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Old 09-21-2003, 07:15 PM   #1
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Frame Repair

I've removed mosr of the floor in my '61 Overlander (one section left in front). Now I'm looking at getting started with the frame repair. All the sections in between the main rails are scrap but the rails themselves are not too bad, although there are some parts of the main rails which are badly pitted and I will have to come up with a way to reinforce them. The alternative is to have a local trailer repair outfit make me a new frame.
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:40 PM   #2
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Wow!

Very impressive! I can't believe how far we'll go to keep our beauties alive. I'm sure more will chime in on this and since I'm a MH owner maybe I'm poorly qualified to offer advice but looking at your damage I wonder about the new frame option? Seems like you would be replacing 60% - 70% of the frame anyway.

Good luck with whatever you choose and your project.
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:57 PM   #3
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Hmmmmm I hate to say it.......Might be time for a new frame. I think Steven has a point

If 1 or two of the cross members were bad I could see replacing them. I count 5 for sure maybe 6 just from that picture. By the time you cut out the bad ones and make a new ones your talking a lot of labor. If somebody elses is doing the welding work this is going to be a materials against labor deal. They may actullay be able to make a new frame with less labor then it will take to repair that one. The new frame might be cheaper.

Second thing is going with a new frame would alow you to extend the tounge some and give you room for a battery box on the tounge.

I'm surpised to see your frame is C channel. Mine appears to be box the whole lenght. it definatly is on the tounge and from the last rib back.
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:57 PM   #4
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If I was doing that I would use your existing frame for a pattern and build a new one. Maybe even a little stronger. You have what looks like a lot of rust/rot there to repair and fabrication of a new one may be easier cleaner and quicker. I will say I don't have a complete look at it as you do so you have a better look than any of us will.
Good Luck on those Repairs let us know how they go.
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:31 PM   #5
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I might go against the concensus here depending on the main rails. It would be pretty easy to build a jig and fabricate the crossmembers out of 2x2x1/8" angle and some 1/8" flat stock.

These frames are unique to Airstream. Most trailer places use tube or C channel and it will be a lot heavier than what you have. To really replicate it you will have to find one with a shear and brake to make the channel, and that is labor intensive work.

It really depends on how bad the main rails are and your skill with a torch and welder.

John
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:53 PM   #6
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Frame repair

I guess I'm lucky. I only need to replace a short section where the water tank leaked, and the very rear cross menmber.
Nice job of bracing the shell.
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:00 AM   #7
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I really enjoy the pictures; keep them coming!

Knowing that this can be done if needed, gives a better feeling in the event I may need to jump in and do the same thing sometime.

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Old 09-22-2003, 07:13 AM   #8
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I spent whole weekend pulling up floor and cleaning up mouse droppings so did not have time to clean scale from frame.The main "C" channel looks salvageable with some reinforcement.I will have to replace all cross members and have the mig welder and access to brake and shear at work.
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:31 AM   #9
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have the mig welder and access to brake and shear at work
You've got it made then. I looked at all the outriggers and thought about having to flame or plasma cut them, axle mounts, etc. It is always the small stuff that ends up taking hours and hours.

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Old 10-28-2003, 11:55 PM   #10
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Just thought I would throw in a progress report. When I removed the last floorboard I found the rust was pretty bad on top of "C" channel so I have decided to replace frame.
I had the "C" channel delivered last week and have bent it to match the shape of old frame.While I was working on that a woman came by and told me she had a 1974 31ft Airstream for sale. I showed her what I was doing and she told me that she used to work at a nearby metal shop that could make the crossmembers for me. They made 12 crossmembers for $75CDN (about $55 US).I ordered the remainder of the steel from them yesterday and hope to start welding this weekend.
I also had the new axles delivered last week an outfit in Calgary was able to custom make the axles with brakes in just 3 days for $515CDN (about $365 US).
http://www.standens.com
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Old 10-29-2003, 12:18 AM   #11
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Thumbs up Nice work~

greg176

I looked at the site for your axles and, was very impressed with the format/presentation of the detailed information~!!
Too bad that the company that makes axles for the Airstream can't be as forward with the "details" listing~(if it exist, I haven't as of yet seen it~)
Based on what you're doing and, what I saw once at the factory in Ohio..It seems that the "frame replacement" stage is the one thing a vast majority of us will be faced with sooner or later.
It would seem that, we as a group, should demand that Airstream go the extra mile in providing a better frame than those used in the past. As usual, it's one of those things, "out of sight..out of mind". Until someone has frame sag and/or rotten floor replacement repairs, when the problem is discovered.
My hat off to you for taking the time, money and, care to keep your unit is top shape..
ciao
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Old 10-29-2003, 11:16 AM   #12
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Greg:

Just took a good look at your frame. I didn't know that your main rails were also C. Both mark and our 59's are boxed main frame rails. Infact Mark found on his coach that atleast the front part of the frame has a second box slid inside of the frame rails. I still have not confirmed if mine is the same.

last night on chat there was a little discussion about C and box frames. We were trying to decide if that was a difference between the factory's. Ours is a Ohio and I am pretty sure Mark's as well. Knowing your location I bet your's is a California coach.

Also how thick is the steel in the main rails? On mine the box is 1/8 wall as iss the C channel crossmembers.

Eric
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Old 10-29-2003, 12:13 PM   #13
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My coach was made in Ohio.The frame rails are a standard size "C" channel (about 1/8") on side.
They have welded on 1/8" to tongue back to just past bend to make a box and have welded on a 1/8" reinforcement to flat part on inside of rail at axle area.
The cross members are 14 gage steel bent to shape.
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Old 10-29-2003, 12:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by greg176
My coach was made in Ohio.The frame rails are a standard size "C" channel (about 1/8") on side.
They have welded on 1/8" to tongue back to just past bend to make a box and have welded on a 1/8" reinforcement to flat part on inside of rail at axle area.
The cross members are 14 gage steel bent to shape.
Well That shoots that theroy to hell.

I wonder what reason they went from box to C? I have heard some of the 50's models with leaf spring were C. That rules out the change happening when They went to the torsion axles. Length doesn't seem to matter. Mines 22, Marks is 24. You would think yours would be more likely to be box then mine.
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