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Old 12-20-2011, 10:59 AM   #1
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Well it's Here - '69 Tradewind

Last Thursday I took delivery of my 69 tradewind! it was a real ball ache getting it through customs and when delivered it was on the trailer with the coupling facing the wrong way so it was more than interesting dragging it off the trailer with a tractor and a trolley jack under the coupling!. The driver says they are loaded at the port on a forklift which to me is very suprising especially with an Airstream with what i geuss are gas lines or water lines running under the belly but the driver assured me they load all of them this way even new ones I still don't believe him!. Anyway the reason i went with this company was because they were loading it on a low boy which in my opinion means there must be a way to get it down athe other company stated we would need a forklift to get it off the truck hence going the more expensive route but any way it is here!


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so now to the stripout!! i knew there were backend issues by the black water tank which i believe is par for the course for these old trailers! but I am determined to do a shell-on as i think if i lifted it i probably would never finish it. so i've got rust across the rear which i geuss used to be an angle iron which the body bolts onto (under the access door) please correct me if i'm wrong as i'm only geussing it was an angle iron, and the secondry metal which is welded onto the main frame is certainly not well!, at the first real crossmember there is a little rust but not too serious but i am no welder so i don't really know whether it's repairable, anyway what i've decided to do is cut the rear frame out from a little behing the first crossmember/outriggers and take the whole piece into a shop and have them fabricate a new rear end, then i will do as Marzboy did plate the new welds and then box in the join. I haven't got the rest of the floor out yet (tomorrows job) but the front floor is gone and the metal under it looks good, around the step looks good although one outrigger in front of it is rusted?. I am having a problem pulling the next piece of flooring as there is what looks like builders foam rather than insulation in there has anyone come across this before or at sometime has a PO replaced the floor? but if i really get stuck it will be circular saw time! doesn't really matter about the templates as the hard bits aren't there anyway, have a look at the photos and let me know your opinion on my plan, many thanks.
sorry all the pictures are all over the place but it's my first time!!

P.s will the front endcap go out the door? as i have it down (heavy!) but need help getting it out, the bathroom one got cut in half so that was easy!!, the worst part about stripout is the mice nests they stink bad!
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
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Wow, you've got a project!

Yes, the front endcap will go out the door. I took mine down and replaced it with aluminum.

Good luck.

Zep
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #3
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If you check out the section on Airstream's web site showing the production line...

You can see that they build the shell first, and then all the interior fixtures are carried through the door for installation...This routine during the 'build' has been a longtime advertized feature of AS's for years...

Yes - the end cap will fit through the door, as will all the cabinets, etc...
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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yes it certainly is a project! but I will get there, I'm making it into a concession stand so the interior didn't matter to me the rust was a little more than expected but nothing a man and a mig can't sort out! my biggest problem at the moment is the funky smell from the mice and chipmunks that have lived in it over the years, unfortunately i need to wait for a bit of a thaw before i can get it outside to power wash it tomorrow i'm dropping the belly pan and removing the rest of the floor. I think i'll just chop the endcap in half and throw it as i don't think i'll be using it again and it will be easier to manouvre.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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After pressure washing I used a gas powered leaf blower, the 150mph wind broom kind, to get the dirt dust mud water & cleansers out of all the nooks and crannies, the hidden spaces between ribs and shell etc. When I was finished washing and pushed water around with air it left behind muddy gray tracks, had to rinse it again it was so noticeable. Beware any surviving glass make look on the pressure wash force as a great opportunity to shatter too!
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:36 AM   #6
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Congrats Mr Green! That rear end looks a bit messy. Not to worry though mine was much much worse. If you need more pics of what I did I can pm them to you. Just so you know I cut the rear section (about 4 feet) and rebuilt the whole thing. If you are doing that I would do a shell off. Its not a big deal as long as you have good measurements and lots of pictures. Make sure to take note of where the ribs bolt thru the sub floor into the outriggers. If you are doing shell on the floor template will be the channel on the shell itself. Good luck keep the pics comming!
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:52 AM   #7
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Nice Project!

I am wrapping up my '68 GT. I posted some pictures of the black water tank area and box surrounding it. It should help you get an idea of what is underneath the rust the rear floor. Go slow and mark your panels for easy reinstall. Always here for a question. Looks like a solid project. Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:35 PM   #8
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Can't wait to see your progress!
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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Good to see another revival like mine (bad shape). I haven't started gutting my overlander yet, but I know my frame will probably look like yours. Keep us posted. Pictures are worth a thoughsand words as everyone knows. Cheers.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:00 AM   #10
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Thanks all for the replies and encouragement, yesterday i dropped the belly pan and got most of the floor out with a circular saw, man does that yellow foam make lifting the floor hard!! the front of the frame is also not in such good shape the front main rails where the A-frame attaches are holy!! but another chop out and weld in and they should be fine, got myself a new friend who wandered into the barn who is a panel beater with welding skills which is very handy so he's my new welder, i'm still determined to do shell on i think it will be o.k just need to make sure i support the shell properly it will turn out a 40% shell off! as thats about the amount of metal i will cut out!. I will post some more pics tonight once things are a bit cleaner, two weeks ago i helped demolish a 200 year old geusthouse but i think the airstream beats it on the amount of dirt and dust and gross stuff that gets into your hair nose and mouth, can't wait for this part of the build to be done. Randy i have marked the panels which came off but have now decided to put pvc paneling insde which will give the kitchen a nice clean look, the centre strip running front to back will be turquiose along with the room dividers and behind the cook top will be stainless, i really would like the patterned stainless which you see in diners i think it's called sunburst or something like that but i'm thinking fat chance of finding anything like that over here.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:06 AM   #11
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So here's some photos,

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Pile of o.m.g from under the belly

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how she looks at the moment 20 hours to get it this far!

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far side front box beam (well it used to be!!)

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now this is a bizzarre one the carriage bolt doesn't sit under the body!

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curbside box beam what is relatively a pinhole compared to the other one!!

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a bent crossmember i have a set of them (2) just in front of the axles


with the body not lining up i set about to see what isn't square, the front of the main frame is about 5mm narrower than the rest of the frame so will need to sort that out when replacing the metal up front, I have around 6 outriggers that will need replacin and i'll do the bent crossmembers and one at the front which is a bit rusty, I'm going to replace the crossmembers with 12 gauge c channel and then put metal strip between them all to carry the extra weight of the kitchen equipment, the axles will be rated to 7000 pounds so the extra weight from the metal won't matter also i am going to put a 22 mm floor in instead of the original 19mm to help carry the weight over a larger area, i will mill down the outside edges of the board to slip it under the c channel, Randy thanks for the pics of the back end that helped alot,
Rich.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgreen View Post
Randy i have marked the panels which came off but have now decided to put pvc paneling insde which will give the kitchen a nice clean look, the centre strip running front to back will be turquiose along with the room dividers and behind the cook top will be stainless, i really would like the patterned stainless which you see in diners i think it's called sunburst or something like that but i'm thinking fat chance of finding anything like that over here.
Rich.
mrgreen, The interior aluminum skins are an integral part of the monocoupe shell structure. If you replace them with pvc paneling you may have structural issues with the trailer shell. Those panels help stiffen the shell to withstand the stresses on the shell from all the bouncing and flexing the trailer does when being towed. Even if you are only towing it from site to site this could do a lot of damage to your project. If you are converting to a concessions trailer it could still cause all your hard work to be short lived. I think you might want to re-install the panels and just install the pvc paneling over the interior skins. The stainless panels (if in the same thickness as the aluminum ones) should work just fine. Hope this helps you. Ed
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:46 PM   #13
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mrgreen, The interior aluminum skins are an integral part of the monocoupe shell structure. If you replace them with pvc paneling you may have structural issues with the trailer shell. Those panels help stiffen the shell to withstand the stresses on the shell from all the bouncing and flexing the trailer does when being towed. Even if you are only towing it from site to site this could do a lot of damage to your project. If you are converting to a concessions trailer it could still cause all your hard work to be short lived. I think you might want to re-install the panels and just install the pvc paneling over the interior skins. The stainless panels (if in the same thickness as the aluminum ones) should work just fine. Hope this helps you. Ed

That's a good point, but upon thinking about it I think maybe pvc has about the same rigidity when fixed properly to the ribs even if it meant moving up to a 3mm thickness, any thoughts? luckily i didn't make it to the tip on wednesday then!! i will keep the panels just in case but if i go aluminium i will buy some new stuff (the old is a disgusting vinylclad mess) and stick with that throughout and no pvc and i'll use the old ones as templates,
Rich.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGED52 View Post
...The interior aluminum skins are an integral part of the monocoupe shell structure. If you replace them with pvc paneling you may have structural issues with the trailer shell. Those panels help stiffen the shell to withstand the stresses on the shell from all the bouncing and flexing the trailer does when being towed. ...
I don't agree, although I certainly thought this was true for the first several years that I owned an Airstream. The wall panels may add a small amount of strength to the shell, but it is minimal. Take a look at how few pop rivets secure the inner walls and it will be apparent that they are not nearly as structural as the outside skins.

Further, in the 70s models (and maybe that includes 68 and 69) the ceiling panel sits in two channel extrusions and are only secured to the ceiling ribs with a few pop rivets at the ends and another six or so (depending on the length of the trailer) in the middle. The fact that the interior skins are one piece along their length does give them significant strength as a beam, so the attachment of the lower inner skin to the C-channel provides substantial vertical stiffness. Still, however, they are not attached with enough rivets to be really structural.

I wouldn't advocate going without interior skins, but they add only a small portion (certainly less than 25%) of the monocoque strength to the shell.

Dissenting opinions welcome, as always.

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Old 12-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #15
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shell off then

well today I took the banana wraps off very simple just pop riveted on so no problem there, started really having a look at the rust problem and in reality i should take the back 4 ft of frame off and re-weld in and the front probably three foot and weld in, so I came to the reality that i really need to do a shell off! (although i was determined not to! but i will take Marzboys advice and just do it!) it will just make it all a bit easiťr to do, so i've seen many framing pics for suring up the shell before lifting but any extra advice would be great, all of the bolts are out that hold the outriggers to the shell, across the front bolts are out but people talk of a hold down plate front and rear can anyone enlighten me? also i take it the rivets above the wheel well are the ones that hold the wheel guard on, once these rivets are removed will i be able to get the wheel wells out or do they go with the frame? any answers to these questions greatly appreciated, i would like to get it all sured up and ready to lift before i head on holiday on the 31st, many thanks,
Rich
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:46 PM   #16
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There is no enlightenment, resistance is futile, reinvent the wheel as clumsily as the rest of us! (cynical humor)

99% of the shell-to-channel caulk will yield & part when the lift effort occurs. I had corrosion, caulk and some paint weld the rear C-channel to the hold down plate, lifting the shell bent/sheared the 'attached to shell' channel when it lifted the floor & I walked back to look at it... oops. That area is usually well corroded after 40 years so take the time to ensure the back iron plate is truly loosened before jacking.

Everything should be self-evident with that first silly 5mm of lift.

Hold-down plates? Beware slivers of rivets left in place if the drill was slightly off center, you'll discover just how strong rivets truly are. >>BANG<<

Someone else will have to discuss metal wheel wells, I have the plastic kind that were sandwiched between floor and frame so the shell had to be lifted an extra 350mm to get clearance.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:28 AM   #17
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any more opinions?

thanks Wabbiteer for the reply, I was up there today to do a tidy up before i go on holiday, i think it took me longer to clean all the muck out of my car afterwards than to actually take it all to the tip! if anyone else wants to wade in about the wheel wells it would be great as it's going to be quite the high lift if i can't get them out before hand, i see the front hold down plate but not the rear, if i have all the elevator bolts out at the rear will it lift?, i geuss the question really is where does this hold down plate attach to frame wise (not that there's much frame back there), also when i lift i will be lifting the C channel with the body right? as there is no floor for it to stick to, anyway the project will be on hold for a few wekks as i'm off to New Zealand! happy holiday's everyone.

Quote:
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There is no enlightenment, resistance is futile, reinvent the wheel as clumsily as the rest of us! (cynical humor)

99% of the shell-to-channel caulk will yield & part when the lift effort occurs. I had corrosion, caulk and some paint weld the rear C-channel to the hold down plate, lifting the shell bent/sheared the 'attached to shell' channel when it lifted the floor & I walked back to look at it... oops. That area is usually well corroded after 40 years so take the time to ensure the back iron plate is truly loosened before jacking.

Everything should be self-evident with that first silly 5mm of lift.

Hold-down plates? Beware slivers of rivets left in place if the drill was slightly off center, you'll discover just how strong rivets truly are. >>BANG<<

Someone else will have to discuss metal wheel wells, I have the plastic kind that were sandwiched between floor and frame so the shell had to be lifted an extra 350mm to get clearance.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:13 AM   #18
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Look below the front window, down near the belt line will be 2-3 rows of rivets. Those attach the shell to the front plate which is basically a verticle piece of steel coming up from that front crossmember of sorts. The back was bolted to a piece of flat stock welded between the frame rails. I replaced that on ours with a piece of C channel to provide a stronger means of bolting the rear of the trailer down. Meant less space in the bumper storage compartment but also meant I had about 5 feet of space to bolt the rear of the shell down instead of just the points where the shell met the main frame rails. You'll have to lift at least a foot to clear the front mounting plate, which is about what the wheel well is. I suppose you could brace the body at current height and remove the tires and lower the frame down slowly with jacks and set it on a couple dollys and roll it out if you're concerned about lifting the shell higher.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:09 PM   #19
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lift off

well things have slowed down a bit here after getting back from New Zealand to negative temperatures, anyway i got a coach builder come and have a look at the frame and he also agreed it would be alot easier to do the work shell off so the next day i went and purchased some wood and within 5 hours the shell was off!, the owner of the barn i'm working in didn't think the beams would take the weight of the body but if I can lift an end solo i'm sure it wouldn't have been a problem had i done it that way i would have stuck two 6x6's through the widows and lifted it that way which would have been way easier, anyway it's done and i am glad that i did it as it's going to make everything that much easier, i would like to start polishing, i've done a couple of practice patches and it looks good!! but it's hovering around -10c at the moment so i'm not even going there!.


Anyway I took some photos but unfortunately not great ones
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The next on my list will be windows and insulation, i took the rear lights out to try and get some eu stamped replacements but am having trouble finding the right size to fit the cans, may have to end up with led replacements instead.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:34 PM   #20
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well things have slowed down a bit here after getting back from New Zealand to negative temperatures, anyway i got a coach builder come and have a look at the frame and he also agreed it would be alot easier to do the work shell off so the next day i went and purchased some wood and within 5 hours the shell was off!, the owner of the barn i'm working in didn't think the beams would take the weight of the body but if I can lift an end solo i'm sure it wouldn't have been a problem had i done it that way i would have stuck two 6x6's through the widows and lifted it that way which would have been way easier, anyway it's done and i am glad that i did it as it's going to make everything that much easier, i would like to start polishing, i've done a couple of practice patches and it looks good!! but it's hovering around -10c at the moment so i'm not even going there!.


Anyway I took some photos but unfortunately not great ones
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The next on my list will be windows and insulation, i took the rear lights out to try and get some eu stamped replacements but am having trouble finding the right size to fit the cans, may have to end up with led replacements instead.
Lookin good Mr.Green! I was wondering what you were up to. I lifted the shell myself. I used 2 floor jacks 4 bottle jacks and 4 jack stands. lifted slowly and repositioned many times then POP it was off. Now putting it down is a very different story... Great progress! I would make sure that the shell is leak proof before you add insulation. Just finished the windows, not my favorite chapter of my restoration. If you need pictures of the windows I can email you some. I am leak proofing now then I am using Prodex for insulation should be interesting. You should check it out looks like great stuff!
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