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Old 04-09-2019, 08:11 PM   #221
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Hello from Colorado: I might suggest you drill a pilot hole for the VTS self drilling bolts. Maybe you can experiment on some scrap plywood and steel and see if the self drilling bolts work. I hope others share their experiences.

I find drilling into 3/16" steel is tough with a self drilling bolt. In the sixties Airstream drilled a hole, inserted the elevator bolt, tightened a nut underneath and then bent the bolt over to keep the nut tight. Costly but effective.

I'm doing the belly pan on my trailer as we speak. I ordered 48" wide, 30' long roll of 5052 at .025 thick from AirParts in Kansas City. Then I install my belly pan "curb to street". 48" is the common distance between cross members. There are plenty of exceptions in every trailer. When encountered, I simply splice two sheets together and carry on. I do it this way as I'm working on my back under the trailer. A long sheet would be very difficult for me to handle. You have the ability to flip your frame over and work sunnyside up.

Others do the front to back method. Some with a seam down the middle.

Suppliers of aluminum sheet are numerous. Chances are you can find what you need. Custom sizes will likely add cost as someone has to slit it for you.

David
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:47 PM   #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcronin4 View Post
Continuing on from the previous post, here is a link to VTS and the self drilling bolt they suggest for putting down new flooring.

https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-387.htm

And here is a pic of the old bolt that AS used. I am assuming that you first had to drill a hole and the self tapping bolt would thread the opening.

Attachment 337769

Since I am working with a new frame, the self drilling bolt seems like it would do the trick.

Anyone have any experience with them?


I tried some similar large headed bolt from fastenal, predrilling the hole but still had issues ringing off the head. I switched over to a fastenal part that is black, has a smaller torx countersunk head and loved them. No photo tonight but I can probably find a p/n if you need.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:28 AM   #223
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Hey Bill,

I used self tapping machine screws on my 1964 Silver Streak reno with varying success as the frame is a much thicker gauge than stock AS frames. I ended up drilling a pilot hole when securing to the main frame rails but self tapped on the outriggers and crossmembers.
Since your frame is being built from the ground up, it'll probably be thicker than stock and therefore need to be pre drilled. Of course, using elevator bolts on the perimeter where you can get to them is probably the way to go.

Ian
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:12 AM   #224
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Hihoagrv

Do you happen to have the Fastenal part number on those fasteners?
Bill
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:33 PM   #225
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I was in the local Fastenal store just today picking up a lifetime supply of 5/32" rivets for my belly pan project. My hardware store and big box store don't often carry 5/32 pop rivets, and if so, just small quantities. Fastenal sells them in a box of 500 rivets. Plenty enough.

Fastenal is a well respected Minnesota company. We used them to stock our nuts and bolts and the like in our factory. They are a good outfit. They also have a good website that might help narrow down the search for the right and easy fastener for the subfloor attach.

David
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:39 PM   #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcronin4 View Post
Hihoagrv



Do you happen to have the Fastenal part number on those fasteners?

Bill


I'll look it up but it may take a few days.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:51 AM   #227
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Here ya go.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:54 PM   #228
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Thanks HiHoAgRv for the Fastenal information.

The pace of Faith’s makeover has slowed while we wait on the completion of the frame. But, the work on the frame is being held up waiting for axles from Inland RV. You can see from the pic below that work on the frame has progressed nicely. Josh Turner with T3 Customer Fabrications in Tavares Florida, is doing yeoman’s work creating a replica of Faith’s old frame.
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The time waiting on the axles has been used to order the next few things we will need like wheels and tires and holding tanks. These things are needed to put the final touches on the frame. Since we were working with a frame built from scratch, we had the ability to move the tanks around a bit and strengthening the frame.
We also finished reinstalling the vista view windows. It was my first experience with working with bucked rivets. While the first window we reinstalled was okay, by the time we bucked the last window in we were really getting the hang of it. Once you get going, it really is faster (and cheaper) that setting Olympic rivets.
QUESTION
I would like to get some feedback on the best drill bits to use. With the frame being untouched, I’ll be drilling lots of holes. Drilling out the rivets during the disassembly, I found that the plain steel bits held up longer than the more expensive bits. With all the holes that must be drilled in the frame, I’m curious about the experience others have had with different types of bits.
Tanks
We finally settled on H435 tanks from Inca Plastics for both the black and gray water tanks. And I decided to keep the 3” outlet pipe for the gray tank. Most gray water tanks use 1 Ĺ” plumbing. One of my pet peeves with previous campers we have owned is how slowly the gray tank drained with a 1 Ĺ” outlet. Even more so, when you consider that there is generally more gray water to dump than black. So we stayed with the 3” plumbing on both of the tanks.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:18 PM   #229
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Hi Bill: I figure six to eight weeks for axle delivery. Maybe that is what you will experience. I ordered mine way to early and they have sat for a year now. Poor planning on my part.

I too find plain twist drills work better than the special ones. I noticed at Home Depot they had drills that say for "hard steel" on the package. I wonder if some retailers buy drills designed for wood or soft metals as they are likely cheaper and suitable for most homeowners. But I've had better luck with twist drills made for steel. And I keep the RPM of the drill slower.
Some electric drills turn at pretty high RPM and that will generate heat and quickly dull the drill bit. Dull drills are a pain in the neck.

You are wise to configure a 3" drain on your grey water tank. My Overlander has 1 1/2" piping as that is all the room I had. And it does drain slower as you have observed. The wife's trailer is 3" and drains with a swoosh.

David
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:56 PM   #230
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Bill,
No pressure, but Iím closely watching your timeline. I have a end of year holiday trip planned to the Keys and Iím debating doing a shelloff floor & tank redo. Based on your progress it seems I should start now if I have any hope of finishing by mid December
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:37 AM   #231
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My3sonsdad Ė I canít recall what stage of completion youíre at but if you plan to go to the Keys and youíre doing a shell off, I would get moving. The biggest time killers for me have been, the construction of a new frame, ordering axles, and figuring out how to put in larger holding tanks. From the time of placing the order, the axles took 4 weeks to be delivered to a Redneck Trailer Supply in Tampa. They are on the west coast of Florida and I live on the east coast. The tanks, once I decided what I wanted, took 2-3 weeks to arrive. Through no fault of the fabricator, the frame is still not completed and it has been five weeks since they began work. He has been held up waiting on the axles to arrive and thatís a cluster story for another time.
Stripping the camper out, building gantries and lifting the shell off the frame went fairly quickly. There were only a few things which I required physical help from others. For the other 95 percent, I didnít have to rely on anyone, and could work 4 to 6 hours a day and make steady progress. Since the frame and shell were separated, Iíve been working on windows, taillights and clearance light repairs. Other than that, my activities have been limited to ordering all the materials I will need to get the shell back on the frame and nailed down.
Can your frame be repaired? From your comment above, I gather you want to redo your tanks. Have you an idea of a tank design? Can your axles be reused? Will you have any help? Are you a weekend warrior or retired like me? Can you get everything down by December? Devoting full-time attention to it and the avoidance of any major hiccups (like having to have a whole new frame made) I would say it can be done.
And if you want to camp in the Keys in December, you had better make your reservations soon, and have a lot of loot in your wallet.
Here to help Ė at any time.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:29 AM   #232
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Modifications

Hey Everyone
Doesnít seem like I have posted very much since the frame was separated from the shell, but there has been a fair about of activity behind the scenes.

Time has been spent figuring out what to do with the holding tanks. And I have learned one very important lesson on working with ASís. And here it is: ANY MODIFICATIONS YOU MAKE TO AN AIRSTREAM WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON SOMETHING ELSE, SOMEWHERE ELSE. Nowhere is this more true than with holding tank placement. You have heard me lament the woefully inadequate size of the stock holding tanks. To fix that problem requires wider and deeper tanks. By contemporary standards, 30-gallon holding tanks are the minimum acceptable size, while the stock tanks are 16 and 20 gallons.

The design we used, part of which is an idea from David, required moving the gray tank forward into another bay, modifying cross-members, rerouting galley and shower drains, creating new vent pipes, modification of side-pans, lowering the skid plate, changing the down angle on the new axles to gain another 1Ē in body height to compensate for the lower skid plate, etc. Even the stabilizer jacks near the tanks have been impacted. And even though our design is set and worked into the frame, we have our fingers crossed that some other ďgotchaĒ isnít out there lurking. Each time you deviate from the original design, the cost of the project increases.

The point is this, holding tanks are a big deal and changing them will impact many things. Since we are having a frame made, we had the luxury of moving stuff around to make room for larger tanks. Even with this freedom, we had to make a lot of modifications to accommodate the change.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:30 AM   #233
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Thanks Bill, your assessment is in line with my thoughts.

I was working a solid 4-6 hours (evenings & weekends) for the last 2 months getting it minimally ready for our Smokeyís trip.
In that time I disassembled the front and rear beds multiple times and added
a new center twin bed & window along with fixing some electrical and plumbing issues. Iíve acquire both the tools and the confidence to continue on with bigger challenges.

For the next phase, I already have the new axles. Need to work out the tank design and order tanks. My 79 30í Argosy frame is very similar to yours but havenít fully assessed the rot damage. Iíve been working with a local shop on remediating rust on my Excursion and they are lined up to work on the frame when I get it to them.

Iím really going to try to minimize the number of sub-projects (and their multiple redoís) that I try to tackle which from reading other threads seems to drag out the timeline.

Most importantly, the reservations for Sunshine Key are all set for the last week of the year. I tend to work better with definitive deadlines

Itís great that your are taking the time to document what you are doing as itís a good reference both for timing & tasks to consider. I hope you will continue to do so.

Jim
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:47 PM   #234
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Avoid being Overwhelmed

Jim (my three sons dad)

Iíve approached my project trying to stay focused. For example, when I took Faith apart readying it for liftoff, I only did what I had to do to get the shell off. While I found a lot of things that needed doing, I resisted getting taken off course by them.

Iím employing the same strategy putting the frame and shellback together. Itís too easy for me to get bogged down, if I donít.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:11 PM   #235
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Installing new waste water tanks is a bear of a job for sure. It takes some serious noodling to select the size, location, mounting, plumbing schemes for the tanks all within the confines of the trailer's frame. Like you, my new axles will have an additional inch of ride height to compensate for the extra tank compartment.

As a result of my grey water tank placement, I lost my two rear BAL stabilizer jacks. The grey tanks hangs below the frame rails used for mounting the jacks.
I'll have to use the portable aluminum ones. Not handy, but maybe a vintage task.

David
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:38 AM   #236
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Using scotch brite pads

Hey every one

I have some time before the frame is finished so I thought I would try to clean up the shell some.

Let me start this by saying I have no desire to put a mirror finish on Faith. But I would like to have the finish uniform, however.

I was thinking about wet sanding the surface with 600 to 1000 paper or using a very fine scotch brite pad,

There is not much clear coat left on the surface which would have to be stripped first.

If this is a bad idea, could some explain why this wouldnít work.

Thanks
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:03 PM   #237
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1978 Sovereign Frame off

A uniform unpolished finish comes up from time to time but seldom shows after-photos. I would strip the clear coat and see what it looks like. If you don't like it, well, you need to do that step anyway. Any sanding will leave swirl marks. I will get blasted for this but I have used aluminum brighter to give the aged patina followed by a really good washing to flush off any remaining chemical. I've had no issues. I have heard that polishing companies use brighter before they polish but have no first hand knowledge of it. Critics say the chemical will stay in the joints and corrode the metal but I've never seen any evidence of such. I figure if the chems seep in, water will flush it out. Lots of fresh water results in 'Dilution is the Solution' as they say at work.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:51 PM   #238
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Your Faith would look better with the old clear coat stripped off. A chemical attack is better than a mechanical one. I like the Aircraft Stripper available at some car parts stores as it does a good job of bubbling up the old clear coat. Some of your roof pieces may not have any clear coat left.

With your shell off, the stripping process will be pretty easy. I actually used a plastic bondo scraper and scraped off the bubbled up clear coat, collected it in a container, and disposed of it as a hazardous waste. Then I rinsed well with water. This way there was very little chemical waste on the ground.

Rubber gloves and facemask required.

David
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:50 AM   #239
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We stripped our clear coat off with aircraft stripper after trying multiple strippers of less strength. Then hubby cleaned up corrosion with purple polish around the top sides of the trailer, and we Walbernized it. Just stripping off clear coat made the trailer look much better. We get asked what we polished with, from time to time. It's more of a matte finish than actual polishing would be. We like it.
Purple Polish was the name of the polish/cleaner he used around the top. I'm sure others would work also.

Kay
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:23 AM   #240
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Drill Bits

The best drill bits to use are Cobalt 135degree split tip. More expensive but worth it.. The home center drill bits are basically worthless IMHO.

This site has magic on it's pages
https://www.panamericantool.com/cobalt-drills.html
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