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Old 08-19-2011, 12:33 PM   #1
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Finally some pics of my shell off

So I have been promising photos for a while now. We are well into a shell off renovation of our 29' Ambassador. So far its been a total do it yourself effort. Ok, I guess the fact that my dad builds huge machines and has a fabrication shop and some guys with a lot of welding experience helps a lot.

My dad and I got the shell off and the frame out. The welders are tackling the frame now. Ill post better pics soon.

The main frame rails are bent and cracked where the the rear bath and floor separation have taken full toll. This bad boy is going to be awesome when it is done though!
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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In Deep Now...




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Old 08-19-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Looks good!
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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I need help figuring out how to make the shell AS WATER TIGHT AS POSSIBLE FOR GODS SAKE! I will be replacing the roof vents. I'm wondering if I should pull the window frames and hatch frames and reseal around them. Is this necessary?
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:20 AM   #5
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No comments? I expected some excitement! Maybe I am excited enough for all of us.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:35 AM   #6
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Im repairing all the seams from the inside with vulkem and then spraying the entire inside with HSC - it works as a waterproofer as well as a good insulator

Improve Temperature Protection | HSC Medium Temperature Coating | Superior Products International

I am painting the roof with Super Therm Effective Ceramic Insulation SuperTerm manufacturer SPI
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:07 AM   #7
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Excellent photos - thanks for sharing as they show so many of us things we would never see or do ourselves. You are certainly fortunate to have such great facilities and help. Looking forward to progress photos and the final 'gem'.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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Sealing

Quote:
Originally Posted by P&K View Post
I need help figuring out how to make the shell AS WATER TIGHT AS POSSIBLE FOR GODS SAKE! I will be replacing the roof vents. I'm wondering if I should pull the window frames and hatch frames and reseal around them. Is this necessary?
P&K,
Nice big barn for storing the shell while the frame is reworked.
Now is the time to fix all the leaks you can find. While you have everything exposed you can see where the water is intruding. It leaves evidence. Where you find those marks, you need to address the issue. You can take everything apart and re-seal it if you wish. It might be a waste of time and effort. Good luck with the resto!
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:46 AM   #9
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I avoided comment since rabid jealousy with your covered work area might rear its snarling head somewhere in my comments but I think I have a handle on it.

EDIT:
Quote:
wondering if I should pull the window frames and hatch frames
I used a fine stainless steel wheel brush in a rotary tool, by fine I mean ~1/16" thick and an inch around, to burnish and clean the hatch/window frame to shell gaps and used alcoa-seal to seal the gasket-caulking. If the the frames are all still factory rivets, never removed and replaced, then leave them alone!
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #10
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The sad part is that it is still almost too hot to live. That shop is in Wichita Falls and the temp has been as high as 120 this year. Most days around 110. INSANE!

So the welders want to "box in the frame." Basically they would weld flat metal plates on the open side of the main frame rails to make it into box tubing. I know the theory of letting the frame flex, but it does seem like it could use a little more strength. There are some spots that are pretty substantially rotten. They have reinforced some spots and are replacing all the outriggers. What do you guys think?

Also, I ordered some por 15 rust preventive paint. Should I sandblast? There is still some original paint on the cross members, and I'm afraid the POR-15 won't stick. Should I send it back and get POR Chassiscoat?
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:39 PM   #11
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P&K,
The cold is coming. Should be here by tomorrow morning. Forecast high of 87 here tomorrow. Tomorrow's low of 69 will have me with my sweatshirt on! That will be something.
Boxing in the frame has been done many times. Usually around the high stress areas a few feet in front of the axles, all the way to a few feet behind the axles. If you have many areas that are substantially rusted, you might just have a completely new frame built. It has been done a few times lately.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f261...tml#post893673
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f261...tml#post928635

Here is what the POR-15 directions say about surface prep:

WHAT IS THE BEST SURFACE ON WHICH TO PAINT POR-15?
POR-15 likes rusted surfaces best. Seasoned metal and sandblasted metal are also good. POR-15 does not adhere well to smooth, shiny surfaces, but will adhere well with the use of Marine Clean and Metal Ready preps.

WHAT IS THE “PROPER PREPARATION”?
If you are sandblasting, blow off the lose dust and apply directly over the surface. On all other bare metal or rusted surfaces use the Marine Clean and Metal Ready preps for proper adhesion. Metal Ready It is a rust remover that leaves a zinc phosphate coating on base metal, the perfect pre-primer for POR-15. Areas that have been previously painted should be cleaned with Marine Clean and then lightly scuffed with 400 grit sandpaper. Keep in mind when POR-15 is applied over another coating it will not prevent against rust long term but will serve as a durable, moisture resistant coating. NOTE: New steel is coated with a protective oil finish at the mill. This finish must be removed before using POR-15.

I have never used POR-15. But it sounds like sandblasting isn't out of the question. I think it would be best to just hit it with a wire brush and then apply the POR-15.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by P&K View Post
The sad part is that it is still almost too hot to live. That shop is in Wichita Falls and the temp has been as high as 120 this year. Most days around 110. INSANE!

So the welders want to "box in the frame." Basically they would weld flat metal plates on the open side of the main frame rails to make it into box tubing. I know the theory of letting the frame flex, but it does seem like it could use a little more strength. There are some spots that are pretty substantially rotten. They have reinforced some spots and are replacing all the outriggers. What do you guys think?

Also, I ordered some por 15 rust preventive paint. Should I sandblast? There is still some original paint on the cross members, and I'm afraid the POR-15 won't stick. Should I send it back and get POR Chassiscoat?
Here is how I did mine. I had c channel fabricated to fit inside the frame. I would sand blast it, saves alot of time. the por15 will stick to the metal no problem just wash it real good with marine clean and treat any new metal with metal ready. Also any new metal is coated with oil (called mill scale) make sure to wash that off and treat it with metal ready as well.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:13 AM   #13
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Over and over I hear I know the theory of letting the frame flex, but it does seem like it could use a little more strength. That is the cave man in you talking. Listen to the Airstream Engineers who know it does not need additional strength. It needs to flex with the road.

POR15 sticks very well to sandblasted metal even without marine clean and metal prep. It will roll right off virgin steel, so use marine clean and metal prep there for sure. I also advise you do your first coat in black and the second coat in grey. Overnight between coats is too long. Do your first in the morning and second in the afternoon. Top coat the exposed areas the next morning. The product requires a green surface to adhere the multiple coats to each other. As soon as you look at the can, it is all over you for a good week.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:58 AM   #14
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Over and over I hear I know the theory of letting the frame flex, but it does seem like it could use a little more strength. That is the cave man in you talking. Listen to the Airstream Engineers who know it does not need additional strength. It needs to flex with the road.
Frank, try telling that to the people with 2002 and up CCD models. The frame is so weak it bends sitting still. The step will break the frame just by going in and out the trailer. I know as I am fixing one of theses trailers. The so called ingineers at Airstream will send a frame strengthening kit if you would trust them to have any idea of what they are doing(not here).
I designed my own kit to hold the trailer together.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:38 AM   #15
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Leak Seal

When we had our interior panels off, the trailer was outdoors. During a big rainstorm, I marked 17 different leaks.

Someone suggested Alcoa Gutter Seal for the sealing the inside seams and I used that. Then I cleaned and sealed the outside of the seams with Vulkem.

Since it took a while to get the insulation and wiring done, I had a few rainstorms for leak tests -- no leaks at all when I buttoned it up.

I think Colin Hyde mentioned some kind of automotive seam sealer on the VAP as another option vs. Gutter Seal.

John
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:12 PM   #16
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Progress on The Frame

The frame is off to the sandblaster/painter this week. Here are some pics of what the welders did to shore up the frame. The whole frame was rusted and pitted, but not to the point of needing a full replacement. Almost all of the outriggers were replaced. The welded in some angle iron on the inside of the main frame rails. They also gusseted some of the cross members.

We cleaned up the inside of the main frame behind the axles and primed it with cold galvanizing spray paint. I wanted to protect this area at least a little before boxing it in, since it will not be exposed for painting after that.

They decided to just box it in from the axles back (no pics yet), since that is where most of the damage is and where the tanks, bath, etc are. Obviously it was not strong enough to begin with, and it is cantilevered out a pretty long way over the axle.

They also rebuilt my completely rotten steps. They made a new rolled under step plate, modified outriggers, used old parts, made new parts, and it turned out perfect.

I would have been screwed without these guys...








Of course this is all fairly simple for guys who build stuff like this every day (and this is a teeeeny tiny one)...
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:23 PM   #17
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...and on the shell!!!

I ordered a bunch of POR-15 and all the prep stuff, but then cancelled it. The guy that is going to sandblast and paint the frame has done several units for this shop. He has an epoxy primer that he uses that sounds like the same thing. It was required for some units they built to be sent to Indonesia to survive in jungle conditions. Sounds tough. One less thing to deal with.

I stripped the clear coat off of the shell. I bought 4 gallons of Rustoleum Aircraft Paint Remover, but only used 2.5 gallons. I rolled it on and pressure washed it off after about 5 minutes. You probably don't even need to wait that long. This stuff KILLS the clear coat in seconds. It is best to apply it to a dry surface.

There was no clear coat left on the top, and it is pretty oxidized, but the sides look NICE! Polishing just went way down on the list of importance.


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Old 09-10-2011, 12:57 PM   #18
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Looks nice! How'd you treat the glass, handles, and lights? Mask em? Or what?
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:49 PM   #19
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All the glass is real glass. I did not see any warnings about glass, so I did not do anything. Did not seem to hurt the glass. I removed all plastic. All my handles are shot and pitted. The only thing I think might have been scarred is the door hinge. Oops.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:46 AM   #20
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Great thread to follow, now I know why my plywood floor is flexing right inside the door. Thank's
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