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Old 03-28-2010, 11:42 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Woo Hoo! The Safari has left the building!

Saturday Lorrie and I picked up the Safari and hauled it to the storage yard. I had to jury-rig up some temporary lights, because I didn't have the proper tools with me to figure out which blue wire went to which rear lamp. The floor is solid and the trailer feels pretty stiff even without the inner skins in place, but without shocks on it yet it is a bit bouncy inside on the new torsion axle. The lack of interior weight is also a factor, for sure. Relatedly, a mid-50's safari is supposed to have about 400-450 lbs of tongue weight, but right now it is probably 100 lbs without the front kitchen installed and no LP bottles on the tongue. I can actually lift it by hand and it is scary to walk behind the axle if the ball is not secured to the hitch - I have visions of the trailer doing a wheelie.

There is lots of work yet to do. Given the state of the belly wraps, they have to be replaced, which next has me asking "while we are at it", should I also replace the three exterior panels that have significant dent, scrape, and/or gouge issues? Where does it all stop???

Anyway, it feels good to get it to this point. The next task will be new door and storage compartment gaskets and an overall leak inspection to try to get it water tight.

I am too tired tonight, but will try to post photos one night this week.
For a historian you are skimpy on the pictures, no?
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:15 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
this thread has sparked my curiosity a great deal. I have seen this slight bend to the leading edge of the panel as some here were talking about, however, I have also seen a bead too.

That is from an Ohio built 54 Safari. It is not a bend, it is a bead. Does anyone have a Cali built 54ish to compare?
Frank,
My '55 Safari has that same bead, as do all 13-panel Airstream built in Ohio to the best of my knowledge. Obviously 1950 Cali airstreams did not, can't speak for newer 13-panel Cali Airstreams.

That said, I am investigating how to make these edges, because I want to put them on some repair panels for my trailer (repair panels look so much better this this type of edge, rather than just a plain edge). I think I found the perfect bead roller dies here (scroll down to the section marked "Edge Bead Rolls"): The Mittler Brothers Power Drive Bead Roller at Van Sant Enterprises, Inc.

I am willing to experiment, but not with their power bead rollers (too pricey for my little project), so I am trying to determine if those dies can be fit onto someone elses manual bead roller. I don't know that answer yet.

If anyone beats me to it, please post the answer. Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:32 AM   #83
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Joe, I bought a bead roller from Harbor Freight. Unfortunately like all most all Harbor Freight tools, it does a very poor job. I will eventually need to find a better method myself.
The bead that Ohio put out is a real eye catcher. It adds a level of quality to the edge for sure. It is yet another reason I like the Ohio trailers so much. I also like the 13 panels over the whale tail as far as panel lines go. Unfortunately a few Cali owners will now tell me how wrong I am.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:47 PM   #84
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I stopped by the Safari to measure the edge bead tody and I think it would qualify as a 3/16" bead when viewed "top on" or perpendicular to the surface. If one considers the way the edge rolls over, it might appear (and measure) as a 1/4" bead in total width, but I am guessing that a 3/16" edge bead roller would be correct for this application.

It is also interesting to note that the rolled over edge is bent over quite far, but the edge toward the flat part of the panel is not nearly as "high". The edge almost appears more like a "half bullnose" than a raised bead. That said, I still think the Mittler Edge Bead Dies are likely the closest thing I have seen to what I think would reproduce an original looking edge. Again, I am thinking 3/16ths, but am willing to change my mind if proven wrong.

A closeup of the edge on my trailer and the Mittler Edge Bead die list are attached.

P.S. According to the Mittler web site, their bead roller dies have a 2.5" OD and a 0.75" ID bore, in case someone has another brand bead roller to try to fit them on.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:24 PM   #85
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Joe,
I think that the reason the bead looks fatter on one side is due to the pressure the rivet exerts holding it against the underlaying panel. I could be wrong about this, but I think it is actually a bead and not a drop shape. One suggestion I might make is to make friends with a metal shop. Most duct fabricators have this type of equipment and if you showed up with a sheet cut out and ready to bead along with some cold beer you just might not have to invest in the tooling. I am a tool whore though and love an excuse to need yet another tool. Cold beer does go a long way to getting things done at most blue collar shops. Especially around 3:15 on a friday. You want to find an independent shop also, not a Union one. Many years of working in the building trades has gained me this insight, I am not Union bashing.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:44 PM   #86
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Here is a link to what I am currently thinking I want to do on the front of my '55 Safari - Add an overlay panel like is seen on this one: 55Safari

It looks like that panel has a beaded edge on this trailer and that is what I want to do on mine. I am OK that this may appear to the purist as being non-original. It will be easier for me to do and completely new aluminum panel would be different than the aged panels on the rest of the trailer anyway.

The issue is that this is a large panel to put a edge bead on. It will be an expensive mistake if it does not go right the first time. I guess I am going to have to start asking around for a sheet metal shop that might be able to do such work.

BTW, I am attaching another photo from my trailer showing how the bead curls over to the sheet below it on the end caps. That is why I called the edge more of a "half bullnose". I think it helps overcome the angle between the two panels that meet - I probably don't need as pronounced an edge roll if I am covering a flat panel with another flat panel.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:42 AM   #87
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Joe, if you go overlaying that panel it will be as noticeable as a neon sign in Arches National Park at midnight. You will never get it to sit flat and you would still have to drill all the rivets out and guess at the shape of that panel. Have some confidence in yourself. Drill the rivets and slide the segment out. you then have an excellent pattern to work from. That bead could easily be copied by a sheet metal shop and you just reinstall it. Your inner skins are out still right? You can even buck the rivets back in properly. The shape of the panel is critical to making it curve in both directions. As far as expensive mistake, I wish I could actually spill the beans on some of my costly mistakes. I will share one. See this wheel well trim here...
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It is on a single axle Tradewind. 46" long is what is required to fit the profile from one end to the other. Just under four feet, no big deal 8 foot total to do both sides. The material is about $1.28 a foot. It took me 9 tries to get it right. My scrap bin got a huge deposit learning how to do it right. There have been even more costly learning experiences than that that I do not want to go into it because they might make me look like a big looser. All those mistakes came out of my pocket. My point is do not be afraid of making a mistake. it is just a piece of aluminum and it is just a trailer. You can do it, and you can do it well.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:55 AM   #88
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Frank,
Thanks for discussing this with me. I gotta get my plans in order so I can get back to work soon - it's been about 2 months since I last did any work on the Safari.

If I do the overlay, correct me if I am wrong, I do not think I am dealing with a dual direction curve - that is at the rear only. The front is merely a flat peice bent around both sides, right?

My concerns about totally removing the front panel and replacing it have to do with:
1. The need to possibly remove the front window. Can I slip the new sheet under it? (I do not want to remove the window and don't want to decide I need to half way thru the replacement)
2. Get the new panel resealed to the window frame with butyl tape (or some other sealant).
3. Get it tucked under the window frame and upper segments while keeping it above the tongue and wrapping it around the corners - that seems to be a complex operation.

In the end, the overlay should be much easier to install (I think). I was not anticipating too may fit problems, because it is a flat panel (I think) just curved around the ends. Part of the issue if that my trailer has many panels with small dents or other marks - I cannot get them all out (I would have to replace half the outer skins including many 13-panel segments to do so). I just want to get it looking decent - it will never be showroom new. If it's not going to ever appear 100% new, why do I want to make more work for myself replacing up to three large exterior panels?

BTW, as of a couple of weeks ago I was semi-planning on replacing those panels (front wrap, streetside below the windows, and rear curbside corner), but I then I looked at the amount of work involved (including removing the roof lockers and upper inner skins that I did not intend to, just to get access to buck the top row of rivets on the side panels that are current hidden) and the fact that the trailer would still not be perfect and I had to ask myself "WHY? - Because I wanted to do so, or because others told me I should do so?" I was coming up with the latter as the main answer.

P.S. I do intend to do any replacement or overlays with bucked rivets.

Keep talking with me on this topic, as my decision could again change if presented the right rational. I just need to keep the magnitude of the project to a level that I am comfortable with and can do in my driveway in two to eight hour increments, returning the trailer to the storage yard each night (yeah - that sucks!). It might be different if I had the ability to keep the trailer at home and/or an indoors place to work on it, but unfortunately I don't have either. Anxiety about full skin panel replacement is part of the reason the project has stalled - I just don't want to go there given my current workload at work and my facilities limitations to do trailer work at home.
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:35 PM   #89
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For those that are wondering, posts 83 thru 89 above were moved from another thread to this thread being that they were basically about my trailer.

Since I am planning to get back to work on the '55 Safari in the near future, I will take some time later this evening and post a photo update from late February until it came out of the shop at the end of March. Look for it later tonight.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:29 PM   #90
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3/6/2010 Progress:
Time to begin getting the photo history up to date. On Saturday March 6th I knew I had no more floor sections ready to install, so the plan was to remove the floor around the wheel wells and figure out how bad they were and formulate a plan to repair them.

I cut most of the floor out from around both wheel wells, except for the forward edge of the streetside wheel well, because that was the only area that the body was still attached to the floor and therefore to the frame. It was quite wiggly inside and I wanted to keep it attached a little bit. Once I removed the floor sections I found most of the flanges of both wheel wells rusted away including some of the vertical surfaces in places. I wire brushed them, primed them, and measured so that I could go get some material to repair them.

The attached photos are:
1. A full size shot showing the jack lifting the body with the top board covered with an old rug.
2. The jack laying on the floor showing it was made from scrap wood and has a large section to distribute the force on the roof inner skin.
3. 82" long spacers that I made to secure the rear of the body to the proper width. I screwed the body to the plywood pieces and secured them to the stringers. This kept the body from spreading apart as it seemed to want to do in it's own.
4. Signs of water leaks thru the pop rivets that were used to secure a repair panel to the trailer.
5 & 6. The streetside wheel well before and after priming (curbside was similar), showing the rusted flange and even a coupe of holes through the rear outrigger that did not become evident until the floor was removed. These holes were later repaired.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:00 PM   #91
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3/9/2010 to 3/11/2010 Progress
During the week I made a trip to the trailer to take measurments and start the process of making the wheel well liners. I then completed the task at home in my garage. I decided to purchase galvanized furnac duct sections to use to make the repair liners from. Being that they were the same material as the wheel wells and already formed with a clean 90 degree bend, this seemed better than getting a flat sheet and bending it myself. Each wheel well took two peices - one for the side of the wheel well, and one cut in half for the front and rear. I used closed end rivets to attach the pieces together. It will all get undercoted eventually on the trailer to seal it all and protect against corrosion (i.e. rust).

Photos are:
1. Snap togther furnace ducts before modification.
2. The inner side of one wheel well before being attached to the front and rear sections.
3, 4, & 5. Three views of a completed wheel well liner showing the seam sealed with polyurethane roof and gutter sealant.
6. My garage workshop showing the epoxied and painted (bottom side only) floor sections and both completed wheel well liners.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:23 PM   #92
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3/13/2010 Progress:
On this Saturday, I had to remove the rest of the floor forward of the streetside wheel well in order to install my repair liner and discovered another outrigger hole (that was again repaired by welding in a reinforcement). I also had the welder add a rigid brace across the step recess to keep the floor from flexing there since two floor sheets meet in the middle of the door opening.

I then installed the wheel well liners with sheet metal screws for speed (the screws will be replace with rivets before the interior goes back in). I also sealed the flanges of the new liners to the frame using more polyurethane roof and gutter sealant. I then installed the floor section behind the wheel wells.

My last actions were removing more of the old floor and the wire brushing and painting that section of frame forward of the wheel wells.

Photos are:
1. The hole in the outrigger (later repaired).
2. The added cross brace in the step area.
3. The streetside wheel well liner installed with screws (curbside similar).
4. Another new floor section installed rearward of the wheel wells.
5. Removing more old floor forward of the wheel wells.
6. And section of frame painted and ready for floor installation.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:31 PM   #93
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That's it for tonight - I've got an early meeting tomorrow, so I'll have to finish the photos for the 2nd half of March another time.

I hope this step by step photo archive will help someone who is unsure about undertaking such a project themselves. Short of welding, nothing is technically difficult if you have decent skills with hand tools and think things through before jumping in. I was happy with how things were progressing at this point, but was feeling the stress to get the floor replacement done and get the trailer out of the shop by the end of March. I might have done a couple of things differently with a little more time to think, but overall it went pretty good - no major goofs (so far).
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:44 AM   #94
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Just saw that you had transferred to this site. Great to see your progress. How did you finally solve the lip bend on your sheet metal?
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:41 PM   #95
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Quote:
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Just saw that you had transferred to this site. Great to see your progress. How did you finally solve the lip bend on your sheet metal?
Don
Nope. I need the beaded edge, not the simple angle bend at the panel edge. The beaded edge is more complicated to create than the simple bend and I'm just in the investigatory stage before I begin any actual work. I'll keep everyone informed when I figure out what I am going to do and of course, I will post photos when done.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:49 PM   #96
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3/18/2010 Progress:
This was a Thursday that I took a vacation day off from work just to keep working toward the end of month deadline to have the trailer out of the shop. I started by making an aluminum liner to keep the plywood floor from being exposed in the step recess area. I was designed to wrap around the frame and outriggers so that there was no way for critters to enter the belly pan through the slots that the step slides in.

I then installed the fourth section of new floor and then removed the last section of old floor, painted that area of the frame, and installed the fifth and final section of floor (for the first time - more on that later).

Photos are self explanatory.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:05 PM   #97
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Nice work Joe, glad to see you are making such good progress.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:18 PM   #98
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3/20/2010 Progress:
This was the day of "two steps back". I had my buddy Lou as a helper, but the floor wasn't fitting right around the wheel wells and the body sides would not move. This was when we had to remove the 4th and 5th floor sections and then scrape out all of the polyurethane roof and gutter sealant that I used to seal the wheel wells to the frame. Unfortunately, since I did not get all the floor in the day I applied the sealant, it hardened in the worng position. Removing the sealant was a major pain in the @$$.

Once Lou and I got the sealant removed, we reinstalled the floor sections and inched all five sections around to get the best fit we could and then we started attaching the body to the floor and screwing the floor to the frame. First we put in the rear body locator brackets. In a few limited areas I had to make floor channel reinforcements out of aluminum angle or strip stock depending upon the location. These were mostly needed where the body bolted to the outriggers, because that is where the galvanic corrosion ate away at the floor channel. We got the shall about half secured before we called it a day.

Photos are:
1. Last two floor sections back out and helper Lou.
2. Lou helping put the 4th section back in.
3. 5th floor section back in.
4. First repainted body locator reinstalled.
5. Lou driving a floor screw (love those action shots!).
6. Floor channel reinforced and screwed down.

There are a couple more days of photo updates yet to post, but I have run out of time tonight, so that's in for now. Enjoy!
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:09 AM   #99
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1990 34' Limited
Cape Coral , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 224
Are you planning to go back and add elevator bolts? There is so much flex in the frame that I doubt that the screws will hold. Having them begin to pop after you have reinstalled your floor covering and interior wouold be a shame.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:52 PM   #100
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2016 30' Classic
Southeast , Michigan
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Originally Posted by dieseleagle View Post
Are you planning to go back and add elevator bolts? There is so much flex in the frame that I doubt that the screws will hold. Having them begin to pop after you have reinstalled your floor covering and interior wouold be a shame.
No I actually wasn't planning on adding elevator bolts. The ends of the outriggers are bolted thru the floor channel and I put many more screws in everywhere else than there were original elevator bolts. I have the floor screwed down about every 12" across all cross members and outriggers, and also about every 12" along both frame rails. On those cross members where two plywood sheets meet, the spacing is more like every 6", with the screws staggered back and forth from sheet to sheet in a zigzag pattern, so each edge of each sheet is still attached about every 12". The floor screws are all #12, so they are pretty large for the job. I am hoping this is secure - there is really no way for much relative motion between the frame and floor to loosen up the screws.

Do you have any evidence of floor screws loosening up on anyone's trailer after a floor replacement? If so, please provide more details. Thanks.
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