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Old 07-16-2011, 10:05 AM   #41
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Keep in mind blasting removes good metal too... of which there may be entirely too little off in some places
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #42
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Just put the por-15 on 3/16" thick and you'll be strong as new.... Just kidding....
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:21 PM   #43
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Sorry for the long delay. No, I have not slipped into a comma. It has just been a busy summer so far, but work on Monty has been slowly progressing despite life's other demands.

Update: The frame has been stripped of hardware and put on a rotisserie. The frame was thoroughly soda blasted. There will be no need for welding or repair . I prepped all metal with the POR-15 products. I, along with most of the trailer, is well covered in POR-15 (okay, okay... I have just a few spot on my hands, arms and face). I will finish the rest tomorrow. I have only the top to finish (I would have finished yesterday, but ran out of paint).

For those who may be interested, I have used two quarts of POR-15, and will need one more to finish. I used one quart of Marine clean and one gallon of Metal Prep (which is way cheaper by the gallon than by the quart).

I have been brushing it on. Here is my question, do most people do two coats or one? One coat looks really good, and unless someone yells at me, I will probably do only one due to cost.

Next will be to have the galvanized belly pans powder coated and start reinstalling the floor.

I will try making updates more regular now.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #44
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I would do two coats of por 15. make sure to apply the second coat when the first coat is almost dry
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:13 PM   #45
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Hey was just wondering how the project was coming along! Long time no hear!
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #46
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The return of Monty...

Sorry for the long delay. Since my last post, my wife had our first son, and life been a little busy. This winter was long, but now I am in my busy season. But despite frequent encouragement to scrap Monty, we are still moving forward.

Between last fall and now there has been a little bit accomplished but much more to go. Pictures will follow, but here is what has been done.

-frame was soda blasted and painted with two coats of por-15
-installed prodex between frame and new 3/4 floor
-installed new floor (used old for pattern)
-shaved floor perimeter and installed c-rail
-treated all wood with Smith's penetrating epoxy (until it would soak up no more) This product I believe to be the best available and is quite amazing
-used stainless fanged elevator bolts and fasteners
-installed fenders (the factory fenders are really wimpy by the way)
-cleaned, tested holding tanks, and installed new dump valves
-powder coated the the tank covers, installed new poly-iso foam board around tanks and fastened them in.
-installed 2" poly-iso foam board under whole trailer (this was glued and fitted between the members) We used spacers to maintain an air gap between prodex and foam
-ran new warm air line to tank compartment
-replaced some of the under belly aluminum that was rotted
-installed steps
-pressure washed inside/outside of shell
-installed new D-gaskets on all windows (Granger supply has the best deal for bulk)
-installed banana wraps to the belly pan before flipping frame again
-made a new spare tire compartment in the front A-frame (I patterned it from another trailer we have here. The spare tire compartment is all aluminum with 1" poly-iso foam and prodex between floor. Monty had no spare tire compartment before.)

(all of the above was before winter)

-finished spare tire compartment
-flipped completed frame assembly
-LIFTED AND REPLACED THE SHELL!!!
-now we are riveting, finding leaks, fixing dents, and organizing the wiring in prep for insulation.

Like I said earlier, I will post the pics very soon. Ironically I could almost post the old ones again because its looks exactly like the ones we took when it came apart. I know we have a very long way to go before I rule out the "towing the trailer to scrapper" option, but as far as I can tell, Monty is the first 34' to come apart and be replaced again. Kinda cool, but I now know why most start with an 18' project and work their way up. My goal is to go camping with Monty sometime before the sun turns into a lump of coal. Fortunately, I got another trailer to use in the meantime.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:28 PM   #47
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Good going on the new addition of a family heirloom, and nice going on pushing through that frame rehab too!

Are you going to rotisserie the shell to seal the roof and replace vents and marker-lights? Just kidding (almost) as I've got lots of flat-on-my-back work left to do and really envy your taking the time to do it correctly!

It's good to have double-coated the POR-15. Telling exactly why is a little difficult. One thing I noticed even with a good painter with spray or brush is there are a zillion pits and seams that the paint might bridge over while holding a bubble in the hollow that 'pops' while the solvents evaporate and leave an unprotected spot. Allowing the first coat to act as a primer that molds itself exactly to the surface and incorporate any debris found lets the second coat be a more perfect barrier to the metal; this really applies more to Paint-Over-Rust applications but you can see one coat for bonding and one coat for armor.

I'm really interested in how the ProDex will weather over-the-road vibrations & flexing especially outside the ladder frame where the outriggers buck'n chime as the shell calls the tune - I've pondered this for a couple of years myself and posted on it a few times... After seeing how torn up the tar-tape was they'd weather-proofed the wheel wells with I passed on it and gasketed it with 3M marine caulk and silicone and extra bolts. Maybe your later model had beefier flanges but there wasn't much mating surfaces on my 1973..

Again - congratulations on landing the shell, we're looking forward to seeing how the electrical shakes out and interior slips back in
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:27 PM   #48
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As far as the durability of the Prodex goes, I hope it holds up. I really was just seeing what the factory was doing and duplicated that. But since I felt that was not enough R-rating, I added the poly-iso for good measure. I do know that the prodex required me to use longer elevtor bolts and it took alot of force to pull down the wood to the frame. I figure that it should at least give a little bit of separation.

The prodex went down easy and I felt that it was a good inexpensive layer to add.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #49
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Here are some pics...

The first pic shows the completed underside. The weight was much more even now and much easier to flip.

The third pic is of us lifting the tongue to put an arch in the frame. Despite our greatest efforts the old holes were off about 1/4" (mostly laterally). The forward corners were the hardest to put down. I thought we were not going to get it until we lifted the hitch up a few inches. Lots of hands, putty knives, and pry bars made it possible.

We then pop riveted it onto the floor to keep it safe from the wind. We fastened it down in the exact same area as it was originally. In some places we would bring the floor to the shell, but it will be at the same level as before.

NOTE TO OTHERS: It would have been much easier to line up the c-rail and the shell if I would have traced the mating joint (or seam) around the perimeter with a sharpie pen prior to separation. Then if the two match when you are going back together, I would think your golden. It was very hard to see without the line. Oh well...
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:01 PM   #50
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Lookin good!! We're going to have to head out there this spring and check it out!
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:34 PM   #51
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Thanks! Just dont look too close. My skills are not on par with yours yet. Just call me when you want to come down.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:52 PM   #52
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I was reading on a professional restores notes and he shifted the C channel one way or the other to have a clean spot in the C channel to install the new rivets. This keeps the wallowed out,doubled holes etc to a minimum.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:06 PM   #53
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I am really impressed with your gumption to tackle such a big project. You're doing great! Keep up the good work!

All my best,

Steve
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:58 PM   #54
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I too am enjoying watching this from a very safe distance!

Paula
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:19 AM   #55
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I will be watching for updates as well, I am really wanting a 34' knowing that there is an issue with the frames after 91 is good to know.

Although I am thinking about doing something crazy and building a new frame with a goose neck hitch...

Either way, yanking that body was quite the job it looks like.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:07 AM   #56
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Just to add some more info for the frame database my 81 31 ft Excella II has a 5" frame members made from two 5" C-Channels welded together to form a box. Mine also came with 1/2 plywood floor. So I am assuming the 80's trailers had the strongest frames?

Good work on the full monty. Waiting for the next installment.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landscraper View Post
Darkspeed,
About the only good news I have had about our trailer, Monty, is that the frame is of 5" tubing. From what I understand, they started using 5" in about '84 for the big trailers. I am not sure if that included 31', but I think it did.

With the shell off our frame and no floor, it is rather "springy" to say the least. I can't imagine what it would be like with 4" rails.

However, in Airstreams infinite wisdom on frame building, they decided that 5" was just "too much" and went back to a 4" around 1991. I personally saw a '94 34' last week that had rippled sides by the wheel wells, ripped skin above the door, and other problems related to an under-built frame that twists and turns more than our presidente without his teleprompter.

And in case Andy is reading this, the owner had a standard 3/4ton TV and a very sophisticated shock dampening system to prevent transfer to the trailer. He was doing all he could to minimize shock to the trailer but apparently it was just under-built during those years.

If I was you, I would use no less than 5" for anything longer than 27'. Despite all of the other problems with our trailer, it appears that our era frame was built better than some much later trailers. Ours has more rivets in the skin and a stronger frame.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:48 PM   #57
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Yes, I am still alive. I am just in our really busy season and have not had the time Monty deserves. To answer the frame question for you...

I don't know what years they actually switched from 5" rails back to 4" but this is what I do know. I also own a 1997 34' Limited "Norman Rockwell" edition (we named that trailer Norman). The floor is real plywood and the frame is 5" again. I triple checked Norman since my education with Monty. My parents have a 1995 Excella 28'. I am pretty sure it also has a 5" frame (not that sure though) and a real plywood floor. The genius at the factory during the 80's through the early '90's that thought OSB was great, should be kicked in the shins at least twice.

I also know that they thought using fewer rivets was a great idea as well. I am not sure how the 1991 compares to our 1997, but there is definitely less rivets, probably half as many when compared to Monty. The '91 34' I saw at a show had ripped the aluminum above the door from flexing. From what I saw, a '91 (or any year that had the same frame for 34') would be a very, very, poor choice to buy at any price.

I should have more time soon for Monty and for updates for those who are keeping tabs on me.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:07 PM   #58
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Landscraper,
Thanks for the update. I don't know when Airstream might have reverted to a 4" frame, but my 1991 has a 5" X 2" frame with about a 1/16 wall thickness (see pictures here http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ml#post1172246). There are a lot of flaws in the way the shell was riveted together, but I suspect that it has about the same rivet count as "Monty".

What's the rivet count, spacing, etc. on your WB, "Norman", versus "Monty"?

All my best,

Steve
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:25 PM   #59
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Monty is an '85 while Norman is an '97. The 85, as you may know, is exactly the same as most of the trailers out of the 70's. We have a 79 31' right next to Monty and they are extremly similar. The main difference is up front in the living room. The rivet count on Monty will be the same as any 1970's trailer. Norman, however is like the new ones I've seen with very few on the ribs, with more on the seams. I will measure this weekend.

In regards to your 5" frame. I'm not sure what to say except that the trailer we saw, and had a lengthy conversation with owner about, definitely had a 4" frame. It was a 34' wide body. I am pretty sure he said a 1991. I honestly was in disbelief about it, but it was only 4". His trailer was the front kitchen layout, if that had anything to do with it. He was a serious expert about towing and did not have too heavy of a TV, but still had stress cracks in numerous locations. From what the owner said, is that AS only cheapened them up for a short time, then went back to a 5".
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:40 AM   #60
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That's odd. Our '91 also has a heavy 5" tube frame. The '77 29' we had was a 5" frame. Our '63 26' is a 4" structural channel.

I do know that a '91 shoud not be a wide body, that didn't start until a few years later.

Perhaps the 4" frame was an odd ball?

Back on subject - keep up the good work!
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