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Old 03-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #113
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Fantastic Fan Installation

Today I decided to install my newly purchased Fantastic Fan that arrive a week ago from Vintage Trailer Supply. With my date of departure getting close I have been mostly working on restoring windows and getting estimates from shops. No matter where I end up sending the trailer to get work done, I have to remove the old and ugly AC unit from the roof. It has been sitting up on top unsecured with no bracing or interior skins for a few months now.

I pushed around on the AC unit from underneath, but it wouldn't move at all. I got inside the trailer and used a floor jack and a 2x4 to jack the hulk off the roof. I lifted each side with the jack, and placed a piece of cardboard underneath it. The trick was going to be getting it off the roof. I called a neighbor over, and we were able to pull the cardboard towards us enough to get the AC into our arms. Climbing down a ladder with an AC unit weighing over 100 pounds was difficult, and we must have looked nuts.

After removal of the beastly former cooling unit, I had this mess to contend with. The person who installed this unit wasn't satisfied with the AC gasket's ability to do its' job, and laid a thick bead of black sealant that looks more like tar than anything else.


Scraping with a putty knife and my all in one painter tool was getting me nowhere. I decided to pull out the big guns, and put 4.5" wire wheel onto my angle grinder. Between the gasket being torn to shreds and the tar, I blanketed myself, the Airstream, and the driveway with a fine coating of foam and tar. A little lacquer thinner and srubbing with a sponge got me a nice clean look.


The hole you see above was the original hole from the Hehr vent. The corners on the hole are radius curves, and needed to be squared up. A few snips from my metal shears, and the buzz of the grinder to smooth them out and I was all set.


After cleaning up the corners, I dry fit the unit in place to ensure everything fit well.


I added a hole in the roof rib where the 12v wiring will be supplied from. I placed a flexible plastic grommet from Home Depot to ensure the metal wont cut the wires in the future.


Having never installed one of these fans before, I contacted the factory. I was unsure about using the closed cell foam gasket that resembles styrofoam. The factory rep was adamant about using the gasket, and then sealing around the base with sealant as well as over every screw. The rep told me to have someone on the interior push up on the skin with a block of wood where I was screwing the fan in at. Amy felt she was finally up to helping on something with the trailer, and was my helper. With some of the screws, I had to pierce the skin and rib below with a 1/8" drill bit. I installed the fan without the lid on to ease installation, and prevent my keyless drill chuck from rubbing on the lid.


After all the screws were installed, I went around the perimeter and trimmed the gasket foam that was sticking out around some of the edges. A utility knife handled this without any issues.



I reinstalled the vent lid, applied the UV protectant that came with it, and proceeded to seal the edges and screws. The instructions called for silicone, but there was no way I was using it. I went ahead and used the Parbond rubber sealant since the tip was small, and game a manageable bead of sealant. I was concerned about covering the screws, but every other fan install from the factory that I have seen has done this, and not nearly as pretty.




I still need to replace the front hehr vent with a non-fan Fantastic vent. I figure that process will take less than half the time since there is no AC unit to remove, and no tar that will require extensive removal and cleaning. I was pretty nervous about being on the roof with no interior skin in the trailer, but the shell held with no problems.

All for now.
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Old 03-19-2009, 04:44 PM   #114
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We now interrup this boring thread with more information

Good afternoon. As of this morning, this restoration became a shell off project. I have been keeping tabs on Crazy corpsman's blog and saw his shell bracing. It looked simple enough to do on my own, and with a 21 foot trailer, not that much work on my part. I also got a quote from a restoration company of $2200 to remove and replace the shell. Since most all of my rivets were already removed...I decided to give it a shot.

The bracing materials cost me about $45.00 for screws, 2x4 lumber, etc. After 2 hours of cutting and installing I was done. I cut a small hole in the belly pan to give me a point to jack it up, and proceeded to jack the shell up as you can see in the pic. I stopped here since I don't have anything to set the shell on.

I would prefer to set the shell on the ground to keep wind from blowing it off saw horses. We get pretty windy storms here in Missouri, and the shell would be a big sail. Maybe I can git it onto saw horses, and then down to the ground.

Ideas?

Steve
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:21 PM   #115
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I suggest that once it is on the ground you bury some verticle posts to keep it penned in. The wind is a mighty force and better safe than sorry.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:26 PM   #116
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Ah the fever!!!!!!!! We shinied our moon caps and low and behold one was stolen already. Ugh! We need to be so careful these days. If anyone has an extra moon please let us know. We had them professinally plated.
Good luck! keep the photos coming.
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:32 PM   #117
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We have lift off

After bracing everything yesterday, I went ahead and removed the shell today. It took me a couple hours by myself shoring the shell little by little. I actually had to raise the front end higher than I was comfortable with the get the tires under the 4x4 posts even after I deflated them.

After getting the front end high enough to let the tires clear, I hooked the hitch to my truck, and slowly pulled the frame out. Once that was completed, I began the process of lowering the supports so the shell wasn't so high.

The supports are sitting on several cement cinder blocks, and while many people may be thinking I have done wrong by not building horses and such, I plan to have my neighbors help me move this trailer to the back yard directly on the ground.

With the rear floor gone, I need to use the front floor to template my new front and rear end caps. From the pics you can see that this floor was pieced together with several pieces. On the curbside they actually cut the flooring wrong, and have about a one inch blob of silicone in between the wood and side skin.

I think I'll get a nice piece of 3/4 inch AB Fir plywood, and make a template of the curve before doing anything else. I'll duplicate it for the rear end cap, and all the other pieces are straight cuts.

Right now I am contemplating a slew of other things. The two things I think about the most are holding tanks and the removal of the rear hatch. We won't have a shower in this trailer, but we will have washing of hands and dishes. I have considered a small black tank above the floor, and a blue boy, but I was also thinking about a combo tank like the 16 foot new bambis. I am concerned mostly because I believe the tank must go in before the floor (Correct me if I am wrong), and I will be getting to that in a week by the latest (I hope).

The hatch is something that I really don't care for. The face aluminum constantly rubs on the drip cap, and has scratched it badly. It is also the spot where the most water infiltration occurred at. Being that the bed is over this area, I would rather access this area by adding some gas struts on 1/4 wood holding the mattress, and get to things under the bed this way. I know that I could replace the gaskets, but this hatch is something undesired by us for good reason.

Anyone with comments on tanks or layout would be greatly appreciated.

Steve
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:44 PM   #118
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Hey Steve,

If you want to put a gray or black tank UNDER the floor, then you should have your plan already made out for that. Depending on size and shape, the tanks will require adjustments to the existing frame members. Perhaps some cutting, or maybe not, but definitely some welding in of new supports.

If you are thinking of using a black tank that sits above the floor, then you won't necessarily have to have it before you put in your new subfloor. But since your trailer originally never had any kind of tanks at all, you still might need to consider making frame mods to support an above-floor black tank.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #119
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While I prepare to template the floor and get the frame welded, I need to worry about tanks. This trailer was built before the factory started adding holding tanks, and this one just dumped onto the ground. My thoughts now turn to whether I want to do a black tank only, a combo tank, or both gray and black tanks. The trailer currently has NO plans for a shower since we have a shower in the Ambassador, and NEVER use the thing. We always camp where there are shower houses, and most of those are very nice. My old 56 Caravanner had a black tank only, and all the gray water went to a PVC pipe under the trailer to use with a blue boy or hookup.

Below is a picture of my frame. The red circle is where the old toilet dumped through the floor and onto the ground. The red square is where a propose above floor black tank would be installed. The two yellow areas are spots that I could separate gray tank. One thing that concerns me is the tanks will be either over the axle or behind the axle. To me the axle placement on this trailer is to far forward, and should be placed further back. Another concern is not only venting the tanks, but the drain and dump valves. These reasons make me consider a black only or combo tank.

Anyone have a primer on how fittings install in these things, how the dual drain valves connect, etc?



I found a local aluminum supplier that carries 4x10 sheets of 5052 .032 for the belly pan for $62.00 a sheet. This is $3.30 less per linear foot than Airparts. I didn't find out if they carry ALCLAD or not, but if not then I will order from Airparts for this.

After my frame gets repaired, I want to get my new axle installed. The local Dexter Supplier can get a new complete 4 inch drop axle without springs for around $275. Yesterday I checked the bearings and they were pretty much non existant. I also looked at the axle to find two broken shackles like this.

With no bearings, shredded tires, and two broken shackles on the running gear, I cannot believe I made it home in one piece.

Steve
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:08 PM   #120
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I just took some measurements. The space directly over the axle is 30" x 52" while the area behind it is 23.5" x 52". I measured edge to edge and didn't go up under the C channel lip.

Steve
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:19 PM   #121
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I would recommend you not put the tank over the axle. By doing so you will not be able to get it out without removing the floor or the axle. Forward or to the rear is always best, but as close to axle as possible. Making it removable from below makes the most sense. No matter what kind of tank, or where it is, you will have to vent it. Venting is easy to hide in a closet or inside the bathroom. Both the grey and the black vents can easily be tied together so only one penetration is needed. Personally, I agree about the shower not being needed in most cases. I do however think a combination tank to be something I do not like.
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:20 PM   #122
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Allrite can make a tank to your exact specifications. Not cheap, but well made and exactly what you need.
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:46 PM   #123
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Since I am getting a new axle, I could go with a straight axle instead of the drop currently on it. This would give me clearance for hanks that hang lower. It also appears that I will have to cut some holes in the frame rails or cross members to get the plumbing into the tank. The sink is pretty much going over the axle, and would need to get over.

Steve
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:53 PM   #124
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First floor cut made, Drop axle dropped

Today was productive. On the way home from my Chiropractor I stopped at the lumber yard and picked up five sheets of 3/4" AC fir plywood for the floor.



I only needed one, but why make two separate trips. I unloaded them once arriving home, ad took one piece over to the trailer. I left what was left of the front floor intact so I could template it later. I traced the pattern of the C channel on the plywood from underneath as best I could. I final results were not perfect, but much better than what I currently have with an inch wide silicone snake filling the space they improperly cut. I also think that the C channel I based my measurements off of may be off slightly. From what I have heard, the front and rear curves are the same. I placed the piece of flooring on the rear area, and it appears to be too wide. This piece fits the front very well, but was too wide on the rear. This piece on the front goes the entire width of the outriggers, but is about an inch too wide...weird.




Throw away piece fits nice

After I put the cut plywood back in the garage, I decided to remove the axle. I have been shopping a new axle for about a week since this axle is missing brake parts that I could not locate anywhere. I had the same problem with my 56 Caravanner. The Caravanner axle was replaced with a new complete (straight) axle. This axle is a drop axle, and I am debating whether to keep the drop or go with a straight axle. Straight axles are cheaper and ride a little higher. The extra clearance would be nice since the grey tank I add will likely hang below the belly pan area. Many folks think that the vintage trailers ride too high with a straight axle, but I have seen torsion axles on some vintage trailers.


This trailer axle and springs are quite beefy. It has a 6 bolt star pattern, and ten total leaf pieces in the springs. I want to use the same type of tires, wheels, as my Ambassador so I want to keep the 6 bolt pattern. Every place I have called so far has said that I need anywhere from a 5000-6000 pound axle. I cannot see why this axle was installed on such a light trailer, but perhaps it was an option in 1953 or is a replacement(?).

With rusty bolts all around, I decided it better (and faster ) to cut off the rear shackle and the U bolts. I would rather replace them with new parts. The springs will be wire brished and painted with POR-15 or some kind of epoxy paint.

I have started a thread regarding the drop axle vs straight axle with poll on the forums here.

Steve
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:50 PM   #125
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Hey Steve ....

Hope you and your Flying Cloud are hanging in there okay with this crazy weather. We've had some really high winds in our area and I think they came across St. Louis and you on the way to Central Illinois.

You're making some impressive progress on your Flying Cloud. Sure looks a lot different than when we saw her last year!

Nancy Mac and Laird
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:00 PM   #126
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Nancy and Laird,

You guys aren't kidding. My interior end caps are flopping around outside like a fish out of water. The shell has been very stable so far through the winds. I removed more flooring today and found a nice Motel 10 for the mice that were staying in it at one time. To my surprise, there are no small outriggers on the A-frame like I have seen on many other 50's trailers. I am amazed that this floor stayed in place since nothing was holding it in other than the force of being wedged in.

Steve
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