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Old 01-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Frame Repair Plate

I have been getting a lot of questions about bent frame repair. I thought I would start a thread about the service bulletin concerning units 1982 to ????? Non-widebody.


Dan
PS To all that have asked questions, thanks! It always helps to know what you are needing help on.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:55 PM   #2
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Good idea Dan...I've read several posts about weak frames. It's nice to actually see the plates and read the SB. Is there a way to make the picture display larger?

Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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bigger picture

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Originally Posted by Kevin245 View Post
Is there a way to make the picture display larger?

Thanks,

Kevin
I tried to make it bigger but it just gets grainy, and does not show any detail.

Dan
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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Dan,
The bent frame bulletin you link to in your post #1 goes nowhere. What's up with that?
I also went to your store website and could not find anything about said bulletin.
Could you direct those of us who are interested to that bulletin please?

thanks
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Dan,
The bent frame bulletin you link to in your post #1 goes nowhere. What's up with that?
I also went to your store website and could not find anything about said bulletin.
Could you direct those of us who are interested to that bulletin please?

thanks
Works fine for me...
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:18 AM   #6
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working now

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Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
post #1 goes nowhere.
It is working for me now, too. I guess the server was down at the time.

I would be happy to send it to anyone who emails me and asks.
Dan@outofdoorsmart.com

Dan
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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Was wondering if the reinforcement plate above would work on a '75 31ft Sovereign?? Just found two cracks in my frame today and looking at options.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:43 PM   #8
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Was wondering if the reinforcement plate above would work on a '75 31ft Sovereign?? Just found two cracks in my frame today and looking at options.
The frame plate, is a beef up kit "only".

It does not fix anything, nor does it stop the frame from cracking rearward of the plates, when proper PM is not performed.

We have repaired many frames, that had the plates, but still got rearend separation and/or more frame cracking.

Adding the plates, as far as we are concerned, doesn't do anything but lighten your pocketbook, and add weight to the trailer.

Your fatigue cracked frame is caused by several things, or a combination of them.

1. Out of round tires.
2. Lack of proper running gear balance.
3. Bad axles.

There is a myth around that the frames are not strong enough.

NOT TRUE.

Check the axles, first.



Andy
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan4odm View Post
I thought I would start a thread about the service bulletin concerning units 1982 to ????? Non-widebody.
Please clarify. You mention above that the plate is used on 1982 and up Airstreams. The Service Bulletin says they have been used on production models since 1982. Which is correct?
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:45 PM   #10
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Andy,

Thanks for the info. I'm very aware that my axles are bad and is the likely candidate of why my frame got fatigued, which is why I haven't towed the trailer since I bought it. (it makes me sad every time I want to go hit the road).

Here are some pics of the crack:





It seems to me that the PO must have hit a large pot hole or something, as the frame just beneath the crack is also bent.

Any suggestions on the proper way to repair this. I'm not a welder, but I know that I better become friends with one real soon. I'm starting to consider pulling the frame out to fix everything, but don't know if I'm ready to do that yet.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrzyCorpsman View Post
Andy,

Thanks for the info. I'm very aware that my axles are bad and is the likely candidate of why my frame got fatigued, which is why I haven't towed the trailer since I bought it. (it makes me sad every time I want to go hit the road).

Here are some pics of the crack:





It seems to me that the PO must have hit a large pot hole or something, as the frame just beneath the crack is also bent.

Any suggestions on the proper way to repair this. I'm not a welder, but I know that I better become friends with one real soon. I'm starting to consider pulling the frame out to fix everything, but don't know if I'm ready to do that yet.
Clean the cracked areas.

Weld the cracked areas, both sides if possible.

Sand or grind the cracked areas flush.

Plate the cracked areas.

Change out the axles and have the running gear properly balanced.

Andy
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:19 AM   #12
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The crack shown started at the bottom flange of the frame. The bottom flange of the frame should be in compression, if the crack is rearwards of the mounting point of the axles. As a mechanical engineer, I do not see how this crack could have occurred. I do see some local buckling of the flange which does make sense since, that occurs when there is and excessive compression force generated due to bending. That does not explain the crack. The Airstream designed plate reinforces the frame to resist bending forces caused by excessive tensile loads due to the long overhang on the rear 70 an 80 trailers. It helps resist the tensile deformation of the upper web of the frame and cracks forming originating from the top of the frame. It will do little to repair whatever has caused the tensile fatigue failure that has started from the bottom of your frame. I would suggest you reweld the crack area and then reinforce the bottom flange of the frame by welding on some flat stock to the bottom of the frame. I would suggest that the repair strap should b twice as thick as the existing flange and be at least 12 inches long. I would also look closely at both sides of the frame on the upper flange to see if there are any cracks there. If there are maybe the Airstream provided frame stiffener might help.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:09 PM   #13
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By time I'm done with this thing (A/S), I'm going to have all the tools to run my own garage

Got some motivation today and bought a mig/flux welder. Going to have some of my friends teach me how to weld this correctly and hopefully I'll be able to keep my mark of having this on the road by April.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:13 AM   #14
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I have a 2003 22' int and have had numberer's frame problems from cracks,bending to complete frame replacement. it is still cracking and i have spent hundreds on welding and patches. the factory has been helpful in the past but now say it is ''out of warranty''..that means I'm on my own. the frame is clearly the weakest link in this model and i don't buy the theory that it is caused by ''bad axles'' or '' out-of-round'' tires. it is simply a poor design. cars, trucks, big rigs, hauling trailers do not have frame failures! airstream is an American icon in its overall appearance. and i think the overall quality is better than most others. the frame however could use the skills of a mechanical structural engineer.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrzyCorpsman View Post
Andy,

Thanks for the info. I'm very aware that my axles are bad and is the likely candidate of why my frame got fatigued, which is why I haven't towed the trailer since I bought it. (it makes me sad every time I want to go hit the road).

Here are some pics of the crack:





It seems to me that the PO must have hit a large pot hole or something, as the frame just beneath the crack is also bent.

Any suggestions on the proper way to repair this. I'm not a welder, but I know that I better become friends with one real soon. I'm starting to consider pulling the frame out to fix everything, but don't know if I'm ready to do that yet.
Your picture clearly shows a downward deflection at the point where the frame is cracked. Can you explain how or when that deflection occurred?

Could that deflection be the cause of the crack? I can't see it being the result of the crack. Is the cross member also cracked just inside the frame?
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:04 AM   #16
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frame failure

howieE
that crack is very similar to the ones i have had and it is caused by metal fatigue not hitting any bumps. i had a mechanical engineer look at mine and that is what he concluded. this guy took a lot of measurements of my frame and ran a computer model---if you never tow the tr and kept it in an air conditioned building it will last a very long time he said. other than the design problem the protective coating (paint) is poorly applied and not effective. the frame should never rust under normal circumstances. mine is rusting all over and i live in central Texas.
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DON GUBRUD View Post
howieE
that crack is very similar to the ones i have had and it is caused by metal fatigue not hitting any bumps. i had a mechanical engineer look at mine and that is what he concluded. this guy took a lot of measurements of my frame and ran a computer model---if you never tow the tr and kept it in an air conditioned building it will last a very long time he said. other than the design problem the protective coating (paint) is poorly applied and not effective. the frame should never rust under normal circumstances. mine is rusting all over and i live in central Texas.
Don,
Just curious..which computer model did the ME run and, could you PLSE post the actual results from the model test here?
Thanks
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:06 AM   #18
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Don,
Just curious..which computer model did the ME run and, could you PLSE post the actual results from the model test here?
Thanks
I'll see if i can get it from him. the program simulated various loads,road conditions,time,temp and a whole lot more that did not mean anything to me. there was no conclusion, just a lot of numbers that he interrupted. i remember he said load was a real problem and i guess that means no grey or black water during towing [i rarely do]. oh, rust was a factor also. if i can get the data I'm not sure how to post it all. now you understand this only applys to the 22'int model which has a different frame than any other AS.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:55 AM   #19
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Just my ranting..

I understand that your results were menu driven for the 22ft frame but, the program itself, is still a program that could be re-configured for any input data. It would interesting to see what, if anything, shows up for..say , A 1971 model with a rear bath, etc..
I am assuming it had a material input for strength ratio?
Would be interesting to throw in different materials and, design factors..
About the frame rust..You can expect this to happen..when you have a water based painted frame..
It's just as well to leave it unpainted and, let the owner put his own on..
In fact, I wished the factory would give you an option here..
Paint it with POR 15 or, use whatever material the new owner wished for a frame.
My recent experience:
While I was working at a A/S dealership here in NH, (they are now closed) I saw many 2004/2005 models that were arriving straight from the factory with spots on the frames already started to show rust...Shame on the factory and, unforgivable. Their answer was..Blame it on the EPA BECAUSE IT WAS TOO COSTLY to build a facility to handle the fumes from the other types of paint. Go figure now what the "real" cost will be to deal with..disgruntle owners etc..
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #20
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HowieE,

I haven't the foggiest of how this happened. Once I get the shell off this weekend, I'll be sure to snap some different pictures, especially on the outside portion of the frame. I can not see yet if the opposite side is cracked, but can only assume that it is. As you can see in the pic, the frame is bowed in where the crack occurred and is also bowed one the plate that the axles are attached to. I'm going to have one of my experienced steel worker buddies take a look at it and help me repair the area. Like I said earlier, I've decided to pull the frame completely out to get a better look and make the repairs a little easier. I'm hoping to get a lot of this accomplished this weekend while the weather is nice.

Also, where the crack is on the cross member is the original welding bead and looks like it just separated due to the deflection. Once I have a clearer look of the problems, I'll let you all know and certainly pass on any advice that my friend gives me.
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