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Old 01-27-2024, 04:23 PM   #1
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Richmond , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2022
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Step wonít stay down - track worn out?

The steps on my 2017 international do not reliably stay locked when they are in the down position.

As best I can tell, the track in the body has a notch in it, which looks like it has been worn smooth.

The result is that when you put weight on the steps, The supports will let loose and the steps collapse. I have attached photos - I suspect this has happened to others. Thinking about cutting the lip of the notch a little deeper but couldnít find anything on the site where someone has done this.

Any tips or experience would be much appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2024, 06:05 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
1969 21' Globetrotter
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome to these forums from Colorado. The Airstream aluminum folding steps have been around for decades. My 1975 Overlander 27' has them, but they do wear out over the years.

I too had trouble with the steps catching in the "notch" in the step outrigger. And I had trouble with 'floppy" steps due to wear in the pivot bolts holding the steps together. The replacement bolts are quite expensive as they are especially designed for these steps.

I got my dremel tool out and tried to grind the notch deeper, but I didn't have much success.

So like other have done, I purchased a piece of 7/16"" threaded rod and a piece of one by one angle iron cut to 8" length. I bolted the angle iron to the end of the threaded rod. Then I lower my steps, fit the angle iron to the inside edge of the lower step, and lift the threaded rod to trap it in the corner of the frame rail to the subfloor. Now the steps are very solid. Others here have designed "step stabilizers" to solve the floppy steps due to warn notches and worn special pivot bolts.

Let's see what others have done. Yes, it is a not standard "fix" but it is much cheaper that replacing the step outrigger.

David
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Old 01-27-2024, 08:34 PM   #3
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1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
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When we got our 1994 Excella we had a similar problem. I also thought that the notch was worn smooth and tried to figure out how to fix it.

When I finally got enough light on the situation to get a good look at it, I realized that the notch was not worn smooth - rather it was bent inward. As in, the tip of the notch had rolled over sideways. No idea how it happened, probably someone not fully extending the steps and then using them anyhow.

My solution was to make a tool to carefully bend the notch back into position. I did this by cutting a notch about 1/4" wide in a piece of plate steel and using it to pry/lever the sheet metal back into position. It's worked fine ever since.

Don't know if this is your problem, but your rig is new enough to wonder how could they have worn out the notch so quickly. Hopefully it's fixable like mine was, so give it a good look.
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Old 01-28-2024, 06:41 AM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
1969 21' Globetrotter
Conifer , Colorado
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Thanks for the interesting diagnostic discovery. I'm going to examine the tip of my notch in the step outrigger to see if it might be bent over. It is certainly possible. There is a lot of force on this notch and the special bolt in the step assembly that acts as the "slot follower" when opening or closing the folding steps. Generally speaking, the step design has been quite reliable throughout the many years of use.

I think Airstream has now installed a new design fold out steps for new trailers.

David
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Old 01-28-2024, 07:06 AM   #5
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
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elmateo, we had the same issue on our 66. So, the track and slot is cut into the outriggers. The slot is worn and the arm slips out of the slot and scares the heck out of someone. I took some 1/8Ē steel and cut a small piece. I traced the slot on a piece of paper and transferred it to the steel with the corrected shape of the slot. I cut the notch out. I held it to the outrigger and finalized the notch where the step arm fit like it should. Then I used self tapping screws and attached it to the outrigger. The stud on the step arm slides into the slot like the original design. It worked for us. Good luck
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Old 01-28-2024, 05:46 PM   #6
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
1969 21' Globetrotter
Conifer , Colorado
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Very good Airstream doctoring BubbaL: Maybe similar to a knee replacement or a hip replacement. Screw in some new parts. Your solution may be in my future as my "step stabilizer" is nothing more than a crutch.

David
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Old 01-29-2024, 05:56 AM   #7
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2023 27' International
Waynesville , Missouri
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A little weld job

I had the same problem when my 2023 International was practically brand new. Ideally you can replace the whole guide for the side that is worn out, but as someone said, itís expensive. Itís also intrusive to the whole area. The easiest fix for my dealership was to build up that area thatís worn out with little welds, then finish out the buildup with some grinding to shape the track line back into shape. It made my steps as good as new and has lasted like it was never a problem in the first place.
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Old 02-04-2024, 10:10 AM   #8
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2018 26' Flying Cloud
WARNER ROBINS , GA
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weld and Phil at nolox

Hi everyone,

We had the same problem. Common repair is to do a bit of welding. Jackson Center did this when we were having something else looked at. The other great solution is to get the "step brace" from Phil at nolox solutions. Reasonaby priced, beautifully made and delivered to your door. Highly recommended.
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