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Old 05-09-2016, 07:27 PM   #1
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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I Love Lucy

A month or so ago we brought home a 1957 22' Custom and named her Lucy. We love the old gal, but she is in need of some love and affection, so we're going to give her the full Monty. I anticipate the job taking two years, and I want to thank the board in advance for your advice, expertise and moral support. Here's Lucy:
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:38 PM   #2
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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Interior Gutted

Over the past four weeks I've gutted the interior, stored the cabinets to use for patterns, stripped all of the old Velkem, and tested for leaks. She leaks like a colander. I'm not sure if I've done the right thing, but I took the interior end cap apart in order to store it for the duration of the restoration, and to make it easier to clean and strip. I guess I get to practice buck riveting with it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:53 PM   #3
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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Shell Off

Today was the day. Pulling the shell wasn't all that bad really. The biggest PITA was the blind rivets around the perimeter. I don't think the guys at Airstream thought, 'you know, someday someone is going to deconstruct this thing and put to all back together like brand new.' If they would have, they would have built it differently. But I'm excited to get to this point, it feels like I'm making progress.

I'm going to go back with 5/8" marine grade plywood, and most of the belly pan is going to have to be replaced. I'm not real sure how hard it's going to be to form the belly pan curves around the perimeter - I'm concerned about making that look good. Lucy's going to get two gray tanks and one black, and so far it looks like the frame is in pretty good condition. A little sandblasting and some POR 15 and I think I'll be back in business.
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Old 05-10-2016, 09:46 PM   #4
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1957 22' Custom
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Today's progress

Wow, the frame is in great condition! I expected to have to do a lot of work on it because the PO had done a butcher job of a remodel and essentially destroyed the belly pan, but the frame needs very little. I had budgeted to have it sandblasted, but I think I'm just going do it myself since it needs so little.

I bit the bullet and bought 3/4" solid gold sheets...I mean marine grade plywood for the subfloor. I was shocked at the price, and almost didn't do it, and if you choose to use CDX instead of marine grade I don't blame you. The pic is of the new subfloor over the old. I went ahead and cut the new subfloor while the old one was still on so I could match it precisely.

The thing I'm most stressed about on the bottom is the belly pan. I'm going to have to replace it entirely, and I've never worked with large aluminum sheets before. I hope I get the corners right
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:00 PM   #5
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Great thread. Thanks for posting.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:38 PM   #6
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I don't do big renovations, but you're fortunate because there are a lot of people in your area who do.

If you're worried about handling a big sheet of aluminum for the belly pan, well there's a lot to be said for making it in multiple pieces - with access covers included to drain tanks, etc. Drains aren't a bad thing either if you can make them critter proof. Last, obviously if you lap 2, 3 pieces do it so that the bottom lap faces rearward so that it isn't a water scoop when towing in the rain.

Your frame looks to be fantastic. BTW you don't need to get it sandblasted. wire brush off the loose stuff and use your POR-15 (it stands for Paint OVER RUST and will stop it cold.) Any you get on yourself will be there until the skin sluffs off. Comet kinda works until the pain becomes too intense.

Good start, keep moving, one step at a time.

Paula
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:18 PM   #7
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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Thanks Paula!

Handling the belly pan in smaller, more manageable pieces was exactly what I was thinking about doing. Right now it's two sections with the seam down the middle, but I think I'm going to do it in four sections with an additional seam over the axle. I hear you on the lap joint.

Today I worked six hours on salvaging the step. It was in pretty sorry shape, but I don't like the way replacement steps look, so I'm doing everything I can to save this one. It's still not quite right, but I think about two more hours work and it will be ready for prime time. Please forgive my very sloppy weld - I was out of gas. I promise not to do that again
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:25 PM   #8
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Holy Cow!! Great job....thanks for sharing your hard work and photos!
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:25 PM   #9
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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How the heck do these brakes work?

I've done hundreds and hundreds of hours of mechanic work on cars, trucks and trailers of all vintages, but I've never seen anything like this. The best I can surmise is that these are electro-magnetic brakes. When the circuit is energized the disk at the bottom magnetizes against the spinning drum and leverages the brakes. The faster the drum is spinning the more brake is applied, am I right? Are these things worth keeping? Is there and upgrade? What the heck do I do with these things?
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:28 PM   #10
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Last post of the day, and a poll

Is this a beauty mark or a panel that needs to be replaced? It's right on the borderline to me. I want to build as much value into Lucy as I can, but I also want her to show her age and be proud of the years she's been on the road. What say you?
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDickey View Post
I've done hundreds and hundreds of hours of mechanic work on cars, trucks and trailers of all vintages, but I've never seen anything like this. The best I can surmise is that these are electro-magnetic brakes. When the circuit is energized the disk at the bottom magnetizes against the spinning drum and leverages the brakes. The faster the drum is spinning the more brake is applied, am I right? Are these things worth keeping? Is there and upgrade? What the heck do I do with these things?
Yup those are trailer brakes. You can buy new entire assemblies for about what it would cost to replace all the pieces that need to be replaced. Brand new trailers use the same brakes.
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:09 PM   #12
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1957 22' Custom
Lago Vista , Texas
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Brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
Yup those are trailer brakes. You can buy new entire assemblies for about what it would cost to replace all the pieces that need to be replaced. Brand new trailers use the same brakes.
Hmmmmmm....well I guess I've never worked on a trailer with brakes! It does look like the best way to go is with a loaded backing plate - now to find the right one...
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:19 PM   #13
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Bowdon , Georgia
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What a great adventure. I too love Lucy......my 2002 Bambi 19ft is named Little Lucy.
Enjoying your journey!
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:44 PM   #14
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1957 22' Custom
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Lucy

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What a great adventure. I too love Lucy......my 2002 Bambi 19ft is named Little Lucy.
Enjoying your journey!
*hi5!*
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