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Old 04-28-2014, 03:41 PM   #57
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I like that idea drop the whole belly pan and access the entire frame it may be salvageable.
Cliff
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:53 AM   #58
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Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

Oh, how I know EXACTLY what you're going through... I was "just going to clean up the inside".... However, after I ripped out the cabinets I was going to replace, I found the wood rot, and the rusted out frame. My choices were to lose big time trying to resell, OR bite the bullet and realize that I wouldn't be camping for a couple years. And for that 2 year sacrifice, I will have an Airstream built better than new, will be the envy of all my friends, worth more than I have in it, and potentially be passed down to my kids to make their own memories in "the Airstream that dad built".

One step at a time, is how I've had to approach this. Otherwise I just get too overwhelmed:
  • 1st step for you is to get the shell on the ground and find a welder. I did this, and have a totally rebuilt frame for about $1200.
  • 2nd- POR15 the frame and bolt new axles on.
  • 3rd- cut & install the floor
  • 4th- drop the shell back on.

Once you're to this point, its all down hill. I tell people "now I'm back to where I can start working on it". You can essentially use it as a tent from this step forward, while you finish it the way you want.

At $9k purchase, Im afraid you're going to be throwing away $7k+ because its only worth $2k (max if you're lucky) in that condition. Thats the dilemma I had, only less severe.

That brings me to another point.... Can you find another one "that's not rotten"? Not likely in my opinion unless you pay for it.... I've been watching these since the day I realized I was in deep wondering that same question. You can find one for $6k-$10k, but it will have the same issues. If there is one out there with a shell off resto that has a solid frame, new subfloor, new -axles... Thats got to be worth $20k+ in my opinion- depending on the skill level of the build out. As I watch this forum, even the 2000's have leaks and rotten floors....

If moving forward with this one is for you, it will because you have come to realization that it is a short term loss for a long term gain.

Here are some inspirational pics for you.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:53 AM   #59
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Thank you so much for that! Your photos are great. Our boat frame guy wasn't able to get here last night, so he's going to tell us exactly how bad it is tonight. We are leaning toward rolling up our sleeves for the same reasons you mentioned, it's probably not realistic to find anything under 10k with a new frame or one that will last without serious repairs in the years to come, which is how long we'd like to keep it! My wife and I joked that by the time it's finished our boys will the same ages as yours in the last photo (they are currently 9 mo and 2.5 haha!) We are in Florida too.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:57 AM   #60
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Geez I hate that you bought a camper and ended up with a project. If you decide to continue you could plan on a new frame, install axles, tanks, plywood floor THEN lift your shell and drop it on the new stuff. Minimal time that the Stream would be immobile. With a little luck and planning the swap could be done in 1 weekend.
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:45 PM   #61
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Don't forget to post pictures of the inspection we would like to see the rest of the frame!
Cliff
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:01 PM   #62
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Millertime's rear bathroom rot '76 Tradewind thread

No worries Cliff pictures incoming soon. Weather pretty crazy here in the panhandle today so our guy couldn't make it by.


On another note my wife and I sat down and made a task list for the possible upcoming shell off and then a further time/cost list to get the airstream right where we would like it. We worked out the numbers at 51 work days and $9000. Seems like a pretty fair estimate. Hope this doesn't fall into the triple the time and quadruple the money formula that I have read about on the forums.


Question for the group, my wife is concerned about mold. We found a little behind the front gaucho on the wall, but it does smell a bit inside the trailer (she's way more sensitive than I am). Could just be the rotten floor? She's especially concerned about it being between the outer and inner skins. Will a shell off provide the adequate inspection to find any and what insulation will best handle the inevitable leaks?[

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Forward crossmember under water tank

Oh and pretty much every outrigger around the wheel wells is pretty much gone.

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Same photo of main frame rail behind the step

More to come perhaps after our friend comes over as we will probably pull off the rest of the skins
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:14 PM   #63
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Did you insure it for what you paid? You could always "forget" to chock the wheels on a secluded cliff somewhere.

Not that I condone that, I never would, but I doubt the frame would be any worse at the bottom of a ravine.

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Old 04-30-2014, 01:16 AM   #64
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Millertime's rear bathroom rot '76 Tradewind thread

For a frame off everything comes out including the inner wall skins, by the time you are done mold will not be a problem, unless you reinstall it..



The rust on that frame is phenomenal. I wonder it it caught some serious submersion in salt water ala hurricane damage......

Seems a big part of Pensacola was under water just a few years ago....

(Ivan 2004)

Maybe the seller forgot to mention something?

Maybe there are records that might indicate the storm surge severity where the trailer might have been in 2004?

I don't know, but the frame of my 72 which spent its life in muggy, humid, semi rain forest central Arkansas was in much, much, much better shape. Granted there is no salt water air here, but still, looking at your frame.........

It really made me think it has been submerged, THEN I remembered Ivan.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:18 AM   #65
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Looks a little challenging but not by any means insurmountable (yes I spell like a junior jar head) but that smell (love the way women can smell stuff) probably just a little mouse perfume but its again all good and you will find out for sure when you drop the bottom inside skins for the shell off. I like the estimates, they are about there + or - some cosmitics that she may want (girl stuff). Time wise if you can keep the welder on track and the social/work schedule does not go haywire you can do it and maybe in a little less time. Save where you can ie wood regular plywood not Marine grade (not good for aluminum) use that military discount! Most important keep us posted!
Cliff
OBTW Awesome you and her will do great!
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:24 AM   #66
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By the way, if I were doing that project I would pull the frame out to duplicate it. It would much harder to build without having the old frame out....

In fact, the old frame might make a suitable makeshift jig, just build the new one right on top of it....

(Thinking out loud here)
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:30 AM   #67
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Re it being submerged, my wife had the same thought! The PO said he got it 9 years ago from an rv dealer friend....which is right around the time of Ivan. I wonder if someone received an insurance payout for it at some point. Argh, not much use in wondering about that right now, might explain the rust around the galvanized steel if she sat in water for some time...

The wife will be happy to hear that the mold will be found/eradicated anyway with all this work. Glad that those estimates sound close to reality. She just needs to be towable by January!
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:51 AM   #68
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If that trailer lived near the coast, I don't think it would need to be submerged to get that bad. Another 10 yrs and mine would have looked like that. High humidity, lots of rain and ocean salt will do just about anything in. 99% of all Airstreams on the east coast are going to have problems like this unless kept inside. It looks like the top sections of the frame are ok. A u-shaped patch might fix that section where the step is. The cross beams are not that big of a deal. Those can be patched and POR15 coated. I wish I knew what I know now when I bought mine.

Perry
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:22 PM   #69
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Glad to see you're going ahead with resto. I hope you find time to post your progress as you go.

You may have seen this thread, but it's highly recommended reading.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html

Someone should put together an updated version of this; there are several great recent threads (such as Vernon's, posted above, for one).

Remember: enjoy the process!

Alan
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:23 PM   #70
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WAG... and yet another "Half Vast" Idea for Outriggers

This is strictly a WAG (wildass Guess) - but perhaps a call to Jackson Center might be useful. They MIGHT be able to point you to a .pdf specification or blueprint for the frame build.

If I'd drunk the Koolaid (to be a restorer) I'd be glad to have the dimensions - but I'd beef up the frame with box rails, etc. rather than use an open C channel.

Here's the "Half Vast" Idea:
I wish I had some graphic design experience because I've never understood (or liked) the design of the "outriggers". They're just welded along the edge to the frame rail! And there are a LOT of stories about how the welds break and the outriggers sag, so here's my idea for an outrigger that would cling on even with broken welds.

Welding is supposed to create a bond almost as strong as if the parts had been manufactured as one, but I've always thought that an outrigger could be infinitely stronger if it were cut with tabs on it. Imagine if you can... cut the outrigger 3 inches longer than the finished product, bend it on a brake as is currently done, with about 2 inches for the plywood subfloor to rest on, now cut a slit 3 inches deep on the bend - and you have a tab that can go over the TOP of the frame rail, and be bent down so that it functions like an "over the door cloths hook" (no need for a weld on the top to hold the top to the frame rail). The top could be spot welded, but hooking it over the frame rail is literally a safety hook. The part that is welded vertically to the outside of the frame rail, would need to be bent at a 90 degree angle and spot welded to the outside of the frame rail... but you might want to cut it into 2 or 3 tabs and bend them left, right left. The result would function a lot like a joist hanger's nailing tabs. One experienced welder posted on the forums that vertical welding should always be SPOT welded so as not to create a vertical SEAM in the metal where it would be easy for it to fail. If you had tabs on either side of the outrigger the tendency to be pushed in and down by weight from above... well there's a lot more surface area to add strength to hold the outrigger UP and level.

Thanks for letting me rant. No problem if you need to tell me it's not a great idea.

Paula
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