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Old 09-11-2007, 06:43 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Duallies are a no-no for towing Airstreams, unless it is one of the 5th wheel models. With twice as many tires in the back to run over bumps in the road, and a very stiff suspension, they will eat your trailer's lunch in short order. BTW, my 3/4 ton pickup has 2000 pound payload. I'm not sure when 3/4 ton stopped equalling 1500 pounds. Even with that, towing capacity is still 8500 pounds.
Actually most 3/4 tons have a load capacity of 3,000#'s give or take a couple hundred depending on the trucks configuration. One ton single wheels have around 4,100 give or take...and one ton duallys have between 4,800 and 5700 # carrying capacities. Just for the records. Most half tons are reated from 1400 to 3,000# if configured proper. The 3,000 half ton is only Ford tho....the rest are less.
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:35 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
The overload springs should be removed from the tow vehicle, and, select a hitch bar rating that is absolutely minimal, like 550 to 600 pounds...
the era of long light a/s ended exactly 25 years ago...

when gvwr began to exceed 6000 lbs and tongue weights creeped over 600 lbs.

and that's exactly how current the above recommendation is.

SPRINGS

i went by the ford dealer 2 days ago and asked them to remove my "overload springs"

the service guys said "HUH?"

see there aren't ANY overload springs on modern trucks...

and aftermarket 'overload springs' are designed and mounted such that they are INACTIVE until the regular stack is very very compressed.

what there is is a stack of leafs...

so i asked them IF they could remove the "extra" leafs...

again they said "HUH?"

see the leaf stack is generated based on truck weight and towing capacity.

there aren't any extra leafs and just exactly which one would they remove?

and they wouldn't even CONSIDER removing a leaf on a properly rated vehicle....

it would be dangerous, affect handling, reduce load carrying, drop the rear end and do other DANGEROUS things...

if even one person follows the ridiculous suggestion to remove suspension bits, IT IS 1 TOO MANY

SPRING BARS

spring bars should be selected based on the tongue weight...

many modern a/s over 25 foot have tongue masses from 700-1300 lbs...

find one hitch maker that will suggest using bars rated LESS than tongue weight...

i'm waiting.....

back here, when doing my initial weigh in someone commented that the set up was "perfect" and 'safety was maximized'

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...ers-17984.html

(i was using 1000lb bars FULLY FLEXED on a 1200lb tongue...)

followed by making the silly suggestion i reduce the bars to 750 lbs...

never mind that 750s didn't even exist for my hitch then...

or that by using inadequate bars the steering axle would UNLOAD thereby reducing control and SAFETY

while needlessly overloading the drive axle..

of course it was also suggested i REDUCE truck tire pressure UNDER the established load rating

again an UNSAFE recommendation that ford, bfgoodrich and a/s would NOT support.

so it is NOW time to STOP giving 25 year old advice based on 30 year old data...

cheers
2air'

there ARE effective ways to reduce receiver/hitch vibration...

mor-ryde offers a rubber shackle replacement that reduces vibration and air -ride provides another option.

neither alter the tow vehicle in a dangerous manner.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:03 PM   #43
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TOW VEHICLES

now suggest ONE tow vehicle manufactured for the domestic market...

that can adequately pull, stop and control a modern 28-34 foot a/s...

on u.s interstate roadways with traffic, over the mountain passes and with a family on board...

the simple but difficult TRUTH is that anyone using a modern mid to large a/s should EXPECT...

that the trailer body will tear, separate, loose rivets or otherwise show stressful signs from travel....

IF they plan to travel much.

and it IS NOT the fault of adequately sized tow vehicles or proper hitch sizing.

airstream is at fault, period.

the frames are marginally adequate,

the skin is thinner and more fragile, while the bracing, attachments and rivet count...

have all been reduced.

semi monocoque is NOW completely mono crock!

front end body separation IS the new rear end sag issue revisited.

yes i like my trailer and yes i've been an airstream owner for 25+ years...

and like others expect to log 100s of thousands of miles.

i'd also like to see the company be HONEST about this issue and CORRECT the design errors...

that have created this problem.

just like they need to acknowledge the 'corrosion issue' that currently exists.

... good luck howieE on repairs...

and thanks for posting your photos...

they reveal how just a 'little' visible gap is really a HUGE problem...

i suspect you should/will need added bracing and more tie down bolts and new skin along that lower front.

send your photos to a/s and ask for some guidance on their apporach to this....

also check with others who really understand why this issue exists, without blaming the proper tow vehicle...

IT IS SEEN REGULARLY by the folks fixin' them...

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:47 PM   #44
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2air,

That was probably the most passionate, insightful and educated answer I have read in a long time.

Thank you, 2air.

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Old 09-12-2007, 04:20 PM   #45
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2Air, you are telling it like it is.

My solution was to buy a Class V AirSafe air hitch. It delivers everything the manufacturer promises, and allows the use of my weight transfer bars. With this hitch, my 3/4 ton truck's harsh suspension is effectively isolated from the trailer's. Each gyrate independently over the potholes and railroad tracks of today's highways. For me, it is the answer to the dilemma you write so insightfully about.
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:35 PM   #46
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As the repair continues I may have lucked out a bit better than some. There was no indication the floor had seperated from the frame, all floor bolts were in tact. I did however remove the 2 that were between the battery boxes in order to mount a 1 1/4 in Al. angle to replace the standing web of the floor channel, torn off during the deterioration. This angle is now held down by 4 new bolts and an additionial flat strip of Al. to act as a large flange under the bolts.

The attached picture shows the angle in place before the bolts were set. I used under belly revits through the outer skin and into the angle because the larger diameter would offer additional bearing area against future failure.
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:48 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
As the repair continues I may have lucked out a bit better than some. There was no indication the floor had seperated from the frame, all floor bolts were in tact. I did however remove the 2 that were between the battery boxes in order to mount a 1 1/4 in Al. angle to replace the standing web of the floor channel, torn off during the deterioration. This angle is now held down by 4 new bolts and an additionial flat strip of Al. to act as a large flange under the bolts.

The attached picture shows the angle in place before the bolts were set. I used under belly revits through the outer skin and into the angle because the larger diameter would offer additional bearing area against future failure.

Lookin good HowieE.

As mentioned by others I also have a ClassV Airhitch.

Put 40,000 on it after I did a front end repair. The front end is still tight.

700 lb bars, E350 7.3l td, dually.

Michael

2Air, you rock !
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:10 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artstream
A camel.
Towing with a camel will keep your Airstream front-end in tip-top shape.


Michael
hey, i just bought that t-shirt!
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:15 PM   #49
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It's a small world after all.

Dave,

How ya like it!

Michael
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:26 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Artstream
Dave,

How ya like it!

Michael
LOVE IT! I'll be wearing it this weekend at the NJ State Rally. next i want a print to add to my Airstream art collection that hangs in my Airstream room.

--dave
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:01 PM   #51
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Great!
Don't forget the referral program.

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Old 10-02-2007, 10:35 PM   #52
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Is that front hold down plate a cure-all? I thought AS was using heavier panels? Is this problem more likely to occur in heavier (Classic) or longer 31-34 footers? Just curious. What can be done to prevent? How expensive would it be for AS to build the fix right into the trailer (might be naive here). Would sure make me sick--best of luck
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:32 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Hunt
Is that front hold down plate a cure-all? I thought AS was using heavier panels? Is this problem more likely to occur in heavier (Classic) or longer 31-34 footers? Just curious. What can be done to prevent? How expensive would it be for AS to build the fix right into the trailer (might be naive here). Would sure make me sick--best of luck
That problem can occur on any size Airstream.

It's usual cause, is from vibration.

That vibration can be a combination of super duty tow vehicle, using excessively rated hitch bars, along with lack of proper running gear balance.

Andy
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:50 AM   #54
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The world has changed since the 1950's and 1960's and 3/4 and 1 ton diesel trucks are the norm today. Wouldn't it be nice if Airstream would re-engineer their trailers to be able to take the strain? I imagine all of the other SOBs have.

We don't tow with cars and station waggons anymore. (except at Can-AM RV in Canada Welcome to Can-Am RV Centre: I particurly like the Jag and the little Mercedes towing a 34 footer) Because of weight restrictions and safety concerns, we don't use 1/2 ton trucks to tow with anymore. We don't travel on the old non-interstate highways for the most part anymore. If I paid $40 to $90 thousand dollars for a new Airstream and it promptly proceded to rip apart, I would be very disapointed.

On the subject of the 34 foot Airstreams, I would like to know what other truck other than a "heavy duty" could pull the thing adequately and safely? I tried to pull mine with a 3/4 ton long wheelbase Chevy with a 350 gas engine and it wasn't up to the task (the truck chasis was, though).

AIRSTREAM - modify your trailers so that they can be towed with modern trucks.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:08 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmreilly10000
On the subject of the 34 foot Airstreams, I would like to know what other truck other than a "heavy duty" could pull the thing adequately and safely?

AIRSTREAM - modify your trailers so that they can be towed with modern trucks.
I know of a guy in the NY Metro Unit who pulled his 34 footer to Alaska and back with a Safari minivan. The Safari is still his tow vehicle.

--dave
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:31 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmreilly10000
The world has changed since the 1950's and 1960's and 3/4 and 1 ton diesel trucks are the norm today. Wouldn't it be nice if Airstream would re-engineer their trailers to be able to take the strain? I imagine all of the other SOBs have.

We don't tow with cars and station waggons anymore. (except at Can-AM RV in Canada Welcome to Can-Am RV Centre: I particurly like the Jag and the little Mercedes towing a 34 footer) Because of weight restrictions and safety concerns, we don't use 1/2 ton trucks to tow with anymore. We don't travel on the old non-interstate highways for the most part anymore. If I paid $40 to $90 thousand dollars for a new Airstream and it promptly proceded to rip apart, I would be very disapointed.

On the subject of the 34 foot Airstreams, I would like to know what other truck other than a "heavy duty" could pull the thing adequately and safely? I tried to pull mine with a 3/4 ton long wheelbase Chevy with a 350 gas engine and it wasn't up to the task (the truck chasis was, though).

AIRSTREAM - modify your trailers so that they can be towed with modern trucks.
The heavy duty part, is the problem, along with a hitch rating that is excessive.

You cannot pull a 31 foot Airstream easily with a 350, let alone a 34 foot.

Large engines with plenty of horsepower are fine. Gears make a huge difference.

You could have changed the rear end ratio in your 350, that would have solved the problem you encountered.

Andy
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:36 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munimula
I know of a guy in the NY Metro Unit who pulled his 34 footer to Alaska and back with a Safari minivan. The Safari is still his tow vehicle.

--dave
It's amazing what some people use to tow their Airstreams with. I just don't see how they have enough power to go up steep hills, or enough stopping power to be safe, or enough wheelbase and weight to keep the trailer from "wagging" the car. On the website for CAN-AM, they used to show a Dodge Intrepid doing a slolum course towing a 34 footer.

Sometime I think the laws of physics are different for other people. (And different in Canada where you can tow 34 footers with Jags and Mercedes)

If I tried using a car, I would surley end up like this :
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:45 AM   #58
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It takes homework

I think 2air's analysis is dead on. Times and tow vehicles have changed (for the better I think) and the de-facto standards need revisiting. My TV is by design 60-40% F/R empty and with a weekend camping load and the Airstream, sits perfectly level with almost a perfect 50-50% F/R balance - No Bars! I agree some form of sway control would be nice but IMO the bars are a band aid. Installing them to get the original stance of the truck takes a bar midway between 750 and 1000. At that point the front of the truck is 350 lbs heavier than the rear and is also within 310 lbs of the gross max front axle rating, the rear axle has almost 2,000 of capacity left over.
With a weeks worth of camping stuff, all my 'toys' and a loaded trailer I do instal some 500 lb bars simply to return the truck to level but the front end is very close to the max weight rating.

Based on some comments, it sounds like I should expect camper degredation from the evolution of TV's. I guess my other choice is to locate a 1977 460 cid Ford Estate Wagon with Factory towing package, a pendilum brake controller, a case of Freon R12 and start keeping my 8-tracks in the TV instead of the Airstream .
Too bad the owners of newer units are in the same 1960's boat
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:43 PM   #59
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When I first bought one of those aluminum toolboxes that mount across the pick-up truck bed the instruction said if you mount the toolbox with more than one fastener per side you void the warranty. The store owner said that aluminum is so brittle that more than one fastener per side and the box will work against itself and get damaged in a hurry. SO, since our AS are aluminum, does a lack of rivets really contribute to separation? Makes me wonder if where the frame is separating perhaps the factory should use steel or a different alloy better able to withstand the stress where the body and frame meet because steel in general is elastic (returns to original shape) compared to aluminum and then mount the aluminum skin away from the angle that is subjected to stresses that cause the body to separate. This is just an off the cuff idea. If I am wrong I'm open to hearing others thoughts.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:37 AM   #60
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I think I can give some helpful information here.

Most of our customers tow with 1/2 tons, Sedans or front drive vans and those that do rarely if ever have the problem with the front end separating.

However in recent years we have had more customers purchase diesel trucks and they almost all have the front end problem in far fewer miles.

I ride in trailers once in a while when we are testing tires or suspension changes to see what effect it has on the Airstream. If you sit on the sofa in a tow vehicle with independent rear suspension the front of the Aristream floats along very smoothly, you could sit there and drink a cup of tea. With a 1/2 ton Sub it is not quite as smooth but still pretty good. However if you sit on the sofa with a 3/4 ton truck towing it is very jarring everything is moving. Sitting there you bottom out the sofa foam and feel the bars underneath.

We do use 1000 lb. Eaz-Lift bars or Hensleys on all the larger Airstreams with a 1/2 ton you cannot get enough weight transfer or precise enough handling with lighter bars. I choose the Eaz-Lift because the bars have more travel when going through deep dips which puts less strain on the A frame.

When we repair these units we do basically the same repair as a rear frame separation and add elephant ears to the front which we hide most of the repair behind stainless steel wraps.

This picture is of a limited where the factory cut the front rib for the battery boxes. We eliminate the battery boxes, splice the rib and switch to AGM's mounted inside the unit.
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