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Old 09-25-2018, 01:51 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Hamburg , New York
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Posts: 12
Still Built Same Way?

Hey All,
I'm sorry if this isn't the proper place to ask these questions.

I came across this old advertisement about AS, boy, I must admit, makes me want one if they are still built as well…

So that's my first question,...are they? Minor quality problems set aside.

The other is if the outside skin is still heat treated to the same specs? I’m guessing some type of work hardening and tempering to achieve the higher tensile strength properties the advertisement claims and shows.

Typically Al is very soft and has a very low tensile strength for aircraft and trailer skins, so I imagine they might do something similar to the aircraft industry, unless they changed their recipe due to cost cutting.

Thanks for any input.

Worth a watch

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Old 10-01-2018, 12:38 PM   #2
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1975 27' Overlander
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Hi Louieless: Interesting video on Airstream history. You ask if they are still built that way. No thank God! They are built much better now, much better.

Airstream stopped using Alclad 2024 T3 .032 thick in the early 70s. I believe my 75 Overlander is built from 6061 T6 also .032 thick. In the late 70s Airstream switch again to 3003 or 3004 H18 .032 thick. In 94 Airstream introduced the "wide body" for more interior room and the aluminum went to .040 thick to carry the extra loads.

Airstreams today are vastly superior to my 75 Overlander. The frame is better, the subfloor is better, the cabinetry is much better, all systems are better, the sealing systems are better, the amenities are better, the exterior aluminum coating is much better.

I am a vintage Airstream enthusiasts. I had a 66 Trade Wind 24' that I did extensive work to. My wife inherited a 86 Limited 34' we've had since 2005 that I've done extensive work to, and now I am working on a 75 Overlander 27'. My son has a 69 Globetrotter 21' which I have had apart also. I know these old trailers well.

I have been in the late model Airstreams and find them very, very nice indeed.

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Old 10-01-2018, 05:15 PM   #3
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Welcome Aboard!! 👍

If a different Aluminum alloy equals quality, then yes absolutely, MUCH better. 👍

If Quality means Quality...research and contemplation is in order.

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Old 10-01-2018, 05:43 PM   #4
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2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Well if quality means quality, I've been hearing stories about Airstream's build techniques since the 1950's. Pretty much the same stuff as I hear around here today.

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Old 10-01-2018, 06:39 PM   #5
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Images: 1's not so much the "techniques". 😳

It's the execution.

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Old 10-01-2018, 06:58 PM   #6
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There's so few rivets in the body of the new ones that to me they look like they are dented right out of the box.
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Al Zeppelin View Post
There's so few rivets in the body of the new ones that to me they look like they are dented right out of the box.
I agree. Recently saw a new coach and wondered what happened to get the dents do evenly spaced.
Upon closer observation I realized it is the way it was built.
Has anyone noticed the new A$ bodies look more like the Silverstreak, Avion and other aluminum trailers of the past. No longer are the the round top units of the past.
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:12 AM   #8
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Airstream made a major construction change for 1994.

Before this change, the ribs were hoops that extended all the way over the roof and the outer skins were put on with many more and much closer spaced rivers.

After this change, the sides and roof were built as three separate peices, with the outer skins already attached to the ribs before these sections were bolted together. The outer skins were attached using an double sided foam(?) tape and much fewer and further apart rivets. The tape was claimed to help great a thermal break between the ribs and outer skin, but it is the compression of this tape during riveting that creates the dimples.

At the time of this 1994 construction change, the shell shape also changed slightly, with the upper corners becoming a little more square, like some of the other silver trailer brands. For 1996 (mid 1995 for 34 footers) the width was increased by 6" for all lengths 25' and longer.
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:42 AM   #9
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My experience has been with six different Airstream trailers I owned, models from the early 1970's to the early 2000's. I think each newer trailer I owned was slightly better than the prior trailer. Of course some improvements turned out to be not so good (example OSB in lieu of plywood subfloor), but most things got better.
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