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Old 03-26-2009, 08:39 PM   #21
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Thru the winter I have done no work on the Safari, but than I have continued to try to collect parts for it.

I keep waffling on what to do when the weather gets just a little warmer. I really feel like I need to replace the floor to make the trailer solid again. That would also allow me to handle any frame repairs, should they be needed. And while the lower inner skins are off, the wiring would be easy to redo.

I am thinking I need to just "go for it" this summer and at least get the frame and floor redone, even if everything else drags out into next year.

I had been thinking I would try a "body on" floor replacement, but there are logistical issues with that option should frame repairs be needed since I cannot keep the trailer at home. After a recent WBCCI Unit luncheon where people were advising me to "do it right" and do a body off, I have been thinking about that option. It think if could find an indoor place to store the trailer during this process, a body off should actually go faster because I can take the complete frame to be repaired somewhere, rather than doing things piecemeal.

So, does anyone know of a place in southeast Michigan where I can rent an indoor storage space to do a body-off floor replacement?

Any idea how much it should cost to rent a facility? Do you think it could be done in a 10x25 or 10x30 "self storage" place? Mind you, the plan would be to remove the interior, then rent the facility, back the trailer in, lift the body off, take the frame to be repaired and put a new floor on. Once this was done, I'd go back to the storage facility, drop the body back on and resecure it, then move out.

Once the new floor is in and all frame repairs are done, I have confidence that I can do everything else either in my current outdoor storage facility or in my driveway on weekends.

What do you all think? Body-On or Body-Off? Any leads on an indoor facility?

Thanks,
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:24 PM   #22
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Long time, no update!

The games are about to begin. . .

Lorrie and I took the '55 Safari to a Rally the last weekend of April to show it off. It was a hit even though it was nothing more than an aluminum tent with nothing more than one interior light and a couple of electrical outlets working.

The yesterday, we drove 320 miles round trip after work to pick up a dinette table and other parts including most matching counter tops from a 1954 Safari. That dinette table was a real score for me as they are uniquely hinged and were only used in the 1954 to 1956 front kitchen, side dinette Safaris. The original dinette table was missing when I got my trailer. Sorry, no photos.

But the real announcement is that tomorrow I take the Safari to a fabricator, where we will drop the belly pan, inspect the frame, replace the tongue and make any other necessary frame repairs from below. I may have the trailer converted to a torsion axle at that time, but I haven't decided for sure yet. I may need to save that for later to conserve cash.

Once the frame is done, I will pull it home, remove the interior and then do a body-on floor replacement. The goal is to get the frame, floor and electrical rewiring done before winter arrives. I am very busy, but we'll see if I can pull this off.

Then the plan for next year would be to reinstall the interior, add gray and black tanks, and redo the plumbing and LP systems.

Wish me luck!
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:31 PM   #23
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Ohh, this is my favorite part!!
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:11 PM   #24
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Thumbs up Another Safari coming back to life!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Wish me luck!
Good luck!

Post pics of your "new" dinette table when you get a chance...building ours is rapidly rising on our "to do" list ~

Shari
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:21 PM   #25
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Very nice find indeed! I just bought a 1955 Flying Cloud and it was only 4 miles away!
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:42 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
And finally, here are a couple middle interior photo's, including one of a the stangest Water Heater I have ever seen under the front dinette seat. It appears to be a 110VAC electric only model and is shaped like a scuba tank. It and the electric air pump to pressurize the water system were also added in the 1970's, I assume.

Also attached are some photo's of the extra parts I picked up along the return trip in New York and Pennsylvania to aid me in the restoration. Among the bigger pickups was the stove, drawers, and countertop from a 1956 Safari, and the toilet from a 1962 Overlander. I also got a lot of micellaneous smaller parts, knobs and light fixtures, etc.
I just saw this post for the first time and when I saw your water heater it made me smile. I think that the water heater started it's life as an aircraft oxygen tank. I haven't seen one of those old low pressure military oxygen thanks in a long time. Somebody got real creative to convert it to a water heater.

Kip
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:33 AM   #27
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Yes that tank is very cool indeed. But, it may not get Joe across the border into Canada. I can't wait to see the border guards face when he sees that!
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:20 PM   #28
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Most likely the big yellow water heater will not be reused in the restoration. The Safari has no shower, so there is no need for a water heater that large. Plus if I downsize it, I can increase the size of the fresh water tank. I truly am not sure what I am going to do for a water heater. Lorrie suggests we might not even need one at all (the trailer didn't originally have one), but I am thinking of maybe putting a 1.5 gallon electric only water heater in just for dishes and washing up in the morning. When boondocking, we'd do it the old fashioned way and heat water on the stove. Given the current pace of work, I don't even have to think about what I will do for a water heater until next year at the earliest. It's all just speculation now.
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:37 PM   #29
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Time for an Update

The '55 Safari is in the shop to get the frame "fixed". It is currently sitting on steel saw horses and the bellypan has been cut and removed inboard about a foot from the wrap up the the belt line where it attaches to the side skins. This has been done so that we could assess the condition of the frame, repair it, and repaint it. I knew it had "issue" but it has turned out worse than expected.

What we found was the tongue is bent up several degrees, there is no paint left anywhere on the frame, several outriggers and cross members have "issues" and the side rails actually have scary holes in the wheelwell areas. The frame was previously reinforced (a long time ago) with angle brackets welded to the top and bottom of the tongue and to the bottom of the frame rails in the wheelwell area.

The plan is to make and install a complete new tongue, reinforce the main rails almost the entire length, and replace or repair outriggers where necessary. It will then be painted and be good for another 50+ years. This will all be done "body on" and is the only part I expect to pay to have done. Once this is done I will bring it home and do everything else myself (or with the help of well lubricated freinds).

Here are a few current photos. The first three photos show it up on the saw horses. After that are closeups of various parts of the frame - first a general frame photo, followed by a weakened outrigger, a broken step outrigger (basically nothing holding it to the frame), and a composite photo of one scary wheelwell area with a hole the entire length above the previously added angle bracket.

The wheelwell hole was previously well camoflaged by a bead of caulk covering the entire length of the wheel well that closely matched the color of the frame. It was put there a long time ago, maybe two or three owners ago.

It's too late to turn back now. Wish us luck!
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:34 PM   #30
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Another Safari Update

Saturday, Lorrie and I went to the shop to remove part of the front kitchen from the Safari. We did this for two reasons:
  1. To allow access to the front inner skin, which needs to be peeled up to access the frame plate that is riveted to the front outer skin
  2. To take some weight off of the weak floor since the tongue is being replaced and will be spliced to the original frame about 2 to 3 feet back under the front of the body.
Here are some current photos, as taken Saturday:
  • The way it looked before we started
  • What was left at the end of the day
  • The galvanized plate that way across the door opening and under the panel ray heater when we bought it (we knew about this, so it was not a surprise)
  • The floor under the panel ray after removing the plate (worse than we expected, but it will be easy to remove when we get to that part of the project)
  • Some parts removed on Saturday, but before we got the fridge out
  • Part of the frame that was wire brushed and then primed (luckily this part was still pretty good)
I will also note that removing the front kitchen was a puzzle to be solved. Pretty much each peice had to come out in sequence, but it was kind of neat to see how it came apart and envision how it will go back together. The reassembly sequence will likely be different as I will be installing a new stove and be building the new front cabinet to house it, so it will be different than what we took out that some PO installed back in the 1960's.

Almost forgot to mention that the new torsion axle has been built and is supposed to ship on Tuesday. As soon as it arrives at the shop, things will move into high gear, getting the frame repaired and axle installed. The I can bring it home and remove the remainder of the interior to get on with the floor replacement.

Side Note:
To get ready for the Safari floor replacement, last weekend I visited Dave (drag'nwagon) & Rhonda (Rhonda) to assist with a section or two for floor replacement on their '56 Overlander (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f92/...t-37379-4.html). After seeing how they are doing it "body on", I am much less intimidated that I originally was. This IS doable.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:43 PM   #31
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Nice work Joe, my buddy here in town that has been helping me with the rivets (flyrc) just picked up a 56 FC with the whale tail and is just about to get another friend of mine, a commercial welder over to start frame repairs, but nothing that serious so far, just some rusty outriggers etc. When do they think they'll have it back on tires for you?
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:49 PM   #32
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As you added your reply, I was editing my post above to note that the new axle should arrive late this week if all goes according to plan. That means the frame work will move into high gear. I don't know and actual date, but hope to be able to bring the Safari home before the end of September and maybe get the floor replacement done before winter.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:21 PM   #33
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The axle has arrived and now I am just waiting for the frame work to get done. The latest development, however, was that over the weekend I obtained a fridge from a 1960 16' Pacer that will appear more period correct in the '55 Safari. It is almost the exact same size and other than a soot issue it appears to be in pretty good shape (maybe I can get a new burner put in it).

As part of the deal to get the fridge, I had to also take some interior lights and the "in-floor" furnace from the '60 Pacer. I'll wait and see if I have a use for the lights. If not, I'll make them available to someone who might need them. The furnace may only be useful for parts (I don't know it is works, but it's rusty), but I'll make that available to anyone who wants it immediately.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:37 PM   #34
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very nice, always liked those older units, had some style to them. What is the ETA on the frame work?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:43 PM   #35
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Nice progress.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:52 PM   #36
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Moving right along and looks like the Pacer fridge is an improvement. If there are no other takers, I'm interested in the ceiling light.

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Old 09-23-2009, 06:55 AM   #37
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Joe,

Just found your thread. That is a great unit. Where are you having your repairs done at? I am in the area and may need frame repairs done in the future. After a multitude of reasons for not getting going on our rig I have finally started messing with it. I will be doing floor repairs in the future too. You can PM if you want.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:16 PM   #38
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Jason,
I sent you a PM with the name and phone number of the welder I am using for the frame repairs on my '55 Safari. He's worked on a couple of Airstreams before mine and has said he is open for other Airstream projects.

P.S. I have always loved your '55 Sovereign of the Road since the first photo I saw of it years ago. I hope to see that trailer in person some day.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:21 AM   #39
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Joe,

Thank You, got the PM and responded. Hopefully we will meet you in the near future.
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:36 PM   #40
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Finally found this thread.

Joe, Congrats on such a beautiful looking trailer. It reminds me of Birdy from Insideout. I cannot wait to watch the work on this trailer.

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