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Old 03-07-2017, 02:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Our step mounting metal began to deform the same way. Fairly common
I know this is blasphemy here, but if it's "fairly common" and known about, why don't they do something? The aftermarket step is fine, but the metal support isn't.
It's not a Yugo, it's a $90k trailer.
Same day, different post reports improper mounting of refrigerator without proper airflow.

Many other examples. I get it, it's a complicated vehicle, but once a problem is "fairly common" like this or GYM, why not fix it???[/rant]
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:57 PM   #22
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Looks to me to be an easy fix for anyone with a modicum of welding skill. Should not cost very much.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I know this is blasphemy here, but if it's "fairly common" and known about, why don't they do something? The aftermarket step is fine, but the metal support isn't.
It's not a Yugo, it's a $90k trailer.
Same day, different post reports improper mounting of refrigerator without proper airflow.

Many other examples. I get it, it's a complicated vehicle, but once a problem is "fairly common" like this or GYM, why not fix it???[/rant]
Maybe I overstated "fairly common", they fix a few a year of thousands and thousands of Airstreams. We are in and out of our Airstream much more than most, actually traveling and living in it 42 months since we bought it new in 2011.

I'm not complaining if we stretched the step mounting plates a little, everything needs some maintenance with heavy use. We also have the double fridge vent doors some complain about, we have no problem with fridge cooling, I think it works very well. The tradeoff to roof venting (that I'm not convinced works any better) is that we get an eye-level convection/microwave oven that is in a convenient location.

The GYM tires worked fine for our first two years on two new Airstreams. When I seen he amount of failures as they aged even a couple of years, and noted that Airstream was using Michelin 16" tires on its premium models and offering them as an option on all 25'-30' models, our extensive travels led us to the more reliable tire option.

Realize the perfect-for-everyone Airstream will never be built, then go shopping for the one that suits you best. Or buy another brand that does better for you.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:35 PM   #24
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A doubler is a plate or formed structure that transitions loads across a wider area of the original structure. The building industry calls a similar structure a "sister". The logic of such a structure is rooted in the mechanics of replacing the strength of a weakened structure with additional material. Pat
Yeah.. what Pat said so very very well.. thanks, Pat!
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:22 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by upnorththree View Post
Thanks Perry.
Finished real late tonight before a storm hits. I marked off some very serious steel flatwork and will get someone to drill holes in the appropriate places.
In the mean time, I loaded up a stack of fender washers graduating from real wide to narrow. Real thick. Original bolt. Like a ROCK baby. Wow. Lucked out but, will monitor it closely before I get the welders involved.

It's the craziest thing. Three bolts untouched, no undercarriage damage, not even scratches or dents. All the equipment looks appropriately aged and yet one bolt blew right threw the mounting beam with a major force.

Go figure.
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Can you post pics of the repair please and thank you?
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:24 AM   #26
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Can you post pics of the repair please and thank you?
Hi SteveSue.

Yes but, not immediately. LOTS to do today and the weather (30 mph gusts) is not helping matters.

Please accept this as it is intended. There won't be much to see since the project turned out to be quite pretty and the work is closed-up.

I'll see if I have matching washers to photograph and photograph the work itself, then you can piece the project together.

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Old 03-08-2017, 10:04 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Maybe I overstated "fairly common", they fix a few a year of thousands and thousands of Airstreams.
I guess I read too much last night and overreacted. Sorry.
Quote:
We also have the double fridge vent doors some complain about, we have no problem with fridge cooling, I think it works very well.
If Dometic states in the installation instructions that you need X" of airflow and it's not installed that way, then the builder made a conscious decision to ignore the recommendations. It's left to the owner to fix or leave it. And it's kinda late to redesign it.
Still, I love Airstreams. I'd feel just as bad if I bought a Lexus and the roof leaked. "The roof doesn't leak in my Lexus" wouldn't seem adequate.
Cheers!
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:30 PM   #28
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Can you post pics of the repair please and thank you?
I used the original materials except for the nut, then added my fender and lock washers.

I had to come down from above with the bolt because lining the bolt with stack of washers was too difficult operating blind.

Hope this helps someone.
Popeye
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:43 AM   #29
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This might be an issue to bring up with the factory as to why this happened and did they use metal that was too thin for some reason. Chances are yours is not the only one that failed. Your trailer is an infant as far as lifetime goes.

Perry
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:15 AM   #30
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Do I Call a Welder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxite View Post
This is NOT someplace visible. It is BENEATH the trailer. It is out-of-sight and finding a TIG welder is overkill in my opinion. Common MIG (wire-feed) welding is all that's needed for a permanent, good-looking repair. (In fact, an excellent repair be made without welding at all using a doubler, drill, and bolts..., but I like to weld and I'm picky.)

Unless some future owner/worker replaces the stairs... it's unlikely anyone will ever know a repair has been accomplished.


In agreement here. Doubler plates can serve as a mechanical repair solution for this in lieu of welding. Which is the way I'd go if this were my rig, and I would reinforce both ends of the steps.

If welding is the PO's preferred method then I would suggest GMAW in the short circuit mode given the thin nature of the material. Even then I'd use a doubler plate on the back side of the attachment point to strengthen the connection.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:50 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnorththree View Post
I used the original materials except for the nut, then added my fender and lock washers.

I had to come down from above with the bolt because lining the bolt with stack of washers was too difficult operating blind.

Hope this helps someone.
Popeye
Excellent job, likely a permanent fix... IF.. you were to use a lock-washer, or even better, ... a "NyLock" nut would likely never need attention again.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:42 PM   #32
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So, now that the OP has the problem fixed, what is consensus for root cause failure? A bit of a challenge to do second hand with web info only, but a post did say they had similar failure.

- is this a material specification issue?
- is this a material flaw?
- is this an assembly error - OP, did original step hardware include washer?
- is this expected to be a common failure or a one off?
- is the issue limited to 25s or representative of all AS coach models?

Or is there no interest in this failure from a root cause perspective? Pat
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:03 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by PKI View Post
So, now that the OP has the problem fixed, what is consensus for root cause failure? A bit of a challenge to do second hand with web info only, but a post did say they had similar failure.

- is this a material specification issue?
- is this a material flaw?
- is this an assembly error - OP, did original step hardware include washer?
- is this expected to be a common failure or a one off?
- is the issue limited to 25s or representative of all AS coach models?

Or is there no interest in this failure from a root cause perspective? Pat
Pat, your excellent questions would require an investigation beyond the capability of these forums, I suspect.
1. The OP knew of the problem when they bought the coach from the PO.
2. The coach had an existing problem the PO had either not noticed or failed to correct.
3. It is unknown how long the defect had existed.
4. It's unknown the cause of the defect because:
5. The continued useage of the improperly-attached step assy caused the mount above to fail, pulling the step and it's fasteners thru the mount causing damage.

The bottom line is: An improperly fastened step caused damage to the mounting area. It is undetermined the cause of the loose fastener. (Mfr'r? PO? Subsequent serviceperson? Last inspector? )

But if I were an investigator I would FAULT the present-owner who is also the OP for knowingly accepting and continuing to operate with a known defect.
THAT is the cause of the resultant failure. IMO.

(As owner/operators WE are the FINAL authority and bear the final responsibility for the safety, operation, and proper maintenance of our property. And if that condition leads-to or results in injury to ourselves or others... that liability lands upon US.
We cannot keep going thru life looking to blame someone else for our avoidance of our own responsibilities.)
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:29 AM   #34
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Upnorthree,
Glad you have it fixed! Moral? Things sometimes break, but they don't wear out immediately.

Depending on how much you used the AS since purchase would certainly have an impact on how fast something 'wears'... that is where 'knowing' your equipment is so important. You are the 'PIC'... Pilot in Command.. so, you have to oversee all areas. So, you must pay attention and 'learn' your AS. When things aren't 'normal', investigate... I think Ben Franklin said, "A stitch in time saves nine"..

Reminds me of a Flight Instructor who told me, "It is a lot easier to fix a small problem before takeoff than a bunch of problems at the scene of the crash."
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:16 PM   #35
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I had the very same thing happen to mine just when you originally posted this. Checked with a buddy and he was going to Weld it. Took him too long to come over so this is what I did.

Removed the steps and pounded the torn hole back into place (I used an small impact hammer) The front two screws sit in a type of steel channel that is just over 1.5 inches in width (the part in the picture you posted which was rusted/torn). Went to Lowes and got a steel 1.5 inch strip that was 1/4 inch thick. Sold in 4 foot sections. Also picked up 2 bolts the same diameter, only 1/4 inch longer, (Grade 5) along with two lock washers, two flat washers, and two nuts. Also a can of Flat Black metal paint and a good 7/16's Steel drill bit. Measured the channel inside end to end and cut the steel to (Don't quote me on exacts) 37.25 inches. Ran it the entire length of the open channel above the lip so its hidden and sits nicely into it, as well as distributes the load. Measured center to center on the front of the step mount (24 inches) and drilled out the steel strip on those marks. Laid the steel strip into the channel on the AS and with a floor jack, lifted the steps into place. Flat Washer first, then lock washer and finally the nut. Use a air ratchet to tighten. Put the original two rear bolts and slip type nuts back in the rear mount of the step and painted it.

Couple of observations: Not a fan of the way AS originally mounted those steps (cheap looking slip nut) but I'm sure they used it because its a easy install at the factory. I wished I would have painted the steel bar BEFORE I put in on. Sort of a pain to paint afterwards.

I tip the scales at about 250# and when stepping on the outside corner on the first step, there is absolutely no movement or spongy feeling what so ever. Totally happy with it.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:41 PM   #36
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So, now that the OP has the problem fixed, what is consensus for root cause failure?
Thor?
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:52 PM   #37
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Sounds like the root cause is a design that allows errors in manufacture or a lack of maintenance/repair to negatively impact the strength/life of the specified frame material. A contributing cause is the absence of any direction in the AS manual to periodically check for correct fastener engagement. An additional contributing cause is a lack of original design or change review. Or maybe not. The steps did stay in place until after the warranty expired.

Those issues are all under the control and responsibility of Thor, so maybe MD has a point and Thor is the root cause, but with the adoption of the Toyota Manufacturing System Thor/AS at least gives quality lip service.

The purpose of identifying a root cause is to develop a corrective action. In this case, as the cow is out of the barn, the CA would be on-going inspection and possible attachment hardware and structure upgrade. Guess I better inspect Glimmer's step attachment.

Travel safe and make sure there are no loose nuts. Pat
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:23 PM   #38
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I wonder about the "quality control" don't lagh... c'mon... that sourced the steel... it would take a "lot" of twisting that metal. Makes me wonder about the rest of their "quality "... we can't see... like frame metal... it twists a lot
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:14 PM   #39
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Find it hard to believe there is a frame rail material quality control issue. There would be other catastrophic frame failures and we don't hear that.

Can certainly believe there is a materials specification issue, as in the frame should be heavier material for this design. Can certainly believe that there is a design issue, as in holes in the frame without the addition of local reinforcement. Or possibly a hole and fastener design, which creates a stress riser and degrades material strength. Pat
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:03 PM   #40
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Attached items are only strong if the fasteners are properly torqued/tightened.

If the fasterner(bolt) was loose and the steps used .... eventually even strong material will fail. There's no reason to start whining about design-strength just because the assembly was incorrectly installed or maintained.

IIRC the OP stated the steps were loose for a long time and he continued to use them without corrective action. What's to be expected in that case?
The basic design is fine. It's either useage, assembly or maintenance that failed in this case. IMO.
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