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Old 10-26-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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Airstream not any different than the others

Well come to find out all of that "wonderful customer service" talk is just that. TALK. I have an 07' model trailer with stress cracikng around the front compartment due to bad design and construction and Airstream says it is not there issue. My repair center has another trailer there same year and model with the same issue and Airstream has pretty much turned their nose up at the repair as if it is something that I did to the trailer. I have a call into Airstream Customer Support to hear it direct from them and will keep you all informed. So far 2 thumbs down for these guys. I thought the extra expense bought me a more stand up company...doesn't look that way at all. It appears to have been just a name. What a shame.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
Well come to find out all of that "wonderful customer service" talk is just that. TALK. I have an 07' model trailer with stress cracikng around the front compartment due to bad design and construction and Airstream says it is not there issue. My repair center has another trailer there same year and model with the same issue and Airstream has pretty much turned their nose up at the repair as if it is something that I did to the trailer. I have a call into Airstream Customer Support to hear it direct from them and will keep you all informed. So far 2 thumbs down for these guys. I thought the extra expense bought me a more stand up company...doesn't look that way at all. It appears to have been just a name. What a shame.
Those stress cracks usually come from excessive rated tow vehicles and/or excessive rated torsion bars.

You can add to the list lack of proper running gear balance.

Any one or more of the above will cause that problem.

It appears that Airstream has taken the stance of "improper rigging or inadequate PM".

What exact TV do you have as exactly what hitch and the torsion bar rating? Is your running gear properly balanced?

Andy
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
...I have an 07' model trailer with stress cracikng around the front compartment due to bad design and construction and Airstream says it is not there issue...
hi krazy

u r correct to conclude this was/is a design/construction issue.

and cracks around the compartment openings, doors, window frames and so on, are WIDELY experienced.

only NOW are we owners able to share these issues and product support experiences.

and learn about solutions and share fixes.

this is much better than the daze when BS from a vendor/dealer or manufacturer might confuse or smother an owner...
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POST some photos if u have them...

awareness of THIS ISSUE is a good thing for ALL here.
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are you out of warranty?

imo 2 years of structural warranty is a joke.

and suggests a/s no longer believes they are building units to last even ONE GENERATION.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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I need to post the pictures I have. The biggest issue to this problem is the fact that anyone who has dealt with sheet metal knows a 90 degree inside corner is destined to crack. This is the only opening on the outside that is square inside corners.

The tow rig and rigging qualifications is not mentioned in any of the owners literature nor was it discussed prior to purchase or after. I tow with a two wheel drive crew cab ford diesel shortbed and use the Curt WDH & trunnion type bars. They are set up so that the trailer is flat and level as it says to do in the instructions. The hitch is rated up to 1200 lbs of distributing capacity. As the tongue weight of the trailer is around 770 lbs which is 64% of the capacity of the bars I would think I am safe with these.

I am not buying into the tow rig and hitch thing either nor is the Authorized repair center that I am dealing with. If the trailer was 10 years old that is one thing. But it was purchase in October of 06' give me a break!
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:48 PM   #5
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If you are using 1200lb bars, there is your likely reason for the cracks. Andy will probably chime in and tell you you need to be using 600lb bars with that truck.
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Andy' with all of this talk about facts, I wonder if Airstream is sharing any of these facts with the end-users. Is there any recommendation put forth by AS as to hitching and what constitutes over-hitching.
If they have a guideline and nobody is told about it, does it really exist?
I would think it would be PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED, to prevent what the OP of this thread is now dealing with.
If the answer is that there are too many variables with tow vehicles and hitches to come up with a comprehensive way to deal with the subject, Then Airstream must not have the critical information themselves. How can they say it's over-hitched if there is no guideline.
Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
...The tow rig and rigging qualifications is not mentioned in any of the owners literature nor was it discussed prior to purchase or after...

...I am not buying into the tow rig and hitch thing either nor is the Authorized repair center that I am dealing with...
correct on both accounts.

and while the square vs rounded corner cuts may be PART of the issue...

cracks have been found at the rounded main entry door top and in other places.

some of the structural/construction changes that are responsible are covered here...

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

take home messsage...

more brittle skins, fewer rivets, less connection to the frame, under rated frames....

and TOOOOO many opening cut into the egg shell shell
...

for example the wrap windows and entry door are major elements in weaking the shell to torsional stress.
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blaming the owner is like blaming the beaten spouse for provoking the cowardice mate who does the beating.

and it is surprising how many will buy into the 'it's your fault' nonsense for both issues.
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there are ~20 posts in the bunkhouse thread on these cracks...

many different towing vehicles include midsize suvs that barely adequate for a 30 footer...

and folks with air auto leveling suspensions and centramatic wheel balancers on the trailers...

starting with post 38/39 here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/325347-post38.html

but continued in posts 119,121, 124-129, 135, 155-161, 172, 189, 260, 314 and on...

here are some pics of one repair style, where the door is REMOVED infavor of solid skin...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/383329-post147.html

another photo with repair here (stop drill hole and sealant)...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/616506-post314.html

and another here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/384557-post153.html
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the only thing ALL oh these units have in common is USEAGE.

2 avoid the issue, buy a stream and park it.

are you out of warranty coverage krazy?

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:58 PM   #8
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Wasn't this topic mentioned in the two - way discussion with Airstream marketing? Along with frame failure, corrosion etc...
Still waiting for the nuts and bolts response.
I cant comment on the over hitching since I tow with a dump truck but one would think that a well designed concept should handle some bouncing around.
IMHO this 07' Safari should give years of service without risk of cracking and in the unlikely event this happens... the dealer steps up with support from the factory to make it right.

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Old 10-26-2009, 05:00 PM   #9
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Yes I am out of my warranty. I am at home and will be going through my owners materials promptly and hopefully will get my pictures up quickly thereafter. I spoke to one of my engineers and he stated that if the aluminum alloy and heat treat of said alloy is not one of the more durable types then this would occur. Furthermore if the skin was not QA/QC'd for it to meet that alloy and heat treat criteria then it could be a vendor problem supplying the wrong material or inadequate material for its usage.

Andy, I do not mean any disrespect, but that is a bit quick to push the blame on the owner.

About the hitching stuff. Here is some quick ciphering I did 770 lbs is 64% of the 1200 lb bar rating. The bars have 11 links of chain on them for adjustment. If I am using the 7th link in the chain that should be roughly 63.6% of the bars capacity. At this position the truck and trailer seem to ride the best together. The trailer is level and the trucks ride is compliant and responsive. If my logic is out of reason please someone help me here I am trying to learn since my dealer seems to have not educated me properly to the "Airstream way." This was supposed to be a travel trailer not a sit and look at trailer.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:26 PM   #10
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Your Calculations are Off Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
The bars have 11 links of chain on them for adjustment. If I am using the 7th link in the chain that should be roughly 63.6% of the bars capacity.
This is not necessarily an accurate method of calculating the load. I suspect the first few links of your chain would not transfer any weight. The angle of the hitch head is also a significant factor. In addition, you're considering the design value for tongue weight but the actual tongue weight may vary depending on your load distribution.

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Old 10-26-2009, 06:57 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear about your issues with your Airstream. The newer Airstreams don't seem to be built as well as some of the older models. Today it seems that they are very much overpriced for what you get. A lot of times what you get is a poorly put together product that looks great until you start looking closely and actually using it. I always joke that there should be a sticker on the newer Airstreams saying " Some assembly ( or re-assembly) required" Sad but true.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #12
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hi krazy

If that 770 lb figure is the factory spec for the tongue, don't rely on it.

that is NOT your trailer, just a representative example of an EMPTY base 27.

the a/s estimate does NOT include lp gas (another 60lbs), may not include the spare tire...

and doesn't include ANY options or personal gear.

also if u haven't weighed the trailer and tv axles, your w/d is just an estimate.

it might be a GREAT ESTIMATE and combined with driver feedback and 'level' measurements very close to perfect.

regardless, it has NOTHING to do with the cracking.

all hitch types and with bars of many ratings and with misc tow vehicles are connected to trailerz with CRACKS.
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IF the tolerances for hitching are so narrow that bar selection or adjustment causes this, then again THAT is an a/s design/build issue.

this about it this way,

1. after hookup and before tensioning the w/d bars there is basically NO torsional stress on the shell or frame (but there is some 'flex stress')

2. then the owner tightens JUST ONE SIDE (one bar) which creates SOME torsional stress on both frame and shell and increases flex stress.

3. only after the other w/d bar is tightened does this rotational stress get back to ~ equal on each side, but with greater flex stress.

4. so to AVOID undue torsional stress one would need to tighten EACH BAR in tiny increments, alternating side2side...

how silly would that be?

5. now the owner drives off and the torsional AND flex forces are in CONSTANT flux, as the road surface twists, dips, crowns and so on....

6. now add braking, wind, turns, acceleration, high freq vibrations, undulations, potholes, and so on...

these units need to able to WITHSTAND flex and torsion far beyond the w/d bar rating.

and the multiple reports of cracks suggest they are NOT capable of doing this.

7. it is possible to SEE the A frame flex and the frame twist withOUT driving one foot.
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the frame and shell need to be capable of withstanding TRAVEL or they should deliver them without axles and wheels.

the streams have gotten progressively heavier and wider and have MORE holes cut into the shell.

while at the same time a/s has REMOVED parts or reduced the strength of the structural elements.

the problem has got nothing 2 do with hitches or tow vehicles or tire pressures or wheel balance or how much cheese is in the fridge.
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best of luck with the repair, looking forward to the photoz.

and it is a HUGE MISTAKE for a/s the company to NOT cover this and provide relief to you or other current owners.

at 35 you could be a LONG TIME customer or 1 timer.

and what a/s does with CRACKS like this, largely dictates which path U and other young buyers will follow.

future/potential buyers and current owners are ALL listening now and a/s can't stop the chatter.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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The 1200 lb bars are wrong, you should IMO be using smaller bars as near to 770 as you can.

You do not calulate any % off a rated bar.

Call your hitch maker or Reese to get their input.

Ask them if using a stiffer bar translates extra shock to the trailer
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:53 PM   #14
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I guess I need to put the pics on some sort of website then post a link to them. Arghhh! I read all through the owners literature on the trailer and no where does it give you any load requirements on the WDH bars. It does give you hitch heights which is the same as the hitch manufacturers instructions that I followed. Sorry all I am not buying the hitch being too stiff as the problem. Does anyone know the alloy and heat treat for the skin on these trailers? (ex. 6061 T6, 2023 T5, etc.)
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
I guess I need to put the pics on some sort of website then post a link to them. Arghhh! I read all through the owners literature on the trailer and no where does it give you any load requirements on the WDH bars. It does give you hitch heights which is the same as the hitch manufacturers instructions that I followed. Sorry all I am not buying the hitch being too stiff as the problem. Does anyone know the alloy and heat treat for the skin on these trailers? (ex. 6061 T6, 2023 T5, etc.)
krazyjohnny,

You can post pictures in the thread. Go down to manage attachments when you compose your post and upload the pictures.

Bill
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
I guess I need to put the pics on some sort of website then post a link to them. Arghhh! I read all through the owners literature on the trailer and no where does it give you any load requirements on the WDH bars. It does give you hitch heights which is the same as the hitch manufacturers instructions that I followed. Sorry all I am not buying the hitch being too stiff as the problem. Does anyone know the alloy and heat treat for the skin on these trailers? (ex. 6061 T6, 2023 T5, etc.)
This will help with the photos.

How to add photos to a post
  • When creating a thread or posting a reply, scroll down below the text box to the 'Additional Options' area.
  • Click "Manage attachments." A separate window will pop up.
  • Click "Browse." Then select the file from your computer to be uploaded. Be sure that the photo is appropriately sized. 1600 x 1600 pixels (or smaller) and no more than 3 Meg. Forums software will automatically reduce the size, but smaller size photos will upload much faster. You may select several photos to upload at the same time by repeating the last step.
  • Click "Upload." After pics have loaded close the pop-up window
  • Complete your post. Click "submit reply" to mount the text of your message - photos will automatically appear at the bottom of your post.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
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no where does it give you any load requirements on the WDH bars.
Really!

What do you call tongue weight?

What other reason would you need to know that?
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:11 PM   #18
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Andy advised me to buy the Reese Dual-Cam system with 800lbs bars for my '94 30' Excella. I hitch it on link 6, and that seems to work well, and it's not beating the fool out of the trailer.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:08 PM   #19
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Failure in design.

Hi, you already have been given tons of information on causes and explanations of how and why Etc. Etc. Etc. So I will add a little more of my opinion. First off, Airstream has no business making square corners on something that flexes as much as these trailers do. I don't know about your deal/or dealer, but my dealer made the connections and hitch decissions when I was there to pick up my new trailer. If your tow vehicle is too, whatever, your dealer should have informed you. [heavy, light, weak, unsafe, under rated, over rated, wrong color Etc.] This goes for your hitch too if it wasn't part of your purchasing deal. [you brought your own hitch] Many of the things mentioned will accellerate the dammage of the square box, but the defect was built in. A square box frame would last longer if it were made from a single, seamless, billet, or one piece stamped out hardened Aluminum such as used on Aluminum body Grumman Olson trucks.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:19 AM   #20
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Trailer damages.

Airstream, Ford, GM, or whoever, sell you a product, period.

How you use it, is up to you, the owner.

It's always the owner's responsibilty, to learn the if's, and's and but's.

That is part of what this Forum is all about, at least pertaining to Airstreaming.

If any owner wishes to take a different avenue about rigging, as an example, that is solely their choice.

There is an abundant number of posts, that state when they reduced the rating of the torsion bars the rough ride stopped and the control improved.

The test is simple. When hooked up ready for travel, jump up and down on the coupler. That should make the coupler move vertically a couple of inches.

IF NOT your rigging is excessive, be it the torsion bar rating and/or the tow vehicle

Airstream and Argosy trailers are made to have a soft ride. Violate that, and your trailer WILL experience damages, as well as not being adequately stable.

If any owner, wishes to disagree with that, that then is their business and loss of happy Airstreaming.

Many folks have stated what should be done, yet others all blame Airstream, because of their unwillingness to listen to "FACTS", not personal opinions.

Yes, even Reese will say the a large Airstream, based on their chart, should have a 1200 pound hitch.

The news is, that Reese, nor any other hitch manufacturer, has "EVER" repeat "EVER" tested their published suggestions, by using what they profess, on an Airstream.

Therefore the only conclusion that can be made, is until they do that, they are in no position to spec out any ratings for their hitches, for Airstreaming.

Loss of control accidents are caused over 80 percent of the time, by improper rigging and/or rear end suspension modifications. That is "FACT" based on extensive examinations and testing of over 1000 (one thousand) loss of control accidents, specifically when towing an Airstream or Argosy.

If you want to believe that, then fine. If you wish to "NOT" believe it, then the problem is all yours, no one elses.

An additional fact is that when an Airstream or Argosy trailer becomes damaged, other than from a "sudden, accidental and direct" cause, your insurance company will always decline coverage for long term damage.

Ignoring the facts, being stubborn, not listening to good advice, listening to a personal opinion that's wrong, is all a person's choices.

Blaming Airstream, is "NOT" the problem, nor the answer.

Hundreds of owners with new trailers are not having the "fatigue" problem, so why the few????

Ah yes, Airstream service departments love customers who damage their trailers, thru misuse. It's great for their bottom line.

Opinions are just that.

Facts are facts that can be demonstrated and proven, at least to those who choose to, for once, listen.

Physics are Physics. When they are violated, negative results step forward.

We all went to school to learn. I was always taught, that learning is a life long "good" thing to do.

Unfortunately, there are some that disagree with that, especially when it comes to Airstreaming.

And so it is.

Andy
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