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Old 01-31-2019, 05:14 PM   #71
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Removing Interior Skins Continues

January 31, 2019
Today I am continuing to remove interior skins. I had already removed some small panels, but today I removed the center ceiling panel. That was not a pleasant experience. It is wedged into two pieces of trim (see pic) that make it nearly impossible to pull out without using a screwdriver here and there.
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Here is a pic of the center ceiling section sitting on the floor.
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I must confess I used some words my mother would not approve of when removing this section. And I sure wherever she is in Heaven, she will not approve of the words I’ll use when that panel is reinstalled. No one said this was going to be easy.
Ian and David highly recommended using Cleco temporary fasteners. Now that I have used them, I highly recommend them.
Here is what one looks like installed.
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They allow you to remove all the rivets out of a long panel and get it ready to remove. The Clecoes are used to temporarily hold the panel in place until you are ready to remove it with help from others. The following picture shows one of the panels held in place with just Cleco fasteners.
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Several of the ceiling and wall inner skins are twenty feet long in this 31 foot AS. So having these temporary fasteners is invaluable. They will also be used to reinstall the skins, and to act has temporary fasteners for patches to the outside skin. For example, I need to make patches to cover the old battery box door, the vent for the old charger/inverter, the whole left when removing the antenna and other places where obsolete attachments had been made to Faith.
Rivets
When removing the inner skins, I have learned the value of a very sharp thin chisel. As a rule, I try to drill the rivets out with an 1/8th inch bit. However, many of them spin out and there is no other way to get them out than to chisel them out. Don’t feel like you have failed if you have to use a chisel. You will learn quickly how to catch the rivet at the right angle and shear it off like a pro without damaging the skin. After they have been sheared off, you can use a punch to clear the hole.
Reassembly
As I pulled these skins down, I don’t even want to think of how I will put them back up. And I am NOT going to think about it until I am faced with the task of doing it. MY goal is to get the shell off the frame, and I am not going to be distracted by anything else until that is done. And I am ONLY dealing with those things that pertain to separately the shell from the frame and nothing else. If I get distracted by anything else, it will just impede progress.
More later.
Bill

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Old 01-31-2019, 07:08 PM   #72
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Good job, except for the understandable cussing. Taking down those long, floppy ceiling panels is tough, especially working alone. Actually, I've never done it. Someday maybe.

The cleco sheet metal clamps are invaluable in holding things together. I have a set of 5/32 diameter clecos, but none of the 1/8 diameter. If I were to do interior skins someday, I will need those too. Here is a photo of me holding my plastic bath pieces together with cleco clamps while I adjusted the tambour sliding cabinet door.

I understand Airstream used the center ceiling as a "wire raceway" for the trailer, and I think for both 12v and 120vAC wiring. Do you see a bunch of wires under that center ceiling skin?

Your making good progress. Keep the Faith.

David
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:07 PM   #73
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Making progress

Today I finished removing all the skins from the interior of Faith except for the two end caps and the small panels below them. In the 31 footer, the long left and right ceiling panels are about 20 feet long and awkward to handle. They were held in place by Clecos after all the civets were chipped out. I tried to figure out a way to take the panels down by myself, but chickened out in favor of calling in the cavalry for help

My son, daughter and my wife came to the rescue, and the panels were easily dropped to the floor.

In previous blogs, I have talked about trying to drill out all the rivets I could, and the ones that spun out, I would chip at with a narrow chisel. I have abandoned the drill altogether. The chisel is the tool of choice. I would have saved myself a lot of time if I had used it from the start.

I would have posted pics, but the stripped out AS with all its insulation showing has already been posted by others many times.

So far, the work has not been difficult, just tedious.

Bill
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:11 PM   #74
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Special Thanks

Special thanks to my new friend Ian. He has been an enormous help and a great resource on my project.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:46 PM   #75
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More than happy to help Bill.

Your courtesy spot is ready in TX when that thing is traveling again.

Ian
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:53 PM   #76
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First Milestone

A milestone. All the skins have been removed and the two end caps have been removed.

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The forward end cap literally crumbled as it came down. I took this down without help. The rear end cap, was in relatively good shape. I had two people help with that. As I had been advised, the rear cap is not very heavy, but floppy and difficult to handle alone. With three people it was a piece of cake.

Someone asked in another thread how long it took to take down the skins and end caps. I worked several hours each day from Wednesday through Sunday. I put in roughly 20 hours on this phase.

Tomorrow I remove all the insulation and begin cleaning all the u channels. Also, I re-tape all the wires to that fell when the skins were removed and tape them up and out of the way.

More later
Bill
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Old 02-03-2019, 02:56 PM   #77
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David - question

David - on your Overlander - It appears that you used some of the original bath, and fabricated the shower. Is this correct?

Bill
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:04 PM   #78
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Nice job Bill. After you get all the insulation out, bagged and disposed of you’ll really be able to identify where the bugger has been leaking. The PO of my trailer was a big fan of Olympic rivets and almost everyone of those leaked.

They look really neat when they are all naked inside too.

Ian
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Old 02-03-2019, 06:36 PM   #79
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You are well on your way with the "disassembly" of your 78 Sovereign. You mentioned you have maybe 20 hours in it so far. The vintage Airstream theorem is it take about 10x longer to put the thing back together again. They come down easy in comparison to the reassembly. However, the reassembly is the most fun. I have over 1000 hours in my Overlander and a lot more to do.

I used all of the original bath plastics in my Overlander. See photo. I did elect to rebuild the "hamper/dressing seat" gizmo popular in Airstreams through the sixties and seventies. I simply made a wood cabinet there instead. Otherwise the Overlander bath is original. See photo.

I did fabricate a shower stall in the old 66 Trade Wind I once had. It was small at 24"x24", but a guy could get wet in there. Many of the sixties and seventies trailers had a plastic bathtub with a shower over it. The bathtub makes a pretty good shower pan.

David
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:32 AM   #80
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UBE - a new term.

As a novelist, I try to write stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. I try to incorporate drama in the twists and turns of a plot, create insurmountable obstacles facing the hero and show how they rise up in the face of adversity.
I wish I could hype the story of Faith, my AS project, as an old man against the enormous challenge of redoing one of these relics from the past. In truth, the work has been easy, and help and advice has been abundant. This is not an “Old Man and the Sea” saga here, where Santiago fights the enormous fish. So far my work on Faith has been just that, work. And none of it has been beyond me. While I had originally seen the project as daunting, with help from friends new and old it has been enjoyable. Now Ian would say, “Wait till you get to the wheel wells” referring to one of the more challenging aspects of separating the body from the frame. I know, when I get to that phase, there will be help to get through it.
Frame issues with 70s vintage trailers are very common. Nothing I have encountered so far would have dissuaded me from undertaking this project and if your AS has similar issues, you should not be afraid to take it on. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I am finished stripping out the interior and will soon begin work in earnest to detach the body from the frame. I’m excited.
One issue that I did not anticipate is the amount of storage space taken up by Faith’s interior parts. I totally under estimated that. I have Faith’s parts scattered over two locations and my yard, hidden away from view, and it looks like a wrecking yard. What I did anticipate, and you should as well, is that having enough room to work when the body is pulled off. While I have been able to do all the work so far in my driveway, I did not want to create an eyesore for my neighbors for the two months that Faith’s frame will be out from under the shell and the body up on blocks.
Faith’s poor interior condition was evident after all the insulation was removed. All the slides used for the vista windows, which are part plastic, are crumbling and cannot be reused.
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The driver side, taillight lens is pretty roached out from corrosion. I noted when I towed Faith home that the driver side, taillights were not working – mystery solved. Not sure if that housing can be repair or not.
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As soon as the end caps were taken down, there was an avalanche of wires that needed to be addressed. At the factory, AS used three methods to secure the wiring harness in place. First, in all the chases down the center of the ceiling they used metal clips. In other places, where wires were run in sets of up to four to six wires they used masking or duct tape to hold them in place. In Faith, the tape used met its demise years ago. For the main cabling, they used these black cable clips that were attached to the skin using double sided tape.
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On many of these, the double-sided tape had failed. Ian suggested using 3M mounting-tape. That worked great.
But there were places where the cabling was too heavy to use even the AS clips. I went to HD and scrounged around until I found these clips.
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They are attached with double-sided tape, but they adhere very well. Their intended purpose is to wrap around the cable, then attached to surface. I turned them sideways and ran cable ties though them that worked extremely well. The pic below is a little out of focus but it does show how I used them.
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I also made extensive use of the back of the interior skin panels to label where they came from, and how they are to be installed. It’s ugly but effective (UBE).
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Currently I am working on cleaning the U and C channels and locating all the attachment bolts. In a day or so, I am moving Faith to a different location to begin to sever the body from the frame, build gantries and prepare to lift the body off. Fun!
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:26 AM   #81
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Awesome to see your progress Bill. Very good point about anticipating space needs. Fortunately I have a large pole barn and old horse stables to stash the contents of my projects but it still takes a massive amount of organizing which I find rather tedious. I rolled my interior skins by group and secured with rope, this makes for a smaller footprint and a robust package to protect against potential damage. I also had a metal wire shelf that I adjusted to fit grey folding lid storage totes (12 I think) and all my parts where then put in tupperware or ziplock bag (if they fit) as I loaded them and labeled the outside with the contents. If I didn't do this as I went, it would be a total mess.

Rooting for you!
Ian
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:37 AM   #82
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If the clear coat is gone, we use marine grade boat hull aluminum wash from Bass Pro. It give a satiny sheen that you can see your foggy reflection in
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:54 AM   #83
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In regards to your exterior finish: we were amazed when we stripped off the clear coat. Made a HUGE difference in the look of the trailer. We had corrosion around the top sides of the trailer, which Chris tackled with Purple Polish and a mild abrasive pad to remove. Then we Walbernized it. It's not a super shiny finish, more mat. But we've had a lot of compliments on our "Polish" job and we are happy with it. Trailers of this vintage have a few dings if they've been used at all and ours is no exception. We actually found a couple when we stripped off the clear coat that we hadn't seen before then. After experimenting with several environmentally friendly strippers which did almost nothing, we ended up with Aircraft stripper which made short work of the clear coat.
Ian has a good idea in his storage ideas. We, several times, bought stuff, then forgot we had it or couldn't find it, and ordered again. We tended to spend winters ordering stuff for the next summer's work. (then forgetting where it went in hubby's workshop). Oh well. Mostly small stuff anyway.
We did use Olympic rivets on our trailer in our reno. There were already some there from a long ago repair which had not leaked. We discarded the rubber seal rings that come with them, and used Trempro under them all. No leaks so far.
Center ceiling panel: it's a bear (polite word for what we actually said when we took it down). We rewired entire trailer, using a different color wire for each 12V application (my husband wanted to know at a look where each one went to for future repairs). He's the master mind on most of the build, I'm the Renfield (yessss, Master!). When we put the center panel back up, we split it in two at a practical spot for ease in getting it back up. Definitely made it easier.
Hope some of my ramblings help you!

Kay
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:55 AM   #84
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Thanks Coloradobus for this tip. I have a Brass Pro near me.

What is your project?
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