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Old 04-29-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
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1949 22' Liner
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Ribs of 1949 Liner

Does anybody know what alloy and thickness was used for the ribs of the 1949 Liner? A couple of mine have some collision damage (from before I purchased it) and therefore require or replacement.

An Airstream brochure from 1949 says that they are of the "same work hardening aluminum allow as used in the latest jet planes," and other details in that brochure refer to the crossmembers as .051 24-ST aluminum and stringers as 24-ST aluminum. My understanding is that the 24-ST aluminum is the same (or almost the same) as what is today called 2024 T3 aluminum. But it doesn't actually describe the ribs directly. Are the ribs / roof bows also .032 or .051 2024 aluminum? (I suppose I could buy a decent set of calipers to measure thickness.)
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:49 PM   #2
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I have no idea what was used in '49 -- it's 10 years older than our trailer. That said, I'll offer a couple of semi-educated comments that will hopefully help.

It makes sense to me that they are talking about work-hardened rather than heat-treated aluminum. Anything with a T designation refers to temper, or heat treating. Different numbers refer to different levels of Temper, a balance between strength and lack of flexibility. I've worked with 6061-T6 and there is no way it would bend without cracking. Looking up 2024-T3, it is be less brittle, but not easy to bend. This alloy is prone to corroding if not coated (like Alclad).

Work hardening is very different from heat treating. To understand work hardening, take a scrap piece of copper and bend it back and forth a couple of times. Its surprising how much harder it is to bend after you work it back and forth a couple of times -- that is work hardening. Notice that it becomes more brittle as it gets stronger -- that is the strength versus brittleness trade-off. Keep that in mind as you try to make your curve. A lot of small corrections may be difficult as certain areas become much harder than adjacent areas as you work your curve.

If you search for recommendations on aluminum for c-channels, you'll see 5052-H32 recommended. That makes sense, given its workability and work-hardening characteristics. A thicker 5052 is where I'd start my search.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:13 PM   #3
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1949 22' Liner
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Thanks for the explanation, 65CV. Much of the rest of the trailer structure seems to be folded and bent 2024 (it says CLAD 24-ST in red on the back) but I see nothing on the ribs, so it could very well be something else entirely. Your suggestion is a good starting point for further investigation.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:59 PM   #4
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In my 50 Flying Cloud they are .032 24 T3. I would use 2024 T3. It bens just fin, once, if your radius is not too tight
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information, FC7039. That's good to know.
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