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Old 12-31-2018, 06:56 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Cottage Grove , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 9
Factory Formed Panels

Good afternoon and happy new year to all y'all. I am new to this forum and new to Airstreams. I have a 73 31' land yacht in rough shape. It was a storage center abandonment so I bought it for a buck! Upon removal of the belly pan i have discovered considerable perforation of the frame and have decided to construct a new one. My plan is to add 36" to the back and build a "dog house" compartment to store bicycles and other stuff. I would like to know where I can purchase some molded panels that will match the roof arcs. I need it to look like it belongs on the back not some nasty square box. It's gotta flow, if ya know what i mean. I have not worked an english wheel in 10 years so it will be easier to purchase than create. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:05 PM   #2
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1971 31' Sovereign
1972 31' Sovereign
1983 31' Airstream310
Soddy Daisy , Tennessee
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 633
Rear Panels

Their is a lady that has all kinds of panels for sale in the classifieds from Iowa. She sent me pics of some of the stuff. Wish she was closer to Tenn.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:26 PM   #3
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2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
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I think it is important that you understand the relationship between the frame and the body before you proceed. Unlike other trailers the body supports the frame not the frame supporting the body. If the connection is compromised the frame and body can seperate causing major integrity issues. Something to consider as you move forward with your project.


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Old 12-31-2018, 08:49 PM   #4
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1991 25' Excella
2011 19' Flying Cloud
Santa Ynez , California
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,185
If you plan to tow this trailer then weight and balance will be in play, adding length and weight to the aft will likely decrease tongue weight and cause instability towing.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:37 PM   #5
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,062
Welcome to the Forums! answer the original question, there is nobody, nowhere that sells formed segments as you describe. So (all discussions of weight distribution, semi-mono-cocque designe, etc., aside), why not just add X feet in the form of a flat section, and use the original formed end cap?

I would suggest adding the flat section described above in two places, one in front of the axles, and one behind. Build your new frame with this in the design, and then cut the shell and patch in the flat sections to the inner and outer skins. Will it look kludged? Yes, especially close up, but from a distance, nobody will know anything. As I think about this, it brings to mind a lot of other issues (ie, positioning of appliances, etc.). Access to the rear storage section will be a new challenge also. I suggest, just to make it interestion, make the whole rear section split down the middle and rise up like Lamborghini doors.... Maybe this is too visionary.

Good luck!
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:41 AM   #6
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1963 22' Safari
2020 27' Globetrotter
State of , Washington
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As others have said, balance is important. Rather than a lengthy description why, watch this video: Add your bikes, the structure behind there and without either some big mods up front, moving the axles back, or otherwise some big engineering you have an accident waiting to happen. Structure as mentioned is an issue, keep in mind people freak out about having a bike rack or spare tire back there. Can it be done YES!! but do your homework, figure out all the physics and structure issues before getting out your wallet or your tin snips.
Scott & Megan
1963 Safari from the 1963-64 Around the World Caravan
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:38 AM   #7
1 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Cottage Grove , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 9
Thanks for the advice. I was unaware that airstream used a semi-unitized construction method. That explains the construction style of the frame. My plan is to construct a completely new frame, using the old one for a template.The current one is beyond saving. My new frame will carry the load of the tube and will not rely on the tube for support. This should alleviate any stress on the tube itself any substantially reduce the propensity to leak due to the twisting and shifting as it travels down the road. I have 30 plus years in the collision repair business and have built many custom trailers. Thanks again for the advice. It's nice to see a group looking out for the best interests of others.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:31 AM   #8
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 749
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Since you're starting from scratch, you might find this solution helpful. My 58 Overlander had a simple U channel that was bolted on top of the plywood sub-floor into the frame and outriggers.

I wanted the sub-floor separated from the frame/shell connection. I build a steel perimeter (1.5X1.5 square tubing), welded to the frame/outriggers to mount the channel/shell to. The sub-floor installs inside the perimeter tubing.

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