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Old 05-02-2019, 04:38 AM   #41
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How smart! AS should make that box standard on every trailer! Kudos!!
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:53 AM   #42
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Axles

Thanks for the pictures and advice everyone!

David (and others) - new axles are something I've been wavering on. I know almost everyone doing a full gut job gets their axles replaced. When I was discussing this with a colleague who restores old cars, he said he didn't see why I would need to replace the axles themselves unless there was serious rust (there isn't). He understood that suspension and brake replacement would likely be necessary but not the axles themselves. I am not an expert on this stuff at all, so what are your thoughts? What are the benefits of replacing the entire axle? Also - as I've been reading more about axle replacements on the forums - is it actually a DIY doable job?? Seems like the axles are something you do NOT want to mess up!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:04 AM   #43
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The problem is that Airstream axles donít wear out with rust. They wear out because the rubber torsion rods inside get hard and quit being flexible.

Airstream uses a TorqueFlex or DuraFlex axles with internal rubber rods that provides the Ďspringinessí that cushions the ride. When the rubber gets hard in 20-25 years, the axle beats the hell out of the trailer.

Unless yours has leaf springs which is a different system, old axles are stiff and have gone bad.

The way to tell is to measure the height if the wheel well to the center of the brake drum, then jack up the trailer body. When the wheel clears the ground, the measurement should increase by 2-3 inches minimum. That means the rubber is still flexible. If you donít get the drop, the axle is toast.

Itís a DIY job if you have tools and sturdy jack stands to work under the trailer safely. Search the forums for more information.

Bottom line is these are NOT standard car or truck axles, so car experience does not apply. Itís a different system entirely.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:17 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
He understood that suspension and brake replacement would likely be necessary but not the axles themselves.
The suspension is integral to the axles. The only way to replace the suspension is to replace the axles, which is why people do axle replacements on these older units.

Depending on the replacements you get, it may be a pretty straightforward bolt on swap. Definitely not the hardest part of an Airstream renovation. Most of us end up doing a little extra modification to make it work, but it's not usually anything major. I had the welder who worked on my frame weld on my shock brackets, and I had to drill out one hole in each side of my frame because the bolts didn't line up. Otherwise, it was just an afternoon of work to do the swap.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:28 AM   #45
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The new axles come with new brake assemblies, hubs, and bearings which a vintage trailer most likely needs to have repaired to make it safe for the road. It would take much longer to repair, recondition, and replace those parts than it would to install new axles.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:01 AM   #46
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Wow ok thanks everyone for the speedy feedback! Here are a few pictures I have on my phone for axle reference.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:21 PM   #47
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Stargirl , starting on post #17 shows axels and a few more after that . They are fun except the re drilling . Go get it , but it is hard work by yourself .
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:23 PM   #48
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Just noting the fact that the axle swing arm is pretty much horizontal tells me you need to check the condition of the rubber in your axles as I noted.

There should be some downward tilt from the axle housing toward the wheel along that arm. Looking a bit sketchy.

The pictures show the rubber rod type torsion axles, so now the fun begins...
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:34 PM   #49
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I'm installing new axles under my 75 Overlander right now. Here is a photo of the old ones showing the near horizontal position of the swing arm with no weight on it at all. The rubber rods are hard as hockey pucks.

A normal Airstream swing arm "starting angle" is about 22 degrees downward from horizontal.

The axle install is not terribly difficult. It is more challenging with one person like I'm doing it. Each axle weighs about 170 pounds and are rather awkward to jack up. And locating and drilling new bolt holes in the axle plate of the trailer is a challenge. I've made a hole location template so my new holes hit the slots in the new axle mounting bracket.

David
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:24 PM   #50
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Sealant removal, exterior patches, and ceiling vents/fans

I'm alive! I just haven't touched the Airstream in longer than I'd like to admit.

I am seriously having trouble getting the sealant off of the roof from the vents. Goo gone, paint thinner, switching between warming it up with a hair dryer and scraping...nothing is working. At least not well. Anyone have good advice for this?

I'm also (finally) getting my star patches cut out for the exterior holes. I'm a little unsure of the correct order for installation, though. I have the appropriate rivets and tools from VTS, but when does the sealant go on? Do I rivet the patch on, then seal from the inside with sealant? Do I slather on some sealant over the hole then rivet the patch on? Also, which sealant is best for this?

Finally, I'm going to purchase new ceiling vents/fans and maybe a skylight! I'm between the Maxx Air and Fantastic Fan vent brands. I have pets and the Maxx Air fans will stay open and close automatically if it senses rain, then re-open to vent for the animals. But I know Fantastic Fans are very highly regarded on the forums. I don't plan on camping in extreme heat - so do I even need to worry about the pets? I'm also looking at Maxim Skylights. My plan is to replace the rear and front vents with fans and to put a skylight where the large vent was over the kitchen.

I also have exciting news about the legal side of my Airstream battle. After almost of year of officially having "won" my small claims case against the "company" that "renovated" my trailer, I got my first check in the mail! It's not for the full amount but it's also not insignificant. I feel fortunate that I got any money, as most small claims cases result in nothing.

And the journey continues!
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:42 PM   #51
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Take some of the money. Buy a Multi Tool. Use the smooth blade. It will save you a lot of work.
Menards has their brand of tools. I bought one and it works well.
Don't know if you have Menards where you live.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:31 PM   #52
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Ditto on the multi-tool, when we are scraping goo it literally looks like we have used every tool in the arsenal. I have soft putty knives, hard putty knives, rubber scrapers, dremel tools dental picks, razor knives, my pampered chef baking pan scraping tools etc.

Then I put on double plastic gloves and regular gloves on top of that and a mask. We regularly save old shorts, socks and t-shirts and cut them up. I pull out the whole bin full of soft small rags. I alternate between Goo gone, Goof off, acetone, paint thinner, etc and just keep scraping and heating and scraping and cleaning.

In reading on this site it seems like fantastic fans got less good reviews after being sold. Seems the reviews are good and the number of users of maxxair fans has increased.

You may also want to look at a recent thread, called sealant summary, it is in the caulking, weather stripping area. They are discussing the 3M tape as a potential for sealing up areas such as the fans.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:44 PM   #53
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I second the Maxx Air. We have the Fantastic in the 66 and the Maxx in the 55. One thing I like about the Maxx is you can use it as a ceiling fan with the lid closed. It helps circulate air with the AC on. Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2019, 03:43 PM   #54
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Bubba

Thanks for commenting on your recommendation of the Maxx Air fans and the reminder that they can be used as ceiling fans. I believe this will help the performance of all air conditioning systems regardless of the type.

Star girl- hang in there. Sometimes it is necessary to take a break when you run into one of those stumbling blocks and ask the forum for help.

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Old 07-09-2019, 11:34 AM   #55
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Goo Gone!

The goo is gone on all the vent holes! The method I used was:

1. scrape/pull any of the sealant off that I could
2. hit it with a wire brush drill attachment
3. now that it's warm and malleable, try scraping some more off
4. drench in acetone
5. rub rub rub
6. repeat steps as necessary

It took me two hours for the first 14x14" vent, then just over an hour for the second one, and just about an hour for the third, largest hole (25x14"). I have beautifully smooth edges now ready to install the two MaxxAir Fans I purchased! I also decided to go with the EternaBond double sided and AlumiBond tapes for installation rather than caulking or butyl tape after reading many threads on the subject. I'll let you know how it goes!

The big hole will be filled with a skylight I just haven't purchased one yet. Progress is exciting!

While we're on the subject of roof things, I have a circular ~6" hole from the stove hood just to the left of the trailer door (exterior). I saw a clever person who put a porthole window there. Have any of you seen this before or have thoughts on it? Is a hood necessary if I have the MaxxAir fans, regular windows, and an opening window right above the stove? Can I get a porthole window and install it backwards so it opens from the inside and not the outside? I can't seem to find a low-profile hood/vent to fit in the original circular hole. Though my stove will be in the same place I'd rather like to avoid an upper cabinet right at face level when you walk into the trailer. All thoughts are welcome!
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:08 PM   #56
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I'm back!

After literally not having touched the trailer for two months () I had a very productive weekend! I installed both of my new MaxxFan Deluxe fans!! And it went so smoothly! You can read my whole process here (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f455...am-198415.html) but basically I just followed standard protocol. I used double sided Eternabond butyl tape as the bottom sealant and one sided Alumibond butyl tape for the top seal. Looks great!

I also identified some more window issues/mysteries. You can see my post about it here (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f164...-192979-2.html) but basically one window is not shutting because the metal bar/clamp at the top runs all the way to the edge of the glass and hits the metal frame, not allowing the glass to become flush with the trailer. Meanwhile, the other window was clearly tampered with - someone cut the top metal bar/clamp about an inch in from the edge of the glass to allow the window to close flush with the trailer. I don't know which is "right" (if either) or how to go about fixing it. These windows will be the death of me.

Lastly, though my hands-on trailer time has been slacking, one of my coworkers (shoutout to Eli!!) taught me how to use Autodesk Fusion 360 to make these awesome CAD designs of the trailer. It has really helped me re-motivate to get back to work!
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:10 PM   #57
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Those goofy windows are one of the reasons I sold my 66 Trade Wind. There are Forum members who know them inside and out. Aluminuminum is one of those local experts. PM him if you have questions.

I hope to install a modern fan in my Overlander some day. They move air so much better than the old fashioned ones.

David
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:35 PM   #58
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Patches!

Well the trailer is finally ready to earn its name! This weekend I got to visit my friend's metal shop and get my star patches cut out with a laser. And let me tell you...his shop is an Airstreamer's dream!! They could fabricate an entire Airstream in probably one day. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I will definitely go back if I decide to re-fabricate the interior walls or belly pan. For reference, this was done at Airtronics in Morgan Hill, CA.

In the meantime, I'm SUPER excited to install these patches! I'm going to echo a problem I think I've addressed before in this thread and in others: I'm a little unsure of the correct order for patch installation. Do I rivet the patch on, then seal from the inside with sealant? Do I slather on some sealant over the hole then rivet the patch on? Should I be using Sikaflex? Butyl tape?

In terms of riveting tools do I need the rivet gun? All I have is the manual hand tool from VTS (https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-276.htm) but now I'm thinking for the buck rivets that's not enough.


Thanks!!
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:48 PM   #59
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SG , I curve the patch first if needed then punch or drill my holes in my patch and debure . Then use tape where I want it and drill and Clecko all holes as I go . Mark one hole so I get the same orientation, remove , remove all burs . Then put sealer on all holes including rivet holes and get after my rivets . I would lay all my stars with tape first to make sure I like them . You cand also lay tape on body around your star tight so you don’t get sealer on the body where it’s not wanted . Have fun .
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:06 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
Well the trailer is finally ready to earn its name! This weekend I got to visit my friend's metal shop and get my star patches cut out with a laser. And let me tell you...his shop is an Airstreamer's dream!! They could fabricate an entire Airstream in probably one day. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I will definitely go back if I decide to re-fabricate the interior walls or belly pan. For reference, this was done at Airtronics in Morgan Hill, CA.

In the meantime, I'm SUPER excited to install these patches! I'm going to echo a problem I think I've addressed before in this thread and in others: I'm a little unsure of the correct order for patch installation. Do I rivet the patch on, then seal from the inside with sealant? Do I slather on some sealant over the hole then rivet the patch on? Should I be using Sikaflex? Butyl tape?

In terms of riveting tools do I need the rivet gun? All I have is the manual hand tool from VTS (https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-276.htm) but now I'm thinking for the buck rivets that's not enough.


Thanks!!
For the patches you should be using buck rivets, not pop rivets, which is the tool you linked to. This page(Shop Rivets, Guns and Buck Riveting Kits for Vintage Trailers) gives you VTS information on buck rivets. The tools for this are a bigger investment than pop riveting, so you might want to see if there's someone near you who has the equipment already. I'm only about 2500 miles away, but you may find someone closer.
As for the order, I would:
  1. Mark the location of the holes on the patch and pre-drill.
  2. Clean the back of the patch and the aluminum it will cover with mineral spirits.
  3. Put the patch in place by drilling the rivet holes and installing clecos.
  4. Go around the patch with masking tape to make cleanup easier. If it's easier, you can apply the masking tape then run a utility knife around the patch to cut it, then remove the patch and peel off where the tape was under the patch.
  5. Remove the patch and deburr the holes.
  6. Apply a generous bead of TremPro 635 on the trailer so it will squeeze out around the edges and through the rivet holes.
  7. Reinstall the patch with a few clecos to hold it.
  8. Rivet in place. Sometimes you have to re-drill the holes as you go to get the rivet through the hole.
  9. Use mineral spirits to clean up around the rivets. It's a lot easier to do this before the Trempro cures. A toothbrush may help here.
  10. After the Trempro has cured, carefully run a utility knife around the patch, then peel off the tape.
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