Wow wow wow - this is such a turn around from the treatment I received yesterday (perhaps its because I got some sleep)
I am going to respond in my next post - I'll address the wonderful points brought up by people individually and edit. This is a lot to deal with, but I love all of this information (I thrive on it)
Firstly - I am with Bahbu today and will be mocking up my interior lay out to make sure its somehting I can live with While doing this I will think about weight and tracking. I have towed horses many many times as a kid (guess I still am a kid) and the common knowledge there was to keep the weight imbalance to a minimum. But with horses you would often tow just one horse and he would always go behind the driver (is that right? It was years ago, and it wasn't ever anything I heard from someone professional or anything, just my cousins).
I guess my worst was towing a 1400 lbs horse by him self, and it didn't seem that bad. That situation (ive never weighed that trailer) left me with about 50% of the total trailer weight on the outside edge of the trailer. I'm sure I can keep any imbalance well under 1400 lbs.
What is involved with checking/replacing the axles?
What is the best way to inspect/test the brakes?
(just talked to my friend who is a mechanic and he informed me that every trailer he has ever seen has the same brakes you would have on a car - they are just electronically actuated. so I should be able to take care of the brakes. I left this in here for anyone who might have had a similar question)
I'm going to be taking extensive pictures of the frame today to see what you guys think.
For everyone who has done this - (and I know every job is different) how long do you think it would take to "sound the frame"
(brakes and axles not included) I will be working two 8-10 hour days a week, every week when the shell is off. (maybe longer as I will have lights and a full garage, but I doubt I can grind that hard - we will see though. I can work for days on end (literally) if I am passionate about the work I am doing.
Also 2airishuman suggested that I post up my statement of intent or project brief.
Originally this was going to be my senior thesis - and while everyone was convinced I couldn't do it. I had faith. (some of my classmates in the past have created entire pedal car commuters from scratch in their basements with an old swing set, and iron and an industrial pack of zip ties in 3 months)
you were right - this project is more than a 3 week project.
I also realized that what was going to be accepted in the design community as "good design" would look like it was out of dwell magazine and wouldn't be the type of thing I wanted to live in.
This picture made me realize the direction I wanted to take Bahbu in.
I wanted to redesign this airstream based on the house I grew up in. I wanted to make it feel like a home. I didn't want it to feel cheap or flimsy. I didn't want it to feel like a travel trailer.
I wanted it to be a mini 140sqft version of my parents house.
That would take longer than 6 months, so I revised my thesis to be an exploration into the product opportunities in the cycling industry as they pertain to the emerging hip youth culture as a cycling market.
Hopefully I will be able to use my thesis to start a product company that will ensure that I will never have to sit behind anyone elses desk but my own ever again.
But I digress.
The airstream project. (now its personal)
To redesign and implement an interior for a gutted 1967
safari for a young couple that has minimum to negative power draw, and is an acceptable full time living space for all US climates.
More specifically this involves small objectives.
1.Enough solar draw to power the normal draw of a travel trailer, Charge a 12" powerbook once a day, and a small vintage stereo system on low to medium volume for 6-8 hours a day.
2. A full sized shower that i do not feel cramped in - this basically just means that the showerhead is placed higher than the top of my head.
3. a kitchen area large enough to cook comfortably in (i have lived in Manhattan, and had no problems there, my needs aren't great)
4. Allows for expansion to water collection (call me crazy) in preparation for the unlikely case of an apocalypse (break down in our nations infrastructure)
I know number 4 is crazy - but I would like the peace of mind that if I had to - I could park in a field and not worry about how I am going to get water, or cook dinner.
I figure I should get this out of the way right now.
(for the purist and self proclaimed "cultists")
I have no intention of restoring, polishing, or improving the exterior of this airstream in any way shape or form. - there is a tear in the skin on the street side that will probably be patched or welded.
I have no intention of preserving this "sacred vintage" as wally intended it.
I have recently reached a sort of Zen self realization about the things I own. If I am overly worried about anything I own getting molested or destroyed by myself or one of my friends, then its not worth me owning. If someone backs into the airstream trying to park and dents it, I will not stress over it or fix it.
In a sense cosmetic damage is kind of a visual history. There is something wrong in my mind in covering it up or fixing it and removing that history from the product. As long as the product still functions, I will not fix any aesthetic defects.
I know this is going to be hard for a lot of you to deal with.
Also - as far as the vintage being "unmolested" this trailer is skin and bones. I have no concept of what it looked like, and to try to recreate that seems like the waste of a perfectly good opportunity for me to make something my own and work best for me. What I gathered in september was that I should find a stripped trailer to work with so as to not destroy a prime subject for restoration. I tried to accommodate =)
the hot rod approach is exactly what is going on here. there will obviously be losses along the way, but the beatuy will be that i am in control of what I am losing and what I am gaining. I'm really excited about the process.
I appreciate the history into the Airstreams - I love the history of things. I also wasn't aware that the lack of interior shell would effect towing. If I get to the point that I need to move it again I might start asking questions about bracing. I will definitely not move it again without reinforcing the shell. The interior tanks are going to stay in the floor and will be on either side of the axle. Unfortunately I have NO idea how the thing was originally together as I came into this process much later that that - I'm finding I have to research how to do everything from scratch. Its a bit tedious, but I think Ill have a better option to make improvements along the way.
Ambie '64 -
As a product design professional, I have extensive experience with the mechanics of things (if its not going to work, I need to figure that out BEFORE i sent things off to the engineer as to not waste his, my, and the companies time, its hardly art) - my biggest problem I think is that I didn't get to take it a part and see the "why"
I knew of the airstream factory, and was planning on spending a weekend up there "soaking things in" but this P&S place is new to me. Perhaps it makes more sense for me to hand off my frame to them and let them work their magic. i know it would cost more, but it would reduce my scope and offer me a strong foundation to work on. I would hate to half arse the frame and endanger the entire project. I will be giving them a call, thank you.
thanks for the understanding. Not saying old people aren't a wealth of knowledge. They just seem to be uncomfortable with youngsters doing anything worth doing. =) I appreciate the pointers, and think P&S might be getting at least a part of Bahbu to work on
i loved your thread, and it is offering a lot for me to learn from. I don't plan on touching any of the ribs, and am still considering the skylight, but Think Malcolm was onto something when he brought up the "ships prisms" They would be structrually and visually minimally invasive (and shouldn't mess up insulation properties at all), and I could stud that wall with a couple to get a nice natrual sun light in the morning. I haven't abandoned sky lights yet though and appreciate your input.
All in all - thank you for all the great input - I'll get back to you with more pictures later tonight.
I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers with my decision not to polish this thing back up to new and replace body panels. Its just a personal philosophy