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Old 03-20-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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Bellingham , Washington
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Need new frame - questions

I'm in the process of re-doing a 1953 Cruiser and I have it dismantled down to the frame. I brought it to one of the local RV shops to have them inspect the frame and they recommended starting from scratch. The original frame was 4". Questions:
  1. Should I stick with 4" on my new frame? Seems like that will handle stock VTS grey water tanks. I plan on having the black water tank above the floor.
  2. The rails look like they are just 4" channel. No problem there but, what thickness should I go with?
  3. The cross members look like they are sheet metal that has been bent. Does that sound right? What thickness?
  4. The 'A Frame' doesn't come in at 50 degrees. I'm finding that most hitch couplers handle 50 degree angles. Should I re-engineer the frame to obtain that 50 degrees?
  5. The outriggers are only 3". Can I increase that to the size of the new frame or is there a reason they are different?
  6. POR15 the new frame?
  7. Is there a particular alloy I should be looking for?
  8. I'm also getting a new axle (torsion). Any axle considerations when having the new frame constructed?
I know, lots of questions. I'm hoping the knowledge on this forum can help me out.

Thanks,
Jerry
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:24 PM   #2
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More pics...
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:02 AM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Cruiser, You have started a big project with your 1953 Airstream. You might like to start your "full monte" thread in the Airstream Knowledge base > trailers > and then 53 Cruiser. I think your fellow early 50s enthusiasts will follow your progress in your rebuild thread. I see there is only one Cruiser thread located there. So here is your chance to become the "expert" in Cruisers! And take a look for other threads folks have posted concerning a full frame fabrication.

So I will give you some "free advice" on some of the design parameters for your new frame. First and foremost, the body attachment points are sacred and can't be altered. That goes without saying.

4" frame rails are fine in my view. It somewhat depends on how much weight you plan on adding to the interior. Airstreams were built light. Adding fancy beds, plumbing, TVs, galley appliances all add weight. 4" square channel frame rails would add strength. My 66 C channel frame rails are 3/16" thick material. But the frame rails are 5" C channel. I think this design changed happened in the early 60s.

My 66 Trade Wind cross members are stamped sheet metal 1/8" thick. They have oval slots in them for lightness. There are two heights of my cross members as Airstream provided for "splicing" the 5/8" thick plywood subfloor at certain places along the frame. How you plan on laying your subfloor may affect how you design your cross members. Some folks use "biscuits", and others use tongue and groove. Modern adhesives are very good. So I would probably use tongue and groove exterior grade plywood and not worry about different height cross members. My cross members are generally on 24" centers, but there are a whole lot of them that are at different spacings depending on tanks, entry door, axles, etc.

My frame members are about 58" apart outside to outside. My outriggers are about 15" long. The outriggers form the curve for the belly wraps.

I think you should paint your new frame for rust protection, but not with POR 15. POR products are for "painting over rust" where the paint reacts with the rust to form a rust barrier. New steel won't have any rust. So I should think a good high quality automotive primer and paint would be adequate.

I should think mild steel is adequate for a trailer frame.

Mounting a torsion axle is a good idea. But you have to consider the ride height you want your trailer to end up with. My Airstream has a flat 1/4" plate welded to the frame channel that acts as the mounting plate for the axles.

Others much more experienced than me will give better advice. Here is a recent new frame build thread on a 48 Liner that I found informative. You might enjoy it. Here is a picture of my frame under my 66 Trade Wind.

David
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Good luck!

All steel is not equal. Buy the good stuff
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:53 PM   #5
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Not sure what that means....what's the 'good stuff'?
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1953Cruiser View Post
Not sure what that means....what's the 'good stuff'?
Good stuff. Not "mild steel", but something more resilient to withstand the application.

Click here to get specs from sales rep for US Steel.
https://www.ussteel.com/uss/portal/home/doingbusiness/customers/!ut/p/b1/vZTJjqNAEES_pT_AXezLkc0sZsdgXBcEdmMX1eybzddPj9TSnH rmMnLmKaWQniJDCgBBCmCTL-iWT6ht8s_fN-QyxpH3ic2EkR_ZDGHSnmYriUjqPgtOIPXPtKyO5k3TwkwOBPyB lJuVtFlXENPo3l2sFqM2--VTaOxNXZynWCXDYBxMOF0nb3FQ3936563nW6_vtcM9KOfeEWFq Xpn5TF4tR8EnzQtD5KVLHlzvPGdyOXu5x0i7Q3XaVbiybNSon6 a_wZEJK0s0Vj8SakZtBaO16YpC5WVXEmtGDrodAAvAeRzf10v9 LvIsSYLky4KrjM6qmm5pHYnzhJdKYDlMPclucfPApw7ppO8yx4 EenpUjlEue3qeD9FBWceO2Y-bm2qzA872QKNxKqsZd0y6WSPaQjNOQkuyj3wuy-vBl04ZeblAS2u2KHJ64eBLQk14_0lOEz3oy4oCp0LKWbak2seH 5G5_k3qA9ELNB19goIWiCN3D-yoX_MRebBEeQEkwWVc_O3PAWVsTDirbQizZzJYrEjAg-dgtN0tpG_6xzLsrrTu5rPcS4lufC2g21h9pWwscwLoO3fwFV6t VA4tXAV7_Upl_t8P8DTwD-tT9i_lugxxTFGA7vCXrCE6bvs1x4CCnCo78FxA8jEcA12voDdP VSC-SfFc2K-QWc6imm/dl4/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/

I will snag more resources for steel types. You will want square tubing for frame. Back in a bit.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:04 PM   #7
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Here is a quick tutorial for ASTM:
Square Steel Tubing Specifications | eHow

Here is a link to ASTM standards:
Steel Standards
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:35 PM   #8
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Here is more info...
Tubing Glossary

The ASTM A847 is a good choice.

Here is the link to the Valmont catalog:
Steel Tubing

Here is a cut/paste:
Square 4.00x4.00 0.188 3/16" 9.787 Galvanized
Hot Dip Galvanized
Pickled & Oiled
Hot Rolled
A500
A787

Now, if you get 'mild steel', it may not have the torque strength, harmonic resistance, etc as the 'cheap stuff'...

I have seen and worked steel from offshore of the USA... it is not consistent in quality (i.e.; a crapshoot). You might get good steel... but.... buyer beware.
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