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Old 01-13-2007, 12:32 PM   #1
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The quest for a new stainless steel frame

As most of you know I have been fabricating a stainless steel frame for my 26' Argosy. The project goes as follows:


Frame is constructed with double 2” X 3” stainless steel tubing of 0.90” wall thickness. The two tubes are tack welded to each other on both sides. The top cross members are 1.25” square tubing 0.110” thickness. Lower and Center cross members are 1” X 2” rectangular tubing 0.60”. Outriggers top portion are same as Lower and Center cross members with 1” X 2” X ½” wide and 0.90” thick, which were heat formed to a banana wrap shape. The back end utility box is made of stainless as well.



The new frame is resting on the old steel frame with the head mounting plate in place. New coupler has been welded onto the tongue, and new holder for propane tanks was constructed out of aluminum plate of Ό” thickness. Just forward of this plate under the hinged cross member is the trailer electrical junction box. All ends of tubing are closed off to prevent critter entry. All sections of tubing have 1/8” drain holes. 3/8” galvanized safety chains are attached to the frame via ½” stainless steel rod bent into a U shape which is welded to the underside of the frame. Thin wall stainless steel conduit encases both the trailer and house wiring.


Two new axles are affixed to the side of the Ό” stainless steel mounting plates. Axles are 5,000 Lbs with 3,500 Lbs suspension. Brakes are electric and 12” diameter with 1 Ύ” inner bearing and 1 Ό” outer bearing. All through frame wiring goes through a welded in stainless steel tubing where they cross the frame. New stainless steel fender wells are solidly welded into shape sealing any moisture from entering the trailer. 15” galvanized rims with mounted D Load range Maxxis tires.


Double folding step affixed into stainless steel rails with release lock in place, this area is made water proof to the interior of the trailer frame.


Please note a jack pocket just under the fender between the tires. This jacking point pocket is made of 2” X 2” stainless steel tubing capped off on top and solidly welded to the axle mounting plate. This will prevent possible bottle jack slippage when lifting the trailer. Same leveling jack pockets were welded in at each corner of the trailer frame to accommodate leveling jacks.


½” aluminum coated plywood was used to fabricate the floor of the trailer. Each section is joined via H Shape aluminum molding with 3M 5200 sealer. Outer edges of Plywood floor are heavily sealed with Git-Rot epoxy. Not the new installed jack. Plywood floor to fender area are sealed with 5200 as well. All contact areas of plywood to frame has a 0.90” thickness by 2” wide Mastic tape insulating the contact area and sealing possible moisture entry.


1” X 2” strips of rigid urethane foam are glued to the underside of the aluminum floor this will provide and air space between the plywood floor and Prodex insulation.


Prodex insulation was glued into place onto the urethane strips. All edges have been sealed with 5200 sealer making it into a vapor barrier all plumbing will run under the Prodex and above the belly pan. All outer edges of the plywood which were treated with Git-Rot are encapsulated with ½” aluminum C channel and sealed in with 5200 making it totally water proof.

Rear bumper was formed from two 316 stainless steel 1½” round tubing and joined with 3” wide 3/16“ thickness plate. We are waiting for a machine shop to cut 2 Ύ” round holes closely spaced throughout the joining plate. More information and pictures will follow as the restoration progresses. Thank You “Boatdoc”
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:40 PM   #2
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All I can say is WOW !!

One heck of an undertaking.

R/
Safari-Rick )
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:50 PM   #3
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boatdoc,

Your work is absoulutly beautiful, you are a true artist.

I would have never thought that I'd say that when talking about a trailer frame!
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Old 01-13-2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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Trailer

Now that is what I call motivation.I cant wait to see what you have next when you get the shell on.I bet this thing is gonna be fully loaded with all the neatest gadgets.
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Old 01-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #5
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In the year Twenty Zero Seven

Future historians that come accross your project will think they have found some type of time capsule.

Be sure to hide interesting things as you assemble.

May be 100s of years...

"This is the way 21st century humans traveled between isolation zones"
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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frame

I really like the stacked frame rails, they should stiffen up the the frame considerably. Are your outriggers tapered down to the original frame height so your corner banana wraps still fit, or are you making new? looks like a very well equipped shop. I wish we had the welding equipment you have access to. I am envious
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Old 01-13-2007, 03:12 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Nice Frame

wonderful job there boatdoc .would be nice if airstream built all models that way.just think of the longevity of all models that were built that way.many probably have been scrapped because of frame rot.is that out board motor in the first picture a newer version of a fantastic fan? nice job well done..
Bob
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Old 01-13-2007, 03:21 PM   #8
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WOW!!

It looks like its from Directors Boat builders in City Island..........
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:13 PM   #9
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Nice work, I'm impressed!
Be careful, when you get to the interior work, Doorgunner will be contacting you about doing some carbon fiber work.
Dave
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:45 PM   #10
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ohmigod!!!

boatdoc- you have just re-set the standard for shell-off restorations so high that I think it will be a long time before anyone else takes it to a more beautiful, functional level- this is a project I want to follow!!! Nice work!! What are your plans for shell/interior renovation, if any?? -tim
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:50 PM   #11
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Ok, I have only one thing to say:

WOW

Nice Work
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari-Rick
All I can say is WOW !!

One heck of an undertaking.

R/
Safari-Rick )
I was thinking a bit more of a wow...like holy s.....

What a job...I wish I had those skills. Totally unreal. Wish you were my neighbor! We'd rebuild Airstreams and Argosies for a living.
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:02 PM   #13
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Im on board as well with, GREAT fabrication and accomplishment !!!


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Old 01-14-2007, 01:24 AM   #14
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Arrow Quest for Stainless Steel Frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devoman
Now that is what I call motivation.I cant wait to see what you have next when you get the shell on.I bet this thing is gonna be fully loaded with all the neatest gadgets.

Because of my business workload, we will attempt to move the shell in two weeks, from the stockyard into the shop by setting it on top of the new frame. Roof vents and lover row of interior skins will be removed to brace the ribs with 2x3's thus eliminating possibility of shell collapse. Pipe will then be inserted full length of the trailer. Chain hoists will lift the shell with the help of the pipe, which will allow us to remove the old floor. The C channel trim which retains the floor will be transfered to the new floor. Presently the new floor is attached to the frame but not on to the outriggers, so the trim can be slipped over the edge of the new floor. Floor being 1/2" with added edge encapsulating C channel of 1/16 thickness becomes 5/8". This leaves me about 1/8" gap to seal, with 3M 5200 adhesive. Once th shell is in place it will be bolted to each outrigger with 1/4-20 SS bolts and nylocks.

From that point, rest of the inner skins will be cataloged and removed. All of the fiber insulation and old wiring removed, three 1/2" x 2" rigid Styrofoam strips will be glued onto inside of the outer skin which will provide a glue points for the Prodex. This will provide 1/2" air space between outside skin and insulation. All wiring will run on top of the Prodex. All edges of Prodex will be sealed with 3M 5200 to create moisture barrier. Thanks for your kind comments. "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowood
I really like the stacked frame rails, they should stiffen up the the frame considerably. Are your outriggers tapered down to the original frame height so your corner banana wraps still fit, or are you making new? looks like a very well equipped shop. I wish we had the welding equipment you have access to. I am envious
Hi Aerowood; You sure have picked up on that. 2x6" rectangular tubing in 0.90" thickness would most likely allow end frame sag, through sectional deformation under load. Al thought there is added weight by using two stacked up tubes, strength is more important at this point than 30 lbs of weight. Two 2x3"s tie the vertical cross section into much stronger support. The two tubes are stitched on both sides with 3/4 long stitch every 6". Al thought not very visible in pics, there is a 1x1" square tube of 0.125" wall thickness, welded diagonally as a anti sag brace on the outrigger side of the frame. Forward end is welded into a 1/4" axle mounting plate at top side right behind the rear wheel, and it drops down to the bottom of frame at the back. This brace is stitched as well every 6" at top and bottom. Old frame was 5" the new one is 6" therefore I will use new banana wrap. Straight runs will be formed over 6" heavy wall PVC pipe. Corner banana wraps will be new. All banana wraps will overlap the belly pan. 1/16" slits will be cut in, in the straight runs of the banana wrap to provide drainage. Same will apply to the belly pan. Rear end of belly pan will have 1x6" opening protected by SS screen where a 6" drum fan will provide air exchange. Draw is 0.17 Amp. This fan will equalize belly pan temps with those outside thus preventing condensation. As to my equipment, this is a 40 year collection. What you can see in the pics does not even represent the tip of an iceberg. I will keep everyone posted during the progress. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Nice work, I'm impressed!
Be careful, when you get to the interior work, Doorgunner will be contacting you about doing some carbon fiber work.
Dave
Hey Dave; How did you know my interior will be made of foam filled carbon? "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tphan
boatdoc- you have just re-set the standard for shell-off restorations so high that I think it will be a long time before anyone else takes it to a more beautiful, functional level- this is a project I want to follow!!! Nice work!! What are your plans for shell/interior renovation, if any?? -tim
Hi Tim; I am certain that many Air streamers will hate me for not keeping it original. There is only two of us me and my angel wife, Margaret Kay. I have no intentions to suit someone else's needs or renting it out. Therefore the interior will be hardly recognizable sorry. Front end will have a new three sectional wrap around gaucho. It will start from right side of the door and continue around to the fridge on the opposite side, which is about even with left side of the door. Oven goes out, I will not let my wife bake a turkey while camping. Three burner SS Stowe top will be installed to the left of the door. Double sink will be past that, with section of SS counter top between them. Heater will be under the Stowe top. Gray tank will sit on the floor under the sink. Black tank will be sunk into the floor at the back. It will be side drain which will go forward first behind the rear tire but inside the belly pan, and it will exit through banana wrap. Tub will be in the original place which is on back roadside. Trap will be inside the belly pan including the plumbing, which will be pumped back from the tub, up to the gray tank above floor. Gray tank will be used to flush the black tank. No plumbing will be visible on the interior. Discharge from gray tank will be also inside the belly pan with discharge valve under the sink. Overhead cabinets above the street side wheel well, will not be reinstalled in order to make a clear passage way to the bathroom when pull out bed is extended. There will be 22" wide walkway between the fender housing and bed to the rear, while the bed is opened up. Pull out bed will be made of light weight aluminum frame and SS wire and spring platform. It will be anchored over the curb side fender well. Two 32" wide mattresses will be placed side by side when the bed is set up. Day time they will be stacked up providing additional place to lay down and rest while occupying only 32" space in width. Electrical panel will be inside the rear closet at curbside. All of vent piping will be hidden inside the closet, which will get rid of ugly vent pipes on the interior. Overhead cabinets will remain in place on the curb side of the interior. Bathroom entry way will be a custom hanging curtain. The whole idea is to make the interior as roomy as possible. We do not need so much storage for the two of us, and that is the reason for the modifications. As the song goes-- you cannot please everyone, so you have to please yourself. Sorry if this will get some of you upset. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-14-2007, 08:05 AM   #18
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Are you going to run SS brake line just in case you decide to use discs in the future? I would also like a conduit from the tongue to the 120 panel. You could run a gen set or inverter from the TV if you wanted to run air while towing. It looks really nice! Wow!
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Old 01-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #19
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Awesome!

I'm so impressed. This is going to be around in 100 years. If you EVER decide to sell it call me! PLEASE!

The only thing I'm not clear on is the furnace. Living in Virginia I hardly ever use mine, but when I did need it for 2 weeks earlier in the season I was appalled at how much propane it uses and how poor the quality of the heat is - talk about blowing hot and cold!

If I were as ambitious and capable as you, and rebuilding one from the ground up, I believe I'd try to build something with radiant heat coming up through the floor. I seem to remember seeing a thread where someone used a regular water heater, a circulating pump and homemade radiator or two. I believe that concept would also work with pex under the floor.

Anyway I'm just blown away with your frame. Great safety idea for the jack points, and the fans, and the mouseproofing. The extra depth should give it a bit more rigidity as well as lots of strength. How much will it weigh compared to the original?

Paula
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:26 PM   #20
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Doc, the plywood on the floor, isn't that sign substrate?
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