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Old 08-20-2011, 12:13 AM   #1
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What's Involved in Fixing the Floor of a 1963 Bambi ?

After watching a Airstream sink into my neighbor's back yard for a couple of years, finally convinced him to sell it to me.



New to the forum, been reading some amazing threads, some threads covering years of restoration work, and just need to confirm I understand what I am getting into.

My Bambi has been 80% gutted already (only the rear bath & stove) remain. There is a baseball sized hole rotted completely through the floor in the rear, and much of the floor around the walls seems to have a layer or two of the plywood rotted but not rotted all the way through. The bottom belly pan is almost only attached around the edges, when I pushed up on the sagging center, a big flush of water gushed out through a seam. The rig has been sitting and has not moved in years.

Seems to me water has been coming in through the exterior seams/windows. Running down between the walls, and "puddled" on the belly skin. Correct?

Seems to me with the trailer almost gutted, no point rebuilding on top of a mostly rotted floor, inside a skin with probable leaks. Correct?

Seems to me I need to remove the belly skin, remove the interior walls to replace the floor. Do I also have to lift the exterior shell off the frame to replace the floor?

Seems to me I need to teach myself how to install and remove rivits, Correct?
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:33 AM   #2
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Helo from what you describe I would bet that the frame has significant damage as well. If there is that much water getting into the belly pan then the fiberglass insulation acts like a sponge and keeps the water in there trapped against the frame. It's a very telling sign when the belly pan has collapsed. that means that the frame has rusted out where the belly pan was once attached.
I woild cut open the belly pan and inspect the frame first before getting any farther into this trailer.
My money's on the fact that you will need to do a shell off, rebuild the frame, replace the floor and install a whole new belly pan.
The flood is also most probably damaged much worse from below than above by that wet insulation sitting there for years.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aktundra View Post
After watching a Airstream sink into my neighbor's back yard for a couple of years, finally convinced him to sell it to me.



New to the forum, been reading some amazing threads, some threads covering years of restoration work, and just need to confirm I understand what I am getting into.

My Bambi has been 80% gutted already (only the rear bath & stove) remain. There is a baseball sized hole rotted completely through the floor in the rear, and much of the floor around the walls seems to have a layer or two of the plywood rotted but not rotted all the way through. The bottom belly pan is almost only attached around the edges, when I pushed up on the sagging center, a big flush of water gushed out through a seam. The rig has been sitting and has not moved in years.

Seems to me water has been coming in through the exterior seams/windows. Running down between the walls, and "puddled" on the belly skin. Correct?

Seems to me with the trailer almost gutted, no point rebuilding on top of a mostly rotted floor, inside a skin with probable leaks. Correct?

Seems to me I need to remove the belly skin, remove the interior walls to replace the floor. Do I also have to lift the exterior shell off the frame to replace the floor?

Seems to me I need to teach myself how to install and remove rivits, Correct?
Sound like you will need to learn to install and remove rivets! HI and welcome to the forums. I wont lie sounds like you have a bit of work ahead of you. But if you want to do it right you need to drop the belly pan to get a good look at that frame. Sounds like it ( the belly pan) might fall off on its own. The floor sound like its toast, frame is probablly nice and rusty, axles probablly shot, black tank probablly non existant and definatly new belly skin. Scearch the forums for "full monty" or "shell off resto" that should tell you what your life will be like for the next year or so. Post lots of pictures!
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Our current shell off fixer upper.

I am right in the middle of the adventure that you are about to go on. It is fun, but can be daunting if you don't have a stomach (and wallet) for large projects. You will spend more time than money though, probably.

Good luck! It will be worth it. Plus, you will have such a firm understanding of how the trailer is put together that you will be able to maintain it really well. The next owner won't be cursing you!
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #5
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If you finish this project you will certainly have an Airstream that you will be proud of for the rest of your life. I just finished talking with a lady who is here in Maryland getting treatment at John Hopkins Hospital and will be selling her 27' this coming week and going home to Florida.... hopefully to live several more years. Point is, she loves her Airstream and is very proud of the care she has taken of it... just imagine what YOU will feel like when you are finished bringing such gem back from the brink of the scrapyard!
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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Excited and over whelmed with how much I have to learn. I keep telling myself . . .at least its only a 16' Bambi, . . .at least it's only a 16'.....

Still trying to sort through the info in the forum. After researching where to start (floor and frame), I started trying to list the tools I was going to need. A forum search produced mostly expired links to on-line sources but I think I am wading through things.

It looks like the first tool I am going to need, is a rivet remover. Since interior and exterior are different forums. Perhaps this is as good a place as any to post a tool question.

Can the same rivet remover be used for exterior buck rivets (drop the belly pan) as interior blind rivets (remove inner panels to release the floor/frame)? Suggested sources for a rivet remover?
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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I'm a bit farther along than you, but have pretty much the same project ahead of me. You can look at this thread & see the slow progress. The $ figure is pretty high & I'm not nearly finished yet. That's why it's a hobby & a project. Hobbies should never be over!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f147...ler-75011.html
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:40 AM   #8
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Is that the picture before the sale, or is that your FJ that you'll be towing it with?

Also, great find and good luck. I am doing a full renovation, so excessive numbers of tools have been required, but I would definitely advise just investing in a used rivet bucking set from the get-go.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:10 AM   #9
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That's my FJ40, but its just a poser photo to give my mates a sense of scale (they are all cruiser heads) for the Bambi

It would be cool to tow the Bambi with the FJ40, but the Bambi might out weight it !!!
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aktundra View Post
That's my FJ40, but its just a poser photo to give my mates a sense of scale (they are all cruiser heads) for the Bambi

It would be cool to tow the Bambi with the FJ40, but the Bambi might out weight it !!!
I've spoken to a few people who have done it, but it pretty much requires a ground up rebuild of an FJ40 to make it do-able for any safe use at highway speeds. The alternatives it seems are to get an FJ45 diesel or if you have $100k to spare, take an Icon FJ40. Besides, you only are supposed to focus on one project at a time right?

You on the FJ cruiser forums?
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worldinchaos

I've spoken to a few people who have done it, but it pretty much requires a ground up rebuild of an FJ40 to make it do-able for any safe use at highway speeds. The alternatives it seems are to get an FJ45 diesel or if you have $100k to spare, take an Icon FJ40. Besides, you only are supposed to focus on one project at a time right?

You on the FJ cruiser forums?
I think "highway speed" for an FJ is like 45mph at 6,000,000 rpm's? But you can drag your Bambi up Everest if you wanted to.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:51 AM   #12
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I think "highway speed" for an FJ is like 45mph at 6,000,000 rpm's? But you can drag your Bambi up Everest if you wanted to.
Especially with the trailing arm suspension that it sounds like he's thinking of building. Forget Everest, he's got Denali in his backyard! It's like a Friday-Saturday trip for him now.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:57 AM   #13
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you guys know FJ40's !!!!

what can I say? . . . . . Airstream, FJ40, some designs are just iconic!

Actually my tow vehicle will be a supercharged, lifted FZJ80. The photo is from a trip this summer in the Alaska Range. Not the best pic of the land cruiser, but an awsome pic !!!!

Actually I am thinking of lifting the Bambi. I am really out of my comfort zone with travel trailers

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f437...ion-81602.html

It would be silly to go off-roading with an Airstream, and the purist's would consider a lifted AS sacreligious, so more knowledageble folks will probably put forth some good reasons not to do it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:02 AM   #14
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Rivet remover is probably in your tool box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aktundra View Post
It looks like the first tool I am going to need, is a rivet remover. Since interior and exterior are different forums. Perhaps this is as good a place as any to post a tool question.

Can the same rivet remover be used for exterior buck rivets (drop the belly pan) as interior blind rivets (remove inner panels to release the floor/frame)? Suggested sources for a rivet remover?
The most basic rivet remover is a variable speed drill motor with a #30 drill bit. There are tools available that are designed to keep the drill centered, etc, but a skilled hand with a drill can take out just about any rivet. The trick is to drill out the rivet while sparing the hole--otherwise the replacement rivet has to be a larger diameter.

Check out Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Co.'s website and order their free catalog. They are oriented toward aircraft, but they share the riveted aluminum technology used on our Airstreams. Their catalog has a lot of "how to" stuff among the ads for tools and parts.
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