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Old 10-03-2013, 05:06 AM   #81
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
.
nice patch work!
really looking forward to do the same soon on our 73 project.
Learning a lot from your, so please keep up the good work and posting....
thanks!
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:19 PM   #82
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1973 27' Overlander
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Ah, so... I've been tinkering with wheel well tubs.

Way back I decided against inserting the plastic flanges between floor and frame, so back some I cut the black outer plastic to butt against the main frame rails under the flooring and heat gunned the plastic to drop the fore/aft flanges to overlay the solid outrigger faces so left them about 90% fitted at that time.

I used West System G/Flex 655 Epoxy on the seven or nine splits in the polyethylene molded tubs - prior proper prep takes some practice - texturize the surface, righteously degrease, tease it with open propane flame to 'oxidize' the surface on a microscopic level, then repeat. When playing the flame over it the tell is condensation patterns outside the contact area, remember the PE sheeting is ~0.075 thin and if it softens new oils from in the plastic glaze the surface. It's all in prep to make the stuff work. I used fiberglass cloth to bridge the cracks. The epoxy itself is very stiff, does not match the plastics supple nature at all, and wants to pop free if subjected to much deformation. Anyhow, the tubs are air tight going into final fitting.

I discovered I left a bit of slack in the curbside shell with the battery locker cut-out and door opening leaving open that possibility/guesswork. Anyhow the fender skirt skin has a ripple, not stretched taut, and if the plastic tub presses against it with any force it kicks out the skirt with an 'oil can' effect. So I am softening the tub in select places to pull it back to better keep the skin from being pushed out. I am also going to try 'shrinking' the sheet metal with heating and quenching to pull it taut.

Anyhow, the plan is get the tubs in and tight then do a positive-pressure leak check -once that passes it will be shoot the spray insulation.

Also - am amazed at how my tow vehicle is dying a slow death while the trailer gets slowly improved. Even if it is built like lawn furniture the Airstream is a ROCK compared to Detroit Iron. I'll probably not repurchase a pickup truck, get something adequate for point A to B towing and not a grand tour vehicle.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:36 AM   #83
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I apologize up front now since there are no before and after photos.

The 'little bit' of slack in the wheel well skirt was actually huge: To grab the center of the opening and tug yielded about five or six inches of 'pleat' slack. This is a huge strike against working alone when one pair of eyes can't see everything even when leaving enough time to try and think things through.

I do know the shell was stretched from the back curved C-channel very tightly, the battery locker cut-out on this trailer seems to have been a fulcrum point when the outriggers had failed or gone missing and stretched the heck out of everything, out-of-balance wheels, road strikes, tail dragging sure became additive to un-taut sheet metal forward of the locker.

I just kept repeating the mantra "what I'm here for is... melting (block) ice!" whilst burning 1-1/2 pounds of propane, and so far have melted fifteen pounds of ice doing heating and quenching. This is not something to try try unless you're able to replace the entire sheet, and have the interior, wiring and insulation stripped out. The mid-shell aluminum on this trailer always had a puffy appearance on that side, the sheet lifting between rivets.

I started from the belt-rivet line and worked aft taking out any 'oil-can' flex to the sheet, and cascading down to the un-riveted C-channel sheet edges. As I would reach the well opening and shrink the skirt edge it was apparent there was more slack farther away, each wave of bagel or slice-of-pizza' overlapping heated area only reduced the swollen effect by mild increments, so another round of shrinking, from outside to edge would get repeated.

With iron/steel the temperature differences achievable are greater so using a soaked towel works well, with aluminum you can't let it get too much hotter than seeing an energetic boil-off to water droplets from the last quench. Having the entire target surface wetted when starting to torch an area is key to observing where the heat is flowing.

Another point to make is after finishing a two or three-hour session and walking away it takes a few hours or overnight for everything to normalize while slack in distant rivets or shell rib movements gets drawn to a new baseline location. Literally applying heat on one side and see the far flap of the wheel well flex in-and-out three inches is a little bit spooky. I probably will be drilling some rivets today, and buck in filler and replacement rivets later, to ensure everything is anchored and water tight.

I have still fifteen more pounds of ice, I'll be up to four feet fore & aft of the wheel well shrinking metal to draw it up tighter. I get some photos this morning and see if I can show the results.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:21 PM   #84
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Forty pounds of ice and I'm almost done... one more sweep should get it presentable.

Anyone in the know with metals would say I've changed the strength and temper of the sheet aluminum, made it stiffer, but I'm pretty sure its a non-issue. Refresh the rivets and put the skirt trim on.. and after the first 500 sun baked days or 500 miles on back roads that slack may all come right back.

The discoloration is just clear coat and accelerated aging. I always intended to paint the inner surface so not worried about changes on the backside.

No pictures from the first day, daylight images are the before and the flash pictures are after 'just' this days work. After this it's install the plastic well tubs...

EDIT: add a shot of ice and size of hunks used...
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