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TomW 03-11-2004 07:14 AM

Lower door step
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I noticed the Ambassador that Phaedrus listed for sale in another thread has two steps leading up to the door. His top step looks exactly like the top step on my Overlander. At six feet tall, it did not occur to me I may be missing a step, but it probably has to my 5'4" wife:)

It appears the second step is rigid, and does not fold up with the top step. It must slide into the two square holes on the top step. Is this accurate?

Does anyone have a closeup picture and/or general dimensions of the second step? Is there any reason I should not build a replacement step?

Phaedrus's image appears below:

Chuck 03-11-2004 07:24 AM

The second step was an option. it folds, or actually, flips over to sit on top of the first step. I have a diagram in my service manual, but I don't have it right here handy.

The PO of my trailer gave me a reinforcing bar, that looks like it may have been home-made. its just a metal rod, about 3' in length, with a couple of angles welded on the ends (looks like a capitol "I"). this is used as a brace behind the lower step; one end cradles the back of the step, and the other is simply jambed against the trailers frame. without this, the lower step is not very stable. However, I see no mention of this part in the diagram in the service manual. I'm wondering if the lower step is missing some part that makes it rigid, or if its just a poor design, or what.

wb13798 03-11-2004 08:13 AM

i had the same problem . "poor design"

smily 03-11-2004 08:17 AM

been there
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you can see all you want on steps fro an Airstream at this link

Chuck 03-11-2004 09:19 AM

Hmm.. I wonder if I'm missing a piece? my lower step will swing back and forth like a pendulum without that "accessory" that I mentioned. I'll have to take a closer look. The vertical support from which the lower step hangs from the top step: there's nothing in its way to prevent it from swinging in toward the trailer.

the other problem with them is that when they're retracted for traveling, the latch that holds them up is not very secure. doesn't take much of a bump for them to drop down. so some PO installed this rinky-dink external hasps that dont' hold very well, either, but they help...and they rust, too. :rolleyes: I'll have to take a closer look and compare with your pics.

smily 03-11-2004 10:01 AM

That piece you refer to is an aftermarket part.
You can often find them at Airstream Flea Markets for around 5 bucks a set.

If you cant find one, you can make a set out of flat 1/4" aluminum

It is very easy to do. I will try to post photos of a set tomorrow.
I have installed them on Airstreams before. They work great and they are a cheap fix.


smily 03-11-2004 10:34 AM

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This is a little rough but you can see how it is made.

The cut out at trhe top is to accomdate the "rib" that runs down the middle of the step (underneath)


Chuck 03-11-2004 10:50 AM

So...the factory intended the lower step to be able to swing back and forth like that, by NOT including a part such as this? :confused:

smily 03-11-2004 11:08 AM

Not quite
The upper step is notched to allow the "down arm" to sit aginst the upper step. This "Slot" wears over years of repeated use and it gets a little sloppy.

I cannot say for certain that AS never resolved the problematic wearing of the steps. They may have.

I just know that these devices are common as an aftermarket product.


smily 03-11-2004 11:13 AM

Stiff rod
I went back and read your ealier post a little more carefully. I have seen the stiff arm assembly that you refer to.

It is very practical but I believe it is not stationary. Do you have to remove it each time you close your steps?

Whereas the piece I described is a permanent fix and you dont have to fool with it once installed.


Chuck 03-11-2004 11:34 AM

yeah, its just a 3' long metal stick, with a couple of cross pieces on the ends that stabilize it. I store it by sliding it into the space that the pull-out table slides into when its stowed. so when I'm setting up camp, if the second step is needed, I can just reach inside the door and grab it.

I'll see if I can concoct a diagram. don't have any pictures of it.

Chuck 03-11-2004 12:04 PM

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Ok, pardon the crudeness of my drawing.

step on this thing without any support, and you'll likely break your neck.

Chuck 03-11-2004 12:08 PM

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The solution is simply jamming this rod in place. The angle iron welded on each end fits snugly against the frame and the floor, and on the other end, fits along the top rear edge of the lower step, and prevents it from sliding backward when someone steps on the step. without it, you'd likely lose your balance when that step starts moving, fall, and break your neck.

TomW 03-12-2004 05:02 AM

Different in the sixties?
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I appreciate all the responses, and I would really like to have a set of steps like smily's, but my top step does not appear to be compatible with the bottom steps discussed so far.

It does not appear that my step ever had any linkages pinned on the sides. Does anyone have a top step that looks like this composite image, AND a lower step?


smily 03-12-2004 05:33 AM

Steel or aluminum
When I bought my steps, used, the seller asked me if I had aluminum or steel. I had never seen a steel set until now in the picture above.

The steps look very similar in construction but some differences.

Good luck in your search, You could always change the whole step asssembly. I would recommend it if nothing else but getting away from the Steel and the rust.


MarkE 03-12-2004 06:18 AM

Lower Step
The step you have was used through 1969. At least some (if not all) Airstreams were built with the aluminum 'flip step' starting in 1970.
I have seen the lower step accessory you mention, but I am not sure if the one I saw was a factory job or a homemade one.
It was very simple and looked much like the top (or standard) step supplied with the trailer. It was steel and was installed, when needed, by simply sliding two square tubes into the square holes in the standard step. These tubes were as long as the top step is deep which made for stability.
Also, the lower step unit was a solid, welded steel affair (no hinges or folding) which added to it's stability but made it a bit akward to stow for travel. I'd guess most folks would have stored them in the tow vehicle trunk or trailer storage compartment.
If someone on the forum has one that could be photographed, and maybe even measured, it should be an easy job for an experienced welder to replicate.

smily 03-12-2004 06:42 AM

Stiffener applied
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In your application

TomW 03-12-2004 07:01 AM

Re: Lower Step

Originally posted by MarkE
The step you have was used through 1969....If someone on the forum has one that could be photographed, and maybe even measured, it should be an easy job for an experienced welder to replicate.
Thanks MarkE - good karma for you! This confirms what I was suspecting. Now I'm hoping someone with that step sees this thread while it is current.

What a great forum!


TomW 03-13-2004 06:38 PM

The PO (original) stopped by today to see the restoration progress, and was surprised that a lower step was available when he purchased the Overlander.

Hopefully, someone might be able to share another detailed description or picture of this apparently rare step.


joecj76 03-14-2004 04:06 PM

My '71 tradewind has the same step that you have. The lower step folds flat for easy storage. It fits in the square holes in the first step. If you can hang on a few weeks I can get some pics and send them to you.

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