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Old 03-11-2020, 06:37 PM   #161
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1986 34' Limited
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Thanks Atomic_13. It's a big trailer with more room than my old Trade Wind.

I did get the door frames made and trial fitted the doors to them. The doors are somewhat wrapped like other parts of the trailer so they don't close flush. Cort refurbished the doors and they are waiting non-mortise or flush mounted hinges. These hinges will be much better than what Airstream originally fitted.

Cort also refurbished the reading lights over the pillow sides of the beds. But we want to install the bed frames before we install these lights. The sleeping surfaces will be maybe 6" higher than original due to a 4" riser under the frames and a thicker mattress. Don't want to bang a head on the reading light. There is enough head banging in an Airstream already.

David
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:16 PM   #162
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Cort refurbished the bed frames. The front of the frame is really quite stout and the tambour doors worked well. But everything else was junk. We did find loose rivets between the lower bed frame extrusion and that flimsy U channel that the bed frame rests on. Airstream attached the bed frame to the floor with two angled screws. Not very stout.

The skimpy aluminum angle Airstream used to hold the mattress support slats along the wall was lightweight, and that's it. It was bent badly. So we replaced it with a 1 1/2 by 1/8" thick angle aluminum. Much better to support a sleeping human plus teddy bear and maybe the dog.

We added a 5th slat to the bed frame. I think Airstream used just 4, two of which have hinges on them, so you could lift the mattress and have easy access to that thin aluminum tray underneath. The two remaining slats were positioned under a sleeping person's head and feet. This is the lightest parts of the body. So we put the slats on 12" centers starting from the prop up channel and let the plywood support head and feet. Now we have no plywood flex when sitting on the bed frame.

We also made new plywood mattress support out of 1/4" plywood. The stuff Airstream used was about 3/16 thick. We're stronger and heavier.

As mentioned we lifted the bed frames 3 1/2" to allow the heat ducts to be routed underneath the bed. It also creates a more normal height sleeping surface with a 6" mattress. I think a good height is around 30". Airstream built it to 24". Too low in my view.

Now we will make the bedroom to galley bulkhead walls. Airstream made these 3/4" thick by sandwiching two flimsy pieces of plywood with some boards in between. It is a hollow wall, again lightweight but not very stout.

David
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:44 PM   #163
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Wow! Itís really coming along. Iíve been routinely amazed by the minimalistic approach of airstreamís cabinetry. If Iím honest, itís lasted for 40-50 years so that says something. However, we both have leaned towards more substantial designs. Modern trucks can handle the additional weight.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:53 PM   #164
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Nice job, I am continually impressed by your progress. FWIW, I built the walls between the bedroom and galley out of 3/4Ē birch plywood. I, too, thought the original ďsandwichĒ was wholly inadequate. The original aluminum extrusions were the proper 3/4Ē width. I look forward to your next moves.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:55 PM   #165
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Hello Airstreamers: Yep, we are adding weight to the trailer. Our strengthened frame can handle it. Our new axles are 3500 pound rated with 12" brake drums. I figure we will add maybe 500 pounds to the curb weight of the trailer. Airstream engineers would be agast.

I finally hung the wardrobe doors. We opted to leave out the pocket door as it takes maybe 2" in width from the closets. We have an accordian door we can use if we want. But what we're doing now is just using the closet doors in the open position as the bathroom door. It creates a nice privacy shield and good access to the wardrobes. It creates a big bathroom area. We'll try it out and if Cort and family don't like it, we can hang an accordion door easily.

Cort made a perfect pattern for the street side galley bulkhead wall. We purchased 3/4" birch veneer plywood for these bulkhead walls. The wood matches the "F" wall mount extrusion which is 3/4" wide. This is a heavy overkill for this wall. Maybe this Sovereign can be a tornado shelter.

After the galley bulkhead walls are installed, we move on to refurbishing the galley cabinets. That will be a huge project. We will remake everything except the aluminum structure itself. Item like countertops, shelving, sidewalls, doors and the like. All new.

David
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:59 AM   #166
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Airstream engineers would be agast.
Maybe the engineers who designed our old trailers, but I don't think modern Airstream engineers would bat an eye. - Mark
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Old 03-21-2020, 08:39 PM   #167
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Galley Bulkhead Walls Cut

We finish fitting and cutting the bulkhead walls. We won't attach them yet as we are deciding on possible stains for the birch wood. The original floor layout had an accordion door between the galley and the bedroom. The bulkhead wall was about 31 inches out from the wall. The galley sink countertop is about 30" deep. Maybe a little narrower doorway and a little more separation to the bedroom is desirable, so I cut the wall about 4" more out from the wall. It covers the bed frame this way.

We haven't decided if this is what we want. Gonna think on it some as we start rebuilding the galley sink cabinet. What a mess it is.

David
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:21 PM   #168
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Getting the Galley

Done: Frame, subfloor, floor covering, bathroom, wardrobe closets, bedroom. We're moving forward, literally.

Next up are the two big galley cabinets: curbside sink cabinet and street side fridge cabinet. Quite frankly, we are very disappointed in the way Airstream built these cabinets back in 76. They haven't survived the riggers of Airstream travel very well at all. The three spaces below the shelf under the sink were almost useless. Access to the furnace, water pump, fuse panel and converter was poor.
Overall, they are poorly designed in my opinion. We are going to make them better. Not perfect, but better.

Today we developed our list of wants, and did some preliminary drawings. Here is what we think:

Larger, deeper twin sink
Clearance for 4" round furnace duct work
Adequate furnace return air "window". The original cabinet had none.
Flat countertop, not a drop down stove.
Keep tambour door under sink
Much easier to access the pump for winterizing, fuse panel and converter
Keep the pull out drawer case under the sink
Provide for some toe clearance at the bottom of the cabinet
Provide for an easy to remove front fascia so the furnace can be removed is needed. Existing cabinet did not provide this.

So we will get after it.

David
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:31 PM   #169
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Furnace Question

Does anyone know if a guy can provide the necessary 55 square inches of return air return with a 3" by 70" toe clearance at the bottom of the cabinet. It certainly would allow the furnace to suck air back into its blower. But it does not meet the Suburban instructions that say you must have 55 square inches of open space in front of the furnace, say a 6" high by 10" wide grate.

I don't know how sensitive the furnace is to this requirement.

Thanks for your assessment,

David
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:47 AM   #170
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I use my toe kick for return air and it seems to be fine. My cabinet is quite a narrower than yours, roughly 40 inches in width. The horizontal area from the top of the toe kick to the front face frame is also open. I didn't put a grill over that area. If you toe kick is 3X70 (210 sq in.) I'd think you more than met the 55 sq in.

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The furnace is elevated 2" off the floor to keep heat off the sub-floor. (The floor is covered with floor protector so the tow kick is blocked in photo.)
The opening on the lower left of the cabinet is a door for storage. My ducts to the bedroom and bathroom take up the space. (not installed yet in this photo)

The grill in front of the furnace covers the area behind the cabinet doors, just as a safety precaution, but I suppose it adds a little return air leaking around the doors.

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I would think a 6X10" grate in line with the furnace is more restrictive as it has to flow around the plenum, which is the width of the furnace.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:17 PM   #171
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Thanks : I would like to agree with you. With our toe clearance at the bottom of the counter, there will be plenty of air available for the furnace fan. I just wasn't sure why Suburban made an explicit point of requiring 55 square inches in front of the furnace. Maybe just to insure folks don't box the furnace tight. The squirrel cage fan is in the back of the furnace with the heat exchanger in the front. We'll make sure there is room around the thing.

David
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:28 PM   #172
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Axle Lift

I bet many of us have struggled with the awkward balance of a Dexter axle. Trying to get the thing under and up into position in a vintage Airstream is challenging with just one person. The tube, then swing arms, then drums create a center of gravity in outer space.

Today I think I figured out a simple lifting aid that will help me position these 180 pound axles in place. We need access to the bolts and nuts when up and before the jack is released.

I used a simple 3"x7" U bolt and a leftover 4x4 pine lumber. I drilled and then attached the U bolt to the pine, and then to the axle tube. The pine piece is a foot long and plenty stout to allow the jack point to balance between tube and axle.

Here are a couple of photos. It is pretty stable, but I won't be getting under the thing. I'll just jack it up between the axle mounting plates and up tight to the frame rail.

Just sharing an idea that you might find helpful.

David
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:30 PM   #173
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Rear Tank Pan Closure

Kinda doing other things while we apply finish to the galley bulkhead walls and wait out the drying time. I needed to make a waste water tank pan rear closure. We cut the old rusty one off. It was shot big time.

We made a "removable" rear tank closure so it would be easier to get to the Valterra blade valves, and to the tank level sensors without having to remove the tank pan itself.

I bolted an aluminum angle to top side of the "skids" running underneath the bottom of the pan. Then I made three aluminum sheet pieces the encircle the dump valve piping and are resting in the aluminum angle and touch the top of the new rear cross member. These sheets run behind the flashing we added to the rear of the body.

To gain access to the dump valves, we just remove the two bolts on either side of the frame rails and remove the three pieces of aluminum sheeting. Easier access.

Hopefully this will keep heat in and mice out.

David
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:12 PM   #174
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Fuse Panel Access

This 76 Sovereign had the most awkward location of the fuse panel, converter and water pump. These items are a source of frequent attention. Airstream conveniently located them on shelves behind the stove. Saves storage space I suppose. And Airstream provided about 4' of excess wire length so it could get all tangled up and look really complex. Better take it to a dealer.

We decided we would relocate these items for easier access. Here is what we've done so far. The first photo is the original "shelves" behind the stove. This is a real hunk of junk; not Airstream's best effort. The second and third photo is the fuse panel mounted higher so we can see it and read it. The converter is mounted next the the fuse panel with easy access to its fuses. Both of these items come out with just 4 screws each. The last photo is a "prototype" of the entryway wall in which we will make a access door. The door is big enough to remove the fuse panel and converter.

Hey, we gotta do something while locked up at home.

David
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:46 PM   #175
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Working The Galley

We're working hard rebuilding the galley cabinets. Honest. We've ordered a new stove and a new sink. The original sink was only 5" deep. It was like doing dishes in a frying pan. Due to the battery, converter, fuse panel, furnace, sink drain plumbing and the wheel well all under sink, the storage area is quite limited. Maybe why Airstream had such a shallow sink. My 75 Overlander had the oven mounted in the galley to bedroom wall (dumb) but it created nice storage under the cooktop. See photo. The Sovereign is a square countertop with a traditional stove oven combination. No storage under the stove.

Due to a later delivery of the sink, we moved across the aisle to the fridge cabinet. We elected to raise the fridge about 7" so it sits under the high countertop. We did this so you don't have to stoop over to get items out of the bottom of the fridge. We will reuse the pantry tambour and cabinet doors, but that is about it. All the rest of this cabinet is flimsy, warped junk. We will rebuild it better.

David
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:21 PM   #176
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Looking great. Keep up the good work!
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:30 PM   #177
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Pantry Cupboard Tambour Rebuild

You have heard me whine about horizontal tambour doors before. We'll, I'm still at it. Spill some pancake syrup in the lower track, drag it into the spiral and you're all done. Stuck.

It is surprising to me that Airstream built this pantry cupboard tambour door so poorly. There was one screw holding the tambour box to the plywood cupboard shelf, at least that is all I saw. The tambour box is longer than the spacing between the countertop and the cupboard bottom shelf. You can see in the photo that the tambour box broke away and sagged down. One too many bumps in the road broke it. The tambour no workie no-mo.

We will fix the tambour box firmly to the new cupboard plywood for a solid foundation. Horizontal tambour doors need to be accurately aligned, the track rails very parallel, and the spirals clean for the thing to work properly.

At least a goal for us.

David
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:00 PM   #178
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Pantry Cupboard Tambour Rebuild

I think I got the tambour door repaired so it will slide open and closed. I won't know for sure until we finish the cabinet and have all the parts screwed and riveted together tight.

The first thing was to redesign the tambour box mount so it is well supported and square to the tracks mounted to the shelf. We decided to "flange mount" the box by framing the box and then screwing it to the shelf. It seems quite solid now. It is not going to break free.

So we rolled the tambour material into freshly cleaned spirals, and fitted the tambour tracks and lower pantry shelf in place. The tambour material did slide out and back in. Success. The tambour box is "pinched" between the bottom of the counter top and the pantry shelf. That is what holds it in place.
We will be be extra careful to maintain spacing and alignment when we assemble the cabinet for the final time.

Now on down to the pull out counter extension, the next item 2" below the pantry shelf.

David
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:39 PM   #179
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A month ago we welded new metal in the areas where we thought the frame was flexing and bent due to the rear end separation. We were disappointed that the frame still sagged when unsupported in the rear even with the body tightly attached to the new frame rear crossmember and body hold down plate.

My friend suggested more steel over the rear axle area of the axle plate and extending it to the next crossmember. Worth a try.

I bought the steel and cut it to fit. The welders were here and welded it in place. It is essentially a 3x2x1/4 thick angle iron 48" long that sits on top of the lower frame rail flange. We welded it to the lower flange, and to the axle plate on top. I have not yet taken a photo of this new piece.

Today I removed the rear frame rail jack stands to test for frame sag. The frame is supported at the rear axle area and the tongue jack in front just like it might be with the axles under it. As explained previously, the rear frame rails from the axles back are a "diving board" supported only on one end.

I measure just a 1/2" of sag over this 15 feet of rear frame rail. I feel that is acceptable considering we started with over 3" of sag and about 2" after the first welding. My friend was right.

The frame on this old Sovereign now has been repaired with new metal and rusted outriggers replaced and body secured to them. The rear end separation is no more. All is good to go.

Now we will focus on the interior.

David
David, Did you happen to capture any pictures of the additional steel, once welded in? I am doing a shell-on frame and floor update...hoping to keep the frame. I saw the first set of pics, with the added steel reinforcements, but am curious what this application looked like after welding.


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Old 04-16-2020, 11:45 AM   #180
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Frame Added Steel PIcs

Hi Bauxter: I don't have a good shot of it. There is one here after we painted the frame. Hard to make out what's going on. I'll be in the shop and try to get you a better photo of the steel we added from axle plate back.

David
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