Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-03-2005, 10:26 PM   #1
Moderator
 
Stefrobrts's Avatar

 
1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,905
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
Caravel Frame Repair

(This thread involves the repair of my frame, the rest of the floor repair and restoration is covered in the thread "I'm Afraid this is going to be expensive...". This thread is referenced in that thread at post #146. )


Now that the floor is out I have gotten a better look at my frame, and I am shocked at it's condition. In addition to the two broken outriggers on the streetside, the right side of the step support is broken in three places, and the two beams that go from side to side are also broken off at the point where they welded to the main frame. I have done some poking around and although there is a lot of surface rust, the frame pieces themselves seem to be solid, they are just broken at the welds.

The problem is the second crossbeam is at the back of the repair section. There's wood floor above half of it. Can it be re-welded without removing any more floor? I'm thinking of having the welder put in triangular gussets to reattach the existing beam to the main frame rails.

Also I still haven't removed the bellypan. Can a good welder do this work without having access from below, or is that necessary? Or should I just remove it so it doesn't get damaged? There are brand new propane lines below, and it will be difficult to remove. Of course, I guess if I remove the bellypan then I can examine the frame under the part of the floor I haven't removed. Why do these projects always get bigger as they go along?

I was very dissapointed to find so much work to be done on the frame, especially since I thought the trailer was in very good shape - after all, we took it to OK this summer! I'm feeling pretty low about it all tonight
__________________

__________________
Stephanie




Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 01:36 AM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
greg176's Avatar
 
1961 26' Overlander
Gabriola Island , British Columbia
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 474
Images: 1
I was also very dissapointed when I found the extent of corrosion on my frame even though I had expected it.A good welder can weld on those parts from above and slide a piece of steel or asbestos sheet under frame to protect belly pan.
__________________

__________________
greg176 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 08:08 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
LOST , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,193
I think you need to pull the belly pan, you are already shocked at the condition of the frame. It sounds like the original welder wasn't real good at his trade if you have found broken welds. IMHO the rest needs to be inspected, especially from the axle to the tongue where the greatest towing stresses are.

Pulling the pan will make it a lot easier to prep for the welder also. He needs clean metal to do good work and the more space to work the better job both of you can do.

A gusset puts a lot of stress at one point and most of its strength is parallel to the gusset. A piece of flat with a 90º brake welded in the corner or a piece of flat the height of the frame to trianulate the corner will distribute the stess over more area and directions.

John
__________________
74Argosy24MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 08:13 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
eljay's Avatar
 
1968 24' Tradewind
Rural, blink and you'll miss it , Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 692
Images: 19
You just gotta believe that it will be so much better and DONE RIGHT! (and I'm not looking at my frame... )
__________________
Not knowing enough to be afraid... (I know more than I did, but I did it anyway!)

Eljay

1968 Tradewind Double.
eljay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 08:36 AM   #5
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
bredlo's Avatar
 
1954 22' Safari
Deerfield , Illinois
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,419
Images: 23
Send a message via AIM to bredlo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Now that the floor is out I have gotten a better look at my frame, and I am shocked at it's condition.. ..I thought the trailer was in very good shape
This won't help much, but at least you're facing the problem with eyes open. I would bet that most people with older units on this board have similar or worse problems than you, if they haven't checked. Before I even bought our GT, I assumed I would be getting a rust bucket from the floor down, so didn't bother paying for one in supposedly great condition. I concentrated solely on the condition of the body, and presumed I would have to do heavy frame work on a 40 year old piece of steel.

I think you'd be wise, Steph, to consider pulling the belly pan though - if only to get full access to the frame in case you decide to powdercoat it, or use rust-o-leum paint, or whatever. Down the road, you don't want to sell this thing - or leave it to your imaginary kids - knowing you didn't do everything possible to keep someone else from having to go through it again someday - it's such a pain.

Here's a wacky idea: all of us who are interested, should pitch in and buy an othroscopic camera, you know, the little lighted ones at the end of a wire? We can pass it around the country, sending it from one person to the next, allowing each of us to drill a tiny hole in our floor or belly pan to see inside our walls, plumbing, and the undersides of our frames. I'll check eBay for used ones - it would be like giving your trailer a colonoscopy!
__________________
Brad
bredlo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 10:55 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
rluhr's Avatar
 
1968 17' Caravel
2005 30' Safari
Somewhere , roaming America
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,093
Images: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo
all of us who are interested, should pitch in and buy an othroscopic camera
I think it would be a great idea, except that most people don't really want to know!

Steph, I know it's easy for me to increase your workload because I'm safely 3000 miles away, but honestly, can you put that trailer back together knowing you might have missed more frame problems? Take the pan off -- it's probably easier that removing the floor -- and you'll have peace of mind forever.
__________________
Former full-timer | AIRSTREAM LIFE magazine | Tour of America (old blog) | Man In The Maze (current blog)

rluhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:01 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Ken J's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: 1975 25' Tradewind
Posts: 3,363
Images: 14
Steph

Been there done that - I can't tell you how many times I've walked into my trailer and got totally discouraged - I've even joked about selling it for $1 on chat night. The only thing you can do is take one step at a time - one task at a time. Then someday you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ken
__________________
1956 Flying Cloud
Founder :
Four Corners Unit
Albuquerque National Balloon Fiesta
Rally
Vintage Trailer Academy - Formerly the original
restoration rally
Ken J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:03 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
norbert's Avatar
 
1993 30' Excella
chicagoland , north of cheddar curtain
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,258
Images: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bredlo



Here's a wacky idea: all of us who are interested, should pitch in and buy an othroscopic camera, you know, the little lighted ones at the end of a wire? We can pass it around the country, sending it from one person to the next, allowing each of us to drill a tiny hole in our floor or belly pan to see inside our walls, plumbing, and the undersides of our frames. I'll check eBay for used ones - it would be like giving your trailer a colonoscopy!
you need a vacation my friend....here"s hoping you are planning a spring break!
norby
__________________
Illegitimous noncarborundum(dont let the bastards wear you down)

The only true nobility is found through giving good food to your friends- Anton Careme

beauty is in the eye of the beerholder-cosmo fishhawk

if something is too good to be true, its usually gone before i get there-mister boffo
norbert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:03 AM   #9
Moderator
 
Stefrobrts's Avatar

 
1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,905
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
Well, if I take the pan off I guess I can think about putting in a grey tank again, but I predict there may be no camping this spring - or summer the way these projects tend to go <sigh>

I want to make sure I know HOW I want the repairs done, because as a woman I have always had a problem dealing with mechanics, and I'm sure the welder will be no different. That's the part where I say I want it done a certain way and they give me this sort of 'don't worry your pretty little head, I'll do it my way' reply and then ignore me. I really need to learn how to weld. It would have been handy with the Mustangs, and it would really be handy now!
__________________
Stephanie




Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:07 AM   #10
Moderator
 
Stefrobrts's Avatar

 
1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,905
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by 74Argosy24MH
It sounds like the original welder wasn't real good at his trade if you have found broken welds. IMHO the rest needs to be inspected, especially from the axle to the tongue where the greatest towing stresses are.
Yeah, I think I got a friday afternoon special (you know, the welder was ready to go home). Each break, except the ones on the step, are right at the welds. Which does make me want to inspect the rest of the frame more closely.
__________________
Stephanie




Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:14 AM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
1955 30' Liner Commodore Vanderbilt
Wayne County , Michigan
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 421
Images: 17
The camera sounds like a good idea. It would be less invasive for sure!

I am planning on addressing some floor issues with our unit this spring. I am really starting to wonder what I'll uncover when I start pulling up floor. I have a feeling it will be more involved than what I expect (or want). The step frame is bent and broken and I am guessing I have the dreaded outrigger problem too. My question is whether when people reweld their outriggers whether they jack up or put tension on the underside (to make sure it will be level etc. ?

Thanks to Stephanie for giving us a play by play to what she is finding on her rig. It is answering some of my questions I have been pondering.
__________________
Jason & Veronica J.
S.E. Michigan
1955 Commodore Vanderbilt 30'
"Hawley"
TAC Member MI-6
2008 Chevy Silverado Ext. Z71 w3.73
Jabba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:27 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Ken J's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: 1975 25' Tradewind
Posts: 3,363
Images: 14
Jason

Howdy! I've been thinking about this myself - I have two broken cross members that need to be rewelded. These were under the water tank - I also had broken cross members on my 59 under the water tank. I think....that the 50's trailers are much more prone to this - I don't think its a big deal to weld everything back together, , , but it tells me that - at the 50's trailers - need to be kept as lite as possible - in my rebuild, all the cabinets are lighter than original, I'm not going to mount the rear spare and I'm even going to use a porta-potty rather than the holding tank. My water tank will be limited to 10 gallons rather than the 30 that was in it. And even at that, I probably won't carry it full, unless I really need to.

Ken
__________________
1956 Flying Cloud
Founder :
Four Corners Unit
Albuquerque National Balloon Fiesta
Rally
Vintage Trailer Academy - Formerly the original
restoration rally
Ken J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 11:44 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
The floor is so much of the support on these coaches. The frame really is lightwight and weak once the floor is damaged.

You stated in the other post that there were previous repairs so there is precident that this has been ongoing problems over a long period of time. If the previos repairs were seamed over the frame rails it will not be a sound repair and alow the frame o fulcrum the deck at the seam. ALWAYS seam in the middle with a lap joint to get maximum strength. I think this is all related to the previous problems and repair. It does sound like the original welder did not get good penetration. Good penetrating the metal around the weld will fail before the weld. In this case its probably good the weld failed because it did prevent a hole being ripped into the frame rail. On the flip side...to much heat could warp the rail so the weld may have been just right when you concider the possiblility of warping the main frame rail.

I would inspec and look for more areas of problem, as others have recomended. I would iinspect at the axle mounting plates very carefully and the hitch.

As for welding it: Wish we were closer. I would have been happy to weld it up for you. Sounds like about 30 minutes worth of work would be all it needs.

A decent welder should be able to weld that where it is without a problem. Probably just take a wet cloth to dampen the wood and weld it up real quick. It would practically be dry by the time the weld cooled. Just keep a hose or extinguiser close by. In this case water would be best because it will cool the weld and prevent a flare up if it did ignite.
__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2005, 12:34 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Over59's Avatar
 
1959 26' Overlander
Putnam , Connecticut
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,064
Images: 37
I was surprised to find frame problems also. Started with "dealing with" a little floor softness. Now it sits with no floor, lower interior panels out, rotten part of belly pan hanging three new tires on three new wheels and one old set on axels I know will have to be replaced. On the other hand I now have a solid frame with three new cross members and two new outriggers. I will cover over the step opening which has some bent supports.

Were is the section of floor that's still in. I suspect it's under the bathroom. If that's so then you really need to look under there.

Take a break. You are doing it right so you can enjoy it later. Enjoy something else now and you'll get more done faster when you go back to it.

I think most independent welders know what they are doing. Ask around an find one people think well of. Ask your service manager at your dealer. Get one that come to you. It was worth it.

PS. Not looking doesn't hold a trailer together at 60 mph.

PPS. I really hate this cold weather keeping me from putting the floor in.
__________________

__________________
Over59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
caravel


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bed Glide Repair Tamara General Interior Topics 16 08-31-2006 09:28 PM
Restoration of our Airstreamer Caravel Hagen 1965 Caravel 2 11-10-2002 03:15 AM
Front Wing Window Repair Charles D. Bennett Windows & Screens 0 08-10-2002 07:04 PM
Window Frame Removal 64GT Windows & Screens 4 04-09-2002 01:40 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.