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Old 03-15-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
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Broken door hinge '63 GT

While inspecting my trailer I discovered that the bottom loop ( of the trailer side half ) of the top door hinge is broken. The loop is still attached to the hinge pin ,so I have all the parts . Is it possible to weld a piece this small (1/2" ). What type of stianless is it made of?

Another option is replacing the hinge which means locating a hinge which I think will be just about impossible as I don't think they are available. My final thought is has anyone had one fabricated and who did it for you?
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:37 PM   #2
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I am no pro so I am sure a wiser welder will speak up if I am wrong but....I was taught that welding stainless steel requires a sealed ventilated box (the kind with the two rubber gloves sticking inside). I am not sure what chemical is released when you weld it but it's safe to say that it's probably bad for you. Might want to take this bit to a pro.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:44 PM   #3
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You have a couple options. 63 is a weird year (as you'll find more and more) and had two different types of hinges. If your trailer has the door-within-a-door and its a double hinge for that, vintage trailer supply sells new stainless hinges in sets. If your door-within-a-door is mounted with a piano hinge, those hinges have not been reproduced. I would not trust a weld.

Airstream Door Hinges
is the link to the double hinge setup

Bringing our 63 back from Napa CA to Washington a previous owner's repair of this almost resulted in the loss of the door. One hinge failure will drop the door on the highway, regardless of which one, and the metal around that loop is extremely fatigued.

I was able to get a local machine shop to use a waterjet cutting tool to make an exact match, but it was a very labor intensive process to program the computer, and then even more so to bend the loop since that has to be done all by hand. They still have it in their computer I would presume and I can provide that contact info. 1/2 of a hinge was over a $100.

Here's the link to the start of that conversation (post 23).

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f150...a-46195-2.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f150...a-46195-6.html (see post 73)
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:49 PM   #4
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The hinges can likely be repaired by welding but before investing a lot of time and effort in repairs I'd take a good look at them both to see if any other cracking exists. With material this old my first suspicion would be fatigue related cracking. Lots of miles vibrating and such can fatigue the hings bends. If this is the case you may be better off picking up a new set or having some made. If you feel they are serviceable and worthy of repair then they should be repairable by welding.

Most stainless steels (P8) materials are readily weldable using SMAW, FCAW, GMAW or GTAW welding processes. For thinner materials such as your hinge I would suggest GTAW which is commonly referred to as heliarc or tig welding. Most any specialty fabrication shop or metal sculpture/artist studio could do this work for you for a small fee.

I don't know for certain what the material grade is but I would guess its a 304 stainless (perhaps someone here has a definitive answer). If it is 304 then tig welding with or without filler metal can be easily accomplished. When filler metal is used ER 308 is typically the rod of choice.

Best of luck,

Kevin



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Old 03-15-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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I really have the feeling that the crack is a fatigue crack, so I am a bit hesitant about the weld idea. Goransons have posted exactly what my hinge is and I would be interested if you could PM the info on where you had it made. I would feel a lot better about replacing both of them. While it is not an inexpensive proposition the idea of losing a door is much worse. The hard part is getting the old ones off
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:49 PM   #6
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I really have the feeling that the crack is a fatigue crack, so I am a bit hesitant about the weld idea. Goransons have posted exactly what my hinge is and I would be interested if you could PM the info on where you had it made. I would feel a lot better about replacing both of them. While it is not an inexpensive proposition the idea of losing a door is much worse. The hard part is getting the old ones off
Fatigue cracks come from vibration.

How well is your running gear balanced? Or is it at all?

Andy
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:13 AM   #7
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Things seem to be ok . I am using centramatics. The other possibility when I look at this ,is that rivet on the pin was catching this part of the hinge.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:15 AM   #8
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A question for Andy ,what is your opinion on repairing the hinge with a weld?
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:55 AM   #9
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In the case of our door, it was definately vibration, the axle was so gone that we couldn't get tires off, a replacement inland axle (mind you the trailer is empty) we gained 5 inches at the wheel of height, and added the the centramatics as well and its a whole different ball game.

As far as removing the hinges, just center punch the rivet and drill out with a 5/32 drill bit. If you have one of those fancy spring loaded rivet drilling tools it goes even faster.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:03 AM   #10
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A question for Andy ,what is your opinion on repairing the hinge with a weld?
Try it.

What can you lose?

I have seen a few welded in my time.

Andy
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:13 PM   #11
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Talked to one of our local machine shops today ( we have a lot of them due to John Deere being located here) and found out that they might be able to weld it or they can use the magic of the computer and laser and make me a new hinge half for $50. As long as it has to come off I figure I'll opt for the new part.

My next questions are does anyone know the specific rivet to use and the size of the rivet set used to set it?
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:24 PM   #12
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New part was perfect

I ended up getting a new hinge part made by a company called Mississippi Lazer (located in Milan, Illinois ) . Their service was excellent and the part was a perfect duplication and fit for my old hinge. These guys can do some amazing things with metal and are willing to do small jobs like mine. The door is back on and I'm ready for a road trip.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:40 PM   #13
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what did it end up costing you?
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:58 PM   #14
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Fifty dollars, which I thought was quite reasonable. I did not get much of a look at their shop but they must have some amazing machines.
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