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Old 06-18-2003, 03:29 PM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Thumbs up Y'all just saved me a zillion dollars!!!

After reading all the articles here on what to look for, I just looked at a 31' rear bath 1976.

IT HAD ALL THE PROBLEMS! The rubber springs had sagged, the tail of the frame had drooped, and it had a crink right in front of the wheels on the left side.

Special thanks to Andy R. for the spring article and stuff.

Here's a dumb question, though: The "fix" seems to be to bolt the frame up to the trailer body. Now, maybe I'm not getting this, but if the frame is supposed to be supporting the body, how does pulling the body down to the frame address that issue? Seems to me like it would just crink the body even more...
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Old 06-18-2003, 03:44 PM   #2
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Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but...

My understanding is that the frame of an Airstream does NOT support the body - rather the body holds up the frame. A man who rebuilds them tells me that salvage Airstream frames are worthless as flatbed trailers without significant structural stiffening as they sag at both ends!

The Airstream is a monocoque construction - like most modern airplanes. As such, it is probably unique among current production travel trailers. It might be thought of as a tube with a flattened bottom (floor). The structure and strength is in the body as a unit. This is why floor rot issues become so important. When the floor is compromised, so is the total structural integrity.

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Old 06-18-2003, 04:18 PM   #3
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1972 31' Sovereign
, Ohio
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Let me start buy saying I just did the rear end separation on my 1972 31' International.

What I noticed once I got it apart was that the frame had sagged away from the shell. Due to the extra weight of the rear bath and no frame reinforcement kit at the axle mounting area. (This also was fixed another story another time) What had happened was the frame at the bottom of the end shell had cracked at the same location it was bolted to the main frame rail.

So I had to splice in a new floor bow in. I did this by cutting a new one and then splicing this in to the old one. Then taking my rib coming down and also re-fastening it to the new floor bow. I also replaced some of the flooring that over 30 years had seen a bit of water . Once I had all of this accomplished I then jacked the back end up level until I had a nice tight fit to the shell. Then proceeded in re-fastening this all down. using 3/8" bolts at frame rail.

I skipped the details on drilling out the rivets and then having to put in new olympics.

In this process I had learned that my frame rail was a little bent. This is something that I was unaware of at purchase. Not much had been discussed on this in this forum that I had seen or even had found prior to this at any other Airstream site. But it was installed after removing the axles and installing the reinforcement steel that Airstream does sell.

In this process I looked at the axles and they are sitting just at neutral to the slightly positive side under load(maybe 4 degrees). This means they are good. I have called the manufacture that said under load they can have up to 21 degrees (positive) and still be considered OK. But keep in mind this is the very high end of OK. Any more and there trash.

If you are not under load and are already at a positive angle it is time to replace these axles.

Keep in mind that if I was going to travel the country I would seriously consider changing these axles. Even though QDS told me that up to the negative angle of 21 degrees it is still OK. For my use which will be for only short trips. This is not at all something I would consider. I will be doing weekend trips to extended trips within 100 miles of my door.
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Old 06-18-2003, 05:40 PM   #4
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...which prompts another question

JP, I have a '73, 31', rear bath SLY. It doesn't seem to have any droop. Short of pulling off the underbelly plates, is there any way to inspect the frame?
JimF - a pilgrim_still <*}}}><
Waterproof, Louisiana
1973 Sovereign
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Old 06-18-2003, 06:34 PM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
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When I bought mine I stepped on the rear bumper it would seperate from the rear end shell somewhat that was my sign. again I knew this at purchase..

Again if you are solid when you step on your rear bumper there is a great chance yours is fine at this point. or possibly is already completed.

I will post completed pictures of my end very soon camera is at work. I guess I should bring it back home...

To take the underbelly off it would atleast show you if your floor is rotted. would be tuff to see the floor bow and its condition to the frame.
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