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Old 12-02-2006, 10:14 PM   #1
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Question Weight: now vs then

What is the reason for the large weight difference between current AS and the vintage model? I've noticed that the older trailers seem to weigh significantly less than the new one's. Why is this??
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:46 PM   #2
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Corian counters, big mirrors, more windows, wide bodies, bigger tanks, air conditioners, beefier frames? A pound here and there; eventually it all adds up.
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Old 12-03-2006, 12:03 AM   #3
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It takes man hours and considerable and thoughtful effort to keep weight down during construction. I guess that's one of the reasons planes cost so much. Anyway, we seem willing to put up with it and buy bigger and bigger tow vehicles.
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Old 12-03-2006, 12:53 AM   #4
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Anyway, we seem willing to put up with it and buy bigger and bigger tow vehicles.
Yeah, and I thought 'we' are supposed to be conserving our environment. I have a big '71 Buick to tow my '66 Tradewind. The cars then were made for working. Today even tho I believe automotive technology is much better it still takes brute power to pull the new trailers.
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Old 12-03-2006, 01:06 AM   #5
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A "big" car these days, the Ford Crown Vic/Mercury Gran Marquis/Lincoln Town Car, is only rated to tow 1,500 pounds maximum. No wonder the top 3 selling "cars" in the US are the Ford F-series, GM C/K series, and the Dodge Ram.
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Old 12-03-2006, 03:47 AM   #6
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As a weight comparison, my '59 TradeWind at 24' came from the factory dry rated under 3100 pounds. Friend of mine has a 2000 25' model and it weighs over 7000. That last foot must be really heavy.

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Old 12-03-2006, 05:55 AM   #7
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Interesting....I had assumed that airstream went to heaver gauge alluminum or more steel and wood in the frame and floor. Sounds like the weight increase is more due to the extra ammenties than the base constuction of the AS.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outthere
Interesting....I had assumed that airstream went to heaver gauge alluminum or more steel and wood in the frame and floor. Sounds like the weight increase is more due to the extra ammenties than the base constuction of the AS.
Greeting all- Outthere, just a freindly word, one of the wonderful things about our Airstreams is that there is no wood in the frame. Yes, the base floor but none is used anywhere else for the frame construction. Everyone has made exacting comments about why heavier now. You want your comforts but you want to pack it into a VW? No, as long as we as Airstream owners, campers on the road want mircowaves, coffee, hot showers we will be packing on the weight! I for one want both worlds, hence a modern AS and a vintage!
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
Corian counters, big mirrors, more windows, wide bodies, bigger tanks, air conditioners, beefier frames? A pound here and there; eventually it all adds up.
That about sums it up! Also the interior woods appear to be more substantial, solid oak cabinet frames etc. I think the wide body is also a major contributor.

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Old 12-03-2006, 07:31 AM   #10
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Add a slide out and see the step change in weight.
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:09 AM   #11
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Get thee to a rally and you'll see Airstreams from several decades. You'll see a lot lighter frames until they addressed the rear end separation problem (some in the 70s, more in the 80s). Wide bodies came along in ... 1993? 1994?

The wood veneer interiors of the 50s & 60s are nice in photos but flimsy in person. The attitude toward cabinetmaking changed into, "There's nothing that can't be solved with another sheet of 5/8" plywood." Some of the plywood is supposed to be lighter core but it sure looks like the normal stuff.
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
That about sums it up! Also the interior woods appear to be more substantial, solid oak cabinet frames etc. I think the wide body is also a major contributor.

Aaron
Agreed.

Anyone else hear the rumor of the Arosgy or aspects of the Argosy line making it back into production trailers?
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:14 AM   #13
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The Safari model (sans: oak cabinets, corian counter tops ) should be a bit lighter, if you want to make it easier on the truck.
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:08 AM   #14
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Two comments: 1) The older trailer "advertised" weights were without any options. The '70s owner's manuals had several pages devoted to calculating trailer weights that included the additional weights of added options. If one took the time to calculte weight with options then drove the trailer to a scale and got the actual weight, something closer to the truth would be found. 2) Newer trailers include many things as standard equipment that were previously options (larger tanks, AC, M/O, BAL jacks, etc) all of which affects weight. Interior cabinetry does appear to be heavier than that of the '60s trailers with wood cabinetry, but after having several of the older trailers, I much prefer their quality over the new. The aluminum framed laminate interiors of the 70s were an attempt at weight control but didn't do much for appearance or durability. The weight tags on the newer trailers can be deceiving. GVW weights are prominately stamped and some may read those weights as the actual weight of the trailer. Best advice is to drive the trailer to a scale and get an actual weight. If you really want to scare yourself, empty the trailer of all liquids and personal gear - weigh the empty trailer - then re-pack, add liquids and weigh again. You may reconsider the necessity of taking everything with you! Darol
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Old 12-03-2006, 11:13 AM   #15
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Weight begets weight.

The big change came with holding tanks. Once you start carrying water and waste you not only have the weight of the tanks, but also their supporting structures and the rather considerable weight of the water itself (about eight pounds to the gallon - 30 gal. = 240 lbs.)

But there is more. More weight turns out to require a heavier frame - as Airstream found in the late 70's. More weight also requires heavier axles and tires, themselves being heavier as well.

And, as noted, there are the ammenities. Airconditioning, microwaves, charger/converters, forced air furnace, solid wood cabinets, and on and on.

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Old 12-03-2006, 11:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anholman
Anyway, we seem willing to put up with it and buy bigger and bigger tow vehicles.
Quote:
Yeah, and I thought 'we' are supposed to be conserving our environment. I have a big '71 Buick to tow my '66 Tradewind. The cars then were made for working. Today even tho I believe automotive technology is much better it still takes brute power to pull the new trailers.
Neil.
I as well use an old car to tow my trailer Neil. I grenaded the optional Trail Blazer as it was a pig on gas when pulling the trailer and when just commuting (that new inline 6 of GM's was a big disappointment to us) and I am on the prowl for just the right replacement truck for when the '57 is not the right vehicle to use. As noted by others, by the time you add your large fridge, TV, A/C, power jacks, microwave etc necessities to survive today, and then load all the things we each think we need on our "simple" camping outings the trailers get pretty darned heavy. I'm certainly guilty of taking a vintage light weight and adding the luxuries . But it sure is fun "roughing it" this way.

Barry
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:03 PM   #17
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For heaven sakes folks...don't complain about the weight. Someone from Airstream might just be reading these posts?????? Remember something about making them light. The lighter they make them the less quality you have. If you don't agree with that talk to the designers. With the materials availible to them quality equals wieght with a BIG emphasis on PRICE control at the same time. There are lighter ways to make these trailers...but the price would blow you away. Composit materials are very very exspensive.

And as to pulling your tailer with an 71" buick and being more enviormentally friendly? I dont' think so. The emissions from a V-10 Ford truck is many many times less then the buick. And pulling your AS would probably get better fuel milage. I will never forget my father pulling a 23 foot trailer with a 1968 Ford stationwagon. Empty was a strong ...lol...13 miles per gallon...pulling and I will never forget this......8 mpg. May people in this forum pull new AS with new trucks and get 10-12 pulling with much much cleaner emmions than years past.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:12 PM   #18
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Modern con's vs 60's con's veniences that is...

they had awnings

they had AC's - that blew cold not look warm

they had ceiling fans - that sucked the air out in 10 seconds flat!

they had the beautiful veneer - but strudy press board to make them durable

they had bags of storage (you just have to bend over) a novel idea when camping

they had torsion axles with 12inch brakes -

aluminum wheels are lighter than steel so not much savings there -with exception of t in the old days many longer trailers had single axles opposed to dual

they had fresh water tanks - water in water out (on the ground or into another tank) so where is the extra weight there? Most do not travel with tanks black or grey full anyway so that is only sitting weight at the best of time.

I would guess that it is the longer wider counterparts and as pointed out base weight NO options for the older trailers giving a false weight to use as a comparison. Dual battery, solar power extras, solid oak cabinet facings. The cabinet frames in both our early 60 and late 60's where made with oak. Bigger black tank, bigger fresh water tanks. Glass shower/bath doors instead of curtains.

Plywood vs particle board sub floor weight comparison???

More of the things we really do not need but just have to have or have come to expect!

To say the Quality is better with heavier - hmm I don't think so. Look behind the scenes of a 50's which is better than the 60's. The 70's is basically plastic and light weight materials that were alot cleaner behind the scenes (modual systems). Now take a look behind the scenes of 2000+ what the hell is holding this fancy stuff together - staples! - not much! There is a lot of press board (heavy stuff in CCD's and Safaris) even today - and that really is not expensive - just recycled sawdust...from all the heavy cabinet facings used in the Classics

More complicated windows, frames, hardware and the bigger appliances - that today do not last half as long as the 50's and 60's did - we live in a disposable world....

Just my take on how we have all got heavier over the years.

Simple equation - 17' x 7' (body of a 26' 1961 Overlander) = 119 square feet / 3750# dry weight listed = 31.5 pounds per sqft.

1 foot wider = 17 square more feet x 31.5 pounds = 535pounds plus a few items like Awning 110# + A/C 100# and we are already up to 750# not too mention all the other items mentioned above - like everyone says here they add up real quick.

Especially when gas economy on a v6 vs v8 as well as cargo weight is at best 500# for most trailers....why we can reach that in just Canadian Ice

Just our take on the difference between the old and the new - but we would take any Airstream over an SOB because of looks alone!
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