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Old 04-11-2010, 09:43 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1978 25' Tradewind
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 13
Help! Broke Shock Absorber Bolt - Need Welder in NorCal

Well, I tackled my first project on my recently purchased ’78 Tradewind. I enjoyed the whole process up until the point that I snapped off one the bolt heads. Despite soaking the bolt and nut with liquid wrench for 2 days and taping and chipping as much of the rust of the end of the bolt, it broke. At the moment, it was the end of the world! After reading a few posts here, I realize that I am not alone in my predicament.

This is where I need a little help. Can you confirm that the following would be the best course of action in replacing a lower shock bolt welded to the frame:

1) Purchase a replacement Shock Absorber bolt from Inland RV
2) Locate a welder to remove the existing bolt and weld in the replacement.

If this sounds about right, can anyone recommend a welder in the vicinity of Walnut Creek, CA (94597).

Thank you in advance and “Stream Safe.”
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Sorry, can't help w/ the welder... but when you replace it, use a self locking nut and a liberal amount of anti-seize compound on the threads; that way this won't happen again.

One trick that also works is to heat the stuck nut w/ a propane torch. Since the rubber bushing is right there, have a bit of water on hand if it flames up too badly... but once the bolt is hot (300-400 F), apply penetrating oil (it will smoke) and attempt to loosen the nut.

It sounds like those shock mounts aren't particularly hard; I'll get a chance to play w/ mine soon as I'm replacing the axles, shocks and brakes...

Good luck!

- Bart
Bart Smaalders
Menlo Park, CA
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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1970 31' Sovereign
danville , California
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 53
do you still need this done? I am local and could possbily do it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:31 AM   #4
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,253
You can simply go to your local NAPA or other auto parts store, and buy a replacement shock bolt. Drill a hole in the frame or flange, whichever is broken, and stick the bolt through, The replacement comes with threads on the attaching end so you don't need to weld it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #5
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1973 23' Safari
1977 23' Safari
2014 25' Flying Cloud
Palmer Lake , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,024
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Many of us are convinced you don't need shocks. Torsion axles provide their own damping. Airstream may install shocks just because people expect them.

I took great pains to get the shocks perfect when I replaced the axle on my Caravel, but I didn't even put shocks on the Overlander when it got new axles. I've made two 3,500+ mile trips since then and it tows great. I don't see any significant difference--items left on the top of the table tend to stay there. Occasionally a very big bump might cause an extra porpoise cycle, but it takes an exceptional bump to do that. I think the rig would porpoise even with shocks.

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:39 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1978 25' Tradewind
Walnut Creek , California
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 13
Closing the loop...

Just a quick note to thank you all for weighing in on this dilemma. I did in fact find a welder who did a competent job despite having never worked on an Airstream. Took a trip up to the Fort Ross on the Mendocino Coast this past weekend and the Stream traveled like a champ.

Thanks again.
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