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Old 01-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #21
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I'd say fix it up. Do it once, do it right, and you'll be enjoying that trailer for the rest of your years. It's a beautiful classic, way too nice to give up on.

I wouldn't go looking for another trailer to replace it, just because they all have something wrong with them. I'd rather have the devil you know.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:15 PM   #22
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Look at the price of a new one, you will feel much better about having Colin fix the one you have. I got my axles from Colin, he is indeed a good guy and will do you right. Expensive, yes but time IS money and everything is expensive. I'd vote to fix the frame and then you will have a great vintage trailer to enjoy for year to come.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:21 PM   #23
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Having been in your shoes, I would suggest the beer!
Colin is very good at what he does, I agree to ask his advice.

Good luck
Marie
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by robandzoe View Post
Seeing that frame.. I'd go all the way.. lift the body, get the old frame out, and pull her to a steel shop to replicate a new frame, then back to Colin to put the body back on.. it's probably the quickest and best, in the long run, thing to do. Of course, it's gonna cost!!!
Yes, replace the frame.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #25
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Greetings all,
Just to let everyone know, my new business is a "full service" shop & now has the capability to lift bodies off trailers with a custom modified gantry system, similar to what Wally originally used to build this trailer. This system also allows us to lift & flip the chassis 90 degrees or 180 degrees so bellypan work can easily be done without lying on our backs. This is known as a "Rotisserie" type restoration in the automotive world.
We also have the capability to do leak testing with our new "Sealtech" leak tester.
Assuming Susan & Peter decide to move forward with this project, i'm sure you'll be seeing photos of the process.
I'll also be updating my website regularly to keep everyone up to date on our latest projects.
Thanks,
Colin
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Old 01-29-2010, 05:48 AM   #26
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Hey everyone-thanks for all of your replies! We are going to go ahead with our project with Colin but since there are 3 trailers ahead of us- we are going to bring her home and gut her out as much as possible to save on $$. The frame is so important we want to have Colin do it right! Good thing it is minus 2 degrees out today- great weather for working on a trailer.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:57 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by 2vets View Post
Hey everyone-thanks for all of your replies! We are going to go ahead with our project with Colin but since there are 3 trailers ahead of us- we are going to bring her home and gut her out as much as possible to save on $$. The frame is so important we want to have Colin do it right! Good thing it is minus 2 degrees out today- great weather for working on a trailer.
Only minus 2? A balmy Spring day...
Before gutting, take LOTS of pictures of the interior. Fittings, attaching points, plumbing, everything. Even if you dump 80% of it, you'll still run into something you can't remember how it was supposed to go.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:45 AM   #28
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You have to set priorties; so beer first. Then taking into account the shop rate, whats the price of repairing the frame in comparison to having a new one fabricated. Restorations can sometimes be a money hole that you can't see the bottom of so, I think that you have to get a handle on a realistic (add30%) and comlplete cost of putting this Airstream on the road. I'm sure the frame is one of only many costs.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:00 AM   #29
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Great choice, keep checking in with these folks they really keep you motivated. Good Luck, and have fun. Susan
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:40 AM   #30
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No experience on AS frames, but I once did a "patch up" welding job on a
1972 Triumph TR6 sports car. the rear suspension trailing arms were about to drop off the rusted frame!

My repairs held, but because I had just done a patch up, I was always uncomfortable as to the integrity of the rest of the frame and always regretted not doing teh job right and replacing the frame.

Unless some knowlegable person can assure you it isn't necessary, I'd be much more inclined to do it right and replace the whole frame or don't do it at all.

I think you would feel much better about it in the long run. Do it once and do it right as they say!


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Old 01-29-2010, 11:10 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
No experience on AS frames, but I once did a "patch up" welding job on a
1972 Triumph TR6 sports car. the rear suspension trailing arms were about to drop off the rusted frame!

My repairs held, but because I had just done a patch up, I was always uncomfortable as to the integrity of the rest of the frame and always regretted not doing teh job right and replacing the frame.

Unless some knowlegable person can assure you it isn't necessary, I'd be much more inclined to do it right and replace the whole frame or don't do it at all.

I think you would feel much better about it in the long run. Do it once and do it right as they say!


Brian
Sounds like Mr. Hyde is in line to give this advice. From the photos it looks like the rear section well past the axle area is the only section that has corroded. Unless the rear underbelly section was the only area exposed and reported on.

For 2Vets sake we all hope that is the extent of it, and if so it is a fairly direct fix. This can be done (the right way) and be just like new.

Jumping from this repair to the decision to replace the whole frame is a huge differance in time an $. This is where the restoration thread starts to resemble a "War and Peace" size novel.

But this looks more like a short story with a happy ending from the information provided by 2Vets.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:07 PM   #32
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From what I can see ,it looks as though main frame is good,and the cross members are rusted.I encountered that on my 63 GT,out came the torch,mig and new angle iron.2days later it met my needs. Dave
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:45 PM   #33
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The photos you see in the first post are of the really rusty main frame rails. The rear crossmember has some "issues" on the bottom, however the remainder of crossmembers & outriggers are generally in good condition.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:35 PM   #34
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doctor punxsutawney phil sez...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2vets View Post
I desperately need opinions from airforums members on what I should do!... Now we are looking at a MAJOR repair job...but now this has become huge financial commitment for us just to get her back to a stable frame with no bells or whistles. What would you do if you were me...cut and run, use the home equity loan, try to find a better trailer, or drink lots of beer? I know ultimately this will be my choice but what did you do when presented with a serious setback with your trailer?...
just for background, here's one of your first posted thoughts here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2vets View Post
Hello there! I have been dreaming about owning an airstream for years but only seriously looking for the past 4 months. I have looked at numerous 70's models (all 31 feet which looked absolutely huge), and a tempting 1975 tradewind that I found out was gutted and deplorable. Then 2 days ago I looked a 1960 24 foot Tradewind in the pouring rain and was completely smitten! Gone were the well designed checklists and all rational thought..... THIS was the trailer for me!
no where in any of these posts is there ANY information on...

-past camping experience
-future camping expectations (frequency, location, distance, purpose)
-WHY u "dream" of owning a 'stream (even ONE reason why)
-what you/husband and TWO teenagers want/need in an rv...
-things like shower/fridge/storage/sleeping space, and so on...


--and no place do i see a budget, or even an approximate/RANGE that the FAMILY is wiling to spend on an rv...

including THIS rv.


of course the FORUM MEMBERS are NOT entitled to ANY of this background or info,

but HOW can anyone here provide ANY rational or objectively neutral advice without it ?
____________

the point being while you admit having tossed out all the checklists and rational thinking...

leaving US without details...

means that most of the replies will be cheerleading like "GO FOR IT" ((and maybe that's the point?))

and it costs US nothing to encourage YOU to spend money...
____________

so now the reality, having spent 3,000$ so far...the real bleeding begins.

major frame work, running gear, tires, brakes and AFTER all of that, as you seem to realize....

it's still a 40+ year old metal tube with 40+ year old interior and applicances...
____________

and on top of that you don't own a tow vehicle for this thing either, right?

a 'friend' is towing it around for now?

so that's MORE money 2 be spent...
____________

if the goal was/is a vessel for camping, buy something that can be used NOW right away (this season)...

figure out IF rving is really that important AND if there will be time to go camping much.

IF the goal/need is a 'stream for camping...

keep LOOKING then buy the BEST EXAMPLE (within budget) of a unit that's ready to use...

surely the goal isn't to have some shiny, highly customized vintage thing that OTHERS will look upon with envy???

or is it?
__________

yes you've got a good shop and yes they can make this stream happen...

but WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

the useful/wise thing about buying a READY to camp trailer...

is that the unit can be financed, interest is deductible, and it can be INSURED for the value.

none of that can happen with this one.

would u buy a car, starting with just the OLD BODY,

then spend some UNSPECIFIED amount to build TRANSPORTATION inside that body ???

unless you happen to be in LOVE with some specific old car body...

and would u spend/risk the HOME EQUITY to do that???

it's one thing to find a good old 'stream and using personal sweat, time and parts BUILD it up...

lots of folks can brag..."i spend 2000 hours and 10-25 grand but would take 3x that for it...yadda"

but PAYING someone else to restore it starting with a REdone FRAME is expensive, very very expensive.

are u gonna be HAPPY with all the old bits ON TOP of that redone frame???
________

we're all here because of some affection/history or interest in 'steams specifically,

so this isn't about bashing a/s ownership or restoration...

but these 2 snips/quotes pretty much sum UP where this is all headed...

you...."Gone were the well designed checklists and all rational thought"

them...."My husband and two teen kids are being very supportive but then they asked the obvious question of "Now what?"

take this thing home and THINK about this project/process and PURPOSE all over again...

figure out the "NOW WHAT?"
__________

we all get a little goofy in the dark daze of winter and may dream about spring and the potentials...

but take a cue from your veterinary practice...

what is one of the MOST common procedures performed by vets and why is it done???

((is everyone thinking?))

ALL of the really good vets i have dealt with know how to delicately communicate to the pet owner the issue of...

"this is approximately how much money you'll need to spend IF you wanna TRY to keep fido or felix alive..."

and payment (or a %) is expected in advance.

following this painful HARD few minutes of questions/answers,

many owners who LOVE those pets figure out what they can/cannot afford...

then act accordingly.
__________

the point being YOU need to sort out the overall TOTAL costs before pouring MONEY into the frame.

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:25 AM   #35
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WOW... that was just... well, I am going to just keep it to myself...

2VETS... GO FOR IT!!!!!! And have no regrets. Restoring that trailer will be the best money you ever spent.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2vets View Post
Hey everyone-thanks for all of your replies! We are going to go ahead with our project with Colin but since there are 3 trailers ahead of us- we are going to bring her home and gut her out as much as possible to save on $$. The frame is so important we want to have Colin do it right! Good thing it is minus 2 degrees out today- great weather for working on a trailer.
I think this is a good plan. Doing as much of the work as you can, yourself, will save you money. Gutting the trailer isn't particularly difficult, it's just tedious and time-consuming. Like Terry suggested, take lots of pictures so you'll remember how things were before you began. Bag and tag all of the little parts and keep them with the bigger parts they belong to (I stapled a lot of these bags to the insides of larger wooden pieces they corresponded to).

You should be able to get it all the way to the frame by yourself. When you do, you should take a picture of yourself standing on the ground, inside your trailer. Why? Because all of the cool people do it.




Good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:27 AM   #37
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Thank you, 2airishuman

I'd like to thank 2airishuman for his straightforward, honest advice. If it had been directed at me I think I would feel that my dreams were being dashed on the rocks of reality, but sometimes we need someone to give a dose of reality to keep our dreams from turning into nightmares.

The 1974 Sovereign I'm working on has turned into a much bigger project than I intended, however I am enjoying it, and at 50 I'm old enough to know that few things are easier and quicker than you think they'll be. I like working with my hands, and since that's not part of my paying job, working on the trailer becomes a good outlet. As I work on the trailer I develop my skills, for example I bought a MIG welder and learned to use it. If I had to pay someone else to do this I would NOT have bought this trailer, I would have either bought a newer Airstream that didn't need as much work, or I would have bought an SOB and put off the Airstream until later. I'm not suggesting that you should look at this as a do-it-yourself project, but for me that is an important consideration in the decisions I make.

We bought the Sovereign and made plans for it's renovation based on our experience of 5 years of camping in the Overlander, including a 2-month trip to Alaska. Personally I wouldn't feel comfortable putting a lot of money into fixing up a trailer without being able to base it on that experience.

While we love our Airstreams, let's remember that it's not necessary to have an Airstream to enjoy camping and travelling with your family.

So, 2vets, don't be in a rush to make decisions on this trailer. Since Colin has three trailers ahead of you it sounds like you're going to have time to consider your options. You might make better choices about how to proceed if you buy or rent a trailer to use this summer while you're making your plans.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:13 AM   #38
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I agree with 2airishuman. This is definitely a decision you will have to weigh out everything you want to put into it, and what you want to get out of it.

I had big dreams of camping immediately after buying mine. I got a good deal, and knew there were a few "issues." 2 years and $8,000 later, it is still in progress. I'm enjoying the rebuild on it in my "spare" time, and it will end up being a nearly new trailer when I'm done, but I have missed out on camping with it in the meantime. It's going slowly, but I would have spent more money to get it done quickly.

It's a tough decision, you just have to commit. I will have to be committed by the time I'm done with mine.

Mike
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:57 PM   #39
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[


Thank you for your comments 2air- I appreciate your honesty since it IS such a huge undertaking, both financially and emotionally! I have read many posts from you on this forums and I have always found them insightful. What I find difficult is to try to sort out the total costs of owning an airstream when you have no idea what you are going to uncover next.. which is true for any used trailer whatever the age.

However, I am not sure what you mean by "what is one of the MOST common procedures performed by vets and why is it done???". The vast majority of patients I see come in for wellness exams,routine surgeries, followed by various metabolic ailments on which diarrhea tops the list (particularly if you own a lab who has dietary indiscretion as his middle name!). If you are talking about euthanasia of pets, that is a TEENY fraction of our medical profession, and I consider it a blessing in veterinary medicine. The ability to end an animal's suffering if we are unable to control their pain or halt their critical disease is not a financial decision but a personal family decision. It is a decision that I have had to make on my own pets.


We are NOT looking for a vintage beauty that will cause people to envy us as we drive by. We will be going to state campgrounds with no hookups. We will be putting back her appliances that work and her insides with her slightly chipped veneer. We will be putting one fantastic fan in so she will not be airless, perhaps two if we are feeling really "flush". If we live without a bathroom and running water for a year or three we will not be crushed since we are tenters and living in an aluminum tent would be like a palace in comparison.We will not be polishing her. Our original intent was to live with her crudely for a year after replacing her axle and floor but the rotten frame added a frost heave to our plans. Thank you for everyone's input, it has been truly appreciated!
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:17 PM   #40
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Projects create memories, and are teachable moments too!

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[ If we live without a bathroom and running water for a year or three we will not be crushed since we are tenters and living in an aluminum tent would be like a palace in comparison.We will not be polishing her. Our original intent was to live with her crudely for a year after replacing her axle and floor but the rotten frame added a frost heave to our plans. Thank you for everyone's input, it has been truly appreciated!
Good realistic plan. So it takes a little longer - just don't get rid of the tent quite yet. The Airstream may be more of a project than you originally thought, but by the time it's ready it will really be part of the family.

Carol
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