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Old 07-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #57
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Island Girl's Excellent Adventure at the Welder

I don't have a TV yet and my buddy that does was leaving, so the trailer had to go to the welder before he was actually ready to start on it. I've been having bunches of fun doing Hehr standard windows (9 of them on a Caravanner) while I've been waiting. They kill time really well as they take 5 or 6 hours each. I'm nearly done.

Bill, the welder, got started on Thursday. I'd had the axle shipped to him from Axis. It's a 5000 pound axle, derated to 4200 pounds, with 12 inch brakes, the zerk fitting for the bearings, and their high profile mount. Fit was just perfect with the only hitch being some concern about clearance for the shocks and we'll probably look at that tomorrow. Otherwise, everything is good: she sits up a little higher but I still have about a foot of clearance under the tanks hanging below the frame and I think the wheels I got from Marc look pretty cool.

Inside, my frame is in remarkably good condition. The aft crossmember is rusted out and gets cut out and replaced this afternoon. My trailer has the steel plate riveted in up front, but not in the rear, so we're adding one there as well. There's rust and damage on the step and it's forward outrigger that will need some work too.
We've added two pieces of 2"x 4" steel tube as crossmembers as part of the mounts for the gray and fresh tanks and have reinforced the existing crossmembers that will also be part of the tank mounts. The gray is held by angle on its flange and by straps. The two fresh tanks are secured by straps. All will be easy to drop from below should the need arise.

The spare tire is going inside the A frame which means one more crossmember has to move a little bit. We're still kicking ideas around about the mount. Thinking about using a pulley system with some mechanical advantage to lift the tire up and then held up by studs and lug bolts. Ideas appreciated here. I've searched all the threads I can think of and can't really find anyone doing it quite this way, but we're thinking it's pretty simple and strong and out of the way better than most other ways.

It is so much fun actually putting things into the trailer instead of ripping it apart. It's a really good time.

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:53 PM   #58
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Hi Steve,
Just saw this thread for the first time today - enjoyed reading it and watching your progress. It appears to be coming along nicely, congrats and keep up the photo-log.
Dave
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:06 PM   #59
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Back from the Welder

Island Girl got to take her first trip on her new axle and wheels. It was done pretty slowly since her shell is only held up by some strips of plywood and a few C clamps. Looks to me like she sits 3 or 4 inches higher than before and there's about a foot of clearance below the tanks (which all hang down 4" below the frame) and the spare tire.

Most of the windows are still out, but nearly done. Steve at Vintage Trailer Supply sells packs of 100 fasteners for the Hehr standard windows. Sounds like a lot, but it isn't enough for the 9 windows on a Caravanner and I had to order more. Three windows had to wait for the new fasteners, but they're ready to go otherwise.

There was an old floor repair by the door that had made a mess out of the steps. Pieces of 1/2" plywood had been glued in place and only butted up to the C channel, not under. The outrigger holding the forward bracket for the step had rolled rearward and the step bracket had broken. That outrigger got replaced by 2x4 steel tube and a piece of angle. It's as solid as it can be now, even without any subfloor support.

Hopefully you can see in the pics that we've added quite a bit of structure to the frame. There's a piece of 2x4 tube forward with the spare tire mount, another between the two fresh water tanks, one more right by the shock mounts as part of the gray tank mount, and a final one replacing the rear crossmember which had significant rust problems. Also added a steel plate which will be riveted to the rear shell, like the existing one in front. Spare tire mount adds some structure too. Tire goes into the mount either with a floor jack or a small block and tackle setup.

Tanks are just loosely fastened in here for the pictures. Fresh tanks have baffles inside and the strap mounts hold them across the baffle area. They are 24 gallon tanks. Gray is 33 gallons and held both by the straps and the top flange. Most of the plumbing fittings will be on the tank tops with the exception of the shower drain which will follow those existing holes in the frame and enter either on the side or back of the tank. At least that's the plan now.

Shock mounts are pretty tight on clearance, but I think they'll be OK. Actually had to countersink the bolts on the lower mounts to make them fit.

I'll be wire brushing and prepping for POR 15 over the next few days. I know you guys in the hot country wouldn't think much of our current 85 to 90 degrees but for us in the Pacific Northwet, it's pretty darned hot. Might be taking it pretty slowly for the next few days.

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:34 PM   #60
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Looks great Steve, looks solid enough to last another 50+ years.

I'm not sure if I've said this before on the Forums, but the '56/'57 Caravanners are my favorite of all vintage Airstreams. I love all those windows, and I love the 13 panels. They're just very cool trailers, and someday I will have one, oh yes, I will have one!

The only thing that could make them any cooler would be a whale tail, but my understanding is that Caravanners were only made in Ohio, and so there are no whale tail Caravanners out there.

Anyway, keep up the good work, looks good!

-Marcus
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:37 PM   #61
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Looks good Steve. It must be nice to to have so many things get done all at once.

On another note, are you following Truckasaurs' thread. He posted a question about how to re-attach the rub-rail. I'm curious about your rub-rail. Is it rivited on like Marcus'? I'm pretty sure mine is just held on with screws.

Norm
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:39 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
The only thing that could make them any cooler would be a whale tail, but my understanding is that Caravanners were only made in Ohio, and so there are no whale tail Caravanners out there.
-Marcus
Come on Marcus, you could slap together a whale tail conversion in a couple hours.

Seriously, I wonder if you could fit a whale tail off a salvaged FC of the same year.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #63
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Looks good Steve. It must be nice to to have so many things get done all at once.

On another note, are you following Truckasaurs' thread. He posted a question about how to re-attach the rub-rail. I'm curious about your rub-rail. Is it rivited on like Marcus'? I'm pretty sure mine is just held on with screws.

Norm
Thanks, Norm, it does feel good to be moving forward after a what seems like a long time of ripping apart.

I'll head over to Truck's thread. My back one is off after drilling out one impossible screw and this morning I went after the front and it had 2 hopeless screws that I'll drill out tomorrow. I'm planning to replace them with stainless screws.

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:53 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
Looks great Steve, looks solid enough to last another 50+ years.

I'm not sure if I've said this before on the Forums, but the '56/'57 Caravanners are my favorite of all vintage Airstreams. I love all those windows, and I love the 13 panels. They're just very cool trailers, and someday I will have one, oh yes, I will have one!

The only thing that could make them any cooler would be a whale tail, but my understanding is that Caravanners were only made in Ohio, and so there are no whale tail Caravanners out there.

Anyway, keep up the good work, looks good!

-Marcus
Thanks, Marcus. I do love the look of my trailer. Lucky to find one of the last of the 13 panels as they switched to 7 mid year in '57. Colin Hyde told me, when we were discussing axles, that the 7 panel '57's are also a little wider. He thought my axle measurements were wrong until I told him I had 13 panels.

I'm going to try 13 panels in birch on my inside front endcap (it's crappy fiberglass now). Can you do a whale tail in the front?

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:59 PM   #65
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That'd be a "whale snout" I believe....

Steve, the trailer looks great! I know you're used to tight clearances of a boat, but man, you really lucked out with the shocks ... JUST works! Those rims look GREAT by the way! Did you go with a higher angle than 22 degrees? I'm trying to figure if 22 will give me enough changing clearance... your angle looks just right....

I finally got back to my trailer today (can you believe it's been since I saw you that I have had a chance? Time just flies by...), it's so relaxing to be working on her....

Picked up some wood to redo the front ... finally got my door re aligned enough to shut.. had to jack up the shell on the frame a bit, and then put some 3/4" scraps in till the wood that I bought is dry from the weather treatment I'm putting on it.

Thanks for the inspiration!
Marc
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:40 PM   #66
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Whale snout, yes, you are right. I dunno, not sure I wanna go there.

It's got to be hard finding time to make the drive up to your trailer, especially in between rides to Portland on your bike! Mine was only about 10 miles away when at the welder, but it seemed like a long way.

22 degrees on the axle, but it's what Axis calls their "hi profile" axle. That's only supposed to be good for another inch. No way to know how much my springs had sagged either. I'm happy with the height, but wouldn't want it to be any higher or it would start looking weird.

Wouldn't have those wheels if it weren't for you, Marc. I do like them.

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:31 AM   #67
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13 panels in birch looks amazing. I'm sure you've read Carlos Ferguson's thread on his 62 Safari, and if not, man are you in for a treat.

-Marcus
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:44 AM   #68
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13 panels in birch looks amazing. I'm sure you've read Carlos Ferguson's thread on his 62 Safari, and if not, man are you in for a treat.

-Marcus
I have many idols around this place, but Carlos is mighty high on the list. Whenever I get down about the amount of work ahead, I read his thread start to finish and I always feel better.

Sorta like that thread by that guy in Austin, too.

cheers,
steve
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:18 PM   #69
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Por 15

Today was one of the days that I get a few hours away from Alzheimers when Charlene comes and watches Pam for 6 hours. That made today the day to paint the frame with POR 15.

I've been spending the last several days getting the frame ready for the paint. Some grinding, quite a bit of wire brushing, cleaning with Marine Clean and etching with Metal Ready got me to yesterday when I got it masked off. My trailer shell has been supported lately by the steel plate riveted in front and several strips of 3/4" ply placed under the C channel and on top of the outriggers, held by C clamps. Those strips really needed to come out for the paint, but the shell still needed some support.

Decided to try supporting it with a couple of 2x4's with a short piece of 2x4 on top in a T and cut to follow the radius of the inside top of the shell. I lifted the shell using the 2x4's and a couple of floor jacks. Just raised the shell enough to unload the 3/4" plywood strips. Don't want to leave it very long this way, but it gave me access to all the outriggers for paint today and the strips can go back in tomorrow.

Like many have said, POR 15 is just amazing stuff. Flows really well, sets up fast. I got two coats on all of the frame, including the bumper and the tongue. Did one coat in grey and one in black so I could see where I'd been. Ran out of time for the Sterling Silver, so it'll get done tomorrow. Seems like most guys have been less happy with it and the way it goes on, so I'll see tomorrow.

I'm actually thinking about putting the subfloor back in now--that's exciting stuff.

Sorry for the poor pics, the photographer was tired.

cheers,
steve
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:26 PM   #70
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Oh yeah! Nice work, I never get tired of seeing pictures of freshly painted Airstream frames. I mean that. It looks fantastic!

And now you know what we're talking about when we mention how nicely the POR15 goes on. Just a truly remarkable product.

I know I am one of the ones who was less-than-pleased with the Stirling Silver, but there are others who like it a lot. I'm sure operator error had something to do with it, so just read the directions and make sure you use a quality brush or roller or sprayer, whatever system you're going with.

Very nice, those floor boards will be going in in no time.

-Marcus
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