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Old 08-20-2003, 08:23 AM   #21
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The floor

Having to separate a 31 ft. fuselage from the chassis to get at a rotted floor and most of the internals is so time consuming and expensive (if you pay someone else) that the Airstream should really be considered disposable after 30 years. There is no way this repair can be considered a good investment unless you are just plain "eaten up" with Airstream nostalgia. That will be the next owner of my AS.

With dozens of holes and windows an owner is constantly chasing water damage and doing repairs. When comparing Airstreams to aircraft it would be important to remember that most aircraft are owned and maintained by big corporations and the military. They either benefit from tax subsidies or our money (taxes). Private aircraft ownership is dwindling because of cost of ownership, including O&M. Private aircraft ownership is hard to justify in dollars.
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Old 08-20-2003, 09:29 AM   #22
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Robert,

Using the rational of 30 year life on an Airstream I can agree with. But if you comapre it to the lifespan of a comparable box trailer that costs the same I would be willing to bet the box trailer will be in pieces in 15 years or less if used with the same frequency and towed a comparable number of miles.

There is a point where the the design will have a failure no matter what materials or methods are used.

The only way that the unit would NEVER need a floor is to make it out of aluminum or a compsite that is thick enough to handle the stresses and strain. Then the frame will eventually rust away, so you make it from aluminum or a compsite too. Then it will still need axles that will wear out as well. When Porche tried to make the all Aluminum 928 the frame was good for 100K before it would start to crack from the stresses of driving.

There has to be a mid point in the process. I agree that plywood is not the best choice, but some of the solutions that are available today were not even invented in the 70's. Or if they were the cost to implemet would have made the units so expensive that they could not be sold. I would love to have a carbon fiber frame and a compsite floor that would never fail. I don't have that kind of $$$.

It is an interesting issue, but I doubt that you will find a production unit made by any manufacturer that is going to last like an Airstream does. I belive that the longevity of the unit was part of the reason that the company had trouble when the gas crisis hit. They had just come off of a decade of robust sales and the market was saturated. With no real need to replace your trailer, due to it not wearing out in 10 years, the demand shrank, and then OPEC did us in.

Just my ramblings
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Old 08-20-2003, 11:47 AM   #23
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Thumbs up Yes..but for one huge differences~

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Quote:
A proactive preventative maintence program will prolong the life of various components, but look at aircraft which the Airstream is model on, and how many times they have been torn down by the time they reach 30.
In that, I agree with what you're saying about proactive PMI but...aircrafts with that kind of longtivity are usually subject to ten of thousands pressurization and take-off/landing cycles, hence the stress factor far exceeds anything that your normal A/S would be subjected to. That, plus you're dealing with human lives in a hazard environment. (Over water, hi-altitude, etc...just mandates those kind of maintenances frequency) Don't you agree?

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Old 08-20-2003, 12:55 PM   #24
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I agree completely, and my aircraft analogy was a bad one, I only used it because of the construction and the fact that they do manage to keep flying for many years, but with a lot of major maintenance.

My real point is anything 30 years old needs some fairly heavy maintenance. All equipment has a service hours/mileage chart when PM, lube, oil changes, etc., should be done. I don't consider it really out of line that a plywood floor replacement is on the list at 30 years. It might be a lot of work, it might be expensive to have done, but I am not suprised that after 30 years of twisting, vibrating, freezing, baking and the occasional leak plywood needs to be replaced. When I was young an old guy told me if it is moving, it is wearing, and I haven't found anything in all the years since then to dispute him.

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Old 08-20-2003, 01:18 PM   #25
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How bad is your floor?

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Old 08-20-2003, 09:04 PM   #26
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How bad you ask?

You know I looked at it again tonight as I prepared to re-set a "vistaview" window in the aft stateroom (it leaks). There is a soft spot near the door, and water damage from the leaking in the aft stateroom. The plumbing under the galley floor was a real treat to get to -sawed an "inspection port" there to repair copper piping that had frozen/split/leaked. We are 12" (25%) over normal in rainfall here in the eastern US -so the whole thing stinks of mildew.

Probably need to chill out and do the patch repair. Patching just isn't my style. Most folks would look at this unit and say it looks great.
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Old 08-21-2003, 06:43 AM   #27
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Quote:
sawed an "inspection port" there to repair copper piping that had frozen/split/leaked.
For a decent appearance and possible later access, you might consider a marine deck plate. They are water and air tight when closed and open with a twist for access. I have one in my Airstream that was left over from my sailing days to give me access to the forward terminal block.
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Old 08-21-2003, 07:14 AM   #28
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access ports

I have thought about placing deck plates to access those ridiculously hidden drain valves(my hand won't even fit into the space), and provide a top cleanout on the water tank.

Maybe I'll just shop for a big pontoon boat and drop the fuselage on top of the fuzzy astroturf deck. One of those nice aluminum models. Rip off the rails and bimini, add a rudder and trolling motor and follow in the footsteps of Wally - off the beaten path!
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Old 08-21-2003, 09:03 PM   #29
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Clamshell method

I am new to the forum but have had Airstreams for 20 years and feel a little stupid asking this question. What is the "Clamshell" method of floor replacement?
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Old 08-22-2003, 07:40 AM   #30
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Re: Clamshell method

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Originally posted by glh101282
I am new to the forum but have had Airstreams for 20 years and feel a little stupid asking this question. What is the "Clamshell" method of floor replacement?
Take the trailer apart at the end put some weight on the bumper to cause the frame to dor from the body and open like a "Clam shell" a couple inches so you slide the ply wood deck in and out. Only works up to the first rib (where the curved front of back meets the vertical sides ). At the first rib the U channel (the botm peice of the shell that is bolted to the plywood) changes shape and wraps under the plywood. It would be very difficult to slid the wood in that far.
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Old 09-16-2003, 06:15 AM   #31
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flooring options

I'm in the process of gutting my 64 Safari in preparation to replace the floor. So I've been looking into various options for flooring as well as advice on the best way to lift off the body.

I have decided that weather I use Marine Plywood or some kind of 3/4 plastic that it would be a good idea to drill 1/2 to 1 inch holes about every 18 - 24 inches around the outside edge where the floor meets the wall for ventilation and to allow condenced moisture from the walls to have some place to drain. I've been speaking with a few people who did this and say that it works well as there is very little "upsplash" due to the bellypan.

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Old 09-16-2003, 07:26 AM   #32
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Re: flooring options

Quote:
Originally posted by badcam safari
I'm in the process of gutting my 64 Safari in preparation to replace the floor. So I've been looking into various options for flooring as well as advice on the best way to lift off the body.

I have decided that weather I use Marine Plywood or some kind of 3/4 plastic that it would be a good idea to drill 1/2 to 1 inch holes about every 18 - 24 inches around the outside edge where the floor meets the wall for ventilation and to allow condenced moisture from the walls to have some place to drain. I've been speaking with a few people who did this and say that it works well as there is very little "upsplash" due to the bellypan.

Berta
Berta:

There is several of us in the middle of doing the same. I made a post that we are contributing too. The goal of the post is to get a step by step to the process to refer people to when they have questions. The second goal is to show what results we are having with different products and attempts to prevent future damage.

Please join in with your progress.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=6554
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:57 AM   #33
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Flooring

That's a great idea-drainage holes! When I took my inside skin off I found the vent pipe from the rear toilet was "un-connected" at the middle. Probably explains the floor rot forward of the shower. Drainage holes might mitigate that problem. I also had what may have been a condensation problem where the refrigerator vented through the wall.
I'm thinking about using marine plywood for the front and back, with regular plywood in the middle. Although if plywood prices keep skyrocketing I may try aluminum honeycomb (just kidding .
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Old 09-16-2003, 01:38 PM   #34
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Just wait a week or so, the "slightly used" plywood market wil be flooded!
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Old 09-16-2003, 05:24 PM   #35
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Plywood

By flooded, did you mean figuratively or literally? HaHa.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:01 PM   #36
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Damn these Airstreams You would have thought they would have built them to last at least a hundred years or so, just like they do the ah, um........?????
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:55 PM   #37
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Marine Plywood

Hey don't buy marine ply. You would pay a lot of money for voidless plywood. Buy OSB instead like the factory did on on 1985. If you want to protect the floor from rot, do like the wooden boat builders. Coat both sides with Epoxie to seal the wood. They build boats out of lumber yard plywood but encapsulate it in epoxy then a good latex house paint.

With OSB I would consider a couple of coats of exterior latex (100% acrilic) primer and a coat or two of latex porch floor paint. Especially the cut edges. The OSB floor material I use on my houses can stand up to a lot of water without causing problems! Also the tounge and groove edges, if glued with constrution adhesive, turn the floor into a single membrane, structurally.
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Old 09-16-2003, 09:23 PM   #38
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Re: Marine Plywood

Quote:
Originally posted by rcmenz
Hey don't buy marine ply. You would pay a lot of money for voidless plywood. Buy OSB instead like the factory did on on 1985. If you want to protect the floor from rot, do like the wooden boat builders. Coat both sides with Epoxie to seal the wood. They build boats out of lumber yard plywood but encapsulate it in epoxy then a good latex house paint.

With OSB I would consider a couple of coats of exterior latex (100% acrilic) primer and a coat or two of latex porch floor paint. Especially the cut edges. The OSB floor material I use on my houses can stand up to a lot of water without causing problems! Also the tounge and groove edges, if glued with constrution adhesive, turn the floor into a single membrane, structurally.
Actually I have thought about the tounge and groove. I was thinking about taking my router and putting a 1/4 inch deep groove1/8 high and then using a strip of 1/2 inch wide 1/8 inch thick aluminum to join them.

Need to go get my ply Saturday. Going to Plymart. I'll see what other voidless plywood they have.
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Old 09-16-2003, 09:31 PM   #39
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Floor

Thanks for the advice. I'm waiting on a quote from M. C. Gill on Aramid fiber honeycomb flooring (as used in aircraft). Weighs 9lb/cuft, saves about 200lbs. Don't know the cost, probably prohibitive.
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