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Old 01-28-2006, 07:38 PM   #15
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I am taking notes. I will be there doing that soon.
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:16 PM   #16
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Man, you are making some progress and it sounds as you're doing this by yourself in a cramped space. My hats off to you. Not sure I'd want to tackle such a monumental task.

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Old 01-29-2006, 07:09 PM   #17
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Til, I think I've already said this a million times but this is definitely more nerve-wracking than it is difficult. It requires a lot of patience, but I think it's certainly worthwhile to restore a nice old Airstream. good luck with your efforts!

Thanks for the encouragement Brad! You've seen what a small space I'm doing this in; I think I should have done it at the barn but at least it's off now.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:06 PM   #18
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Update

So, I didn't raise the body high enough to pull the frame out unless I remove the wheel wells first. The supports will clear the tires, but not the wheel wells. I need to yank those off anyhow, so off they'll go.

Next weekend I'm going to:

1. Add some bracing to the body to keep the top of it from moving so much from side to side.
2. Drop the belly pan
3. Remove the u-channel
4. Template the floor on some new plywood
5. Remove the floor
6. Clean the frame

I may need to make some slight modifications to the frame for a gray water tank. I'm also going to add a black water tank, I think. I'd rather just find an original toilet with the black-tank pedestal but I haven't had much luck looking for one so far. Then I will paint the frame, add the tank(s), insulate the frame, attach the new floor, tile the floor and put the body and belly pan back on. It makes me nervous having that thing suspended up so high... I can't WAIT to get it back on the trailer.

Here are some more pictures of the body resting on the saw horses.
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:12 PM   #19
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I'm going to order my plywood and tiles today. I guess I should also go water tank shopping.

So um... what size rivets do I use to put the body back on?

Also, I'm not going to buck them... I want to use "pop" (olympic) rivets. Along that line, what should I use to put them in. I have a little rotating-head squeeze handle rivet gun, but if I use that I think I'll have carpal tunnel before I'm done reattaching everything.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:56 PM   #20
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Roughly 1/8" rivets. A phnumatic (sp?) style will help in a big way. You will need velcome and a rivet shaver too. Don't need a 5o'clock shadow on the the bueaty befor your done.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:54 PM   #21
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Shell is attached with 5/32 rivets. Lots of posts about rivets. You may want to buy a compressor and rivit gun if you will be replacing any panels or removing reattaching the interior panels. It is worth the money. don't need something too fancy either.
I got tanks from tank depot, a marine supplier. They have lots of sizes in the Rv section. Take a deep breath and think the tanks out. You do want black and wash(grey) or a combo tank. I put one on each side under the bed with marine mascerator pumps to empty. Also a marine electric head which doesn't require any holes in the floor, just heavy #10 wire. There are tanks that will fit between your frames with little modification. Do you want cold weather tolerance? The tank design thing also has lots of posts with different approaches.
When you move the body out from under the shell you might want to lower those 4x4 on to the horses for more stability. You are right about it being scary.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:56 PM   #22
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If you use 5/8 ply things will line up better when you put it back together. Epoxy or DPES the outside edges to resist rot.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:50 PM   #23
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Awesome, thanks again Over59! As wobbly as the cribbing on the saw horses looks, it's all nailed together and surprisingly stable. Unfortunately, I have to remove the wheel wells to pull the frame out from underneath the body. I should have lifted the whole thing just a little higher (hindsight!).

I think I'm going to try to fit the tanks between the axles on my rig. I don't have the twin beds on the sides in the middle to put them under, so they'll have to go in the frame. My bed is in the rear of my trailer.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:52 PM   #24
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A/C Idea

I don't want to put an A/C unit on the roof of my trailer. I want to keep the look original and the 50's style A/C units were so big and boxy looking.

Since the bed is in the rear of my trailer with the trunk and some drawers underneath it, I'm thinking about replacing the trunk space back there with an air conditioner. A friend of mine builds small custom air conditioners for wine cellars (most are about 12"x12"x18" and can cool several hundred square feet).

There's already a "gyrotronic stabilizer" in the trunk (an 80 pound lead weight, basically) under the bed that was put on at the factory to balance the rear of the trailer out. I'm thinking I might as well find something useful to do with that weight.

The only thing I need to figure out is, if I do put the A/C back there, how to run a duct up toward the front of the trailer to evenly cool the whole thing. I suppose I could find space in the belly for that.
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:55 PM   #25
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Are you sure the weight wasn't to balance the bed so it could be lifted and stuff put under it? Unually one avoids weight in the rear
I was of the same clean roof desire. Ended up we will put an AC on the roof with heat option. I think Uwe put one on the floor. Don't see where you could put ducting in the belly. Maybe snake it along the outside wall.
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:48 PM   #26
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No... the weight back there is attached to the floor. I'm pretty certain it's there to help distribute the weight of the vehicle over the strong part of the monocoque body; the roof. By applying some pressure to the rear, this can be accomplished.

I'm still toying with some different ideas for the A/C, but bottom line is I've definitely decided to add A/C... somewhere.
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Old 02-05-2006, 10:36 PM   #27
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Frame Pulled Out

I pulled the frame out this weekend. That involved removing the wheel wells so I could clear my supports holding up the body. Removing the wheel wells is relatively difficult with the floor still in place because they tuck under the floor boards and are screwed down along the sides and elevator-bolted in the front and rear (three in the front and three in the rear). In some areas the wood was so rotten that I could just get in there with the sawz-all and cut the bolts and screws, but in the other areas, i just cut the wood out around the flashing and pulled it all out together.

Once I had the frame pulled out, I detached all of the u-channel and dropped the belly pan. I was going to start removing the floor, but then I remembered that I should template the new floor using the old. Plus, I don't think I can remove this floor without cutting it to pieces; the elevator bolts on the edges are easy to cut off, but the ones in the middle of the floor are very tough to get to and do a surprisingly good job of holding the floor down! Plus, by this time, it was beer time
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #28
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Tongue and Groove

So, the guy at the lumber yard recomended that I use tongue-and-groove flooring type plywood to do the floor of the Airstream. I think this is a pretty keen idea, that it will add some strength to the overall structure while preserving the flexibility of the design.

Has anyone had any experience using T&G plywood for their Airstream floor? The cost is almost the same as non-T&G plywood.
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