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Old 07-23-2012, 09:52 AM   #81
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Ha...don't worry fellas I got it covered - not about to go under where it's not safe. I have the heavy duty 4000 pound jack stands and will put wood blocks for safeties just in case some little rodent comes along and pulls the cotter pin on the jack stands.

It's dropping the tanks I'm baffled with....they look like they are in there with a double hanging system - I'm hoping once I get the belly skin off that he will have enough visual - or maybe just drop the cover to the tanks - he just wants to make sure there are no more cracks behind the break and have a good visual to weld to rather than slipping a piece in-between the tank and frame.

Off to get my glasses, mask and some box wrenches, and a new rachet! mine sucks and slips with any sort of torque to it. As well as pick up a few more jack stands....

Ye ha -
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:25 AM   #82
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They never fail if used properly. If you turn one sideways with the holes pointing to the side and you don't use a board on top they will fail everytime. If you have the holes pointing up and put a board on top the will NEVER fail. All house trailers and many houses are suspended using blocks. Anything made of concrete should be loaded in compression not tension (bending). I have put cars and heavier things on blocks for 40 yrs and have never busted one. The heavier jack stands with the rachets are pretty good. The old ones with the screw are not too good. I will go under a car on blocks alone but I never go under one otherwise unless there is a floor jack and a jack stand or some combination of blocks and jacks.

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Originally Posted by wkerfoot View Post
I have heard not to use concrete cinder blocks as they can fail suddenly without warning. I would use heavy duty jack stands or wood blocks.

Bill
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:12 PM   #83
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lifting without effn up the frame worse?

Sharon, the question you need the most advice on is HOW THE HECK DO YOU LIFT A BROKEN FRAME AT ALL and keep it straight while lifting it? It's one of those which came first the chicken or the egg.... you need to lift the frame to fix the break but if you lift the broken frame the buckling and breaking will get worse.

The second question - can you lift the frame at all without taking the belly pan off?

Answer #2 - Sharon, if you need to take the belly pan off in this circumstance, you'll probably have to work in from the edges, and just cut or tear it apart. Send me the bill for the new belly pan. I got your back sister.

Lifting the frame evenly? I'm sure there are brighter minds than mine - please CHIME IN if you think my idea is stupid!!!! My feelings will NOT be hurt. You've got to brace each frame rail somehow so you can lift the whole thing as if it were still one piece - and it might not even be a bad idea to lift both the left and right sides together just to minimize stress on the floor, side panels and all that stuff. OK, what's 20 feet long that could brace a frame? 2x10 joists can be found in that length maybe 2x8's which would be a bit cheaper. But you can't fit a 2x10 under a frame rail and not risk it falling off... so sister 2 of them together with screws and you've got a reasonably stiff 10 inch wide board for the frame rail to rest on. I'd go with at least 3 bottle or floor jacks to lift each side - one in the middle of the broken section and 2 near the ends of the unbroken section. Being nervous and already owning a laser level, I'd use that to make sure the jacks were all being lifted in synch (working alone I'd have to raise each one about 1/4 inch at a time) - then once up, wood, blocks or jack stands to hold the unit up safely. Without a laser level - a good old string level or two works for me or even a 5 foot carpenter's level.

Paula

Let's talk about getting the heavy hand of the government in on this - someone IS going to die one of these days when a 22 falls apart on the road. Asking Airstream to make it right is like expecting Joe Paterno...
Random thought - I'm glad I'll never be the president. I couldn't be trusted with power. It's nice to be small enough that people WILL tell you when you're full of ****. It's so easy to be judgemental... but Paterno became someone who wasn't accountable...

Airstream could even go the way of Avion or Silver Streak when three or four children die in an accident traced to a broken frame in a 5-7 year old trailer! They don't THINK that a trailer that is self destructing could swing into oncoming traffic and take out a compact car.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:40 PM   #84
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Hey Paula - thanks for the kudos and sticking by a sista!

As for jacking and prying and lifting and bending and twisting and all that - it really is not as complicated as everyone "thinks" it is.

From the suspension forward she is nice and tight other than the downriggers being bent on the curb side - but we are only talking about 3/8 to 1/2 inch drop from the frame to the outside of the trailer.

Jacking her up higher on the suspension/stiff side right now for me to do the work will not be an issue.

My black tank was just emptied this morning and I am keeping my grey valve open so I have no real weight in the back other than what the desk and shower unit is.

Once I get the suspension/stiff side up on jacks - I will place too bottle jacks on the rear bumper guards to relieve the pressure a bit on the break - she aint going anywhere.

As for the welding job - as he explained he has it covered and knows exactly how to jack up the frame to get it straight to weld.

It's like wearing a bra - with my bra on the girls are fine and nicely sitting, but if I take my bra off - it is not like my boobs are going to fall off my chest - same deal with the back of the trailer right now. Lots of floor and structure still holding her in place along with the outriggers to the main frame - The shell and the whole structure still has her straight as the fella mentioned - or the frame would not be where it is right now which is straight but dropped inside the break - not pulling away to the left or the right.

Hope this puts ya'll at ease a bit.

As for the political side of this issue - lets just wait and see what happens and the answers I'm given - One Step at a time here okay.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #85
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Has Airstream said they will contribute to the labour cost? If so, I don't think they expect you, "a thin little lady", to manhandle your trailer into the air and remove half the underbelly.

I would consider sending the whole thing to the shop, pay the bill, and then negotiate with Airstream direct, or thru your local law services. Let the shop talk direct with Airstream for guidance.

At least that way, you can still enjoy some of your summer doing some of the other things you have to do.

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Old 07-23-2012, 02:04 PM   #86
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Ahh that looks so pretty - wanna come and do mine...
At 17 hrs 5 mins / 1018.45 miles to pop around and fab some cribbing... errr, Houston we have a problem

Your welder likely will vet your set-up, wishing they'd look at it before you put your self under the hammer so to speak.

Some notes:

A razor sharp narrow wood chisel can speed up the aluminum sheet removal if you shear off the rivet heads, either laying the chisels (grinding wheel) ground-angled-face against the skins and walking the chisel with hammer blows between the skins and the rivet; or lying the chisel completely against the skins so the ground-angled-face is away from the skins and likewise separating the rivet flange from the aluminum skin sheets. If the chisel point tries to dig in to the skin sheets change the angle of attack. With a little experience and muscle memory one can leave the sheet metal unblemished while vanquishing the offending rivets. Once the skins is cleared if the shaft freezes in the frame side, pliers of a couple of nudges with a sliding blunt metal object should clear them.

Getting access to the shell/floor outside edge c-channel floor bolts is not going to be pretty. Interior built-ins inevitably will conflict with simple drilling out liner rivets and easing back the liners to be able to lay down next to it and slip and arm under to put a wrench on each one while the thing is loosened from outside & underneath. If you can sleuth out where the rib is versus the bolts then an electric drill and a hole saw with steady hands can open a access port that is then easy to patch over with a small square of aluminum. Beware the guide-drill bit if this method is used, one mustn't drill through the outside shell.

True, you can reuse the cracked outriggers, leave them hanging by the bolts, and reweld them - but the bolt/washers most likely will still need to be re-tightened as they've been muscled around enough there will be extra 'play' there. If you removed the bolts going with oversized (wider not thicker) washers would be a good deal to clamp undisturbed metal/wood.

Something I ran into on the first rehab of my trailer is to get the outriggers rewelded then the flooring should be lifted high enough to allow the outriggers to be leveled. Yes, Virginia, plywood droops a lot pretty rapidly. If there is the dreaded insulation-crush between floor and frame you will need to compensate for that dimension: outriggers level with main frame rails and shims keep the floor lifted that silly 4 or 5mm once the deed is done, shims being through bolted at the outside edge.

Don't forget the power of the hitch A-frame jack if you have readjustments to perform, having your remaining good frame rails perfectly level one or three turns on the hitch jack will allow you to add shims and adjust the cribbing/blocks AND return it to 'level' with the hitch-jack one or three turns back. With the leverage of all the frame in front of the wheels this may* be another tool in your arsenal to return the floor back to factory-fresh.

I'm sure there is eleventeen things I forgot, these just came to mind on a little reflection...
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:12 PM   #87
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Hi Dave;

I don't have money like what you are talking to do such a thing. In otherwords I just can't pay someone up front and go on the hope that Airstream will cover it.

Or even hold my breath on litigating for something like this if Airstream does not prove that there was something wrong with the 04 frame.

But I have seen enough litigation and insurance claims that something like this - although only 7 years old - there will be speculations and best guesses and nothing concrete per say.

Like how would I prove that I did not travel with my tanks full. How do I prove that the frame has a poor design - yeah so what it does - they have admitted that one and it seems any welder that looks at the frame says the same thing.

It is a fatigue break and the rest is a result of carrying the load of a broken frame for several years bouncing around on the interstates.

Wear and tear on the underbelly - is not the issue and thus would not be covered anyway.

In many cases of question - parts usually ship free but most times the customer foots the bill for labour. It is not an option for me to get her to Airstream Factory - and even then it would still be a question of what labour for what part would or would not be covered.

I will be getting to - fatigue - should it happen in a 7 year period? and the other question is WHAT was done to the 04 frame differently to solve the fatigue breaks that were happening on the 02/03.

Well something had to be done - because the 02/03. were happening almost after sale period with it the first and second year.

So if a new frame was brought in of better quality - well I guess in my case with moderate exposure to road conditions - the fatigue lasted about 5 years instead of the 2-3....and if that is there answer well what do I do?

They don't warranty a frame for even 5 years do they....what are they on cars? I don't know.

I don't even know what the full warranty program is for a new airstream let alone on an 05 (manufactured 04).

Besides I don't do the work the bottle jack does

My question I have right now since I still have all eyes on this thread.

I want to put for jack stands in the wheel locations - is it better to Jack the two fronts first (or backs) or better to jack side to side???

All my helpers around here have gone until the weekend now. I have had her up and jacked myself from side to side. But not sure how that reacts when I will be lifting the one side onto the installed jacks - no give like the tires would so any help would be might fine - so I can get her all jacked up and sturdy so I can work on her over the next three days.
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:30 PM   #88
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Traveling with full tanks or supplies should be irrelevant to the frame failure as long as you were not overloaded and it sounds like you were not. Good luck. Jim
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:48 PM   #89
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I want to put for jack stands in the wheel locations - is it better to Jack the two fronts first (or backs) or better to jack side to side???
Danger Will Robinson!! You need to nibble the elephant a little bite at a time...

EDIT: you can do the whole lift with wheels attached, even lug nuts on but not tightened so if the worst happens it will land on its feet so to speak... There is room enough on the mounting plate and inbetween the wheels if you do a couple of dry rehearsals...

I like bottle jacks, there is no arc-of-travel the way there is with a floor jack. You'll be building a stable crib under the jack as you go along - with the lifting pad irrevocably centered on the axle mounting plate.

Going from side-to-side in smaller increments keeps things happening slowly so one can spot trends without being heavily leveraged in a bad position. Shifting mid-lift is undesirable. Two bottle jacks help when doing the side-to-side boogie. Lift one side two inches and chock/block it stable, lift other side and block it stable. Repeat.

Anyone see anything I missed?
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:00 PM   #90
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Hi Jim;

Yes I'm kind of in a chicken or the egg situation here. I can't bring out the welding crew till the prep area is clear - or I will be paying two days worth of their work - I can't afford that.

My outriggers are not bolted they are welded. So I need the back quarter belly skin and insulation out for him to get at both sides of the outriggers (front as well by the door) to weld in the angle brackets he is recommending. He said that jacking up the outriggers will work find to bring them back into level as they have not dropped enough to buckle the skin pushing them back up. I'm not doing any of that kind of jacking they are as they go along in their welding job.

I'm just jacking her onto jacks instead of her sitting on the wheels because you can't get at the frame at all with the wheels on - either front or back. Or as I just thought I could just do it one corner at a time make my life easier and SAFER!!!

I would still have lots of room to scrunch under the corners to get the skin off first. I can loosen the tank screws and then when they come up if they still think they need to come off all the way - I may have to eat that bit of labour as I just don't want to get into the dang tanks dropping on me.

Personally I think they could manage with the tanks in place - but will hold out for them to make that call.

I only have a few rivets to get off anyway on the belly pan on the corners the rest have sheered off by themselves with the shake rattle and roll that goes on under there along with the dang stupid idea of putting pink insulation under a trailer that is subject to rain and snow and water sits in the corners eating away at the rivets and aluminum (I wonder sometimes how smart builders are....I always scratch my head and say "a guy built that" -

I'll be putting the foam insulation that is used in timbre framing 2 inch coated I think they call it - silver coated both sides and then seal it up with tuff stuff expanding foam along the edges. I want insulation because I do use it a lot in the shoulder seasons and the floor gets dang cold!
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:08 PM   #91
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So yep decided - I'm not doing any cribbing or major jacking - I just need the back high enough to let me get under the back quarter - then the same on the other side, then the same in the front.

So I will only take the rear wheel off - do that work - then put it back on. Take the front off and do that underbelly and same with the other side...

Breathe easy now fellas...this skinny runt ain't going to get crushed under a 22'er!.

While jacked on the corner (s) one at a time - it gives me enough room to get at the tank bolts - I will spray and loosen them up - and should take them but a jiffy to drop if need be.

They can do all the jacking they want and how they want - how does that sound?
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:20 PM   #92
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You've got just about everything covered (nobody thinks of everything, especially the first time you do it).

But, spray foam comes in 2 types—one that expands more than you'll want and breaks things, and one that expands, but not so much.

The best was to insulate something is to make sure there are no air leaks and spray foam is great for that. But, the tanks have lots of pipes in and pipes out. You can coat the inside the pans, but not the pipes because sometime you'll have to fix them.

This would be a good time to replace the cheap plastic drain valve for the fresh water tank with a brass valve.

On our trailer the fresh water tank is held up by a black plastic box and straps—getting that out means disconnecting hoses and pipes before dropping the whole thing. There is probably an access plate to disconnect some of it and perhaps a way down to it from inside the trailer. If you have to drop the fresh water tank, I hope your arms and hands are skinny too. When working on a vehicle, I've often wanted a third hand, and if I can grow one, I'll make sure it is smaller than my first two.

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Old 07-23-2012, 04:40 PM   #93
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My outriggers are not bolted they are welded.
I'm believing the aluminum shell lowermost channel is through-bolted along the floor perimeter to each outside outrigger edge to clamp the shell/floor/frame for one solid piece.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:32 PM   #94
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Be CAREFUL Sharon - remember the wretched floor is OSB not plywood so it's not going to be worth a pitcher of warm spit supporting the broken piece(s).

Just worrywarting from 700 miles away. Wish we were all in the same area and could have a "barn raising" - it'd be a 3 day frame off/new frame floor wonder!

ON A MINOR HIJACK - (and a "be careful what you ask for" note) It looks like I've stumbled over a 10meter mid-bath Avion in pretty decent shape. If it turns good, I could be on the way to "vintage kin".

Paula
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:17 PM   #95
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Storm Blew Through...

and stopped me dead in my tracks - had to close up shop just when I was on a roll.

Few little questions here with just taking off the curb side back belly pan.

First - WTH - are these wires for - they just were hanging out the floor of the trailer and lead nowhere or attach to anything - anyone know what they are? almost look like speaker wires??
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Second note see the floor lag screw just behind my thumb sticking out the floor and the hole it should be in is about 1.5 inches forward that should be in the outrigger - it has obviously jumped out and travelled due to the break and the outriggers dropping right?
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Found some dry rot in the OSB floor in the infamous spot where the bumper compartments stops and buts to the corner curve - There was vulkum there but all dried and when I touched it it just fell out - look at the gapping distance that is filled with vulkum - year like that is going to stop water. There was a small channel bead of the stuff on the outside of the black banana wrap - I assume the makeshift attempt to steer water away from the hole between the wrap and the frame. Water travels off the bumper compartment lid right into that corner...It is a bit punchy but not flacking apart - so I may use that Dr. rot stuff and inject in or paint on some resin to seal up and keep the rot from spreading. Will of course be doing the rust repair on the frame and pop some por-15 and do all new vulkuming at the corner on the outside banana wrap. I will need some new aluminum to replace the piece I took out - all around the edges is corroded - I'll keep the one I have for a template.
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A Question regarding the tanks. See the below pics - two types of bolts - first one is the outer cover
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and the other seems to bolt through a piece of iron lip that must actually hold the plastic tank in place to the frame?.
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Is it possible just to drop the cover and the plastic tank will stay in place? I really don't even want them (welders) to drop the tanks as they are not plumbers and the pipes will all have to be taken apart in order for the tank to drop completely right?

These last two photos show the first outrigger behind the rear wheel - it is cracked and bent into the main frame rail - as is the one behind it.
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Randy has indicated that they will be sending me new outriggers as well.

I assume that my guy will weld the new ones to the existing (after they have been jacked back into level) and he said he would weld angle pieces where they butt to the frame rail into the corner - so welding both would make it good and strong ya think?

A few other questions.

WHY is the underside of the crap floor they used not even weather resistant painted?

And check out the rust on this baby. Do they use any sort of rust protectant paint at all on this frame?

Oh ps - second welder came up this evening - his comment "this frame is tissue paper!" really cheap for such an expensive trailer!

He checked out the bracing kit service bulletin and said that wont help much in correcting the fatigue spot in this design, it only moves the problem back a few inches. So he is quoting to run an 8 ft long piece right along the main frame rail from back of the grey to forward of the door. Along with repairing the outriggers.

I am not liking what I am hearing at all - and these guys build stuff for Canadian winters - Now correct me if I am wrong but does not a big chunk of USA not have similar if not more harsh weather than we do?

These trailers will never make their vintage years!!! I suspect my frame will rot out completely in another 7 years without some serious preventative maintenance that is just not warranted on something only 7 years old!!!.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:39 AM   #96
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Hi, hard to tell [from just a picture] if the screw jumped out of the outrigger or if Airstream missed the hole during assembly. You will need to disconnect all of the water lines to the tanks before dropping them; The tank cover and tank come down together. At least I know that mine did. I think the welder has it right, especially for your 22'er. Eight feet of metal welded to the frame should make it last.

So, Airstream is only donating a few little pieces of metal towards your repair. [not a new frame] Except for the out riggers, your welder probaly won't want/need to use any of them.

It sure would be nice if Airstream would flatbed your trailer to a dealer and have the whole thing done right. [at their cost]
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:47 AM   #97
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I posted on the other thread regarding these frames. It is obvious that the frames aren't designed properly. They should have been build out of 5" or 6" (prefer 6") structural channel.

As for what to do, I would contact the NHTSA to discuss a vehicle that has a known defect. This is a serious problem and if one comes apart, totally, while going down a freeway it can cause a serious accident. This isn't to be taken lightly. There is no way that a trailer frame should come apart like that.

Home | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


The cost difference for using the right material at the factory is probably less than $200.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:05 AM   #98
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I like the idea of the 8 ft long piece of metal to beef up the frame. It needs to be the same height as the frame the whole length or even taller if you can do that without it messing up sheet metal. How do you plan on attaching the outriggers to the floor? You going to have to take up floor covering to do this? Are the outriggers bent upwards or downwards. I would think that they would be bent upwards as the frame sagged and the shell pulled them upward? You can repair the old outriggers and put the new ones between the old ones and maybe you can get your floor level and more stable that way. There is no reason you can't put the new ones next to the old ones but spacing them out is going to make your floor flatter and more stable. I would POR15 the frame after you are done with all the welding. If the new metal is a little rusted all the better. Otherwise you have to prep it. Your frame is just right for POR15. It loves rust to bond to. They left the floor unpainted so it can dry out if it gets wet. I would seal that bumper plate real well or get rid of the evil thing and make a rear wrap like the sides.

By the way, how thick are the walls on your 4" frame channels you have now? When you get some down time or the 63 on the road you might consider beefing up the front of the frame and POR15 that as well.

Good luck you are on the right track

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Old 07-24-2012, 11:27 AM   #99
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Confusion...

I guess some people might be a bit confused by my name - GT1963 - I had it changed from when I was GT1969 - but this thread concerns my 05 CCD Int'l. Right now I just can't come up with a good name to even represent this trailer I'm sleeping in....maybe TTTT - Tissue Thin Tin Tent!

Today I feel beaten...looking under the trailer to just remove the belly skin is an effin nightmare!

The curb side is not so bad but the other side has all the plumbing and propane pipes.

Has anyone taken their mere 7 year old trailer to have it completely re-hauled underneath. Cuase that is what I need to do - basically rebuild the whole underside of this trailer. From the rust to the corrosion to the piece of crap frame all this "iconic Hype" is sitting on. Sure the aero dynamic is at once my best friend - but heck if you can't pull the dang thing down the road more than 5 years without the ASS literally falling off - What is the point of this "marvel".

I wish I had a seance with Wally and say - hey help me out here...

This is just amazing that I would have to be looking at a "vintage" (like I'm talking a 40 year old trailer - level restore to a 7 year old trailer - actually it got this way about 2 years ago - so that would really constitute it looking like crap within 5 years of it coming off the Airstream line.

I have a good mind just to tell the welder to set the dang thing on fire here on the spot! Box up the ashes and send them to the Factory - oh hum.

Okay seriously though - as for the tanks. Can I not just bend the lip of the tanks that run down the main frame down and a way from the frame? - they are not attached to the frame rail at all. You can slip metal behind it (actually that is what the #131 bracing kit instructs - no welding there just slip it in. Of course you can't weld the two together - because if you needed to remove the tank after you would be SOL - but what about bending it enough to get behind it and then just have a couple of lags go through the frame?

I can't fathom this job in having to remove the tanks - the propane lines maybe that run along the street side - where I need to do the same to the left as I do to the right.

Has anyone had a complete belly/frame restore to a NEW trailer??? What would something like this cost me - any best guesses?
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:49 PM   #100
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT1963 View Post
As mentioned earlier. There are only two Airstream Dealers in Ontario - one in London 6 hours drive and the other in Ottawa a 4 hour drive.
If you're really in Lakefield, guess what? It's 4 hours to either one.

However, the one in Ottawa is mainly an SOB dealer, whereas the one in London is mainly an AS dealer. BIG difference in attitude and knowledge about "our" brand, AFAICS.
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