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Old 02-15-2009, 08:18 PM   #521
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Wink The Right Tool for the Right Job

Great job Marcus!

But I'm a little bit surprised that you didn't opt to use use the smoker to get your tiles just right.

(BTW, I'm really digging the beer tour your taking us on.)
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:22 PM   #522
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Marcus -

Great work!! leavin us in the dust!! Stalled out here, getting windows sealed, lights working on the exterior, leaks stopped, then I can get the back buttoned back up, and start rippin the front out. Can't wait for the day that the zolatone is done and I can put flooring in like that!!! Slow down so you don't make the rest of us look too bad.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:04 AM   #523
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Flooring

Hi Marcus,
Long time no talk. Great job on the floor. I'm hoping Spring is just around the corner here so I can get back to work in earnest. I have scraped some dough together so I can get new axles, brakes, bearings, etc.

My first thing I need to finish where I left off last fall is to get the remaining clear coat stripped, polish exterior and seal all of the seams.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:02 AM   #524
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Thanks for the kind words, Barry. I look forward to seeing your progress as soon as you're able to thaw out a little bit. When I mentioned the problems waiting for adhesives and feather finish to cure due to the 50-degree weather, many of my... err... more "Northern" friends gave me a hard time. Suffice to say I'm always quite impressed with the people who manage to get stuff done on their trailers despite the cold temperatures you get up there.

Scott-- the REALLY time-consuming stuff is about to begin. I'm not going to be able to salvage the vanity or twins, so those will all have to be rebuilt from scratch. I'm a sometimes-amateur woodworker, so I'm not balking at the challenge, but it certainly will take me longer than it would a professional! I think I can get away with just re-veneering the wardrobes and upper locker cabinets.

Don-- The smoker would have been PERFECT for warming up those tiles. And it would have kept me nice and toasty on that bitter-cold 50-degree day!

-Marcus
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:12 AM   #525
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There's A Hole In The Bottom Of My Tank...

I'm really happy with the work I've gotten done on the Airstream so far, and Valentine's weekend was a really good one. It was one of those weekends where I made so much progress, and the progress was so visible, that I really could see the light at the end of the tunnel, for maybe the first time during this whole project. I was happy and proud to show off the pictures of last weekend's work, to my family and friends. It was a great weekend no doubt.

And this past weekend was pretty much the opposite of that. It was one of those weekends where you just feel like you're spinning your wheels, doing a lot of work, with little to show for it. Right now here's the sequence of events that I have in front of me:

1) Finish black tank repair.
2) Install insulation
3) Update ground wiring for 110VAC sockets.
4) Reinstall lower panels
5) Install black tank
6) Install tub
7) Build new vanity
8) Install new vanity
9) Repair tall wardrobes
10) Install tall wardrobes
11) Repair upper locker cabinets
12) Install upper locker cabinets
13) Rebuild twin beds
14) Install water heater
15) Install twin beds
16) Plumb freshwater system
15) Plumb hot water system
16) Plumb drain system and vents for gray and black tanks
17) Go camping!

So you see, right now, everything depends on getting my black tank repaired and installed. This is key, because if I can't repair it, I'll have to purchase a new one, which will likely be a different shape, and the vanity and street-side tall wardrobe closets are custom-fit around the black tank.

If you recall, when last we visited the black tank, it needed a good cleaning, it needed to have 4 holes through the bottom repaired, and it needed the old rust screws drilled out of the old brass casting for the Thetford dump valve.

Cleaning it was not difficult, but it was pretty gross. No major issues in particular, not trying to offend any PO who might be reading It was just a general grossness, I'm sure most folks would agree. I don't know, I guess I'm squeamish like that. Let's talk about something else.

So the next order of business was to repair these holes:



You can see the holes, they are the dark spots that are offset from the cast mounting flange that is embedded in the fiberglass. I used a long-handled brush with soap and water to clean those holes from the inside, and a brush with soap and water on the outside, too. Then I used some chopped fiber mat and fiberglassed over the holes. It's not pretty, but I think it's solid. When I get a valve attached finally, I'll be able to leak-check it.




Then I moved on to the rusty screws. Many coats of PB Blaster had been applied to them, and yet I still could not turn them out with the vice grips. One of them only had some rusted bits left in the threaded hole, so I was able to clean all that out with a small screwdriver, some soap and water, and some q-tips. For the next one, I used the Dremel to cut it off level, and drilled a pilot hole through the center of the rusty threaded rod,and then used my screw extractor (aka easy-out) to pull out the remaining bit of threaded rod.







And then that's where things unraveled. On the third one, the extractor bit lodged tightly in the hole I drilled through the screw, but my vice grips kept slipping off of it. So I attached the t-handle from a tap & die set to get some extra leverage. And, extra leverage was achieved-- so much so that the extractor bit broke off inside the screw I was trying to extract.

So, now I am left with a broken extractor bit, lodged inside a bored out rusty bolt, lodged inside a rusty bolt hole, in a cast flange in the bottom of my black tank. Yes, there's a hole... there's a hole... there's a hole in the bottom of my tank.

No pictures here, I was too frustrated, but I think my plan right now is to take the whole assembly to a machine shop and see what they can do to help. It's bound to be cheaper than buying a new custom tank.

-Marcus
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:22 AM   #526
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No pictures here, I was too frustrated.........
-Marcus
Hang in there Buddy! At least you are getting some things done. Rome wasn't built in a day you know.

Everything else is looking great. Tomorrow is another day.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:02 AM   #527
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Black tank for sale

Hang in there Marcus, it is looking good. There's a black tank for sale listed here in the classifieds, it's out of a '62 Fying Cloud-maybe it would work.

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...ct=7017&cat=14

Hey-take the day off-it's Mardi Gras here on the Mississippi Coast (and New Orleans) today!
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #528
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Marcus,
You have to get this AS in the classifieds just to get the refrigerator!

Airstream Trailer & Airstream Motorhome Classifieds - 1963 Sovreign 30' Travel Trailer - Powered by PhotoPost Classifieds

Rick
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:42 PM   #529
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Yes indeed, I see you recall my affinity for the fridge on the '63 Internationals. Overall, that trailer appears to be in decent restorable condition. I can never get over how many good trailers show up on the Arizona Craigslists. If you are looking for vintage Airstreams, that is THE place to be.

And thanks for dragging this thread up to the top, it's been a while, but I have an update to post in the next few minutes.

-Marcus
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #530
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The Right Tool For The Job

The good news is that there has been more work than there has been writing about it. I enjoy both, but one is more important than the other, so there you have it. To make it up to you, here is a really really long post with lots and lots of exposition.

My Dad has always told me that you'll save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort and potential damage to your project, your tools, and yourself, if you'll just use the right tool for the job. My Dad is usually right, and this sound advice was certainly correct in this instance. After wasting more time than I should have, and breaking one of my tools, trying to get those rusty bolts out of the holes in the brass casting on the bottom of my black tank, I turned to my Dad once again for advice, and he gave me the name of a quality machine shop to take care of my half-accomplished task of clearing the back tank for a new valve. In this case, the right tool was to hire a professional, and they took care of the problem beautifully, for much less money than the cost of a new tank.




The threaded holes are all shiny and like new now.



Glad that's done, now it's on to more projects!

In the interest of coming clean and being completely honest with myself and my faithful thread readers (all both of you!), I must confess that I wanted to take a shortcut. I very nearly gave in to temptation. I had intended to only replace the center section of the bellypan, and leave the exterior 18" or so in place. On later models these would be called "banana wraps" and my plan was to create some psuedo-banana-wraps, in order to save myself the hassle of cutting the curved end-pieces on the belly skin. But as I took off the rear rub-rail trim piece, I found a lot of corrosion to the curved sections of my faux banana wraps. So much corrosion that in places, the aluminum belly skin was completed deteriorated and missing, which exposed the edges of my brand new plywood subfloor. I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to clean up the rub rail, apply some vulkem, and push ahead. I wanted to cut some corners or, more specifically, SKIP the cutting of corners.

But, I couldn't live with myself if I did that.

So, out came the drill, and I began to drill out the rivets that held that last 18" of bellypan to the outer shell and j-channel. And that's when I discovered the little surprise that the builders in Jackson Center had left for me. Not exactly "blind" rivets, but certainly, "hidden rivets." You see, when they built my trailer presumably sometime in 1962 for the 1963 model year, the workers at the Airstream factory in Ohio attached the bellypan to the subfloor and j-channel first. They had the luxury of placing the frame on a rotisserie, spinning it upside down, and riveting the bellypan to the frame and floor at their leisure (I bet their backs didn't ache all the time fromy lying on the ground working upside down, which sure would be nice!) Then, when they were ready to put the outer shell on, they just flipped the frame back over, and riveted the outer shell onto the frame/floor/bellypan assembly.

What this all means is that there are some rivets holding the bellypan to the j-channel, that you can't access from outside the trailer, unless you lift the whole shell off. Lots of people do this during their renovations of Airstreams, but I just don't have the facilities, so this means that I can't drill out those rivets from the outside. I could see them through the j-channel from the inside, but the angles aren't right to drill them out, and rivets don't drill out very well from the backside, and anyway even if they did, I'd risk putting extra holes all the way through the exterior shell where there were not holes before. And, since ALL Airstreams leak, I'd like to minimize the number of holes through that outer shell whenever possible.

So, on the advice of my trusty Airstream buddies Frank and John, I knew I had to sheer those rivets off from the inside, using a putty knife. But here's where we get back to the theme of the post. I spent a couple of hours using various putty knives I had on-hand, and busted them up pretty good.



The problem with these is that they are all plastic, which absorbs a lot of the energy of a hammer blow, and they also eventually cracked. I spent a couple of hours, and got maybe 15% of the rivets out.

So I called Frank, who patiently explained to me that there are putty knives in the dry-wall section, rather than the paint section, that have metal ends. I purchased one of these and proceeded to get down and dirty on the remaining semi-blind rivets.



The remaining rivets came out in a matter of a few minutes. The right tool for the job.

With the rivets out, I very carefully pried out the remaining bellypan aluminum, and prepared to use it as a template to cut out the replacement belly wrap.



I flattened it out and then traced it onto the new .025 5052 H32 aluminum that came from Airparts. Then I used the electric shears and the tin snips to cut out the shape, and the relief cuts around the curve.

This was the result:



I was cruising along pretty well at this point, but then I tried to install it. I worked it in from the curved end at the back, and started to come forward. All of the relief cuts/overlapped portions slid in just fine, but as I came forward, I just couldn't get it to slide in. I pulled it out, trimmed away a portion that was binding, tried again, but it just wouldn't go. I repeated the process once again, hours and hours flew into the trashcan, and I had to stop to have another beer and think for a few minutes. After a stroke of inspiration hit me, I decided to try to work it from the straight side, and things went much better. Once I got to the curved section, it required a little extra work than before, but once again, use of the "Right Tool For The Job" made it much easier.

And in this case, this was the right tool:



And, after hours and hours of adjustment, and more than a few cuts and scrapes on the hands, this is what I have:



It's held in place with a few clecos, and friction, right now. There are still a few dents and ripples that I need to work out of the metal, and the rub-rail trim piece will hide some of that as well, but overall I'm pretty pleased with it. I am hopeful that the curbside piece will go a bit quicker due to my lessons learned.

Adios!
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:00 AM   #531
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So I'll be starting the freshwater plumbing in a couple of weeks, and it's time to begin putting together a parts list. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to use, and I've done plenty of research in the Forums archives, but I thought I'd appeal to the Collective Wisdom of the Forums one last time to see what the recommendations are.

I'm planning on going with PEX for various reasons, so I'm interested in opinions on which fittings to use. What have you all used successfully, where did you source it, what might you have done differently, and is there anything you found out along the way that you wish you had known before you started?

Thanks in Advance!
-Marcus
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:19 PM   #532
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I'm planning on going with PEX for various reasons, so I'm interested in opinions on which fittings to use. What have you all used successfully
Marcus, you know what I suggested that you use... and I guess I'm going to have to put some pictures on my blog to show you how "successful" they are.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:08 PM   #533
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Marcus, you know what I suggested that you use... and I guess I'm going to have to put some pictures on my blog to show you how "successful" they are.
Yup. I'll believe it when I see it and not a moment before then!
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:37 PM   #534
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Second Verse Same As The First

We've had some rainy and cold weather the past 4 or 5 days, but there were a few good hours here and there. So it was time to tackle the curbside banana wraps.




I've removed the wrap, and now I lay it down on top of the new aluminum to trace the pattern and cut the replacement.



This side was so corroded that there were tears, breaks, and large gaps, especially right where the plywood floor rested against it.



Just as on the other side, I used the old as a pattern for the new, traced it, and cut it using the electric shears and the hand tin snips. Then I started working it in, this time I started near the wheel well and it went a lot easier. Sliding a putty knife in first to make some room helps, then the bellypan can slide in underneath it.





I got the curved/tabbed section slid in, drilled and clecoed a few of the holes, but I still need to adjust the outer shell a bit before drilling all of the holes, clecoing, and then riveting into place.

However, I just had to try out my new rivet gun and bucking bar on something, and I've had an access hatch that has been bugging me for a while. At some point, the door was repaired and about half of the solid rivets were replaced with steel pop rivets, that had since rusted out and deteriorated quite a bit. Since it was easy to get to both sides of the sheet metal, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to change out those rivets and replace them with proper bucked rivets. First I drilled out the old rusty steel rivets and clecoed in place.



And then I worked my way around, pulling the clecoes and bucking in solid rivets. And of course since the rivets are gold with the protective coating, I just had to polish a little bit to bring out their true silver shine.



And here's the latest to be added to my growing pile headed for the recycler. My wife will NOT be missing having this lying around the driveway...



-Marcus
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:44 PM   #535
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Marcus, I don't throw away anything. If you look at the pictures on my blog, I used some scrap to cut out a copy of the State of California, polished it and used it for a patch over some cracks in the skin. I figure I will get rid of all of this stuff when I get finished (like that will ever happen!)

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:01 PM   #536
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I see some of the "temporary" repairs held up better than others. There were a lot of little things I wanted to take care of after the major stuff got done, I'm glad the black tank didn't get cracked when the owners between you and I dragged it over a curb and broke off the dump fitting.
One of the "little" things I wanted to get taken care of was window gaskets, both frame and glass. There are also gaskets that go on each jalousie window to help keep the indoor and outdoor air separated.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:07 PM   #537
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Great work Marcus! I'm even (easy now) really REALLY going to drop that bellypan now... doesn't seem too hard now. OK, so, will the center portion go under the rear wraps, or over them...... Do you have to pull hard towards the center of the trailer to get those bannana wraps to curve nicely?

Marc
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:24 AM   #538
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Nutz-- Yeah, I'm definitely keeping all of the woodwork and such. At this point, I have more than enough new scrap aluminum to do pretty much anything I want.

Terry-- Yes, the window gaskets and all are on the list. Right now they're not leaking, so they'll remain a low priority unless/until that changes. The jalousie windows are still in pretty nice shape as you know, especially compared to others I've seen in various forum posts, but they could use a general cleaning-up and replacement of seals as well.

Marc-- I'm debating the center section and how it mates to the wraps. Obviously the easiest would be to place it over, but I'm trying to think about the way water and grime on the road will bounce up, and since it will be coming primarily from the wheels, most likely it would be best to put the center section under the wraps to prevent moisture from splashing off the wheels and through that side section. I'm certainly open to suggestion.

And yes, you definitely have to pull hard to the center to get it to curve. As you can see I haven't fastened those sections yet, I want to get the outsides bucked in first, then move to the middle. I've got to find a bucking helper soon, so I can get one with it...l
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:28 AM   #539
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Marcus, generally the belly pan wrap is installed so the belly pan is closest to the frame, and the banana wrap goes on after. Gravity will make the water that does get in drain out at the edge of the banana wrap, rather than flowing across the belly pan.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:58 AM   #540
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Thanks Terry, that makes sense. It also seems like the best way to keep any water splashing up from the wheels from making its way through that seam.
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