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Old 02-05-2011, 07:14 AM   #21
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I may get debated on this - but I don't see the reason to take the shell off if the frame is in good condition - what I did was un-bolt the shell all the way around except for the back and lifted it up a bit - worked great for me... but my frame was in great shape. And yes I don't see how you can do it without removing most of the belly pan. In my case I cut the pan off and left about a foot or so on the edges in the front and back.

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Old 02-06-2011, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Althea68 I lifted my shell with a couple of bottle jacks between the floor of the trailer and the framing built to brace the shell. I was quite easy to lift and I did the job alone. If you have some bottle jacks you can save the purchase of chain hoists. Also that way the shell is not swinging around like it would with chain hoists.
Nothing against Colin but have you factored in shipping costs to washington form his N.Y. location. These axles are quite heavy and must be shipped freight which is much higher than parcel rates.
The axles I sell are custom manufactured for each trailer & it's intended use & are drop shipped from Elkhart, Indiana. Shipping costs are based on Elkhart as the starting point. I do not stock axles at my shop as this can push up the ultimate price to the end user & it doesn't necessarily give the purchaser the axle that he/she actually needs for their project.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:33 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Althea68 View Post
So Thanks to all who have responded to this thread so far. I'm going to Harbor Freight on Saturday to buy a couple of chain hoists to lift the shell. I'm gonna post pics of some of the frame rot that I have so far uncovered. I have gotten into the front end and its pretty crummy esp. the hack job patches to reinforce the frame, its kind of hard to see in the photos because it all just looks like a lot of rust. However from what I can see of the forward cross members and 18 inches or so in from the front on the frame rails theres some solid steel under the rust. I also wanted to give a BIG THANKS to Colin Hyde at Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations, he has been very helpful with some tips as well as encouraging with a great attitude about undertaking a major restoration like many of us have gotten ourselves into. I am purchasing tandem axles from Colin's shop and the price is WAY better than all of the other resources I have been able to find. So I would keep him in your book of Airstream resources.
This is how I do "rotisserie" restorations on the chassis. More photos to come.
Thanks,
Colin
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:45 PM   #24
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Here are a few more.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:26 PM   #25
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Colin, that rotessery is the bomb! Boy, that would sure make it easy on one's back!
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #26
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That is the way to do it! But, not having a mouth full of mouse droppings and inhaling pink urine soaked glass fibers while you lie on your back drilling out the rivets from the belly pan just seems like you're cheating! Thanks for the pics Colin.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:24 PM   #27
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Yeah, I've done numerous "body on" & "body off" floor replacements/chassis repairs, however I was always on my back..............Ugggg. This method is much faster, & as you can see, the quality is easier to achieve. I'll never go back to the old method. As you can flip the chassis over in a matter of several minutes, you can use gravity in your favor every step of the way. Airstream used this method in the original construction of the trailer. There are ways to reproduce this approach, as long as you have some sort of roof structure above you to attach the chain hoists to.
Thanks for the compliment,
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:08 AM   #28
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Let me add my thanks for posting these photos, Colin. That doesn't look like super high priced machinery that you use to flip the chassis, and yet as you say, how else could one achieve the quality even if they were willing to eat a ton of junk while developing a bad back?

Thanks, that made a whole bunch of sense for me.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:13 PM   #29
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Smile

You're right, the equipment wasn't too expensive, however it did require extensive modification, along with custom adapter fabrication. I makes a huge difference though.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:42 AM   #30
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Heres what we're working with as we know it at the moment.

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Old 02-08-2011, 01:51 AM   #31
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So in the above pics the piece of tape is stuck to a piece of wood that was inserted in the channel to reinforce what was likely a crack that has led to total disintegration of the forward left frame rail. The hole is about 4-5 inches in length and about 2 inches wide but that doesn't even really matter since the surround area is really just varying stages of rust through out the thickness of the channel steel. Good news is I expected it to be pretty bad here and planned on cutting this section off and splicing a new section on with a glove in the channel and a new A frame. Also good news is that going back just aft of the first cross member the metal is solid as far back as I have accessed so far and the cross member behind it was almost completely coated in insulation and under it the paint is still black and shiny. I fear though that at the other end under the bath that the frame is also in pretty bad shape. I know that the step outriggers and all of that installation is shot so we'll see if my welder is up to the challenge.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:27 AM   #32
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Althea68,
As you can certainly understand, these photos are very disturbing. Although you can see some serious structural rust issues, it is impossible to see & assess hidden problems without removing the body & complete floor. Chassis repairs will be a lot easier to accomplish as well.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #33
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For sure. It's disturbing me. These are really just progress pics to bolster my resolve in the face of adversity. Also as I took out the lower interior panels below the forward endcap today it appears the body channel wasn't really holding much of the panels at the floor join. The channel was just about an in tall and I would have thought there would be more substantial rivet fastening than what there was. I'll post pics of this tonight after work.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:15 AM   #34
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Well I've been going to work on the TW after work for a few hours. Its for some reason a little easier and seems to go a little faster late at night. Probably because theres no one around and I've spent the entire night already working on the Boeing 787 flight line. In comparison my trailer is fairly easier to work on and I'll get to use it when its done too.

So anyhow I got the belly pan down as far as the first axle. I'm pleased to say that the early results would seem that the overall condition of the frame is really pretty good. There is another crack in the frame rail however in the same place on the right side much smaller but I believe it will be possible to cut the frame just aft of the first crossmember and splice in new channel for frame rails and glove it. Also from what I have been able to see is that most of the outriggers are pretty solid as well with the welds still present. So the catch 22 is that what appears to have saved most of the chassis that I have accessed is the spray on foam insulation. Its very thick and difficult to remove but bless its ability to stick too for 43 years! The major F though is that the entry step and outriggers there are really chewed up.

Side note there was a family of squirrels living in the belly pan at some point in distant past. I swept up tons of acorns and shells when I dropped the pan in the front and was finding whole acorns stuffed into the foam! This trailer was built in the Jackson Center factory and sold at a dealership in South Jersey as indicated by the S/N and, well the the original dealer placard displayed above the Airstream Model Badge. It helps to pay attention now and again. I'll be posting lots of pics at some point this weekend.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:07 AM   #35
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Nice work space.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:45 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Althea68 View Post
For sure. It's disturbing me. These are really just progress pics to bolster my resolve in the face of adversity. Also as I took out the lower interior panels below the forward endcap today it appears the body channel wasn't really holding much of the panels at the floor join. The channel was just about an in tall and I would have thought there would be more substantial rivet fastening than what there was. I'll post pics of this tonight after work.
Although it appears that the "C" channel rivets is all that is holding the front of the body to the floor/chassis structure, there is actually a steel plate welded to the front crossmember that entends up between the interior of the exterior skin & the "C" channel. This panel is about 12" high & is connected to the skin with a double row of solid (buck) rivets just above the crossmember. In my opinion, this is the most critical connection between the body & the chassis, as it helps spread the load from the body to the chassis.
As a side note, Airstream eliminated this plate in the early 80's & as a result, I have repaired numerous 30' & 34'ers that have had front end seperation. When this seperation occurs, the front of the body starts detaching from the frame & eventually cracks the bottom of the skin all of the way around the base of the endcap, just behind the banana wrap. It's quite easy to asses this problem by placing a jack under the frame rail several feet behind the front of the body, then raise the tongue jack off the ground. The next step is to stand on the tongue & bounce up & down. If the tongue moves independantly from the chassis, the body has seperated. Another symptom is a diagonal crack in the skin at the top right hand corner of the door frame. This crack will get longer if the the body/floor/frame connection is not repaired correctly. By adding a steel plate to the front crossmember like all of the trailers built before the early 80's, the problem will be solved.
Hopefully this helps out,
Colin
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:31 AM   #37
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Alright! So 3 weeks after starting work on the Trade Wind we are about ready to POP the top. I have removed all of the interior and vent pipes were cut and lower interior panels removed. I was surprised to find most of the structure intact and really all but the edges of the floor were pretty solid except for the Lav section of course. Had the frame not had such terrible problems I could have gotten away with just replacing that section of floor. But alas here we are.

So I wanted to address some of the unforumly musings earlier in this thread as to the details of purchasing and ordering axles from Mr. Colin Hyde in NY. Simply put I shopped around a good bit and priced and purchased these finally from Colin at a price that included shippping for approx 2/3 of other suppliers. After payment was received, about a week, I was notified of a build date from the manufacturer via Colin and received a shipping date and tracking numberdirectly from the manufacturer. The axles have been shipped directly from the manufacturer to a commercial address provided by me. They are set to arrive on Monday the 28th Feb. So all in all from the time I put the check in the mail it has taken 4 weeks. I would say this is pretty efficient and though not cheap it was certainly cheaper than others. I only bring this up b/c I feel it was dis-ingenuous for what ever reasons that members would jump on a thread and insinuate that Mr. Hyde was charging his customers for shipping costs that weren't actually incurred and pocketing the balance. Hither and yond, make your own opinions of this. I have.

So anyway, the Shell shall come off this weekend provided I can bribe friends with beer and my company. Former more than the latter. I shall post the pics in detail to this thread and my gallery for any looky loos who may be interested.
Also as posted in the beginning of this thread. I asked could this be done, putting a solid frame floor and rolling assy. back under this baby for between $4k-$5k. So far the answer is yes. I incurred extra costs for not doing my homework and spending too much on certain things like little tools, I am a snap on advocate since thats what I use at work, I should have hit Harbor freight a little harder for the one offs that will be used once and sold or trashed, saw blades chisels etc. There were things I couldn't live without , old school Millers Falls sheet metal shears from Craigslist $100.oo SUH-WEET.

I also bought an aircompressor at a pawn shop that I didn't really need. I also didn't factor in the cost for 2 sheets of 2024T3 for the belly skins. I'm still waiting to see what my advantage price of living and working in the aircraft capitol of the country will be on this. I did inculde.... new black water tank, new grey water tank, tandem axles with assy's (brakes drums wiring) lumber and screws and all of the afore mentioned tools and a chain hoist as well as up to $2k for the frame welding and repairs and por15. This has me at approx $4500.oo and if the frame comes in at less than set aside then we're

Fairly though, I see where everyone who said this was going to cost a lot have valid points. I see now that if you going to this then you may as well do that and I am fairly obsessed with Airstream trailers now as many on this site also appear to be. I will definately be spending A LOT more on this trailer and I can see it hitting $15k-$20k no problem. BUT ITS GONNA BE AWESOME!!!!!

I hope this helps anyone who is headed down this road and like me has no experience with Airstreams, or any trailer for the matter.

Side note; I called a local rv sales repair facility here to order a new tongue jack and coupler and we chatted and I asked what they sell and service and, nice as he was, he immediately said well we don't work on vintage AS's or Silvers or Boles . He said its just too much work and too hard to do considering if they dent a panel or something. But he does want to see pictures.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:35 AM   #38
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The 2024 is alloyed for strength with a plated coat of pure aluminum to provide corrosion resistance.

The outer "banana wraps" may or may not need to be 2024, but the belly 'skins' definitely do not have to be, Aluminum 3004, 5052 or 6061 0.024" is customary.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:29 AM   #39
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And....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
The 2024 is alloyed for strength with a plated coat of pure aluminum to provide corrosion resistance.

The outer "banana wraps" may or may not need to be 2024, but the belly 'skins' definitely do not have to be, Aluminum 3004, 5052 or 6061 0.024" is customary.


will cost less.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:22 AM   #40
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I'm another aircraft type of guy, glad to see another on the forums. I'm glad that I didn't have to replace the frame but I did replace quit abit of aluminum. I too ply my coworkers to "Buck for Beer". I haven't gotten much done for the last two years because I go where the Herc goes and was gone most of the warm weather days. What I would do for a Hanger, I thought it was very narrow minded of my boss to not let me do the work in our hanger.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f416...nte-26902.html
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