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Old 07-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #21
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GrayMattr, I feel your pain. My 73 Sovereign needed a new frame. The link to my thread is below, whose value is simply that I have listed in it a number of really good Full Monties.
I built a new frame. You are certainly welcome to travel to Columbus to check it out, and possibly get a few ideas, first hand. I mention that because there aren't many projects of this type happening in our neck of the woods. I see a lot of projects out West(of the Mississippi), and a couple of really talented guys on the East coast.
Good luck! My only advice is to not get overwhelmed, chunk up the tasks, so they are manageable. My trailer has been in 2 pieces for about 8 months, but it is slowly coming together...with the support of my comiserates on this forum.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f187...ure-74547.html
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:27 AM   #22
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@Bauxter - Wow it feels good to know someone close to where I'm at is going through a similar project. I'm actually in the Columbus area every now and again and I would definitely be interested in stopping by to see your progress. I will be sure to bring a notebook and plenty of photos of my progress.

I know Columbus has worse winters than we do here in Parkersburg, how do you deal with having your camper in two pieces through multiple seasons? My ultimate goal right now is get the shell off, fix floor/frame/axles and have the shell on before first snow. Am I being unrealistic?

About my frame -- I wish I were a welder, that would be fantastic. I seriously just typed a lengthy explanation defending the integrity of my frame to convince myself I don't need a new one and then promptly deleted it because it really just confirmed my fears.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:58 PM   #23
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Repair timeline

GrayMattr
"how do you deal with having your camper in two pieces through multiple seasons? My ultimate goal right now is get the shell off, fix floor/frame/axles and have the shell on before first snow. Am I being unrealistic?"

The new frame was not an issue in the winter. I did cover it, but in the end I gave it the full POR15 treatment this Spring. There was no issue with the shell except I would be very mindful of the effect wind will have on it (tipping over, tree limbs, etc)

I had a similar (to yours) experience with mine. I had every intention of fixing a few rust spots with my little 110v mig and proceed to do floors, electric, plumbing, etc,.......that idea went out the window when I saw the scope of the rust. I bought an old Lincoln stick welder, and went at it. I hired a welder to come over to attach the old A frame to the new frame (critical component).
He also did an inspection of the welds I did.
If I did not have to build a new frame, I think I could have pulled it off last year, with some help, but in reality, ...you may want to buy a few tarps.
I underestimated my timeline a lot.

I hope to be roadable in December, but I know all of the final adjustments and punch-out won't be until next year.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:12 PM   #24
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I'm trying to set lofty yet attainable goals. There's a strong chance I may not make the "before first snow" goal, but I'm hoping rigorous planning and preparation before lift-off will reduce the shell-off time. I'm working to line up a welder and look to have estimates for frame fabrication on hand before the shell actually comes off.

Quote:
There was no issue with the shell except I would be very mindful of the effect wind will have on it (tipping over, tree limbs, etc)
I'll be lifting the shell from above using homemade gantry cranes so the shell will be sitting on 2x4 "rails" supported by cinder blocks. I'd sit it on the ground but I'm working in my back yard so there are leveling issues.

Question: Anyone have any good advice for towing only the frame of an airstream? I figured i could use temp towing lights but what do i need to do about the license plate? Ideas?
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:47 PM   #25
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towing the bare frame

I towed mine with the actual license plate attached with the chassis copper ground, and used the $9.95 HF magnetic lights, with extension wires. It worked well enough to pick up my 30' long steel for the new frame.
It did bounce a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyMattr View Post
I'm trying to set lofty yet attainable goals. There's a strong chance I may not make the "before first snow" goal, but I'm hoping rigorous planning and preparation before lift-off will reduce the shell-off time. I'm working to line up a welder and look to have estimates for frame fabrication on hand before the shell actually comes off.



I'll be lifting the shell from above using homemade gantry cranes so the shell will be sitting on 2x4 "rails" supported by cinder blocks. I'd sit it on the ground but I'm working in my back yard so there are leveling issues.

Question: Anyone have any good advice for towing only the frame of an airstream? I figured i could use temp towing lights but what do i need to do about the license plate? Ideas?
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:47 PM   #26
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I used the HF magnetic lights and tie wired the plate on the rear frame.Keep the plywood on the frame if your making a long trip for material. The plywood is the strength on this rusted out frames
I tried the 90 amp HF welder and it just wasn't enough for the .120 wall thickness material I am using. I took it back to HF and the 170 or 190 amp was on sale for 99.00 more, its 220 volts. Throw away the spool of wire that came with the machine and buy Lincoln .035 wire set the machine up and practice, in a couple of days you will be surprised at the welds you just made.the only down side to the HF welder is the 20% duty cycle, but it keeps me out of trouble as I have to wait for the machine to cool down and I an not going full bore warping tubeing. Get some anti-splatter gel and spray and the welds will look like a mig with gas, very little splatter. Take off the big round copper shield it will help you see the puddle better.The shield is used with gas shielding.
Get a good auto Dark welding helmet, Set it were you can see the puddle, when you get the temp,wire feed rate,and the torch at the right distance it will sound like bacon frying in a skillet
While your at HF get the best metal cut off saw they have, I think its 69.00, you can cut up all you cross members and cut your outriggers to length in a couple of hours.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #27
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The shell is finally off. I learned alot over the past two weeks, mostly in the heat of the moment. Enjoy some photos while i begin working on the floor removal.




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Old 08-06-2012, 09:48 AM   #28
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OY! Another shell off. I am sooooo glad I got thru it. Looking at your pictures made me throw up a little in my mouth. I had similar issues with my frame. I had to cut the rear of the frame completely off and rebuild it based on pictures of other frames. Good times.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:50 AM   #29
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 Looking at your pictures made me throw up a little in my mouth.
HaHa! I promise I didn't intend to induce vomiting, although afterwards I felt a little unsettled in my stomach from the feeling of passing a "point of no return".

I'm excited to get the frame/floor/axles fixed and put back together. After a closer look, there's an extreme possibility I'll be having a new frame fabricated. I'm going to dig through my tech repair manual tonight and pray to god it contains useful schematics for a shop to work from. This will be the only portion of the restoration that will be outsourced due to the amount of time it would take me to learn to weld.

I'll be posting a bit more regularly over this next phase.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:54 PM   #30
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Got the floor removed. Here are a few pics. Still need to clean it up.

Rear end:

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Front end:

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Bad front end damage:

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More awful rear end:

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Old 08-08-2012, 07:19 AM   #31
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Wow! Great work! Looks like a little bit of welding will be performed. But, you'll have a good solid base.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:10 AM   #32
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Wow, lots of work there. Mine was in good shape compared to that. I think that fiberglass insulation did those 70's frames in. I think people are nuts to put that back underneath. It's a sponge.

Good luck and welcome to the shell off club. Nice gantry's. I made some too. I think it's the best way to go.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:35 AM   #33
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I had similar issues with the rear of mt 30'frame. An old navy welder told me to cut the rear at an angle and splice in the new metal. He said it would take some of the stress and spread it out. I guess a butt weld would crack on either said of the weld. I also added another piece inside the channel to box in an area about 1 1/2', 2 plates were bolted and welded to add additional strength.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:40 AM   #34
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Wow! Great work! Looks like a little bit of welding will be performed. But, you'll have a good solid base.
Thanks! The main point of posting those pics was to get an idea of whether i should even consider repairing the frame or start fabricating from scratch. I'll be replacing almost every outrigger.

Quote:
I think that fiberglass insulation did those 70's frames in.
I couldn't agree more Purman. I'm not sure how I want to approach the insulation but I do know it will not be the "Pink Death".

@Marzboy - I seriously spent a few hours reading your threads so it's funny you posted those pics because I stared at them for quite a while yesterday. Also, using the "hole bit" to cut around the elevator bolts worked magically, so kudos.

I'm going to have a welder come out and assess the damage and quote some prices this week. I'll eventually learn to weld but if i can find a good deal for quick work I'm going for it.

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. It's greatly appreciated.

NOTE: How much POR15 for a 31' frame?
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:14 AM   #35
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Thanks! The main point of posting those pics was to get an idea of whether i should even consider repairing the frame or start fabricating from scratch. I'll be replacing almost every outrigger.

I couldn't agree more Purman. I'm not sure how I want to approach the insulation but I do know it will not be the "Pink Death".

@Marzboy - I seriously spent a few hours reading your threads so it's funny you posted those pics because I stared at them for quite a while yesterday. Also, using the "hole bit" to cut around the elevator bolts worked magically, so kudos.

I'm going to have a welder come out and assess the damage and quote some prices this week. I'll eventually learn to weld but if i can find a good deal for quick work I'm going for it.

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. It's greatly appreciated.

NOTE: How much POR15 for a 31' frame?
Glad my pain was your gain. If you need more frame pics I have a ton. I used about a gallon of paint (about three coats) but buy it in pints cause once you get that lid off it is a biaoooch to put back on. Also cover up real good it adhears to ANYTHING! I used hard nose as a top coat for the tongue and anything exposed to UV light.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:05 PM   #36
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Por 15 storage

I keep my leftover POR15 in a mason jar with a plastic film between the screw on lid and the glass jar....going on 4 months, and still is usable.

Mike
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #37
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So, a guy I know that has a body shop came by to look at the frame today and gave me a rough estimate on fixing the frame. Handing it off to him in it's current shape and he will be cleaning/cutting/repairing/fabricating most of the rear end, a portion underneath up front, and about 14 or so outriggers. he also offered to sandblast it and seal it for a grand total of $500-$600. Most, if not all of you, have jumped in and performed the welding and fabricating and painting yourselves. Looking back, would you take the offer I've been given? or would you roll your sleeves up again?


EDIT:It's worth noting that the work would be completed and the frame returned to me within a week, which for me adds a little to the value.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:09 PM   #38
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So, a guy I know that has a body shop came by to look at the frame today and gave me a rough estimate on fixing the frame. Handing it off to him in it's current shape and he will be cleaning/cutting/repairing/fabricating most of the rear end, a portion underneath up front, and about 14 or so outriggers. he also offered to sandblast it and seal it for a grand total of $500-$600. Most, if not all of you, have jumped in and performed the welding and fabricating and painting yourselves. Looking back, would you take the offer I've been given? or would you roll your sleeves up again?


EDIT:It's worth noting that the work would be completed and the frame returned to me within a week, which for me adds a little to the value.
Pay the money. As long as the welder does great work, thats a really good price. Believe me that is a lot of work as I did most of it myself. I probablly spent $500 on materials alone.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:52 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by marzboy
Pay the money. As long as the welder does great work, thats a really good price. Believe me that is a lot of work as I did most of it myself. I probablly spent $500 on materials alone.
Don't forget your electric bill may be -a tad- higher than normal after all that welding. that's usually something that doesn't get figured into the estimate
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:03 PM   #40
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If the body shop will repair and have it back in one week ready to put the subfloor down for 600.00 thats a no brainer. I am building new frame and I have 900.00 in material plus 100 or so hours in cutting metal and welding and 200.00 in consumables.
Just have a clear understanding as to what work will be done.
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