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Old 01-18-2010, 11:07 AM   #181
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All,

Just got the trailer back from North Dallas RV on Friday. It is repaired quite nicely and since mine was there (before Halloween) there were 3 others there for the same repair. I also had some small stuff looked at while it was there and fixed under the Phoenix warranty that came with the trailer. This warranty company is a joke and do not purchase it with your trailer. It has a $100 deductible and only warranties items that should not cost more than $100 to repair. I am glad it was included in my deal.

Airstream seems to have a serious problem here and refuses to own up to it.

Stay tuned for the scale measurements and readings I get from some test equipment. I assume I will see the same results HiHo has. This experience has been a complete beating all the way around and I would definatley steer anyone away from this sort of fun. The info supplied in the Airstream owners documents, as has been said previously, is scant at best when you hear the info that "more experienced" folks have tucked away in their archives.

I have put the trailer away in its garage for a little and don't even want to look at it for a week or so til I can clear my head of the whole sordid ordeal. It really stinks to have something so cool and be so disgusted with it because you got it based on a company's reputation that has seemingly been a ruse. Flame on if you want it is what it is in our eyes at my house.
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:17 PM   #182
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Torsion bars/Equalizer bars/etc. raises the back of the TV and more specifically the angle of the trailer tongue.

The angle of the tongue is what produces the better or worse feel in the ride. Examples:
Angled up would push the rear of the TV in the air during Bump and yank back on Rebound.
Not a good feel.
Level would push the TV straight ahead and yank back during Bump and Rebound. Not a good feel.
Slight (correct) downward angle will transfer a load to TV rear tires and chassis during Bump and Rebound.
Hardly noticeable in cab. Good Feel.
Too much downward angle will transfer the load behind the rear tires of TV during Bump and Rebound. Will see-saw the chassis and make the front end rise up in the air untracking the front tires. I.E. Squirrely. Not a good feel.

Ideally. Have enough TV to support the load at almost level. Use a drop hitch to let it down to the correct slight downward position for a comfortable ride and forget the Band Aide Bars.

Whenever those bars (whatever size) are significantly loaded to raise the back of the TV, the load on the trailer frame is also significant to carry the load the TV had on it. Probably what AS is trying to say.

I use a Hensley for sway (side to side) control. It also has the torsion bars. But I just use the bars to align the hitch during mating and demating. I don’t use them to adjust the load on the TV. They are usually slightly snug if not almost loose during transit.

Rides like a Cadillac.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:28 PM   #183
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Oh, oh. Another misinformed soft-ride advocate.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:36 PM   #184
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Hello DnS,

As you might know this becomes a highly charged discussion. There are just shy of a million threads (stretching that just a bit) on this very topic. I would be interested if after you read a few of the well thought out ones if you would still be under the same opinion. You have a big truck and a heavy trailer. Lots to consider..

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Old 01-18-2010, 05:05 PM   #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnS View Post
.................................................

Rides like a Cadillac.
A Cadillac with bad shocks, I am guessing. Can you steer it? You and I have for these purposes, the same trailer and same tow vehicle. My experience does match yours at all. The only difference is that I have a ProPride hitch. If I let the weight of the tongue rest on the trailer with no equalization, the front of the truck is noticeably and measurably higher that the rear, and it rides like bucking horse. When I add the right amount of equalization to level out the truck and trailer, it rides very nicely. If Raising the rear of your trailer to equalize the load puts the trailer's hitch at an up angle, you have the ball to high to start with.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #186
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The question still is why isn't this more detailed by the manufacturer so that I (since it is all my fault) do not damage my perfectly constructed and engineered travel trailer. If weight distribution is so critical then it should be specified and preferred products stated. Just like the running gear alignment stuff and the other items that are, lets' say, "Airstream experience" related things that are tucked away in some knowledge archive that few get to see and is not included in the published owners manual. I don't think it is good to say "you should have looked it up on the internet" when the info is not on the manufacturers website.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:50 AM   #187
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The question still is why isn't this more detailed by the manufacturer so that I (since it is all my fault) do not damage my perfectly constructed and engineered travel trailer. If weight distribution is so critical then it should be specified and preferred products stated. Just like the running gear alignment stuff and the other items that are, lets' say, "Airstream experience" related things that are tucked away in some knowledge archive that few get to see and is not included in the published owners manual. I don't think it is good to say "you should have looked it up on the internet" when the info is not on the manufacturers website.
If the manufacturers were to spec tow vehicles, the specs I think would be in books, many volumes thick.

If they said Ford, but, no, you want a Chevy, or the other way around.

If they said half ton, no you want 3/4 ton, or the other way around.

If the said 2 wheel drive is ok, no you want 4 wheels drive, or the other way around.

If they said a 3.90 rear end, no you want a 3.55, or the other way around.

If they said regular size cab, no you want an extended cab, or the other way around.

But then you can add Dodge products too, that would add more volumes to the book.

Then what do you do when someone wants to use and older car, that was OK back then, or an old Travelall?

As you can see, dictating or even suggesting a tow vehicle, let alone how it's equipped, would more than likely include many lawsuits, becaue they didn't spec what you wanted to buy, or, you bought what was suggested, but you didn't like it.

Then add to the formula, different size trailers.

All to many if's and's and but's for anyone to stick their neck out for.

Back to reality, your going to more than likely buy what you want anyways, so why bother with any recommendations?

That goes for the trailer, as well as the tow vehicle.

Bottom line, is read and/or observe what others typically do, toss your wants and needs into it, and make your choice.

Where I used the word "your" in the above, it's meant to be in a general way, and not specific to you.

Andy
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:40 AM   #188
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This has certainly been an interesting thread. Lots to think about and obviously lots of different thoughts about it. Fleetwood in at least some of their trailer manuals specify not to tow with anything more stout than a one ton tow vehicle. So, there is some confirmation about discussion regarding too much tow vehicle and not just limited to Airstream. Of course, most RV delivery guys that take the unit from the factory to the dealership use one ton duallys. If that is too much truck, then the trailer has a bad start on life before it ever gets into the hands of the customer.

Go to any RV show and ask the manufacturer reps about why there is nothing in the manual about a specific topic and the answer will usually be that their lawyers just don't want that can of worms opened for liability. Too bad, some owners manuals doen't even have one mention on how to change a tire. Like it will never happen?

I have never seen on any website for any WD hitch anything about how too much hitch spring tension can damage trailers. I would not blame Airstream for not mentioning the tow vehicle/spring bars potential problem. I would blame the industry lawyers because after all if it is mentioned on a website or in a manual, then any problem can be their fault. Too bad our society has let this crap go so far. And just because seven other trailers in the dealers lot were getting the same fix for the same problem, does not mean that there really was a problem as recognized and acknowledged by the factory.

Somebody once said the data shows that Ferrari sells more cars in America than Airstream new trailers. It is not that big a database to track repairs in the first five or ten years on the AS trailers. Then, with that info, the factory could make only improvments, not changes.

Andy's advice is invaluable. He is providing the omitted pieces from the manuals.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:30 PM   #189
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My bottom line: Perhaps, because of the impracticality of a comprehensive tow vehicle guide, the manufacture, instead of ignoring the subject, should take into consideration the variety of towing possibilities by constructing the trailer of sufficient quality to handle most situations. Of course, that would require a quality build, and additional QC. On second thought...
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:56 PM   #190
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Suggesting Airstream specify acceptable tow vehicles is the tail wagging the dog.

Vehicles have tow ratings. Those ratings, and weight distribution bars based on tongue weight are all you need.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:59 PM   #191
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Suggesting Airstream specify acceptable tow vehicles is the tail wagging the dog.

Vehicles have tow ratings. Those ratings, and weight distribution bars based on tongue weight are all you need.
Rather simplistic, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect AS, or any HIGH END manufacturer, to build a trailer to accomodate, or at least acknowledge, a range of tow vehicles.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:50 AM   #192
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Rather simplistic, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect AS, or any HIGH END manufacturer, to build a trailer to accomodate, or at least acknowledge, a range of tow vehicles.
That's still too risky since specific brand names would have be used.

That opens a huge door for any attorney.

If they acknowledged a range as you suggest, then they would also get sucked in to say how you should use it, which obviously is also very important. Then they would have to spec what brand and rating hitch as well as probably what type of brake controller to use.

Not a chance in our life time, I don't think.

I agree, it would be nice, but unfortunately, it also carries a huge liability.

Andy
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:47 AM   #193
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Skin cracked again

I had my trailer repaired at JC last year for the cracks in the skin on both sides of the compartment. I recently noticed it was cracked again only on the left side so far. I have put about 4000 miles on the trailer since it was repaired. I have done everything "right" 600lb bars properly set up etc. I have contacted JC to see what they are going to do about it this time. Waiting to hear from them.
What needs to be done now? Was it fixed properly in the first place? What happens to the trailer if you don't fix the cracks?
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:34 AM   #194
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I had my trailer repaired at JC last year for the cracks in the skin on both sides of the compartment. I recently noticed it was cracked again only on the left side so far. I have put about 4000 miles on the trailer since it was repaired. I have done everything "right" 600lb bars properly set up etc....


What needs to be done now? Was it fixed properly in the first place? What happens to the trailer if you don't fix the cracks?
sad to read, but at least back on topic.

only 4k miles, gesus louise.

HOW was it fixed last time (tie down plate, new skin, patches/ears?)

it would appear the front cargo/bay door is STILL there?

for some, the fix has involved REMOVING that door and using solid skin as a replacement across the front AND a tie down plate.
___________

don't hold your breath on j/c, it's OUT of warranty now right?

or did u get one of those double secret extended repair/warranty promises from a boss...?
___________

thanks for posting and keep us updated on the outcome.

withOUT fixing, water intrusion and further instability at the front may extend the issues...

cheers
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:01 AM   #195
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I had my trailer repaired at JC last year for the cracks in the skin on both sides of the compartment. I recently noticed it was cracked again only on the left side so far. I have put about 4000 miles on the trailer since it was repaired. I have done everything "right" 600lb bars properly set up etc. I have contacted JC to see what they are going to do about it this time. Waiting to hear from them.
What needs to be done now? Was it fixed properly in the first place? What happens to the trailer if you don't fix the cracks?
The cracks will continue to grow if you don't fix it.

One fix is use heavier sheetmetal or a double panel.

From your photo, there is a very clear view of the rub rail. The breaking of the bead of sealer suggests excessive vertical movement.

The 3/16 pop rivet should not have been used, especially since the one that's shown, has not been properly sealed.

What kind of tow vehicle do you have, and what rating rear end springs does it have?

Andy
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:21 AM   #196
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I agree, AS should make the trailers a little more stout and able to be towed with most anything one ton and under. But, we also need to remember that for the first 40 or 50 years they were mostly pulled with cars and station wagens. Both had very soft suspension compared to a dually pickup today. In the last thirty years there has been a huge shift in tow vehicles, it is time that consideration for 'mating' for use with stout TV's be done with the trailers. Build them to be towed by what people want to tow them with, not what they towed them with in the 1950's. Some RV TT manufacturers are using 10 inch tongues/frames for a 31 foot TT. I strongly suspect there are little to zero frame flex/body integrity issues with those. It would be interesting to see how much flex and resultant body integrity problems are occuring with the 34 foot AS toy hauler. For the Pan America to be able to handle two big 900 pound road bikes in the rear, it has to have more frame and more suspension than anything ever made by AS. If it doesn't, there will be problems. I hope it is built right. AS lives too much in the past. It spends too much of its advertising brochure about yesteryear. Maybe this forum is a good reality check to them that it IS time to fast forward many years and respond to the real needs today. Not just what was so great many years ago.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:39 AM   #197
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Cracks on shorter trailers?

I've read the majority of the posts in this thread, and didn't notice anyone with problems who was towing a TT in the 19-25 ft range. Am I right about this, and is it an issue that I need to be concerned about, assuming I have followed the guidelines on hitch adjustment in other forums?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:48 AM   #198
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Keep in mind that the crack is not the problem. It's a symptom. It tells you the front end is flexing. That brings up two questions:

1) Is this flexing really a problem? We may not know for sure until a batch of trailers with this same issue (including mine) get older. It may be limited to a cosmetic crack, or it could be symptomatic of an eventual "front separation" problem.

2) What causes the flexing? As you will see if you search some threads on this forum, many theories have been advanced, but nobody seems to know for sure. A few theories I've heard:
  • too-stiff tow vehicle suspension, causing shock transfer to the trailer
  • owner mis-use: scraping the rear end of a long trailer transfers stress to the front
  • inadequate design: not enough stiffening/bracing between body and frame in front
  • inadequate design: compartment door too large in front
I wouldn't rush to conclusions.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:03 AM   #199
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What is amazing about this thread is that the side door is substantially more solid than most RV doors and the AS with slides have massive amounts of aluminum to support that slide and from all appearances is far better engineered and built than slides on other TT's. So, with all that aluminum structure, how can something as important as the frame and tongue be underbuilt?
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:20 AM   #200
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i'm no engineer, but....

IF these streams were truly unibody (or semi monocoque)...

the frame (after bonding to the shell) shouldn't FLEX.

it's fine to suggest the frame flexes before assembly but AFTER the floor and shell are completely attached...

that flexing should essential STOP or should be a TINY movement.

UNLESS specific fasteners or attachment methods are used to allow flexing along the length,

and that's NOT how a/s does it.

the shell/floor/frame is SUPPOSED to be an example of a unibody/semimoncoque assembly.

it really isn't and if you read the a/s literature they're careful about HOW that phrase is used in the corporate print.
___________

so given the current build practice, movement of the frame at the PERIMETER results in rivet or skin or SHELL stresses...

and we see the results as cracks (in a lot of locations), front end separation, skin bulges and so on....
_________

with my unit, PARKED on the A frame tongue jack there was a tiny bit of A frame flex...

moving the support point just a FEW INCHES forward to the CUP/BALL resulted in so MUCH FLEX...

that the lower front skin panels bulged OUT like a goiter...

so much that the skin bulges BLOCKed opening the A frame battery box door.

that's with NO HITCH, NO MOVEMENT, NO TRAVEL and regardless of tv....

just putting the A frame ON the ball caused excessive flex.
____________

what was the company fix?

a/s removed the lower beltline trim, drilled out the rivets and let the frame flex UP under the front skin...

then they TRIMMED skin away and using metal SCREWS reattached the trimmed skin to the floor channel/A frame in the FLEXED position...

which means that while ON the ball the front skin/channel/frame is relatively unstressed now...

but NOW when just on the tongue jack/A frame those METAL SCREWS are S T R E T C H I N G the skin and holes...
___________

so the problem is obvious

1. a/s are NOT unibody or even CLOSE to semi monocoque anymore...
2. the A frame (and front frame) is not sufficiently stiff to support the FACTORY TONGUE mass
3. the tongue mass is TOO HEAVY for the current frame (my tongue is STOCK/factory loaded,nothing extra)/shell junction.

we KNOW they stopped using the 'tie down plate' years ago...

and those older trailers WITHOUT it are coming apart AT the front...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-35237.html

combine the LACK of a hold down plate with a wimpy frame and brittle skin with FEWER rivets...

it IS a mess and has NOTHING to do with the tow vehicle...

PARKED and NOT MOVING and NOT VIBRATING and NOT w/d bar stressed....

the front ends have issues.

actually USE the trailer as intended (for travel) and those issue are MAGNIFIED and exposed.
________

my guess is that ANY trailer with a tongue mass over 700 or 800 lbs has this issue...

LIGHTER tongue masses may not have this issue

and SLIDE models have had the FRAMES beefed up to support the extra weight.
________

putting the blame on owners (hitches, tow vehicles, abuse)...

is like toyota suggesting floor mats are the issue...

cheers
2air'
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