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Old 08-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #101
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Hi there!

I don't think the dump valves are original equipment but I'm going to replace them anyway. I certainly agree that it is easier to do so now than after it is all back together again. Will order replacements later tonight from Inland RV.

Drove to the local AS dealer (90 miles each way) to ask about my parts. They are expecting a new coach next week and the outriggers and the floor bow will be on board. They were able to order the outriggers from the factory. So guess I'll be headed back down there again next week.

On the road I was thinking about all of this. Why can't we design access panels into the floor so that maintenance work like replacing dump valves later, is a little easier than cutting into or removing the belly pan?

Also picked up a pint of the POR15 Silver topcoat. Hope to apply that later tonight or tomorrow after work.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:49 PM   #102
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POR15 on my frame

Here is a pic of my frame as it sits waiting for new outriggers and me to spray the silver top coat.

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Old 08-01-2011, 06:54 PM   #103
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Holding Tank Pic

Ok, this is a pic of the holding tank from my rig. I was talking with the repair tech at my local AS dealer today about the sensors. Basically he said they aren't worth it because the get corroded and stop giving reliable readings. They sell replacement sensors for $2.95 but said you have to drill a new hole to install the new sensors. Don't like that idea at all.

I'm going to look at those external sensors to see what I find... will want to get those in place before I put the new flooring in place.

http://www.petehoyt.com/AirStream/im...oldingTank.jpg

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Pete
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:26 PM   #104
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Your frame looks really sharp! Did your frame come with those two center rails, that run lengthwise? My '73 Sovereign doe not have those.

Mike
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:54 PM   #105
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My 76 does have the center supports on the original and new frame.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:48 PM   #106
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Hi Mike,

Yes, those are original rails. I'm guessing they are why the factory felt they could go with only 1/2 inch thick plywood.

Pete
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:00 PM   #107
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Quote:
Why can't we design access panels into the floor so that maintenance work like replacing dump valves later, is a little easier than cutting into or removing the belly pan?
How about access hatches through the pan?

Just cutting out hatches leaves leaves vulnerable gaps that are subject to tearing if there is a decent strike - or if vibration sets up an out-of-sight rattle oscillation. Folding back to double-up the opening edges would stiffen (either pan or hatch plate) up but leave pan corners maybe vulnerable. Then what to use as gasket to help defeat ants and water, or ice freeze cycles relaxing the tolerances?

If a backer plate was vulkemed and riveted on to frame the pans' hatch opening would close-spaced 1/8" rivets hold the cut-out piece in place secure enough on the backer-plate lip, sure drilling is required but no band-trim, banana wrap drop or plywood weakened when you get to claw your way back in to evict the norway rat... err, re-gasket the dump valves?
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:20 AM   #108
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I like the idea of reinforced, intentional 'hatches' to access critical points from under the belly wrap. I hate the idea of having to remove that belly wrap ever again! :-)

From the looks of my holding tank pan, it seems a PO just cut out sections of the pan to access the dump valves and then riveted patches of other galvanized steel sheet over the hole. Needless to say, it was a truely crappy way to close up the hole after making necessary repairs. It doesn't make any sense to basically assume that nothing is ever going to fail and seal it all up such that it takes a team of techs or one dedicated DIY'er to access the failed component. Ever seen the number of maintenance access points on a zillion dollar military aircraft?

I'm going to put in intentional access points. I know some people who should have the same! :-)

Pete
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:11 AM   #109
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Hey Pete lookin good!! I wouldn't over do it with the Por 15 top coat unless you are going to just hit the tongue and bumper area. Por 15 doesn't need top coating unless it will be in direct sun. I used por 15 hard nose for these areas. I am going to top coat the bumper with Por15 chrome. Please post pics!!
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:24 PM   #110
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Some Progress/Best Parts Suppliers?

Hi there,

Painted the a-frame and the tail end of the frame with the "sterling silver" POR15 topcoat. Also painted a few other parts I had cleaned up.

Also discovered the joys of sandblasting. Seriously, it is fun if you can get the equipment working... which I eventually did. Of course sometimes sandblasting rust away just reveals the the rust was covering rust-throughs... I'll need to fabricate a replacement for the spare tire holder. Oh well... :-)

Started cutting the new flooring today. It got me thinking about the tanks beneath the flooring and that led to the level monitoring system... Since I'm rebuilding the interior and all electrical systems froms scratch I need to decide what I'm using now so that I can run any below-floor wiring now.

I'm going to use the SeeLevel system.

While cutting the rear panel, I compared the U-Channel from the front and the rear. Was expecting the shape to be the same... not the case at all!

I'd also like to replace my grey water tank if I can find an exact replacement. What Airstream parts suppliers do you recommend I try? I don't see anything remotely like my grey water tank on the InlandRV site.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:31 PM   #111
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Joining Plywood Flooring?

If you've replaced your factory floor with a new floor, how did you join the pieces of plywood?

That assumes you started with standard 4x8 sheets of plywood.

In my case, I've used 1/2 inch Marine Grade plywood for the new flooring. I'm in the process of cutting it and getting it ready to install.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:37 PM   #112
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On our '72, we used "gussets" underneath the seams. Basically it's a piece of plywood that spans the width on both sides of the joint by about 2 inches. We glued and screwed it in as we added pieces of plywood. Our frame has every other cross member set 3/4 inch lower to allow for the gussets as that was how it was joined from the factory. We just happened to need to cut off the ends of the plywood sheets, and used that for the gussets so no waste. It's in our Little Girl Refurb thread somewhere...

Kay
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:14 AM   #113
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Thanks Kay... good thing I saved the ends of the 4x8 sheets of marine grade plywood... I'll use them as you described, whereever I can. Was laying out the wood on the frame last night and some of the seams look like they will sit right on some of the cross members. :-)
Pete
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:37 PM   #114
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Rejoined!

Well, sorry for the lack of updates lately... I've been busy with several projects but finally reached a major milestone with my Airstream. This is how it looked for most of the past month. I decided to spend my entire Labor Day weekend working to get things back together so I could move the frame back under the shell.

Sometimes working alone can be a real challenge, but I've always managed to figure out some way to get things done. This is how I held the tanks in place while I attached the pans to the frame. Used this same trick for all 3 tanks. I was able to run a leak check on the gray and black water tanks and everything seemed to remain nice and dry.



Of course I didn't have it all done by the end of the weekend, but over that next week I was able to get the last few things tied together. When it came time to move the frame under the shell, I realized that it would be difficult to do so without a better way to move the rig. So I was distracted for 2 days while I put together a new impliment for my trusty John Deere... found the 3/8th inch angle iron in my pasture... knew I keep things like that for a darn good reason!! I took an old receiver hitch frame from a Dodge pickup and made a 3-point frame to bolt the hitch to... couldn't bare the idea of cutting up a perfectly good receiver hitch just for this one project. The welds aren't the best, but it is only my third effort to make something useful with that new welder.



That little rig made it dead simple to raise and lower the hitch as needed. So with that done, I pushed the frame back where it belonged. I got a nice sun burn from all that time with the welder in hand. That is another lesson learned on this project... my brother warned me about getting a sunburn from the welder...


I spent all day yesterday (Sunday) working to get the shell down and back in place. By 4:40 PM, after a good 6 hours of work, it was in place. A couple of lessons learned:

1. Brace more and make sure all the braces are even with each other (vertically) because I used a 4x4 beam to spread the lift between braces.

2. Lower in small increments. Twice the shell wanted to twist on me and it nearly fell off my temporary supports and that would have been the end of this project and maybe me!!

3. Have another brave soul around to help... I did this all by myself.

4. Make sure the jack you are using to lower the shell has a short handle so you can work in between the braces and any temporary supports holding the shell above the floor.

Now that it is down and resting on the frame and properly in the channels it is time to secure the shell to the frame. My oh-so-special Habor Frieght air rivet gun worked for a total of about 10 rivets before it quit so I'll be doing hand exercises for the next several nights. In hindsight, I wish I'd spent more money on a better tool. No amount of fiddling around with it seems to make any difference to that riveter...

I need to find a few of those 5/16th flange head bolts to fill a few holes on the tank pans that were left open... Fastenal has some but they only sell in bags of 50 or so and want $35 for the bag... I only need about 5 so I'll take my time and find someplace where I can get just what I need. They did have the pan head bolts for securing the flooring and all the rivets I'll ever need.

Oh, another lesson learned: my local AS dealer sold me a new 'floor bow' to replace the one on this rig. That is the channel frame that the shell sits on. The original just sat on top of the flooring and was just a simple 'U' channel. The new one was like the side channels so it slipped over the flooring edge and provided the channel for the frame to sit in at the same time. It was marked for a 'Bambi' and the shape was not 100% the same. The corners had a slightly different rounded shape to them. As I lowered the back part of the shell I was dead certain I had a major problem because it was clearly NOT going to fit. Well, I decided to go work on the front part to get everthing in place and work my way towards the rear. By the time I got back there, the road-side rear fell into place and with a little shoving with my foot, the curb-side rear also fell into place! Wow, was that a relief!! Was thinking of all the work I'd face to replace that bit of frame again, or what short cuts I might take... but turns out it fit perfectly!!

Next task: work on more insulation under the flooring, clean up the barn for winter and start planning the water/gas/electrical system and interior design.

Hope this proves entertaining and perhaps a little helpful to everyone! More to come when I have more time.

Peter
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:20 PM   #115
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Has it been that long??

Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:46 PM   #116
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I'd love to give a definitive easy answer but all I can do is share what I saw & did...

While I had the shell still floating and was landing it I made sure first that the factory bores aligned on that hold down plate - took some English, that was the first contact point. Once the weight gets landed some gentle prying with long lever under a screwed cross-brace might overcome the friction and allow some lateral movement. Don't forget wooden blocks screwed into bow ribs and some deliberate gentle tapping with a sledge hammer to get 1 millimeter of movement or less per strike will walk the shell around. Spread the strikes around, I found mine bound up the most near the wheel wells.
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Old 09-30-2013, 06:28 AM   #117
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Makes Me Think

I enjoy following you brave souls in your "frame off" restorations. Having done 3 trailers (no shell off) I'm sure some day I will be facing the same thing. I have always wondered...when lifting the shell, is all the wiring still in the walls? What is the process for lifting shell with plumbing/vent stacks? Just a few things I've always wondered...thanks!

Bob
Indiana, PA

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Old 09-30-2013, 08:19 PM   #118
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In my case, the method involved a hack saw since I was planning to replace everything anyway and probably not exactly as the factory did it. I still have wiring in the walls but I plan to remove it all and start fresh once I have it enclosed again.

Pete
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:07 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
When I got my shell back on I encountered similar issues. Make sure the shell is level. Also the frame has a tendency to bow in the middle. I used a floor jack and jack stands to line the holes up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
When I got my shell back on I encountered similar issues. Make sure the shell is level. Also the frame has a tendency to bow in the middle. I used a floor jack and jack stands to line the holes up.
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