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Old 09-24-2003, 07:46 AM   #21
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Unfortunatly for me is I got the problem second hand. I noticed that the tires got warmer than what I would call normal when towing so Yes there could be running gear problems, but I feel that underinflated tires was the cause. I suspect overloading is the biggest problem as the previous owner traveled using it as his home.
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Old 09-24-2003, 07:48 AM   #22
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Outside of frame photo.

Andy
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Old 09-24-2003, 07:58 AM   #23
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rear end sag

Just wondering if you also had the rear end seperation that seems to go along with the frame break? I suspect they are caused by the same problems.

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Old 09-24-2003, 08:03 AM   #24
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Garry.

You are correct.

Most axle area abuse, will also result in rear end separation, eventually, especially on the older models. The longer the trailer, the more likely it will happen.

Andy
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:09 AM   #25
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I had both, didn't know what to look for and it cost me a bunch for repair. I had A/S dealer in OK City do the work. After joining the fourm and looking at the Inland RV site I know the cause was bad axles and I will not tow again until replaced. Will order and do the work myself next spring.

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Old 09-24-2003, 09:07 AM   #26
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Andy,

Can you tell us specifically, What years/models are susceptible to rear sag and frame cracking?

Steve
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Old 09-24-2003, 09:59 AM   #27
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Actually, any trailer reagrdless of year can have "rear end" separation. All it takes is the right kind of abuse.

Typically however, from the late 70's and older, are more prone to the separation.

How it happens is easy.

The greater the abuse and speed, the faster.

Any of the following or combination, will result eventually in rear end separation, and/or frame damage at the axle area.

1. Bad axles.

2. Improper or no running gear balance (hub, drum, tire and wheel).

3. Adding "ANY" weight to the bumper, such as a tire, bicycle, generators, motor scooters.

4. Overloading the interior rear end of the trailer with excessive weight.

5. Hitting the bottom of the rear end with curbs, bumps, etc.
Dragging the rear end, "SLOWLY" over a bump or dip, will not cause any separation. Skid plates are built in for that purpose.

6. Adding dolly wheels and allowing them to hit, will cause
separation as well as damage the rear quarter panels.

7. Traveling with full holding tanks is OK, "PROVIDED" the running gear and axles are OK.

8. Suspending the trailer in the air by placing jacks at the front and rear ends, with little or no weight on the tires.

Front end damage is caused also from some of the above as well.

However, shearing front end rivets and damaging the front metal occurs when the tow vehicle is very heavy duty, excessive rating hitch bars are used, and overload springs on the tow vehicle, and the like.

An Airstream trailer loves a soft suspended tow vehicle and balanced running gear, along with a proper rating hitch for the task. Contrary to opinion, a 31 or 34 foot trailer does not require 1200 pound hitch bars, when being towed with a very heavy duty tow vehicle or one that has overload springs.

Andy
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Old 10-21-2003, 12:57 PM   #28
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Thanks for all the good info on the Frame / Separation issue. I purchased my '69 29' Ambassador knowing that I may have some of these issues. The price was good enough to offset the work to be done. Question: I do have some amount of ripple to the skin forward of the front axle. Can the frame problem cause this without the rear end having separated yet? I've been told by the A/S dealer in this area that if you bounce on the bumper and you see movement between the bumper and the body, you have separation. I don't see any of this when I've tried, so I'm hoping that it may just be a frame issue. Any input on this would be very helpfull. Thanks
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:40 PM   #29
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A ripple in the sheet metal at the wheel well area is somewhat normal, due to simple bouncing.

A greater concern would be the condition of the axles. If they have deteriorated, they can also cause the ripple, as well as frame and axle mounting plate damage, and eventually rear end separation.

Andy
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Old 10-21-2003, 03:02 PM   #30
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Thank You

Thanks for the information Andy. I think that the unit is due for an axle replacement. I may do it just so that it's not an issue that I have to deal with in the near future. If there is separation, would the difference in movement between the body and the bumper be noticeable? It doesn't seem like there is any on my unit, but If it is a negligble thing, I may be missing it. On this unit, it looks like both the lower rear sections where it attaches to the pan as well as the section just above have been replaced. If someone would have replaced these and done the separation repair at the same time, Is there another way to tell if the repair had been done? I've been told that the 'Elephant Ear' patches were a shure sign that it had been done. I'd rather not have to pull up any panels if there is an easier way of checking. If not, I suppose it's all part of the adventure.
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Old 10-21-2003, 09:46 PM   #31
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I hope this isn't a stupid question but what are those "punch outs" on the frame there in the pictures? They look like knock outs in electrical boxes, look like they are stamped in the frame for some reason. They look like they would create a weak spot.

Brian
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:03 PM   #32
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During the energy crisis of the 70's these were stamped out to save weight, unfortunatly they weaked the frame causing problems such as the one I had and the one Andy is showing. Granted out of ballance tires and other bad running gear can attribute to this also, overloading the rear end of the camper (full holding tanks) can aggervate it also.
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:16 PM   #33
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Thats amazing. Good discussion and great pics. I will be looking at my frame for cracks this week sometime. Thanks for all the info.

Brian
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Old 07-04-2008, 08:17 PM   #34
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So my question is, after installing the frame kit does the sheet metal over the wheels straighten up or do they stay bucked. Basically does the ripples go away?
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Old 07-04-2008, 10:13 PM   #35
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OK, not to be dumb here but how straight should the exterior skin be? Now I'm getting paranoid... I look down the side of my 1968 30' Sovereign and there are some "waves" in the sheeting, particularly over the wheels. Should the skin be perfectly smooth?
The reason I ask is that I know I have some pretty bad rear-end separation (sounds like a personal problem... ha ha) but the front end skin ahead of the axles has about the same amount of "waviness" if "waviness" is a word, as the back. Does that indicate frame issues up front as well or is that normal?
Thanks everyone! Too bad you goys won't all cruise over here to Southern Ontario Canada and help me with my frame/floor issue... I'm so chicken to tackle it that I'm going to look in the yellow pages and beg for cheap written estimates. We have great beer, horribly high gas prices though.
Ryan
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Old 07-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viesel View Post
So my question is, after installing the frame kit does the sheet metal over the wheels straighten up or do they stay bucked. Basically does the ripples go away?
Installing the frame kit, will do "NOTHING" for rear end separation.

It won't fix it and it won't prevent it.

The frame kit also, "WILL NOT" strighten up wrinkles in the sides.

IF, and that's a big IF, you wanted to add a frame kit, to get rid of the side wrinkles, then you "MUST" raise the rear end so that the tires are almost off the ground.

Then, and only then, could you add a frame kit, that "MIGHT" help reducing the side wrinkles, when the tires are back on the ground.

The frame kit takes care of the frame, only within it's length, and only if properly installed. The rear of the trailer is still free to sag, if it wants to,

To me, the only purpose of the frame kit, is to allow you to carry more weight, over the axles.

Then that brings up another subject. A frame kit will do nothing to correct what bad axles, will do to the trailer.

If you wanted to carry that extra weight over the axles, then the axles would have to be replaced to a higher rating.

Your axles are rated at 3200 pounds each, which really is not enough to start with anyway.

3500 pound ratings would be far superior.

Andy
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:23 PM   #37
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Good info and good pictures I have a ripple on my right side but cant find any frame seperation or rotted issues.
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