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Old 07-15-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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345 mh Body on a pontoon boat

We are seriously considering taking the body off our rusty 345 and putting on a pontoon boat with engine built for the purpose. Does anyone have any thoughts abut whether this would cause problems with the body? For operating on a river? just wondering.

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Old 07-15-2014, 10:17 PM   #2
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There's some marine engineering needed to ensure it's stable. Our neighbor here at the lake built an enclosed metal living structure on pontoons. It sat anchored out there for some time, then one day his teenagers had a group party on it and managed to flip it upside down. They were very lucky no one was injured or drowned. Had quite a time getting it flipped back over so they could pull it out of the lake.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:26 PM   #3
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Good thing we don't have teenagers!

But I take your good point. I'll look into that, thanks.


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Old 07-16-2014, 12:35 AM   #4
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I love the idea. I have always thought it would be fun to have a pontoon barge to put my Airstream on to use it on a lake as well as on the road. A roll on, roll off unit that is.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:19 AM   #5
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The aerodynamics of an airstream coupled with the speed of a pontoon boat....


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Old 07-16-2014, 10:43 AM   #6
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Question not the first one

Predictably, I'm not the first one to think of this:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ml#post1073703

This is clearly a trailer. We're trying to imagine separating an AS moho from it's chassis for a new life on the water. But how to protect the floor from damp?

And can the steering, engine and transmission be repurposed to power the vessel?
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #7
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This would be anything but a casual conversion. The engine might possibly be re used but no other drivetrain or steering parts.

I would guess that at a minimum you are looking at a $20,000 job.

I am not a boat person however, but boats are more expensive than even Airstream Motorhomes....LOL.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:50 AM   #8
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Just get one of these

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Old 07-16-2014, 12:48 PM   #9
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slicing off the cab and engine

Isn't that amazing! I've seen this video. There are a some very interesting amphibious vehicles out there now but they ain't cheap.

I'm thinking this is a good way to repurpose something, but I'm not exactly sure how. Maybe if we don't try to use the engine and steering and just settle for an outboard of some kind. Not sure how you'd see where you were going though. Minor problem.

If you take the body off the chassis, what you end up with is a coach with a floor, and a step up and then the driver's and passenger's chairs and the doghouse hole where the engine used to be. Or maybe what I should do is slice off the body just behind the cab and sell the chassis and front end to someone who could use it! Then I'd have an open end in the body that would more easily allow passengers to get out onto the pontoon deck.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:40 PM   #10
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Pontoons?

Naw, I'm trying to come up with the wing swept area needed to get my 310 airborne. That way I don't run into pirates on the high seas and can overfly the US and Mexico on my way down to Belize. I may have to get FAA certification however, or run the risk of being mistaken for a UFO and shot down by some Tennesse red neck.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenniflow View Post
Isn't that amazing! I've seen this video. There are a some very interesting amphibious vehicles out there now but they ain't cheap.



I'm thinking this is a good way to repurpose something, but I'm not exactly sure how. Maybe if we don't try to use the engine and steering and just settle for an outboard of some kind. Not sure how you'd see where you were going though. Minor problem.



If you take the body off the chassis, what you end up with is a coach with a floor, and a step up and then the driver's and passenger's chairs and the doghouse hole where the engine used to be. Or maybe what I should do is slice off the body just behind the cab and sell the chassis and front end to someone who could use it! Then I'd have an open end in the body that would more easily allow passengers to get out onto the pontoon deck.

Anything is possible! The body does uncouple from the floor. You could put it straight on the deck.

If you want to pilot it from the existing drivers location you will have pretty limited visibility compared to the normal pilot house of a boat. Docking and awareness of the vehicles around you would be a challenge.

The 454 is a common marine engine. The mariner versions are a dime a dozen unlike the fuel they guzzle.

Roof decks on pontoon boats are a real attractive feature. Tough to do with the AS body.

I think you should consider using the body on a twin hull hydroplane with jet drives.

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Old 07-17-2014, 12:36 PM   #12
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Why stop at 1?

Yes, that is Eggzactly what I should do, except why stop at 1, we have another 80s era trailer. Why not yoke them together, strap on those jet drives and your seatbelts!

I'm starting to think that if I do this it would be mostly for the purposes of using the Airtoon as a very local vessel, like just pulling it out of the slip and anchoring it out at a local island for some more private time and freedom to make noise, not really navigating up and down the river with it. Often it would just be an outbuilding/writing studio. So the visibility wouldn't be as much of an issue. Then we'd have to have a good-sized seating area outdoors. Could put a deck somewhere on top, just supported by something else. But then that would make it harder to appreciate the shape of the trailer. Hmmmmm.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:51 PM   #13
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Or maybe take the cab, turn it upside down and make a big chair out of it on top. Supported separately of course.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenniflow View Post
Predictably, I'm not the first one to think of this:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ml#post1073703

This is clearly a trailer. We're trying to imagine separating an AS moho from it's chassis for a new life on the water. But how to protect the floor from damp?

And can the steering, engine and transmission be repurposed to power the vessel?
Based on what I found while dismantling the 1986 345 I don't think you want to attempt to separate the shell and floor from the truck frame. My suggestion would be to remove the truck chassis suspension components from the frame and use the truck frame as he main structural point.

From my recollection of the assembly process there is a grid work of 1"x2" steel tubing that is laid down on the truck chassis. This grid work is prefabricated, set in place on the frame and welded into place. The shell is built as a complete separate unit including the wood floor. At this point I don't believe the in interior skin is installed.

The complete shell is then picked up and set into place on the grid work that has been welded to the truck chassis. Around the peripheral of the shell at the bottom channel long bolts are used to fasten the shell to the outer perimeter of the grid work. Then 1/4" self taping screws are used to to fasten the wood floor to the grid work throughout the interior of the shell. However, that's not all of the fasteners used. Airstream then followed up with nails. About every 8" on each 1"x2" tubing cross member you'll find a nail, the type with twisted fluting that sort of makes it act like a screw and helps keep the nail in place.

I wish I would have had a "cuss jar" handy when I found out about the nails. In order to remove the wood floor I literally had to use a cutting torch to burn the heads off of every nail (and self taping screws for that matter). I was not a happy camper!

THAT is why I highly recommend keeping the shell attached to the truck frame. Lots less work and the structure will be extremely rigid.

I'm not sure when Airstream started using nails in the assembly process. I know my early Argosy motorhome has a totally different floor fastening system. I've not pulled up enough carpet in the 1984 310 to know if nails were used. You might get lucky and your's might not have the nails. Even so, removing the self taping screws and all of the perimeter bolts is still a chore. To get to the perimeter bolts you have to remove ALL of the interior skin along the floor all the way around.

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