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Old 06-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #1
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Frame repair and reinforce


http://197519751975airstream.blogspot.com/

I was having trouble finding a frame specific repair thread so thought I would start one.
frame and its issues:

1. The frame buckles and sags from just behind the rear axle.
2. on the toilet side the bottom of the main C channel has some rusted through holes.
3. Many of the outriggers are rusted through on the bottoms
4. The stair mounts/outriggers have fallen off at the welds
5. 2nd cross member is completely rusted through and useless
6. first cross member bottom part of C has holes rusted through it.
7. general rust is all over.

so my plan is to fabricate some new outriggers and replace the shot cross member with C channel of the same profile.

I could use some advice on what to do about the main frame rails straightening and reinforcing.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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On your main frame rail I had the same sag. My farther in law brought his frame bender over. Just a piece of I beam to chain the frame to by the axels, and jack up the rear with a bottle jack one side at a time. we jacked the frame way past level to get it level, because of spring back.

Once we got it straight I had some 3/16 6" flat bar bent into a "L" shape to weld inside the frame. This way it had a round conner not a sharp one like angle iron dose. It fit in the frame better.

THe top part of the "L" was 1/4 wider than the top of the "C" channel on the frame so it stuck out and made it easier to weld. bottom I welded to the inside side of the frame. I put it in from the middle of the axels going 8' back in 4' sections. Once I had this in the frame didn't flex one bit.

You can see what I did here at the bottom of page 2 post #27 It's simple and gets the job done. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f174...a-90934-2.html
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purman View Post
On your main frame rail I had the same sag. My farther in law brought his frame bender over. Just a piece of I beam to chain the frame to by the axels, and jack up the rear with a bottle jack one side at a time. we jacked the frame way past level to get it level, because of spring back.

Once we got it straight I had some 3/16 6" flat bar bent into a "L" shape to weld inside the frame. This way it had a round conner not a sharp one like angle iron dose. It fit in the frame better.

THe top part of the "L" was 1/4 wider than the top of the "C" channel on the frame so it stuck out and made it easier to weld. bottom I welded to the inside side of the frame. I put it in from the middle of the axels going 8' back in 4' sections. Once I had this in the frame didn't flex one bit.

You can see what I did here at the bottom of page 2 post #27 It's simple and gets the job done. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f174...a-90934-2.html
so did you remove your cross members then re attach?
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkrukosky View Post

1975 Airstream overlander restoration

I was having trouble finding a frame specific repair thread so thought I would start one.
frame and its issues:

1. The frame buckles and sags from just behind the rear axle.
2. on the toilet side the bottom of the main C channel has some rusted through holes.
3. Many of the outriggers are rusted through on the bottoms
4. The stair mounts/outriggers have fallen off at the welds
5. 2nd cross member is completely rusted through and useless
6. first cross member bottom part of C has holes rusted through it.
7. general rust is all over.

so my plan is to fabricate some new outriggers and replace the shot cross member with C channel of the same profile.

I could use some advice on what to do about the main frame rails straightening and reinforcing.
You can buy outriggers from Out of Doors Mart. Not so sure about the cross members. There are also stiffening/repair plates that can be bolted on across the main C channels in the axle areas. From the sounds of it, you might be better off just building up a whole new frame.

Aaron
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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The outriggers can be purchased for Out of Doors Mart
Airstream frame parts : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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I had the same issues. Took out a lot of bad steel.
I used L and flat steel and sistered it onto the existing C.

Pictures of frame repair are in this thread. If you have any questions about any of them just ask:-) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f421...ybe-85368.html
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkrukosky View Post
so did you remove your cross members then re attach?
Nope, I notched around them leaving the flat top of the "L" in. they were 4 feet long. Some of the cross members are lower than the others so I had those in the middle of the 4' sections, with the notch in them. Didn't seem to affect the strength once it was welded up.

I now have the shell on and when I walk to the back of the trailer there is no bounce or sag and I weigh 205. Even if I bounce up and down.

Like I said it was a quick easy fix with no changes to the frame, or taking pieces out and putting them back in. And it worked great.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:23 PM   #8
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Dk,
I'm on the middle of a new frame build. From the sounds of your frame mine was in about the same shape. After pricing the pieces "one center section is like 80.00 plus shipping" I decided to use available steel from a steel distributor,And make own pieces and weld together.
I used tubing 2x5x .120 wall thickness for the main beams,also the same material for the cross members and I made 20 outriggers out of the same material today. I cut the cross members 57 9/16", with the 2" beams I have the same outside width as the old frame. I will reuse the original A frame.
IMO there was just to much rust, too much metal missing to try and patch my old frame.
My fear was being 1000 miles from home base, hit a pot hole, rr track, etc, and the old frame break again right past the axles.So this way I KNOW the condition of my frame and I know it will out last me,(the old frame lasted 37 years).
I will have roughly 750.00 to 1000.00 in the frame, 2x5 rect.tube, welded,POR-15, ready to lay the plywood on.
Good Luck,
Jack
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Old 06-28-2012, 04:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purman View Post
Nope, I notched around them leaving the flat top of the "L" in. they were 4 feet long. Some of the cross members are lower than the others so I had those in the middle of the 4' sections, with the notch in them. Didn't seem to affect the strength once it was welded up.

I now have the shell on and when I walk to the back of the trailer there is no bounce or sag and I weigh 205. Even if I bounce up and down.

Like I said it was a quick easy fix with no changes to the frame, or taking pieces out and putting them back in. And it worked great.
Those are the ones where the backing plate on the plywood joints went.

Aaron
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:56 AM   #10
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Those are the ones where the backing plate on the plywood joints went.

Aaron
slight hijack: are those joint cleats glued to the floor? (assuming that they are). I'm about ready to pull the floor from mine, and I'll need to separate the sheet that is being replaced from the next one up that isn't being replaced; wondering how to get the cleat out without damaging the floor.
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:04 AM   #11
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On my '73 when I separated the back-sheet for replacement I used a thin metal-cutoff wheel to slice the corrugated joiner plates in half at the sheet seam. Gives a satisfying cloud of blue fir-aroma smoke and a nice shower of sparks.

The Phillips countersunk screw heads got cleaned out with a pick and air-blasted to get the grit out, then started with a 1/2" ratchet wrench with a heavy Phillips bit chucked in it. Once started and above the floor level a power drill with bit ran them out just fine whether or not they had been 'bent' over at the factory.

The cleats were 'slightly' glued and with the age of the wood it was pry up the cut-pieces and stomp on the joint to snap them apart easily. When I pulled the entire floor much later nothing was to be reused...
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:58 AM   #12
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I made up a paper template of an outrigger. the cut off piece becomes the support.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5g8z7AcYRQ...-02-56_433.jpg
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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slight hijack: are those joint cleats glued to the floor? (assuming that they are). I'm about ready to pull the floor from mine, and I'll need to separate the sheet that is being replaced from the next one up that isn't being replaced; wondering how to get the cleat out without damaging the floor.
Maybe...some of mine had the entire glue pot dumped on them, others I think the glue pot might have been in the same room...if they were lucky.

Aaron
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #14
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You can buy outriggers from Out of Doors Mart. Not so sure about the cross members. There are also stiffening/repair plates that can be bolted on across the main C channels in the axle areas. From the sounds of it, you might be better off just building up a whole new frame.

Aaron
When the frames are rusted bad enough, it is easier to build a new frame. Besides, you can build it heavier so you can put upgraded axles on it and better cross members. For a minimal amount of weight increase in the frame, axles and wheels, you can make a much stronger trailer.
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