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Old 11-29-2010, 11:22 PM   #1
Cella's 59 tradewind
 
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Floor install gone Bad.

I installed a complete new floor in our Tradewind. I used a floor jack to raise the interior after i cut loose the belly skin...this worked great, allowing the walls to flex...I was able to use a full sheet, in 4' widths. Now the very back where the head was is 2'' to high...there are no stress wrinkles anywhere.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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The frame has probably seperated in the back. Since the shell and frame work together to create one structure, the frame itself can sag over time. You might need to simply jack up the back bumper and bring the gap together. You might wait for some of the veteran floor replacement guys to chime in, I could be off base. 2" seems a lot for rear end seperation, especially on such a short trailer.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:54 AM   #3
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Even perfect brand new Airstream frames do not have the strength to remain straight when the body is detached. Once all is reattached, the aluminum skin is "stressed" and provides part of the strength for the overall trailer. That's they way they always were and currently are designed.

Unless there is an observable bend or cracks at some point in the frame (typically right behind the axle/rear spring hanger depending upon age) due to an actual problem, all you need to do is put a jack under the rear of the frame and jack it back to height and then screw the floor channel back down to it (and bolt it to the rear outriggers and rear frame cross member).

The proper way to reattach the body probably is to level the frame and support it in many places (front, middle, rear, etc.) before removing the floor and reattaching the body, so that it remains straight, but it's no big deal if you didn't (I didn't on my '55 22' Safari when I replaced the floor and the gap was probably 1.5" or 2" before I jacked the frame back unto place to reattach the rear of the body). The jack will be an easy fix to allow you to re-secure everything.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:36 AM   #4
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Unlikely that you jacked up the interior; much more likely what you did was jack the floor down. If you have no wrinkles when you set the trailer back on it's wheels you did OK.

Strongly suggest you add a hold-down plate to tie the rear crossmember to the shell at the back. I don't think they used them in the rear in 1959.

Also, please add your name to the 1959 Tradewind registry. It is definitely the king of the vintage airstreams.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:08 PM   #5
Cella's 59 tradewind
 
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To all replies, Thank You..
I did jack up the frame...the whole shell lifted with it. Is it possible when I start screwing and bolting to the frame it will come down?? I would not be opposed to adding small lift blocks. I plan on using the rear of the AS as the main sleeping area. I am moving the tub/shower forward to just behind the street side wheel well,and the head just behind the curb wheel well.
David
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:10 PM   #6
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I think we just headed into "photos needed" territory...
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:14 PM   #7
Cella's 59 tradewind
 
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Photos coming shortly....Thanks....David
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:47 PM   #8
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. . Now the very back where the head was is 2'' to high...there are no stress wrinkles anywhere.
Yeah let's see some pictures.
I may be misunderstanding what it isi that is 2" too high. Is it the floor relative to the walls, or the shell relative to the frame.

Pictures are always good.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:19 PM   #9
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I did jack up the frame...the whole shell lifted with it. Is it possible when I start screwing and bolting to the frame it will come down??
David
Something is not entirely level. It has to be the airframe or the trailer frame. The first thing that I'd do is put a level on the rear floor lengthwise. If the front and middle of the floor are level and the back floor is not, then the trailer frame rear is sagging.

if this is the case, and when you jack up the rear bumper area, and you say that you did that and the whole thing comes up (the gap doesn't close) then the next thing is.. is the airframe bolted and/or riveted to the trailer frame in such a way that if the rear of the frame is sagging, you have the sag held in place by other connections, where the airframe is preventing the trailer frame from bending back?

If not, you might try the bolting thing.. but I'd have the back jacked up if I tried this so that you aren't trying to pull the trailer frame up just by tightening bolts.. have an upward pressure from the jack..
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:50 PM   #10
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cella59

This is how I handled my steel rear hold down plate on my 55 Safari. I bolted a piece of angle iron through 3/4" plywood (new) into a steel cross frame member. Then I used 0.040 5052 for the belly pan. Ran belly pan between inner outer wall to angle iron, then added as many very large rivets that I could.

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Old 12-01-2010, 06:56 AM   #11
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Another thing thing.. it could be the floor itself that is preventing the rear end from un-sagging. If the floor was attached to a sagging frame. You may need to take the floor loose to get the rear end to un-sag.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:50 PM   #12
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Another thing thing.. it could be the floor itself that is preventing the rear end from un-sagging. If the floor was attached to a sagging frame. You may need to take the floor loose to get the rear end to un-sag.
I think that this is a great point.
Whilst I have no history or experience with Airstreams, I have a 30+ years of experience with Automotive Design and Prototyping. Building plywood floors onto steel frames for interior mock-ups, was a regular job. You had to get them flat within 0.2MM. My method was to put the ply down on a surface plate and float the steel onto the back with resin to compensate for the frequently weld distorted frame, and then flip it over.
If the boards were attached to the frame when it was sagging(convex), and the boards were butted together well with no gap, then you attempt to pull it up flat its gonna resist!
Trust me and take it as a complement... sometimes doing a good job is not always the best way!

Its like a friend of mine say all the time...
"Always remember.... No good turn goes unpunished!"
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:39 PM   #13
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In which case, if you jack up the rear of the frame and leave it overnight, by the morning, the wood may have compressed just enough for it to be flat again. Then again, if you bought really good marine grade plywood, nothing'll happen at all.
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