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Old 04-04-2015, 08:30 PM   #15
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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Welcome from Arvada. If you need any help do not hesitate to ask. The link below is to my long term project.
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:52 AM   #16
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 152
- There are two cables coming up through the u-channel in the front under the front window. One clearly seems to be for the trailer exterior lights coming from the hitch. What the other one is for is still a mystery.... and what the grey wire is next to the right one is also a mystery.

You are correct about one coming from the tow line. The other, from the sounds of it, came from the battery that was housed in the aluminum box under the front window. There are two removable plates near the floor under the window. On mine, the one on the right (facing from inside) was the tow wiring, the one on the left was the battery line/12 volt.

- Looks like the orange wire is for 12v. The larger romex-type is obviously the 110 wiring and came from the breaker box. Some of the fixtures had both 12v and 110 wiring going to them, indicating those fixtures were able to run off both?

There are two separate lines to the fixtures. Each of the lights has two bulbs, two switches and two voltages. The kicker is the 12 volt and 110 volt bulbs have the same screw base. Usually the one on the left is 12 volt and the one on the right is 110, but do not swear to it. You can get the 12 volt standard base bulbs at just about any RV store.

- The battery was mounted in the front of the trailer, behind the propane tanks. Is it true the battery is supposed to be charging while the trailer is being towed? Not sure how that works.

There is a hot line off your tow wiring that goes to the battery but see the next answer for more info.

- I've seen a lot of talk about converters - are those used so the battery can be charged while the trailer's 110 v system is plugged in somewhere?

I got rid of what was in the trailer converter wise. Basically, for that year there is not one. It has two separate systems. You will probably find the breakers for the 110 in the rear access next to the black water tank. WAY back in. The 12 volt is a standalone system. I installed a converter that takes the 110 30 amp service and operates both the 110 and feeds the 12 volt THROUGH the house battery. That enable the 12 volt to work off the battery when you are not plugged in. It has 110 breakers and now has fuses for the 12 volt.

- Some of the smaller red wire (which is for the running lights, marker lights etc) is rolled up in spots and taped to the inside of the outer shell. Seems like they did that to store lots of extra wiring in that spot? Maybe if someone in the future planned on adding a light at that spot perhaps? Seems kind of odd.

Whoever was working that day probably had extra wire and just rolled it up. What AS put in is what was there and planned. There were not many options at the time, so really no need for the extra wire. About the only options electrically in 1961 were vent fans and A/C.
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:30 AM   #17
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 152
Forgot to mention. Most dealers back in the 60's handled the spare tire issue. 1961 was before we had the option to store under the front of the trailer or on the tongue. Many put some sort of a "thing" on the back. I know mine had one, but you had to remove the tire to access the rear storage compartment. I had it cut off (was welded to the bumper) and a new "drop down" installed. Watch you balance though - wheels and tires are heavy. I also moved the battery to the rear compartment, so added some weight back there. But weight went into the front also, so balanced out.
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:22 PM   #18
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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I'm loving these forums. So much help already. Thanks everyone
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:47 PM   #19
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Today I finished drilling out the rest of the buck rivets connecting the shell to the u-channel. I used a car jack and was able to lift the back end up about 1/2", just to see that it would separate, which it did. I tried to do the same to the front and it didn't lift right off, so I didn't force it.

I drilled out the 24 buck rivets holding the front steel plate to the shell. I had to assume that plate is connected to the frame, but I can't see that yet b/c the belly pan is still in the way. There were also a couple which went through the plate and also through the u-channel.

I tried to slide something between the shell and the u-channel all the way around to ensure things have been separated. I did not have a putty knife with me, so I was only sort of able to pry the shell a little. Anyway, the front corners seem to be tight.

I've read and read about bracing and some say you don't need any of it and some seem to really go all out with it. Seems to me I'll had just enough bracing to make the shell hold its shape, not necessarily to assist with the lift. I'm thinking when its time to put the shell back on, having it in the same shape might save a lot of headache.

I also drilled out the buck rivets around the wheel wells. These seem to hold the shell to the inner wheel well as well as a piece of trim which gives it a rounded look. I have it pulled down from shell and wheel well but still attached to belly pan in the pic.

I also removed the copper propane line which ran under the belly pan and up through the floor in three different places. Looks like the belly pan used to have small straps that held this line up against the belly pan, but those were worn through. I'll get a better look when I can finally see the belly pan.

I have also included another photo of the bumper, which is in two pieces, and rusted its way off the frame.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:37 PM   #20
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Shell lift off

Today we found about 8 hidden rivets. Where the center section of the outer panels overlapped the end panels right at the last rib (so at each of the four corners so to speak) is where the hidden rivets were located. We also found some where the belly pan was riveted through the u-channel and into one of the ribs.

I used a floor jack to push up on the ceiling, spanning several ribs. There were times where I added pressure hoping the only thing that was still holding was the sealant between the outer panels and the belly pan. In reality, there were still a few hidden rivets I had not found yet. So the moral of that story is, if you're lifting with any significant pressure and things aren't coming right up, STOP and continue to investigate cause chances are you missed a rivet somewhere. My u-channel got a bit bent, very slightly. If you think it should be lifting and its not, stop and find the offending rivet(s).

I was able to lift the back up enough to get a beam across, the lift the front the same way. I used 9' teardrop pallet beams to span the shell and the beams are sitting on cinder blocks stacked up.

I did use some bracing to keep the general shape of the shell, in hopes that when its time to put the shell back on, it will have the same shape. I did not lift not the bracing, I lifted on the ceiling against two ribs. I've seen lots and lots of threads where people simply lift using grantries the ceiling vents, essentially lifting on the ceiling ribs anyway.

Next step is to lift it just a bit higher so the wheel wells will clear when I drive the frame out.

The only thing that seems a bit odd - I have the beams placed directly underneath the end ribs, so the bottom of the rib is sitting on the beam - BUT - to a certain extent, the outer shell is also sitting directly on the beam as well. I'm wondering if the shell will bend right where its sitting on the beams? We will see
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:52 PM   #21
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Very good. You are well on your way. Interesting note on lifting from the formers, or ribs, at the ceiling, but doing so with a jack on the floor. I would think this would be the same as using a hoist and gantry through a roof vent. '

It looks like your shell is well braced to hold it's shape while "flimsy" and unattached to the subfloor and frame.

It won't be long before you turn the corner and start rebuilding instead of tearing it apart. Rebuilding takes a long time, so be patient.

David
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Old 04-18-2015, 10:34 PM   #22
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Today I jacked up the shell a bit further so the wheel wells would clear when I pulled the trailer out from underneath it. If I were smarter, I would not have stacked the cinder blocks (which the beams rest on which the shell sits on) so close to the frame. I would have moved them as far apart as possible, b/c when I went to drive the trailer out from under it, I had to be very careful so the trailer wouldn't bump the cinder blocks. Finally, I jacked one corner up and moved the cinder blocks out further. Good learning point.

The belly pan wraps up and is riveted to the outside portion of the u-channel. It does NOT wrap up an over the top. I mention that b/c I have seen others mention that was the case with their trailer.

The belly pan was mostly riveted with pop rivets but did have some buck rivets too. When the belly pan came down, a sizable amount of insulation, leaves, 50 years worth of gunk/dirt and debris. Some insulation too and some evidence of critters, but no huge nests and no dead bodies.

I did not get a chance to see the frame yet. Next step, take up the floor and get a look at the frame.
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:36 AM   #23
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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It is interesting to see how Airstream changed their thinking on the aluminum skins for our trailers. The side skins on my 66 wrap down and are attached to the flat belly pan skins. There is a strap of thin steel sheet metal where the wrap and the belly pan are joined together with rivets.

I have the more common separate "belly wraps" on my 86. They are just short pieces of aluminum wrapped around about an 8" radius that are attached to the C channel and then attached again to the frame rail underneath. The separate piece likely makes manufacturing easier and quicker.

So now you have an old, flimsy trailer frame to rebuild. Maybe your 61 has a Dura Torq axle? If not, maybe it should be. I think 61 was the first year Airstream started using the Dura Torq concept instead of leaf springs.

The frame is flimsy by itself, gets stronger with the subfloor attached, and gets stronger yet with the body attached. Semi monocoque. Each piece adds strength, none of it is adequate by itself.

Keep us posted on your progress...

David
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:35 PM   #24
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Frame rust

Today I used a 1" hole saw to drill around the elevator bolts that hold the floor down to the frame. I got the floor all the way up and for the first time got a look at the frame. The hole saw seemed to be way way better than trying to cut off the bolts or to cut up the floor. Now I have all the original pieces to use as templates for the next floor.

The frame is basically a disaster in the back, completely gone in the back right corner, which is where the bathroom was. Next step, use an angle grinder with a cut off disc to cut the elevator bolts and then use the angle grinder with a steel wire cup (or whatever you call it) to get as much surface rust off.

They put a small amount of insulation between the frame and the floor boards. I think I need to do some research on these forums to understand why and if I need to try and replicate that when I put a new floor down.

Can anyone/everyone comment on the state of this frame? I'll probably have to show closer photos for anyone to know for sure. I believe it will take some obvious welding, but it salvageable.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:19 AM   #25
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1961 24' Tradewind
1967 26' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
Savannah , Georgia
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Ouch on the frame. I will let others comment on that. The insulation is easy. When they installed the insulation at the factory, they laid the bats over the full length of the frame and put the floor on top of it, compressing the insulation between the frame and floor. It was basically a time saving method of installing the insulation. It also kept it up against the bottom of the floor and from sagging onto the belly pan. There are lots of strings about insulation and use of different kinds. You do not need to replicated what they did back in 1961.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:35 AM   #26
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Wow, you have the skeleton of an old Airstream laying in your driveway! You have done a lot of hard work.

There are several threads where the frame was built from new using the old as a pattern. Here is one I like linked below. There are welding shops / metal fabricators that can do it with out much difficulty. There are Airstream frame pieces available on line, such as outriggers and cross members.

It's easy for me to spend your money, but looking at your frame, I wonder if new wouldn't be the best route.

David

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-122890.html
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:04 PM   #27
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1961 24' Tradewind
Broomfield , Colorado
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Today I used an angle grinder with a steel brush/cup and removed a large amount of rust. I also used a grinding disc in places where I needed to be a bit more aggressive. I was very happy with the results. It looks like this frame is in very decent shape. I believe, except for a few small spots, the majority of the frame is very strong.

I ground off all the rust I could see and then applied Metal Ready with a spray bottle. The difference was very noticeable.

There is still a large amount of welding that needs to be done to the rear. That comes next.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:01 PM   #28
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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It sure looks better without the rust. I know how dirty and time comsuming it is to wire brush the frame. I did mine laying on my back.

So if it looks solid (except for that rear corner) and you don't see any cracks at the A frame and around the axle mount areas, you're gonna be fine.

David
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