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Old 05-30-2018, 03:48 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1991 29' Excella
Livermore , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Waste streaming

Sorry, I saw a topic called “Global Streaming” and I couldn’t resist.

The other day while returning from a short trip, I suffered two tire failures. One caused only some minor trim damage on the right side. The left side failure was somewhat catastrophic.

The left rear tire decided to shuck its tread, and in the process, tore away all the dump handles, pull rods, and pipe cap, opening all the valves while doing so, and streaming all my sewage on the interstate.

I was on the way to dump anyway, but certainly did not intend that.

Hasn’t somebody figured out that could occur, and designed a shield for that area to prevent that occurrence?
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Old 05-30-2018, 04:00 PM   #2
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8,886
There have been quite a few owners that have understood the problem, and made modifications to protect dump valves during the refurbishment and repair of their Airstreams.

Thor, as the current manufacturer of the Airstream product line, not so much, frankly.

Some older models placed their dump valves and sewer connections in the rear bumper.

Many SOBs have the entire drainage and dump system running for multiple FEET along the side of the trailer, hanging out there vulnerable to a road debris strike, and have no protection whatsoever. I guess it's the "industry standard" to make it easy for a fast dump underway like you experienced.

And yup, the last tire failure on our Airstream ripped out the wheel well, water pump, and a bunch of plumbing inside the AS, but managed to miss the dump valves somehow. When I add lift blocks to the axles, I also plan to add a skid shield to the dump valve area--then I'll have clearance to do it... Currently, the vulnerable bits are out there in harm's way...
Rich, KE4GNK/AE, Overkill Engineering Dept.
'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch, Prodigy P2 controller.
2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:00 PM   #3
1980 Excella II
glh101282's Avatar
1980 31' Excella II
Los Alamos , New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 40
Wheel well shield

Same thing happened to me, except the tread missed doing any valve damage since it was the front tire.

Not wanting to face your issue, and also not wanting to have to replace the wheel well and nearby woodwork again, I put in an aluminum (Al) shield around the inside diameter of the wheel well. Similar to a clutch/flywheel scatter shield on drag racing cars. The shield is above the tires and below the wheel well plastic. I used 1/8" treadplate aluminum, cut it into 8" wide by 4-5 foot long sheets, then hand formed to the shape of the wheel well. I used the damaged wheel well casing to help determine the curve of the shield. You could also use a loose tire as a forming tool. I used two sheets per side. The two sheets means you can fit the Al to one curve/tire independent of having to get the other side/curve the exact centerline distance. Best to remove a tire to fit the Al to the end of the well, then repeat the process for the other end. I attached the shield at the flat surface of aluminum/outriger at either end of the wheel wells where the plastic meets the Al trailer floor. I then screwed a ss bolt up through the Al and plastic wheel well at the location above the tire centerline, and, from the inside of the trailer, used a backing plate and nut to secure the bolt and Al shield.

The plastic wheel wells have a detente between the tires so the top of the shield can not go straight across the top of the tires. Each shield essentially ends up being above each tire in a half moon shape with a little bit of a flat on top. I added a bolt where the shields come together between the tires as a little extra rigidity.

The bolts holding the shield to the top of the wheel well and go through to the inside of the trailer are in places where they can not be seen. In my case one side is below the closet floor and the other is between the shower and the AS wall. To protect the sewer pipes and the banana peel behind the tires I have the section of shield that is towards the rear hang down about 6" below the bottom of the trailer, plus swept back towards the rear like mud flaps/Tennessee Air Brakes. I have been thinking of running another Al extension piece under the valves themselves.

In addition I also bought a tire pressure monitor. I tried to keep the clearance between the shield and the wheel well plastic about 1/2" or less. I have taken a number of trips and have not noticed the tires hitting the shield, and the shield stayed in place.

There is another thread about improvements AS could make. Replacing the plastic wheel wells with Al formed wheel wells would be an improvement. Shielding the dump valves from road debris would be another. I have a number of 18' flatbed utility trailers and they all have metal fenders. You would think for a $100,000 AS they would go the extra mile.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:14 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
1991 29' Excella
Livermore , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Sounds like an excellent idea for an after-market supplier. I’m not sure it would have helped in my case, as the damage was in the drain valve area. That whole situation is begging for an engineered solution.

Thanks for the information.
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