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Old 04-13-2008, 11:30 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malconium
I too rolled my skins up to save space...

One little tip about cleaning your skins that worked for me. While I had them out I rolled them out on the lawn and used a small floor buffer with a scrub brush and soap to clean them up. I was then able to stand them up on edge by rolling them very loosely so that they would dry. A few pieces of grass on the back side hosed off easily enough once they were up on edge. If you don't have a floor buffer I suggest a good car was brush of some sort.

Malcolm
Good idea. These inner skins are dirty with a capital D. What kind of cleaner did you use to do the scrubbing with? I thought simple green would do the trick. Wish I had a floor buffer. I'll probably use one of those large car scrubbing brushes, with a long handle, as you suggest. It should double duty for cleaning the exterior when I get to that point. And as a scrubber to remove the paint thinner at the clear-coat removal stage.
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:46 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by malconium
Todd,

You might want to be a little carefull when you get all of the fasteners loose at the botton of the wall. The body in middle area on the sides has a little tendency to want to spread outward. If it does it can either fall off the end of the outriggers or at least bend up the bottom part of the c-channel making it a little harder to get you new flooring inplace. On thing you can easily do to help with this is to use a ratcheting luggage strap from side to side of the body to keep it pulled in.

Malcolm
Thanks for the heads up! The shell is now getting very close to lifting off. I noticed that the walls directly over the axles will have very little support as there is no floor channel in that area. So I decided to leave two sheets of plywood flooring in place, one each, fore and aft of the axles. This should keep the walls from skating and provide the side-to-side stability you describe.

What I'm thinking about now is the front to back stability. I'll probably use 2x4's on either side, front to back, as some have suggested and double that since I'm spanning roughly 29 ft. and add another 2x4. That would be 4x4 on either side front to back. That should be enough to duplicate the strength of the frame and eliminate any front-to-back flexing. So in sum what I'll have are two ply-wood sheets fore and aft of the axles and 4x4 lumber supporting the walls front to back. That should do it?

By the way I removed the A/C unit today so the shell definitely won't be top heavy. And I covered the hole in the roof with a sheet of plastic flooring from home depot and gorilla tape to prevent any rain damage leaking through the opening.
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:06 AM   #115
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dremmel method - screw removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverwanabe
I purchased my first Dremel to work on my 67.
I love it.
Every DIY needs one.
Great for cutting off rusted bolts or screws.
Vice-grips are another must have.
The dremmel method of screw removal saved me again. In the process of removing the a/c unit I found about 40 phillips head screws sitting quietly but deadly underneath the caulking for 32 years. After I peeled back the caulking these little devils just didn't want to come out the easy way except for a couple. So I used the dremmel to cut a single slot big enough to accept one of those extra large flat head screw drivers with a foot long handle. Perfect!
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:59 AM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Good idea. These inner skins are dirty with a capital D. What kind of cleaner did you use to do the scrubbing with? I thought simple green would do the trick. Wish I had a floor buffer. I'll probably use one of those large car scrubbing brushes, with a long handle, as you suggest. It should double duty for cleaning the exterior when I get to that point. And as a scrubber to remove the paint thinner at the clear-coat removal stage.
I used Por-15's Marine Clean product to clean the walls. I used a scrub brush to hit the really dirty places and a sponge to go over the entire thing. It did a great job. Don't leave it on too long though, it is pretty potent. I did go over the walls again after the Marine Clean with regular soap and water. They still look great.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:51 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by C Johnson
I used Por-15's Marine Clean product to clean the walls. I used a scrub brush to hit the really dirty places and a sponge to go over the entire thing. It did a great job. Don't leave it on too long though, it is pretty potent. I did go over the walls again after the Marine Clean with regular soap and water. They still look great.
Thanks. I just ordered a pint of the Marine Clean. I give it a try. I trust it works well with aluminum.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:11 PM   #118
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Framing for Levitation and Floor Channeling

Will the floor channel, around the entire perimeter of the shell, sit completely flush on a flat surface?

In thinking over framing the shell for the planned levitation up ahead (or perhaps over-thinking!) it is beginning to seem to me that the entire floor channelling will not sit flush on a flat surface without appropriate shimming or adjusting the framing slightly?

This has been discussed before but the front and end sections of the floor channel employ a u-channel which is attached on top of the flooring, whereas the middle sections fore and aft of the wheel wells employ a c-channel into which the flooring fits.

This would seem to create a slight step-up (or step-down depending on perspective) in the level of the channelling. So when I employ framing underneath the mid-sections that framing will be below the c-channel. The bottom of the u-channel in the front and rear sections however will be 3/4 inch above the level of the mid-section framing?

Somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong. But in the front and back sections I'll need to add a strip of 3/4 inch plywood on top of the framing to keep the shell square.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:14 PM   #119
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If you are intending to set the body completely down on a flat surface after you remove the frame then you would be right that the ends might need some shiming here and there.

Relative to your having double 2x4s along the sides I think it is more than enough. As I understand it the general word here on the forums is that it is the body that is keeping the frame straight at the ends not the other way around. I am adding a photo of what my bracing looked like. The cross-wise bracing is 2x4 and the lengthwise strips are 5/8" plywood about 6" tall.

Do you have any hatch openings along the bottom of your walls that are oposite each other? On my 31' unit there are access hatches direcly oposite each other in the back area maybe 6' from the back. There is also a refrigerator hatch near the front that is more or less opposite the entry door. My thought is this - if you have openings like this you can insert cross members above the bottom of the wall to lift the shell off of the frame. That way you could perhaps more easily set the body down on your flat surface.

Heres another thought - if you can get your hands on some camper jacks you could lift up the body from outside of the shell. The kind of jack that I am visualizing is designed to lift up a pickup camper high enough to be able to drive the pickup underneath. They have a sort of cable lift arrangement and nice wide angle brackets at the bottom that are designed to fit under the edges of a camper. Ideally I would guess that 4 such jacks would be best.

Malcolm
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:52 PM   #120
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airstream angels

Quote:
Originally Posted by malconium
If you are intending to set the body completely down on a flat surface after you remove the frame then you would be right that the ends might need some shiming here and there.

Relative to your having double 2x4s along the sides I think it is more than enough. As I understand it the general word here on the forums is that it is the body that is keeping the frame straight at the ends not the other way around. I am adding a photo of what my bracing looked like. The cross-wise bracing is 2x4 and the lengthwise strips are 5/8" plywood about 6" tall.

Do you have any hatch openings along the bottom of your walls that are oposite each other? On my 31' unit there are access hatches direcly oposite each other in the back area maybe 6' from the back. There is also a refrigerator hatch near the front that is more or less opposite the entry door. My thought is this - if you have openings like this you can insert cross members above the bottom of the wall to lift the shell off of the frame. That way you could perhaps more easily set the body down on your flat surface.

Heres another thought - if you can get your hands on some camper jacks you could lift up the body from outside of the shell. The kind of jack that I am visualizing is designed to lift up a pickup camper high enough to be able to drive the pickup underneath. They have a sort of cable lift arrangement and nice wide angle brackets at the bottom that are designed to fit under the edges of a camper. Ideally I would guess that 4 such jacks would be best.

Malcolm
Malcolm,

Okay, good, I'm correct in my thinking. Thanks for backing me up here.

I'm visualizing the shell sitting on the driveway after the frame is removed. The driveway isn't completely level because I live on the side of a small hill. So the framing must be substantial enough to keep the shell from twisting when the shell is lowered to the ground. Of course I can level the frame relative to the ground with shimming.

Note that the shell will be sitting there until the frame is fabricated. Could be weeks as far as I know. But what I want is for the shell to sit squarely on the frame and the frame to sit squarely on the driveway. From there I plan to use sandbags as anchors. Lots of gusty wind here. It's nice to know, as you suggest, that the shell literally supports the frame and may in fact be stronger than I am assuming.

Lifting via the hatch points is something I hadn't considered but unfortunately I don't have any hatches directly across from each other. Good idea though. Wow, I'd love to get my hands on some camper jacks. I found a set of 4 on the web for about 800 bucks! Maybe some airstream angels will leave a set on the backdoor step when I'm not looking. Those would work like a charm!

Concerning bracing. Your bracing is interesting because it appears to be braced above the floor channel and I am planning on bracing mine mainly underneath the floor channel. I need to think a little bit more about how bracing above the floor channel would be advantageous in my case? I'm not sure.
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:38 PM   #121
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Todd,

I think it is possible to rent camper jacks depending on what is available in your area. I remember doing that once a long time ago when I did have a camper but no jacks.

On my unit I also have windows that are opposite of each other. I think it would be possible to put 4x4's across through the windows and lift from that level if you had jacks that could accomodate that.

In my case I was repairing the frame and floor without completely removing the frame. My cross members were at the elevation they were for two reasons.
  1. I could work underneath them on parts of the floor.
  2. They were the right height to fit my hydraulic jack under them.
You still need to lift the body up enough to clear the frame. If you are going to put framing underneath the body then you need to lift the body enough to get your framing in place. If your floor and belly pan are all out you could place a jack on the ground and push up on cross-members that were lower than mine. If you put your cross-members right at the bottom of the wall you could jack up enough to get a couple of 4x4s between the body and the frame. All you would need would be some shims on top of the 4x4's that were tall enough to reach the bottom of the 2x4 cross-members. The trick in lowering it is that it is hard to get a jack underneath something that is sitting right on the ground. Having cross-members that are higher gives you enough space to get a jack under them to start the lifting process. You could set the body down so that the 4x4's are sitting on something sturdy but still high enough above the ground to get a jack under the ends. One very good approach is to take pieces of 2x4 about 16" long and build a square stack of of wood using a log cabin sort of assembly technique.

Malcolm
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:17 PM   #122
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Quote:
In my case I was repairing the frame and floor without completely removing the frame. My cross members were at the elevation they were for two reasons.
  1. I could work underneath them on parts of the floor.
  2. They were the right height to fit my hydraulic jack under them.
I see what you mean now. Bare with me while I think this through... In my case I'm leaving two sheets of plywood flooring in place, fore and aft of the axles. This should provide stability cross-wise and serve as cross-bracing. I believe I should be able to use the plywood as a jacking point from below too. My cross-bracing, as distinct from yours, will be at the level of the floor channel. Initially I should be able to easily find a jacking point below the plywood/floor cross-bracing in order to lift the shell off the frame.

Quote:
You still need to lift the body up enough to clear the frame. If you are going to put framing underneath the body then you need to lift the body enough to get your framing in place.
Using the plywood/flooring as cross-bracing I should be able to lift (from a point below the plywood) the shell body about 4-5 inches, enough to get two stacked 2x4's under the entire length of the floor channel on both sides. This would serve as length-wise bracing. I would tie the 2x4 length-wise bracing to the plywood crossing bracing at the points where the 2x4 length-bracing under the floor channel meets the plywood/floor cross-bracing.

Quote:
The trick in lowering it is that it is hard to get a jack underneath something that is sitting right on the ground. Having cross-members that are higher gives you enough space to get a jack under them to start the lifting process.
Okay, I see what you mean here. If my stacked 2x4 length-wise bracing underneath the floor channel sit directly on the ground I'll have approximately 4 inches of space between ground level and the bottom of the plywood/flooring cross-bracing. I'm not sure and I'll need to measure, but I think I can get a floor jack to slide underneath that cross-bracing when I reach the point of re-levitating the body.

I would probably want to connect the length-wise bracing at at least two points cross-wise AND at ground level to serve as anchor points for the sandbags. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a place to put the sandbags other than on top of the plywood cross-bracing which would be 4 inches above the ground. It seems more secure to me to have those bags in contact with the ground.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:18 PM   #123
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Steel: C-Channel versus Rectangular Tubing

I just discovered the wonderful world of steel catalogues and the information available therein! I picked one up from Triple-S Steel here in San Antonio and discovered a whole range of options for my frame material. Maybe I'm not totally in the hands of the friendly welders after all!

So I went out and measured my frame, such as it is, all by myself. It's 5" channel, 1-3/4" flange, and looks like 1/8" web thickness.

Then I flipped through the catalogue. Interestingly Triple-S has what appears to be pretty close to the original frame material. Right there on page 310 is 5" channel, 1.750" flange, .190" web thickness. This material weighs 6.7 lbs per foot: 20 feet is 134 lbs and 40 feet is 268 lbs. I would need roughly 60 feet for my trailer. So the weight of the channel alone using this material would total 402 lbs.

5" inch channel is also available with a 1.885 flange, and .325 web thickness. This material weighs 9.0 lbs per foot: 20 feet is 180 lbs and 40 feet is 380 lbs. Using this material, at 60 feet of channel, the weight here would be 560 lbs.

These are standard structural channel sizes and both channel sizes are available in 60' foot lengths.

Now rectangular tubing is also available at the steel store: 5x2, 5x3, and 5x4 --among numerous other sizes. If I choose, for example, to go with rectangular tubing the 5x2 would probably most closely approximate the original c-channel in terms of shape?

I'm not sure, yet, what the term "gauge" refers to, maybe somebody here can say, but 5x2 rectangular tubing is available in 4 gauges: 11, 3/16, 1/4 and 5/16. And four thicknesses: .120, .188, .250 and .312. And pounds per square foot respectively: 5.61, 8.15, 10.51 and 12.70. If, for example, I choose the .188 rectangular material at 60' the total weight of this material would be 489 lbs. which is only 87 lbs heavier than the c-channel.

So for an extra 87 lbs in weight would it be worth using rectangular tubing? I realize the numbers ultimately will depend upon and include the material used for the cross-member and the outriggers. But right now I'm just playing with the figures. On the other hand maybe there are good reasons to replace with the lighter weight c-channel?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:41 AM   #124
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With the problems Airstream had in the 70's long trailers with rear sag, I personally would make the new frame with a little more beef. I would go for the 5X2 square tube with a minimun of 3/16 wall thickness, or even 6X2, while using the same materail for the crossmembers, outriggers, and "A" frame. You would never have to ever worry about the frame again.
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #125
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weight issues

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Originally Posted by Aerowood
With the problems Airstream had in the 70's long trailers with rear sag, I personally would make the new frame with a little more beef. I would go for the 5X2 square tube with a minimun of 3/16 wall thickness, or even 6X2, while using the same materail for the crossmembers, outriggers, and "A" frame. You would never have to ever worry about the frame again.
Kip,

What's your opinion of the weight issues? Disregard them? I'm just curious. I'm tending toward the heavier material myself but I'm interested at least in listening to the counter points. Surely there is something to be said for keeping these rigs as light weight as possible?
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:59 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Kip,

What's your opinion of the weight issues? Disregard them? I'm just curious. I'm tending toward the heavier material myself but I'm interested at least in listening to the counter points. Surely there is something to be said for keeping these rigs as light weight as possible?
Also, any comments on what stiffening the frame might do to the trailer's ability to flex, as I hear it was designed to do? If anybody should be able to comment on that, I'd think Kip would be just the right person.
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