How hard was it taking the tank out?
Removing the tank was pretty easy. Remove 3 brackets and the left side of the tank cover, Prop the left side of the tank up, drop the right, disconnect the hoses and pull the tank out. Took about an hour. the hardest part was disconnecting the fill hose and the hose pulling the water to the trailer. All the hoses were connected to the left side of the tank.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:10 PM   #4
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Cold fix ...

The lower C channel of your chassis frame was deformed, cold, by the force of water pressure. I'd clamp a thick flat piece of metal, perhaps a 1/2 inch thick rectangular bar maybe or a small section of railraod rail with the flat bottom down, to the inside of the C channel between the adjacent cross members. Then, with a 4 or 5 pound sledge hammer, pound the lower lip of the C channel, still cold, flat again. Repeat on the other side frame rail.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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Looks to me like it's just the lip and not actually a bent frame, or I should say, what I was thinking a bent frame is. This should be fairly easy to get back into shape.

I was thinking that the whole side frame was also distorted.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:12 PM   #6
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... plus some heat for the crack

I jusr read your description and learned about the vertical crack, which is not visible in the photos. Have that crack repaired. I would imagine a welding shop could repair it, but to be on the safe side call Airstream customer service first to confirm that the frame rails can be welded.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:55 PM   #7
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I don't think it all was the tank... it wouldn't bend the rail inward. That said, I would just pound up the bent c-channel, and then re-inforce the crack. A piece of steel welded to it would do the trick. Then cover it up, and forget about it. If the trailer is tracking straight, (and from your trip report, it seems to be), then you are good to go. Wonder what did bend the frame inthe first part though. Probably jacking in the wrong place is my guess in the abcense of an accident.

The OSB is kind of blown out. I'd either cut it all out and replace it, or sister a large rectange up under the OSB (if there is room) with constructive adhesive and screws.... don't go through the floor though!
Marc
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:52 AM   #8
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do you think plywood would handle the pressure better than OSB?
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:39 AM   #9
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I thought all Airstream floors were made of plywood and not particle board as shown in your photos?
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:31 AM   #10
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osb was used as flooring in the 16s and 22s in '05...

now just the 16s. a single sheet.

take a few more pics and send 'em to j/c...

or have an experienced service shop look.

agree the area should be reinforced.

also need to weigh the unit...

not much carry capacity on that mode as i recall.

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:50 AM   #11
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All the advise on repairing the frame sounds good to me. The OSB floor however, may not return to its original flat surface so a relief cut following the crack may be in order to let the floor to set flat again. Before installing a reinforcment doubler double check and see if they will be enough room for the doubler between the tank and floor before installing.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood
All the advise on repairing the frame sounds good to me. The OSB floor however, may not return to its original flat surface so a relief cut following the crack may be in order to let the floor to set flat again. Before installing a reinforcment doubler double check and see if they will be enough room for the doubler between the tank and floor before installing.
Thanks for that tip. we were debating how to repair the floor. we were looking at simply attaching a reinforcement piece from the bottom to avoid having to cut up and replace the floor covering. the downside is a ridge will still remain in the floor from the crack. will try cutting a relief along the crack and see if that helps. if so, i am fairly certain a 3/8" piece of plywood would fit between the tank and floor. if needed, i could remove some of the styrofoam on the bottom of the tanks to help it fit.

would it be best to cut the reinforcing piece flush to the front and back cross rails or do i need to leave a gap?

btw, i am in contact with airstream on the frame damage. sent them some pics and they are going to get back to me with some advice... jk
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:53 PM   #13
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Its not inportant that the doubler be flush with the cross members just as long that you have a few inches of doubler on each side of the crack, 4 inches would be a minimun for me if you can achieve that.
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:04 PM   #14
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I could swear our 2003 19' had OSB as well. Maybe that was a change for the '05 model year.
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Old 07-01-2007, 06:40 AM   #15
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Update - Trip to Jackson Center

Just got back from the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, OH. After sending them the pics of the frame, they got back with me and offered to repair it if I was able to get it up there to them. Made the trek out there last weekend; they had it in the shop and working on it first thing Monday morning. The trailer was finished Thursday afternoon and, looking at the work they did, I will say the frame is stronger than new. They straightened out the defects, welded a reinforcing "C" channel in, along with support brackets on the outriggers. They even covered it as a warrantee repair, though the warrantee had run out 6 months ago.

I can't say enough good things about Airstream and their customer service. Prior to calling the factory, the dealers I called said they were too busy wouldn't even look at the trailer for over a month. Airstream took the trailer in with two days notice and even finished the work early as they knew we were on a tight time schedule. Everyone we dealt with at the factory and service department was incredible. We have never been treated so well by a company. Taking the tour also provided alot of insight how these trailers are built (by people, not machines) and gives me even more confidence in the quality and longevity of AS trailers.

So, everything is back together now. Will be repairing the floor sometime down the road. The fix should be easy; planning to wait until we have more time to replace the floor covering. For now we simply had a 3/8" piece of plywood attached to the underside of the floor, just to give it increased strength. The only thing noticeable is a small ridge across the floor.

In the end, it was a blessing we overfilled the water tank. Had we not, we never would have seen the damage to the frame.

Thanks again to all for your help and advice. jk
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Old 07-01-2007, 07:33 AM   #16
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Wonderful outcome!

Congratulations on the wonderful end to this chapter of your story. I'm glad to hear you had a strongly positive experience at the factory service center, just what's to be expected. They are good and very competent folks at the Mothership. Now, reward yourself with some camping.
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:30 AM   #17
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It is reassuring to know that the factory was able to address your needs quickly and effectively. Congratulations.

Barry
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:34 PM   #18
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hi jk'

it's good to read the repairs have been partially completed...

also that u had a good experience in j/c...

yes they do reasonably good work there....

otoh, they SHOULD! it is the factory!

it's great they covered this after your warranty expired...

but lets not forget the COST of travel to ohio...

also, they don't do this work out of the goodness of the collective hearts...

IT IS LIKELY that damage happened during assembly and AT the factory.

they've seen it before. they've repaired it before.

having a structural warranty that only lasts 2 years is a joke...

cosmetics sure, appliances ok, but FRAME and SKIN and FINISH only 2 years?

on a trailer advertised to last for decades?

and would you be shocked to know the factory has considered shortening that basic warranty to 1 year?

see they are getting KILLED on service issues and essentially rebuilding/repairing basic structural issues.

is is a HUGE problem on modern units...

that isn't widely known...

yet.

they are doing frequent and regular partial rebuilds on newer units for frame, skin and major structural defects/failures/issues..

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hi jk'

it's good to read the repairs have been partially completed...

also that u had a good experience in j/c...

yes they do reasonably good work there....

otoh, they SHOULD! it is the factory!

it's great they covered this after your warranty expired...

but lets not forget the COST of travel to ohio...

also, they don't do this work out of the goodness of the collective hearts...

IT IS LIKELY that damage happened during assembly and AT the factory.

they've seen it before. they've repaired it before.

having a structural warranty that only lasts 2 years is a joke...

cosmetics sure, appliances ok, but FRAME and SKIN and FINISH only 2 years?

on a trailer advertised to last for decades?

and would you be shocked to know the factory has considered shortening that basic warranty to 1 year?

see they are getting KILLED on service issues and essentially rebuilding/repairing basic structural issues.

is is a HUGE problem on modern units...

that isn't widely known...

yet.

they are doing frequent and regular partial rebuilds on newer units for frame, skin and major structural defects/failures/issues..

cheers
2air'
That may be true, and 2 years is a pretty short structural warrantee; however, does any travel trailer have more than a 2 year warrantee?

It is also very possible that a structural weakness in the frame from the factory resulted in or at least contributed to the damage. If that is the case, hopefully they are using my and other's examples to improve the frame design. It is also possible that the previous owner did something very stupid and either didn't realize the damage caused or quickly traded it in instead of pursuing repairs.

What I am most impressed with is the attitude and helpfulness I experienced with their customer service. I called them to ask for advice on how to fix. I never asked nor expected them to offer to fix it for me. After several dealers wouldn't even look at the trailer because they were "too busy", AS offered to fix it at no charge, even taking it in at short notice and repairing in a very short period of time when I explained to them my short time schedule. I have very rarely gotten this level of service from a major company and it has greatly increased my confidence in AS trailers and the company's willingness to stand behind them.

Yes, it cost a bit to get the trailer to OH but in my view quite worth it to have the trailer repaired right. We now have the confidence it will last us a long, long time (though time will tell).

Airstreams I know have their problems, like all vehicles. However our main motivation to buy one was simply this: you don't see alot of 30 year old travel trailers on the road today, but you do see a fair amount of 30 yo Airstreams.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
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Hey JK,

I tried the link to your overfilling thread but it doesn't work for me. I'm currious about this because I fill my tank until water starts coming out of the over-flow tube. Maybe I shouldn't.

Can you repost link?

Thanks.

Jonathan
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