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Old 03-24-2008, 11:25 PM   #1
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1953 17' Clipper
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1953 Airstream Clipper 17ft

This is my first airstream project and I am excited but have relized it will be much more work than expected. I was hoping to strip old tile and replace but, now realize there is rotten wood on each end of the trailer. Next, I realized there are critters living below floor and I need to take out floor and remove old insulation/critter bedding before I get started. Any advice is appreciated. I understand I should use untrated plywood. The old floor is very solid and difficult to pull out.

The trailer has the 2 original twin beds, 2 closets, one toilet and table with benches up front. The original frig and stove are no longer in the trailer.

Thanks
Rob
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:13 AM   #2
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Wow, Rob, you really have a find! Please post some photos!

I think the '51 models would have had pipestem frames. These seem to require special consideration for structural concerns. Since trailers this old are rare, there are few with experience, but it's probably worthwhile seeking their advice.

You probably are in for a big effort, since what you have is truly a collector's item. I would consider a project like that as "high-maintenance," even under the best of circumstances. However, you may enjoy that. Best of luck and please do keep us up to date on what you do!

Mary
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:02 AM   #3
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Congrats Rob!

If you haven't already found it, here is a link to this model in RJ's archives. It sounds like this was a short lived 17' Clipper built only in '53 thru the early '54 model year. By '53 it should have a ladder frame and not a pipe frame. Definitely post some pictures. You've picked a very nice trailer for a first go at it.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
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Steve is right, I don't know why I thought '51. Doh!

Anyhow, still rare and a definite cool find!

Mary
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:11 AM   #5
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Welcome!

What a wonderful project you are taking on. I'm a fan of the 50's models and the small trailers (we have a '64 Bambi II which is 17' in length). You have come to the right place for advice and information. There are quite a few "full restoration" threads in progress right now which will give you an idea of the steps and work involved in restoring one of these beauties. In addition, there are separate forums for each part of the trailer you want to work on.

Here are some full restoration threads in progress:

1) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f226...nte-15132.html

2) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...17197.htmlHave


Here is a link to my Bambi II restoration thread (though I had a relatively easy restoration as the floor didn't need to be replaced): http://www.airforums.com/forums/f147...ion-12691.html

Have fun!
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, links & encouragement. I'll have pictures when my dauther gets home and can help me put them on!
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1953potato
Thanks for the advice, links & encouragement. I'll have pictures when my dauther gets home and can help me put them on!
Funny

I'm sure she programs the TV remote and the darn clock that blinks 12:00 all the time on the VCR............

Can't wait to see the photos. Welcome to the AirForums.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:45 PM   #8
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53 tater,

Congrats and welcome aboard the Aluminum express. You wil find out soon that restoration is a slippery slope and that your favorite beverage will be called upon during your progress (make sure the reefer works first). Your frame shoudl be a ladder frame and is most likely 2 x 3 rectangular tube (C channel didn't come in till later) and it is tuff stuff. Let us all know of your progress with pictures and we will be as gentle as possible.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:13 PM   #9
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1953 17' Clipper
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Question help with floor & toilet repair

From What I Have Seen Is It Looks Like I Need To Remove My Floor From The Inside And Leave The Underpinning Alone And Do The Floor Restore From Above. I Guess By Using 5/8 Marine Grade Plywood. I Was Wondering If There Was Any Advice On What Material To Use For Insulating The Underpinning Before I Put The Floor On. Also, If Any One Has Any Ideas About Fixing The Toilet And The Gray Water Tank (it Is Only About 10 Gallons And Above The Flooring). I also have a bowling ball size dent in the upper rear quarter panel above and to left of the window. It is not visible from the inside of the trailor. ANY advice would be appreciated. Thanks Robert,
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:17 AM   #10
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Floor from above

You can do the floor from above, but I highly recommend removing the belly pan and install the floor with Elevator bolts (large headed flat heads that are bolted through the wood and then through the frame and outriggers. These are bolts and not screws. Many people use screws but the screws don't have the shear strength of a bolt and what I've seen (especially on single axle trailers that porpoise) the screws pull out pretty quickly. Looking forward to the pictures. Removing the lower inside skin is very important so that you can get to the c channel and bolt the perimeter down as well. Plus, you will be able to clean out the YUCK you will find down there. Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robandzoe
...Removing the lower inside skin is very important so that you can get to the c channel and bolt the perimeter down as well.
Is the "lower inside side" the same thing as the belly pan or are you talking about something else?
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:20 PM   #12
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Lower inside

No, the lowest inside panel going all the way around - this way you have access to the c-channel. Otherwise, you will not be able to get to the c-channel to bolt the shell onto the new floor and to the frame.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:22 PM   #13
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1953 17' Clipper
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Thanks to all. It's looks like Father's Day weekend may be sooner than I thought. (1st. planned short trip) I may need to get my ole boy scout tent out of storage.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:39 PM   #14
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Rivet Congratulations

Just caught your thread. Sounds like your floor is just a little more of the Delta Blues. Glad to see some more Arkansas members. Airstream of Arkansas in Searcy is a great resource.
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