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Old 08-10-2015, 10:32 PM   #1
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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1950 Flying Cloud #7002 - new project!

Hello!

I am pleased to be entering my first post here in the Air Forums! My wife, Tracie, and I just brought home our second Airstream, a 1950 Flying Cloud 21'.

Our first Airstream was a 1978 Sovereign Land Yacht 31'. We fixed it up and lived in it for 3.5 years while we built our house here in the mountains of North Carolina. I wonder if these forums were around back in 1997? I'm sure it would have been helpful! We sold our Sovereign for more than we paid for it once the house was done. We've always had a spot in our heart for Airstreams since then!

Now we decided what we need is a vintage Airstream! We started looking for a single-axle trailer between 18-22', as old as possible, with 13-panel end-caps and a classic look overall. We wanted one with a ruined floor and a decent shell that is ready for a polish job. We found most of those things in this trailer so we took the plunge!

Our intention is to perform a high-quality, full restoration from the axles up in the spirit of the original design but with a custom layout and numerous upgrades.

So far I have really appreciated the info shared by FC7039 about his '50 Flying Cloud project as well as many of the helpful comments and other posts shared by other members! Restoring a 65 year old Airstream is no joke! The experience shared here has already helped us to not become too overwhelmed with our project ahead! We really appreciate all the folks who have shared so much! And we look forward to sharing our journey with the community!

Ryan

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Ryan Franks
1978 Sovereign Land Yacht 31'
1950 Flying Cloud 21'
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:21 PM   #2
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Allen , Texas
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One thing about the older trailers is light. Well I guess that won't be an issue for you. Good luck. I will be following along.


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Old 08-11-2015, 10:52 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Welcome to the Forums!
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:48 PM   #4
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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It's been a month since we brought our Flying Cloud home.
I created a blog to document the process.
You can see our first post here:
https://1950airstream.wordpress.com/

The next step is to take the frame to the local welding shop for the primary frame rebuild. We'll get started on re-sealing the windows while the frame is in the shop.

We're still debating which material to use for the new sub-floor.
Here are the options we're considering...
*5/8 MDO with epoxy on the top and around the sides
seems like most cost-effective long-term option but I can't find the material anywhere
*5/8 Thermo-Lite Board® Supreme with epoxy on the top and around the sides
Water Resistant, Fiberglass Reinforced Composites | Stringers and Transoms | RV Repair | Boat | Flooring | Plywood Replacement | Marine Bulkheads
at $170 per sheet it's pricey but it's super-light and seems very strong(order a sample if you're curious: Water Resistant, Fiberglass Reinforced Composites | Stringers and Transoms | RV Repair | Boat | Flooring | Plywood Replacement | Marine Bulkheads)
I'd have to through-bolt the C-channel down and caulk all screws but I think one of the trailer's original weak-points will have transformed into a strong-point with this material.
*5/8 plywood with epoxy on the top and around the sides
this seems least expensive and easiest to get and to work with.
after seeing the original pywood floor half-gone and the other half completely de-laminated it just seems wrong to replace it with the same material.

I've read many threads debating floor materials. But I'd love to here some advice from some more experienced folks if you feel like passing it along.

Thanks!
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1978 Sovereign Land Yacht 31'
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:16 AM   #5
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I replaced my old rotten plywood floor with marine grade plywood at ~$100/sheet. I painted top, bottom, and edges with several coats of poly. If I had it to do over, I would just use construction grade plywood and do the same poly treatment. There is no doubt that there are more high-tech materials, but I figure the untreated original plywood lasted almost 40 years, and my replacement will last at least as long. By the time the floor is shot again, the frame will have rusted away and the whole thing will need rebuilt, and I will be blissfully unaware, cryogenically frozen awaiting modern medicine to regrow my liver.

It is easy to over analyze every decision that goes into a rebuild. Believe me, I have, and as a result, I just passed the 3 year mark, and the trailer isn't finished yet.

good luck!
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:54 PM   #6
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
Sacramento , California
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What a beaut! Love all those windows!
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Old 09-03-2015, 01:28 AM   #7
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Nice trailer, a question I have is when you say "frame rebuild" and "adding more steel" what do you mean? Will you be building a whole new frame, staying with the pipe design, etc... Or starting all new with a frame better suited for today's roads and speeds, not to mention if you plan to put water tanks (fresh/gray/black) in it.

I'm sure you have it all thought out, just asking.

Enjoy,
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:05 AM   #8
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Beautiful trailer well worth whatever you can spend on it
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:49 PM   #9
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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Paul,
You can check out the comments section on the blog post for more info on our plan for the frame and axle. https://1950airstream.wordpress.com/
We're planning to add 10 gallon fresh water and grey water tanks between the axles. There seems to be room there as is, but a complete re-design could yield more room...
We'd love to hear your opinion if you have one!
Thanks!
Ryan
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:29 PM   #10
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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Very cool trailer! Your blog so far looks just like my progress on our 1950 liner up to the shell off. We will be building a new frame before lift off and hopefully swapping frames within a few day period next summer. That 65 year old insulation is some nasty stuff. Good luck and I will be watching your blog to help me with our rebuild.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:02 PM   #11
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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thanks for all the feedback!

I've decided to go with 3/4" MDO for the floor. I'll paint it with 2 coats of primer and two coats of paint. It costs 3 times as much as standard 3/4", weighs 92% as much and should be significantly more resistant to breakdown than standard plywood. For an extra $300 the floor should last much longer.

My next challenge is getting some new wheel-wells fabricated. The only quotes I've gotten were for $400-$600. I'll keep shopping...

I've got a gray water tank on the way and am ready to start painting the frame and installing the new floor floor as soon as it quits raining!


a blog post with September's progress is up here:

https://1950airstream.wordpress.com/...t-restoration/

please keep the feedback coming...it is much appreciated!
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:01 PM   #12
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Hope you have it on high ground with the incoming rain between the nor'easter and hurricane Joaquin. Stay safe.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:53 PM   #13
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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I've posted an update to our progress. We got our pipe frame beefed-up with some additional steel and we got it painted with POR-15. We've also got most of the interior panels cleaned-up and ready to be re-painted once it is reinstalled.

https://1950airstream.wordpress.com/...anel-scraping/

We did have some strong winds the other day and the trailer shell moved about 4-5 feet sideways in the gravel driveway ... yikes! Luckily everything was fine.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:17 PM   #14
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1950 21' Flying Cloud
Newland , North Carolina
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Here's an update on our progress in November:

https://wordpress.com/post/1950airst...rdpress.com/85

We're nearly ready for the new sub-floor...
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