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Old 08-09-2010, 10:52 PM   #1
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Removing roof locker from bedroom

Does anyone have experience with removing a roof locker from a late model Airstream?

I was a bit dismayed to find that the roof lockers are attached over bare insulation, and not an interior aluminum skin. That puts a bit of a kink in my plans to remove the one from our 2007 27' International's bedroom. The 16', 19' & 22' don't have roof lockers and so there are 3 interior panels available as parts that could replace what's missing, but 1) I'm afraid to find out how much Airstream wants for them and 2) I'm a little nervous about the process of installing them, once I (hypothetically, now) get the roof locker removed.

I assume you'd have to remove the bit of skin that does exist... basically a hollow 3" rim of aluminum around the perimeter of the roof locker, but it looks like it's fastened directly to the structural ribs. Are these rivets any different than the other interior rivets? Can they be drilled out and replaced just as easily? If so, maybe I shouldn't be so worried.

Basically, I'm looking for someone who's done this, or knows what it'd take. And if someone has an idea of how much the three interior end panels would cost me, that would be good to know (but again, I'm afraid to find out).
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:22 PM   #2
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yeah, there's NO SKIN behind any of the END OVERHEAD lockers, only the sides...

here's a pic of mine ON the production line,

showing the pink stuff BEFORE in the rear bedroom, and the locker hung afterward in the front lounge...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f349...tml#post197211

roof lockers are removed regularly for repairs but typically PUT BACK afterward.

i doubt many folks have REMOVED the overhead lockers permanently in newer streams.

the interior rivets are NOT structural and yes they can b drill'd out.

simple POP rivets are used.

there may (should) be several metal screws holding that locker in place too.

there are examples of the roof lockers FALLING out or loosening in some safari/international units in recent years.

email or call a/s for prices, the 3 pieces of stretch formed skin are probably 3-500$.

but the 16, 19s and 22s (the CURRENT 22s) are not wide bodies,

so those end cap pieces will NOT fill the space in a wide body stream.

one could use FLAT skin stock and recreate the look of a 7-13 panel end cap from older streams...

these flat/dart shaped pieces could be riveted together to create the curve,

then attached to the ribs and surrounding skin.

this could LOOK pretty cool done correctly, but would be a lotta work.

storage is so limited it's hard to imagine WHY anyone would want to take them out.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:00 AM   #3
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Always such a help! Thanks 2air'!

Wonder if there's any resale value for the roof locker itself?

At any rate, I was blissfully unaware of the width difference between the short trailers & mine. I suspect the corner pieces MAY fit both, but the center piece would have to be cut larger, which seems like not a problem.

I've fired off a late-night email to A/S about the parts. Hopefully we can work something out and I can get this project back on track.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:25 AM   #4
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Be sure and hang on to the lockers for the next purchaser, since (s)he may very well want them...
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:45 AM   #5
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The roof lockers are pre-assembled with the surrounding skin. On the plant tour, there is usually a bunch of them sitting around in the area where the furniture is installed, all ready to be installed in the trailers. During the Homecoming rally, I watched two workers pick one up and hold it in place while a 3rd worker drove screws in strategic spots.

With the limited storage space in an Airstream, I'm also surprised that you want to remove the lockers.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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Our project isn't to remove the roof locker. That's one minor step in a bigger plan that ought to restore a bit, most of, or more storage space than the roof locker affords us currently.

But it may be for naught, since Airstream says they don't even have interior end panels produced for the wider trailers since they all have roof lockers installed.

The corner radii are a bit different on the smaller trailers, too, but the A/S rep suspects they'd still go in without a problem. So that leaves a giant gap between the two corner panels. Grasping at straws, I'm thinking I could rip the middle panel (which is too short for the wide body) right down the middle, attach each resulting piece to the corresponding corner panels, leaving a smaller gap, which I could then cover with a narrow roof locker, which won't interfere with our overall goals. I think that'd STILL leave a small gap from the top of the roof locker to the first parallel rib, but that could be patched with a small piece of aluminum stolen from the original roof locker's skin.

Unfortunately, that last bit would render the original roof locker pretty worthless, which is disappointing, but not a deal-breaker. But overall, this is starting to sound like a whole lot more pain than I expected.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:01 PM   #7
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asking such SPECIFIC questions (remove overheads/use innerskin from narrow body...) withOUT explaining the goals...

is a lot like pulling teeth without asking which ONE or WHY it's being pulled.

clearly it's not REQUIRED that one explains WHAT THE GOALs are behind any question.

but the community is large, full of ideas and wiser than any one member.

it's your trailer now, so do whatever u like,

but explaining the GOALS might lead 2 really useful ideas

or UNcover the problems needed 2 overcome without so much start/stop struggle...

or not.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:25 PM   #8
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Fair enough.

The ultimate goal is to install a pair of permanent bunk beds above the existing twins (and a handful of other modifications, like convert one twin to a desk). I haven't been convinced that we can do this without removing the roof locker (the necessary length just isn't there), so removing the locker is currently the bottleneck.

I usually avoid asking very general questions like "How should I add bunk beds to my trailer" because 1) it's already been asked repeatedly, and 2) I have a pretty complete plan in mind. That plan just hit a major snag when I discovered the lack of interior skin behind the roof locker.

To the concern about storage: yes, this is important. We're removing a LOT of storage (roof locker, two eye-level wardrobes, whatever storage was under the removed twin). But we hope to make up a lot of that space with new furniture: a smaller roof locker, a couple smaller wardrobes, additional space under the remaining twin bed, lots of storage in the new desk, etc.

I finally realized the consequence of Pahaska's earlier post about the roof locker being pre-assembled with the surrounding skin this weekend when inspecting it closer: the only way to remove the roof locker is to drill out all the rivets on the surrounding panel, and then remove the four screws above the window. Even then, I can imagine it's pretty difficult to actually remove, since it was installed first and all the adjacent panels overlap it.

Airstream wants $455 for each of the formed inside corners and $340 for the formed piece in the middle (which, again, is far too narrow to fit between the corner pieces, since these are only available for the narrow models). I'm pretty keen on trying these corner pieces, even to the tune of $1000, but I'll need a bit more confidence that it'll actually work. I'd especially like to know if I can have a larger, middle piece manufactured, and what that's likely to cost. It's one of the pieces that has to be formed (curves in two directions). Who should I check with for quotes on that sort of thing?
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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I understand that curved pieces like those can be readily formed by anyone who is in possession of an English wheel who knows how to use it. The classic car hobby is full of people who have made fenders with nothing more than a flat sheet of steel and an English wheel. Aluminum being more malleable, and the curves being of larger radii, it would seem the fabrication of the necessary sections would be comparatively straightforward.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worksology View Post
Fair enough.

The ultimate goal is to install a pair of permanent bunk beds above the existing twins (and a handful of other modifications, like convert one twin to a desk)...
ok interesting stuff and a good use of sleeping space.

it seems a BIT contrary to the original idea (removing the bed?)

but end bunks DO work better without the overhead locker.

you might wanna find and scan some of the 'bunkhouse' model pictures,

since they show one end with a desk/bunk...

there are a couple of other discontinued recent models

with bunks near the endcaps withOUT overhead lockers, so u r thinking correctly.

the inner skin is the same material as the OUTER skin.

it might be a better idea to explore using stretch formed...

OUTER endcaps pieces to make the inside (3 pieces ~1000$)

these 3 outer segments would be the right contour

and the center piece could be shortened to fit the interior use (inner will be ~6 inches narrower)

baring that, one could try the OUTER center piece with the narrow body corners/ends...

that would provide the right width, but the narrow trailers have a DIFFERENT curve/radius...

so i don't think using narrow body bits on a wide body will easily work.

keep at it.

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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Thought I'd post an update here with a few things I've recently learned.

2air', you've got it right. Timeless Travel Trailers actually uses EXTERIOR skin panels when installing them on the interior. Apparently, given enough lead-time, they'll have Airstream run the panels backwards over the forms, so the finish is on the correct side (the INSIDE). Otherwise they'll apply a catalyzed lacquer to the backside of the panels to more closely match. They have aviation techs cut these pieces down to properly fit the inside.

Airstream says creating these pieces any other way (stretching them over a form) is out of the question, so I'm not sure the English wheel suggestion seems like a workable solution.

I'm also giving up on the idea of using interior panels from the narrow models. While it sounds like this *could* be made to work, there's sufficient risk involved (and a less-risky alternative) that I don't think that's gonna be the right approach.

I'm queued up for a quote at Timeless Travel Trailers to do some of this work, so I'm anxious to see what they say. Honestly, I don't have much of a budget and I have immediate access to a fully-equipped manufacturing plant, so I'm not sure what we'll work out. I'm particularly interested in their expertise and their experience with doing a ton of this kind of work before (like the clever solutions they clearly have in place for the problem above, for example), rather than doing the fabrication/installation. Then again, for the right price.....
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:12 PM   #12
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Many months of hemming and hawing later, we're finally scheduled to have a pair of bunk beds installed by Timeless Travel Trailers in Colorado. It's pricier than we'd hoped, but we're anxious for the additional sleeping capacity and think this will be a worthwhile mod. It also frees us up to pursue another couple of our projects: replacing the lower street-side twin bed with a permanent desk, and extending the curbside twin into a slightly-larger, custom, adult-sized bed. We'll be doing that work ourselves after we get the trailer back from the shop.

We'll be hauling the trailer to Denver from Kansas on Wednesday and they say the work will take between two and three weeks. Await photos.
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