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Old 09-26-2013, 07:44 PM   #1
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Dexter , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
question about trimming new panels

New to us 1969 Airstream 21 Land Yacht. For panels were damaged in the back, so I bought all four from Inland, being Nos. 2, 19, 1 and 20.

The panels are pre-drilled at the bottom of panels 2, 19 and 20 (with the center-top panel (No. 1) being pre-drilled on both sides, or bottoms).

All panel are somewhat bigger than those I removed from the trailer. Its obvious that one has to trim back each panel for length, so that it fit up to the rear window. What's not so obvious to me is whether one has to, or should, trim panel Nos. 2, 19, and 20 for height, there being about 1.5 inches of extra material where they meet the rib, and about 2.5 where they meet the window. It would seem that the extra overlap wouldn't hurt, might even help, but I'm no engineer, so I could be wrong about that.

Anyone have a similar issue or have information on the right way to do it. In my attached photo I have the old panel laid out over the inside of the new one, using the old one as a template for the new one.

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Old 09-29-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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It's not really necessary unless the excess interfears with existing structure, however if the long side does not nest tight with the next panel it may require trimming. I always trim after I drill so I don't cut off to much. Sometimes you have to sneak up on the trimming. In the aviation world you trim to the edge distance of the rivets which would be 2-4 D with D= the diameter of the rivet. So for a 5/32" rivet, the minimum Edge Distance "ED" would be 5/16" from the center of the rivet. This is an aviation rule not an Airstream rule.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:39 PM   #3
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1969 31' Sovereign
middleboro , Massachusetts
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I was wondering how you made out? Did you take out the inside end-cap so you could buck rivet the parts?
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:08 PM   #4
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Dexter , Michigan
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finished

Finished. I still have to shave the rivets, but it came very nicely. Starting at the lower panels, I test fit each panel one at a time. When I had a panel where I wanted it, drilled a few holes low on the panel and secured it with cleco's. At the top, it stayed put from friction of being between the top panel and the last horizontal rib. Then I drilled each hole one at a time, putting in cleco's as I went, moving bottom to top. This process avoided any ripples or waves by creeping it up to the top. It was also difficult to get the new skin between the top skin the rib, so I had to take out about 5 or so rivits on the top skin to loosen it up, but it was still tight. Creeping it up this way forced it further into between the skin and ribs where it should be. When the bottom row of holes were all drilled and cleco'd in place, I removed the clecos, took it back off, and then liberally applied vulcrum, and then put it back up there. When I had it where I wanted it, (and I was appropriately sticky with vulcrum), I started installing rivets on the rear window, and repeated creeping the bottom line of rivets up, gently forcing the panel to slide into place. I was concerned that the new panel would be bowed or bubbled out on the topside of the panel in this process, so I took care to apply pressure as need to uniformly slide into place. It worked quite well, and I was able to get all four skins in this way. As to the overlap issue, the panel was pre-drilled on the bottom edge (this was very helpful, both for installing issues, and for a uniform appearance), and the panel was oversized in every other direction. Since only the bottom, or pre-drilled edge, would be showing, the other edges being under other panels, I did not trim the two topsides of the three side panels - I only trimmed around the real window, using the old panels taped to the new panels as templates. Then I just covered the extra with a new panel. Finally the very top panel wraps it all up, overlapping both of the new side panels. On the top panel I had to trim very little, just about 4" at the window.

I think when I wrote this post initially, I was over-thinking installing the panels. I think a carefull write-up on this forum would be useful, as I really didn't find any write ups that went through the process carefully.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Dexter , Michigan
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finished photo

Here's where I am now.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:55 PM   #6
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1969 31' Sovereign
middleboro , Massachusetts
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Great information! Thank you. I have to replace all of the segments. I have them, I just have not gotten to that point yet. Your post has made it less of a worry for me.

Thanks again.
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