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Old 11-25-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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Building a New Frame?

After removing and striping down the frame on our 1952 25' Cruiser, we are considering building a new frame.
The old frame is in pretty bad shape, bad rust, a new hitch assembly is mandatory, and the rear would need to be reinforced. That being said, my father-in-law is a metal man and welder. He has suggested we use the existing old frame as our template and build a new one using rectangular steel tubing for the main frame and cross members and angle irons for the tip outs. This would make the frame a little heavier and a little more rigid. We would put a new Dura Torque Axle in place of the old completely shot straight axel. I am confident in his and my ability to build the new frame but wanted feedback on this before making the final decision. What are the pros and cons?

With the amount of time money and effort that will be committed to restoring this Cruiser a part of me wants to know that the frame is strong and new.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Prattman
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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Hey Prattman,

Here's a good thread on building a replacement frame. Boatdoc really went all out. Not the same vintage as your application but some good information none the less.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ame-29294.html

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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What are the pros and cons?
Prattman
If you want to keep the trailer original you will have to pretty much duplicate the original frame. You can use thicker pipe if you want a little more strength though.
Roger.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PRATTMAN View Post
After removing and striping down the frame on our 1952 25' Cruiser, we are considering building a new frame.
The old frame is in pretty bad shape, bad rust, a new hitch assembly is mandatory, and the rear would need to be reinforced. That being said, my father-in-law is a metal man and welder. He has suggested we use the existing old frame as our template and build a new one using rectangular steel tubing for the main frame and cross members and angle irons for the tip outs. This would make the frame a little heavier and a little more rigid. We would put a new Dura Torque Axle in place of the old completely shot straight axel. I am confident in his and my ability to build the new frame but wanted feedback on this before making the final decision. What are the pros and cons?

With the amount of time money and effort that will be committed to restoring this Cruiser a part of me wants to know that the frame is strong and new.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Prattman
Not to throw you a curve, but the inherent strength of an Airstream, is in the shell, not the frame.

You can beef up the frame a little, if you wish, but keep in mind, the shell supports the frame. That's why the connection between the two, is important.

Andy
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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Bud Cooper, who we lost last summer, was the first President of the WBCCI Vintage Airstream Club. Bud had a trailer a little older than yours. He did away with the original frame and had a ladder frame made to his specifications by a boat trailer builder. To keep some of the original look, he had a piece of the original pipe frame under the rear of the trailer, so from the back it looked like an original frame. No outriggers to rust away. I'm sure that it was heavier than the original, but who cares.

I have no idea how many hundreds of thousands of miles Bud must have towed that trailer.
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:35 PM   #6
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If you want to keep the trailer original you will have to pretty much duplicate the original frame. You can use thicker pipe if you want a little more strength though.
Roger.
Absolute originality aside, if I was buying a resto I would be more interested in a strong frame than an original duplicate. Not saying a box frame is stronger than a pipe frame, but that is my impression. I think I would also prefer the torsion axle over leaf springs.
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:12 PM   #7
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Absolute originality aside, if I was buying a resto I would be more interested in a strong frame than an original duplicate. Not saying a box frame is stronger than a pipe frame, but that is my impression. I think I would also prefer the torsion axle over leaf springs.
The box frame provides far more stability for the floor, than the pipe frame.

The frame cross members, sort of float, side to side, with the pipe frame.

With the box frame, the cross members cannot move.

Changing the frame to bax, would be a positive advantage.

Andy
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