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Old 09-30-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
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Toy Hauler conversion?

I'm new here but not new to RV'ing. Haven't had an Airstream yet, but always admired them.
I was ready to buy a toy hauler to haul an RZR when I ran across a 1965 Airstream Model 28 that can be bought right.
I happen to have a buddy that works well with aluminum and skinned planes in the service.
I know it might not be taken well by some, but I would like to cut the back end open and have it hinge on the top, opening up like a clamshell, allowing me to drive an RZR inside of it. I need about 66" of width to make this work, so just doign a small back door wouldn't work.
I'm looking for some direction or maybe a thread that someone else already has on here to give me some direction.
I'm sure my fab guy can work it out, but hoping someone else has some experience here to share?
Thanks again!
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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What is a RZR and what does it weigh. Airstreams are designed to spread the weight stress out evenly and the wheels are located to balance that weight equally with the proper weight on the tongue. You will have to place the RZR to duplicate this weight distribution. You will also have to work out a loading ramp that will take the stresses without bending the frame. Take time to look an Eddie Bauer model or an Americana to design a proper sealing back door.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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It's like a golf cart thats meant to do 70mph in the woods or dunes. I have the fabrication guy that is capiable without the investment of a new unit. I can figure out the rest and know someone has done this conversion, just lookign for some feedback. Thanks
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:46 PM   #4
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It's a fairly large ATV.

Read up on reinforcing the's gonna need it!
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with Cummins 6.7L Diesel

Sold but not forgotten: 1991 Airstream B190
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:41 PM   #5
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Hi wynkoop1:

Airstreams are build using semi-monoque constructions, which means (among other things) that the aluminum shell helps support the plywood floor and rather light and sparse frame rails. It is not build like a box sitting on top of a flatbed trailer. Instead, an Airstreams' frame and floor are weaker than a typical box trailer because they do not have to support the structure. Rather, the aluminum structure supports them. Cutting a door across the entire rear end will weaken the floor and frame, leaving it far too flexible and subject to damage.

Before proceeding with your project, ask yourself this: would you haul a RZR at 65-to-70 mph in the same position relative to the Airstream's tandem rear axles on a flatbed trailer having the same frame dimensions and frame components as your Airstream and with a 5/8" plywood floor? Seems to me the RZR might be hanging off a rather weak and flimsy rear end, causing bounce and excessive frame rail flex as you travel down the highway. Do new after-market RZR flatbed trailers use a 5/8" plywood floor? Or something stronger?

My 10' bed (16' overall length) tandem axle jeep hauling flatbed trailer has 2" deep x 10" wide by 10' long pressure treated boards bolted longitudinally across 2" x 4" rectangular steel tube cross members spaced on 2' centers. It's built for its job.

Finally, compare the depth and flange width of the frame rails on a new Airstream Eddie Bauer toy-hauler model with the narrower rear door than you need to the frame rails on your 1965 28' Ambassador. I believe you will find a substantial difference.

I vaguely recall someone else building a nice toy hauling Airstream. But I think he first fabricated a totally new frame with strong floor then mounted the Airstream body with a custom lift-up rear door on that. It was very expensive but very nice. Please do a search for that thread before proceeding.

I think your real challenge will be the steel and wood frame, not the aluminum body. So add your to your team your best steel and wood flatbed trailer friend too. I'd hate to see a Airstream Ambassador circumcised and then abandoned halfway through the procedure.
Fred Coldwell, WBCCI #1510, AIR #2675
Denver, Colorado - WBCCI Unit 24
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