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Old 11-17-2013, 09:02 AM   #161
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I was sitting in my 62 overlander talking with my guest staying in her last night. I was studying the interior rivet lines created by the Ohio factory. There are numerous half ribs and I know why...
There is one next to the door. If it went all the way over it would go right through the middle of the street side windows. The one next to those windows only goes half way because if it continued over it would go right through the door. On the other side of the door the rib stops at the astrodome. There is one half rib between the door and the pantry. If it went over it would go right through the window at the sink. Where the ribs go from side to side there is no obstruction.

Angled hold down plates. I think these are very important. In some eras, they tie the shell to the frame, floor, and shell. In other eras, they only connect the floor to the shell. What they do is keep the shell from sliding forward or backward. In conjunction with the front hold down plate, they tie it all together. I always copy them exactly. I do not try and make any changes. One improvement I make however is to put a barrier material between the steel and aluminum. I would worry about using aluminum angle for this same structure. I think it is just too soft a material and it will bend or flex too much.

I caution many of you from making too many changes. These trailers were all hand made. If you try and make things straight or even when putting it back together, it will not go back together easily. You will be fighting imperfections that were there from the day it was built. It is important to rebuild what was there from the beginning. I have seen trailers that sit lower to the floor by a significant amount on one side than the other. I have seen shells sit off center to the frame. There are shells that do not run dead straight down one side or the other. The inclination is correct all that. Unfortunately when corrected, everything forward needs some kind of correction. I was recently told of a restorer who trimmed 3/4" off of a shell to make it even side to side. The customer is going to finish the build. I feel very sorry for the struggle that person is going to have with such a major change. Every piece of the interior is going to need adjustment going forward.
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #162
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I did not want to replicate this.

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The angled aluminum I used ( not sure of the alloy) does not flex or bend. I think you brought up a good point on keeping aluminum and steel separate. The photo above shows what thirty years of corrosion looks like. To say that you should not change or improve the design of what you've found when you open these trailers up. Not sure I agree with that. Caution should be used but surly some things need improvement.

Jon
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:03 AM   #163
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I agree with 62 Overlander. My front plate is crooked and I left it that way.

I believe the angled plates he is referring to are the large front and rear tie-down plates, not the small steel angles that anchored the door frame, which is what your picture shows. Those of course should be changed out for aluminum angles, as they corroded in every trailer. But that is merely a material swap, not a structural change.

My ribs are exactly as described in the post by 62 Overlander, btw.

Thanks for bringing this subject up, Mike!!
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:31 AM   #164
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My Bad

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Originally Posted by KCN View Post
I agree with 62 Overlander. My front plate is crooked and I left it that way.

I believe the angled plates he is referring to are the large front and rear tie-down plates, not the small steel angles that anchored the door frame, which is what your picture shows. Those of course should be changed out for aluminum angles, as they corroded in every trailer. But that is merely a material swap, not a structural change.

My ribs are exactly as described in the post by 62 Overlander, btw.

Thanks for bringing this subject up, Mike!!

Ah yes I see. My trailer did not have any hold down plates.

I did replace with aluminum angle though, hopefully it holds up.

Jon
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:26 PM   #165
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[QUOTE="62overlander;1381172"]I was sitting in my 62 overlander talking with my guest staying in her last night. I was studying the interior rivet lines created by the Ohio factory. There are numerous half ribs and I know why... There is one next to the door. If it went all the way over it would go right through the middle of the street side windows. The one next to those windows only goes half way because if it continued over it would go right through the door. On the other side of the door the rib stops at the astrodome. There is one half rib between the door and the pantry. If it went over it would go right through the window at the sink. Where the ribs go from side to side there is no obstruction. I figured it a good idea for those half to tie into each frame which There is one next to the door. If it went all the way over it would go right through the middle of the street side windows. The one next to those windows only goes half way because if it continued over it would go right through the door. On the other side of the door the rib stops at the astrodome. There is one half rib between the door and the pantry. If it went over it would go right through the window at the sink. Where the ribs go from side to side there is no obstruction. There is one next to the door. If it went all the way over it would go right through the middle of the street side windows. The one next to those windows only goes half way because if it continued over it would go right through the door. On the other side of the door the rib stops at the astrodome. There is one half rib between the door and the pantry. If it went over it would go right through the window at the sink. Where the ribs go from side to side there is no obstruction.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:35 PM   #166
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Oops,I forgot to add my comment on the last post. I figured it a good idea to have those half ribs tie into each frame that causes the obstruction. I'm assuming Airstream engineers decided the inner skin would provide sufficient strength. So, many of you feel the original design is good but I wonder what caused my inner skin to crack. Mike
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:00 PM   #167
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I wonder what caused my inner skin to crack. Mike
Hard to tell. Could have been a design flaw, but since it is not a consistent problem in similar trailers with the same design who knows. Maybe it hit a curb hard during a tow in the past 50 years or maybe a past owner bumped it in some other way.

Chances are you won't mess too much up tying things together, but who knows. It could actually cause more cracks by making it too stiff in an area that needs flex. All you can do is make your best educated guess and live with the result. Whatever you do, I'm sure you will end up with a cool camper. Keep up the good work.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #168
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How about these double ribs? I have this one that is complete side to side and about center of the trailer and about 20" forward of that double rib is another doubler that just ends. The fridge vent is obstructed by this double rib. I'll be using a modern fridge vent collar and vent and was wondering what I should do here.

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Should I trim this double rib so I can install collar uninstructed or leave rib as is and adjust collar to fit?
Thanks
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:28 PM   #169
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In my 62 this is how the four plates are mounted. One bolt goes through the floor, and into an out rigger. The other just goes through the floor. The whole thing is riveted to the skin and into the belt line. In trailers previously to 1962 and again in 1963 and later, the angled plate is turned 90 degrees and is riveted to a rib. This practice was used at least until 1977(I have not taken anything apart past then so I do not know.) I always wonder about the change in plate direction. I know it sounds bias, but 1962 is the best built of all the years. I have a reason for saying this. It was the last year of Wally's hand in the design. He was out beating the heck out of these trailers from 1951 on and it was not just to scratch his itchy foot, it was to prove and improve his design year after year. The results of those caravans were relayed directly to the factory and changes were made as a result. After 1963, I just do not see the evolution taking place and by 1969 they seem to just be a product.

As far as that split Mike... I think that your trailer hit a big hole and the back flexed more than the front. That spot is the narrowest spot in the sheet and that is where it tore. Airstreams are engineered to flex and twist. Sometimes they do too much. This is just my theory. Maybe Myth Busters will have me on to help prove it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:55 PM   #170
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You realize that we're all fishing for an invite for a few days in a warm place to stay in southern Texas during the winter -- right? BTW, need to borrow a rivet gun and bucking bars?
come on out anytime John,you guys are welcome. I do live in west Texas though, lots of great weather,great Mexican food and Margaritas waiting for you.
Mike
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:56 PM   #171
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I agree with 62 Overlander. My front plate is crooked and I left it that way. I believe the angled plates he is referring to are the large front and rear tie-down plates, not the small steel angles that anchored the door frame, which is what your picture shows. Those of course should be changed out for aluminum angles, as they corroded in every trailer. But that is merely a material swap, not a structural change. My ribs are exactly as described in the post by 62 Overlander, btw. Thanks for bringing this subject up, Mike!!
Thanks for the comments Kay!
Mike
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:58 PM   #172
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I did not want to replicate this. The angled aluminum I used ( not sure of the alloy) does not flex or bend. I think you brought up a good point on keeping aluminum and steel separate. The photo above shows what thirty years of corrosion looks like. To say that you should not change or improve the design of what you've found when you open these trailers up. Not sure I agree with that. Caution should be used but surly some things need improvement. Jon
I painted my rusted steel angles with POR15 and put them back. The bolts holding them down were rusted solid to the angle and took some work to remove.
Thanks
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:00 PM   #173
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Hard to tell. Could have been a design flaw, but since it is not a consistent problem in similar trailers with the same design who knows. Maybe it hit a curb hard during a tow in the past 50 years or maybe a past owner bumped it in some other way. Chances are you won't mess too much up tying things together, but who knows. It could actually cause more cracks by making it too stiff in an area that needs flex. All you can do is make your best educated guess and live with the result. Whatever you do, I'm sure you will end up with a cool camper. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the insight,I think I'm keeping the original design for the most part. So easy to start trying to improve everything when it may create other issues.
Mike
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:07 PM   #174
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In my 62 this is how the four plates are mounted. One bolt goes through the floor, and into an out rigger. The other just goes through the floor. The whole thing is riveted to the skin and into the belt line. In trailers previously to 1962 and again in 1963 and later, the angled plate is turned 90 degrees and is riveted to a rib. This practice was used at least until 1977(I have not taken anything apart past then so I do not know.) I always wonder about the change in plate direction. I know it sounds bias, but 1962 is the best built of all the years. I have a reason for saying this. It was the last year of Wally's hand in the design. He was out beating the heck out of these trailers from 1951 on and it was not just to scratch his itchy foot, it was to prove and improve his design year after year. The results of those caravans were relayed directly to the factory and changes were made as a result. After 1963, I just do not see the evolution taking place and by 1969 they seem to just be a product. As far as that split Mike... I think that your trailer hit a big hole and the back flexed more than the front. That spot is the narrowest spot in the sheet and that is where it tore. Airstreams are engineered to flex and twist. Sometimes they do too much. This is just my theory. Maybe Myth Busters will have me on to help prove it.
I've never seen those plates but that makes a lot of sense.
It also makes sense that a serious impact may have caused the skin crack,who knows for sure. I know this,my trailer has been thru some kind of hell with all the bent ribs and cracked inner skin. thanks for all the great advice.
Mike
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:23 PM   #175
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thanks for all the great advice.
Mike
You paid for it in advance with the tamales....
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:54 PM   #176
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Nice '59 Overlander

Greetings desertair27!

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Oops,I forgot to add my comment on the last post. I figured it a good idea to have those half ribs tie into each frame that causes the obstruction. I'm assuming Airstream engineers decided the inner skin would provide sufficient strength. So, many of you feel the original design is good but I wonder what caused my inner skin to crack. Mike
My '64 Overlander developed a crack in almost the same location. The cause was over-hitching in my case. I was towing with a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 club cab pickup with factory towing package (purchased new by me with the sole intention of being my Airstream tow vehicle). The suspension was so stiff on that truck with the Z71 package that when combined with the 1,000 pound weight distribution bars that a hitch shop unfamiliar with Airstream provided that an unbelievable number of interior rivets popped as well as the crack developing. Switching to 600 pound weight distribution bars helped some as the crack stopped spreading (still kept popping interior rivets but at a slower pace), but the best thing that I did was to switch from that dreadful K1500 pickup to a K2500 Suburban that I special ordered without any heavy duty suspension components beyond the stock 2500 suspension components. My Overlander's axles are well worn and will need replacement soon, but they still have adequate travel and the arms are still slightly down . . . but I know replacement is imminent (they were last replaced/rebuilt around 1979).

Kevin

P.S.: During its first 16 years, my Overlander was towed only by automobiles -- 1957 Mercury Monterey, 1966 Mercury Monterey, and 1975 Oldsmobile 98. The second owner 1980-1995 only towed the Overlander 500 miles before setting it up on blocks as a summer cabin. I was the first to tow it any significant distance with a truck-based vehicle of any kind, and my preference continues to be to tow with a car like the Cadillac.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #177
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Greetings desertair27! My '64 Overlander developed a crack in almost the same location. The cause was over-hitching in my case. I was towing with a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 club cab pickup with factory towing package (purchased new by me with the sole intention of being my Airstream tow vehicle). The suspension was so stiff on that truck with the Z71 package that when combined with the 1,000 pound weight distribution bars that a hitch shop unfamiliar with Airstream provided that an unbelievable number of interior rivets popped as well as the crack developing. Switching to 600 pound weight distribution bars helped some as the crack stopped spreading (still kept popping interior rivets but at a slower pace), but the best thing that I did was to switch from that dreadful K1500 pickup to a K2500 Suburban that I special ordered without any heavy duty suspension components beyond the stock 2500 suspension components. My Overlander's axles are well worn and will need replacement soon, but they still have adequate travel and the arms are still slightly down . . . but I know replacement is imminent (they were last replaced/rebuilt around 1979). Kevin P.S.: During its first 16 years, my Overlander was towed only by automobiles -- 1957 Mercury Monterey, 1966 Mercury Monterey, and 1975 Oldsmobile 98. The second owner 1980-1995 only towed the Overlander 500 miles before setting it up on blocks as a summer cabin. I was the first to tow it any significant distance with a truck-based vehicle of any kind, and my preference continues to be to tow with a car like the Cadillac.
Thats all good info,amazing that you know that much history of your trailer.
Thanks for the info.
Mike
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:57 PM   #178
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Well I have a picture of my freshly cut front curbside belly pan section ready to be installed. I was pretty confident it would slide right into place since I copied the original exactly, it didn't happen! Back to the drawing board with my new knowledge and I'll adjust and try again.
No pictures of my failed install attempt.

Cold day today as it only got up to the high 40's Brrrr!
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:49 AM   #179
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What went wrong? That looks to be street side rear… make sure the tabs forward overlap the ones behind them. I am not sure that makes sense… as you fold them up, start at the back. That will create a shingle effect. When putting it in, start at the frame rail and work forward. A rubber mallet will come in handy also.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #180
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For sure it's the front section. I think I bent the tabs and section that slides up along the C channel too much, bent it at a 90 degree along the curved section and tried rolling a curve with a sharper bend where it would meet the sub floor section. I also cut the tabs in the curved section only to where they bend at floor and the original section had a few tab cuts that extend 1/2-3/4 below sub floor.
I had a couple of tabs get snagged on various things which I think I've got cleaned up.
Attempt number 2 coming up,
I'm pleased that I'm being patient and not forcing it.
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