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Old 02-04-2005, 02:23 PM   #15
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Steph

Another solution - get another trailer to use while your fixing this one up! Thats what I have - one good one and one being restored

Ken
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Old 02-04-2005, 04:32 PM   #16
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But Ken, this WAS the good one!
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Old 02-04-2005, 05:57 PM   #17
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I'm glad everyone else suggested you pull the belly pan. I'm not a fan of doing things half way.With the pan off you can replace the floor using proper fasteners and full sheets.You could also bring the frame to a local sandblaster and get it prepped properly.
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Old 02-04-2005, 06:24 PM   #18
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Just a note. Don't be so hard on the guy who made the frame of this trailer.Because of the monocoque construction of the Airstream the frame is not designed to be the sole load carrying member of the trailer.When one part ,the floor in this case, fails the other parts have to take more load.
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:30 PM   #19
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Well, this trailer has had failed floors, patches, and many trips to Alaska, so I'm not blaming anyone for anything. I just want to get it fixed up right so it can handle another 35 years of abuse.

Ask anyone who's seen it in person though, and the exterior is darn near perfect. You'd never know all that was going on underneith!
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Old 02-04-2005, 10:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Ask anyone who's seen it in person though, and the exterior is darn near perfect. You'd never know all that was going on underneith!
That's the insidious part, I've found. My 68 Caravel looked fine on the outside but had worse floor rot than Steph's. My whole perspective on inspecting Airstreams changed when I saw mine come apart.
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Old 02-04-2005, 10:20 PM   #21
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I honestly don't know how I would pick out another AS after this. There's so many possiblities for stuff being messed up that you can't even see...
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:07 AM   #22
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I think the best way to detect floor rot is with your nose.My sailboat had a musty smell and I assumed it was because of it's age when I first purchased it.I cleaned the inside many times and it would not go away.Later found a section of rot deep in bilge.After repair the smell was gone.
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:58 PM   #23
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Ok, I hope this doesn't make you think I'm an idiot, but here's the current plan. These are tough decisions, and Dave and I have spent a lot of time discussing it and poking around in the trailer.

I'm going to leave the bellypan where it is and call out the welder and see if he can fix the exposed parts that need welding. I spent the whole morning out there cleaning up the debris, and I really don't want to remove the bellypan. It's never been off, and I'm sure I will never be able to put it back on as securely as it is now.

The floor in the rear of the coach is solid. I have poked around extensively, and can find no rot, no evidence of previous repairs. There's no reason to think the joints in the back should be broken. In the front the floor was rotted all around the preimeter, which I think allowed the extra flexing that broke the frame.

The axels are new, and were mounted to the frame rails with a new mounting plate. I can see the welds for the axels and they look very secure. The shop had the bellypan off in that area and put new bellypan panels on when they were done, and I trust they did a good job, as they came highly recommended. I don't think there's any reason to expect the axel welds to fail anytime soon.

I have a tendancy to overdo things, to make projects harder than they have to be, so I'm really shutting myself down on this one. I REALLY don't think the trailer is going to disintegrate on the road if I don't examine that last crossbeam (remember, it's a short trailer, so there's not much more behind the axels), and everything from the A frame to the axels I can confirm is in good shape after the repairs. So I'm going to fix what I can see right now and go from there.
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:42 PM   #24
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The welder's coming in the morning. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 02-07-2005, 07:16 PM   #25
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Well, we'll all be sitting with fingers and toes crossed for you, Stephanie! Report back 'cause we'll want to know how it all turned out. By the way, your reasoned decision above is well thought out. Following the track of your thinking will help others along the way when they have to weigh the pros and cons of repair. Good luck for a late winter finish to your project and a great Spring trip
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Old 02-07-2005, 09:52 PM   #26
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Thanks, I'm so excited I just want to go to bed so morning will come sooner! I spent about two hours in the trailer today scraping off old spray-on insulation and flaking paint, and cleaning up the areas to be welded with a wire brush. I found one more, so that's nine welds!

The guy sounded real nice on the phone, and confident he could fix the frame without damaging the bellypan, so we'll see how it goes. He's the same welder Malcolm used to fix his frame, so it won't be the first time he's seen an Airstream.

I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 02-08-2005, 03:53 PM   #27
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The welding is done! The guy came out this morning, got right to work on it. About an hour later he had welded all the broken places and reattached the outriggers. He fixed the step and did put one patch on a thin area. I'll take a pic after work. It's amazing to walk in it now, it's so tight, no popping and leaning. The step is solid as a rock! I'm very excited, I might really have this all done by spring!
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Old 02-08-2005, 04:01 PM   #28
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Ahhh the ups and downs of trailer restoration...... hopefully we have more ups than downs.....

Ken
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