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Old 02-24-2008, 12:15 AM   #1
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Rear Belly Pan Removed

Here's today's photos from removing the rear belly pan on my 1975 Ambassador. The stabilizer jack assemblies which were bolted to the frame and second cross-member were removed first. Note the section of rusted frame still bolted to the stabilizer. Also note the deteriorated places on the pan where the pan was in contact with the frame and/or crossmembers.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:06 AM   #2
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wow...
I am workong on a 1968 Ambassador, and the bellypan and frame came apart like new. Very little to no corrosion, and rust in only one place worth pursuing.
However, I have seen trailers newer than yours with worse corrosion.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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Here's a close up of where the second to last rearward crossmember and frame contacts the belly pan. Also check out the rear most crossmember. Completely rusted through. Today I removed the forward banana wraps and inspected the frame. It's not a pretty site up there either. It's beginning to convince me to replace the frame.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:15 PM   #4
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Take a close look at the main frame rails. Crossmembers and outriggers are easy to weld in, so long that the main frame is sound, or at least acceptable.
You can use 3inx5in rectangular tubing with 3/16 wall thickness for crossmembers. Nice and strong, perfect for making tank cavities, too.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:52 AM   #5
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Uwe,

Would you call this frame acceptable? I would prefer that it be but the reality may be less than my liking! What do you think?

Todd
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by monocoque
Uwe,

Would you call this frame acceptable? I would prefer that it be but the reality may be less than my liking! What do you think?

Todd
Todd,

In a word, NO! That frame is not acceptable. Keep moving forward and see how things are around the axles and toward the front. You have a great floor plan and a good size trailer, that is worth some work, but the pictures that you have posted look like you need to build a new frame. It looks like the salt air in Corpis has done a number on that trailer frame. The metal that is still there is most likely to thin to weld much to.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:46 PM   #7
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Dave,

Thanks for your advise.

You might check out the http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...rot-39673.html thread where I posted a more photos and more detail about the condition around the axles.

But I'm beginning to reluctantly agree with you.

If I choose not do replace the frame...what do I do with the trailer would you think? Sell for scrap/parts? Send it back to it's former scuba diving life?

Todd
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Dave,

Thanks for your advise.

You might check out the http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...rot-39673.html thread where I posted a more photos and more detail about the condition around the axles.

But I'm beginning to reluctantly agree with you.

If I choose not do replace the frame...what do I do with the trailer would you think? Sell for scrap/parts? Send it back to it's former scuba diving life?

Todd
...says she, chiming in from a safe distance in the bleachers....
Go for it and do the "Full Monte". One I remember particularly had the frame built, a black and white checkered vinyl floor put on top of the new plywood, then the new frame was backed gently under the braced body, and it was fastened back together. I think that several people have been able to have welders make the frame for $1200 to $2000 - that and new axles - and structurally you've got a NEW Airstream. Of course I'm ignoring the plumbing and wiring, but many here can advise and help you with those. Come on, even if you put $15K into redoing this vintage unit it will still be a helluva lot cheaper than new (as I DO know from experience!).

Good luck whatever you decide - oh and if the body is in good shape, it's not a "parter" even if the frame is done for. (If you do sell it, advise the buyer to have it flatbedded out unless they are very near. The frame IS done.)

Paula
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:07 PM   #9
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...says she, chiming in from a safe distance in the bleachers....
Go for it and do the "Full Monte". One I remember particularly had the frame built, a black and white checkered vinyl floor put on top of the new plywood, then the new frame was backed gently under the braced body, and it was fastened back together. I think that several people have been able to have welders make the frame for $1200 to $2000 - that and new axles - and structurally you've got a NEW Airstream. Of course I'm ignoring the plumbing and wiring, but many here can advise and help you with those. Come on, even if you put $15K into redoing this vintage unit it will still be a helluva lot cheaper than new (as I DO know from experience!).

Good luck whatever you decide - oh and if the body is in good shape, it's not a "parter" even if the frame is done for. (If you do sell it, advise the buyer to have it flatbedded out unless they are very near. The frame IS done.)

Paula
Paula,

Thanks for the cheers from the bleachers!

Ahh and this is the first I've heard about the possible price tag on a new frame.

I'm seriously considering the "Full Monte" but still gathering data. I wonder about how to build a frame to support the shell? So I can drive the frame out.

Next step is to get a welder out to survey and make a bid.

Todd
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:22 PM   #10
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Before you go off the deep end, consider using a sister piece(s) where the rot is.

I used 3/16" alum bent into a C channel to slip into the existing frame.

Used SS bolts, looks great and stronger than new without added weight.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:21 PM   #11
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The section of frame that I can see is completely defective, and needs to be replaced.
Best to drag out teh frame and build a new one on top of it.
I thelps if you level and brace the old frame, so it is perfectly straight before welding on the new metal on top of it.
When the new skeleton is finished, just set it aside and mount the axles etc. The old frame can then go to the scrap yard.
It helps if you can turn the frame over for welding, so that you don't have to weld upside down.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by uwe
The section of frame that I can see is completely defective, and needs to be replaced.
Best to drag out teh frame and build a new one on top of it.
I thelps if you level and brace the old frame, so it is perfectly straight before welding on the new metal on top of it.
When the new skeleton is finished, just set it aside and mount the axles etc. The old frame can then go to the scrap yard.
It helps if you can turn the frame over for welding, so that you don't have to weld upside down.
Uwe,

Thanks. This gives me some idea of how to measure a new frame. How would you lift the shell?

Todd
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by LI Pets
Before you go off the deep end, consider using a sister piece(s) where the rot is.

I used 3/16" alum bent into a C channel to slip into the existing frame.

Used SS bolts, looks great and stronger than new without added weight.
Bob,

What is a "sister piece?" Do you mean bolting something like a "splint" or a sandwich around the damaged area? Any photos of what you did?

Todd
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Uwe,

Thanks. This gives me some idea of how to measure a new frame. How would you lift the shell?

Todd
Yeah, there's that little issue...
Best to brace it internally to keep from twisting excessively, and then either put it on sawhorses, or hang it through windows, whichever works best and is safe for those working on, under, or near it. Youwill need 3-4 poins across the width of the shell to properly support it. It is about 25ft long, after all.
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