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Old 02-01-2015, 04:00 PM   #1
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Kirkland , Washington
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1954 FC Project

Hi there, new to the forum and ready to get work underway on my "new" 1954 Flying Cloud. First thing I need to take care of is the tongue jack - it won't budge. Many things I plan to upgrade, but this was something I hoped could stay original. It has a round 4-hole base and a teardrop shaped tube. Are there any good replacements with a similar round base? Would it be difficult or expensive to fix or have refurbished?

There is a previous forum thread with a jack design exactly like this, but it sounded as though switching to the common triangular shaped base was the only solution given.


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Old 02-15-2015, 11:35 AM   #2
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Welcome to the forum

I have been away from the forum for a while, but this was one of the first issues that I encountered on my '55. To boil down the issue on the tongue jack to the main problem area--the gearing is likely to be pot metal or similar, and have corroded or have teeth broken off. The only way to tell is to be able to take it apart, which may or may not be a major undertaking depending upon the tools you have available, and your level of handiness.

If you are even considering it, I would hit it hard with some break free or WD-40 type penetrating oil and let it soak some up from every angle possible to see if that helps. Once you get it apart, if some of the components are broken, your best bet is to see if you can find a machinist who can do some specialized work, or find a NOS or old one that still works or has good parts to sub out.

It then becomes a second issue of whether you are dead set to keep that same look or the original and have the rest of the parts for it still in good shape. If you are not dead set, your life will be considerably easier. This also gets to a question of what your goals are for the project: restoration as close as possible to the original, or refurbishment to a usable condition of your choosing which may include modern items. I went for the latter on mine, and have not regretted it a bit.

You may also find that the ball hitch itself on the trailer is worn dangerously thin, and may need to be replaced anyway, which will make the original four bolt jack very hard to work with a new modern replacement. My hitch needed to be replaced, and I used one stronger than original, and put on a temporary cheap jack until I want to put on an electrical model.

Good luck on your project! Remember that a little bit of extra planning goes a long way, and more pictures are always good.

Cheers!

Matt
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:14 PM   #3
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Kirkland , Washington
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Thank you Matt. After getting the jack lubed, I was able to spin the crank about 5 revolutions. There never appeared to be any movement of the jack piston so I went ahead and ordered a new one. The interior upgrades will be extensive, including honeycomb aluminum airplane flooring, so I'm definitely not trying to keep it 100% original. Still, the jack was something I hoped could stay in. At this point I am considering changing out the coupler for a new one, but it's not worn down and I think my Flying Cloud sat unused most if it's life.
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:43 PM   #4
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There are a lot of people who would be very anxious to find a source for the honeycomb aluminum sheets. I haven't heard of any since the Boeing surplus store in Rent on, WA closed about five years ago.

I would have myself up until last spring!

I look forward to seeing your progress and would love to see what you have now. After three years of planning and reflection, I think the Flying Cloud models floor plans made the best use of space of any contemporary models. My plan is essentially a hybrid of two different '54 & '55 FC layouts. A considerable amount of thought went into these floor plans originally.
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:30 PM   #5
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I did some investigating into the honeycomb sheets as the best I could get from work was still just shy of $1500 each! Not to get too sidetracked but maybe take a look at Monopan, it's plastic like honeycomb as used in RV and trucking etc, not too expensive, lightweight and comes in 8'2" by up to 40'
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:17 PM   #6
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The flooring issue was a big one for me, and I was also disappointed to find out Boeing Surplus had closed their doors. Of course, there's an online auction, but it's not a reliable source for this stuff.

My plans for at least the next few years will require the AS to stay outside and often in very wet areas, so it just made sense to go the extra mile for this stuff. I found out about it in another thread post from shivtik. He used Gillfab 5065, and when I went to their site I found a huge list of products and got in touch with one of the reps. Let me first say that Gill Corp is not in the business of selling this stuff privately, however they get material that occasionally doesn't pass inspection by aircraft certification standards. Instead of throwing it away they try to recoup some of the material cost. So, I recommend to anyone planning to make an order, simply communicate through email and try not to take up too much of their time. They're very kind and helpful, so it would be great to keep that relationship going for future AS customers.

The product I went with is 5424. There is a preset price on everything they have - the 5424 goes for $500 a sheet and measures 4x12 feet. The stuff I ordered is type II, which is used in main aisle-ways and walking areas on the Boeing 737. It's as light as a rice cracker and tough as steel (well maybe not steel, but that sounded good and it's super strong anyways). I'll also be out another $200-300 paying freight from LA to Seattle.

In the coming months I'll prepare a good thread of information and ahem, PHOTOS! of my progress.
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:21 AM   #7
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Tanks Folks !

Hi 54fuselage, I wonder if you have acquired and worked with this aircraft plastic flooring and how it's working out? It sounds 10 times more expensive than plywood, and maybe a whole bunch lighter.

Everything needs addressed renovating a 50s era Airstream. From the tongue jack to the rear window, it all needs work. You have the shell off and having the frame blasted. There are design considerations for every piece of your Airstream. It is necessary that you develop your design before you get too far with the project. I just did a simple sketch roughly to scale to figure out how I wanted to rebuild the rear bath in my 66 Trade Wind. But it was a very valuable exercise as every piece is so dependent on the next piece.

You and I have been talking waste water holding tanks. I got mine from Inca Plastics in California. They have a big on line catalog on their website. I just thumbed through the catalog until I found a tank shape that fit the space I dedicated for holding tanks. My frame rails are 5" channels, but the smaller 50s era frames would require something different.

Take a look at the Inca Plastics catalog and see if you can find tanks that would work for you. And take a look at their grommets for sealing drain and vent pipes inserted in the tanks. The grommets have worked well for me. I didn't like the idea of a spin weld fitting ordered on a custom tank when I was unsure of the exact location of every pipe.

David
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:55 PM   #8
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Kirkland , Washington
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Well, I've made some great strides since I last posted to the thread. Essentially, up until a little over a month ago I had put the Flying Cloud aside to do a bathroom remodel. Boy am I glad that's finished and out of the way! All I could think about was tackling the Airstream!

First, I pulled the few cabinets I have and went straight after paint removal. Used the Citristrip as recommended by so many others. I hate to revisit the thought of this process because it wasn't fun and took about a week, even with my brother's help. After realizing that it would take about $150 in Citristrip and lots of scraping and scrubbing, I think I would prefer a good aviation paint stripper if doing this again...Perhaps I made the Prius owners of the world happy, and Citristrip did get the job done after all. We had some cool days where the Citristrip didn't "activate" well and after a little was wasted in these attempts we began to apply Saran Wrap (a big Costco roll goes a long way) to each section. Also used plastic razor blades, and they are a game changer! Found some good ones at the local Ace Hardware (outside ordering online, "Ace is the place" to get them as I couldn't find them anywhere else).

A view of the carnage.
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In some places the latex fell off in sheets. If only the whole job were that easy!
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:21 AM   #9
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Kirkland , Washington
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1954 FC Project

After completing the paint stripping, lower panels were removed and interior framing begun for the shell lift!

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The flooring freighted up from SoCal came on a nice 12 foot pallet. Perfect! That's the length of the FC's straight section (not including end caps).

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With the shell support framing in place I began drilling rivets. Purchased a rivet removal tool and ditched it almost immediately. It worked somewhat ok, however it was a blind operation with no way to be certain the drill bit was truly centered. Instead opted for striking a punch in the center of each rivet and drilling the center with a #30 bit. Discovered that with that size pre-drilled, the rivet head would pop off almost immediately when following up with a #21 bit. Therefore, the holes did not get disturbed or become any larger.

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After getting a few extra hands to help out, the shell lift took place. Used jacks and jack stands to assist, and was careful about placement and weight being applied to the frame. It worked out very well.

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Finally, shell was secured at a height that would allow the trailer frame to be parked below. Shell is firmly secured to the framework with shell edges suspended an inch above the saw horse beams. Saw horse legs are drilled into stakes hammered deep into the ground. Don't worry, it's not going anywhere.

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Old 06-07-2015, 12:35 AM   #10
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
Kirkland , Washington
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The lift process went very quickly, as my schedule allowed me a lot of free time that week. In all, two days were spent framing, drilling, lifting, and securing the shell.

The trailer was pulled out and with a lot of construction paper and tape I carefully made a template for the flooring shape. Hopefully this method works. It should at least help with the corner radii. I'll be taking a lot of careful measurements to ensure that my cuts are right the first time.

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Next came the cutting. Within a short time, the plywood was cut and sealed in bags. Every bit of care was used with the threat of asbestos.

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Belly pan was then removed, and the frame now sits and waits for the media blaster's schedule to free up.

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Old 06-07-2015, 12:59 AM   #11
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
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David, the flooring material is truly amazing! I was just experimenting with a sample the other day - drilling, tightening down bolts, stomping on it as hard as I could. It doesn't budge...just truly amazing. When I factor in price per square foot and consider the performance benefits I believe this is worth budgeting in for the long haul.

Like you, I've got a lot of design ideas scribbled out and I'm doing everything possible to catch all the details now. That's why I'm looking at tanks now, when in reality they won't be put to use for another two seasons, or perhaps further out. I'm even looking at ordering the tanks from Inca this summer just to ensure I have the proper fit, then sticking them in storage. Still perusing the catalog, and waiting to hear back from Inca. Very excited when I see the pictures of your tanks! Who'd ever guess someone could enjoying looking at pictures of black water tanks?!

Oh, the tongue jack issue has been considered resolved since I ordered a new zinc plated bulldog. Someone mentioned they were able to rebuild the old jack, which I'll keep and hopeful rebuild someday.

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Old 06-15-2015, 01:29 PM   #12
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
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Busy weekend. Took the trailer in for blasting, and within hours of completion had begun prepping and spraying primer. After hours of researching POR 15, I finally decided to go a different path. After finding so much heavy pitting in the metal, blasting was necessary and from there determined that I'd like to use a 2k epoxy primer instead. Time will tell if I made the right choice.

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While the blasters were working, I stopped at a trailer suspension store called Six Roblees. It appears they have many locations. They had the Dexter straight axle I needed and all of the necessary components, so I was able to pick everything up that day.

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Old 06-15-2015, 07:13 PM   #13
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I think you made a very wise choice. POR 15 is "magic" paint that you apply right over rust. It works best when there is rust to adhere to. I wire brushed my frame and brushed on POR 15 after the cleaner and metal prep steps. I found the POR 15 adhered very well to the rusty areas, and not as well to the areas where the factory paint was left on. Since you blasted to bare metal, POR 15 may not be my first choice. Your epoxy paint will last a long time. Airstream frames are not as exposed to the elements as car mufflers are in Minnesota.

Drill some 1/4" dia drain holes in your new belly pan. Rain water seems to leak in the belly pan on most Airstreams. Letting it drain out, and letting some drying air in can't hurt.

David
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:18 AM   #14
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The auto-body supply store that sold me all of the paints had some very helpful guys. They said that the POR 15 would adhere well to the bare metal, so it was a tough call but I've heard great things about the 2k epoxy so I decided to go with it. Good call on the drain holes, I've been contemplating that one.

Any suggestions on flooring insulation? I'd like to use some kind of foam board and attach it firmly to the underside of the floor leaving room for air to circulate around the edges and pan below. I've also considered using nothing at all, as the flooring is supposed to have decent thermal properties - but I don't know how good.
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