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Old 03-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #1
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Factory Defect?

Hello all,

I've been reading this forum for awhile, and I thank all those who have contributed, you knowledge has been a great help.

Sorry so long for first post, but it requires a little explanation. I've started to repair the read end separation on my 75 ambassador international. It was not bad, only the rear 10 inches of floor between the frame was rotted. In order to do it right, I dropped the belly pans & banana wraps, sandblasted the frame in preparation for POR 15. I have a new rear bracket and outriggers from Inland RV to replace the rusted originals.
I was preparing to weld in angle iron to bolt the floor down, and add rivets to the C-channel/outer skins.

Here is where the unexpected happens. I found the original factory C channel installed is NOT all the way in. Its hard to explain, hopefully the pictures show it well. The Curbside Channel is out approx 1 inch, and barely catching the plywood floor. There are 3 bolts through the very inside of the channel to the outside of the floor. The distance from the outside wall to the frame is 16 inches. By contrast on the roadside, that same distance is 15 inches, and all looks correctly flush.

Has anyone seen this before?
Should I attempt to remove the bolts and pull the wall in 1 inch?
I'm worried I might buckle the skins/wall studs and be visible from outside.
Now that I know what to look for, I can see the flair of the 1 inch from outside.

Another question, regarding the plate steel recommended on the bottom of the floor, should I cover the entire area from frame to wall underneath with 3/16 steel, in addition to the 2x2 angle iron, and bolt the whole thing together?
This would certainly be strong enough, but add a little weight, and a possible water trap.

Thanks for reading!
Althorr
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:22 AM   #2
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Interesting to say the least. WELCOME TO THE FORUMS. I can see from your pictures what you are talking about. You could try to pull it in and see if it starts to buckle the skin which I believe it would do as the excess skin has to go somewhere, but you never know until you try. You know the old saying "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained". You could also remove all the rivets from the bottom and pull the channel in but I believe you woulds just start chasing a pucker when you started to reattach the skin. It is in my opinion that to repair it correctly would be to completely remove the skin, repair the bulge and then reinstall the skin.

I believe the 3/16 plate would be overkill, I also believe that a attach angle should be installed in the back to the vertical ribs on each side of the rear window and then bolt through bottom angle leg to the channel ply and frame.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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Mind over matter, you don't mind then it don't matter!

I found the back end dimensions somewhat fluid - on my 72 & 73 there are cut-outs for the battery box on curbside, and streetside has its water heater cut-out; so tensioning the remaining arc-segments of C-channel to match the floor becomes academic versus flooring cut to match the C-channel: the truth is what you want it to be.

I also have the non-symmetrical floor overhang. It looks like they used one side as baseline and allowed the other side to fall as it liked.

Is the shell squared on the back edge, where the rear lateral skin attachment iron plate rests? Has that been snugged down tight to see if the shell will stretch and pull out the flares you see?

I'm thinking now on my '73 27'... As soon as I landed the shell on the new flooring I should have 'stretched' the shell, with front anchored by the lateral plate and frame bolts then block and wedge the rear end segment to pull both sides inward with some tension and take some of the flex out from the battery/water heater cut-outs; then coax the rear C-channels into the most visually appealing arcs and bolt it down.

As it was I went into chop mode, lifted the shell up and trimmed the floor to match the relaxed shell circumference. Probably a mistake but it was snowing and the roar of advancing glaciers was distracting.

Can you clarify where you're thinking of going with this?
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. After looking and thinking a bit, I think it's best to leave it alone and work with it. My main goal is to fix the rear end separation, and the wood under that section is good. So far I've been able to get by by only removing the one of the rear beds and loosening the bottom half of the inner panels. To tackle moving the wall correctly, I'd need to remove the inner panel, remove the bolts, and pull the wall in. Then I think Aerowood is right, I'll be chasing the excess skin. Plus there is a nice mural painted on the inner panels from one of the PO. I'd surely mess some of it up by removing the panels completely.
As it is I can reinforce with angle iron welded to the frame, and run it out past the wood floor to the bottom of the channel where it should be. There I can bolt to the original channel holes, and eliminate some flex.
Wabbiteer, the rear section is square, but today I just removed that skin attachment iron plate. It is badly rusted and needing replaced.
I'm not sure if I should replace it with a similar piece of steel ( after treating it with Por 15) or use aluminum instead.

On a side note, I did find an official Airstream Employee badge under the bed when I removed it. Jean Kemery worked on it at one time, maybe he/she knows the story .
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:55 PM   #5
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As long as you have it already apart, replace anything and everything, that is cracked corroded, or rusty.

You will be glad you did, down the road.

Also, when you reassemble double the number of rivets and use 3/16 instead of 1/8 rivets.

Andy
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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Thank Andy, I certainly will fix anything that even remotely looks like trouble. I'm a firm believer in do it once, and do it right. thanks to the forum members, I feel good about having all the necessary knowledge to make the repairs using established procedures and materials.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Althorr View Post
Thank Andy, I certainly will fix anything that even remotely looks like trouble. I'm a firm believer in do it once, and do it right. thanks to the forum members, I feel good about having all the necessary knowledge to make the repairs using established procedures and materials.
Make sure you add the extra 2 pieces just outside of the frame.

That improvement was posted some time ago, along with a sketch as to "how".

Andy
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:13 PM   #8
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Right, it's on my to do list. I may add some C channel also out to the edge for horizontal support.

For anyone else looking for that sketch, it is here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...his-63750.html
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