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Old 03-11-2008, 09:05 AM   #15
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Installing aluminum to steel will work if you follow some guidelines first. First treat the aluminum with a good metal prep and alodine, then prime with a good quality epoxy. Before installing apply a liberal amount of sealant at the mating surfaces, and install SS fasteners wet. This will prevent the two dissimilar metals from becoming a battery when water is present.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:10 AM   #16
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You might also consider running the panels the long way and placing a support angle along the centerline above your pipe. If you buy your plywood from a commercial supply house you will be able to get 4'x10' panels. This would mean you would only need (4)pcs. If that still does not allow landing the joint on a cross member, you could add just one more where required. Increasing the floor thickness to 3/4" could easily be accounted for with your new belly pan.

Your doing a great job. I really appreciate all the pipe frame picts... not often that we get a peek at these.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:19 PM   #17
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If I do run the 1/2 aluminum channel, they would be fastened to the aluminum ribs not the steel, except where the channel would come together at the points on the ends. I have not devised a method for that yet. I am not sure how the original floor was mated to the pipe on the ends. The trailer’s floor was really rotted and was touching the pipe on the ends. The front had a large u-bolt. I am again going to do this as I think there are high forces there when pulling.

Aluminum may touch the steel but is not generally fastened to it. The only place that aluminum is fastened to steel is where the two outside steel frames are bolted to aluminum ribs, fore and aft, (the primer color in the picture is aluminum, black is POR-15 on steel) and where the aluminum ribs are fastened to the center pipe. This is how the trailer was built. Some of it corroded away other parts were fine.

I have not used alodine as I did not know about it. Not sure I can go back but for sure can treat all future places that may mate together. I have used POR on all the steel before any contact with aluminum. Would the POR work as the epoxy Aero? What do you mean by "wet" on the SS? I am fabricating an aluminum pan to hold a water bladder and plan on mounting it to the steel frame using SS screws.

As for using plywood lengthwise, the center pipe is not flush with the cross ribs. It sits about a 1/4 inch lower. There would not be any support there. I could build it up but there still would be no support on the ends as the pipe is the only true support there. Biscuits may work but that would require another tool. The channel is $10 per 16 foot stick. It would take about 10. I am now thinking to spend the money on a biscuit cutter. Same money or less and in the end I have another tool but less support on the ends. Is there a term where the cost of tools purchased eclipses the cost of the trailer?
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FC7039
Is there a term where the cost of tools purchased eclipses the cost of the trailer?
Oh yeah, it's called bliss. In the past I've been known to start a certain project knowing that with that comes a whole swack of new tools to try out . Probably the biggest was the hoist.

Donna has not caught on to that ploy yet, or at least hasn't let on that she knows what I'm up to.

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Old 03-11-2008, 01:16 PM   #19
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By wet I mean putting a big glob of sealant in the fastener hole before installing a stainless steel bolt. An acid etch cleans the oxidation, oils, etc before appling alodine which is a conversion coating allowing paint or primer to adhere to the aluminum. Paints and primers do not stick well to an oxidized surface. Paint sticks very well to an alodined surface. I don't think POR15 is the right coating for aluminum but I could be wrong. Any kind of high quality primer will work.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:43 AM   #20
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Aerowood, great information on joining steel and aluminum. I had a Bonanza for many years and worked on it often. I used alodine to treat surfaces before painting and it is the way to go. As I remember I had a formula where I could get chemicals thru the drug store to make the stuff. Do you know of such a formula? Also I was told that it is a fairly dangerous chemical to work with. What information do you have on that? The reason the bi-metal thing concerns me is that I had a sailboat in the ocean and metals combinations always seemed to spell trouble. I know salt water is a whole different environment. The old trailers with the tube frames are very similar to the way many aircraft wings were constructed. I've never heard anyone mention that similarity. It made Airstreams even more like aircraft. What do you think?
FC7039, keep the great pictures and history of your project coming. I hope it will bring more of the original Airstream out and in to the open.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:10 AM   #21
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Alodine is a chromic acid and should be treated as such. It is safe to use if you follow standard chemical handling procedures such as gogles or sheild and rubber gloves and a chemical apron if you choose. I've never heard of getting the chemicals at a drug store but I've never tried either. We have dip tanks here at work that I use. As to a tube spar wing and early Airstream construction you are right but you are (we) really showing your age to have seen this type of wing construstion before.
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:44 PM   #22
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Aerowood, I've flown in a Waco biplane. However it was old even to my standards. As for as I'm concerned, if it leaves the ground, it's cool.
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:42 PM   #23
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Aero,

I am relying on your expertise here. I just received alodine and alumiprep via Fed Ex from http://www.aircraftspruce.com. Alumiprep’s data sheet say to not use on high copper bearing aluminum. I thought that copper was the main alloy for 2024. I hope that this is not considered high bearing.

On a side note. I am using a magnifying glass to read the data sheet. Another odd/interesting item. These items can't be sent via US mail because they are considered hazardous so I had to use Fed Ex. Here is what intrigues me. The shipping was only $9 and some. Why is everyone else’s Fed Ex shipping much higher? I think most stick it to the impatient. Just my thought.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:08 PM   #24
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The alumiprep will work fine on the 2024, I do it daily. Just make sure that if it is full strength that you dilute with water. If the aluminum starts turning a dark gray the alumiprep is to strong or been allowed to soak to long. Just spray it on and wash it off, that's all longer it takes, if the aluminum is clean to start with. Gentle washing with a scotch bright works well for more corroded or dirty metal. To apply the alodine the aluminum just needs to show color to be the right amount. Do not touch the metal with your bare hands until after her primer is applied. Long emerson times with either chemical does more harm then good. The process is very fast. Have fun and work safe.

Kip
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:41 PM   #25
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stabilizing jacks

I welded on some supports for some stabilizing jacks and made recessed "cans" for them in the belly skin. The front is not as deep so the jack in not completely recessed. The back is totally as I made the belly deeper to accomdate tanks.

A side note. My welding class was my son giving me about 15 minutes of instruction. His welding experience was shop class at in high school a few years ago. I bought a welder on Craigs List and all my experience is on the trailer. Who knows, the welds may not hold, they certainly do not look good, but they do pass the 3 lbs. sledge test. And, no one will be able to see them unless they have the trailer apart as I do. Keep it our little secret.

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I am making progress on the items in the belly such as places for tanks and such. A few more minor things and it is time for a floor and then the side and end skins. This I am amprehensive about as there was not any original floor except for some small rotted pieces under the channel. I am thinking I am going to cut the floor a little big, set the shell down and make final measurements, lift the shell off again and cut the floor to its final shape.

When lifting the 3/4 plywood that I have been using as a temp floor, it is heavy. I looked it up and it can weight up to 75+ pound a sheet. This will easily add 200+ pounds to the weight. I know that there was already plywood there, but I added weight to the frame and am adding water tanks and who know what else. Is there a light weight alternative to plywood? One though I had that builds on my thoughts of using 1/2 aluminum channel running the lenght of the frame is to sandwich the channel between two sheets of luan. I know luan is not marine but I think I can seal it up. I can also add insulation between the plys. I think this would be a stronger floor and lighter by as much as half. Any thoughts?

Also a picture of my "panel lifter".

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Old 03-26-2008, 12:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FC7039
I welded on some supports for some stabilizing jacks and made recessed "cans" for them in the belly skin.
Looks great! where did you get those jacks you used? Is the extension removed for stowing or does it pivot into the recess? Is that a circular recessed area for a spare tire that I see in on of the pictures?
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:12 PM   #27
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Steve, looks to me like the stabilizer jacks are from Atwood, part # 82301. Priced at $23.95 retail. They have a stabilizing load capacity of 1000 pounds and a lifting capacity of 650 pounds.
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:32 PM   #28
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Quote:
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When lifting the 3/4 plywood that I have been using as a temp floor, it is heavy. I looked it up and it can weight up to 75+ pound a sheet. This will easily add 200+ pounds to the weight. I know that there was already plywood there, but I added weight to the frame and am adding water tanks and who know what else. Is there a light weight alternative to plywood? One though I had that builds on my thoughts of using 1/2 aluminum channel running the lenght of the frame is to sandwich the channel between two sheets of luan. I know luan is not marine but I think I can seal it up. I can also add insulation between the plys. I think this would be a stronger floor and lighter by as much as half. Any thoughts?
The 5/8-3/4" plywood is an integral part of the structure of the trailer, it holds the frame & shell together. I think to replace it with something less would be a problem...aluminum channels sandwiched between two sheets of luan is nowhere near as rigid or sturdy as the plywood would be. And you would probably put your foot through the 1/8" thick luan in no time, especially if it breaks down any with road travel &/or vibrating load. I'd suggest sticking with the plywood...and either watching your other added weight or strengthening the frame accordingly - especially with a pipe frame which is more flexible.

Some of folks have explored the more costly option of a composite floor - I think foam or honeycomb-type products, but I don't recall if anybody has actually followed through on it to be able to say how it worked. Also, some olde Argosy's have aluminum floors...but I don't think they have held up well over time. Might want to do a search.

Shari
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