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Old 03-08-2021, 09:58 AM   #1
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2017 Basecamp
Preston , Washington
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Exclamation !!! My airconditoner fell off !!!

Wow, it just fell off with no warning while on Hwy 247 just south of Barstow CA. Fortunately traffic was light and it didn't hit another car. Wow. I didn't even know it fell off until a car came next to me and waved us down to let us know "something big" fell off the camper.

We turned around a retrieved it off the side of the road. I don't know if it's salvageable or not.

Is this a common problem? Design flaw? I never heard of such a thing happening.

Warning to others..... there are four bolts that hold the AC to the roof. All four of mine were sheered off. I doubt they all broke at once so had I known I would have inspected mine from time to time. Check your bolts! It's easy, you can see them through the side grills with a flashlight. It's easier the first time to remove the grill and filter and look in to find them. Make sure they are secure and not broken.

So, what next? I don't know if this is an insurance claim, warranty?? (2017 BC-16). Should I even try to fix it??? I've never actually used the AC and probably never would.

Whew, I'm really glad nobody got hurt. This could have been really bad.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:26 AM   #2
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Glad no one was hurt.

Take pictures of everything, call your insurance company, look at your warranty information to see if it is covered and go from there.

Good luck,

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Old 03-09-2021, 07:33 AM   #3
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It seems that this is not uncommon with the Basecamp, there have been at least two others reported here, one of them never knew it was gone till they arrived at their destination. Be sure to Google this so you will be armed with more information in determining who will pay for it based on a possible defect with this particular model.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:39 AM   #4
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Wow, that's pretty scary.
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:53 AM   #5
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Northern , Illinois
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Wow. This is pretty serious. In addition to alerting your insurance carrier, Airstream, etc., you might also consider filing a complaint with the NHTSA since it happened on the expressway and could have injured other motorists. Evidently, this isn’t the first time it happened. If this is widespread, you might be looking at a recall. https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:25 AM   #6
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If the bolts are sheared off, it almost sounds like you went under a bridge too low. Given that it's a BaseCamp, that scenario would be hard to believe BUT - given that it's a Basecamp, perhaps the owners - adventurers that they must be - tried to take it into a low clearance situation? There is a video on YouTube that shows RV after RV going under a low clearance bridge that scrapes off their AC units without the drivers being aware of it. Okay, Okay, I'm done. Bottom line: I would absolutely file with insurance company for repair.
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Old 03-20-2021, 02:47 PM   #7
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AC Bolt size?

I was thinking of replacing the bolts (and nuts, if applicable) with new hardened or stainless steel ones. Does anyone know the size(s) of the hardware so I can avoid a trip to the hardware store after taking it apart and before putting it back together?

Hitting a bridge would cause pretty obvious damage to the AC enclosure, I would think.

If there was no obvious damage to the front/top of the unit (though of course impact with the ground might have obscured previous damage) I would think the more likely causes would be

a) over-tightening by the installer (factory or dealer as applicable)

b) rust (depending on bolt material and geometry -- I haven't looked)
,
or
c) substandard or inappropriately specified bolts and/or nuts .
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Old 03-20-2021, 05:43 PM   #8
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!!!Info from Airxcel Installation Manual on bolts shearing!!!

I looked at the installation manual that came with the AC unit factory installed on our 2019 Basecamp. The following jumped out:

"If the air conditioner is being installed on a low friction roof
surface such as aluminum, steel or gelcoat fiberglass, it is
advisable to order a spring pad kit, part number 8333-3871 to
add “spring pads” to maintain bolt tension and retard lateral
motion of the air conditioner which could shear the mounting
bolts."

"If the air conditioner is being installed subject to heavy lateral
loads, it is advisable to order a “Roughneck” gasket/bolt
package, part number 48207-3301 to maintain bolt tension,
prevent lateral movement of the air conditioner and guard
against bolt shear."

Here is a link to an online version of the installation manual.

https://www.airxcel.com/docs/default...sn=d0a90e6b_10

Since the Basecamp has a smooth roof and since the Basecamp is intended for off-road use it would seem that per the manufacturer BOTH the "spring pad kit #8333-3871" AND the "'Roughneck gasket/bolt package, part number 48207-3301" should have been installed. Perhaps Airstream HQs can confirm whether they are provided with the factory installation. If not they should immediately send these kits to all Basecamp owners who have ACs.

I'd also guess these are band-aids and that really the thin long bolts provided aren't really adequate on their own to secure the 90 pound air conditioner to the roof. It seems both of these kits are intended to increase friction when really a direct and secure connection should be provided.

At a minimum it is obvious that Airxcel (the manufacturer of the AC unit) was very familiar with the phenomenon of bolts shearing and the air conditioners ending up on the road -- without any impact with bridges or other structures. It's also obvious that Airstream had clear notice that bolts shearing and Air Conditioners ending up on the road or hitting other vehicles was a significant possibility, requiring engineering attention to ensure the danger is mitigated.

So in my view Airstream was responsible for engineering the mounting of the AC to the basecamp was safe and had clear notice that this was a problem that needed to be dealt with by them prior to sale of the units.

(Note: I am neither a product engineer nor an attorney)

Unless someone has better info I intend to be taking my unit apart to see if I can provide some sort of additional attachment between the roof unit and the basecamp roof structure.
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Old 03-20-2021, 05:48 PM   #9
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Are you thinking of putting the same AC, the 90 lb flying at road speed without a soft landing puck" back on the roof.
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Old 03-24-2021, 10:09 AM   #10
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Regarding DonnH's suggestion that people check their bolts -- Having looked closely at the installation I am skeptical that visual inspection of the bolts or even occasionally making sure they are tight would be effective in preventing catastrophic separation of the ac unit.
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Old 04-21-2021, 11:20 AM   #11
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Recall Issued

This exact same thing happened to us last summer. We just figured we'd knocked it loose by hitting a tree branch or something but noticed that all 4 bolts were sheered off and the air conditioner had slid 10 inches to the rear of the trailer. The only thing still holding it on the roof was that one of the sheered bolts had gotten caught in the roof opening.

Anyway, we replaced the bolts and didn't think about it again until I saw this post. Looks like airstream has issued a recall but surprised they didn't respond here as it looks like this post may have been the catalyst for the recall.

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/202...1V195-5801.PDF
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:12 AM   #12
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I have one other thought on the bolts given my experience with safety structures, cars and farm machinery. Perhaps the bolts are meant to be able to shear off. Stronger bolts might result in a portion of the expensive roof being torn off instead of a cheap air conditioner unit. I wouldn't want a ragged hole in my roof.
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Old 04-22-2021, 11:54 AM   #13
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Rainer, I’m surprised Airstream doesn’t tout this valuable feature! Possibly their liability lawyers frowned on it. Seriously, anybody who snags their A/C hard enough to shear any type of bolts has already ruined their day. In my mind, it’s better for the wreckage to remain attached than to be skittering through traffic.
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Old 04-23-2021, 06:46 AM   #14
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New Cumberland , Pennsylvania
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2017 Basecamp:
I removed the inside ac cover to check the status of the bolts securing the unit to the roof. All 4 bolts needed to be tightened with the rear, curbside bolt disconnected. I now include checking ac bolts in my annual maintenance routine.
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Old 04-23-2021, 04:42 PM   #15
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Does Loctite have a place in this discussion? Or, even NyLock nuts??????

WTF is wrong with AS? Can't they recommend a user fix for this problem?
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:30 PM   #16
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The bottom of the air conditioning unit has a big rubber gasket that prevents water from coming in through the hole in the roof I know that on other trailers I've had to go around and tighten them every other year or so because that gasket begins to wear out it is possible that it's never been tightened and it finally loosened up enough that it flew off
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Old 04-23-2021, 09:23 PM   #17
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Found this from NHTSA:

Airstream

Air Conditioner May Separate from Trailer
A separated air conditioner can become a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash or injury.

Potential Number of Units Affected: 1,509
Airstream is recalling certain 2017-2020 Basecamp travel trailers. The mounting bolts that secure the air conditioner to the roof may loosen or break, allowing the air conditioner to separate from the trailer.
The remedy is currently under development. The recall is expected to begin May 18, 2021. Owners may contact Airstream customer service at 1-877-596-6505 or 1-937-596-6111 ext. 7401 or 7411.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:05 AM   #18
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CURIOUS QUESTION. How many issues with the Basecamp or other smaller Airstreams are having with A/C units falling off or cabinets doors loosening, would reduce if Airstream put “SHOCKS” on these trailers. We own one of the first 50, 2006 16 ft Bambi Quick Silvers and it has no shocks. Ive followed our trailer, and it bounces violently! Tires even leave the pavement. No wonder things fall off. Why doesnt airstream put shock absorbers on ALL trailers for the money they cost? Airstream, have you studied this issue?
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloradobus View Post
CURIOUS QUESTION. How many issues with the Basecamp or other smaller Airstreams are having with A/C units falling off or cabinets doors loosening, would reduce if Airstream put “SHOCKS” on these trailers. We own one of the first 50, 2006 16 ft Bambi Quick Silvers and it has no shocks. Ive followed our trailer, and it bounces violently! Tires even leave the pavement. No wonder things fall off. Why doesnt airstream put shock absorbers on ALL trailers for the money they cost? Airstream, have you studied this issue?
From what I understand the torflex axle provide the dampening required
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:34 AM   #20
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Nope. Our 3,480 lbs Bambi 16ft bounces wildly. If the Torque-flex axle provided dampening, why do larger airstreams have shocks?
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