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Old 01-25-2020, 03:14 PM   #1
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Support Aluminum Airstream Steps - StepStick

There have a been a few threads recently regarding improvement and/or replacement of Airstream steps. I didn't want to hijack those threads because they deal with specific solutions to the "bouncy" step problem some people complain about with the folding, aluminum Airstream steps.

So here's yet another thread on the subject of dealing with step bounce. We came across this home-made product a number of years ago at a WBCCI rally. As you can see in the attached pictures the solution is solid strut made from 1/2" conduit and a piece of angle. Somebody should make these and sell them. I've included several details so anyone wishing to duplicate the strut can do so. I suspect the dimensions shown will work with any of the folding aluminum steps but please double-check whether this idea is suitable for your application. We've been using this for years and it solves the bouncy step problem while maintaining the original, integrated appearance of the aluminum step.

Many times we only need to fold out one step and in that case there is no need for the strut. When we're in a situation that necessitates we fold out the second step we pull the strut from the storage locker and put it into place. Easy as that!
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:27 PM   #2
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Very nice option.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:37 PM   #3
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Someone does make and sell them.

Someone, say, like an Airstream dealer on the East coast between South Carolina and Virginia...
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:43 PM   #4
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How much are them worth? I can make 50 next week
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
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I made one up and posted last September. Works really well.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ce-200554.html
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Old 01-25-2020, 06:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Someone does make and sell them.

Someone, say, like an Airstream dealer on the East coast between South Carolina and Virginia...
I didn't realize Out of Doors Mart carried this item. So, for those of you who may be interested in buying this item call/email ODM to get one on order. The ODM web site indicates the item is currently not in stock.

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How much are them worth? I can make 50 next week
I see them listed on the web site mentioned above for $40 each. Don't know how difficult it would be for you to make a few but you'd make friends pretty fast at the next rally. They'd make great door prizes. I think we paid $10 for ours but that was many years ago.

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Originally Posted by Reno Classic View Post
I made one up and posted last September. Works really well.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ce-200554.html
Nice job! I hadn't seen that thread. Should have done some searching before I posted. But maybe this will get some ideas flowing and others will take note.
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:13 PM   #7
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26 3/4” from the back to the inside of the angle?
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:52 PM   #8
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From the first pic it appears the left side of the step is lower than the right.

Ours was the same on the right side.
I filed the notch to more securely hold the step retainer bolt. I had to make a new bolt also. Screwed a nut on a grade 5 bolt ground the threads off down to the nut, removed the nut and screwed it into the arm. 6yrs SFSG.

Bob
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
26 3/4” from the back to the inside of the angle?
Basically yes. I believe I used 26 3/4" from the back of the conduit to the back of the angle iron. The cut lengths of the conduit & angle can be anything you choose. I used 10" & 8" and the steps are very stable .
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
26 3/4” from the back to the inside of the angle?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno Classic View Post
Basically yes. I believe I used 26 3/4" from the back of the conduit to the back of the angle iron. The cut lengths of the conduit & angle can be anything you choose. I used 10" & 8" and the steps are very stable .
26-3/4" is the correct dimension for ours and it sounds like Reno Classic used that dimension too. For some reason, Out of Doors Mart shows a different dimension and it would be too short for our steps. Please double-check your trailer prior to welding. Here's a link to the ODM page:

http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?m...oducts_id=1514

By the way, I saw one of these struts made with a piece of all-thread rod in the middle of the long piece of conduit. I think it had a nut welded to each end of the conduit so the threaded rod was held in place and could be easily adjusted. Nice upgrade but that makes it much more time consuming to produce and it may not be necessary if a "fixed" dimension works.
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Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:18 AM   #11
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The angle iron can be attached to a threaded shaft fitting into a threaded conduit — makes length adjustable by an inch or so. We were given similar brace by an AS buddy at a rally a couple of years ago, and that’s how he made them. And yes, they are great!
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:09 PM   #12
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step stabilizer

I have always wondered why Airstream keeps the current design for the aluminum step. My first Airstrem, a 2001 Excella had issues from the git go on that step. My current 2017 27' International, not yet. The problem with the first was the right side steel runner wearing out the notch, and thus not always holding. I suspect that the "spring" in the step had something to do with that. I had it repaired at an Airstream dealer, and while I supplied all parts, still cost $1800 to replace the steel runners. One of our fellow Airstream members loaned me is step stabilizer similar to the one shown. I had a friend fabricate a copy. It is all steel with the tube welded, and the angle iron threads into the the end of the strut for adjustment. Works great, and no spring. It is interesting to note that Airstream puts sturdy steel steps on their less expensive units.

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Old 01-26-2020, 01:46 PM   #13
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I prefer the aluminum step over the older folding metal steps. BUT, I leave the lower step folded up. I really like the platform step on the ground. It's super solid, and I never fear I'm going for a ride.
When packing up, I just set it inside the door legs up. It never moves.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:33 PM   #14
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Step support and LED step light.

I went a slightly different route making a step support. I had already installed a led light in center of the step well that lights both the top and bottom steps and also the ground under them, so, I made a rectangular frame out of aluminum angle riveted and bolted together that supports at both ends. The angles across hook over the top of both steps and make it very solid and stable. The light is a $5 exterior LED fixture from Walmart's boat department mounted on a bent piece of sheet aluminum and doesn't interfere the the step operation and it took a little experimenting up and down to get the light to fall on both steps. The pvc conduit running thru the light bracket is my backup camera wiring running under the trailer.
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:16 PM   #15
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I am going to mock up and build one tomorrow
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:55 AM   #16
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I never really thought I needed one. What bounce are you guys referring to?

Maybe a take a video to see if I need that.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I am going to mock up and build one tomorrow
GMFL - did you have time to make a mockup/prototype? Inquiring minds want to know. My welding skills are limited and I only have an old-fashioned stick welder. You may have more up-to-date equipment so I'm hoping you're going to start up a mail order business for these support struts.

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I never really thought I needed one. What bounce are you guys referring to?

Maybe a take a video to see if I need that.
Bounce may not be the best word to describe the phenomenon. "Flex" may be more applicable. The first step (the higher step) is relatively stable/supportive when you put weight on it, now think of the second step unfolded and cantilevered further away from the point of support. With that second step unfolded, the weight of a person definitely creates some flex when you apply your full body weight to the lower step. The strut shown in the pictures above transfers some of the force (weight) back to the frame of the trailer thereby reducing (almost eliminating) the flex or movement of that lower step. Flex/movement/bounce? Tomato/tomahtoh
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Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
GMFL - did you have time to make a mockup/prototype? Inquiring minds want to know. My welding skills are limited and I only have an old-fashioned stick welder. You may have more up-to-date equipment so I'm hoping you're going to start up a mail order business for these support struts.



Bounce may not be the best word to describe the phenomenon. "Flex" may be more applicable. The first step (the higher step) is relatively stable/supportive when you put weight on it, now think of the second step unfolded and cantilevered further away from the point of support. With that second step unfolded, the weight of a person definitely creates some flex when you apply your full body weight to the lower step. The strut shown in the pictures above transfers some of the force (weight) back to the frame of the trailer thereby reducing (almost eliminating) the flex or movement of that lower step. Flex/movement/bounce? Tomato/tomahtoh
I did get one mocked up today.
I use a MiG welder. Did not get any photos but I’ll take some tomorrow. Planing on adding a threaded rod to allow micro adjustment.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:06 PM   #19
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Ok so I mocked up and made another brace for my steps. I may not have been clear before so I’ll make the statement now. My steps are the black steel one Airstream put on the 2014 Internationals NOT the aluminum ones.
My “post” length was a little over 28” vs the 26 1/6” for the aluminum ones.
Basically I used a 3/4” square tube for the brace, a scrap piece of 1” tube for the trailer T-bar, and a piece of 1” angle iron for the step holder.
It works really well. Now I just gotta get it painted.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
Ok so I mocked up and made another brace for my steps. I may not have been clear before so I’ll make the statement now. My steps are the black steel one Airstream put on the 2014 Internationals NOT the aluminum ones.

My “post” length was a little over 28” vs the 26 1/6” for the aluminum ones.
Basically I used a 3/4” square tube for the brace, a scrap piece of 1” tube for the trailer T-bar, and a piece of 1” angle iron for the step holder.
It works really well. Now I just gotta get it painted.
That looks great! Hadn't thought about the fact the steel steps have some "give" just like the aluminum steps. So now we know, whether you have steel or aluminum, the flimsy/bouncy/flexy feel can be addressed. The strut you made is easy to store and easy to put in place when you need it.

Thanks.
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