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Old 03-16-2013, 02:27 PM   #61
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Belly Pan had to go

I forgot to mention in the previous post that as much as I hated to do it , I had to cut out the belly pan. It had been installed when the trailer had rotten floor and sagging outriggers. As I tried to raise the outriggers I realized the belly pan wouldn't let me move them. As soon as it was out of the way, I was able to get them level with the main frame.
When I was fretting about installing the new hold down plate under the front window I discovered the window was 3/4" off center towards the street side. By removing a belly pan patch on one side of the A-frame and trimming an inch off the other side I was able to center the window over the frame.
I had pointed out a bulge on the front street corner to Scott and he shrugged it off to several thousand miles of BAD roads. Well guess what, a centered window also took care of the bulge
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:27 PM   #62
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My '63's front end would have ended up off center had I simply fit the floor to the shell shape. I used hold down straps to re-center the front of the shell over the floor before I screwed down the C channels.

Ain't nuttin in these things square.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:21 PM   #63
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Rear Frame sag

I'm finally getting back on task with the ATW. A couple of days ago I removed the remaining 12 feet of floor. Today after cleaning out 40 lbs of Rat Poop I discovered the latest batch of frame issues.
1... The out rigger under the water heater has torn away from the frame.
2... The "C" channel that runs under the tub has pulled away from the wall, a whole row of sheared rivets.
3...Four of the five cross-members are a rusted mess,will need to be replaced
4... The frame sags at least one inch from the wheel well cross-member to the bumper.

I know that a person isn't supposed to mount a spare tire on the bumper because it can cause frame problems. Considering this trailer circled the world on terrible roads with that spare on the bumper I'm lucky to have anything to work on.
The big question is what will remove the sag and not make the frame to stiff? Has anyone boxed the frame to remove the sag?
Please feel free to chime in, I can use all the help I can get.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:36 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrc View Post
I'm finally getting back on task with the ATW. A couple of days ago I removed the remaining 12 feet of floor. Today after cleaning out 40 lbs of Rat Poop I discovered the latest batch of frame issues.
1... The out rigger under the water heater has torn away from the frame.
2... The "C" channel that runs under the tub has pulled away from the wall, a whole row of sheared rivets.
3...Four of the five cross-members are a rusted mess,will need to be replaced
4... The frame sags at least one inch from the wheel well cross-member to the bumper.

I know that a person isn't supposed to mount a spare tire on the bumper because it can cause frame problems. Considering this trailer circled the world on terrible roads with that spare on the bumper I'm lucky to have anything to work on.
The big question is what will remove the sag and not make the frame to stiff? Has anyone boxed the frame to remove the sag?
Please feel free to chime in, I can use all the help I can get.
The frame will sag 4" under its own weight, nuttin to do with when where or how it was towed. If you flip it over, it will be bent UP!

The important thing is to make sure it's flat when you start bolting it back together. Lots of support under various points from front to rear, verify with a level. It's possible to rivet on the belly pay with the frame un level, and the dang thing will be twisted from then on.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:52 PM   #65
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When I measured the frame on my 55FC I found that most of the sag occured right at the rear spring mount. Seems to take a heavy load there. I suspect that if you boxed in about 4' on either side from about the axle back it would cure a lot of the issues without stiffening the frame too much and creating new ones. Relatively quick and easy while you have access. I will make note that My 55 has a bent tube frame with an unwelded seam on the underside, not c channel, so your measurements might be a little different
Keep up the good work, I really enjoy this thread with its history.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #66
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Wally,
I don't have great experience with floor replacement on a lot of Airstreams, but I have replaced the rear floor on both a 1955 22' Safari and a 1962 22' Safari. Here are my observations:

The 1955 had a frame made of rectangular tubing. I'd estimate it probably was 4" x 2" 14 gauge (when new). In the state I had that Airstream, the tubing was probably thinned due to rust. With the back 8 feet of floor out (basically from the wheel wells back) and the frame unsupported, the frame would easily sag 3 or 4 inches relative to the shell when the shell was detached.

The 1962 has much beefier C-channel rails that for the most part still have good thickness to the metal. With the rear 8' of floor out and the frame unsupported, the frame would sag less than 1 inch when the shell was detached (maybe only a half inch relative to the shell, but I didn't measure and it is all reattached now).

Bottom line, the frame, floor, and shell work together to give an Airstream its structural rigidity. Each element by itself is much flimsier than the whole. If you find no obvious bend point (e.g. near the axle mounting plate) and merely have a slight uniform arc to the rear frame when unsupported, I think everything is normal. You will have to decide if any of the metal is thinned to the point it needs to be reinforced or replaced, but the mere presence of a slight arc does not in and of itself mean the frame is bent.

You will definitely want to support the frame when reattaching the body so that everything goes back together as intended and not make the arc a permanent element. When I put the new floor in the 62' (body on) I left the rear bumper unsupported until the floor was slide in place. This made it easier to slide the plywood between the frame and shell. I then jacked up the rear bumper to the point that the sag was removed and bolted and screwed the floor to the frame and the shell to the floor and frame.

Good Luck! You can get through this - many of us have done so before you.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:46 PM   #67
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Sliding the new sheets into position

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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Wally,
I don't have great experience with floor replacement on a lot of Airstreams, but I have replaced the rear floor on both a 1955 22' Safari and a 1962 22' Safari. Here are my observations:

The 1955 had a frame made of rectangular tubing. I'd estimate it probably was 4" x 2" 14 gauge (when new). In the state I had that Airstream, the tubing was probably thinned due to rust. With the back 8 feet of floor out (basically from the wheel wells back) and the frame unsupported, the frame would easily sag 3 or 4 inches relative to the shell when the shell was detached.

The 1962 has much beefier C-channel rails that for the most part still have good thickness to the metal. With the rear 8' of floor out and the frame unsupported, the frame would sag less than 1 inch when the shell was detached (maybe only a half inch relative to the shell, but I didn't measure and it is all reattached now).

Bottom line, the frame, floor, and shell work together to give an Airstream its structural rigidity. Each element by itself is much flimsier than the whole. If you find no obvious bend point (e.g. near the axle mounting plate) and merely have a slight uniform arc to the rear frame when unsupported, I think everything is normal. You will have to decide if any of the metal is thinned to the point it needs to be reinforced or replaced, but the mere presence of a slight arc does not in and of itself mean the frame is bent.

You will definitely want to support the frame when reattaching the body so that everything goes back together as intended and not make the arc a permanent element. When I put the new floor in the 62' (body on) I left the rear bumper unsupported until the floor was slide in place. This made it easier to slide the plywood between the frame and shell. I then jacked up the rear bumper to the point that the sag was removed and bolted and screwed the floor to the frame and the shell to the floor and frame.

Good Luck! You can get through this - many of us have done so before you.
Joe this may be a lame question, but here goes. To get the new plywood into position, did you take all the belly pan off the rear of the trailer? Dumb question, if you didn't you couldn't get anything between the bumper and the shell
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:36 AM   #68
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Quote:
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Joe this may be a lame question, but here goes. To get the new plywood into position, did you take all the belly pan off the rear of the trailer? Dumb question, if you didn't you couldn't get anything between the bumper and the shell
Hi Wally,
In both of my cases, the belly pan was "semi-removed" meaning the side belly wraps were still present and wrapping under the outriggers, but the center section of the belly pan to just outboard of the main rails had been removed. That said, I know that others have replaced the floor with the belly pan fully intact, but that is not what I did.

In my cases, I think that many if not all rivets attaching the belly wraps to the outriggers were missing, making the shell walls able to be moved somewhat outward to allow the floor to be inserted easier, but them making realignment of the walls harder to allow the shell to frames bolts at the ends of the outriggers a little harder to align when reinstalled.

As for lifting the sell to get the floor inserted between the, see post #33 in this thread for how I lifted the shell slightly (the photos are from the '55, but I did the same thing on the '62).

Or if you are asking about inserting the last piece of floor and removing the belly pan so that it can be slide over the bumper under the shell, no that is not how I did it. If you are putting full width floor sheets in, the curved ends need to go in before the straight middle sections. This is what I did on the '55. One of the middle 4' sections was the last to go in, after both ends were inserted.

If you are splitting the floor sections into two sides and using a backer boards, screws, and glue to re-secure them together, then likely the rear parts can be inserted "last" if you lift the shell a little like shown in post #33. If the belly pan is in place, you will need to put in one side of the rear floor, attache the backer to that half with screws and glue and then put in the other half of the rear floor and attach it with screws and glue. If the belly pan is open, I suppose the backer could be added from below after installation of the to floor halves, but this would be tougher I think. Of course it is best to "dry fit everything before screwing, gluing, and bolting anything together.

If you are inserting any 4' floor sections in pieces, carefully plan where to put the seam to avoid frame rails, plumbing and furnace duct holes (and below the floor gray tanks, if you are adding them). A seam does not need to be exactly in the middle and a seam in the wrong place can cause you to have to redo it, or prevent other things from going in as planned. Placing a seam on top of a frame rail should be avoided, because this does not allow a backer board to be used and this can put extreme stress on the outriggers that no longer have the strength of the floor to help hold up the shell.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:52 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
My '63's front end would have ended up off center had I simply fit the floor to the shell shape. I used hold down straps to re-center the front of the shell over the floor before I screwed down the C channels.

Ain't nuttin in these things square.
You are right about it "not being square. It isn't aircraft quality either
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:26 AM   #70
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Frame Stiffeners

Have any of you guys that have had the floor open on a 60's trailer found added frame stiffeners inside the frame channel? Yesterday while sitting contemplating replacing the cross members I noticed the added 1/8" thick by 3" tall pieces of metal bar that are just over 5' long. They run from 10" in front of the wheel well to about 18" behind the well. They are back against the inner wall of the frame channel and are welded every four or five inches for the length of each bar.
The big question is this, when were they installed? Was it a factory fix for a 22' trailer that had developed problems or was it a production change before the trailer was built?
The bar is located between the paint marks in the photo.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:16 AM   #71
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For a while I was the caretaker of a ATW 62 Ambassador, now owned by Robert Watowa. Talk about frame stiffeners, it had a whole other frame welded to the bottom of the original. The work was done in India in preparation for "the nearly impassable road in Afghanistan", according to the book about the caravan.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:36 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrc View Post
Have any of you guys that have had the floor open on a 60's trailer found added frame stiffeners inside the frame channel? Yesterday while sitting contemplating replacing the cross members I noticed the added 1/8" thick by 3" tall pieces of metal bar that are just over 5' long. They run from 10" in front of the wheel well to about 18" behind the well. They are back against the inner wall of the frame channel and are welded every four or five inches for the length of each bar.
The big question is this, when were they installed? Was it a factory fix for a 22' trailer that had developed problems or was it a production change before the trailer was built?
The bar is located between the paint marks in the photo.
Hi Wally,
I've only got one point of comparison, but my 1962 Ohio built 22' Safari did not have that extra reinforcement. I do not think that would be a likely repair after the trailer was built if frame problems had developed. I can only think that since your Airstream was built specifically for the photographer to take on the ATW caravan, it might have received some special reinforcements when originally built. Those plates inside the c-channel frame rails are one such reinforcement.

I believe your trailer has a special "double size" rear bumper that I have never seen on another Airstream of that era. Was that for increased strength, or could it have been provided to hold the sewer hose during travel, ala the round bumpers of that era that were found on Avion trailers. You'll have to let me know if either end opens to allow hose storage inside, or if the bumper is welded shut on both ends.

I see another interesting difference between your 1962 22' Ohio built Airstream and mine. Your "middle" cross members seem to be solid, with just one oval opening intended to be used for an in-floor furnace duct (although that duct is apparently not used on your Flying Cloud). My Safari only had this type of cross member in the rear most position a couple of inches forward of the bumper (where the shell bolts down, but where the furnace duct hole did not matter). The rest of my cross members appear to be be the lighter type with 4 or 5 large oval holes (one used for the furnace duct) across the full width of the cross members. Maybe your Flying Cloud got the "stronger" cross members as another "upgrade" for the ATW.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:49 PM   #73
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The "double bumper"

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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Hi Wally,
I've only got one point of comparison, but my 1962 Ohio built 22' Safari did not have that extra reinforcement. I do not think that would be a likely repair after the trailer was built if frame problems had developed. I can only think that since your Airstream was built specifically for the photographer to take on the ATW caravan, it might have received some special reinforcements when originally built. Those plates inside the c-channel frame rails are one such reinforcement.

I believe your trailer has a special "double size" rear bumper that I have never seen on another Airstream of that era. Was that for increased strength, or could it have been provided to hold the sewer hose during travel, ala the round bumpers of that era that were found on Avion trailers. You'll have to let me know if either end opens to allow hose storage inside, or if the bumper is welded shut on both ends.

I see another interesting difference between your 1962 22' Ohio built Airstream and mine. Your "middle" cross members seem to be solid, with just one oval opening intended to be used for an in-floor furnace duct (although that duct is apparently not used on your Flying Cloud). My Safari only had this type of cross member in the rear most position a couple of inches forward of the bumper (where the shell bolts down, but where the furnace duct hole did not matter). The rest of my cross members appear to be be the lighter type with 4 or 5 large oval holes (one used for the furnace duct) across the full width of the cross members. Maybe your Flying Cloud got the "stronger" cross members as another "upgrade" for the ATW.
Joe I thought it was a great idea that they made the special bumper compartment. I was really disappointed when I learned that a sewer drain hose won't fit into the bumper compartment. When I got the trailer there was a very old garden hose in there. Who knows why they built a compartment that wouldn't hold the hose. Maybe it was used to smuggle cigarettes into Iran.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:11 PM   #74
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Change the step location

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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Hi Wally,
I've only got one point of comparison, but my 1962 Ohio built 22' Safari did not have that extra reinforcement. I do not think that would be a likely repair after the trailer was built if frame problems had developed. I can only think that since your Airstream was built specifically for the photographer to take on the ATW caravan, it might have received some special reinforcements when originally built. Those plates inside the c-channel frame rails are one such reinforcement.

I believe your trailer has a special "double size" rear bumper that I have never seen on another Airstream of that era. Was that for increased strength, or could it have been provided to hold the sewer hose during travel, ala the round bumpers of that era that were found on Avion trailers. You'll have to let me know if either end opens to allow hose storage inside, or if the bumper is welded shut on both ends.

I see another interesting difference between your 1962 22' Ohio built Airstream and mine. Your "middle" cross members seem to be solid, with just one oval opening intended to be used for an in-floor furnace duct (although that duct is apparently not used on your Flying Cloud). My Safari only had this type of cross member in the rear most position a couple of inches forward of the bumper (where the shell bolts down, but where the furnace duct hole did not matter). The rest of my cross members appear to be be the lighter type with 4 or 5 large oval holes (one used for the furnace duct) across the full width of the cross members. Maybe your Flying Cloud got the "stronger" cross members as another "upgrade" for the ATW.
Another odd thing about this trailer is the "new" location of the entry step. For some reason the bracket was cut from the frame and moved to the rear more than 4 inches. The red paint marks are the original location of the step. What model had the door farther forward? It had to be one without the front windows.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #75
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Airstream frames are made by man. Man makes mistakes often. Most times they fix their mistakes. Often they blame others for their mistakes. I wonder which is the case...
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #76
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Exploded rivets???

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Airstream frames are made by man. Man makes mistakes often. Most times they fix their mistakes. Often they blame others for their mistakes. I wonder which is the case...
Frank I know you will have the answer. Is a rivet that looks bucked on the outside and like a hollow point 22 caliber bullet on the inside, called an exploding rivet? If the answer is "yes", when and who used them?
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:56 PM   #77
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Quote:
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Another odd thing about this trailer is the "new" location of the entry step. For some reason the bracket was cut from the frame and moved to the rear more than 4 inches. The red paint marks are the original location of the step. What model had the door farther forward? It had to be one without the front windows.
The Ohio Factory built 3 distinct 22' models in 1962, the Flying Cloud, the Safari Twin Bed, and the Safari Double Bed. The Flying Cloud and the Safari Twin had windows forward of the door, while the Safari Double did not. I am guessing that the window on the Safari Twin might hve been slightly narrower that the window on the Flying Cloud, so possibly your frame started life intended for a Safari Twin. The door would have been much further forward for a Safari Double. The Safari Twin theory is backed up by the fact that you told me your Flying Cloud had part of a furnace duct running thru the over opening on the street side of the frame cross members below the floor. This duct was used on both Safari models which had street side furnaces, but not on the Flying Cloud, which had a curb side furnace in 1962 (at least for Ohio built models). Either that, or it was simple human error as Frank suggested.

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Frank I know you will have the answer. Is a rivet that looks bucked on the outside and like a hollow point 22 caliber bullet on the inside, called an exploding rivet? If the answer is "yes", when and who used them?
Exploding rivets were made by Dupont from the late 1930's or early 1940's, into the late 1960's or very early 1970's, when production ceased. When first created, they were touted as labor saving since they did not require a second person on the back side, as when using bucked rivets. They were installed using an electric tool that heated them to make the charge explode. Their drawbacks included that fact that they could explode with too little or too much force, thus not making a proper joint, and since the backs could not be visually checked, you could not tell if this happened. Because of this, loose explosive rivets was a common problem. Apparently, the explosive charge also released corrosive chemicals that could cause damage to aluminum structures over time.

It seems that explosive rivets were the rivet of choice for replacing exterior panels on Airstreams in the 1950's and 1960's to avoid the need to remove the interior panels for access. Olympic rivets replaced explosive rivets for Airstream repair starting the 1970s.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:41 AM   #78
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Well there you have it Wally... I am betting it was human error followed by correction. I am human, so I might be wrong.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:58 AM   #79
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Dupont was first a gunpowder manufacturer so exploding rivets sounds right up their alley. I can also believe the chemicals left behind would have a corrosive effect on the surface being connected.

I like the effort made to double the use of that bumper and do try to figure these things out all the time. for me it almost never works, but I'm only human. Frank, don't under estimate yourself. I think you may be superhuman.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:01 AM   #80
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300 plus exploding rivets

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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
The Ohio Factory built 3 distinct 22' models in 1962, the Flying Cloud, the Safari Twin Bed, and the Safari Double Bed. The Flying Cloud and the Safari Twin had windows forward of the door, while the Safari Double did not. I am guessing that the window on the Safari Twin might hve been slightly narrower that the window on the Flying Cloud, so possibly your frame started life intended for a Safari Twin. The door would have been much further forward for a Safari Double. The Safari Twin theory is backed up by the fact that you told me your Flying Cloud had part of a furnace duct running thru the over opening on the street side of the frame cross members below the floor. This duct was used on both Safari models which had street side furnaces, but not on the Flying Cloud, which had a curb side furnace in 1962 (at least for Ohio built models). Either that, or it was simple human error as Frank suggested.

Exploding rivets were made by Dupont from the late 1930's or early 1940's, into the late 1960's or very early 1970's, when production ceased. When first created, they were touted as labor saving since they did not require a second person on the back side, as when using bucked rivets. They were installed using an electric tool that heated them to make the charge explode. Their drawbacks included that fact that they could explode with too little or too much force, thus not making a proper joint, and since the backs could not be visually checked, you could not tell if this happened. Because of this, loose explosive rivets was a common problem. Apparently, the explosive charge also released corrosive chemicals that could cause damage to aluminum structures over time.

It seems that explosive rivets were the rivet of choice for replacing exterior panels on Airstreams in the 1950's and 1960's to avoid the need to remove the interior panels for access. Olympic rivets replaced explosive rivets for Airstream repair starting the 1970s.
Joe's statement " Apparently, the explosive charge also released corrosive chemicals that could cause damage to aluminum structures over time" is 100% true in regards to old #83. For some UNKNOWN reason, probably human error ALL the rivets from the curb taillight across the back, around the corner to the first bow on street side, are explosive rivets. A patch panel that is about 15" wide is installed behind the last window. It starts at the first horizontal seam and disappears up on the roof. There are rows of open holes under the drip cap above the hatch door and at the panel and first segment. If the floor channel didn't rust from the corrosive gas, the leaking water probably got them.
All this damage happened at the Calgary Stampede in the summer of 62 when the trailers first owner parked in a restricted area. The trailer was brought to the factory for repair and Airstream gave them a new trailer since they knew the Fran Hall needed a trailer for the ATW Caravan.
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