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Old 08-19-2017, 08:29 PM   #99
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Is been a while since I provided a progress update on ATWC #6768, a.k.a “Cramer”, our 1962 22’ Safari. Work has been more steady this year . . . year 6 of my planned 6 month restoration. House projects kept me from starting until May. None of the mundane work so far this year is worth posting photos.

In May 2017, I did the following:
  • Installed a 120V outlet behind where the fridge will be reinstalled, just in case I want to upgrade to a 2-way (LP and 120V) fridge in the future. The current intent is to retain the original “LP only” fridge.
  • Installed the 120V Breaker Box to the wall in what will be the rear closet when the interior is reinstalled. I also connected the wires and installed the breakers, except that I did not connect the 30A shore power cable because I want to install the new floor tiles before feeding the cable up thru a hole in the floor.
  • I also made an aluminum tray to line the floor the 30A power cable compartment so that the cable does no chafe on sharp aluminum edges and rivet shanks when traveling down the road. I wanted to protect the cable from the belly pan seam in the compartment.
No work in June as I was away much of the month traveling in our other Airstream.

In July 2017, I did the following:
  • Applied “Git Rot” penetrating exopy to the floor sheets that were not replaced, basically from the axle forward. I applied it to the panel edges and at every existing floor to frame bolt head. In July, I used almost 3 full 16 oz. bottles, not counting the 2 more bottles I used years ago at the very front of the floor when reattaching the front of the shell to the frame. The grand total was 5 16 oz. bottles for three sheets of floor! I think it will be fine.
Work then stopped while I attended the WBCCI International Rally.

(Truth be told, were I starting this project now, I would replace the entire floor, but when I did what I did, I was still working, with limited free time and no helpers. Given that the interior skins are reinstalled and the interior is painted, there is no way I am taking it apart again to replace the front floor. Given that this trailer will always be stored indoors when not in use, at least as long as I own it, and given that the mileage accumulation rate will be much less than in the early years when it when 31,000+ miles over all sorts of horrible roads in a little over a year during the Around the World Caravan, I think it should be good for another 50 years before the next person re-restores it.)

So far in August, I have done the following:
  • Sanded the entire floor in preparation for the application of leveling compound at floor panel edges and bolt heads and then new floor tiles.
  • Stripped all of the window latches and screen retainers and screw heads. They likely were originally Zolatoned, but when I got the trailer that had a thick layer of latex on them. They will look better unpainted.
  • Started to reinstall the window hardware (new openers from VTS, and the recently stripped latches and screen retainers). I have installed these items for 3 out of 6 windows so far, but have discovered one window frame has a broken corner, so I will have the be taken off and welded.
That’s it for now. The plan is to get all of the windows working so that I can once again seal up the trailer to keep the dust out (it gets real dusty in the rented storage unit). Then I will level the floor and install the new VCT tiles. This must happen before the weather gets cold. Then I will begin to restore the cabinets and reinstall them and refinish the light fixtures and reinstall them. The plan is to have the trailer usable (though not “done”) by next summer. I doubt I’ll get to polishing before 2018 at the earliest.

It is definitely more fun working on the “going back together” phase than in the “take it apart” phase.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:30 AM   #100
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Lots of progress! I've used Git Rot before in marine applications and that stuff dries like concrete and stays that way. I think you'll be in good shape!
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:24 PM   #101
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Well my plan to get the windows sealed up before getting back to the floor took as detour. I have invested dozens of hours trying to repair the curbside window that had been modified a loooooonnnngg time ago to fit a window air conditioner.

The sides of the window frame had been cut out to fit the A/C that obviously was wider than the opening. Half of the side T-Slots that were used to hold the window gaskets were cut out in the process of widening the opening. Then, some sort of caulk, sealant was applied around the window opening in an attempt to seal the A/C in. This caulk filled the T-Slots that were not cut out, especially across the top.

At some point before I got the trailer, the Window A/C was removed, but no real window gasket was ever put back in. The window leaked like a sieve, probably for decades and this caused many issues that have resulted in many dozens, if not hundreds of hours on my part to rectify. The leak caused galvanic corrosion and holes in the exterior aluminum skin at the wheel well opening below that required me to rebuild that wheel well opening (which I completed last year). It also cause floor rot behind the wheel well (which was part of why I had to replace the rear two sheets of floor plywood (also done). Yet to be rectified is the significant damage to the interior cabinet that was below the window (that will be dealt with before that cabinet is reinstalled and is possibly the only place I will not be able to repair the existing veneer).

Today's post, though, is about the reconstruction of the widow frame itself. From mid August thru most of September, I have spent dozens of hours cleaning he hardened caulk off the window frame and out of the T-Slots (example photo attached). What a pain! I have a at least a couple dozen hours invested in this task alone. I found that the only solvent that would soften and eventually help remove the caulk was denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, pain remover, Goo Gone, etc. did absolutely nothing. I made a couple of tools to help clean out the T-Slots. They were bent pieces of aluminum (photo of one attached) that I filed teeth into to allow me to saw into the sealant inside the T-slots. I also used a piece of a modified hack saw blade (no photo). After much trial and error, I found that he most effective technique was to soak a rag in denatured alcohol, then wrap it around my handmade tool, insert it into the slot, and rub it back and forth several times to wear away the sealant. Then sawing with the bare tool might remove a little more sealant. Then move to a clean spot on the rag and repeat . . . hundreds of times, much of it working over your head. But it worked. The T-Slots are now cleaned out (example photo attached). Yeah!!!

Next task was to rebuild the missing side T-Slots. When the A/C was removed, whoever did it had some skills. The rebuild the sides of the window frame that had been cut out to all the window screen to be reinstalled and seal out the bugs. I am impressed by that work. Unfortunately, they did not recreate the T-Slots. I was able to bend some aluminum into a L-shape and rivet it to the rebuilt side to recreate the missing half of the side T-Slots. It took some trial and error and much filing, to make the aluminum "L" pieces that are only about 1/2" wide and 1/8" tall, but I eventually got it. My gasket samples fit perfectly. I caulked the "L's" with Vulkem when I riveted them in place and will install the gaskets after I am sure the Vulkem is dry. I am attaching a couple of example photos of one side to the rebuilt window frame T-Slots (the other is similar), one temporarily clecoed in place with gasket samples tucked in and one finally riveted.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:06 PM   #102
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The next task is currently in progress, but I have no photos. I am replacing the glass in the curbside window sash that came off to allow the frame and sash itself to be repaired. The sash was cracked in one upper corner, so it is out to be welded at the moment. When the window A/C was removed, the sash was reinstalled, but the little nylon piece that located the window in the track so that it would not hit the sides of the frame when closing was never reinstalled. It is obvious that trying to close the window with the sash not aligned was what caused the upper corner to crack.

To get the frame corner straightened and ready to be welded, I had to remove the glass. When I removed the glazing strips, the glass was only barely held in place on one side. Just a little heat from a heat gun and it easily came off in one piece. Most of the (butyl?) glazing tape that was supposed to seal the glass to the frame had dried out and was no longer tacky. There is no way that window would have been water tight even with a rebuilt frame and proper bulb gasket in the T-slot.

I had also taken the front window sash off a few years ago as my test window for new glass. So after removing the glass from the curbside window sash, I turned to the front window. When I remove the front window glazing strips, the glass just about fell out. It was completely loose and had only been held in by the glazing strips. Part of the (butyl?) glazing tape had literally turned to dust, especially at the bottom. No water seal on that window either. Not good especially if the trailer is ever pulled in the rain. Luckily, no corners on this sash needed to be welded, but one upper corner had been previously welded.

It is now clear that the other 4 windows will have to be taken off and have new glass and glazing tape (and glazing strips) installed to make sure they are weather tight before the trailer goes out for it's first trip, but since it is stored inside, this can wait a while.

So this brings me to the current state. When I get the curbside window back from the welder, I will purchase new 3/32 (single strength) glass and install it in these two windows using new butyl glazing tape and glazing strips from VTS.

I had debated about going of to 1/8" laminated or tempered glass, but was convinced that the added weight was not likely good for the light weight sashes, especially their welded upper corners, so I'll go back with 3/32", just like the original glass.

I wish VTS sold the little nylon locators, since neither of these windows had them when removed (both had obviously been off the trailer before and I'm sure the locators were lost). I guess I'll just have to fabricate something myself. I try to remember to post a picture here when I do.

I am thinking about adding a fiberglass rock guard over the front window to protect that single strength glass. Many Airstreams on the ATWC had them (but not mine), so I think this would be an acceptable upgrade.

I know VTS sells a modern reproduction, but I'd rather put a weathered original on the trailer instead (example photos of both attached).

Does anyone know where I can find an original fiberglass rock guard? Hopefully it would still have all of the original hinge, prop rod, etc. components. Back in the day, some used a green corrugated fiberglass while others were white or tan. In some the fiberglass had a fluted pattern rather than the corrugated wave pattern. I'd be interested in any of these types. It just needs to be big enough to not interfere with the front sash, so that I can still open the window. My front sash is 42 3/4" wide and 21 3/4" tall. Thanks in advance for any leads you might have!!!!

Over and out 'til next time.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:13 PM   #103
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great solution on the frame repair! I was trying to envision it in my head but looks great in the pictures!
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:33 AM   #104
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I have been too busy to post regular updates. I'll catch things up today. The curbside window had been finished.

Attached are photos of the bulb gasket and completed curbside window sash installed.

Then are photos of the welding repair on the back of the curbside window and a closeup of the glazing strip installed on the welded corner showing from grinding damage that the welder did while I was not present to watch him. (Note to self, be present to oversee the work if any other windows must be welded.)

Next are photos showing how I fashioned new nylon window locators from a dollar store cutting board. The original spacers were missing from both the curbside and front windows when I removed them, so I had no template to work from. It was trial and error to determine that they needed to be little curved pieces about 1/2" long. Once slid into place, a hole was drilled thru them and the original locating screw reattached. They work great. I carved a long enough strip to be able to eventually replace all 6 window spacers if necessary.

Finally are a couple of photos showing how I had to file down the new window opener from VTS to fit (along with an unmodified opener). All window openers on all windows had to be filed on the side the faced the window opening to clear the screen curb. The curbside opener (only) also had to be filed on the opposite side as well, because the location was slightly narrower due to the way the window frame was rebuilt after the window A/C was removed.
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:45 AM   #105
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The front window was next. The big learning here was how to install the glass on the new butyl glazing tape. My first attempt resulted in the new glass prematurely adhering to the butyl tape in the wrong position and then breaking when I tried to pull it off.

After removing and replacing the mangled butyl tape and buying a new piece of glass, I decided that I could temporarily reinstall the glossy paper backer on the butyl tape on the window frame, which allowed me to set the large glass in place and slide it to the desired position without it sticking. When properly positioned, I was able to slowly peel the backer out from between the glass and butyl tape and then press the glass down to secure it in position.

I'll also attach a photo showing how I cut little test corners of the plastic glazing strips from VTS to make it easier to get the perfect angle on the corners of the real glazing strips as I cut and filed them to size and shape before installation.

Finally, is the front window and screen reinstalled.

One last note. I am glad I went with 3/32" (a.k.k. single strength) plate glass for the windows. The plastic glazing strips were hard enough to snap into place with this thickness of glass. Had I opted for 1/8" laminated or tempered glass, I am not sure my thumbs would have been strong enough to snap the glazing strips into place.
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:56 AM   #106
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Last update for today. Since getting the two removed window sashes reinstalled, I have worked to level the floor, filling the recessed heads of floor bolts, smoothing uneven seams at plywood edges, etc. I have used Bondo General Purpose Putty for this purpose and will hopefully be installing the new floor tiles as soon as it warms up a little bit . . . maybe starting tomorrow.

I did temporarily set out down a few floor tiles to get a feel for how they will look.

IT SEEMS I CAN NO LONGER UPLOAD PHOTOS, BECAUSE "I HAVE EXCEEDED MY QUOTA". HOW DO WE RESOLVE THIS??????????
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