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Old 10-26-2002, 10:05 AM   #61
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So when a drum or rotated is turned and not balanced we are causing damage because it would then be un balanced.

There was a post before saying Airstreams have not had a balanced drum since early 80's correct? I guess I am saying I am not sure it is needed to do this as this post is leading all to believe.

I fell it would defiantly not hurt but help to do this but not completely necessary


Again maybe I am full of it too..
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Old 10-26-2002, 10:07 AM   #62
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Automotive Drums

JP,
All of my experience has been with European Import cars and American made vans/trucks.
The Euro parts were all balanced, which was evident by shallow holes drilled in the drums, or by material being removed on certain areas. This differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some shaved, some drilled. The drums on my Dodge are not balanced, at least not that I can see. I am not sure if this would be necessary on a vehicle with a 300lb axle. ( I am guessing on the weight of the axle) I own a vintage Mercedes with 4 drum brakes, and the drums on this car came balanced as well, even though they are very small as compared to an airstream drum. I suppose it differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, and on top of that I would say that some designs necessitate balanced assemblies, others don't. I consider it unlikely that a heave rear axle of a dually, for example, would be faced by a brake drum not being balanced. A light car with independent suspension, on the other hand, might transfer vibrations from a spinning drum that's out of balance very easily.
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Old 10-26-2002, 10:18 AM   #63
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The drums on my "78 bronco are balanced with a wieght that has been resistance welded to it (Ford 9" rear end). Turning the drums won't effect the balance since turning is done on the center line of the races. Material removed in negledgable. Oscar
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Old 10-26-2002, 12:01 PM   #64
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Rear End Droop

I got this from the old (really old) Airstream Central Site. Back when Charlie Burke did a wonderful ask the tech service (Thanks Charlie!!). It is quoted directly.

Quote:
Subj: Rear Bath - 1974 Airstream
Date: 96-08-03
E-mail Ronald
Have a 1974 27 Ft Airstream with Rear Bathroom. I am concerned about the comments that rear bath units of this vintage were prone to break off. Can you give some additional details of this problem and the factory corrective action used to repair. I plan to use additional jack stands under the rear when camping and not travel with the two rear holding tanks full. Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Subj: Re: Rear Bath Airstream

Break off might be a little strong. Droop would be more appropriate. When the second holding tank was added not enough reinforcement was added to hold the extra weight of a full tank bouncing down the road. (Airstreamers take their coaches to some gosh awful places.) It took several years for the problem to show up. The symptom is a wave or ripple in the side sheet metal in front of and behind the wheel wells. The factory designed an add on reinforcing plate to correct the problem. It is a project to put on, doesn't "require" an Airstream dealer, but you do have to be careful.
The added jack stands are of questionable value, can't hurt. Traveling without full holding tanks is a very good idea. Just remember to "fill before you dump".
I had my 1969 Overlander checked out at Airstream service in Jackson Center in 1998. They inspected the frame. The frame was not bent and did not require the Frame Kit. If it was, the frame kit goes around the axle area. It is pictured in the first post.

Another problem is frame separation. This is where the frame separated from the body. Total strength of the unit is compromised. There is another fix for that, where they cut the rear skin and reinforce with triangular steel. I had this done to my coach. Bolts holding body and frame together in rear broke due to rust caused by a leak over the years.

All models are prone to damage due to vibration of out of balance running gear. Just like your car.

Jim
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Old 10-26-2002, 02:15 PM   #65
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Exclamation More revealing Evidence.

Jim thanks for the research.

Is Charlie Burke still contributing? If memory serves me right he was a RV technician, am I correct?

The mention of the wave certainly corresponds with Uwe's referral to it elsewhere in this thread. These are the first references I have seen of a visual clue to the 'Tail Droop'. They should provide an immensely valuable tool in appraising vintage Airstreams.

Do you (or anyone else) know whether the repair kit from Airstream comes with detailed instructions?

Did you see the factory guys inspect your frame? If so how much aluminum did they have to remove? could you describe?
Would you be willing to share the cost of the inspection.


In your example of 'Frame to Shell Separation';
Perhaps this is what is addressed in the Service Bulletin linked above.

What were the indicators that there was a problem?
Did Jackson Center do that work as well?
Cost of repair , if you don't mind?
Did you observe the repair?

thanks
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Old 10-27-2002, 07:07 PM   #66
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Interesting thread!!!

Did I miss somrthing? The Service Bulletin refers to 1969 - 1972 models. Does this separation occur on other years as well? Some have said that it has... Or is there a difference between a little sag of the entire rear end and wholesale separation of the body from the frame?

Thanks to whoever can answer...
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Old 10-27-2002, 07:23 PM   #67
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pj,

I saw the waves in the body on more trailers then I care to remember. Most of them were outside of the 69-72 range. Most of them were older than 69. All of them were longer than Safaris. 22ft.+, if I remember right. I had hundreds of pics, because every trailer I looked at I took pictures of to show my wife. Just recently deleted them - unfortunately. Many of the pictures showed the waves in the aluminum near the wheel wells. Please don't take this as a rule of things, but just as my experience while shopping for airstreams.
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Old 10-27-2002, 09:34 PM   #68
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Hex,

In response to your questions:

I see Charlie post on the VAC and Airstreamlist list serves from time to time. Don't know if he is a member here. I learned a lot from reading his Q&A posts when he did them in 1996 or so when I bought my Overlander.

From what I remember "hearing", I don't think the repair kit from Airstream comes with detailed instructions. One dealer I spoke to about it said it took a lot of drilling, emphasizing the point by saying he went through several drill bits for each job. Charlie gave a fairly detailed instruction on how to do it on the old Airstreamcentral site. I don't think I have that saved (have not found it at least). From what I remember you jack up the trailer and put it on jack stands front and rear, remove the axles, leave it suspended on the jacks at either end over night, install the kit, replace the axles, get them aligned.

The factory guys inspected the frame by having one guy look at the frame just aft of the axles where the frame is exposed through the wheel wells while the other jumped on the rear bumper. They were looking for signs of frame fatigue by watching for movement of the frame and observing the aluminum skin around the wheel wells. With the 1973 - 1976 gray tank problem, the frame actually bent just rear of the wheels. I am sure there are other frame problems that can occur to any year trailer and at any section of the frame, but the specific problem with 1973 to 1976 (or so) trailers had to do with a frame design weakness exposed by the weight of the addition of the grey tank on rear bath models, especially the longer trailers. 1969 was the first year of the "areo stress frame" and body style used throughout the 1970's and early 1980's. That specific problem showed up when they grey tank was added, however, people who put bike racks or other additional weight on the back of their trailers can cause the same problem with other years. Airstream corrected the problem in later years by strengthen the trailer frame.

The inspection was free. I had the trailer at Jackson Center for other work. Based on their inspection result and recommendation, we did not have the frame kit installed. At that time it would have been about $2500 to have them do it. Most of that was labor. The kit itself was $200 - $400.

What I did have them fix was a case of 'Frame to Shell Separation'. It sounds like the same thing in the Service Bulletin above, but they fixed it differently. They cut the skin on either side of the rear trunk door and bolted a triangular steel piece to the trunk door frame and through the body to the trailer frame with over sized bolts. See the attached photo of the aluminum patch over the cut. I don't remember exactly what it cost because I had them do a lot of maintenance type work at the same time. I think it was around $200.

I find that Airstream Service does a good job and are surprisingly reasonably priced.

Jim
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Old 10-27-2002, 10:33 PM   #69
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Saggy Bottom

To everyone who has commented on this thread:

As a potential Airstream owner of either a Bambi 19' or a International AS, do I have to be concerned about the dreaded saggy bottom? Has the Airstream factory and engineers solved any of the balancing, etc. concerns that you people talk about?
Thanks in advance for your already posted information and for any replies to my questions!
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Old 10-27-2002, 11:09 PM   #70
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International AS

I can only tell you that I can tow my AS for hours over good roads and find the place mats and objects left on the table or galley counter still in place. That indicates to me that there is trivial vibration.
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Old 10-28-2002, 12:40 AM   #71
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i am not impressed with my A/S trailer

thanks ANDY!

thank you so much for telling us that "from the factory" airstream trailers didn't have PROPERLY BALANCED brake drums!.....sweet!
if some of us knew that, we might have taken this more seriously.....i, like others figured they were balanced from the factory like automobiles.

air streams ARE trailers and i will refer to mine as a trailer. so what if it says airstream on it. it is no better than any of the others. a company that sells a weak frame or frame that is prone to bend, is nothing to be proud about!. especially if they new about it! you cant tell me that they didn't know about it. yet they still sold them with out a factory equiped repair. and if balancing everything was so important why didn't they balance the brake drums to begin with?...there are all kinds of things wrong with them..... design flaws/parts prices "thats a drop in the bucket for me.....i'm not satisfied if it's any less than top dollar prices"

they are not up to my standards....i wish i would have known some of these thing before i bought mine......all i herd was they are the roles royce and all that CRAP!.......

all the hype about how bad ass airstream trailers are is a buch of crap! airstream should not have the reputation they do.......it is very misleading. if i knew about the frames bending i would of never bought it! that is an extreamely bad design flaw........back in the day they must not have done product testing.

if airstream is the best the travel trailer industry can do they have a long way to go before i'll EVER buy another one!

the austrailians have the closest thing to a real travel trailer..or somthing i would consider buying......
they use 2 ton rated wheel bearings...coil suspension....disc brakes. heavy duty frames...on a small single axle trailer.......the running gear is designed for off road use........with the name air stream has i think they could of built somthing that would at least hold up to highway use. for the price tag they carry now i hope they have redesigned and addressed these problems. if they havn't they need to take some lessons from the australians........

hey hex i feal like a toast
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Old 10-28-2002, 06:39 AM   #72
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Overlander, I think your being unreasonable. I see you have a 1977 model. I have a 1972 model. At this time, I have no issues with my trailer, other than I am contemplating axle replacement. But hey, the darn thing is almost 31 years old! Try and find a 31 year old Jayco, or Shasta, and see what kind of condition it's in. Don't blame Airstream, that is, in my opinion unreasonable. Go over to www.pickuptruck.com, go to any of the forums, pick ANY brand of truck, and you will see and hear people biatching about this and that, pinging engines, poor brakes, short transmission life, you name it. Geez, you would think after all these years of experience "The Big Three" would be making PERFECT vehicles by now, but they don't, and neither does Airstream, Shasta, Newmar, Jayco........The condition of your trailer rests solely with the previous owners, and how they took care of it. If a problem erupts and is not taken care of in a timely manner, it gets worse, until you reach the breaking point, where repairs really become costly, or the thing becomes a pile of junk.
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Old 10-28-2002, 06:46 AM   #73
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Some people

You can please some people some of the time but there are those who will never be pleased.

As I have said before, I think that we should take up a collection and buy the Airstreams from those who are discontented and GIVE them to someone who will appreciate it.

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Old 10-28-2002, 07:59 AM   #74
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factory balancing

I don't mean to add fuel to the current fire, but I was looking at the owner's manual last night for my 75 sovereign and it says that the running gear is dynamically balanced at the factory. It seems to me when anyone buys a piece of equipment that has moving parts that there is risk inherent in using it. If it is used hard it requires more frequent maintenance. If it isn't, then perhaps not as frequent. The point that was made about the condition of the trailers and the care and abuse that they received prior to our ownership hits the nail right on the head. It is unreasonable to think that something 30 years old should remain what it was when it was brand-new without maintenance and repair period.

On the other hand, I think without these lively discussions I would not be learning the things that I have about my AS. So please, let's continue to enjoy ourselves restoring, repairing, and sharing with one another.
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Old 10-28-2002, 02:02 PM   #75
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I need your input here

I need your input here....Thankyou

I just read both pages of this Thread, and with all the input I learned a whole lot. Not just about Airstreams, but about an event that happened to my beloved 300ZX.

I was driving through a construction area and those dimwits had plowed a furrow across the road and did not put up a sign saying BUMP! I was doing about 20 mph (as a guess) and hit the furrow with a slam on both front wheels.

Shortly thereafter, I developed a shimmy in my front wheels.
The following week I brought it down to have the front end aligned as I thought it had been whacked out of balance.

The alignment person said it was toed in a bit, but nothing to worry about. Well, the shimmy continued, on and off, one day occasionally, and other days more severe, and it still goes on, and after reading all the words on this site, I THINK that somehow the drum has been damaged and out of balance...

What do you fine people have to say about this????? What are you thoughts about the shimmy problem? Who
should I contact to get this corrected AT ONCE! I don't want
to damage my car.
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:41 PM   #76
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Sorry Frances but what is this now, Cartalk??
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:55 PM   #77
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Advice from friends

O, Dear...Chas...
Surely you wouldn't deny a tiny bit of the intelligence that
goes on in this Thread for a little advice, when it's really
needed, would you?

The long discourse about the unbalanced drums and the
possibility that my car is suffering the same illness...wouldn't
you say that there's some familiarity there?

Let's say that my "Airstream front end hit a bump like that
and has that problem...." Would that be a better way to
get a bit of advice from 'mechanical minds that know of these
things'...

One thing about these forums...people are GENEROUS with
their advice, and that generosity is MUCH appreciated. If
someone is kind enough to share that advice with me, I
will be ever so pleased. Thank you.
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Old 10-28-2002, 05:10 PM   #78
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Francey,
You might have thrown a wheelweight off due to the impact. Did the guy rebalance the front tires at the same time? If he had, I'm sure he would have noticed a bent rim or been able to tell you that tires were not balanced. I'd take it back and let him know that a problem still exists. If he can't find it, I'd visit another shop.
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Old 10-28-2002, 06:37 PM   #79
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Airstream Quality

Hi overlander,

I think your being harsh regarding your comment

Quote:
so what if it says airstream on it. it is no better than any of the others. a company that sells a weak frame or frame that is prone to bend, is nothing to be proud about!. especially if they new about it!
The frame issue was 30 years ago, resulted from a design change (adding extra tank and corresponding weight) and was correct once it showed up. By the way, back then Airstream had a lifetime warrantee.

My trailer is 33 years old. It is in better shape today than many of my friends with much newer rigs. People with new trailers have lots of problems as well. Read action line in trailer life. Being a mechanical device, things on the Airstream are going to wear out or fail .. eventually. With proper maintenance, they will last longer than most of us will. Aistreams have had their problems through the years, but I am not aware of another brand that has such a large collection of antique vehicles still in routine use that so many of us can spend so much time discussing each problem at great length with so much insight.

Sorry you are unhappy with your coach. They are not all perfect. They are not for everyone. If there is something I or others on the list can help you with, please leave a post. I'd be glad to help if I can.

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Old 10-28-2002, 06:48 PM   #80
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300ZX Airstream front end hit a bump

Quote:
the shimmy continued, on and off, one day occasionally, and other days more severe, and it still goes on,
Did you have the entire front end checked out. Control arms, ball joints, linkages, etc? Sounds like something is loose.

Does the rear end have a droop or sag??

Jim
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