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Old 04-09-2018, 05:10 PM   #1
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 7
Floor/Trailer Frame - Rust Experts?

Hello all - my wife and I recently happened upon a (what we believe to be) 1963 Safari. The trailer was a part of an estate auction then resold to the guy we got it from. No title, but from preliminary research it looks to be a 63. I digress...

We've gutted it as it sat in a pasture for a good amount of time with busted coverings on the ceiling. Rain created rot which created compromise to everything, including the frame itself. It looks and feels as though the significant rot is relegated to two members. My question to the experts on here is, what's our next step? Do you feel it's significant enough to cut out and have new pieces welded in? Is it not significant enough to worry about? I can walk on them and it feels as though there is just slightly more give than the others. The others also have some give as well - which I assume gets shored up when plywood is attached to create rigidity.

Any and all thoughts and experiences are appreciated. I did some digging in past threads but didn't seem to find exactly what I was looking for. If one exists, it'd be great if you could point me in that direction. Attaching a couple pictures for reference...

Thank you!



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Old 04-09-2018, 06:16 PM   #2
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1975 Argosy 28
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Pics did not post. Try again
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:25 PM   #3
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1963 28' Ambassador
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Northern VT , Vermont
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Pics would help. Based on your description it would seem very likley the crossmembers are badly rusted. Usually the outriggers, [floor support from outside the main frame rails to the parimeter] rust out before the crossmembers. And of course the main frame rails are suspect. That in total is your entire frame. Probably sounds terrible, it is'nt, fairly normal. No concern, especially considering you have a 1963 Safari among the most sought after Astreams. If the door, window frames & exterior body panels are good a new frame / floor is well worth the time / money. Only way to check the frame is lower the belly pan sections or remove the floor. Imagine that a'63 Safari found in a field. You really should post some pics, lot of folks gonna want a peek.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:48 PM   #4
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
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Trying again. 2 pics of the cross members that are rusted and a couple of the trailer. Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully this will help with the direction of any further guidance...
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:03 PM   #5
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That's not over the top. You can replace the cross members or weld on angle iron. It just depends how OCD you are. Nice trailer btw
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:30 PM   #6
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1963 22' Safari
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Nice - I appreciate the feedback!
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:25 AM   #7
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1963 28' Ambassador
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Wow, if the back half is as good as the front you are in great shape. Main frame rails look fine, outriggers fine, even the belly pan looks good. Looks like the front "vista vent" leak was the only problem & caught in time. Next check is the tail under the bath area, if the steel is good there run out and buy a lottery ticket, you're on a roll! If the whole body is as good as that side pic apperes you have a great '63 to restore, way better than most. 10 ft of 1/8th 4" C-channel will take care of the 2 X-members. No real need to do a "body off". A couple things to keep in mind. The plywood deck resting on the outriggers is the only thing holding the body up. Resting on the tail frame and front A-frame it'll slide off and possibly tear alum sheets, a stiff breeze will gaurentee it. A couple 2' X8' sheets of 5/8 ply can shore it up as you work. Cut the 8' to fit to the width, a bit of rounding on the corners so it dos'nt tear the outer skins as you twist it in. Ours have a belly pan of 2 pieces. You can "unzip" it. You need to get it up on blocks to work underneith. Drill out the rivits down the center seam and in the cross members out to the edge. That lets the belly pan down just enough to weld the steel w/o harming the pan & most importantly gives you access to re-bolt the new floor properly. You'll also have to remove bottom interior alum sheets to get acess to the C-channel. Thats where frame / floor / belly pan & body all connect with BOLTS and some screws. Locks the whole thing into one solid unit. Just curious, you might check the serial #. Your A-frame looks,LOOKS like the narrow angle. Seems I remember that was '62 and back?
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:28 AM   #8
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1976 31' Excella 500
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I’d fix it while it’s easy to get to. It’s too simple to fix now to ignore it.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:43 PM   #9
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
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Thanks for the replies and guidance! Iíll post a couple more pictures of the frame for reference. Seems as though I have a lesser issue than I originally thought. Thanks putback for the detailed approach on fixing it. Is the serial number the number on the name plate by the door? I tried googling that number and also tried looking on the known VINS on Airstreamís site - thatís how I got to the Ď63 guess. Anywhere I can go to confirm?
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:47 PM   #10
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1963 26' Overlander
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Looks like a great find! You definitely want to replace those rusted out cross members. I have a 1963 Overlander whose frame was in similar shape. I replaced a couple cross members and a couple out riggers. I did a shell on replacement of the floor.

A word of advice so that you don't create issues for yourself down the road... Make sure your frame is level when you weld new parts in. Check again when you put the new floor in. Check again when you're securing the floor to the frame. Check again when you secure the shell to the floor. Remember that the frame can sag under its own weight so you need to check level all along the frame. Not just in one or two places. Also check for level across the width of the frame at different locations. Get some jack stands and shims to adjust. Well worth the little bit of time and labor.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:50 PM   #11
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1963 26' Overlander
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Oh... and since you're going to be welding on the frame, you'll probably want to beef up the front hold down plate. It's inside the front inner skin right below the front window. Mine originally had a tiny piece of stamped steel. I welded in a steel plate.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:49 PM   #12
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
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Thanks for the tips Cardinal283! Any pics of that process by chance? Sounds like you leveled the frame prior to cutting/welding so you were sure the cross members were level when they were replaced - correct? Also, how big was the steel plate (dimensions) you added compared to the factory piece? How thick?
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:29 AM   #13
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1963 26' Overlander
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1963 Overlander Complete Renovation

http://www.airforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113229
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:31 AM   #14
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1963 26' Overlander
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Here's a link to the thread.

I did level it but only after I had done some work and realized that it wasn't level. It's still not as level as I'd like it to be.

I think the plate I used was 1/4". The factory plate was more like 16 ga stamped metal.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:32 AM   #15
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I don't remember the dimensions. But approx 6-8" tall and about 12-16" wide.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:01 AM   #16
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1963 28' Ambassador
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Northern VT , Vermont
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Your serial # check is as good as any. What did happen from time to time as an example was. One built as and late in the 1962 run was serial #ed and sold as a 1963, often some overlap between years. Noticed another interesting thing from your interior pics. The imprints on the skins of the appliance layout. 22 footers in '63 were safaris. But according to some literature out there a few Flying Clouds were built. I've tried to post a link to the diagrams take a look and compare.https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...040fca2ce1.pdf. You really do have a grate one to restore. Rear frame even looks fine. And no evidance of any previous repairs . I'm into a frame off '63 ambassador right now. I'f it was half as good as your's I'd be one happy camper.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:13 PM   #17
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
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Thanks putback! That link to the floor plans is perfect. It looks as though ours is a '63 Safari Twin. I looked through the '62 models and '64's. The window placement as well as original layout doesn't match up with any of the other Safari models - so mystery solved! Good luck with the ambassador. Sounds like you have your hands full!
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:14 PM   #18
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1963 22' Safari
Des Moines , Iowa
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Thank you Cardinal283! One last question - and it may be a dumb one... Did you remove the original plate and replace? Or did you weld the new plate onto the old one?
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:37 PM   #19
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I removed the old one. It will make more sense when you get that interior skin off and can see it.
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