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Old 07-13-2020, 07:32 PM   #381
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1975 27' Overlander
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Nothing like a mouth full of mouse droppings to build some character! You might even have a whole rotten carcass plop down in your face. Vintage Airstreams are fun.

Those rivets with a round dot on them are likely tri fold Olympic type rivets. It might be your trailer was damaged around this area and exterior skins were replaced. I have a lot of Olympic rivets in my 75 Overlander, but I don't know why. I keep asking for someone to find us a strong, sealed blind rivet. I know the marine and aviation sectors have such things. Tri folds aren't my favorite rivet, but they work and save time.

David
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:40 PM   #382
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Hi David,
Thanks for the reply! It is good to know that they are fine. There are sure a lot of them...all on one side, and I wonder if this coach was sideswiped or something. No damage to the ribs that I have found, yet...


Thanks,
David
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:43 PM   #383
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Hi All,
The surprises continue to come. As I replaced the subfloor along the side wall and towards the front on the door side, I found that the C channel does not rest on the subfloor. I also found that the rib does not make contact with the C channel.

The whole area is riveted with Olympic rivets, and their work may leave a lot to be desired, at least as I initially understand it. There are ribs with zero rivets through them (if that is by design, please let me know -- I lack perspective, since this is our first Airstream), twisted ribs and (as mentioned above) ribs that do not connect to the C channel.

The logical (but perhaps not correct) thing for me to do is to situate the C channel so that it once again is part of the "sandwich" consisting of the frame, subfloor and C channel by removing the rivets that hold the C channel to the outer skin in order to get the C channel to rest flat again to the subfloor. My suspicion is that when this area was repaired, little to no thought was given to the C channel-frame connection...

Where the ribs do not reach the C channel I plan to fabricate L brackets and install -- with an elevator bolt or equivalent to lock the channel to the subfloor and frame, and sheet metal screws or rivets to tie the upright of the brace to the rib.

And is it normal to have sections of the outer skin with rivets ONLY on the edges of the panels?


Here are the pics of what I am talking about.


Thanks,
California David
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:26 PM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi Vivian,
So true... I just need to keep reminding myself of that (the stewardship) as the sweat pours down my nose and the mouse droppings rain down upon me :-)


Have a Good One!
California David
Just remember to keep your mouth closed.

Vivian
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:16 PM   #385
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1975 27' Overlander
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Hi California David: I think your assessment is right. Your Ambassador has had some body work done it it. If you look at other areas of the exterior, you should be able to identify the ribs by the line of vertical rivets holding the exterior skins to them. That same rivets pattern needs to exists on the repaired skins also. It is not unusual to find ribs that don't go all the way to the floor. Airstream seemed good at this through the years. The purpose of the ribs it to form the shape of the trailer, and hold up the exterior and interior skins. Riveting it all together this way make a strong "fuselage" like an old airplane. I used L brackets to tie my rear end cap ribs to the new c channel back there as well to the new rear cross member. I just thought it was better to tie it all together.

The C channel needs to be bolted to every outrigger, and screwed to the subfloor in between outriggers. The outriggers hold the body up on the frame. It is best to get that section of c channel down to the subfloor, screwed and bolted to the subfloor, and then riveted to the skins.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:22 PM   #386
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Hi David,
Thanks very much ó I needed that opinion. As I walked around my Airstream (and checked the panels past the areas that were likely repaired), I noticed that not every rib had a line of rivets running vertically (the panels are just riveted on their edges). Maybe it is typical, but it seems strange to have that structure available and not use it...or maybe I will uncover even more work that had been done.

Likewise, the rib to floor connection. I read Aerowoodís posts about his coach, and agree with you as well in terms of making those connections (or re-making them). I will use angle aluminum cut into short lengths as L brackets.

Looks like I will be removing most, if not all of the lower interior panels...


Thanks,
California David
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:32 AM   #387
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Does anyone know the selling prices for refurbed 78 ambassador airstream? Refurbished with keeping the original charm and that are ready to roll, clean title Only 2 owners. Just wondering?
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:44 PM   #388
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Hi M,
You may have a lot better luck posting a new thread over in the Dollars and Cents forum... this thread is specifically about the floor and frame on our coach.


Good Luck,
David
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:38 PM   #389
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I can imagine Airstream assemblers have quite a bit of leeway in their "craftsmanship" putting these trailers together, especially 50 years ago. Maybe not so much now. Some Forum members call it "looks about right" or LAR tolerancing. Us guys doing renovations have the same leeway. For example, my rivet spacing isn't always precise.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:25 PM   #390
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Hi CD,
Thanks for your reply. As usual, It helps move me along on this journey! I am still puzzled by the lack of rivets on some of the panels, or at least in the fields of same. Clearly, it was intentional. I guess I will need to find a number of pictures of Ambassadors from this era and compare them to our coach.

I will definitely be shoring up some of the LAR work that was done originally or during the re-work that was done.

We have cooler weather (mid to upper 70s) here for the next week, so I will try to make some hay !


Thanks,
California David
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:23 AM   #391
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I keep asking for someone to find us a strong, sealed blind rivet. I know the marine and aviation sectors have such things.

CherryMax rivets are what's used in aviation.
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:03 AM   #392
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Hi Mimi,
Thanks for the post. Any chance it was meant for a different thread? Or am I already to the point that I can't even remember asking about these things (definitely possible ?


California David
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:17 AM   #393
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My goodness this has taken a while...

Hi CD, All,
I am finally at the point where I am beginning to create the connections between shell and floor in the rear of our Ambassador, and it has occurred to me that I don't know how I will get the rear hold down bracket back into place.

Hopefully, I am referring to the right piece. This is the L-shaped (bent to 100 degrees) piece of metal that is supposed to rest on the frame and (when bolted) tie the shell and frame together.

I have the subfloor back in place. Should I lift the shell once again to allow some "slack" as I attempt to put this back inside the shell and under the floor? Or can I slide this in at one corner (both vertical and horizontally) and work it across the back?

I plan on attempting this within the next few hours, so if you happen to read this, any advice will be appreciated :-)

Thanks,
California David
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Old 07-18-2020, 01:07 PM   #394
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Hi All,
It only took the removal of one more rivet (to the side of the rear access door), and then I was able to slide the rear hold down piece in from an end, with both the bottom of the "L" beneath the subfloor and the taller side inside of the shell.


Next, I will be bolting some angle iron to the inverted U channel that has some of its profile cut away in order to facilitate flashing in that area (see pic). The angle iron will be through-bolted on both faces, in order to give the cutaway piece more rigidity.

Then I will bring the "sandwich" back together by:

*Raising the rear bumper slightly, so that there is a straight line from front to back
*Drilling upwards from beneath the coach in order to re-use the existing holes in the U Channel
*Putting fairly substantial fasteners, washers and unlock nuts to good use.

Exciting times ahead, because it has been MANY years since the coach had a solid floor back there...

California David
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Old 07-18-2020, 07:37 PM   #395
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You are getting it all buttoned back up. It is very important you got this done for your trailer. It will add considerable strength.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:03 PM   #396
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Hi David,
Thanks for the response! I hope your weekend is going well...

This project is at a good but also slightly nerve-wracking point, as I want desperately to push forward, but also get each step done correctly.

In my case, that means making sure that the coach is not racked as I re-attach the shell to the frame. And when I look at the ribs that do not extend to the floor, I see some that look like they may have indeed done that at one point, so extra attention will be paid to that area as it is (to use your apt description) buttoned up.

The other reason that this phase is slightly nerve-racking is that this will be the first time I will be shooting rivets. I spent about 15 minutes just going through the collection of different sized rivets I bought from VTS, in order to familiarize myself with them. I have to admit, it may be a bit of time until it is old hat, and I plan on installing aluminum L brackets made from angle aluminum (and attach them to the ribs with rivets, to gain some experience before shooting rivets where they show) to make sure that there is a positive connection between rib and C channel (and, of course, C channel and frame, and in between, C channel and subfloor.

Hopefully, there will be quite a bit to report tomorrow!


Thanks,
California David
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:38 AM   #397
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David - your work on the rear floor is coming along nicely. The hind end of these 70s ASís were not well engineered.

Colorado Dave put some flashing in below the compartment door to take water away from this vulnerable area. If he hasnít already suggested it, it is a must to avoid problems in the future.

Unlike the front hold-down plate, the back plate, as you know, is nothing more than angle iron. And when you consider the small amount of aluminum it is attached to, it isnít much. The two bolts holding the U channel to the frame help carry the load.

But the big design flaw in these trailers of that vintage is the frame just aft of the axle plate flexes too much and creates a lot of stress on the rear hold down and other fasteners.

Since my frame was toast, I upgraded the main frame rails to boxed tubing rather than the C frame it came with.

Absent that, Colorado Dave is a great source of help on how to reenforce the frame aft of the axle plate.

Even with the changes I made, time and use will be the only way to find out whether the changes made a difference.

Your doing an awesome job! It has been fun following along.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:14 AM   #398
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Hi Bill,
Thanks very much for the reply!

I totally agree with you -- there is a lot to be said about how these coaches were originally put together. We are all lucky that the ribs and shell were made of aluminum, so that there is something for us to even have the chance to improve upon what was lacking...

And this, of course, is based upon an assumption (even if a reasonable one) that the structure was meant to be joined in the way I intend to -- all ribs will have a connection to the frame where possible, and definitely to the C channel, which will be securely attach to the frame as well.

By moving the bath from the rear to the mid, I hope to lessen the weight on that vulnerable area, and I have already started taking steps to eliminate the "reverse flashing" that funneled water straight towards the subfloor.

In the meantime, I will be very vigilant about giving the rear of the coach as much "help" as I can through the methods described above and in your, David's, Aerowood's and other posts. Hope you are having a great Sunday!


Thanks again,
California David
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Old 07-20-2020, 02:36 PM   #399
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Ruh Roh...

Hi All,
As Scoobie Doo would say, "Ruh roh"...

As I button the rear of the trailer back together, I have found that I did indeed cut the subfloor to be a bit too narrow, as seen in the pictures below. They are taken from the area of the water heater opening, from up top and from below.

Since the rear of the subfloor appears to be cut on the correct curve (the piece is just not wide enough), I plan on making a cut in the subfloor in a line from the forward-most cross member running back towards the rear, and spread the outer piece towards the shell. I will then apply a spline of plywood beneath the gap created by spreading the pieces out, and also cut a relatively thin piece of plywood to rest in that gap.


Exciting times ahead,
California David
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Old 07-20-2020, 06:03 PM   #400
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Or, it could be done like this...

Hi All,
Sanity gripped me as I scoped out the too-short subfloor for a second time. I cut a sliver to fit between the floor that was there and the outer skin, and then I simply cut a piece for the splice from a wider piece of Sturd I Floor (1-1/8' thick plywood. To make sure that the edge would not interfere with the re-installation of the banana wraps, I cut a 15 degree angle on the edge of the Sturd I Floor before it was glued and screwed into place. Pics below...


Thanks,
California David
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