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Old 09-02-2012, 12:16 AM   #57
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Today I completed one more step to make sure the front of the shell is firmed attached. I added an aluminum angle behind the front hold down plate and bolted it down through the front cross member. I managed to do this without having to cut a hole in the belly pan by working through the small access opening where the umbilical cord is attached to the trailer wiring.

I drilled clearance holes to allow a single peice of aluminum angle to span past the existing bolts attaching the floor channel to the front cross member.

I also added a reverse angle in the center to provide a flange to which the front inner skin can be riveted. This replaces a short missing section of the front floor channel inner flange.

I now think the front of the shell is attached as good or possibly better than when new.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:49 AM   #58
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Thanks for all of the detailed photos. It's amazing that the interior is in such great shape, my '63's cabinets were so de-laminated they simply fell apart (except for the ones with layers of laytex that were holding them together).
It's even more incredible considering that the trailer has been 'round the world!
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:14 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
Thanks for all of the detailed photos. It's amazing that the interior is in such great shape, my '63's cabinets were so de-laminated they simply fell apart (except for the ones with layers of laytex that were holding them together).
It's even more incredible considering that the trailer has been 'round the world!
One of the great things about this trailer was that all of the interior cabinets are salvageable, although there is some delamination in places, most if not all that can be re-glued or covered with a shoe molding at the floor rather than requiring replacement or re-skinning. Cabinet condition was definitely one of the pluses when I first saw this ATW Airstream.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:51 PM   #60
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Family commitments slowed progress during the week, but I did get the new axle modified, cutting off part of the inner flange for access and drilling new mounting holes. Had to do that because the existing holes in the new axle were too far away from the flange and would miss the axle mounting plate on the trailer.

Today I got assistance from Lorrie's brother Larry and we got trailer lifted up and stabilized up on jack stands near the axle and rear bumper and a pile of wood under the tongue. We had two more jack stands to stabilze the axle while we removed it. We tried to unbolt the axle, but ended up having to cut off 3 of the 4 of the mounting bolts to remove it. By the time we got the old axle out, it was too late to do anything more.

Tomorrow I'll paint the axle mounting plate on the trailer and we should be able to get the new axle installed.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:23 PM   #61
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Got the new axle in on Sunday . . . sort of . . .

Got a new coat of paint on the frame in the wheel well area and got then new axle in place and drilled the new mounting holes. When attempting to bolt it in place, we discovered that the provided bolts were coarse thread and the provided nuts were fine thread. Of course we didn't notice this until after attempting to torque the nuts on the bolts, thus mangling the threads on both. Oops. Thus the axle is now hanging in place on just the bolts with no nuts. There axle maker has promised that I'll have new nuts and bolts by this Thursday so hopefully I can complete the installation this coming weekend.

I also have the new shocks ready to install, but figure I won't install them until the axle is bolted in place. I purchased the recommended Monroe Gas Magnum 555003 shocks. I test fitted them to that axle before installation and found that I had to shorten the provided shoulder bolts about 1/4" each in order to be able to install them through the shock mounting tabs on the axle without removing the brake backing plates. It'll be a tight fit to get them in, but there are enough threads left to ensure a good bolted joint.

Hopefully there will be no more hiccups and the trailer will be on the ground on the new axle with new shocks this coming weekend.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:04 AM   #62
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Frustration. I was supposed to have the new nuts and bolts for the axle by Thursday. They didn't come, so Thursday night I emailed the axle supplier stating so. Friday, I got a reply email that "Oops, they are still on our shipping dock and haven't been sent yet (5 days after it was promised they'd ship) - we'll get then out immediately and you should have them tomorrow (Saturday). Saturday came and went and no nuts and bolts. Nothing arrived on Sunday either. I think it is time for some financial compensation. I ordered this axle the first week of July and still don't have the parts to complete the installation half way thru September.

Over the last few days, while the Airstream remains on jack stands I have passed the time doing little other projects that I can do from below because I really don't want to work inside it until I get it back on the ground:
  • I caulked the seams in wheel wells
  • I painted the step and step recess
  • I made plans on how I intend to route and hook up the brake wires, but really don't want to do so until the axle is bolted in place just in case I need to drop it for any reason.
Arrgghh.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:38 PM   #63
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Joe, it's great to see the progress, despite having to wait on hardware! Frame looks excellent as well. You won't believe how great it tows with that new suspension. I must add that I doubt your trailer will see the stresses it saw on the ATW caravan and your front mounting plate certainly far exceeds the original design's strength.

Keep up the good work and keep us informed how it's going.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:29 PM   #64
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The correct replacement nuts and bolts for the axle arrived a couple of days after my last post, but then I got sick and couldn't complete the installation.

This weekend I was finally feeling good enough to get back to work. I got the new axle bolted in, then connected, routed and secured the brake wires, installed the new shocks, reinstalled the wheels and tires, and finally got the trailer off the jack stands and back on the ground. It feels good to have finally completed this task!

The trailer definitely sits 2' to 3' higher now. I had to deflate the tires to take them off the old axle, but no need to do that to install them on the new axle. Attached are the closest pre and post axle change photos I have to illustrate the difference.

I even got a last couple of photos of the old axle in the recycle bin. Goodbye old world travelling axle!
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:16 PM   #65
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I had another good weekend working on #6768. I was able to remove both closets and the credenza on the curbside. Then I got the black tank and all bath plumbing lines out. Finally I got the circuit breaker box disconnected and the rear inner skins out. I am now set up to remove the rear floor the next time I am able to work on the trailer. A few photos are attached.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:34 PM   #66
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I haven't had much time to update this thread lately and quite frankly the disassembly process is depressing, especially when each step reveals the need for additional work, which then suppresses my desire to write about it. Based upon this I am not going to include any photos with this post.

I spent as much of my free time as possible over the last two weekends removing the rear floor. This has revealed the extent of needed frame repairs. I had expected to find the need for some frame work, but what I am finding is a need for a little more repair than what I had hoped for, but luckily I haven't found any show stoppers. I've already had a welder out to look at the damage and he says all is easily repairable.

I may end up replacing the rear 8' rather than just the rear 4' of floor, but all access panels I can peek in show the frame forward of the axle to be in much better shape, so I still don't think a total floor replacement is needed.

Luckily the worst of the damage is to cross members, which had the thinest steel to begin with. So far I have not found any outriggers that need anything more than a coat of paint, and the main rails are pretty good, with only one area that I will have repaired at the very back near the bumper. Pretty much all of the damage is on the curbside half of the frame and curbside half of the crossmembers. That side had the worst rear end separation and the worst floor rot (and the easiest path for water to get to the frame - more on that in a moment).

My take on what I am seeing is that if Airstream did not sandwich the fiberglass insulation between the frame and floor then my frame would need far less work. It seems that any water that gets in the insulation wicks up to the top of the frame members where it rusts the top of the frame and may also damage the plywood floor from below. Where the insulation is held off the belly pan there isn't much frame damage, but where the insulation contacts the belly pan is where the trouble begins.

In my case, the the areas of worst frame damage are near the plumbing access panel below the black tank in the belly pan. In this area I found lots of "extra" insulation packed around the plumbing fittings and definitely in contact with the belly pan. Thus in this area, any water that got to the inner skin of the belly pan had an easy path to the top of the frame members. Based upon my findings I definitely won't be sandwiching any fiberglass insulation between the frame and floor when I put things back together.

That's all for tonight. The remainder of the rear floor removal, frame repair, frame painting with POR15, and new floor installation may take a few weeks. I may not post much until that is done and I can really begin the reassembly process.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #67
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Things seem more sunny today (and it was actually sunny today as I pulled the Safari home from the welder!).

Over the past few days the frame has been repaired, POR15 has been purchased, and the new floor tiles have also been picked up (for installation next spring). I hope to POR15 the exposed portion of the frame this coming weekend since high temps in the 60's are predicted - probably the last such days in Michigan this year.

No photos to share, though.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:42 AM   #68
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Thanks for keeping us posted on your progress. It is a wonderful thing you are doing by saving/restoring such a piece of Airstream history.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:11 PM   #69
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Over this past weekend, we had unusual temps approaching 70! I got the frame prepped for paint on Saturday by wire brushing the rusty parts and degreasing and etching the new metal using POR15 prep products. Sunday I got two coats of POR15 applied.

If anyone else does this, definitely heed the POR15 instructions. Don't get any on your skin (the spots are finally wearing off today) and use a good respirator (the fumes are very strong and hazardous). I did wear latex gloves, a paint suit, and a respirator. Unfortunately the sleeves rode up while I rolled around under the trailer painting the frame and I got some spots on my wrists and forearms.

P.S. Still no photos. Lost my camera before taking the Safari to the welder and have not found or replaced it yet.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:16 PM   #70
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I got asked to post some photos of the frame repairs. Due to the loss of my camera (recently replaced again) I don't have many before photos. One is attached along with a similar "after" photo.

The extent of the frame repairs was a replacement of the rearmost 2 foot of the curbside main rail and the rearmost two and a half crossmembers.

The curbside rail was replaced from the next to last crossmember to the rear bumper using exact replacement C-channel. There used to be a hole in that part for a drain pipe to pass through the rail. Once I figure out how I am going to add a gray tank I may have to cut a new hole, but for now the new section of rail has no hole. There were originally two drain pipe holes through the cubside rail. You can see the other one in the rail forward of the replaced section. It has not plated over in case I end up reusing it.

There are no replacement crossmembers available. We created new crossmembers by cutting one side off a 4" x 2" rectangular steel tube. There are no lightenting holes this way, but the weight gain should be minimal. We had to retain part of one crossmember because the heater duct passed thru that one. This was OK because that part of that crossmember had nothing more than a little surface rust.

It feels great to have the frame repair and POR-15'ing behind me. Holiday preparations are slowing work for the time being, so it may take a while to get the rear floor reinstalled.
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