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Old 01-16-2016, 10:19 PM   #1
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Complete 1953 Flying Cloud Redo (honest...everything)

Hi All
We have been completely restoring/rehabing/renovating/repairing our 1953 Flying Cloud for the past 2 years. We've been documenting it on our instagram but thought I would go more in depth here.
I'll start from the beginning and eventually will reach present day where I'll continue to update.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:13 PM   #2
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Specs and Basics

Purchased October 2013 from NJtoNC, great people, the best.

Year: 1953

Length: 21' with tongue, 18' without
Width: 7' inside
Height: 6'3" inside
Weight: unknown (for right now)

Built in Los Angeles, CA
1755 North Main St.

Serial number: 05093

Original state: had been used as a chicken coop when we purchased it. Small bed in the back with a 70s era bathroom and galley, and the rest was chicken coops.

Plans: Complete rebuild to fit our future full-time lifestyle
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:15 AM   #3
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
Folsom , California
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 725
Images: 12
Looks like you're doing everything "right", giving it a chance at another 60 years on the planet.

Can't quite figure out your serial number though. I'm going to guess it's maybe an Ohio built trailer as they had an "O" at the beginning of the number. However I can't find any O 5XXX Models - Flying Clouds were either O3XXX (Ohio Built) or 7XXX (California Built).

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Old 01-19-2016, 11:04 AM   #4
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Exterior: When we got it

We were lucky that the exterior was in pretty good shape. Some previous damage on the top driver side of the front end cap. Looked like it had been repaired from the interior previously.
The front panel had multiple dents and dings and had a couple aftermarket outlets installed. We ended up replacing it, see future posts for photos.


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Old 01-19-2016, 01:27 PM   #5
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Interior: When we got it

The original interior had been removed and replaced with a small bed in the rear, a gopher hole style bathroom and small kitchen counter with sink. The rest of the space had been built out with 2 levels of chicken coops. I didn't get a ton of photos of the interior before we started ripping stuff out, but you can see the frame of the bed in these. In the last photo you can see the chicken coops behind the dog.

You can also see the front window was in bad shape, we ended up replacing that with one from another '53.





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Old 01-21-2016, 03:39 PM   #6
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1965 30' Sovereign
1969 23' Safari
Redgranite , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 70
Big project. Nice! I'll tag along.
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:08 PM   #7
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Floor removed, tackling the frame

I think we got so excited about demoing we forgot to take pictures. But to put it simply, we ripped up the old floor, finding 2 layers of old linoleum and 2 subfloors.

We then got down to the frame and realized is needed some major love.
We angled grinded? angle ground? with a wire brush attachment to get the decades of rust off.
We found some places where the steel had disintegrated and needed to re-weld some spots and weld some new metal on to reenforce it.
Once all the rust was off, we sprayed the whole frame down with rust proofing to help preserve it for the next couple decades.

Since we were newbies, we also didn't understand how much of a nightmare the bellypan was to remake, so we just cut it up into pieces as we went along the frame (DONT DO THIS! )
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Old 10-27-2016, 05:29 PM   #8
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
frame work pics

more pics of the frame and the reweld we did in a few weak spots

Andrew working on the frame


some patches in weak spots



we realized these were really bulky and ground them down



added an angle iron at the entrance to make it stronger


interesting to see the outrigger support on the front of the frame

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Old 10-27-2016, 06:02 PM   #9
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Installing grey tanks in frame

the older frame is very shallow, only 3 inches, and we didn't want to invest in having a custom tank built so we went with the 4" grey water tank from vintage trailer supply. To accommodate for the extra height of the tank we welded a 3 "cradle" bars underneath. We then zip tied some neoprene to the bars to avoid the bars from cutting the plastic of the tank.
We installed 2 tanks, one in the rear of the frame for the shower and one in the middle of the frame for the kitchen sink.





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Old 10-27-2016, 07:32 PM   #10
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Shocks and leaf springs

We looked everywhere for shocks the same size as the original with no luck. The originals were actually in good shape so we just wire brushed them, replaced the bushings, and reinstalled.

The leaf spring didn't seem to be in too bad of shape, so we just replaced the bolts holding it to the frame. We plan on refurbishing/replacing them eventually.






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Old 10-27-2016, 07:36 PM   #11
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
New subfloor

We hired some local carpenters to install a new subfloor.
They used 3/4" marine grade plywood. Attached with elevator bolts and screws.
They created a template using foam insulation.





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Old 10-27-2016, 08:10 PM   #12
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
New lower front exterior panel

The front lower panel was full of holes, after market outlets, dents and scratches. We ended up purchasing a new aluminum panel from Airpart Inc.

We easily removed the original panel by drilling out the rivets and coaxing it out.

We used the old panel as a template to cut the new one. We used pneumatic clippers to cut the metal. We then slide it up under the end cap and used the original rivet holes as a template and drilled a few holes to put clecos in to hold the panel while we positioned and riveted.
There was a "reenforcement" panel on the front that we left to keep the front rigid.

Even though we had access to the back of the panel (we removed the lower interior panel to remove the floor) we used olympic rivets because we didn't have a buck rivet gun yet.
To "water proof" the rivets we smushed a small bit of TremPro into the hole then riveted the rivet in.

We then used a rivet shaver to shave off the little nubs that are left when you clip off the stems of the olympic rivets.

We also wrote our names, year, and location on the back of the new panel when. Maybe in another hundred years the new owners may renovate and see it
















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Old 10-27-2016, 08:28 PM   #13
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
Removing interior panels and insulation

The original interior panels were disintegrated on the bottom in parts and has tons of holes from original fixtures and outlets.
The original insulation was pretty good in some spots but falling apart in others where animals and water had gotten to it.
We ended up removing and replacing both (see future posts for each).

While removing these we found some interesting artifacts in the wall, including a curved wooden support that looks like it was installed to repair damage on the front driver side end cap. And a tension bar holding some ribs together. You can see the original builders used tar to glue the insulation to the walls as well as waterproof the seams. We also found some tools used to form the original skin.












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Old 10-27-2016, 08:40 PM   #14
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 48
C-channel repair

The c-channel was non existent in some places, and needed some reenforcement in others.

For the places that needed new pieces we used a piece of angle aluminum screwed into the floor and riveted to the exterior skin.

For the places that needed reenforcement we screwed flat pieces of aluminum across the whole part that needed help.








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