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Old 11-11-2016, 08:19 AM   #161
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Belly pan hatches

By reading in this Forum, I learned about the belly pan hatch, which is an area (a "bay") between outriggers and frame members that can be used for storage. This kind of storage are is not very clean because lots of dirt and water may get into the belly pan, but certain things can be placed there.

I decided to have one belly pan hatch on the curb side (pretty much directly below the curb side above-floor baggage hatch). I intend to install a weatherproof 120v duplex plug in this hatch so that there is a 120v power supply on the curb side, and I also might store gas grill equipment in this hatch.

On the street side, I decided to have two belly pan hatches: (1) one immediately behind the wheel well, where the plumbing dump assembly will be, and (2) the next outrigger bay behind that, where I might store water and electrical hookup equipment.

To make this kind of hatch, I needed to (1) not install insulation in the bay, (2) cut the sheet aluminum for the bottom of the hatch area, (3) make a door for the hatch, and (4) install latches to hold shut the door. Most of that is pretty straight forward. The challenge as to the door is that it must bend 90 degrees.

I did not have much information about how to build a hatch and door like this. I will start with a photo of the mostly finished hatch, as it may be helpful in understanding what I am trying to describe below.

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Here is what it I did:

1. I measured and cut a cross piece of 1/8" flat stock aluminum that would span the two outriggers of the bay.

2. I then drilled and clecoed the cross piece in place on the outriggers. I positioned the cross piece on the outrigger as far from the main frame rail as I could just before the outrigger began to bend upward to the sidewall of the trailer. I then measured and marked the cross piece for the location of the piano hinge, making the hinge (on each side of the cross piece) about ” shorter than the cross piece:

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Please note that everything is clecoed together to permit adjustments and fine tuning. Do not rivet anything until you are confident that everything fits!

3. I cut as the hatch door a piece of sheet aluminum to the correct width of the opening (I suggest you allow for some overlap of the adjacent belly pan metal), and I cut it a bit long in the dimension that would go from the cross piece to the sidewall of the trailer (so that I could cut it back, if necessary, to get the correct fit where the hatch cover meets the sidewall).

4. Using a piece of 4" PVC pipe with a cutout, I bent the hatch door piece to conform it to the outriggers. I clamped the door piece to the PVC pipe and then rolled that on my workbench top to bend the door.

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In the photo above you can see that I started with the top of the door piece extending above the attachment point on the PVC, and that did not provide enough bend. Eventually, I repositioned the door piece so that the top of the piece was attached right at the edge of the cut in the PVC.

5. I next had to install the hatch draw latches from VTS. I decided to first install the fixed (non-moving) part of the latch in the sidewall of 8038. As to the curbside belly pan hatch, I had little working room because of the above-floor baggage hatch right above the belly pan hatch.

I had to fabricate a piece of sheet aluminum for the fixed (non-moving) parts of the latch (two of them per hatch door, one for each latch point). I buck riveted the non-moving parts to a piece of flat sheet aluminum that had been marked and cut to permit (after the fixed parts of the latches were installed) the piece to be bent (on my Harbor Freight bending brake) so that (1) the top part would go upwards to (and inside of) the bottom of the above-floor baggage hatch frame (so that the rivets passing through that frame would also pass through the piece of sheet aluminum) and (2) the bottom part would be parallel to and screwed into the bottom of the plywood subfloor.

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With the fixed parts in place, I then measured and marked to attach the other, moving part of the latch to the hatch door. The hatch door is bent to conform to the bend of the outriggers, but the moving part of the latch was built flat, so (before installation) I took each of the moving parts to my small anvil and put a slight bend in each one to help the moving part conform to the bend of the hatch door.

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Placement of the moving part of the latch to the hatch door is crucial. I experimented with various locations from what would be the top edge of the hatch door (registering off of the round part of the latch at the top of this image):

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I did my best, but on the first hatch door I made the fit too tight and I had to:

(1) grind off some of the moving part of the latch (I was grinding off material from the upper right in the photo):

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(2) extend the opening in the lock of the latch:

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After that mistake, for the other two hatches I made the fit a bit less tight.

The two street side belly pan hatches were made pretty much the same way except that I used one cross piece spanning both of the adjacent bays, rather than a cross piece for each bay.

Hank
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Old 11-13-2016, 05:43 PM   #162
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deep woods find

i know nothing about Airstream Trailers, what i do know is beautiful style and workmanship. I am a retired 40 year journeyman carpenter that came across this Airstream in the woods of northern Canada while looking at property for sale. i've fallen in love with this rig....i need someone to help me with the year? any particulars to look out for and what might be a fair price to offer the current anxious to sell owner.......help!
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Old 11-14-2016, 01:46 AM   #163
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It looks like a 1968 (possibly '67) Overlander 26 ft (actually 27 ft long). I'm sure someone will be able to decode the serial number and tell you for sure. Value depends on many factors (frame, floor, axles, appliances working or needing replaced...) and doing a Google search for airstream value will give you some good info. Include "airforums" in the search words. There is some great experience available there.

We just finished a '68 Overlander and the details are here, if interested, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f394...er-155180.html

Great find and good luck with a new project (should you decide to go for it.)

Roy and Marie
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Old 11-14-2016, 06:29 AM   #164
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Deep woods find

Marshman:

I think you would be better off starting a new thread. Posting in this thread may not get your message in front of all the people who might be helpful to you. You might try the Airstream Community Forums, Dollars & Cents.

Hank
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:03 AM   #165
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Belly pan metal #1: Replacement pieces

When I was in the demolition stage, I tried to preserve all of the belly metal to use as templates for new belly metal. Some of the belly metal was badly beaten up (by tire blowouts, road damage, etc.), but major pieces of the belly metal were available as templates.

I had decided to use multiple smaller pieces of metal to enclose the belly, rather than one or more large pieces of metal. My general strategy is to cut a piece for each section of the belly pan that is enclosed by the main frame rails and/or the outriggers, and that makes for a lot of separate pieces.

I spent time underneath 8038 with a tape measure and a piece of paper to measure for each piece of metal that I would need. I measured (and cut) all the pieces to overlap the main frame rail or outrigger, so at the joints there will be double thickness of the belly pan metal. The smaller pieces surely require more time to fabricate and the many overlaps waste some metal, so I can understand why the factory goes with the fewest possible pieces of belly metal. For me, however, who usually works by myself, the smaller pieces are much more manageable and make more sense.

I will end up with about 6 or 7 belly pan pieces on each of the curb and street sides of 8038. These side pieces will run (1) between (and overlap) two adjacent outriggers and (2) from the joint with the sidewall of the trailer (where the belly piece will fit behind the sidewall) to fully overlap the main frame rail. The 10 or so center section pieces overlap the main frame rails and go from one cross member to the adjacent cross member. That is a lot of pieces, but as I said, I am willing to manage all those pieces because it will be easier for me, working alone most of the time, to install those many small pieces.

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Old 11-28-2016, 10:27 AM   #166
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Belly pan metal #2: Corner templates

For the flat (or mostly flat) pieces of belly metal, I was not concerned with a template. I could measure, mark, and cut the metal with confidence that I could make those pieces fit. I hope my confidence is not misplaced! The corners, however, are an entirely different matter, and I decided to use the original belly pan metal as templates in making the four corner replacement pieces. As discussed in this post, 8038 had the belly metal brought up inside the cabin, and tabs were bent over the c channel, and then riveted through twice: the tab was held in place by a solid-shank rivet that passed through (1) the exterior sidewall 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 through the tab that came down after being bent over the outside leg of the c-channel.

I decided not to repeat that structure. Instead, I will simply bring the belly pan metal straight up (inside the sidewall) and rivet through (1) the sidewall, (2) the belly pan piece, and (3) the outside leg of the c channel.

What all that means is that my corner piece templates do not need to replicate the full length of the tabs of the original belly pan metal. Consequently, I decided to cut off the last part of the tabs (the part that bent over the c channel. Here is the sequence I used:
1. I marked the portion of the original belly metal (the large piece) to correspond to the dimensions of the smaller corner piece I wanted to fabricate.

2. I cut the original belly metal according to those markings. Here is the curb front corner portion of the original belly metal after I cut it to the size of the replacement piece I wanted to fabricate.

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3. I gently flattened that smaller piece of belly metal by hand. If necessary, I used a roller. I sometimes would gently use a hammer with a piece of wood to distribute the force.

4. I cut off the part of the tabs that bent over the c channel.

5. I placed the old piece of belly pan on top of the new piece of metal and marked on the new piece the perimeter of the old piece.

6. I cut the new piece based on the marking from the old piece.

7. I used a curve template (Google "curve template") to follow the curve of where on the old piece the upward bend of the tabs began, and I transferred that curve to the new piece:
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You must make equivalent registration marks on the new and old pieces so that you can place the curve template in the correct place on the new piece.

8. Taking guidance from Vinstream (see here), I marked and drilled the new piece:
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9. Bending the tabs on the straight side was easy. I used the bending bar from my bending brake:
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10. For the corner portion, I decided to use a large radius table top and a dead blow hammer (used with caution!):
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The challenge is to bend the metal to (1) turn the corner and (2) conform to the bend required by the outriggers along the side of 8038. Turning the corner was accomplished by use of the table top. Conforming to the bend required by the outriggers was accomplished by use of a short section of PVC pipe:
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I used the short section because I think that a longer section would have been difficult to manage and probably would not have succeeded because I need, not one long bend, but many smaller bends at different locations around the perimeter of the corner. I have not installed this corner piece, so I cannot report on the success or failure of my method. I will be back at work on this in the spring of 2017.

Hank
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:57 AM   #167
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Panel under rear window

The rear end of the trailer consumed a lot of time and effort, including:
- Replacing the sheet aluminum under the window
- Installing a new baggage hatch in that panel
- Rehabbing and installing the tail light cans and lights
- Removing and extending the rear bumper
- Building a bumper trunk
- Installing one piece of belly metal that joins the front wall of the bumper trunk
- Rehabbing the rear escape window
- Reinstalling the rear escape window
1. New baggage hatch. As described in this post, I installed a new baggage hatch in the rear panel. Here is my set up for one-person riveting of the rehabbed nameplate (see here) to the hatch door:
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Here is the hatch cover ready for installation:
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You can see that the metal to that hatch cover shows its age. I decided not to cover that piece of original metal even though it has lots of blemishes.

2. Rear escape window. Installation of the rear escape window was a lot of work, and it took a lot of time. It is a very large window and backframe, and the installation is made more complicated by the swinging portion. To make sure that everything fit well, I did lots of dry fitting, clecoing, removing, adjusting the window backframe for a better fit, and reinstalling/dry fitting.

It turned out that the swinging window was a bit bent, so I took it to the bench and did some straightening. See here. Eventually, I was satisfied with the fit, so I clecoed the two sides and the top. The panel underneath this window was new metal, and I decided to predrill into that sheet the holes for the escape window backframe (along the bottom of the window backframe and the top of the replacement panel), after the window backframe was clecoed in place, by using the bottom holes of the window backframe as guide/pilot holes through which to drill through the new panel. After lots of dry fittings, we applied TremPro and riveted (1) the two sides of the frame in place, (2) the bottom of the window backframe, and (3) the swinging window by riveting the piano hinge (across the top of the swinging window) into place across the top of the window backframe.

The riveting of the swinging window to the fixed frame was essentially the last major task at the rear of 8038. All those hours now look like this:

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I am very happy to be mostly done with the rear end of 8038! I feel as if the rear end taught me a lot; it required me to undertake a lot of new metalworking tasks and learn some useful techniques. I do feel a bit more confident now about working on 8038.

Okay, that is it for 2016, as I no longer am in Montana to work on 8038. Next spring I will get back to work on her. I realize that my pace is very slow, but life is busy, and I am a rank amateur.

Hank
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:11 AM   #168
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A vehicle once again

I am back in Montana and at work on 8038, and the first order of business was to install the new Dexter axle (ordered through Uwe at Area 63 Productions).

I admit that I was nervous about how difficult the fit and installation would be, but my rancher neighbor came over with his welder, and he made short work of it.

The original axle was removed last fall. See here.

I had marked on the main frame rail (on each side) the center point of the wheel on the original leaf spring axle. The installation point for the Dexter torsion axle was 4 or 5 inches ahead of that center mark.

My friend said that I needed to remove the gray water holding tank that I had installed in the bay above the axle so that he would have room to do the welding.

To lift the new axle into place, I built a simple cradle that attached to my floor jack. The cradle fit the axle tube well enough, but the axle started to rotate as the jack lifted it. We had to drop the axle and use ratchet straps around the cradle to keep the rotating axle from breaking the cradle.

We used steel angle to reinforce the main frame rails and to distribute the axle load across a larger area of the main frame rail. I would have preferred a longer piece of angle, but that is what was at hand. I used my grinder to remove the paint from the are where he would be welding. This image shows the markings and the components of the axle install:

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The fit of the axle to the frame was perfect, so it was time to weld. We first slightly loosened the bolts holding the mounting plate to the axle. Next, we used the floor jack to lift (as a unit) the angle, the mounting bracket, and the axle. With upward pressure from the jack, (1) the angle was tack welded to the frame and (2) the axle mounting bracket was tack welded to the angle. When both sides were tack welded, we removed the bolts holding the axle to the mounting brackets, and then we dropped the axle, so there was better access for final welding on both the inside and outside of the main frame rail:

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After he finished the final welding, we reinstalled the gray water holding tank in the bay above the axle.

Next, we aligned and lifted the axle to fit within and against the axle mounting plates. To my great relief, the fit was dead on. After a few pushes and kicks, we had the bolt holes aligned, and we installed and loose-fitted the bolts. The bolt holes were large enough to allow a little movement for fine tuning of the fit.

I had marked a measuring point on the jack stand tube, and we measured from that point to the center of each wheel. We were within 1/8 of an inch to start, and after some well placed blows and kicks, we got the distance to be exactly the same. We then tightened the bolts with a torque wrench to the prescribed amount (not so easy under a trailer, but with two of us, we were able to tighten the bolts to the correct setting).

Although I had worried a lot about this install, my friend breezed through it and made it look easy. The skill set of ranchers is amazing.

Axle in place!:

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Old 05-22-2017, 06:41 PM   #169
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I have my grandparents 1956 Flying Cloud and I am terrified to work on it but it is in pretty good shape, I can't seem to get all of your blog and I really want to see what you did. Can you tell me how to access all of your renovation and can I pick you brain? Ok I figured out how to negotiate this website so I saw a lot of your work. Could you possibly email me directly so I can ask you pointed questions as they come up?
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:08 PM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnlovin View Post
I have my grandparents 1956 Flying Cloud and I am terrified to work on it but it is in pretty good shape, I can't seem to get all of your blog and I really want to see what you did. Can you tell me how to access all of your renovation and can I pick you brain? Ok I figured out how to negotiate this website so I saw a lot of your work. Could you possibly email me directly so I can ask you pointed questions as they come up?
I have sent you an email and offered to help.

Hank
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:20 PM   #171
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Marinco power inlet

Quite a while back, I bought a Marinco power inlet for the trailer. I thought I was buying a combo unit that included 30 amp electrical, plus connections for telephone and TV. I finally opened the box to discover that what I had ordered was only telephone and TV:
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Fortunately for me, Marinco sells a replacement 30 amp power supply insert that fits into the housing I previously purchased, and I swapped out the old for the new. I now have a Marinco housing with only a 30 amp power connection.

Using "tin snips," I enlarged the streetside sidewall hole (for the original power supply) and finished up with a file to smooth the sidewall to get a good and flat fit with the Marinco housing:
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I have not yet installed the Marinco housing because I have some planning/thinking to do about wiring and electric before I mount and wire the unit.

Hank
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:43 PM   #172
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City water supply

I have been working on layout of the wetbath because the size and location of the wetbath will control or influence quite a few other layout matters.

The wetbath will run on the streetside from immediately behind the wheel well for about 45 inches. To make for more headroom in the wetbath, I have decided to move the black tank and the shower pan away from the sidewall towards the curbside. That will narrow the walkway between the wetbath and the curbside bed, but I am willing to give up that walkway space.

Another advantage of moving the black tank and the shower pan away from the sidewall is that it opens up space on the floor that I can use for fresh water plumbing runs to the wetbath shower head and to the rear baggage compartment, where I will install a quick connect shower fixture that can be used from outside the trailer (for a muddy dog, muddy fisherman, etc.).

This afternoon, I installed the city water supply inlet (VTS-847) (with one-way check valve) in the rear belly hatch bay behind the streetside wheel well (for construction of the hatches, see here). From below, I eyeballed a likely position for the hole through the floor of the trailer, and then I measured and drilled a pilot hole to see if I liked the location. I was happy with the pilot hole, so I used a spade bit for the through hole and then mounted the inlet on the bottom of the subfloor.
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After I took the photos above, I placed tape over the open end of the valve (inside the cabin) to protect it from accumulating gunk inside the opening.

Hank
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Old 05-27-2017, 08:12 AM   #173
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Windows, again!

As described here, when I rebuilt my windows, I used butyl tape and the VTS Hehr standard glass seal.

Steve at VTS advised not to use both (fearing that the butyl tape would hold the glass away from the front frame and cause the glass seal not to fit properly). Over the last two days, I tore apart each of my glass windows to remove the butyl tape.

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It was time consuming, but I hope that I get good (water-tight) results.

Hank
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:13 AM   #174
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Mockup of interior layout

I spent several days working on a very crude mockup of the interior of 8038.

I started by making 1/2" plywood bases and legs for beds, but those were too flimsy, and I finished up using 2x2s, some plywood, and cardboard for top surfaces. As you can see in this photo, I also used original bulkheads that I removed during the demolition. There are lots of gaps, but you can get the rough layout.

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Moving towards the rear, the street side starts with the galley (in the original location), then a closet/cabinet, then the wetbath, and finally to the single bed across the rear. On the curb side starting at the entry door will be a bulkhead, a large cabinet running back to the curbside bed with (1) the Atwood furnace low and near the door, (2) the 5.5 cubic foot fridge above the furnace, and (3) drawers for storage.

The layout is pretty conventional except for my plan to stack the two single beds. I am trying to save space by overlapping the foot of each bed (which will be at different heights). The bed across the rear will be low, and the bed on the curb side will be high (and will taper at the foot to leave full access to the rear escape window). The difference in bed heights will have to be enough so that there is adequate foot room for the lower bed where the two beds overlap at the curb rear corner.

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Lots of decisions yet to be made, but it was fun to rough it out.

Hank
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:23 AM   #175
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Gravity water feed fixture

I cleaned up and polished the original fresh water inlet fixture (which was located in the sidewall panel under the front window). The fixture is cast aluminum. I had to do some filing and sanding to remove some blemishes, and then I took it to my bench grinder, which has buffing wheels (not the grinding stone wheel in the photo). I used both the gray bar and red bar compounds (with different buffing wheels for each).

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The chrome (?) surface of the cap was dirty and not shiny, but it polished pretty well just using the red bar.

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The surface of the cast fixture would take a lot more time to get a really good polish, and at this point I do not intend to do that.

I expect to re-use the inlet.

Hank
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:31 AM   #176
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Wheel well stiffeners

8038 had a piece of aluminum sheet (bent at 90 degrees), and this angle was riveted into the sidewall of the wheel well (as a stiffener for the sidewall, I assume).

Each of these pieces was badly beaten up and out of shape (by tire blowouts, I assume).

I drilled out each piece, and at the bench I tried to straighten one of them using seam sealers, and an anvil and plastic-headed hammer. The results were not good, and I think that I will have to start over.

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Any thoughts on what angle to use as a replacement? I could get a more sturdy extrusion angle or make my own, possibly out of thicker alclad sheet.

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Old 05-28-2017, 06:38 AM   #177
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I was able to find aluminum extrusions, formed like mini j-channels that are able to fit over the edge of wheel well and shell to stiffen and trim edge. Suggestion came from previous forum member. Available at Home Depot 8' sections.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:44 AM   #178
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If this is the piece that goes inside the wheel well attached to the outer panel but next to the tire, then I would recommend making your own.

I fabricated some C-channel (mine were originally C-channel) from .040 6051 that I had and used that.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:42 PM   #179
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Thanks, Streaming24 and MattB.

I had on hand the J-shaped extrusion, so this morning I found the extrusion and went to work on it. I had heard from another Airstreamer that the J extrusion did not want to bend and was difficult to conform to the curve of the sidewall at the wheel well.

I decided to make relief cuts at the top of every opening in the extrusion. I used a grinder with a cut-off weel attached, and I clamped the extrusion to a piece of scrap wood and my work surface:

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Next, I had to decide how to form the extrusion to match the curve of the wheel well. I thought about taking a piece of plywood to the wheel well to trace the curve and then cut the plywood and use the cut plywood to form the curve of the extrusion.

I ended up forming the curves by hand, which was easier than using the plywood. With the relief cuts, the extrusion seemed pliable enough that I could shape it by hand, and I did that while at the wheel well. I was amazed that bending the extrusion was not a problem. I used my thumbs (one on each side of where I wanted to bend the extrusion) and fingers to gently bend at a relief cut. Do not apply too much pressure, as the extrusion may kink. I found it difficult to bend the extrusion near the ends of the extrusion because one hand had nothing to grab to apply bending pressure.

I had two formed extrusions ready for riveting inside an hour of when I started:

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I still will replace the stiffener piece with something, but I have to look around to see what I have on hand (or can make).

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Old 06-04-2017, 06:33 AM   #180
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I always like to see someone that can fabricate parts...Just a fyi for those who can't, you can buy this trim piece.
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