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Old 09-05-2015, 06:12 PM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
Tulsa , Oklahoma
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Shell on or off? HELP?!?

So if you watch the video you'll see where I'm at. Any advise helps. I've done minor electrical and plumbing work before but welding and tank installation is out of my skill range at the moment. If anyone knows the cost of outsourcing these things I'd love to know. Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:30 PM   #2
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I tried running your movie, but it won't play. Maybe you could describe your dilemma.
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:56 PM   #3
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I think that is a shell off. The frame looks repairable but hard to tell for sure. Remove belly skins to get a better look at the frame.

Perry
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:48 PM   #4
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OK, the video is working now--I would say build the gantries, pull the shell. I know there are plenty of folks who do floor replacements with the shell on, but having done one with the shell off, I think that it is actually easier to go the "full monty," especially if you are not confident of how much repair the frame might need. Usually a rotten floor goes hand in hand with disintegrating frame. Nothing unusual about your trailer, I tihnk the vast majority of vintage trailers that haven't had a shell-off are in need of one.

Good luck!
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:28 AM   #5
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
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I'm nearing the end of a shell off and have to say it's a blast! Only the day of pulling and remounting the shell do you really need extra hands, the rest is very manageable on your own. I'm a jack of all trades type, but I would think anyone with patience and attention to detail is capable of a good shell off restoration.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OklaOverland View Post
So if you watch the video you'll see where I'm at. Any advise helps. I've done minor electrical and plumbing work before but welding and tank installation is out of my skill range at the moment. If anyone knows the cost of outsourcing these things I'd love to know. Thanks for the help.
The cost of welding will all depend on how much needs to be done. Definitely, though, your best price will be if you can strip your frame down to the bare bones, and tow it to a shop--another reason to do the shell-off. The last 4 feet of my frame was pretty well toast. I took it to a shop and got that replaced, plus some other bracing done for around $450, materials and labor. I also ended up buying a small, relatively cheap wire welder, as most of my outriggers needed some fixing/augmentation since the portion that meets the aluminum bellypan was generally all but missing. Learning to weld with the little wire unit was a breeze. I think I paid around $180 for the welder and accessories. Not a top of the line model, but there are worse ones out there.

Tank installation is probably within your skill level--it is just the fear of the unknown. There are several threads on the forums here showing the detailed process of installing tanks, and if you look at Vintage Trailer Supply's website, I believe someone who had purchased tanks there posted a step by step showing what he did to install tanks. It is really just a matter of planning it out and having a little extra welding done while you have the frame at the shop. The only price I can offer you is that I read a thread about a year ago where the Airstreamer was having a custom shop do fresh, grey and back tanks, plus some 12V wiring work, and the estimate was for $3000. Doing all three tanks plus wiring work is a lot of work, so $3k might be reasonable, but it is still the kind of number that inspires me to be more adventurous in my DIY attempts.

good luck!
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:03 AM   #7
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We did a shell-on floor replacement and frame repair, and it is very do-able. HOWEVER, were we ever to do it again, we would probably opt for shell off. The reasons are: much easier to flip the frame for repair and painting, much easier to put on the belly pan before putting the shell back on, and plumbing the tanks, dropping tanks in place. You can put the floor in place and not have to monkey with getting it slid under the shell.
Not planning on doing another one.....

Kay
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:11 AM   #8
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Looks like you're off to a good start, OklaOverland. Send me a message if you want some local help. I'm also in Tulsa and just finished the frame repair and subfloor replacement on my 67 Overlander. I chose the shell on approach because I knew I was going to do all the welding and frame repair myself so it made more sense to me to just work on it in place. One of the major downsides to leaving the shell on is that you're forced to do a lot of bending, crawling, and contorting that would not be necessary if you had full access to the frame.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:33 AM   #9
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if you are like me you won't be happy half assing it with shell on.
Hopefully you have the money, space and time to take on such.
Are you married?? You might consider that as well...LOL!
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:53 AM   #10
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Just picked up a "69 Caravel that looks very much like yours. I am to the point of having removed 1/2 of the interior wall panels. The floor has a number of rotten places next to and under the shell. Ugg. All the comments have convinced me to lift the shell. Are there any postings with info about how to do this?
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:27 PM   #11
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Well, there is more than one way to lift a shell, but I would recommend bulding some gantry frames and hoisting it from above. The thread below will show you some of the things that can be done with the gantry frames, plus there is a pdf with a diagram of how the frames are constructed. If you do a google search from outside the forums with "gantry frame airforums" you will see several threads showing folks' shell-offs. There is also a thread that consists of many/most of the "full monty" complete restorations, and there is typically at least a floor replacement in each of them.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-115765.html

good luck!
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:07 AM   #12
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First off thank you everyone! A friend of the family is letting me store the airstream behind a warehouse he owns and just told me that they may have a space inside that I can use starting next month. Which is not only awesome for being able to work through winter but also will make this shell off thing more manageable. Yes I am going full Monty. I want this thing to last the rest of my life. I heard you shouldn't tow it after with the interior walls off but what about the belly pan? Can I remove that and still move it into the warehouse later?
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:51 AM   #13
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The bellypan doesn't matter. I towed my 21' for hundreds of miles without any interior skins, and an airconditioner on the roof and had no issues. You will find folks who are of the opinion that the interior walls add structure support and are critical. They may offer some help in making the shell more rigid, but I just can't see how those panels with a pop rivet overy 8" are going to offer anything like the structure of your exterior shell with a bucked rivet every inch.

That being said, I did my towing after a shell off floor replacement, so I was confident that the all-important interface between the shell and the frame was rock solid. Towing a trailer with a rotting floor, questionable frame, and no interior walls, may be a combination that should cause concern. I did notice that the body was a bit more "mobile/flexy" than I remembered it, so made the standard wooden "doohickey" to ensure that my entry door didn't pop open on the road. Look at post 26 of the thread below:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f453...d-19369-2.html

good luck!
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:07 AM   #14
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1963 26' Overlander
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Shell on or off? HELP?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidF View Post
Just picked up a "69 Caravel that looks very much like yours. I am to the point of having removed 1/2 of the interior wall panels. The floor has a number of rotten places next to and under the shell. Ugg. All the comments have convinced me to lift the shell. Are there any postings with info about how to do this?

I plan on doing what Belegedhel has linked to with the gantries or just from the beams of the warehouse. Seems like the way to go.
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