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Old 09-01-2003, 07:06 PM   #1
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Frame Sag Repairs

Well here we go.
I went to the authorized airstream repair facility in the southeast usa. For you guys that cant find parts this place purchases all obsolete parts from airtsream and they have just about everything. Real nice people as well. They are set up to do major damage repair as well.

Picked up frame kit friday and elevated my a/s on a 6X8 block, also put jack stands under the front and rear to stabilize. Wasn't able to work on it friday night and had to work saturday.

here is where i supported the rear
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:14 PM   #2
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I jacked up the front and stabilize with jack stands using an I-beam and the front jacks. I didnt feel the stabilization jacks would have held the weight of the entire trailer so I don't suggest that these are use for anything other than to give the trailer some extra stability.
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:15 PM   #3
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The authorized airstream repair facility in the southeast usa.

Do you have a phone, website, contact, address, etc. for the authorized airstream repair facility in the southeast usa?
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:25 PM   #4
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Ok Took the tires off and entire a/s was supported only by the above jack stands. The floor jack here is not supporting anything just in place as a precaution.

The Authorized repair facility doesn't have a website but They are "Camper Repair Center" (205) 665-2531 south of Birmingham AL.
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:37 PM   #5
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Here is the road side frame stiffing plate. These must be used in pairs and are designed expecially to fix frame sag.
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:04 PM   #6
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Tools required to do this job: atleast what I used.

1/2 inch drill Corded
3/8 inch cordless drill not required but there were placed I couldn't get the 1/2" into
4 6 ton jack stands
Grinder can come in handy
5 ton floor jack
impact wrench
torque wrench
2 alignment bars
wire cutters (brake wires)
2 scissor jacks
1/2" drive ratchet handle
3/8" ratchet handle
1 15/15" socket 1/2"
1 15/16" wrench
1 9/16" socket 1/2"
1 9/16" deepwell socket 3/8"
1 9/16" wrenches
1 3/4" socket 1/2"
1 3/4" wrench
1 lug wrench
extention cord

A few other tools that are not necessary
1 fan
lights

don't think that this is an easy job "ITS NOT"
It can be done by anyone that is compentant using tools, but there is alot of work involved

My first question was "who was the gorrilla that tightened these lug nuts"

Ok here is part of the problem that im having its broke.
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Old 09-02-2003, 04:41 PM   #7
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Oh Yea, this is a better look at it after the axles have been removed. Yep severe break. I did find out the cause for the sag/breakage on these trailers. During the energy crises years mid 70's until they changed this, look at the frame where there are cutouts evenly spaced. This was done to save weight but in its attempt weakened the frame, then when the waste water tanks aren't emptied expecially in the rear bath models excessive weight and going down the road the bounce would stress the already weakened frames thus the sagging or broken frame.
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Old 09-02-2003, 04:49 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Excellent!

This is an excellent class on repairing The Sag!

Thanks for taking the time-John
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Old 09-02-2003, 04:50 PM   #9
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THat's down right scary to see that crack! Are you going to weld it up before installing the brace? I see welding that as mandatory and possbly a stitched patch on the oposite side as the brace is installed.
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:01 PM   #10
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Good question. I was going to weld it with a plate on the back side but there is a cross member right at the break. I decided to not weld it until after I put up the frame stiffener. It will be welded from the back side where i can sew up the frame. I did install extra steel to strenghten the stiffener plate.

Here is where I have added the plate to the curb side and started drilling holes, yes there is alot of holes to drill. Notice the 2 scizzor jacks on the opposite side they are on either side of the break.
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:18 PM   #11
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Man what a mess. That must have been a pretty common problem for that brace to have been made.

So what axle does it crack over?

What's the thickness of the brace?

DO you think worn axles agrivated the problem by possbly bottoming out?

Out of ballance wheels?

Do you think the heat from the cross member being welded in may have caused a tempering problem?

DO you think the brace is just moving the problem further back given enough time?

It seems to me it doesn't extend far enough and has the potential to possbly crack at the end of the brace. Couse I see where going any further would involve dropping the pan.

Sorry for all the questions. I do a little welding myself and trying to get a clear idea of what could be done to make it a better repair and what other factors may have been involved in the failure.
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:19 PM   #12
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Alright here is the final result.
Frame stiffening kit
1 - can of primer
1 - 3 1/2" flat stock 32" long
64 - bolts and nuts
128 - star washers
4 - 3/8" drill bits
3 wore out 1 broken
one extremly tired body!!
All the work was done in one weekend (2) days.

This is before I painted and put the axles back up.
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Old 09-02-2003, 05:35 PM   #13
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So what axle does it crack over?
The rear axle.

What's the thickness of the brace?
Approx 1/4" I didn't measure.

DO you think worn axles agrivated the problem by possbly bottoming out?
Don't think so as there is no sign of bottoming out.

Out of ballance wheels?
Not sure but possible vibrations are deadly.

Do you think the heat from the cross member being welded in may have caused a tempering problem?
Entirely possible as when you heat metal it can become brittle
intresting not the part of the frame that is cut out is backed
by what appears to be 5" channel but it too is thin.

DO you think the brace is just moving the problem further back given enough time?
No I have to believe the engineers did their job to correct the
frame sag problem as its bending on a pivot point. (the axles)


I suggest doing this job only if you have the proper tools, time, and experience, the axles were quite easy to replace but now I have created a new problem (replacing the shocks) but I will figure a way around this problem. I will fabricate some new shock mounts.
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Old 09-02-2003, 06:11 PM   #14
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What years/models are susceptible to rear sag?
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Old 09-02-2003, 06:31 PM   #15
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The energy crunch years mid 70's approx 74 through and I can't confirm. They incorprated these frame kits into the 82 and newer years as part of the factory frame.
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Old 09-03-2003, 03:42 AM   #16
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How much did the kit run you?
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Old 09-03-2003, 06:54 AM   #17
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Ah yes the all important question.
How much did it cost?
The total cost for everything I needed to purchase:
Frame Kit, bolts, nuts, washers, drill bits, and paint.
I also included the cost of the fuel I used to drive up
and get this kit came to less than $350.

Now what really came as a suprize is on my trip I got an impressive fuel mileage of 20.5 mpg. WOW
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Old 09-08-2003, 03:12 PM   #18
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Great post, Greg! Thanks a lot.
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Old 09-24-2003, 06:25 AM   #19
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Greg,

Excellent description. Thanks for being so informative. I'm planning on doing the frame repair on '69 Sovereiegn & it's nice to get an idea on what all is involved. I feel better informed having read your posts.
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Old 09-24-2003, 07:38 AM   #20
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The axle mounting plate and frame crack as shown above are caused by a combination, to some degree or other, of the following. The worst offender, is listed first.

1. Bad axle or axles,

2. Lack of proper running gear balance.

3. Bad shocks.

4. Traveling considerably overloaded.

5. Excessive tire rating such as load range E, F or G.

All of these causes, have been well documented over the years.

We just completed repairs on a 27 foot trailer, that also had the axle mounting plate AND frame, cracked in half.

The repairs consist of welding the axle mounting plate back together, along with the frame. Then the frame kits are added.
And finally, replaced both axles, and balance the running gear correctly.

Expensive, oh yes.

How to avoid?

Easy. Get the running gear balanced as best you can, AND replace the axles "IF" they are bad.

Andy
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