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Old 02-16-2016, 08:02 AM   #1
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Ravenswood , West Virginia
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1977 Sovereign shell off restoration

I have been flirting around with the notion of redoing one of these silver cans for a few years now. My wife introduced me to the idea using enticing pics of of restored airstreams on Pinterest that looked so cool you wanted move into one and burn you're house down and use the insurance money to go on the great American road trip.....
Even though I haven't taken it to that extreme I did find a 77 that had been setting in a hayfield for a few years and talked the fella into selling it.
Don't want to get to long winded here but If it were not for this forum is would have not known where to even start. So I thought why not post the process and mabey it will help someone else in the future and in the process help yourself by avoiding a few pitfalls along the way
I have the gantrys built and am getting ready to brace the inside and remove anything else that is necessary to pick the shell off the floor.
I will admit that despite all my reading on airforums I am still not crystal clear on exactly the best way to go about the whole thing. I plan to just have at it it and not do anything to stupid
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:36 PM   #2
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Looks pretty clear cut to me- you have a nice blank slate there.

Couple pointers to start you off:

1. Dont waste your time bracing the inside for your gantry shell lift off. It is not needed- the shell is plenty rigid.
2. Keep up the reading on these forums. The more you read about what is "going" to happen up the road, the more prepared you'll be as you dig in to all the components leading up to each phase.
3. Jump in and start. You'll learn alot with each step.
4. Dont put time constraints on yourself- it will only stress you out. Everything will take 3 times longer than you expected and cost 3 times as much. Goals are great to strive for, but celebrate your milestones. This project may very well take 2-5 years depending on your other life responsibilities.
5. Search ebay and craigslist regularly so you can snatch up parts you may need along the way. Vintage parts are out there, but not when you need them.
6. Have fun and post progress pics along the way.

Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:01 PM   #3
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This is exactly the kind of advice I am talking about. I was literally just getting ready to brace that thing to death this evening and checked the forum to see if I had a reply yet by chance and bingo ! Needless step avoided. Thank you Mixter.

I am guessing I just use 2x6 attached under the vents to give the shell a spine of sorts to hook the hoist chains to ?
One other question. Since I am not bracing it up inside where do I block it from without the 2x4's in the floor when I pull the trailer out and set the shell down ?
Can I set the aluminum she'll directly on blocks ?
I will go ahead and apologize in advance for any stupid questions I may ask. I will do my best to limit the number.
I will keep up the reading. I have learned a great deal. My biggest problem is that everyone seems to do it differently and wading thru the various methods can be a bit confusing.
As far as time spent goes I knew I was really getting into a extensive project but jumped anyways. I have the free time so I hope that will enable me to move along a bit faster than folks working on a similar project in there free time.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:22 PM   #4
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My sole advice for you, Purchase and USE some good eye protection!

I've done some stupid (really stupid) safety stuff in the past (chemical poisoning among many others).

You only get one set of eyes. They don't like dirt, metal shavings, and rivets flying off of dremel tools.

It would really suck getting the trailer done and then not be able to go anywhere cause your blind and can't see to drive!
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:52 PM   #5
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Welcome to the madness. Nice gantries.

A possible search method for your continued reading pleasure.

Search/Google:

"Airforums Full Monte Restorations"

"Airforums shell off restorations"

Airforums bracing the shell"

or similar verbiage. That might lead you to some additional threads you haven't read yet.

Enjoy it looks good so far.
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:55 PM   #6
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You don't have to attach the 2x6 either the weight if the shell holds it in place. Put some 2 x 4 under the c channel to help hold it in place. I lifted my shell and bolted it my driveway for 2 yrs. not sure how others secured on the ground. Have someone hold the shell on the door side or use another rope or it will swing to that side and put a nice dent where you don't want it😁
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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I really appreciate the feedback. Rugjenkins thanks for the tip on the 2x6. Going to be taking the shell off this week. I will post more pics then.
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceboy777 View Post

I am guessing I just use 2x6 attached under the vents to give the shell a spine of sorts to hook the hoist chains to ?
One other question. Since I am not bracing it up inside where do I block it from without the 2x4's in the floor when I pull the trailer out and set the shell down ?
Can I set the aluminum she'll directly on blocks ?
2x6 might be fine, but I think most of us used 4x4s. Use a long enough piece to catch some of the ribs inside, so you lift from a few of the ribs.

You'll see once its lifted, that the aluminum extends beyond the u channel in the front and rear. I placed 2x4s around the perimeter in strategic places to support the ribs so the aluminum siding didnt get crushed.

There are no stupid questions. Everyone puts their own twist on the methods- you'll find the same as you get your hands dirty.
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:24 AM   #9
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Wow - looks like a great start! Enjoy the project and the way you are planning and asking questions I bet this one will be an example of a huge success.
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Old 02-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #10
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Wow - looks like a great start! Enjoy the project and the way you are planning and asking questions I bet this one will be an example of a huge success.
Thanks for the encouragement
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:15 PM   #11
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I have attached a pic below. My question is this. I have gathered from quite a few threads that getting that C channel to go back on the new subfloor exactly the way it came off the old and making dang sure the new floor is cut to the exact specifications the previous floor is crucial.
I have read and read...not being lazy here and asking questions that I could find on another thread. But the various ways of ensuring the aforementioned steps go according to plan are swrilling around in my head and I just realized that I have spent a 1hr drinking coffee, spitting....... (Copenhagen...this is WV ya know ) and staring at the floor lol

My concern is that the old subfloor will be to rotten around the edges (like in the pic) and will not be worth anything as a pattern.

I read on another thread about making a pattern on the floor with 1/4" Luan cut into 6" wide strips and screwing it down snug to the C channel to be used later to cut the new subfloor out prior to lifting the shell. This makes sense but I wanted to be sure that I was not doing it the hard way or that no one new of alternative method.

Thanks
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:19 PM   #12
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Also...I would 2x4 braces do anything to make sure the shell held the same shape when removed and in doing so make the reassembly process easier?
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Also...I would 2x4 braces do anything to make sure the shell held the same shape when removed and in doing so make the reassembly process easier?
Mixter....I know you told me this was not necessary in regards to stabilizing the shell to pick it up off the floor but would it be a help on certain areas to make sure that C channel comes down the way it went up ?
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceboy777 View Post
Mixter....I know you told me this was not necessary in regards to stabilizing the shell to pick it up off the floor but would it be a help on certain areas to make sure that C channel comes down the way it went up ?
Nah- you'll have some play. Your C-Channel will stay on the subfloor. Drill out the rivets on each side. No need to drill out on front and rear "U" channel, as it sits on top of the floor. You will, however, need to drill out the rivets on the front tie down plate. The rear tie down plate may or may not be in tact.

For cutting new flooring, you just have to use what you have and come up with the best re-enactment of what it used to be. You'll use a combo of the old floor as a template, and I used a huge piece of cardboard and set it under the shell while it was on the ground. I traced it out and it worked great.

I'll send some pics. standby
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