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Old 07-29-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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Arrow 1949 curtis wright clipper tube frame help

Hi I am new ...hello to all.

Recently I bought my first trailer, a 22 foot 1949 Curtis Wright clipper- I love it.
Much of the trailer has been refurbished but I will over the next months have a few questions. First and foremost is the 4" tube frame. The interior was never painted and it has rusted to the point that the lowest portion of the tube is visibly somewhat thinner due to water sitting in the tube. It still appears thick enough for support but I would like to halt any further corrosion . I thought I should remove the rust and paint it with rustoleum rust inhibiting paint... but how?

I thought I might get a chimney sweep brush or hire some professional(?) to remove any loose rust, but then how to paint, if that is even the best way.
I figure someone out there has done this, please advise.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:03 AM   #2
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For starters i would drill 1/4" drain holes in the bottom where the water collects.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:23 AM   #3
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Welcome....

I am afraid you are in for a long and expensive trip. The pipe frame is a not very thick walled tube. It is the main support for the entire floor and shell....it needs to be sound. I have seen several attempts to fix the rust out you describe....only a ladder frame replacement or pipe replacement looked good to me. Scab patches are only a temporary fix. Insertion of an inner pipe and welded in place....I have seen it but don't have a conclusion. Use the search function....in the blue header above...and read about pipe frames. Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:22 AM   #4
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With regards to the tube frame, I am not the expert. My thoughts are that you need to distract any moisture from getting into the inner tube. Thus, preventing additonal corrosion. IF there is an obvious compromise on the integrity of the tube due to deterioration, then replacement could be an option. If you have never seen the Curtis Wright frame exposure, see my photo albums to give you an idea.

1-8-2007 9-13-59 AM.JPG

I haven't heard or anyone trying to coat the inside of the pipe to keep it from rusting. A quick story on my trailer.

The front tongue was modified and cut short by a previous owner. I was able to break the fish eye (scab) welds and pull the inner tongue tube out, thus replacing the inner tongue tube with a longer length.
There are a couple suggestions that could be applied.
1. Fit a tube inside the original tube, and pray that the original has not flexed, or you would have a heck of a time getting to slide all the way back.

2. If the floor is exposed, or the belly pan is removed, you can release the each of the stringers from the original tube and replace it entirely. Proper support will be needed while doing this.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:17 PM   #5
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Hi frockman,

I don't have any better advise than Melody Ranch or Cuyeda, but I sure would like to see some photos of your trailer.

Tina
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:20 PM   #6
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I have repaired a tube frame, but not on a travel trailer.

Here's how:

First, obtain box section steel that has the narrow inner dimension the same as the outer dimension of the tube. Cut it in half along the long face of the long side. Notch it for each cross-member. Place the two halves above and below to encase the original tube, and weld. This will raise the deck a little so cross-members will need to be padded. Afterwards, POR-15, then run a hot air gun through the tube to ensure there's NO moisture, let it cool, and fill both ends with a closed cell expanding foam, or fill one end til the foam comes out the other end, by sealing the tube into a cap made of ten or so layers of duct tape.

This is as much work as removing the cross-members and mounting them to box section, and I only did it this way to keep everything already in place, as I was unable to lift the body. (prototype old car)
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:28 PM   #7
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the problem remains...

You can see here that some of those ideas, although good, won't work here. Replace the frame or, the tube only, seems to be the cheapest and best solutions.
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Old 07-31-2010, 12:43 AM   #8
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Ahhh, I see what's going on here.

The frame is quite strong enough. The tube is acting as a spacer for the crossmembers. The tube combines with the aluminum sheath to create a rigid, non-flexing box in one plane. This isn't a case where the top of the tub is in tension and the bottom in compression. The entire tube is in compression.

In this case I'd just drill a 1/4" hole in the top of the tube at each end and fill it with an expanding, closed cell foam from one end until it comes out the other end. No more water would get in. I'd heat it a bit first to make sure any moisture is vented.
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