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tinman54 09-13-2008 09:22 PM

Just got a '54 Cruiser- replacing floor
7 Attachment(s)
Just got our first airstream 8-1-08,1954 25'cruiser,we are very excited about cleaning her up and getting her back on the road.I'm about 3/4 through gutting it,seems like I have been drilling rivets out for quite a while, the floor is in pretty tough shape,I have been trying to find tips on the best way to get the bolts out of the bottom of the wall.Hopefully the frame is not in to bad of shape.I do not have a good way to lift the body off so I was hoping to slip the new plywood.
Thanks for any tips

fastrob 09-13-2008 09:50 PM

Take Time To Read Others Efforts
Sweet trailer, Congratulations.
You can slip in new plywood but it is difficult.
I suggest spending time with the Search option and reading through the restoration forums.
There is a lot to it and getting in over your head is not recommended.
Noting meanwhile that good work and thoughtful determined effort surely will be rewarded.
Nice pictures.
Please post more.

3Ms75Argosy 09-13-2008 10:43 PM

Hi Tinman! Welcome to the world of AS trailers! There are many of us going through the same process right now. I'll be doing the shell on routine as you are... see the $600 dollar Tradewind thread I've started, as well as Frank's Annaluminum thread for the completed deal. My bolts just broke off,,, and I found that using a holedrill around the elevator bolts in the floor make the process faster. 2333 is doing a shell off, 64 trotteralt, as is many others... just search the current threads.

Frank's Trailer Works 09-14-2008 04:07 AM

Boy oh boy there sure are a lot of 54's showing up lately. Wish one would show up in my yard...
I suggest that you read like crazy. There are countless threads on this forum on how to do a shell on floor replacement. Read about how others have done it and you will come up with a plan for how to do it yourself. If you can lift the shell, that is going to give you the best results because you are able to work the entire frame much easier.
I did my project as a shell on and only have done the rear half of the trailer as of this season. Come mid october I will be doing the front half. My blog shows all the things I did, some of them right and some of them wrong. Please feel free to contact me with anything you have questions about. The blog starts with my purchase of Anna, goes on to the realization that she has serious issues, and shows how I went about resolving them. Hopefully there will be something there that might help you in coming up with a plan.
As I said earlier, read a bunch of blogs (excellent ones linked on my blog), read a bunch of restoration threads here on this forum, and do not be afraid. You can do it.

tinman54 09-14-2008 06:19 AM

Thanks for the quick response, it's hard to leave the computer to go work on her,I've been reading all this stuff since I picked up the trailer.I usually work with galvanized steel for work but now think I am addicted to aluminum.I actually bought a second trailer a week after the first for parts,kind of sad,that one is a 57 overlander.It was a hunting trailer in northern wis. and a tre had fallen on the front dome.I pushed out the dent from the inside,so it is basically the right shape now.I,m not sure what I will do with that one,for now its my storage shed for the cruiser interior.I will try to get some pictues of that one up soon.My brother said to scrap it but I don't think I could ever do that.

2333 09-14-2008 08:30 AM

You can replace the floor and attempt a shell-off, just be realistic. Some crazy nut-ball on here just did it in like 22 days!!!! 64TrotterAtl ;) Probably drinking gallons of Monster Energy drink, completely ignoring his friends and family, and he didn't appear to run into any hang-ups. While we all are amazed, his case of alluminitis is far advanced as most of us are many months or years into our "shell-offs".

A couple hints:

- Read a number of shell-off threads to get an idea of how it's done.

- Imperative you read one that is the same year as your trailer. Belly pan attachments, layering of shells, and C or U Channels are specific to your trailer year and if you need to know what you have before you start the process.

The rest is a piece of cake. But one that's 54 years old and hard as rock.

tinman54 09-14-2008 06:32 PM

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Well it was kind of a dreary day hear in Roberts wis.lots of rain(which lets me see how many leaks there are by the windows and roof vents),I didn't get to much airstream time today 2-3 hours but I did get a few more panels off inside.I keep looking at the bottom of the walls and see all the screws and bolts covered in tar and think it will probably be better to take the shell off and just make new U channel. like some of you have said a little extra work now will make it better in the end.I did get a few more pictures today and I did get the bathroom out,it must have been put in place before the shell was put on,the aluminum liner is all one unit and would not fit thru the door.The original has been painted a few times,plus has quite a bit of corrosion, so I think I am going to make a new one,a little bigger but the same design.I added a couple of pictures of #2 with tree damage,like I said not sure what I will do with it,I originally bought it for parts but I think it could be made into a nice workshop or bunkhouse?

Well till tomorrow
Thanks Doug

tinman54 09-18-2008 09:10 PM

I got a few more rivets drilled out this week in between other projects and a little more liner taken down.I hope to have the shell braced and off this weekend if all goes well.

soldiermedic 09-18-2008 11:01 PM

My 53 had the same bath. I believe it was fabricated inside the trailer and then affixed to the wall. I have decided to go with a new bath as well, and junked mine getting it out. Scrap aluminum is running hight right now at least. I also plan on not having a wet bath in this trailer and will go with toilet only.

Keep it up, and feel free to check my blog located in my sig since I am doing a floor replacement as well.


tinman54 09-19-2008 07:39 AM

Steve,your pictures in your blog look very famillier it was a bit of a chalenge to get the big cieling panels off,I used the plywood end panels from my bathroom as temp. supports as I finished drilling rivets,that worked well.I am going to pick up new 3/4 plywood this week and get it sealed with marine varnish on all sides before installing.It work be nice to take a couple of weeks off work to just hit this project

dmreilly10000 09-19-2008 08:25 AM

Does anyone remember a few weeks ago someone was advertising a '53 Cruiser they were parting out? I can't find it now, but it would make restoration much easier if you could get original exterior replacement panels.

soldiermedic 09-19-2008 09:38 AM

I bought some parts from that guy. I wanted to buy more, but he has not responded to emails since his stuff went on ebay.


tinman54 09-21-2008 07:55 PM

Inside cleaned out
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Finished cleaning out inside today,i was hoping to get the shell off but didn't quite get there.i got about half the rivets on the outside drilled for pulling the top off,hopefully by the end of the week.
Next remove the old floor

remove belly pan

clean up the frame

locate tanks

rebuild or replace axel

install new marine treated floor

insulate floor,reinstall belly pan

i want to try to keep all wiring and plumbing above floor and accessible
i've been thinking of installing radiant heat under the floor,we're putting lightweight wood floors in the center walking area and front dining wife likes to keep her toes warm.
I would like to get it this far before winter so i can concentrate on the inside.

soldiermedic 09-21-2008 08:16 PM


Did you drill all the rivets out in your 13 panel endcap? I ask because the pic above shows 2 sections still attached. The endcap is a single piece that is attached to the rib in only a few spots. It should all come out in one piece like below.


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