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Old 03-18-2019, 10:15 AM   #1
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entrance step hardware failure: one must know how to fall

1986 Sovereign.

Please tell me I am not the first guy who had to fix this.

I have looked through quality posts concerning the replacing and repairing of entrance steps. Unless someone here convinces me otherwise, I believe my best option is to replace the entire unit with a newer style of steps. The steps and braces themselves are serviceable. It is the highly specialized fasteners that have rusted and failed. Any recommendations from personal experience is welcome.

That is if I can get the old ones off the camper. Before I cut the bolts which hold the step in the race cut in the outriggers, I am soliciting suggestions.

Thanks

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Old 03-18-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
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Go to Out of Doors mart website and order the required repair parts. Easy fix, and I believe ther is a video on the repair as well.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:57 AM   #3
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I would rebuild them if at all possible
Depending on how your trailer sits you may just do away with the first step. That's how we run ours and our trailer is higher then most with fresh 32 degree axles
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:05 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

So I looked at the Out of Doors parts page and found the necessary hardware.

Cost to replace all hardware, $292.40 for 16 points of contact.

Has anyone found a more reasonable solution? I will be visiting my favorite hardware store later today.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:10 AM   #5
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It's all specialized hardware. You will not find it elsewhere but if you do let us know. 👍
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:21 AM   #6
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I was incorrect earlier: total cost $226.64
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the ponz View Post
I believe my best option is to replace the entire unit with a newer style of steps.
I thought those were the newer style steps!
I have a 2017 and have those steps.
However, I leave them folded up, just lower the first step, and use a folding step on the ground. It's super sturdy, and big. For my bad knees, it's easier and safer.
When I pack up, the step just goes inside the door, upside down.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:38 AM   #8
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The lower step was not deployed when the failure occurred. The hardware which holds the support arm to the upper step failed. After I picked myself up, I noticed that every attaching point was severely corroded after over 30 years of service.

I have faithfully serviced this Airstream in my 15 years of ownership, but I certainly neglected to look at those fasteners. I'm just glad it was me on the step when it failed and not my wife.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:51 AM   #9
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That is probably one of the least expensive repairs on an Airstream. I have rebuilt mine and it is worth every penny to have good steps. I lubricate with spray silicone several times a year.
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the ponz View Post
Thanks for the replies.

So I looked at the Out of Doors parts page and found the necessary hardware.

Cost to replace all hardware, $292.40 for 16 points of contact.

Has anyone found a more reasonable solution? I will be visiting my favorite hardware store later today.
Someone had replaced one of the bolts holding the steps to the outrigger on my trailer with a standard hex head bolt. Over time the nut loosened and the bolt wallowed out the end of the slot in the outrigger such that it would no longer hold. Following the suggestion of a repair post I found on here I ground out the end of the slot a little and bought the replacement part at the Salem rally from the Airstream booth. IIRC it was around $4. I had to bend out the bottom of the slot where it changed directions into the lock position to get the shoulder head bolt in and then beat it back into place.


I didn't go to the ODM web page, but an alternative might be found here:
https://www.mcmaster.com/shoulder-screws.

Al
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:45 PM   #11
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You would be foolish to remove those steps!
The hardware is spendy, but with maintenance, those steps will outlive anything else. A little silicone goes a very long way!
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:10 PM   #12
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Every Spring, I repack the wheel bearings and service every spinning, sliding, pivoting and oscillating part I can get too, including the steps. Foolishly, it never occurred to me to get down and inspect the nuts and bolts that over time, simply deteriorated to the point of failure.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:27 PM   #13
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I never gave much attention to the steps either, until they failed like yours did. Now they get regular lubrication. Probably one of the most used and least looked after parts on the trailer. PITA to repair, but not as costly as some parts are!!
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:42 AM   #14
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We do the same. Shortly after purchasing our 1998 30’ Excella, the bottom step hinge failed. One part was almost $200! I find it so much easier to pull the first step down and use the same step stool. Much less complicated to unfold, too!
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:52 AM   #15
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I had the same exact problem on our first summer with our 2018 Int Serenity. Contacted Can-AM where we bought it and they sent me new parts. In my case the bolt sheered right off. It was a quick fix.

Good Luck
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:57 AM   #16
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Periodic maintenance

My steps have frozen twice. Ive learned to disassemble and lubricate the joints every six months.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:19 PM   #17
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I just finished reworking my steps. I spent over $200 in new hardware from Out of Doors. I had 10 bolts that were rusted in place so bad (even after using PB Blaster every day for over two weeks) that some broke off and some refuse to cooperate in any way. I ended up drilling out the 10 and had to re-tap the holes with a 3/8" -16 tap. Not an easy task and not for the impatient!
I ended up burning through over $100 in drill bits (Yes, you read that right!). When it was all done, after over a month of work, I began to think that $650 price tag for a new one was no so bad...

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Old 03-19-2019, 12:34 PM   #18
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entrance step hardware failure

For the life of me (almost literally), I do not understand why Airstream continues to use this step on their higher end trailers. My 2001 Excella had this step (as does my new International). After about 10 years in, the steel out riggers failed. The "Nike" swoop "swoped". That is to say the the hook at the end of the slot rounded over. At least twice, I almost took a tumble when the catch failed as I was going up. If I remember, I took mine apart by unscrewing the posts that ride in the slots (one was loose anyway). The rest of the bolts are hex head. I bought the out riggers from Airstream and they were reasonable. The labor to replace them on the other hand, was about $1800 (all labor). On my new trailer, I have a custom manufactured bracket that a fellow Airstreamer loaned me that rests against the frame and body, and hooks over the back of the lower step. This takes the fulcrum weight off the lower step and saves wear and tear on the step, and possibly your booty. This unit is shaped like an "H" with a welded steel angle iron on one end for the step, and a bolt welded to a piece of round bar. the bolt is adjustable within the longitudinal rod for length, and the round bar engages the joint between frame and lower body panel. This takes all the spring out of that lower step,
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:22 PM   #19
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I was getting impatient with my steps, and tried to find some better replacements. All of the aftermarket steps that I found were much larger, and really wouldn't have fit as nice as the originals. So I lubed 'em up, and try to use them as little as possible. I have a pair of plywood boxes that I built that nest inside each other that are the primary steps. I can't say that this is a perfect solution, as they are kinda flexy, and sometimes rock on uneven ground. I had one of those folding steps things like Mollysdad has, but mine wasn't as nice and a friend went ass-over-teakettle after a camper-lubrication session, so into the trash it went.

It seems like those fastener things that the steps hinge on can be replaced, or if the hole in the arm is out of round or broken, it could be TIG welded?
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:38 PM   #20
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Question

I have a 1977 Overlander that my wife & I purchased this past December. We are in the process of restoring it. I have the exact same problem with the step! I am also looking to learn how to fix it.
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