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Old 09-24-2015, 07:18 AM   #1
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1963 24' Tradewind
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Replacing Ribs

What alloy are the ribs made from? The same as the exterior? In my case, from 1963, the 2023T3 alcad is the exterior. I have two dents that bashed two lower horizontal ribs pretty good. I'd like to make new ribs, and cheaper is better (it does not need to be shiny). BUT, I don't want different alloys to react.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:41 AM   #2
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The different alloys won't react. 5052 will be a common replacement...any aluminum which will take the bending from a break. The best and fastest thing to do is go to your local sheet metal company...heating and cooling duct makers....and have them bend up a couple 2 inch channels.....or what ever size you need. Overall, it's not a big deal..don't make it one. Your outer skin panel and leak control is now your area of concern.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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would 2" channel be better than z strips? I'm guessing it would be stronger, but you just can't buck rivet a square tube, and if you used "U" channel, you cant attach on the inside. Be aware, you'll need to use Olympic rivets with your ribs.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:08 AM   #4
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CRL Satin Anodized ''Z'' Bar Aluminum Channel - 12 ft Long - Rakuten.com

You can do a search for aluminum z bar extrusion. I also know that I got some shorter curved pieces from Out of Doors Mart in North Carolina. You may be able to get a rib piece from Inland RV in California. The other option is possibly to bend it back out. If you get access to the area by removing the skins, get a heavy steel channel or I beam. then, block it at both ends, then slowly draw the dent to the channel with a large "C" clamp.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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You can buck a rivet inside a U-shaped rib with an offset bucking bar. It's done all the time in aircraft work. Check Aircraft Spruce and Specialty's website for the bar.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:28 AM   #6
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Why are you even considering bucking a repair? All my Vintage Airstreams have C channel ribs....what is meant by you can't attach to the inside? I think your have the channel mentally placed sideways.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:31 AM   #7
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The different alloys won't react. 5052 will be a common replacement...any aluminum which will take the bending from a break. The best and fastest thing to do is go to your local sheet metal company...heating and cooling duct makers....and have them bend up a couple 2 inch channels.....or what ever size you need. Overall, it's not a big deal..don't make it one. Your outer skin panel and leak control is now your area of concern.

Ditto.


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Old 09-25-2015, 03:41 PM   #8
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Thank you all! I hadn't thought to go to a heating/cooling store and was trying to figure out how to the bending myself. Breaks are expensive. WAY easier to ask the people who installed my furnace recently--I'm even a semi-recent customer.
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:14 PM   #9
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What alloy are the ribs made from? The same as the exterior? In my case, from 1963, the 2023T3 alcad is the exterior. I have two dents that bashed two lower horizontal ribs pretty good. I'd like to make new ribs, and cheaper is better (it does not need to be shiny). BUT, I don't want different alloys to react.
Just to clarify. These are horizontal ribs between the main vertical ribs right?
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:02 AM   #10
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Yep, just the horizontal ones. The vertical ribs are, mercifully, in good condition.
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