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Old 05-23-2006, 04:14 PM   #15
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An obvious one: Get rid of the Univolt and replace it with a more modern alternative. Those dang things are heavy!

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Old 05-23-2006, 05:41 PM   #16
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As our new Argosy 24 GVWR is right at the tow limit of our GMC Safari van I'm all for the travel light approach. With bicycles it's pretty easy to spend ~$250 to save a pound. The easiest and cheapest way to reduce weight is to remove EVERYTHING you don't need. How many extra shelves, niknacks, and sundry supplies have acumulated. Look at everything that goes in. Simple flatware and mimimal cooking utensils. Plastic "china" and cups that are multipurpose. Use interchangable bits and limit wrenches, etc to what you really need for emergency roadside repair.

Wall to wall carpet and pad is heavy, especially with ground in dirt or if it gets damp. A protectivie finish, like spray in bed liner would save weight and not serve as an incubator for dry rot. A light throw rug is a cheap way to "redecorate" and the easy clean up means less stuff to lug around. Fancier alternatives are a vinyl tile or product like Pergo.

Buy food enroute. Can goods and beverages are particularly heavy. Don't carry water if you don't have to (clear, gray or black). Paper is another heavy item. Avoid the collection of old brochures and magazines that you're going to get around to "someday" and avoid being the Bookmobile.

Aluminum tanks are are an expensive way to save wieght. How about just traveling with one possilbly reduced size tank. The small tanks you can exchange at most grocerey stores last a long time in the summer anyway and usually available 24 hours a day.

Honda EU series generators are light, quite and about as easy to store as a briefcase. Two can be used in parallel for situations where you anticipate a heavy current load and the second one can stay home when not needed. For small AC loads a light weight invert like they sell for laptop computers only weighs about a pound.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:09 PM   #17
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Does anybody know if expanding foam would be lighter?
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GO Bob
Does anybody know if expanding foam would be lighter?
Lighter than what?
Expanding foam is not good for Airstreams, as the body movement will grind it to powder in a short time.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:40 PM   #19
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Someone mentioned getting rid of carpeting, that is a good one to get rid of. We installed peel-n-stick tiles in our coach, it took two boxes @15 pounds per box to cover the floor, and we had some left over. Laid it right over the plywood.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:48 PM   #20
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Get rid of the sewing machine and the breadmaker. The encyclopedia don't help.

Kidding aside, when we aren't obsessing about the weight of our trailers, we are busily accumulating stuff to put in them and the tow vehicle. Don't forget the tow vehicle. I must carry 200 pounds of tools, yet I rarely use anything besides a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and a hammer.

Now, you can also cut the handles off your tooth brushes, and...
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:02 PM   #21
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Does anybody know if expanding foam would be lighter?
I was thinking of the fiberglass in the underbelly that no mater what gets wet.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:31 PM   #22
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Hi Scott,

Thank you for the praise. Can I tell my wife you said that? Maybe she'll be nicer to me Just kidding!

I'm afraid that if you had to pay a shop to fabricate an aluminum frame for you...well you might as well go to Jackson Center and just pick out the new one of your choice as it'd surely be cheaper.

It's really pretty easy to work with aluminum and rivets though. Think about how they took anybody and everybody during WWII and had them building aircraft. You can learn to rivet in about ten minutes and you can get really good at it in about two hours. It's not hard at all. And if you just design all your connections so that a rivet is always loaded in shear (side to side) rather than tension (trying to pull it out of the hole you put it through) you'd be fine. Of course, there are a few formulas to use, but it's not hard. Any decent structural engineer could help you with that. Heck, if your serious about doing it, PM me and I'll help you.

Aluminum is softer than steel and it's actually very easy to work with. You'll need to get special saw blades for cutting it, as it's so soft that it will quickly gum up a normal steel cutting blade. But other than that, it's much easier than steel. It drills a lot easier. It's not as easy to work as wood, but it's not bad at all. Especially not for the simple kind of stuff we're talking about. We'd basically just be cutting channel/I-beam and plate and then drilling and riveting it together.

I really don't know what the material prices are now. I know some aluminum is completely out of this world price wise. I used to go to the Boeing surplus when I lived in Seattle and you could score some awesome deals there. I bought some 777 compression stringer, which was made of 7000 series aluminum, for like $2.00 per pound. That was the good 70,000 psi stuff. I'm sure Boeing paid $100 per foot for it, so I got it for probably 1/50 what it cost new. As well (I wish I knew then what I know now...I would have scammed all of it) they had honeycomb floor panel material there. THAT would be THE TICKET for an Airstream floor. It was an aluminum honeycomb core with a composite skin on top and bottom. Very light, very rigid, and totally water proof. They had 4x8 sheets of the stuff for next to nothing, and they had loads of it. I bet that stuff was $500 per sheet new, and I think you could get it there for about $30 per sheet. I didn't have my 'Stream back then, though, and didn't think to get any. Anybody who lives out there...that is a source waiting for you to tap it.

Anyway, if I had to guess, buying the materials new, you'd probably have $3000 in the aluminum. If you could put it together yourself, it wouldn't be that bad. The tooling investment wouldn't be too bad. But if you had to pay somebody at a real shop, it'd be a lot, I think. But, it really is easy to work the stuff yourself. I wouldn't hesitate to jump in on it if I had the materials.

Another route might be if you could somehow find a damaged semi truck trailer and salvage most of the frame off it. You might buy it cheap and get a great deal on the metal. I don't know what kind of wreck you could find where the frame would be still usable and the rest of it trashed. Their frames might be way too heavy anyway. Don't really need a 50,000lb capacity frame for the Airstream.

Some of the others on here had some really good ideas for weight savings where you basically rid yourself of all the truly unneeded stuff. I read on this forum awhile back where one fellow knocked 600lbs off the weight of his trailer by replacing certain things with lighter versions. It all added up. I'm sure you could find it using the search function. May be some good ideas in there too. I think he replaced the gauchos with futons, and stuff like that.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:30 PM   #23
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I inventory everything I put in my AS and at the end of every trip I mark if I really used it. At the end of the season I decide what I really does need.

In about 15 years the big weight reduction will hapen. The last of the tricycle motors should be gone along with there toys. The ride is so SO much smoother without their wheight.
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:03 PM   #24
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Thanks JimGolden,appreciate such a good and experienced reply.Im not really afraid to fabricate ,but never have thought about a project such as an aluminum frame of that type or usage for a trailer .

Scott.
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Old 05-25-2006, 05:00 PM   #25
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Mattresses?

If your bed is permanent and not folding, you could consider swapping spring mattress for "Air Bed" inflatables.. Newer ones not as bouncy as old ar mattresses, and are a whole lot lighter. Do pretty good job of insulating as well...

John McG
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Old 05-25-2006, 06:02 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
If your bed is permanent and not folding, you could consider swapping spring mattress for "Air Bed" inflatables.. Newer ones not as bouncy as old ar mattresses, and are a whole lot lighter. Do pretty good job of insulating as well...

John McG
And, you could inflate it with Helium, it would save (help support?) more weight, and you would have that "light as air" feeling in the morning.
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:08 PM   #27
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Quote:
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And, you could inflate it with Helium, it would save (help support?) more weight, and you would have that "light as air" feeling in the morning.
YOU TOO FUNNY!!
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:15 PM   #28
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Although i personally do not want to sleep on a air-bed, i do think the mattress or any upholstery pads are a good place to look for weight to lose.

A double or queen bed can weigh a lot! and my trailer comes with both a dinette/bed and a long side couch/bed. All that in a Caravel. So as i do the remodel i am looking into the lightest filler for my pads while still giving my a good bed.
New foam is a great improvement for many reasons, and is almost always lighter than what we are lugging around now. The issue that comes up for me , is that the most comfortable bed foams are usually the heaviest, since dense flexible foam is so decadent vs less dense types that have to be firmer to stop you from bottoming out when you sit down.

I thing i have been working on, is different layers, a firmer/ lightweight for a base to stop bottoming out topped with a thinner layer of more soft, dense luxe bed. i will do some more weight calculations before a final purchase.

Wonder about other padding options that may be light weight? Like close cell foam, like you find in yoga mats? Any one seen a website that sell different foams that include a weight per cubic foot or anything?
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