How to Determine Potential Damage from Using Stabilizers to Level

Discussion in 'A-Frame PopUps' started by Thomas L, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. Thomas L

    Thomas L New Member

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    After lurking on this forum for a couple of months now trying to soak up as much info as we can about Aliners and towing (we're in the process of transitioning from "tents" to "trailers", so we're very much newbies) we have the opportunity to buy a lightly used 2020 Aliner Classic locally. The seller claims to have only used it about 5 times and it seems to be in pretty good cosmetic condition - but I was a little put off by the fact that when I asked how he leveled the trailer during setup he demonstrated how to lower the stabilizer jacks. Pretty much everything I've ever read says that you absolutely should NOT be using the stabilizers to level, or you risk damaging the stabilizers, frame, etc.

    How risky would you think it is buying a Classic that has been leveled using the stabilizers 4-5 times? Is there any sort of simple/visual inspection that a newbie lay person like myself could do to the stabilizer, frame, etc. to try to determine whether any damage has been done (short of simply trying to determine whether the walls still line up properly)?
     
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    If the door open and shuts properly and the door gaps are even, then it's probably ok.
     
  3. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    The frame has a high degree of anisotropy.
     
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  4. Hilldweller

    Hilldweller Well-Known Member

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    The smaller the trailer and the less it was raised on the stabilizers, the less likely it is to tweak. Like @xxxapache mentioned, if the door swings properly and the corners don't look like they're coming apart it's probably okay.
    I'll admit that I don't know what @1380ken means by anisotropy --- I know what it means regarding the instruments I have at the lab, 4 with plasma, some filters, etc., but I'm not nerdy enough to know what it means to a trailer's frame. ;)
     
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  5. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Doors and hatches should all open (swing) freely, have uniformed gaps around them, the roof sections should easily fit together both when open and when closed..
     
  6. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    If there's nothing obvious, I'd feel safe buying that Aframe, especially if you have reason to think it was used in the type of campground that is flat.

    I don't have an a-frame, but my popup was "leveled" that way, but it wasn't really leveled because it was only used for parking-lot camping (private campgrounds) that are pretty flat anyway. It has not shown any damage from it. I don't think the previous owners actually even knew what we meant when we asked about leveling. (They also thought that if you filled the gray tank, water came out a vent. Err, no. That's a leak.)

    I've never set up anywhere resembling flat (or paved) except my garage. I had a to use a cooler to supplement my step on my last trip. (Don't do that.)
     
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  7. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Carbon (0.25–0.35% C) and manganese (2.4% Mn) steels in the annealed (original) condition possess anisotropy in the elongation and reduction (in the transverse direction these characteristics are lower than in the longitudinal) while they are isotropic with respect to the yield and tensile strengths.
    Frames are very complicated. You can't just look at a frame rail and think "that looks pretty strong". There is no telling what damage could of occurred from leveling with the stabilizers.
     
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  8. Hilldweller

    Hilldweller Well-Known Member

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    Now I understand; thanks.

    I boxed-in the frame on my teardrop (1/4" skidplate) and made it flexproof. That thing was a tank. Weighed over a ton dry though...
     
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  9. Allen R Glass

    Allen R Glass Member

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    Yeah, but from a practical standpoint ... this is all down to how much risk you're up for. If it was me, I'd ask if the seller ever had to camp some place that wasn't too level, and how that went. Then I'd take a good long straight edge, like a 4-foot level, and look for any deformation in the frame rails that the stabilizers are attached to, and check any problems raising and lowering the stabilizers.
     
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  10. DiamondGirl

    DiamondGirl Adventures with KODI in AZ

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    @Thomas L…. I bought my Classic slightly used by the first owner. Who knows how well it was used or maintained. As mentioned by @xxxapache and others, check those areas. If you’re concerned, have a trailer inspector complete an inspection. To ease the benefit of any doubt.

    Happy Camping…[put&hy]
     
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  11. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    A 2020 classic would be on the "improved" frame built by the "new" vendor making it different from the "old" frame that had a reputation. My SPECULATION based on general shadetree mechanic experience is I would not be too worried.

    @Thomas are you saying he parked then raised the camper into the air with no support from the main axle? and left it that way for a few days?

    If you wanted to be extra sure you could talk to a auto body shop about how much they would charge to put it on the frame machine. It would seem the problem wouldn't be bending the frame as it would be racking or twisting.

    You could prop it up on reasonably flat ground til one of the frame rails is level then take a 4' level and see is the other is level.

    Its been years since the instructions on rope strength have been read and the memory is older but it is the sudden application of force that most likely causes the rope to fail, not the gentle gradual application .

    Hi DG.
     
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  12. Thomas L

    Thomas L New Member

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    Thank you, all, for the helpful comments and replies! It sounds like I "may" be worrying about nothing, but if we decide to go back for another look we'll be sure to inspect the how the doors and hatches open/shut/sit, how well the roof and wall sections come together, and will bring a long level with us to try to check the frame rails the best we can. We'll be sure to check the operation of the stabilizers before deciding to buy as well.

    @Econ - the scenario you asked about is (hopefully) more dire than what I was describing. All I know for sure is that when I asked the owner how he had been leveling the Aliner during setup, he showed me how the stabilizers worked - instead of bringing out a BAL/Andersen/etc. type of leveling device to raise a wheel. Hopefully he had always been parked on fairly level ground to start with so it wasn't an issue.

    Do you know exactly which model year started using the new/improved frames you're referring to? In the "Aliner durability" thread its mentioned that "Frame dimensions increased in 2010 (likely to address the bending frame issue with earlier models)" - is that what you're referring to, or something different?
     
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  13. Lonewolf55

    Lonewolf55 Going NoWhereFast

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    Just park it on a mostly level piece of concrete and measure the corners from the ground to the bottom of the corner. If they are different by more than an inch, then you might reconsider, or talk a new price. A frame shop could fix it, or you might be able to reverse the damage by using the levels opposite. I would never pass up a nice Aliner, if it was a reasonable price.
     
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  14. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure about that?
    The frame is a structure which as a whole, changes the properties of an individual steel beam.
     

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