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Old 01-07-2011, 07:48 AM   #85
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The only two routes to stopping others patenting your work are: utter secrecy (they never know) or detailed publication (prior art).

I have put a lot of thought into this, and I have devised a way to can achieve a 16" lift but not a 24" lift, while staying within DOT rules for most states for width, height, weight etc. Primarily, you'd need to widen the wheelbase of the trailer to 8' or 8'3", shortening the outriggers and widen the crossmembers so the main trailer rails are further apart. As for the depth of the frame, you'd need to choose materials wisely (not just what you have in your yard) and watch weights. Two frames (upper and lower) where the upper is the basic AS frame and the lower is a copy of it, 5" deep, and then 10" diagonal box spacers the entire length, plus across at least 5 outriggers, which would need to be reinforced. Estimated frame weight after this, with two uprated axles, would be "around 2,300 lbs" by my back of the envelope calculations.

You could buy a series of ready-made aluminum doors, or fabricate some from aluminum and extruded stock, to bridge the gap from shell to bellypan.

Spreading the rails reduced the depth of your compartments, but unfortunately it's the only way to support a wider axle you'd need to provide enough stability due to the raised CoG.

As a guide, the average AS is 8' x 10' cross section, so for every inch of height you add, you need to add 0.8" axle width to maintain the same stability.

I have a couple other ideas I can email you with drawings if you like.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:46 AM   #86
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by all means, keep going

I think the axles I bought have a wider mount location, they are 30 minutes away from me, so I can't check at the moment. I actually was already thinking of that, the frame would create a, slightly, lopsided triangle.

I had already given up on the side compartments holding a generator and all of that. They will be great storage.

I was thinking the entire, belly pan to sub-floor would be 22"-24"

The metal did come from a trailer building company. I thought the main problem would come from using the old frame. It's a c-channel, right?

What would the thickness of the lower cross-members be? I was thinking 2x3 tube, and I was thinking I would have to replace the original cross-members with 2x3. I was trying to have a 3"x6" tube crossM creating a square over the axles... Yeah, drawings are better.

If anyone really wanted to know who I am, they could find out.... There's no sense in secrecy.
Edwardcarpenter1@gmail.com
I wasn't trying to patent the AS frame, just the tool hauler, if needed. I heard something about not being able to patent utilitarian concepts. See, I know nothing of this system. It's frustrating.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:50 AM   #87
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I want the slide in tanks, but I don't want the thing to collapse to the side, obviously.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #88
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I ran across this while I was searching the internet.. Thought that you might find it interesting. Low center of gravity like a bus or something..
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #89
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This looked cool ... Somebody made this out of an airplane.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:24 PM   #90
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eye candy
I wonder if the tail helps to control sway, or if it just makes a good bridge detector.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:56 PM   #91
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:07 PM   #92
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Sensible drawings but I'd suggest some things:

1. Water is heavy. Do not make the tanks too large, or position them too far from the axles.

2. You'll need to keep the axles in the same relative position as they would be on the original airstream. Think about tongue weight. Think about where weight would be inside the trailer.

3. You won't need the center cross-member braces.

4. Think about how the existing frame works standalone, and build the lower frame around it in a way that allows it to still work in the same way. In particular, think about how the entire shell is sitting on outriggers except at the nose and tail, and think about how the built-in furniture is resting across the main beams. Work to that strength.

5. The AS frame needs to be stronger than the lower frame, yet not ever be overloaded by the lower frame. Work out the balance of relative strengths.

6. How will you lift the AS and frame onto the lower frame? Do you have a rig to lift 4000 lbs?
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:58 AM   #93
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If I add more out riggers and all of the plywood was good, it might be alright. That would change the whole layout. I would have to widen the original frame's cross members and come straight down to the lower beams on the wider axle mounts.?? OR the same shape, made strong? The diagonal braces in front of the wheels don't get in the way of anything and it can't hurt.? I would have to lift everything to get the bigger tank to slide out the back, so I thought I would just have to drop that one like the original.

I do want to be soft on the shell but because it's lifted it might have more pull on that joint than original. The shell will want to flip but the frame will want to stay down. Getting the A/C off the top and having a continuous c-channel will help alot. I had thought of moving the old out riggers to the lower frame to hold the belly pan, so as long as the new ones are good and strong, it sound's good to me.

Were you talking about deleting the outer diagonal bracing and 2x2 or just the 2x2 under the wall?
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:09 AM   #94
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As for lifting the thing, I saw the shell off restoration of somebody that lifted it off with scaffolding type jack system. I have a bunch of house jacks, or I can find a tree....
The place I plan to do this is not the best place for this, I'm still looking. I would love to find a strong ,level, warm, warehouse.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:37 AM   #95
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The whole motorcycle carrier might have to go. I found a picture... I wonder how it turned out. I'll get it on here.

The freezer could be emptied when needed.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:42 AM   #96
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:55 AM   #97
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Wow, I just realize I gave the extra foot of the wheel bay to the back side. I meant to split the difference.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:27 PM   #98
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Howdy Gang,

Long time no post. Not much new to say....

Eddie's project, while a bit unorthodox, is entirely doable.

Avion built an entire line of basement models. Their's weren't as tall as Eddie is talking, but they basically lifted the entire coach about 6-8" over the standard height and put complete pass through storage in under the floor.

Even with what Eddie wants to do, it'll be a lot shorter than any 5er.

As others have rightly pointed out, Eddie could simply buy a 40' fifth wheel toy hauler and have pretty much the answer to his desires. But, if he truly wants to take an Airstream shell and set it upon a custom made frame of a deeper section with basement storage, it can certainly be done.

As to all the concerns of DOT ills...there's nothing here that is a serious engineering challenge.

To get what he wants, I'd probably use mild steel box tubing, something like 2x2 with 1/4" walls and form the main rails like a truss. I'd leave certain spots open where the basement cargo doors would go.

Position all the heavy stuff around the axles to slightly ahead of them and you're good to go. For stability, you want the center of gravity (CG) of the coach to be about 10-15% the length of the coach ahead of the centerline of the axles. So on a 31' trailer, figure the center point between the two axles, and put the CG at least 4'6" or so ahead of that and you're good. The old 10% of the coach's weight in tongue weight is simply a rough way to ensure that you have the CG in the location mentioned above.

Does this project make economic sense? I don't know.
Does it help the resale of the trailer? Probably not.
Is this thread confusing and seem to change continuously? Certainly
But if a dude wants to take an old Airstream shell and set it upon a frame that won't sag or separate, then more power to him. It beats sending the shell to the scrap heap.

As to all the other stuff about the various appliances, etc. etc. I'm staying out of that. I'll only comment on the mechanical aspects.

A few years ago I owned a '77 Excella 500. I really liked that trailer a lot. But the frame was toast. It had sag and separation. And a lot of rust on the frame. In my opinion, the frame wasn't worth saving. It needed a new one. One built right this time. My frame was 4" deep. I pulled the belly pan off and measured. I designed an 8" deep frame for it. Had a buddy who runs an RV frame shop who was going to fab it for me. However, Airstream uses a different than standard main rail spacing in the width direction, so that plan flubbed. Being in the middle of building a house, i didn't have the time to weld up one from scratch. So I sold the Excella to a couple who already had a shorter Airstream and wanted to restore a long one. I then bought a 34' Avion, which has a much heavier frame than any Airstream.

But the long and the short of it was this: My 8" frame had nearly 7 times the stiffness of the flexi-flyer that it came with from Jackson Center. I would have had to make new belly pan and banana wrap skins, but whoopyty doo. That's nothing. It can certainly be done if somebody has the time and energy. Oh yeah, my enhanced frame would have added about 150 pounds total to the weight of the coach. That's nothing. My wife packs more than that in shoes

Anyway, I think Eddie is perhaps choosing a tough row to hoe here, but I think, with the right help, he might just pull off something pretty neat.

Cheers,
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