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Old 11-02-2003, 01:46 PM   #1
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HELP frame problems any ideas????

Our curb side frame is severly rusted, we are vacillating between burning, new frame or trying to fix exsisting. The inside is in good shape AC works, refrig works, heater works, don't want to gut inside to rebuild new frame.

Posted a thread earlier

69 Ambassador-Org. axle rating - in the Axle, Brakes, Wheel & Tire Forum forum of Forums.

without much success

Anybody have any experiences or ideas?????????????????



1stimers
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Old 01-10-2004, 11:42 AM   #2
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any ideas??

I'm a "newbie"too,but I can tell you what I learned the hard way. Some things just ain't worth trying to fix. My first attempt was purchased with endless visions of "restoration". Then I discovered what true restoration was.

I am now on my third "streamer" in two years. I recently purchased a ' 79 Sov. Everything works. This one gives me time to use it while still "tweeking & tuning it". I still have the one I started with. It is up on blocks, an endless reference source.

What I have learned: Start with a working unit.

Don't worrry @ what you did wrong,or
will do wrong.

Almost any question you have on any
topic has been or will be addressed
in this forum.

I am just breaking out of my 180 degree
learning curve.
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Old 01-10-2004, 12:14 PM   #3
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Frame problems

1sttimer
I would say it depends on where the frame rust is.....
If it's near the tongue, you can slide a u-channel over it and weld it in place (see picture)
If its further back, with lots of crossmembers in the way, it a bit more problematic, because you have to cut off the crossmembers and re-attach them.
Also, a lot depends on whether you are replacing the floor. The frame is a lot easier to work on if the floor is removed.
Good luck.
I agree with Skip-don't worry about what you might do wrong- there's nothing there that can't be repaired or replaced- just takes more time and money.
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Old 01-10-2004, 12:22 PM   #4
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HELP frame problems any ideas????

Greetings 1stimer!

Quote:
Our curb side frame is severly rusted, we are vacillating between burning, new frame or trying to fix exsisting. The inside is in good shape AC works, refrig works, heater works, don't want to gut inside to rebuild new frame.
Have you considered having the trailer evaluated by a shop that is familiar with Vintage Airstreams? I would suspect that the frame is repairable, especially if the trailer has spent most of its life in Kansas. There are a number of Airstream shops around the country that could provide you with an opinion on the repairability of the frame as well as provide options that they would suggest.

Shortly after purchasing my '64 Overlander in 1995, I discovered some floor rot and was ready to assume the worst after having the coach evaluated by a shop that wasn't familiar with Vintage Airstreams. As luck would have it, I received a referral to a shop that was familiar with Vintage Airstreams and the needed repairs were promptly, and rather economically completed. Those repairs have stood the test of time, and I am continuning to enjoy the coach and return to that same shop for my repair and restoration work.

Two shops that have provided invaluable assistance to me in the restoration and maintenance of my '64 Overlander and '78 Minuet are:

Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls, Iowa

and:

P and S Trailer Service in Helena, Ohio

There are several others (that have been mentioned in other threads as being Vintage Friendly) as well including at least one shop in Missouri (Bill Thomas Camper Sales) and at least two in California (Inland RV and C and G Trailer Service, Bellflower, CA)

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin

P.S.: Ace Fogdall RV, performed some outrigger repairs on my '64 Overlander just two years ago on the curbside. The repair has been absolutely satisfactory.
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Old 01-18-2004, 11:25 PM   #5
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i am here for the same reason, my frame is rusted i am looking for a mig welder and torches
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:43 AM   #6
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Look at it this way: If your handy with a wrench then the labor is free your just paying for materials.

The coach is built as a unit. Every part depends on the other parts to create the strength. After replacing a floor and some rust repair in the process I can about guarantee there was some floor rot going on. The only place that rust existed on our 59 was where the insulation and wood got wet or where it was open to the elements around the step cavity.

You have to have some floor rot to have that much rust to cause that sort of problem. This is the point to sell it or fix it right. While it was a very difficult process the amount of strenth that I regaind when I replaced the floor was incedibly. Our coach now feels as solid as new after replacing the floor and repaining some rust problems. I know that it will make the next 40 years without a problem.

I understand your concern with this invasive of a repair but if the rus is as bad as you think then this is going to be the only way to correctly repair it. I would take it to somebody for a second oppion and quote. I would then weigh your option and make a decision from there. Not counting labor to replave the whole floor with new decking and new floor covering is going to be about $1500 if you watch your penney's If you have to pay labor I would figure about $2k in labor and probably a little mark up on materials. Then throw $500 on for fudge and unexpected things.

The way these are built I really dont see any way to do much in the way of frame repair without removing some of the floor. The problem comes in that the floor assemby was manufactured including the belly pan before the top of the coach was installed. Yes you can do some repairs to the floor without taking the body appart but there is no way to do all of them without hacking the belly pan to peices to get accces to where the floor bolts to the frame. Where the floor and walls bolt together is key to the structural integrity of these coaches.

Pulling the interrior is not a difficult process. These are well assembled and designed. The worst thing you will run into is problems where fasteners between cabinets and floor are rusted and cant be removed. Two people can remove the interior in a weekend once you figure out how it was installed.

Good luck and feel free to ask questions. Mark greg and I are all in the middle of extensive repairs and can help you with any questions you might have. Dig through the Forums onder interrior repairs and there is a sub section about floors. LOTS of good info there.
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:47 AM   #7
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I am doing a shell off restoration on a 63 tradewind right now. My local welder who has done work on other projects for me said he can't weld a new peice into the frame with the floor still in place. He said from under the trailer there is not enough room to weld, and the wooden floor is to close to the repair and will set on fire. If we just cut a hole in the floor over the repair and in the belly pan under the repair, removing all insulation surround the repair, it would work.
I would think if your frame is rusted, the floor above it is shot also. That seemed to be the case for me. I had extensive rot and rust, so pulling the shell was the best choice for me. IF your rot/rust is isolated to one area, a repair is doable.

I have learned fathoms of info from this forum and personal experience in the last six months. I now fully believe everything is possible. Never will a Airstream be beyond repair. With patience, money, patience, the right tools, more money, some more patience, and a shiny silver vision guiding you, it will get done.
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Old 01-19-2004, 09:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Streamsaver

I have learned fathoms of info from this forum and personal experience in the last six months. I now fully believe everything is possible. Never will a Airstream be beyond repair. With patience, money, patience, the right tools, more money, some more patience, and a shiny silver vision guiding you, it will get done.

Don't forget a LOT of "patience". Hehehe
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:05 AM   #9
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P.S. Most local Community Colleges offer welding courses. Mine offers a course two nights a week and the cost is only $60 bucks. I plan on taking one this semester if I can register late. If you have a good instructor they will let you bring in your own projects. Giving you access to a full featured welding shop and a experienced welder. This is my plan to save some money and have the satisfaction to do the work myself with some assistance.

Until my money tree starts to bud, I have to do anything I can to save money.
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:40 AM   #10
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Originally posted by Streamsaver
P.S. Most local Community Colleges offer welding courses. Mine offers a course two nights a week and the cost is only $60 bucks.
I was lucky to have a nearby forum member (Ultradog) volunteer to do the welding.
I'm trying to find a local community college course on airframe repair so I can learn about riveting and aluminum fabrication. If that fails, I hope to find a student who wants to earn a few bucks bucking rivets.
-Don in Wayzata
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:56 AM   #11
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I know airframe repair is far beyond what is offered by my local college. I live in Coastal North Carolina so they do offer welding and boat fabrication/propulsion.
Riveting and working with sheetmetal is already in my bag, but welding I have never tried before. Anybody want to come to the sunny Crystal Coast and do some welding. Already ordered 20ft of c=channel from a local marine supply shop. $2.00 a ft. does that sound a bout right?
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Streamsaver
I know airframe repair is far beyond what is offered by my local college. I live in Coastal North Carolina so they do offer welding and boat fabrication/propulsion.
Riveting and working with sheetmetal is already in my bag, but welding I have never tried before. Anybody want to come to the sunny Crystal Coast and do some welding. Already ordered 20ft of c=channel from a local marine supply shop. $2.00 a ft. does that sound a bout right?
Not too bad of a price. It's on the rise a little like wood was a few months back.

Start with Arc/stick welding. Once you can do that then Mig is a breeze!. I love welding stuff up. Made some nifty little brackets for my roof rack 2 weeks ago. Built and then rebuilt (after a wreck that twisted it's frame) a cargo trailer. New floors in my Dollar truck, the airstream, Bumpers for the trailer, Roll cage for Dollar. Skid plates. Mig is easy. Tig is the one that takes talent and lots of practice.

I'm using the Hobart Handler 175 220V unit. Hobart is owned by Miller. Miller is top end pro stuff. THe Hobart is more geared to the hobiest. I'm very happy with it over all and not had proble mone with the unit and not aware of anybody else having problems.

Personnaly after using a couple 110v units I would stay away from them. They do Ok on thin metals but I sure wouldn't want to weld more then 1/8 inch thick reguesrless of what they claim it can do and not a whole lot of it. What experiance I had with the 110'v units is the Lincoln weld pak 100 with mig conversion they sell at HD and very poor opinion of that product. I have also used a Hobart 135. That was not to bad but after a while you could tell you were getting ready to hit the duty cycle but it was still far superior to the Lincoln.

Now I have played with some big products that friends have. One buddy owns a fabrication shop. He has a couple monsters in there and the Comercial Lincoln he had was really nice. The Miller he had was on 6 inch casers and was the size of the Reefer for my coach (52 inch tall). he showed me some tricks with that and taught me how to "spray weld"......THAT's impressive. He joined a coupe peice of 1/4 plate with 1/4 inch gap and then put down a 3/4 inch bead in one pass. It was slick. He ran the amps way up and the line speed up got the arc started and pulled back about a inch. The wire was comig out and turning to plasma. Prettyies weld I have ever seen somebody lay down. Big HP welders to pull that off.
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Old 01-19-2004, 02:58 PM   #13
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Toaster,
I'll back you up on the Miller welders I just bought my field guys a couple of the Miller 175's we need something super portable that they could weld up to 1/4" plate with, way out in the middle of a roof with minimal splatter and the Miller were it! Somone in the past around here had bought a Hobart Handler 120/135 it would "thermal" out after about 3 minutes of welding on 1/8" plate. Defintely not a production welder So far we have been happy with the Miller units and plan on buying an Aluminum Spool gun for one of them, might just come in handy for AS fabrication

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Old 01-19-2004, 04:48 PM   #14
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Welding

I am very good with all types of hand tools. I know I could weld. I just don't know the details yet. Would a book tell me enough to do some simple frame welding. Does anyone know any good books?
Would a local rental place rent a good quality welding machine? or would they only have the cheaper ones for rent?
I think with a good book I could make a solid weld.
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