Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-05-2014, 05:23 AM   #41
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removal of fresh water tank

Oops, this post is out of order, as it should have come before the floor removal.

The fresh water tank for 8038 was on the cabin floor underneath the front window. After I removed the front dinette framing, I was able to remove the fresh water tank. I removed all the piping (including the overflow tube that ran down to the belly pan), and then I used a hacksaw to cut off the supply pipe:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0402.jpg
Views:	282
Size:	234.9 KB
ID:	206838

It was awkward to cut that pipe as I now recall. I think that I would have been better off with a different cutting tool, such as an oscillating multi-tool.
__________________

__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2014, 03:59 PM   #42
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing the interior walls, insulation, and wiring

I decided to remove the interior sheet aluminum walls (and ceiling) because I planned to remove all of the old wiring and insulation. The interior walls generally are riveted in place with pop rivets, rather than solid-shank rivets, and that makes drilling out the rivets easier, as it is not necessary to use a self-centering adapter to hold the drill in place over the head of the rivet (as I will discuss in another post).

Beware that some Airstreams (including those of the vintage of 8038) have a three-piece ceiling unit with the two side wall pieces solid-shank riveted to the center ceiling piece. The solid-shank rivets are not to be removed, and the unit is to be maintained as one piece. The unit is detached from the ribs by drilling out only the pop rivets that attach the unit to the ribs, as described below in this post.

Tools. You will need a drill, drill bits, pliers, gloves, prying tools, and an assistant is very helpful for removing the ceiling piece and the end caps. I also built supports to hold the ceiling and endcaps in place while the pop rivets were being drilled.

Techniques.

1. Walls. It is necessary to remove the bottom (low to the floor) interior side wall pieces first, as they were installed last. Remember to mark on the rear of each removed wall piece with a Sharpie pen the location of the piece. Also, if you need to mark notes on the wall piece (for example, to identify holes that need to be filled with a solid-shank rivet), do the marking before you remove the piece. I stored the wall pieces flat if possible (or standing upright). If that was not possible, I coiled them and bound them with straps or rope. Do not coil the sheet aluminum too tightly or you may crease it. This image shows the coiling, but it is after I stripped the paint:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2902.jpg
Views:	239
Size:	282.9 KB
ID:	206864

2. Ceiling unit. To help remove the three-piece ceiling unit from the trailer, I built two supports out of 2" by 4" material to hold the ceiling unit as I drilled the out the pop rivets:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2757.jpg
Views:	253
Size:	225.3 KB
ID:	206865

Here is another technique that might be helpful.

Remember not to drill out the solid-shank rivets joining the side wall pieces to the center ceiling piece. My wife helped me manage the ceiling unit as I was drilling the pop rivets.

To remove the unit from the cabin, it is necessary to roll the unit into a fairly tight coil because the coil must fit through the front window. I had previously drilled out and removed the front window frame, and that made the opening a bit larger, but my wife and I still had a hard time wrestling with the ceiling unit. We used various straps and ropes to hold the coil. We took our time and eventually extracted the coil, which is quite large, from the cabin. If possible, have several people help you roll the unit so that you can get a tight coil.

I ended up storing the coil by hanging it by pulleys from the ceiling of the garage, as I had no other place for it.

3. Endcaps. The endcaps were installed first, so they come out last. The 8038 endcaps were made of many pieces of sheet aluminum that were solid-shank riveted together before the endcap unit was installed into the cabin. After that assembly, the endcap unit was brought through the entry door into the cabin and then pop riveted (along the outside edge of the unit) to the trailer ribs.

I wanted to strip off the paint on the endcaps, and I did not think I could do that if the endcaps were removed from the cabin (because the endcap would not be adequately supported after removal), so I stripped the paint while the endcaps were in place.

When the endcaps were stripped and ready for removal, I used a support to hold the endcap, and my wife helped support and control the endcap as I drilled out the pop rivets:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2758.jpg
Views:	305
Size:	250.1 KB
ID:	206867

We removed the endcaps, which were not very heavy, from the cabin through the entry door. I marked (on the back side) each endcap with a Sharpie pen to indicate which was the front and rear endcap.

The endcap paint stripping left a big mess on the floor, and I used a scraper attached to a broom handle to help remove the mess without having to be on my hands and knees.

4. Insulation. After all the interior walls and ceiling were removed, I removed the insulation. When removing insulation, wear clothing that will keep the insulation material away from your skin as much as possible, as the insulation irritates your skin and is very itchy. Also, wear a respirator. Most importantly, take a shower as soon as possible after working with the insulation.

I placed the insulation in large trash bags and took the bags to the garbage dump. Some people re-use clean insulation (some of it will be free of dirt, nests, etc.), but I decided to use different insulation in the rebuild.

5. Wiring. Next, I took photos of all the exposed wiring, and then I cut and removed all of the original wiring in the coach. I now was down to the ribs and the exterior sheet aluminum, so the interior demolition was complete!

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2768.jpg
Views:	218
Size:	310.1 KB
ID:	206866

Do not be surprised if the shell of the trailer seems very flimsy. At this stage, the entire structure is pretty flimsy, and the coach should not be towed.

Hank
__________________

__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2014, 01:29 PM   #43
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing rivets

A task that is fundamental to restoration of an Airstream is removal of rivets. Rivet removal generally involves a two-step process: (1) drilling through the rivet head and then (2) cutting the shank of the rivet. In some cases, drilling of the rivet head will loosen the entire rivet so that cutting the shank is not required. In other cases, you may not have access to the rivet head, and all you can do is cut the shank of the rivet.

Tools. As described in more detail below, you will need an air compressor, pneumatic (or electric) drill, an appropriate-size drill bit (more about this later), and a self-centering adapter that attaches to the drill and keeps the drill bit centered on the rivet head. For cutting rivet shanks, you need a solid-shank putty knife.

1. Compressor. An air compressor is necessary for many tasks involving sheet metal. I bought an air the compressor at Harbor Freight (3 ½ horsepower motor, 25 gallon tank, 125 PSI), and it has been very satisfactory for most (but not all) tasks.

2. Pneumatic Drill. A pneumatic drill is well-suited to sheet metal and rivet work, as a pneumatic drill rotates at high speed, which is helpful. Unfortunately for me, the compressor that I bought at Harbor Freight simply did not have sufficient capacity to run the drill for extended use in drilling rivet heads. Drills (and some other pneumatic tools) require a large amount of air flow, and my compressor could not keep up. The compressor was fine for drilling a few rivet heads at a time, but the compressor could not keep up if I was drilling out a large number of rivets, such as around windows or when I removed all of the rivets attaching the belly pan metal to the exterior side wall of the shell. The lack of sufficient air pressure caused the drill to slow down, and it became unusable.

3. Electric drill. Because my pneumatic drill could not keep up on large-volume rivet removal (and I was unwilling to buy a larger-capacity compressor), I used an electric hand drill. An electric drill does not rotate as quickly as a pneumatic drill, so the electric drill is a second-best tool to use. Nonetheless, the electric drill worked well enough for me.

4. Self-centering rivet removal tool. The self-centering adapter that attaches to the drill (either pneumatic or electric) looks like this:


Name:   BAT-131-jpgnew.jpg
Views: 1646
Size:  20.3 KB

The upper image is of the adapter, and the lower images are of drill bits of different diameters. The drill bits fit inside the hollow shaft of the adapter. The left end of the upper image inserts into the jaws of the drill. To drill out a rivet, you hold the drill in one hand and the hollow shaft (which does not rotate) of the adapter in the other hand. The right end of the upper image has a cap that fits the shape of a rivet head, so you place (and hold) the cap over the rivet head and then press the drill forward, causing the spinning drill bit on the inside of the shaft to come into contact with the rivet head. The cap holds the bit in place over the rivet head as you push the drill bit into the rivet head. This results in a drill hole that is centered on the rivet head.

I bought this adapter, but there are many sources for a tool like this.

5. Solid shank putty knife. As discussed in this post, a putty knife should have a solid shank for cutting rivet shanks. Make sure that the cutting edge is sharp enough for the task.

6. Hammer. I really like a short-handle hammer for hammering through rivet shanks because the short-handle hammer is much easier to control.

Techniques.

1. Drill the rivet head. First, drill through the rivet head, going no deeper than is necessary. As soon as the drill bit penetrates through the rivet, withdraw the drill. The self-centering adapter allows only limited penetration into the rivet, so you should have no fear of drilling through the interior wall of the coach. Some people, with more experience than I have, would say you should drill only a shallow hole into the rivet head (and not drill all the way through the shank) so as to prevent enlargement of the hole in the sheet aluminum through which the rivet passes. I drilled until the drill bit cut completely through whatever metal was in the way, and I probably did enlarge some holes.

Use care with the self-centering adapter because, if the drill bit slides off the head of the rivet with the drill bit rotating, you could seriously damage the surface of the adjacent sheet aluminum. When you use the drill with the self-centering adapter, have the drill bit rotating at maximum speed, and press the drill forward with care to keep it in place over the rivet head. Keep both hands firmly on the drill: one hand on the drill and trigger, and the other hand on the hollow shaft of self-centering adapter.

Here is an image of a row of rivet heads that I drilled:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0966.jpg
Views:	258
Size:	290.7 KB
ID:	207690

You may end up with an accumulation of rivet heads on the shank of the drill bit (or the self-centering adapter drill bit):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2716.jpg
Views:	255
Size:	476.6 KB
ID:	207691

You may be able to use your fingers to remove those rivet heads, but I often had to use pliers. If you rotate the drill bit in reverse at a low speed, you can push the rivet heads up and off the drill bit shaft.

2. Cut the shank of the rivet. To cut the shank, use a putty knife that you slide between the pieces that are attached to each other by the rivet. Generally, do not use a putty knife to cut off a rivet head that is not adjacent to a joint between sheets because you may scratch the sheet aluminum. If you cut between different sheets, any scratches will be out of sight.

Here is an image of a putty knife cutting the shank of a rivet between two pieces of aluminum:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2447.jpg
Views:	281
Size:	207.2 KB
ID:	207692

Use care with the putty knife because, if the blade is dull or you use too much force, you may stretch/elongate the hole in the aluminum through which the rivet shank passes, and that is not good. You want to keep the hole as small as possible so that your replacement rivet fully fills the hole.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2014, 01:33 PM   #44
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Drill bit sizes

You will encounter, in your rivet-drilling activities, holes of various sizes, and you will need different drill bits that match up to those hole sizes. You will need appropriate drill bits for both a standard drill (electric or pneumatic) and for a drill with the self-centering rivet removal adapter (discussed in this post).

For drilling out pop rivets (that hold the belly pan to the frame or hold the interior walls to the ribs), I think I used 1/8" 135 degree split tip cobalt drill bits, but I now am in Texas, and I cannot confirm that.

The self-centering rivet removal tool uses screw-in drill bits, and the size of the drill bit is marked on the base of the drill bit with a number such as 10, 21, 30, and 40. Here are the fractional size equivalents:

#40 = 3/32"

#30 = 1/8" (which is the shank size of the rivets used most extensively in assembling an Airstream)

#21 = 5/32" (used to enlarge a 1/8" hole in preparation for installation of a 5/32" solid-shank rivet)

#10 = 3/16"

You will need replacement bits because they become dull and sometimes break. You especially need replacement bits for the most-used 1/8" size.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2014, 10:50 AM   #45
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Repairing the roof dent

8038 had a large dent in the front endcap on the curbside:

Click image for larger version

Name:	2004_0728airstream0022.jpg
Views:	249
Size:	298.8 KB
ID:	208093

You can see that the dent was in the third and fourth panels of the front endcap, and the dent also was evident on the upper edge of the second panel. The dent was only in the exterior wall; the inside wall was not dented.

After I had removed the interior walls, insulation, and wiring, I was able to tackle the dent.

Tools. A basketball (yes, a basketball!), a roller tool (described below), hammer, shot (or sand) bag, and a helper.

Techniques. Through the Airforums, I was advised to pop out the dent with a mostly-inflated basketball, and I did that with a good result:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2820.jpg
Views:	258
Size:	169.7 KB
ID:	208094

From the inside of the trailer, (1) I placed the partially-inflated basketball against the dent, (2) I pushed enough to let the ball form around the dent, and (3) then pushed to pop out the dent. Do not push too hard because you do not want to stretch the metal.

Most of the metal popped back into position, but some small areas needed further smoothing, and I used a roller like one of these (that I purchased from Aerowood on the Airforums). I had a helper on the outside of the cabin who was holding a shot (or sand) bag against the outside of the sheet opposite where I applied the roller against the inside of the sheet. The roller head has tapered sides, so it is designed not to leave lines or crease marks in the sheet aluminum. The trick, I think, is to use the roller with light pressure until you are familiar with how it works and moves. Apply greater pressure after you have more confidence with the tool. I used the roller until I was satisfied with the appearance of the exterior metal.

In addition, the seams between the second and third panels and between the third and fourth panels needed attention. The metal along those seams (of double thickness) did not pop out all of the way. I had to reform those seams by force, as the roller did not work over a row of rivets. I used several different blocks of wood and a hammer to pound, from the inside of the cabin, on the rivet seam to reshape the two pieces of metal that form the seam. I started with light hammer blows, and I used more force after I had some experience with the process.

The bent (and reformed) seams are likely not to be well sealed, and I plan to reset (or replace) the rivets on those seams before I cover up the inside of that endcap. You need access to the inside of the endcap to buck the solid-shank rivets.

I generally was happy with the results. My repair was not perfect, but someone will have to look closely to see that the metal had been dented.

Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2014, 11:20 AM   #46
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing the exterior hardware

I removed all of the various exterior hardware: the taillights, the license plate holder and light, the clearance lights, and the door light. Why remove the external hardware? I removed the exterior hardware for several reasons: (1) to permit cleaning of any corrosion of the alclad aluminum sheet metal around the hardware, (2) to make easier the polishing of the exterior sheet metal panels, and (3) to rehabilitate and possibly replate the hardware.

Corrosion often is a problem with Airstreams because of electrolysis (the electrical interaction of dissimilar metals; search the Airforums for additional explanation). The exterior sheet metal of 8038 is alclad aluminum, and many of the exterior hardware fixtures are of different metal. Over time, corrosion often occurs, and it is best to clean up that corrosion (and try to prevent it from occurring in the future).

Polishing. Most restorers of 1950's vintage Airstreams choose to polish the exterior sheet metal aluminum, as it is possible to polish that metal to a high gloss. It is much easier to get a good polish of the sheet aluminum around exterior hardware items by (1) removing the hardware, (2) polishing the sheet aluminum, and then (3) reinstalling the hardware item.

I will discuss in another posting the rehabilitation and replating of these items.

Tools. The tool requirements for removing the exterior hardware were simple: screwdrivers, a putty knife, and wire cutters. Be careful with any screwdriver or putty knife (or scraper) to avoid scratching or denting the relatively soft alclad sheet metal aluminum.

Techniques. I removed from the exterior the following:

1. Bargman tail lights. 8038 had the original Bargman No. 9 tail light assemblies:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0435.jpg
Views:	245
Size:	316.5 KB
ID:	208096

These Bargman fixtures are very difficult to replace, and I wanted to rehab the taillight assemblies if I could. My plan was to rewire the whole trailer, so I simply cut the wires (after taking a series of photographs that would help me with the eventual re-wiring if I succeeded in rehabbing the taillight assembly) and removed the light fixture.

2. Clearance lights. 1956 Flying Clouds had four clearance or (running) lights, two on each side of the trailer:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0431.jpg
Views:	270
Size:	307.3 KB
ID:	208097

At some prior time, two of the original Bargman clearance light frames had been replaced, so 8038 had two original Bargman frames and two aftermarket frames, as you can see in the image above.

I suspected that the bottom two frames were aluminum, as they show no corrosion. Eventually, I discovered that the two missing original Bargman clearance lights came with the trailer in a box of miscellaneous items. I intend eventually to re-plate and install the four original Barman frames.

3. License plate light. This image is of the license plate light and plate holding assembly (with the red glass lens already removed):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0442.jpg
Views:	298
Size:	340.9 KB
ID:	208098

The light fixture secures the license plate holder to the sheet aluminum, and there was quite a bit of corrosion on both the aluminum and the license plate holder.

4. Door light. I also removed the light adjacent to the entry door for the cabin. Removing several screws was all that was required.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0694.jpg
Views:	213
Size:	269.5 KB
ID:	208099

This is the only image I have, and the light is upside down on the workbench.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 06:59 AM   #47
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Cleaning the exterior hardware

To clean the exterior hardware first required some dis-assembly. I took a lot of photos to help me reconstruct the hardware if necessary. After the dis-assembly, I turned to cleaning.

Tools. To de-rust and clean the exterior hardware items, I experimented a good bit, trying to find a technique that worked best. I am sorry to report that I have no sure-fire method to recommend to you. I used naval jelly, mineral spirits, acetone, rags, scrapers, dental picks, and nitrile gloves:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0691.jpg
Views:	213
Size:	271.4 KB
ID:	208314

I also used a vise, a small anvil, and a hammer.

Techniques. The naval jelly is for the rust. Naval jelly has been around a long time, and I do not know if it is state of the art today. I brushed on the naval jelly, let it sit for awhile, and then I wiped it off.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0692.jpg
Views:	203
Size:	326.7 KB
ID:	208315

Naval jelly is good for surface rust, but the Bargman taillight rings were deeply pitted, and a good bit of the metal was gone (eventually, I decided to replace the rings). I used rags and mineral spirits to clean the hardware after using the naval jelly.

The license plate light was structurally sound and ready for re-plating. The license plate holder needed some attention, as the holder was corroded and bent. First, I used sandpaper to clean the holder surface of rust and corrosion. I then used my bench vise and a small anvil to reshape the holder to proper form:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0693.jpg
Views:	237
Size:	269.1 KB
ID:	208316

The trick was to gradually reform the holder on the flat surface of the anvil (which is held stationary by the vise) by gently striking the holder with the flat face of the hammer. Subsequent to that photo, I purchased (1) a better hammer for working metal (something like this) and (2) a larger anvil, and I have used the larger anvil for a number of tasks (one of which was reforming a drip cap, and I will post separately about that).
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 07:10 AM   #48
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Door lock removal and disassembly

Here is the exterior handle portion of a Bargman L-54 or L-55 (I believe) door lock assembly:

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5689.JPG
Views:	205
Size:	46.3 KB
ID:	208317

I believe that the handle is referred to as the Bargman H20-2 door handle.

Tools. Removing and disassembly of the door lock required screwdrivers, a hammer, and a nail set.

Techniques.

1. Removing the lock assembly from the door frame. In removing the door lock assembly, proceed carefully, as replacement parts are very hard to find. I removed the entire door lock assembly, which required patience, and I took a photo of each step (1) as I removed the lock assembly from the door frame (these photos would help me re-install the assembly) and (2) as I disassembled the lock mechanism (these photos would assist me in rebuilding the mechanism).

For example, here are several photos of the removal of the lock assembly from the door (from the inside of the cabin):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0489.jpg
Views:	194
Size:	247.8 KB
ID:	208318

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0491.jpg
Views:	199
Size:	344.9 KB
ID:	208319

I used these photos to leave myself a record of how all the pieces of the assembly fit together and were secured to the frame of the door. I actually took eight photos of the removal.

2. Disassembly of the handle mechanism. Next, I went to the bench and disassembled the handle mechanism. If you do this, be careful in disassembly, as many of these pieces have been stressed over the years and may break. I also took a photo of each step of the disassembly process. This photo shows the mostly-disassembled handle mechanism:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0500.jpg
Views:	184
Size:	311.8 KB
ID:	208320

I used a hammer and nail set to drive the pins out of the assembly, and I also used a small-blade screwdriver to remove some set screws. I took seven photos of the various steps in the disassembly process.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 07:17 AM   #49
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Compartment door

Most camper trailers have exterior-access compartments. 8038 had one compartment door on the curbside (the compartment storage space was under the double bed running along the curbside):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0175.jpg
Views:	243
Size:	359.5 KB
ID:	208322

The compartment door and the surrounding frame both were in bad shape (and showed signs of water penetration), so I decided to remove (and eventually rebuild) both the door and the frame.

One issue I faced was the lock to the compartment door. The door had a locking mechanism, but I had no key for it.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0770.jpg
Views:	210
Size:	165.4 KB
ID:	208323

I thought it would be easy to have new keys made for it, but that was not to be. I removed the lock cylinder and took it to several locksmiths who could not provide me keys. Eventually, I found a high-volume and knowledgeable locksmith who was able to fabricate new keys for the mechanism. The locksmith had to make the keys from blanks designed for a different lock cylinder.

Compartment doors are notorious for leaking, and I expect that I will need to beef up the framing and do a better job of sealing with gaskets, and I will address those tasks in another posting (when I get to it).
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 07:50 AM   #50
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Roof vents

The roof vents on camper trailers are known to cause problems, and the problems often involve water entering the cabin through or around the vent opening. When I purchased 8038, it had two roof vents and a large (and very ugly) air conditioning unit on the roof. One roof vent was in the rear of the cabin, one roof vent was in the front of the cabin, and the roof air conditioner was in the center. I will discuss in another post removal of the air conditioner.

The two roof vents were Hehr roof vents composed of two parts: an interior frame part and an exterior frame part. I could not figure out how to disassemble the vents, and I ended up spending time on the Airforums to find out how to do so. I hope that my explanation below may save you some time.

Tools. Removing the Hehr vents requires a slot-blade screw driver. To remove the interior and exterior frames (as described below), you also will need tools to drill out the rivets holding the frames to the trailer. This post discusses the tools and techniques for drilling out rivets.

Techniques. To remove these frames requires separation of the interior frame from the exterior frame and then removal of (1) the interior frame from inside the cabin and (2) the exterior frame (and vent hood) from the outside. Here is an 8038 Hehr vent (showing its age), viewed from inside, before any disassembly:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0722.jpg
Views:	190
Size:	139.6 KB
ID:	208745

1. Remove crank handles. The first step is to remove the crank handles that operate the lift mechanisms. In the image above, two handles are protruding through the screening. Those handles are attached to a shaft with a friction fitting, so gently pull the handles toward the floor of the trailer. This photo shows the vent assembly upside down on a benchtop with the two handles removed, and it shows the detent for the friction fit of the handle:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3121.jpg
Views:	195
Size:	303.8 KB
ID:	208746

2. Remove screening. After the handles are removed, the screening will slide down the shafts to which the handles had been attached. Be careful, as when you remove the second crank handle, the screen will be free to fall to the floor, and that could damage the screen.

3. Detach lifters from interior frame. The photo above also shows the cylindrical lifter mechanism (referred to as a Ladeau or possibly LeDeux or LaDeau lifter) that raises and lowers the exterior vent hood. Turning the handles turns the crank shaft, which causes the lifter to expand or contract, thus raising or lowering the vent hood.

The following image is of the exterior roof vent frame and hood, and it is sitting upside down on my workbench. The left lifter is expanded and the right lifter is not:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3123.jpg
Views:	216
Size:	258.4 KB
ID:	208747

The lifter mechanism is riveted to the frame of exterior vent hood.

Now, back to the disassembly. After removing the handles and the screening, the next step is to detach the bottom of the lifter mechanism (remember that the top of the lifter mechanism is riveted to the exterior vent hood) from the interior frame. The bottom of the lifter attaches to a bracket on the interior frame by a small pinch pin on each side of the lifter. In the following photo (from the Airforums) of the bracket (which has been detached from the interior frame), the bottom of the lifter is held in place by the short pins that protrude from the legs of the brackets:

Click image for larger version

Name:	Leadeau.JPG
Views:	187
Size:	123.3 KB
ID:	208748

Place the blade of a slot-blade screwdriver between the bracket leg and the lifter. Twist the blade to disconnect the short pins on the bracket leg to separate the lifter assembly from the bracket.

4. Remove interior frame. Now that the lifters are detached from the interior frame, you can remove the interior frame, which will involve drilling out the rivets that hold the interior frame to the ceiling of the cabin.

5. Remove exterior frame. After the interior frame and the exterior frame are separated, you can remove the exterior frame (and the attached vent hood). This will involve drilling out the rivets that hold the exterior frame to the exterior roof the trailer, so you must have access to the roof of the trailer to drill out the rivets holding the exterior frame to the roof. I will describe in another post the scaffolding I used to work on the roof.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2014, 08:01 AM   #51
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
The air conditioner

I think that 8038 generally has graceful lines and proportions and is pleasing to the eye. Not so, when it comes to the unlovely air conditioning unit on the roof:


Name:   DSCN0164.jpg
Views: 1139
Size:  17.6 KB

Look at that ugly barnacle! I was determined to remove that unsightly blemish. I expect 8038 to live its life with my wife and me in the mountains of North America, and I plan not to install a new air conditioner (but I will install 120v AC wire and a drain tube in case I or another owner wants to install an air conditioner).

The original installation of the air conditioner made a huge mess of the roof, and I have considerable anxiety as to whether I will succeed in keeping the cabin dry because of all the holes in the roof (photo below). In another post I will discuss repairs to the roof because of removal of the air conditioner.

Tools. To remove the air conditioner, I spent time on the roof of the trailer, and I used a scaffolding system, putty knives, a hammer, penetrating oil (to loosen stuck nuts and screws), and other miscellaneous pliers and cutting hand tools. I also drilled out some rivets, and this post discusses rivet drilling.

Techniques:

1. Access to the roof. Several techniques may be used to work on the roof of a trailer. Airstreams are quite light weight, and the rib structure supporting the roof is not, to my eye, confidence inspiring. I am 6' tall and weigh 180+ pounds, and I am reluctant to place my weight on the roof of 8038. I have seen smaller persons on Airstream roofs, but they are careful to distribute their weight onto the rivet lines that show where a support rib is underneath the roof metal. If you are comfortable on the roof, good for you. I was not comfortable. Here is more information about the roof.

I had to come up with other methods of working on the roof, and I came up with two:

a. Access through the roof vent opening. After the interior and exterior roof vent frames have been removed (see this post), the roof vent opening is as big as it will be. I discovered that I could fit my upper body through the roof vent opening, but only if I did it a certain way. It turns out that the problem for me was getting my shoulders through the vent opening. The only way I could get through was to (1) stand on a step ladder, (2) lead with one arm and shoulder extended up and through the vent opening, and then (3) bring the other (lower) shoulder and arm (which had been hanging down while I moved the first arm through the opening) through the opening. I then would have both shoulders and arms through the roof vent, and I could stand on the step ladder and work on an area surrounding the vent opening. This method limited my roof work area to the area I could reach while standing on the step ladder (but I could work from both the front and rear vent openings).

b. Access by scaffolding. Scaffolding is well designed for just this kind of work, but I had access (thanks to a neighbor) to only one unit, so I had to self-construct a scaffolding system. Here is what I put together, and it worked very well. This is the curbside view:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2547.jpg
Views:	193
Size:	237.3 KB
ID:	208742

This is the streetside view:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2559.jpg
Views:	207
Size:	228.0 KB
ID:	208743

I used the green t-shirt to keep the ladder from marring the sidewall of the trailer. I also placed a blanket underneath the plank that ran across the roof of the trailer. I did attach cleats to each end of the plank so that it could not move.

I admit that the curbside arrangement made me a bit nervous, so what I ended up doing to get on the roof was to enter the cabin, climb the step ladder, get my upper body through the roof vent opening, and then bring the rest of my body weight onto the plank across the roof. Getting off the roof was complicated, but I did not have far to fall into the cabin (and I never did fall).

I hoped to remove the air conditioner in one piece, but that was not to be. After I removed the shroud, I realized that I need to disassemble the unit into pieces while it was on the roof so that I could handle the weight of each piece in removing it from the roof. I ended up working on the AC from both the front and back roof vent openings. I will not bore you with all the details, but (after a good bit of time, penetrating oil, muscle on wrenches and hammers, and a few curses along the way), the removal was complete:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2553.jpg
Views:	205
Size:	225.2 KB
ID:	208744

The problem is all the *&! holes in the roof. The photo above is after I removed lots of caulk, silicone, and other materials accumulated after 50+ years of use.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2014, 03:28 PM   #52
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing swinging window frames

A "swinging" window frame is one that will open by use of a crank mechanism operated from inside the trailer. 8038 had some swinging windows that were (1) part of a two-frame window (a fixed-in-place upper window frame, and a swinging lower window frame) and (2) a one-frame window. Regardless of whether the swinging frame was in a one-frame window or a two-frame window, the process of removing the swinging window is the same.

Tools. The tools necessary for removal of a swinging window frame are quite limited. You need a screwdriver and pliers, and a helper would make things much easier.

Techniques.

1. Free the crank mechanism. From the inside of the coach, remove the screws holding the crank mechanism and free the mechanism from the center support of the fixed window frame with the screening.

2. Free crank arm from swinging window. Next, free the far end of the crank arm from the swinging window frame. The crank arm extends through the center support of the fixed window and through the screening. Free the far end of the crank arm by sliding the end of the crank arm, which has plastic bushings at the end, up the center support of the swinging window so that the end of the crank arm will slide free of that center support of the swinging window. This is an image of the crank arm protruding through the fixed window center support and the screening:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0565.jpg
Views:	187
Size:	440.3 KB
ID:	208903

Here is an image of the end of the crank arm free of the center support of the swinging window (but the center support has been removed from the frame of the swinging window):

Click image for larger version

Name:	0100.jpg
Views:	205
Size:	165.8 KB
ID:	208904

3. Bring crank arm into cabin. Next, pull the crank arm through the screening and the center support of the fixed window and into the cabin. If the plastic bushings at the end of the shaft do not fit through the opening in the screening and the center support, remove the bushings from the end of the crank arm. The arm now should fit through the center support of the fixed window. It is nice to have a helper for this task, as it is difficult to be on the inside and outside of the trailer at the same time and the swinging window frame now will swing freely (and get in your way).

4. Remove swinging window frame. From the exterior of the coach, the swinging window panel will slide sideways out of the fixed frame, but you first must bend up a retaining tab (at either end) that holds the swinging window in place. The tab is in the center of this image, and the tab is facing down as it would be to hold the swinging window frame in place (even though the swinging window has been removed):

Click image for larger version

Name:	0081.jpg
Views:	178
Size:	155.3 KB
ID:	208905

Carefully bend the tab up so as to be parallel to the ground (you may be able to use your fingers; if not, use pliers), as the tab eventually must be bent back down when you re-install the window. Be gentle with the tab, as you do not want to break it off!

The process of removing a swinging window is the same for both a one-frame window and a two-frame window.

These old window frames are very hard to replace, so make sure you work carefully with them.

Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2014, 03:31 PM   #53
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing the riveted-in-place window frames

Initially, I did not intend to remove all of the window frames, but eventually I decided to remove them all so that I could replace all of the original glass with safety glass. The window frames must be removed to replace the glass. In addition, I had to remove some of the riveted-frame windows to remove aged window gaskets.

See this post about rivet removal and the related equipment. The tools and techniques for window rivet removal are no different.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2014, 12:40 PM   #54
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Hello RankAm,
I share much in common with you. I forward to following your progress.
Do you have any suggestions for replacing damaged ribs? I'm down to the bare frame now and ready to start building but have three ribs that were damaged beyond use.
Good luck with your rebuild.
Edward
rkeytek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2014, 07:20 AM   #55
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkeytek View Post
Hello RankAm,
I share much in common with you. I forward to following your progress.
Do you have any suggestions for replacing damaged ribs? I'm down to the bare frame now and ready to start building but have three ribs that were damaged beyond use.
Good luck with your rebuild.
Edward
Edward, I suggest you use the Airforums Search function. I just searched on "rib repair" and had several hits. I have not had to do any rib repairs.

Good luck to you!

Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2014, 02:45 PM   #56
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Disassembly of swinging windows

I decided to replace all of the glass in the windows of 8038, so I had to remove and disassemble every window. Another reason to disassemble windows is to give them a thorough cleaning and polishing. Vintage trailer aluminum usually needs some cleaning before you can return it to its full glory.

I did not know how to disassemble a window, but I learned that it is quite simple. Take your time, have the correct tools, and march ahead!

Tools. For window disassembly you will need a slotted screwdriver, wrenches, a putty knife, a single-edge razor, and a flat workbench surface.

Techniques. To disassemble a swinging window that has been removed from the trailer, do the following:

1. Remove center support arm from swinging window frame. If the swinging window frame has a center support arm, the arm must be removed by removing the screws that hold the arm in place:

Click image for larger version

Name:	0092.jpg
Views:	169
Size:	118.8 KB
ID:	209231

Now you can remove the center support arm from the frame.

2. Remove aluminum brackets holding the glass. The window glass is held in place by four aluminum brackets that are attached to the inside of the window frame by machine screws and nuts, like the rusty ones in this photo:

Click image for larger version

Name:	0091.jpg
Views:	184
Size:	195.9 KB
ID:	209232

Gently loosen the nut with a wrench and then remove the bracket. I marked (on the back side out of sight) each bracket, as soon as I removed it, with a Sharpie pen to identify its location in the frame:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0631.jpg
Views:	212
Size:	308.2 KB
ID:	209233

After I removed and marked all four brackets and the center support arm, I bundled and taped all the pieces together for storage. I marked on the bundle tape the window to which the parts belong.

Next, removing the window glass.

3. Cut around seal with window frame. As you work on removing the glass from the frame, be careful of cutting yourself on the glass. I sometimes wore leather gloves, and sometimes I did not because (when wearing gloves) I could not do with my fingers what I wanted to do.

Place the window frame on the workbench, exterior side up. If the frame is not fully supported by the workbench surface in that position, do whatever is necessary to provide the support. The aluminum frames will bend if you are not careful. I used scrap wood to provide support, and sometimes a part of the frame would hang over the front edge of the workbench to stabilize the rest of the frame. You also may need to clamp the frame to your countertop to prevent it from moving.

The glass is secured to the frame in several ways, including a gasket, caulk, possibly silicone, and accumulated dust and grime. I first used a utility knife with a sharp blade to break the seal between the glass and the frame:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0637.jpg
Views:	196
Size:	284.0 KB
ID:	209234

4. Remove materials on inside of frame. If the glass pane does not come free of the frame after you use the utility knife, place the window frame on the workbench, interior side up. You might place a towel on the bench top to protect the window frame from scratches.If the frame is not fully supported by the workbench surface in that position, do whatever is necessary to provide the support. Remove any caulk, silicone, etc., that holds the pane in place. I used a putty knife, a single-edge razor, and dental picks.

If you have silicone holding the glass pane in place, you have a special treat in store for you, as silicone is very difficult to remove. It will come off, but only after considerable effort. I used several products to remove the silicone, and none of them was particularly successful. The products merely softened the silicone, which made it easier to remove the silicone with a scraper, single-edge plastic razor blades, and rags with mineral spirits.

After enough repetitions of silicone remover, rags, and mineral spirits, I eventually would get rid of all of the silicone, but it did take a lot of time.

5. Remove glass from frame. Once you have cleaned up all the materials holding the glass in place, and with the inside of the frame still facing up, try to remove the glass by raising one corner of the frame. Get a finger or two under the corner, and push up with your fingers to see if the glass is free of the frame. If the glass is free, work the glass away from the frame so that you can safely grab the pane (now would be a good time for leather gloves!).

If the glass pane does not come free with the inside of the frame facing up, switch the orientation of the frame. Place the window frame on a workbench with the exterior of the window facing up (again, supported as necessary). I placed a towel under the frame. Now, gently press down on the glass pane until it separates from the frame.

When the gasket comes free of the frame and the glass, remove and dispose of it. Fifty-year old gasket material is no good for re-use.

6. Dispose of glass. I did not intend to re-use the glass, so (after retaining a few pieces for when I needed a flat surface, such as for sharpening shop tools), I broke the rest of the glass in a trash barrel. If you intend to reuse the glass, store it away.

You now have swinging window frames with the glass removed, but you have some frame cleaning to do, which comes next.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #57
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Cleaning of window frames

Now that your window frame (swinging or fixed) has the glass removed, you can clean the entire frame because you now have access to all of the frame surfaces.

Tools. The tools required for window frame cleaning are pliers, putty knives (both metal and plastic), popsicle sticks, plastic razor blades, dental picks, abrasive pads, sandpaper, rags, and mineral spirits.

Techniques. Here is a typical window frame with the glass pane removed (the glass pane is underneath the frame in this photo):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0634.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	321.0 KB
ID:	209235

Lots of gunk has to be removed.

1. Discard gasket. Remove and discard the gasket, as it probably is old and brittle.

2. Remove screening. If you will be re-screening your windows, remove any screening on the frame. I used pliers to pull the screening off the window frame, as I intend to replace all of the screening.

3. Remove caulk. Next, attack the caulk and other gunk. First, make sure that the window frame is properly supported and anchored on your work surface. You may be able to work on the frame without supporting and anchoring, but proceed carefully so that you do not bend, stretch, or otherwise damage the frame. Some of the frames are quite large, and you will need a large work area. Here is what I used (temporarily) while working on a large number of frames (the image actually is of my removing paint from the interior window trim pieces, but the work area setup is the same as for my window frame cleaning):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3014.jpg
Views:	202
Size:	294.3 KB
ID:	209236

Those are sheets of plywood (actually, OSB) supported by saw horses. I also used a wheeled stool, so that I could sit and work on the frames, rather than stand and bend over the work surface.

To remove the caulk, I used wood popsicle sticks, a putty knife, dental picks, and lots of rags with mineral spirits. I was amazed at the pliability of some of the decades-old Vulkem caulk:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3018.jpg
Views:	234
Size:	271.1 KB
ID:	209237

To remove the heavy accumulations of caulk, I first would use popsicle sticks. Next, I would use putty knives: a metal putty knife on the inside of the frame and a plastic putty knife on the outside of the frame. I used the dental picks to get into cracks, tight corners, etc.

After you have the heaviest accumulations of caulk removed by hand tools, change to abrasive pads (like ScotchBrite) and mineral spirits. After you have most of the accumulated gunk removed, switch to rags with mineral spirits. Take your time, and use lots of rags with mineral spirits, as this is the least damaging technique for cleaning the window frame.

I also used some sandpaper. Yes!, sandpaper, which generally is a no-no in working on aluminum. If I encountered pitting or other serious corrosion on the inside of the window frame, I would lightly sand with a high-grit-count wet/dry sandpaper. The window frames are solid aluminum (I think), but sheet aluminum is alclad with only a thin layer of aluminum on the outside, so sanding is NOT a good idea on sheet aluminum. I decided that I would use sandpaper only on the inside of frames with bad corrosion, and I did it very selectively.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0683.jpg
Views:	167
Size:	314.8 KB
ID:	209238

By the way, cleaning aluminum involves lots of black residue, and I recommend that you wear nitrile gloves as you clean.

4. Silicone. When I encountered silicone, I first would apply a silicone "remover" to soften the silicone, and then I would use a plastic razor blade to remove the softened silicone. I often would repeat this process several times to remove all of the silicone.

The frames now are ready for polishing.
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2014, 03:05 PM   #58
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
First-pass polishing of exterior window frames

Even though I was (and still am, at the time of this writing) nowhere near ready to start polishing the shell of 8038, I could not resist the opportunity to see if the exterior swinging window frames would polish up to a satisfactory sheen, so I set up for the first-pass polish. The task is to remove half a century of oxidation, dust, and grime. With patience and care, most alclad aluminum used on Airstreams of the vintage of 8038 will come to a high-gloss shine. Whether I can accomplish that shine remains to be seen, and a subsequent posting will have to address that. For the window frames, all I wanted to do was the first-pass polish with a rough polishing compound.

Tools. You will need a rotary polishing tool, buffing wheels, buffing rake, polishing compound, rags (lots of them), and mineral spirits. Wear appropriate clothing, as discussed below in this post.

You also will need clamps or other hold-down tools to secure the window frame to the work area. You will use a rotary power tool to polish, and that tool can grab and launch the window frame if you have some kind of "catch" (caused by the buffing wheel grabbing the frame). To avoid a launch, anchor the window frame. Here is an example of what I did:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0679.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	274.7 KB
ID:	209239

Note that I used clamps and wood blocks to hold the frame to the workbench. I used the wood blocks to distribute the pressure of the clamp to avoid denting the window frame. Note also how black the white cotton buffing wheel became.

If the frame is exterior side up, this is how I secured the frame:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0688.jpg
Views:	181
Size:	286.2 KB
ID:	209240

I used the wood boards to support the frame, and I anchored everything to the countertop. I had to move the clamps around to polish all of the surfaces. Note the gray residue on the countertop. I should have protected the countertop before I started buffing. That gray residue continually reminds me of the fun I had polishing the window frames. I probably could sand out that gray residue.

Techniques. Many choices are available as to polishing techniques and materials, and I will describe the method I have learned. I describe below only the first step of a three-step polishing process that I learned at the Vintage Trailer Academy. For a more comprehensive discussion and videos about this process, see here. I encourage you to find a technique that works for you.

You should wear (1) a face shield (or, at least, eye goggles) because you will be working with a rotary tool that will throw grime and polishing compound at you and (2) a respirator or breathing mask. Polishing is dirty business, so wear clothing that you are willing to sacrifice to your life as a polisher. I recommend that you wear long pants plus a long-sleeve shirt to protect yourself from the grime that the polisher will throw your way.

I used an electric drill for this task, as I did not then have a larger angle buffer. Subsequent to my first-pass polish of the window frames, I purchased a Makita 9227 C, which has a variable speed of 600 to 3000 rpm. Avoid high buffing speeds because speeds greater than 4000 rpm may burn/discolor the aluminum, and it is very important that you not burn the metal. If you burn the metal, the metal must be replaced (or you must learn to live with the burned metal surface).

I used the electric drill, which was variable speed through a trigger control. I was aware of the speed issue, and I tried to to keep the drill speed slow. I did not burn any of the window frames, so my advice is that you can use a drill if you are careful with your trigger finger.

I used for this task 4" buffing wheels made of cotton. An advantage of the 4" wheels (as compared to the standard 8" wheels used with a larger buffer) is that the 4" wheel is easier to control and get into smaller spaces. Even a 4" wheel is too large for some nooks, crannies, and corners, and I used an even smaller buffing wheel with the drill and a handheld rotary tool (like a Dremel):

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0689.jpg
Views:	178
Size:	348.2 KB
ID:	209241

Note the very small cotton wheel attached to the drill. I may be taking this polishing a bit too seriously!

I will post separately about general polishing technique (when I get to that task). For the 8038 window frames, I used this process:

1. Load some polishing compound onto the buffing wheel by holding the compound bar against the slowly-spinning buffing wheel.

2. Buff the aluminum surface with the buffing wheel turning at an appropriate speed.

3. Cleaning the buffed aluminum with a rag and mineral spirits.

4. Repeating steps 1 - 3 as necessary to obtain the desired finish to the aluminum.

5. Periodically cleaning the buffing wheel of accumulated buffing compound and grime by holding the slowly-turning buffing wheel against the rake.

I want to stress one thing about polishing window frames: be careful as to the orientation of the buffing wheel. There are many surfaces to a window frame, and you will be turning your polishing tool many directions to get to all of the surfaces, particularly the surfaces on the inside of the frame.

Be aware of the direction of rotation of the buffing wheel, as you want the wheel to be rotating away from an edge, rather than into an edge. Your buffing wheel may catch an edge if the direction of rotation is into the edge. A catch will transfer considerable energy to the window frame, and that could cause damage to the frame. If the direction of rotation is away from the edge, your chances of a catch are much less.

Who is this: Darth Vader?, Anthony Hopkins in a reprise of Silence of the Lambs? No, me in my polishing gear:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0684.jpg
Views:	178
Size:	273.6 KB
ID:	209242
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #59
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Removing the belly pan

The belly pan of 8038 showed its age and plenty of road scars, plus some not-so-beautiful repairs. This shot is of the curb side behind the wheel well:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0645.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	204.1 KB
ID:	209426

On the streetside, a piece of sheet metal had been scabbed onto the belly pan to cover an opening that apparently had been made through the belly pan to permit cutting through the outriggers for installation of some plumbing:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN0650.jpg
Views:	163
Size:	241.2 KB
ID:	209427

Tools. For belly pan removal, I used a drill, drill bits, respirator, creeper, pliers, chisel, and hammer.

Techniques. First, I took lots of photos of the belly pan so that I could (if necessary) reconstruct it. In particular, I took photos of (1) joints/overlaps of the sheet aluminum and (2) points where the belly pan attached to the frame of the trailer (usually by rivet, but wire also was used above the axle). I will describe what I did on 8038. If there are better techniques, please let us hear from you!

Before you start drilling out belly pan rivets, cover your body and face as best you can, and wear a respirator or breathing mask. The belly pan is full of dirt, road debris, plus insect, plant, and animal life or residue. It is quite likely that your trailer had rodents in the belly pan at some time, and you do not want to ingest or breathe what remains.

You will be very dirty (disgustingly dirty) after you drill out belly pan rivets and remove the sheet aluminum.

To remove the belly, you must drill out (1) the solid-shank rivets attaching the belly pan sheet to the side walls of the coach (all the way around the trailer) and (2) the pop rivets attaching the sheet aluminum to the frame (and outriggers). To drill out solid-shank rivets, a self-centering adapter is required (see this post). I used my stool with wheels and rolled around the perimeter of the trailer drilling out the solid-shank rivets.

From the mechanic’s creeper under the trailer, and I started drilling out the various pop rivets that held the belly pan in place. Pop rivets may be drilled out without the use of a self-centering adapter on your drill. Because the pop rivet has a shank in the middle, there is a depression in the exposed rivet head into which your drill bit fits very nicely. You can get your hole started without the assistance the self-centering adapter.

Beware that the sheet aluminum may finally break free of the frame and drop after you remove enough rivets, and you do not want to be under that sheet metal when it moves.

I also took a lot of photos as the belly pan sheet aluminum was coming off. I wanted to be able to reconstruct how and where the pieces fit together and to the frame.

The outside edge of the belly pan sheet bends around the outriggers and fits inside of the exterior side wall of the coach. I already had been around the exterior perimeter of the trailer and had drilled out all the solid shank rivets passing through the side wall and the belly pan metal After drilling out the two sets of rivets, I tried to remove the belly pan pieces, but the outside edges of the metal would not slide free from the joint with the exterior side wall of the coach.

I tried several times to remove the belly pan sheet metal, but I did not want to damage the side wall metal by applying too much force to the belly pan piece. I decided to ask about this problem at the Vintage Trailer Academy that I soon would be attending. To make a long story short, I learned that, at the factory, the trailer frame was placed upside down and that the outside edges of the belly pan sheet aluminum pieces were riveted (with a few hidden solid-shank rivets) to the outriggers (this happened before the cabin structure and sidewalls were installed). These rivets do not show from the outside of the trailer after the sidewalls are installed. Because I could not see those rivets from the outside, I had not drilled them out, and that is why the belly pan side pieces would not come free.

I learned that I had to slide a putty knife with a sharp cutting edge between the belly pan sheet aluminum and the outriggers to find these rivets. To do that, however, the interior cabin walls must be removed because that is the only point of access to the joint between the belly pan sheet aluminum and the outriggers.

After I had removed the interior walls (see this post), I discovered another reason why my belly pan side pieces would not move: they had been bent over the outside leg of the c-channel. The belly pan metal had tabs that bent over the c-channel. The tab was held in place by a solid-shank rivet that passed through (1) the exterior side wall sheet, (2) the belly pan sheet as it came up from below, (3) the outside leg of the c-channel, and (4) the belly pan sheet again as it came down after being bent over the outside leg of the c-channel. All of that was covered by some kind of black sealant. Some, but not all, Airstreams of the vintage of 8038 had this bent-tab construction technique. The good news was that this construction technique made those belly pan pieces very well secured to the trailer. The bad news was that I was going to have bend and free all of the tabs. This was a hands-and-knees job all the way around the interior perimeter of the trailer, and it was another job I did not like.

Here is a photo of the tabs and the tools I used to break free the tabs from the black sealant and rivets:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2775.jpg
Views:	183
Size:	425.0 KB
ID:	209428

All of the solid-shank rivets you see above had been drilled from the exterior of the trailer, so usually it was not difficult to get the tab to come free of the bucked end of the rivet (the near side of the rivet in the photo above). The hard part of the process was getting an end of the tab free of the rivet end and black sealant so that I could then start to bend the tab upward with the wide-blade pliers.

Some of the tabs passed behind a rib, and I had to use the cutting edge of a putty knife to cut the part of the tab that was (1) bent over the outside leg of the c-channel and (2) behind the rib. For example, I had to cut the part of the tab in this photo that was behind the rib:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN2782.jpg
Views:	203
Size:	314.0 KB
ID:	209429

Cutting a tab behind a rib places the cutting tool next to the exterior sheet metal. Be very careful when you use any kind of cutting tool next to exterior sheet aluminum. You do not want to cut, dent, or stretch the exterior aluminum. Cutting the tabs behind the ribs was awkward and uncomfortable work (on my hands and knees), and it, too, goes on my list of Airstream restoration tasks I prefer not to do again.

After working my way around the c-channel of the trailer, and with all of the tabs bent upward, I finally was able to (1) find and cut through the original hidden rivets holding the belly pan metal to the outriggers and (2) slide the belly pan metal free of the frame and remove them. Remember to wear a respirator while working with and cleaning up belly pan residue. Also, mark each belly pan piece with a Sharpie so that you can reconstruct the belly pan pieces if necessary.

I intended to remove (and probably replace) all of the belly pan metal, so I did not have to agonize over whether to salvage any of the pieces. I kept all of the pieces I removed in case I would need them for use as a template for new belly pan metal. It is particularly important to save and preserve the belly pan sheets that bend up to meet the sidewalls at the four corners of the trailer because the four corner pieces are difficult to make.

Hank
__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2014, 03:55 PM   #60
4 Rivet Member
 
RankAm's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Frame grinding

Placing the trailer on jack stands.

I think it is very difficult to work under 8038. There was enough room to crawl under the trailer on my back by using a mechanic’s creeper. There was very little room to maneuver or work with my hands (which I would need to do to grind and paint the frame), so I decided to raise the trailer onto jack stands. I previously had removed the belly pan, so the main frame rails were exposed. Do not try to use jack stands if the belly pan is in place.

I purchased two pairs of jack stands, rather than just one pair, as I decided that I would feel better if I had the frame supported as follows:

1. At the front A-frame, by having the two legs of the A-frame rest on a round of a large log.

2. In front of each wheel well by a jack stand on the main frame rail.

3. Behind the wheel well by a jack stand on the main frame rail.

4. At the rear of the trailer by the adjustable stands that came with 8038 (which are not designed to carry weight, just to stabilize the trailer). The stands prevent the trailer from tipping to the rear, and I placed one stand on each of the two main frame rails that supported the bumper.

To get the trailer up on the jack stands involved using a floor jack (another Harbor Freight purchase) and in stages raising all of the contact points with the frame. I suggest that you not try to raise the trailer to its maximum height all at once, as you may seriously unbalance the trailer in doing that. You must raise the trailer by having the floor jack (and the jack stands) contact only the main frame rails. As you raise the trailer, have the floor jack contact point be as close as possible to where you want the jack stand to contact the main frame rails.

Here is 8038 up on the jack stands:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3092.jpg
Views:	198
Size:	257.9 KB
ID:	209607

I raised the jack stands with wooden platforms. I wanted more height than I could get from using only the jack stands, so I built solid wood platforms from 4” x 12” fir. I was satisfied that the base was sufficiently solid, but use your own good judgment if you use something like this.

Grinding the frame.

Grinding of the frame of 8038 was one of the dirtiest, nastiest, most anxiety creating, and generally most unpleasant of all my restoration tasks so far. I spent several of the worst days of my life grinding the frame of 8038.

Why grind the frame? Because I wanted to paint the frame with a rust-inhibiting paint and, to get good paint bonding, the loose rust and other gunk have to be removed from the frame prior to painting.

Safety. Grinding is dangerous and scary. You are holding a powerful grinder with an aggressive grinding wheel turning at very high speed. The grinder may throw debris at you (thus, the need for a full face shield and sturdy clothing), and it generally is creating clouds of dust composed of rust, dirt, animal leftovers, etc. (thus, the need for a respirator). In addition, if you are under the trailer as I was, you will be operating the grinder close to your body, and if you were to drop the grinder on your body, serious injury could result. For grinding the frame, I purchased a one-piece work suit made of heavy fabric, and I wore it when I was under the trailer:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3071.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	276.7 KB
ID:	209603

The face mask has a lovely off-white, slightly dust-colored hue to it, don’t you think? You will note that I was wearing goggles, rather than a full face shield. I had trouble with the full face shield because it would fog up when I was on my back under the trailer. Sometimes I used only the goggles, but my advice is that you wear the full face shield.

Tools. Necessary tools for grinding the frame are grinder/s, electric drill, various grinding wheels, respirator, full face shield, creeper, suitable clothing, and adequate lighting. I had two grinders, one of which had a paddle switch, and the other of which had a sliding switch. The paddle switch requires pressure against the paddle to operate the grinder. The advantage of the paddle switch is that, if you lose your grip or drop the grinder, the machine shuts off. Using a grinder under a trailer is awkward at best, and dropping the grinder is quite possible, particularly if you have a “catch” when the grinding wheel catches on something that causes the grinder to move quickly and strongly. A “catch” is a very real prospect considering the many angles, corners, and joints you will encounter in grinding a trailer frame. I dropped a grinder several times as I was working on the frame of 8038, but no injuries resulted because I kept the grinder away from my body.

The advantage of a sliding switch grinder is that you can change your hand position without turning off the grinder. I often changed hand position as I worked on the frame. Changing hand position with the paddle switch grinder was inconvenient.

I used both of my grinders at various times, and sometimes I used them more-or-less at the same time because I would have different grinding wheels on the two grinders. Please remember that grinders are dangerous and should be used with great care. Protect your body when you use the grinder. I used a variety of grinding wheels: polycarbide, wire, and knotted wire:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3088.jpg
Views:	165
Size:	315.0 KB
ID:	209604

To provide adequate light under the trailer where I was grinding, I first used drop lights, but they did not provide sufficient light, and I did not like the additional power cords, which always seemed to be getting in the way (along with the power cords for the grinders) as I was moving under the trailer on the creeper). Eventually, I bought a flood light that worked much better:

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN3086.jpg
Views:	174
Size:	271.0 KB
ID:	209605

Because of the greater wattage of this light, I could place it farther away and generally keep its power cord from getting caught up with me, the creeper, and the other power tools.

Technique. Do not use the grinder directly over your body because, if you were to drop the grinder, it would fall onto your body. Instead, move around (on your back or side or on a creeper) so that you can hold the grinder to the side of your body. Keeping the grinder away from your body may be difficult depending on your location under the trailer. In addition, you may find that the power cords knot together to limit movement of the grinder. Before turning on the grinder, make sure that your power cord is free to move.

1. Rivet removal. Before I started grinding the trailer frame, I got under the frame with pliers, a nail set, and a hammer. I used these tools to remove partial rivets (that I previously drilled out to remove the belly pan sheet aluminum) that still were stuck in the frame or outriggers. It is not unusual for part of the rivet to remain stuck in the hole in the frame. When I eventually rebuild the belly pan, I will need those holes to be open so that I can use them for rivets that attach the new sheet metal to the frame.

2. Grinding. I worked my way up the center section of the trailer (between the main frame rails), grinding every frame surface I could reach. Next, I moved to the outside of the main rails to grind the outside of the main rails and the outriggers.

The resulting mess was awful. Everything in the garage was dirty, covered in a red-brown dust. My advice is that, before you start grinding, you place drop cloths or plastic sheeting over anything nearby that you want to keep clean. I was so dirty after a day of grinding that I had to shampoo my hair three times!: the first rinse was gritty and dark, the second rinse was grayish, and the third was more-or-less normal.

The first image above shows the frame after I finished with the grinders.

With the grinders, I was not able to get into all of the corners, so I switched to my electric drill and smaller diameter wire wheels. In effect, I had to make another complete pass over the entire frame with the electric drill in an attempt to wire brush all of the nooks and crannies.

At last, I finished this disgusting and difficult task. I hope never again to grind the frame of a trailer!
__________________

__________________
See my 1956 Flying Cloud renovation thread.
RankAm is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tradewind Twin 1974 - rehab/renovation BryRedWolf 1970-79 Tradewind 11 04-12-2018 07:11 AM
total rank newbie here... katzklaw Member Introductions 10 12-18-2006 07:12 PM
amateur radio antenna for motorhome white1949 Our Community 0 01-01-2003 10:17 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
×