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Old 05-01-2016, 10:26 PM   #121
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Back to the hold-down plate

I previously posted about the lack of a real hold-down plate for 8038. See here. I now have finished up the substitute hold-down plate.

Some Airstreams came with a steel hold down plate that extends 6" or more above the level of the subfloor, but 8038 did not have that (it had only a piece of steel angle under the subfloor running between the two main frame rails), so I cut out the normal c channel under the front window, and I replaced it with a much more sturdy piece of aluminum c channel.

After cutting out the original c channel (in this post), I epoxied (the LiquidWood two-part epoxy) the wood subfloor (I used the clamps to compress the subfloor where some plies had separated) and let it dry (I previously had removed the sidewall panel underneath the front window):
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The original c channel had some sort of gasket material underneath it, and I used some thin rubber sheet as a replacement.

I cut the replacement piece of c channel (1/8" thickness, I think) to length. On my drill press, I drilled a 1/4" hole near each end of the replacement c channel. I then clamped the replacement piece in place. I used my hand-held electrical drill with a 1/4" bit to drill through the subfloor, using the previously drilled hole in the c channel as a pilot hole. I installed a 1/4" hex bolt from the top side and then installed a fender washer and lock washer from below.

With those two bolts holding the new c channel in place, I got under the trailer and drilled up through the three holes in the steel angle (underneath the subfloor) and through the new c channel. I ended up with 5 of the 1/4" bolts holding the new c channel to the floor, and three of the bolts are through the steel angle.

Next, the exterior sidewall pieces that wrap around the two front corners needed to be attached to the new c channel. To do that and get a good fit, I had to remove a lot of black spray-on gunk from the inside of the wraparound pieces. I used my multi-tool chisel (see here) and then my electrical drill with a wire brush attached.
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I clamped the wraparound sidewall piece in place, and using the holes in the sidewall piece as a pilot hole, drilled through the new c channel (and installed temporary clecos):
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Next up: trying to polish the wraparound sidewall pieces.

Hank
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:45 PM   #122
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Trying to polish the front corner wraparound sidewall sheets

For my first attempt to polish the badly pitted wraparound sidewall pieces, see here. The results were very disappointing. These sidewall pieces take a terrible beating from rocks, etc., and the surface texture was very rough.

I decided to use sandpaper. I started with 500 grit sandpaper and progressed through 800, 1000, and 1200 grit (all wet sandpaper). I used a spray bottle of water to keep the surface wet (and clean of the residue of sanding). I used a sponge to hold the sandpaper in place because I did not want a flat surface forming the sandpaper while applying it to a curved surface.

After sanding:
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I now think that I should have gone to even higher grit count because I ended up with some faint sanding marks that the polisher did not remove.

The sanding did smooth the surface, and after polishing the surface looked better (but the worst portion of the sheet, down low on the panel, does not show in the photo):
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Is it like a replacement panel?: No!
Does it look great?: No
Does it look good enough?: We will see

Hank
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Old 05-01-2016, 11:16 PM   #123
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Replacement rear panel with baggage hatch

As discussed here, I will install a baggage hatch under the rear window (8038 has one baggage hatch near the rear of the curbside sidewall).

This afternoon I used the to-be-discarded panel under the rear window to create a template to cut the baggage hatch in the new panel that I will install. I measured the dimensions of the hatch frame (the part that must fit through the hole in the exterior sheet) and then used a Sharpie to mark the opening on the old panel:
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Tools:
Hand-held drill plus drill bits
"Tin snips"
Air-powered shear

Techniques:
I drilled a 1/8" hole in each of the four corners of the cut and used that hole as a pilot hole for a larger drill bit (large enough for my air shear tool to get started within the hole). Place your pilot hole enough inside the corner that the hole created by the larger drill bit stays within the lines.

I had never made a long cut with the shear, and it did not go real smoothly, but the cuts were mostly on line.
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I used metal snips to clean up the corners and rough spots:
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Even better, the frame fit perfectly with the required overlap of the hatch frame on the panel (so that the rivets coming through the hatch frame can attach to solid metal of the sheet; if the cutout in the sheet is too big, the rivet holes in the hatch frame may not have solid metal underneath).
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I will use this piece of sheet aluminum to markup the new piece of aluminum that I will install under the rear window (more on that later).

Hank
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:29 AM   #124
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Rear baggage hatch, Part 2

I made more progress on the baggage hatch yesterday.

After I cut the opening for the frame of the hatch, I drilled the holes for rivets to anchor the frame to the panel. To do that, I squared up the frame and pulled it into place with a clamp before drilling:
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I drilled two holes (one near the top and one near the bottom) through the short side of the frame, and I then added a piece of c channel to brace up the whole panel (one on each side of the hatch frame). I want the rivets holding the sides of the hatch frame to pass through both the panel and the c channel.

To drill through and cleco the c channel pieces, I switched back and forth between having the sheet face up and face down. The first two holes into the c channel I drilled from below while laying on the floor. After those two holes were drilled and the c channel clecoed to the panel, I could flip the panel and drill the remaining holes in the side of the hatch frame (through the panel and the new c channel) from above, which was much easier to do!

I want the c channel pieces to fit within the original c channel on the floor of 8038, so I trimmed up (and narrowed) the bottom of the c channel pieces on the panel. I cut the new c channel so that I could bend a tab on the bottom to screw into the c channel on the floor of 8038.
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I decided to to drill two rivet holes in the panel above the hatch opening to provide additional anchoring of the c channel to the panel.

I test fitted the revised panel, and it fit back together! I have a good template.
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Next up: cut the new panel from the large sheet of 2042 aluminum I had ordered.
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:02 PM   #125
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Rear baggage hatch, Part 3

I finished the replacement rear panel and baggage hatch several days ago.

Tools & materials.
Air shear
Tin snips
Hand-held electric (or air) drill
Hole saw attachment for drill
Aluminum sheet for replacement panel
Belt sander
Clecos

Techniques. First, I cut the replacement panel from a larger sheet of 2024 .032 alclad. I had two factory cut edges, and the top of the new sheet will be under the rear window frame, so there was only one edge (of the two) that I cut with my air shears that I needed to clean up after the shear cut. I ended up using my belt sander to clean up the roughness in my shear cut:
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I clamped the old panel on top of the new sheet, and then (1) marked the various cutouts and (2) drilled rivet holes in the new sheet using the old panel rivet holes as pilot holes for the new sheet rivet holes. I supported the two sheets with scrap wood underneath wherever I was drilling. To make sure there was no movement as between the old and new sheets, I installed clecos as I drilled.
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For the taillight openings, I first used a hole saw and then I finished the holes with tin snips:
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I have not yet installed the replacement panel, but I am hopeful that it will fit in place.

Hank
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:20 PM   #126
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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New front panel

The sheet aluminum panel under the front window was badly pitted, plus it has the original fresh water inlet, which I will not use, so I decided to replace the panel.

Tools and materials: same as for the rear panel.

Techniques. The panel was bent at the bottom, so I had a more difficult time getting the old sheet to lay flat on the new sheet (which I had cut using the air shear and then the belt sander, as I had done with the rear panel replacement), but I came up with this layout to keep everything flat:
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I drilled the rivet holes in the two sides, and then I laid out the floating c channel pieces to make sure that the old sheet rivet holes in the interior of the sheet were holes that I needed to drill.
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The front sheet was a breeze compared to the rear panel, which required adding the baggage hatch and supporting c channels.

Done with exterior panel replacement (except for installation)!

Hank
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:04 PM   #127
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Kitchen exhaust fan patch

8038 came with the standard 120v kitchen exhaust fan. I have removed the whole assembly and will not reinstall it, so I need an exterior sidewall patch to cover the hole where the fan unit used to be.

Tools:
[To create the patch, see here.]
Hand-held electric drill
Clamps to hold patch on work area for marking and drilling
Clecos and cleco pliers
Polishing materials, buffer, and cyclo

Techniques.

I wanted to make the patch slightly larger than the exterior faceplate of the fan, and I wanted to drill new rivet holes, so I made a paper template (the size of the slightly larger patch) and mounted it with painter tape over the area where the exterior faceplate of the fan had been. From the inside of the trailer (the interior walls have been removed), I used a nail to push through the paper template to mark where the original rivet holes were. I placed the template over the patch (still covered in plastic film), and I marked on the plastic the locations of the original rivet holes (because I wanted to avoid them in drilling new rivet holes)

Next, I used a Sharpie to mark on the plastic where the rivet line should be relative to the edge of the patch. Aerowood (my go-to guy for all things rivet related) recommends that the rivets be 2 to 4 rivet diameters back from the edge. As I am using 1/8" diameter rivets, I used 3/8" as the setback. As to spacing between rivets, he recommends 6 to 8 diameters between rivets, and I ended up with spacing of about 1" apart. With a Sharpie, I marked the 3/8" line, and then I marked where the new rivet holes should be on that line. Then I drilled the rivet holes using a 1/8" drill bit.
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In the image above, you can see that I generally use metric measurements. I find metric measurements much easier to manage as compared to fractions of an inch.

I placed the patch on the sidewall of the trailer and positioned it according to my markings on the blue tape. Using the rivet holes in the patch as pilot holes, I drilled through the skin of the trailer. I started drilling at the top of the patch in a corner and inserted a cleco in that first hole. After aligning the patch with a level, I drilled and clecoed across the top of the patch. With the top anchored, I then worked from top to bottom along the two sides of the patch and drilled the rest of the holes. I switched from side to side in drilling and clecoing.
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I then went inside 8038 to clean up the black tar on the inside of the exterior sidewall. I do not want any of that tar interfering with a good set of the rivet, so I used the same multi-tool scraper and an electric drill with a wire brush that I used here.
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Before I re-clecoed the patch, I polished and cycloed around the edges of the new patch.

I think the patch is ready for riveting.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:28 PM   #128
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Bumper trunk, part 1

I decided to add an enclosed bumper trunk between the main frame rails and between the rear wall of 8038 and the bumper. My disadvantage is that my bumper has been cut off (so that it can be extended away from the body an additional 6").

Tools & materials.
Sheet aluminum
Aluminum angle
Air shears
Tin snips
Belt sander
Self-drilling #10 pan-head sheet metal screws
Clecos
Electric drill with 5/32" drill bit

The plan. Here is the overall plan:
1. The trunk is to be 4" deep (the same as the main frame rails).
2. The trunk will extend (side to side) between the main frame rails and extend (front to back) between the last cross-member of the frame and the bumper (as extended an additional 6") .
3. The top of the trunk will involve a piano-hinged lid that will attach to a piece of sheet aluminum that will also bend up under the sidewall of the coach and serve as flashing to keep out water.

There is an image of a bumper trunk here, and that is the model for my efforts.

First, I cut a piece of aluminum angle to serve as the corner where the forward wall sheet piece joins the bottom sheet piece. This angle will fit between the frame rails. Next, I cut from a piece of sheet aluminum the forward wall piece, which also fits within the frame rails. I then drilled four 5/32" holes along the top of the forward wall piece, and then clamped that piece against the rearmost cross-member and marked the locations for the 4 holes through the cross-member. I removed the forward wall piece and used my 120 volt drill with the self-drilling machine screws to make the 4 holes in the cross-member.

I calculated the dimensions for the piece of sheet aluminum that will be the bottom of the trunk (again adjusting for the additional 6" length to the frame rails). I made the bottom as wide as the exterior sides of the frame rails, so the bottom piece is about 4" wider than the forward wall and angle.

I drilled and clecoed together the forward wall piece, the angle, and the bottom, and then I mounted all that in place:
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So far, everything seems okay, but I need to get the bumper welded on, and then I will know if all is well.

Another post will describe how I made the flashing piece.

Hank
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:41 PM   #129
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Bumper trunk, part 2

The lid to the bumper trunk will be riveted to a piano hinge that is riveted to a piece of sheet aluminum that will bend up and go under the sidewall to serve as flashing to keep out water. That sounds straightforward, but Airstreams have lots of curves that create challenges.

Tools & materials.
Sheet aluminum
Air shears
Tin snips
Electric drill
Bending brake (I made my own, but I doubt it was a good way to bend the sheet aluminum)

What I did. This task was going to require me to do sheet metal work that I never had done, so I decided to start with a piece of badly worn belly pan sheet aluminum. Based on the first image in this post, I estimated the size of the piece of sheet aluminum I would need. The piece was slightly longer than 60" and approximately 4" wide (wide enough for the vertical flashing portion and the horizontal portion for rivet attaching the piano hinge).

Because of the 60" length, I could not use my 30" Harbor Freight bending break, so I placed some steel angle on the edge of my bench and clamped the 60" x 4" piece on top of the angle. I doubt that this was a good way to bend the piece, but I used a dead-blow hammer to gradually bend the piece of aluminum over the steel angle.
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I made triangular-shaped cutouts on both portions (horizontal and vertical) of the flashing piece. The cuts make it easier to get the piece to form to the curves of 8038. Be careful in bending the two ends of the horizontal part of the flashing piece to make it conform to the curves of the sidewalls because the aluminum wants to split at the apex of the triangular cuts. I removed enough sidewall clecos to test fit the piece:
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Because of the curve of the horizontal portion of the flashing piece, I will need to make (and rivet on top of the flashing piece) a flat piece of sheet aluminum that is cut at a curve to follow the curvature of the sidewall. Here is an example of a template:
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After the bumper is re-welded to the frame rails, I will see if I can make all of this fit together properly.

Hank
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Old 05-22-2016, 06:04 PM   #130
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Reconfigure baggage hatch door?

My curbside baggage compartment has the old "J" hinge, and the hinge is at the top, which makes using the hatch difficult (unless some device holds up the hatch door to permit easy access inside the compartment).

I am considering reconfiguring the hatch by removing the "J" hinge and installing a piano hinge along the front-of-the-trailer side of the hatch door. I already removed the portion of the "J" hinge that was attached to the top of the hatch door.

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Here is why I am considering this change:
1. That side of the hatch door is beat up, and the piano hinge would cover part of the bad metal.
2. I like the idea of a hatch door that swings out of the way to permit access to the compartment.
3. I can cover up the lock/latch hole in the bottom center of the door with a new piece of sheet aluminum on which I will mount the airstream logo (the existing rivet holes in the door were used to attach the logo).
4. I can make a new hole, etc., for the lock on the side opposite from the piano hinge.

I know that I will have to come up with some way to restrain the door from swinging around and damaging the side of the trailer, and some kind of cable should do that.

Does anyone see a problem with changing to a side hinge?

Thanks. Hank
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:01 AM   #131
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I just realized that the baggage hatch door originally was hinged at the bottom, not the top, as I said in my prior post.

Hank
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:12 PM   #132
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Baggage hatch hinge task finished for now

There was some discussion about this subject here.

I used the McMaster Carr #1581A921 aluminum piano hinge.

To help distribute the load of the hinge, I added a piece of c channel behind the side of the hatch with the hinge. The hinge rivets will pass through the hinge, the hatch frame, the sidewall, and the c channel.

I cut the c channel so that I could pop rivet a tab at the top of the c channel to the cross-stringer above, and I also pop riveted to the original c channel to the left in this image:
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Aligning and drilling the hinge (to the hatch frame and to the door) were a pain. I started by drilling the holes for the leg of the hinge that attaches to the hatch frame. I tried to avoid having a rivet in one of the legs of the hinge directly opposite a rivet in the other leg of the hinge. I was not sure how the hinge would operate if rivet heads on the opposite legs ran into each other when the hinge closed back on itself.

Make sure that you have the hinge pin aligned with the frame of the hatch (or the door, if you start with the door). When I clamped the hinge to the frame (to drill the holes in that leg of the hinge), I was not careful, and the hinge was a little off line. I did not discover that until after I drilled the holes. I am nervous about how the door will swing with an offline hinge.

It was another big pain to drill the holes in the door for the other leg of the hinge. No matter how I set it up, the clecos (holding the hatch frame leg of the hinge to the frame) always were in the way and I could not get the door leg of the hinge to lie flat on the door so that I could mark (and then drill) the holes in the door. I ended up removing the clecos and taping the hatch frame leg of the hinge in the correct place on the side of the hatch frame. I also used spacers that I taped to the inside walls of the hatch frame to place the door in the correct position within the hatch frame:
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When I thought everything was in the correct place, I marked and drilled the holes for the rivets through the door. I clecoed everything together, but the clecos prevent a full closure of the door into the hatch frame, so I will not know if my new baggage hatch door works properly until I buck the rivets.

Hank
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:13 PM   #133
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Roof patch

8038 came with a huge air conditioner and an equally huge mounting plate on the roof.
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I do not intend to install another A/C because 8038 will stay (as long as I own her) in the northern Rocky Mountains, so I need to patch the roof. Look at all the holes left behind:
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I measured to make the patch slightly larger than the footprint of the mounting plate and cut the patch using the same tools and techniques as here.

To locate the patch inline, I measured off of the roof seam with the adjacent piece of sheet aluminum. I applied painter tape and marked with a Sharpie on the tape. I then started drilling (using the previously drilled holes in the patch as pilot holes to drill through the roof metal).
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Hank
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:26 PM   #134
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Bumper back on

The rear bumper now is reattached to 8038 after a several-year separation. I made a floor jack cradle for the bumper, and it worked well in keeping the bumper parallel to the ground and the correct distance from the rear of the trailer so that the bumper would be correctly positioned for welding (and for the bumper trunk).
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The extended bumper required a reworking of the support to the stairs leading to the garage attic storage area:
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I painted the bumper and the extension pieces with POR-15 this afternoon, and tomorrow I will top coat with a silver color. Then I will see if I can make the bumper trunk fit together.

Hank
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:54 PM   #135
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It's funny how one project will spill over and create additional projects that have to be done before you can continue. I've been really impressed with your work and am learning a lot from your posts. Thanks for the help and info for when I get started on my rehab!

Keep up the excellent work! It looks great!
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Old 06-24-2016, 08:07 AM   #136
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Bumper trunk

Although I have not posted recently, I have been working on 8038.

The bumper trunk now is attached to the bumper and the rearmost cross member of the frame. The tricky part was trapping the piece of belly pan metal between the rearmost cross member of the frame and the front wall of the bumper trunk.

Belly pan metal. First, I measured and made a cardboard template to fit the belly pan metal between the main frame rails (at the rear end of 8038) and to widen to overlap the main fame rails when the metal dropped low enough:

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I then cut (from a piece of the original belly pan) the piece. The metal is in bad shape, but that piece (in the center section of the belly) is not likely to be seen by anyone.

Bending. Next, I bent the piece of metal to make the 90 degree turn from vertical to horizontal. I should not have used my Sharpie all the way across he metal, but I doubt that anyone will see those markings until the next rehab of 8038.

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This post describes my bending brake.

I added an air vent so that the belly pan area can breathe (to dry out from any moisture that might get in there).

Dry fitting. Dry fitting everything was not easy because the piece of belly pan metal (which was not then attached to the frame) did not want to stay in place, and I ended up using long woodworking clamps to hold it. One end of the clamp held the metal against the last cross member, and the other end of the clamp held the metal against the next-to-last cross member. With the piece of metal secured, I drilled some holes and inserted some clecos so that I could remove the clamps and install the bumper trunk box.

I then fitted in the bumper trunk, did some fine tuning with my grinder, and FINALLY installed the bumper trunk (after adding Trempro to the back wall of the bumper trunk where it contacts the rearmost piece of belly pan metal). Getting everything to fit involved a fair bit of trial and error, but eventually, I had everything in place:

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Hinged top. I will install the bumper trunk hinged top after I replace the sidewall panel underneath the rear window, and that replacement will be soon, I hope, as I have the panel ready for installation.
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Old 06-24-2016, 08:27 AM   #137
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
%$!#* nameplate

I decided to rehab the Airstream nameplate (that will go onto the door of the rear baggage hatch).

I stripped the old paint off using Citristrip:
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I then polished the entire plate so that the "Airstream" letters would be shiny. Next I taped over each of the Airstream letters and carefully cut around them:
First by marking each edge with a plastic razor blade
Then by cutting off excess tape with an Exacto knife.
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I brushed on a self-etching primer from POR, but I was not happy with it. The paint was too thick, and the brush strokes did not level out, so I had to do some sanding after it dried.

Valspar High Gloss Enamel in Ford Blue is the paint I chose. I applied two light coats and then a flood coat (all within 3 hours):
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I was not happy with several of the borders, so I retaped those borders. I checked the can, which said not to apply another coat within 36 hours or the paint may crinkle. I waited 48 hours, and this is what happened:

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ARGH! I have to start over: strip, tape, cut, prime, and final coats. I cannot tell you how many hours I wasted. I was so discouraged, I have yet not gone back to finish the nameplate.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:42 PM   #138
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
Folsom , California
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I had heard Murphy was in Dallas enforcing his "Law" . . . what a bummer.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:22 AM   #139
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 360
Follow-up on windows

I have been busy on other things, and grandchildren have been visiting, so I have not been able to do much on 8038.

I had one swinging window frame that had been bent, and when I rebuilt the window and installed new glass, there was a big gap between the window gasket and the frame of the swinging window. I decided to add a row of solid-shank rivets to tighten up the fit:
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The new rivets reduced the gap, but I still may have enough of a gap to have a leak. Time will tell.

Hank
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Old 07-26-2016, 11:04 AM   #140
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Dallas , Texas
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Baggage hatch door

8038 came with a baggage hatch on the curbside, and it was pretty beat up. I decided to change the hinge from a bottom hinge to a side hinge (see here).

I cleaned up the metal to the door, but the panel did not look good, and I was going to have to install rivets where the Airstream nameplate had been (I am moving the nameplate to the new baggage hatch under the rear window):
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I decided to cover the door with another piece of sheet aluminum. Because the replacement piece came off a roll, I have to apply a lot of clamps to get it flat for drilling:
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I drilled the hinge for riveting, using countersunk flat-head rivets to attach the hinge to the hatch frame and raised-head rivets to attach the hinge to the door:
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With a bucking bar partner, we then riveted the hinge to the door and then riveted the door and hinge to the hatch frame (that previously was riveted to 8038):
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As I feared (see here), the hatch door binds/rubs against the top of the frame assembly. I can close the door, but it involves some encouragement to the door. I plan to live with the binding.

Next, I (1) installed a new hatch lock, (2) insulated the hatch door, and (3) installed the back panel of the door. To not aggravate my binding problem, I had to change the back panel from fitting on top of the top of the door to fitting underneath the top of the door.

Hank
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