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Old 02-06-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Shell-off of a 1970 Silver Streak Sabre

Hello everyone. Iíve been working on a shell-off renovation of a 1970 Silver Streak Sabre since purchase in late September 2010. Iíve scoured this forum and the internet trying to find someone else that has documented a shell-off of a Silver Streak, but have had no luck so far.

I want to share my shell-off project with you all, in hopes that it might motivate other vintage kin and Silver Streak owners to consider and attempt such a project. Silver Streaks are a fine trailer, and without available information, prospective buyers and owners are less likely to resuscitate an ailing trailer.

Iíve created a dedicated web site to thoroughly document the renovation process. My desire to thoroughly document a Silver Streak renovation is three-fold; (1) Itís very motivating to reflect back on work accomplished, (2) to understand how every piece/part is constructed and assembled, and (3) to document as much as I can on this particular trailer model, as available information is scarce and will be harder to find as time passes.

Currently, the shell has been removed, and Iím working to strip the frame. My blog documents each day Iíve worked on the trailer. Itís a dull read, but hopefully the content is useful.

If thereís any interest in my project, Iíd be very interested in using this thread to answer any and all questions.

Project link: 1970 Silver Streak Sabre - Model 20
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:29 PM   #2
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Welcome Paul,

I would be very interested to follow your progress. We are an Airstreams forum but I also like the SS trailers as Im sure others here do aswell. Glad to have you with us.

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Old 02-07-2011, 07:28 AM   #3
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Glad to see this site linked, some very nice work underway. I enjoy all A/S restorations I've read (and follow some) and it is instructive to see how other brands were put together.

Am making my way through this Silver Streak restoration as -- I believe -- from about the mid/late 1960's onwards through the 1980's there weren't any big changes in construction (and the time period may be wider) so I take these pictures as indicative of how things might look in any renovation of a Silver Streak trailer. I welcome any corrections to this assumption.

Certainly looks no different from what I remember of the bathroom floor replacement we did on our 1983.

Thanks for setting the thread!!

.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #4
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Paul,

Great link on your shell-off of the Silver Streak. My 1st silver trailer was a 1963 Silver Streak Sabre Cat. Was part way through the teardown stage when I came upon my current project a 1967 Airstream. Wife would not go for keeping both or I would have kept the SS. I actual think the construction was better on the SS. Will enjoy reading your progress.

Thanks, Michael
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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Thanks Michael. From all I've seen so far, the SS appears to be very well constructed. I've not had the opportunity to inspect a project Airstream in person, but have read enough restoration threads to be able to notice some differences when a new area is exposed during teardown.

This project has been enjoyable so far. If I only had more free time.... I'm looking forward to Spring and longer, warmer days. At least most of the dirty work will in the rear-view mirror when Spring arrives.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:03 PM   #6
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sounds like a great project
good luck
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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Hi Paul,

It is great you are documenting a SS restoration.
I have never seen a frame off SS. It gives clues to the construction methods in comparison to AS's.

I noticed one unusual method SS used. Placing carpet all the way to the edge of the plywood floor thus allowing the "C" channel to rest on the carpet. I could understand vinyl not carpet.

The frame looks like it is in better shape than a similar 70 AS would be.

It was a little unusual to see the "C" channel still attached to the floor after the shell was lifted.

The shell off AS's I have seen, the shell is removed with the C channel still attached the skin.

Do you anticipate any problems reattaching the shell to the "c" channel?
Lining everything up perfect, I mean.

Keep up the great work.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:00 AM   #8
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Hi Greg,

My "goal" is to try to match the existing fastener locations when reattaching the shell, so I'm trying my best to minimize alignment issues. I've taken measurements at every outrigger and at one foot increments (frame to floor edge) around the frame. I've also taken measurements of the "C" channel overhang at the front, rear and corners. The existing subfloor will be used as a template for the new subfloor.

The "C" channel sections at the front and back of the trailer are one continuous extrusion that extends forward/aft beyond the corners. The "C" channel sections are fairly stout, so as long as I do not tweak them, should only require proper positioning with respect to the subfloor and frame.

The outboard edges of the forward/aft "C" channel sections are even with the floor edge. If the new subfloor width is correct, I should only need to worry about getting the forward/aft positioning correct.

Finally, I'll need to get the floor to "C" channel buildup height correct...using 3/4" plywood, the floor covering, and perhaps aluminum shim strips.

Despite my efforts, I wouldn't be surprised if everything is misaligned when the shell is reintroduced to the frame. It's the way my luck runs.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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Nice job.....
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:06 AM   #10
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What a complete documentation blog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Crabtree View Post
Nice job.....
GREAT job - and excellent documentation.

I especially enjoyed your library of manuals of the appliances and ancillary equipment. You must prepare operations manuals for your "real" job.

Hope to see the rolling project on the road.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:49 AM   #11
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I think that is going to be one beautiful trailer when restored- will you polish both the regular and the gold-anodized exterior? I'd like to see it some day! Have fun and good luck- tim
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 AM   #12
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I think that is going to be one beautiful trailer when restored- will you polish both the regular and the gold-anodized exterior? I'd like to see it some day! Have fun and good luck- tim
The entire trailer has an anodized finish and I think that they are not able to be polished.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:58 AM   #13
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Hi Tim,

No plans to even attempt to polish off the anodizing. I've heard of a few trying, but don't know if they were ever able to achieve a true mirror finish.

I personally prefer the look of anodized aluminum. Removing 40 years of atmospheric fallout from the anodizing will take a little time though. Just for kicks, I hit a few areas with WD40. The skin cleaned and brightened up surprisingly well.

I've read that authorized Silver Streak dealers and repair centers used 1 part olive oil to 5 parts lacquer thinner to clean/treat the skin. I've not tried this concoction, but will at some point later in the project.
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:58 PM   #14
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I thought I saw some shinier areas in your fotos, that must be where you tried the WD40. Seems to have worked very well, I'd be happy with a look like that. The concoction you mention is interesting, and I'll be curious to see/hear how that works compared to the WD40. I think I heard that WD40 is just a couple things, one of them maybe being kerosene? A real simple formula, if I remember right. I've always loved the 2-tone look of the Silver Streaks, and just know yours is going to be a traffic-stopper when done. Lucky dog to have found that! -tim
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:21 AM   #15
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Hi Tim,

No plans to even attempt to polish off the anodizing. I've heard of a few trying, but don't know if they were ever able to achieve a true mirror finish.

I personally prefer the look of anodized aluminum. Removing 40 years of atmospheric fallout from the anodizing will take a little time though. Just for kicks, I hit a few areas with WD40. The skin cleaned and brightened up surprisingly well.

I've read that authorized Silver Streak dealers and repair centers used 1 part olive oil to 5 parts lacquer thinner to clean/treat the skin. I've not tried this concoction, but will at some point later in the project.
I've a neighbor trying to polish a Streamline, and not encouraging.

Forgot to also compliment the ops manual section, it is outstanding.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:05 PM   #16
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I appreciate all of the positive feedback. I've also received some excellent recommendations via email. Thanks again all.

Looking forward to warmer temps and some trailer time this weekend.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:19 PM   #17
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There's been plenty going on in this resto! Have a look.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:22 PM   #18
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I've read that authorized Silver Streak dealers and repair centers used 1 part olive oil to 5 parts lacquer thinner to clean/treat the skin. I've not tried this concoction, but will at some point later in the project.
I used this on mine. Dealer HILTOP in Dallas was big on this one. SS recommended kerosene/ATF also. Both work, both collect dust and small bugs. Both wash off with streaks. But looks good until then.

Don't forget VIVILON, EVERBRITE and PERMACOTE for other "solutions".

.
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:31 PM   #19
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:11 PM   #20
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I'll add those to my list of things to try. Another suggestion has been NAPA Aluminum Brightener Cleaner, P/N MAC 1458. I'll post what works best for me when I get around to cleaning up the shell.

Progress thus far has been slow but steady. I've finally finished welding the new cross members to the frame, and am now designing a gray tanks system that will fit within the frame's shallow bays. Multiple tanks will be necessary to achieve a practical holding capacity. I hope to have a design finalized in the next week and will be ordering tanks soon. Now, if this heat wave would just ease up a bit......
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