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Old 08-07-2009, 05:45 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by TankerIP View Post
I've been re-reading posts and since I too have a 22' AS, I wonder if I might have the same problem. I am not the original owner so I don't know the complete history on the trailer. I'm not sure what to look for, but I have not detected any cracks. Quite frankly, I don't know what an "outrigger" is, so if someone can explain, that might help.

From other posts I learned there was a Service Bulletin #131 that was to apply a patch of some sort. I can see a rectangle of steel that is welded on the outside of the frame just aft of the rear axle. That may be the patch? Today I emailed Airstream to ask them to look at their records to see if we have the fix. I wonder what the experience is of other owners of this models (How many are there?).
My damage occured both times on the curbside of the trailer, just forward of the front axle. In addition, my outriggers sagged to the point you can see the droop at the front of the wheelwell cover next to the door.

The "stiffener plate" Airstream welded on my trailer covered that area, just forward and across the front axle. Will try and post a picture of the plate this weekend. They also welded support brackets on my outriggers to keep them from further sagging.

It sounds like you have a frame stiffener plate installed, but at the rear of the axles.

My last repair was a year ago. I just started towing the trailer again recently (I've been living in it the past year). Towed it about 1000 miles in the last two weeks. So far haven't noticed any additional damage (I check it after every trip). As stated above, I tow with no weight bars and keep the speed between 60 and 65 on the highway.

The outriggers are metal brackets that extend from the frame to the outside of the shell on both sides of the trailer, basically holding up the shell on the sides. I'm sure someone can explain this much better.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:47 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Does this apply just to the rear kitchen model, or to all of the 22's? And how many year models - anyone know?

Paula
Paula,

Mine is a 2005 as well. jk
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:56 AM   #43
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well, here is the latest from DON.
as you know i have had one totaly new frame put on some time ago and that ''new'' frame cracked just like the ''old'' one. the outriggers have been beefed up with a factory kit. i have spend many hundreds with welding, patches and fixes. still the frame fails. now for the latest. the factory sent me two 5' long channel irons and told me to weld them on and hopefully that will work. i can't do that because of all the patches that are on the frame, the iron bars won't fit! i'm screwed. my solution...i don't travel with it anymore. i have a friend with a 25' safari. i wish i would have bought one.
DON
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:25 AM   #44
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Mine is the rear bath/galley model

Paula...my guess is the CCD models would fare better. Mine is the non-CCD model that had a rear galley and bath. I guess the concern is that with the black-water tank, sink and bath all the way at the rear, then there would be a lot of down pressure on the frame back there. That means to me that you always need to put those jacks down when parked and never tow with tanks other than empty.

New news. Airstream support just responded saying my model was made after TSB 131 so the frame fix should have been incorporated in the build.

I now understand what an outrigger is, so I can go inspect a little better to see what is going on.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:42 AM   #45
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you have it pretty well nailed down. the basic problem is the two holding tanks at the rear of the axles. the frame can't handle the weight, the frame cracks and then puts a lot of preasure on the outriggers and they bend. it's a mess. i would not trust any airstream with holding tanks behind the axles. draining the tanks before you hit the road is a good idea but i am a ''dry camper'' a ''boondocker'' and it is not a good idea to dump on the side of roads.
b.t.w. it has nothing to do with the floor plan.
DON
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:15 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by DON GUBRUD View Post
you have it pretty well nailed down. the basic problem is the two holding tanks at the rear of the axles. the frame can't handle the weight, the frame cracks and then puts a lot of preasure on the outriggers and they bend. it's a mess. i would not trust any airstream with holding tanks behind the axles. draining the tanks before you hit the road is a good idea but i am a ''dry camper'' a ''boondocker'' and it is not a good idea to dump on the side of roads.
b.t.w. it has nothing to do with the floor plan.
DON
Don,

Where exactly did your frame crack? My frame cracked on the curb side just in front of the axles. As far as I know I have experienced no damage to the rear of the axles, which I suspect (though I could be wrong) would be the result if the rear holding tanks were the culprit. In hindsight, I don't think I have travelled any significant distance with my holding tanks full. Now knowing that is an issue I will be even more conscientious about it. Previously I had been told the problem with our trailer was the open floor plan (which is why we bought it); with bath, kitchen and wardrobe all across the roadside of the coach and nothing along the curbside there was too much flex on that side of the frame, causing it to bend and crack.

In my case I strongly believe at least a contributing factor was my towing setup (done by the Airstream dealer I bought the trailer from). Now that I do not use weight bars I am hoping the problem is solved. I have ridden in the trailer while it was being towed both with and without the weight bars and the difference was significant.

It is interesting that some have this problem and appear not to. Would be educational to compare the variables between those that do and those that don't.

I just started towing the trailer again after leaving it mostly stationary (but living in it) most of the last year. Towed it about 1K miles last month and will tow about the same this month. Will be keeping a close eye on the frame during and after every trip. If it does start cracking again I am not sure what we will do...
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:52 AM   #47
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I'm here to learn - an AS is in my future. From what I've read, I doubt that I'll ever buy a modern AS. Poor engineering, a company that will not back its products, and premium pricing to boot! They should have issued a recall and replaced all of the poorly designed frames - whatever the cost. Instead they've decided to destroy their brand.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:12 PM   #48
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Well, I hope they do get past this frame issue if it hasn't already been resolved. I never really considered buying a new Airstream. I just assumed that the older ones would be better built than new ones. Besides, buying an old one and fixing it up like new is pretty reasonable compared to the cost of a new one. Even paying a pro to fix one up looks less expensive than new.
Jk3500, your frame cracked in front of the axle? I would like to know if the crack was on top or bottom of the frame. If it was over-hitched, as you suggest, the down-force from your WD hitch would have broken it on the bottom of the frame, or buckled the top of the frame. It sounds like the issue DON GUBRUD has is behind the axle, due to too much weight, which would crack the top of the frame, or buckle the bottom.

Sorry to hear of all the problems you are having, these are supposed to be for fun!

Rich
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:26 AM   #49
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Towing Setup

JK - I have a question. You said you had ridden in the trailer with/without the bars. Can you describe the difference you noticed?

I bought my trailer second hand and had not a clue about the weight distribution hitch. No instructions either. Somehow I decided the bars (reese) were to be hooked on the 3rd link (whatever that means). Only recently, I decided to use the 2nd Link, for a lighter torsion. Frankly, I don't know if that is supposed to be an improvement or not. You, on the other hand, have decided to use zero torsion. How are we ever to know what is right?

I did have a chance ot crawl under and inspect a little more. I did not see any evidence of cracking. Luck so far, I guess. I know we have to be careful about loading these trailers up. Since I tow with a pickup with a covered bed, I try to keep the heavy stuff in the truck and out of the trailer.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:01 AM   #50
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Well, I hope they do get past this frame issue if it hasn't already been resolved. I never really considered buying a new Airstream. I just assumed that the older ones would be better built than new ones. Besides, buying an old one and fixing it up like new is pretty reasonable compared to the cost of a new one. Even paying a pro to fix one up looks less expensive than new.
Jk3500, your frame cracked in front of the axle? I would like to know if the crack was on top or bottom of the frame. If it was over-hitched, as you suggest, the down-force from your WD hitch would have broken it on the bottom of the frame, or buckled the top of the frame. It sounds like the issue DON GUBRUD has is behind the axle, due to too much weight, which would crack the top of the frame, or buckle the bottom.

Sorry to hear of all the problems you are having, these are supposed to be for fun!

Rich
Rich,

As you indicated, my frame cracked in front of the axle, on the bottom of the frame. It also bagan to buckle in the middle of the frame, again, just forward of the axle. Here is a not great pic of where the crack occurred. The pic is of the frame on the curbside of the trailer. The axle is just to the left as you are looking at it, the front of the trailer is to the right.

I just looked back at Don's pics and yes, his damage looks to be to the rear of the axle. I also have the problem of sagging outriggers that his pics show. Airstream welded brackets on the outriggers the first time they repaired mine (one can be seen in the pic below). They don't appear to have sagged more since that repair... jk
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:15 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by TankerIP View Post
JK - I have a question. You said you had ridden in the trailer with/without the bars. Can you describe the difference you noticed?
Best I can describe it felt like there was no suspension and every bump felt like the trailer was literally being slammed onto the ground.

Without the bars it felt like I would think a trailer ought to. You could feel the suspension working and the ride was fairly comfortable.

Like you, we bought this trailer with no experience with WD hitches, so we did exactly what the dealer told us. It wasn't until reading all the warnings from Andy that I began to suspect my setup to be overrigged.

Aside from the apparent design issues with this trailer in particular, I am surprised more information is not being put out to dealers concerning WD setup with these trailers. I experienced it firsthand and am convinced. Yet, Andy fron Inland seems to be the only one sounding the alarm out there. Unfortunately not everyone reads the forums....

I'm glad to hear you haven't had any problems yet. Hopefully that will continue. jk
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:38 AM   #52
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Here is something y'all might find interesting.

A while back i wrote the president of AS, Mr. Bob Wheeler. In that letter i politely discribed the frame problems i [we] am having and would he personally look into it.
He never bothered to respond.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Dismayed View Post
I'm here to learn - an AS is in my future. From what I've read, I doubt that I'll ever buy a modern AS. Poor engineering, a company that will not back its products, and premium pricing to boot! They should have issued a recall and replaced all of the poorly designed frames - whatever the cost. Instead they've decided to destroy their brand.
I guess I am torn. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I concerned that my very nice, very expensive, shiny aluminum travel trailer will end up as lawn furniture long before it is paid for? Yes. Do I still love Airstreams? ...yes.

I guess, if anything I regret 1) buying this particular trailer and 2) not realizing the impact my towing setup was having on it before I did.

So far Airstream has been very good about repairing the damage to my frame; both repairs have been outside of warrantee. My experience has not been as bad as Don's has. Time will tell what happens if it continues to break.

For the past year it has been pretty much stationary, though I have been living in it about 80% of the time. I haven't towed it much, mainly because I'm afraid it will continue to break. Finally I realized that if I am not using it like I should for fear it will break, then it might as well be broken anyways. Started towing it again last month and will see how things hold up. My hope is that, with the repairs done so far to the frame, along with what I have done to lessen the stress, the frame will hold up. If not, then I guess I will see how long Airstream will stand behind it.

Long term, I have already started researching shell off restorations and frame rebuilds from folks here restoring the old trailers. Hopefully I won't have to use that knowledge, at least not on this one....
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:32 PM   #54
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I'll probably choose an older AS at some point and find someone to restore it for me. It looks like restoration could be interesting, but I simply have too much on my plate already
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:08 AM   #55
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Airstream lawn furniture

jk3500
that was clever. mine is not lawn furniture but it is a spare ''cottage'', and i do use it. i live at NTAC and my bedroom at my villa is upstairs, with the temp here around 100deg it is better to sleep in my ''cottage'' under a cover than cool down a very hot upstairs bedroom. so, the trailer lives on.
oh, BTW my busted 22' ccd does have a lot of miles on it, maybe 100,000. so nothing last forever i guess.
now we all must keep in mind that the airstream rv is a very good product, by far the best you can buy. i would not own any rv but an airstream! my problem issue is with this particular new model, and it is just the frame. i guess the lesson here is ...beware when you buy the first of a model, a car, a blender, washing machine, or even a woman [ oh gosh, did i say that? ].
DON
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:01 PM   #56
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I am working on restoring a 1980 Excella and am trying to figure out how to repair some sagging out riggers. My sagging out riggers seem to be a result of the main frame beams being torqued over. Are your outriggers actually sagging or is the frame torquing over? Does any one have any other pictures of the repair that the factory did? Are they repairing just the out rigger or are the beefing up the frame so it can not twist over?

Thanks for the Help,
Brad
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:25 AM   #57
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Brad,
my outriggers sagged because the frame behind the rear axles cracked and bent down. with the frame now bent the body had to be suported by the outriggers without the help of the rear frame. the outriggers couldn't take the weight so they bent down. the factory has various fixes for this but it is a patch at best. none of the fixes have worked for me. i no longer take my trailer out on the road, it is used as a guest cottage.
DON.
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Old 09-06-2009, 12:07 PM   #58
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You would think that Airstream would have learned its lesson, given the numerous frame sagging issues it had in the 70's! It's not like there isn't anyone from the Beatrice days who doesn't work at Airstream anymore. That is absolutely ridiculous, especially given the cost of a new coach. Personally, I think I would find a way for the trailer to be considered totalled and make the claim on your insurance....surely a cracked frame, preventing safe travel, qualifies.
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #59
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And we bash SOB here. this is a really bad problem and I can't believe that AS didn't fix it right.... I still think there frames are way to weak. Mine had/has rear end sag. I replaced the floor and welded up a crack in the frame. I then welded angle iron to the frame from the axles back to help it not go any further... I haven't seen any SOB's on the road with a problem like this...
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:59 PM   #60
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Sometime in the near future, I will be performing Airstream's rear-end sag repair. When I retire from the Army in 2.5 years, Brooke, the kids and I are heading back to Idaho. Brooke's father worked for Kit Trailers for over 20 years, making their frames, and is a master welder. I was telling him about the problems that some Airstreams have and he told me that all the Kit Trailers had lifetime warranties on the frames. If ever there was a problem with the frame, they didn't even try to fix it; the trailer received a new frame, no questions asked. The old frame would then get scrapped. He's already told me that, when we get back to Idaho, he'll help me.
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