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Old 01-26-2019, 03:23 PM   #1
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Vintage Kin Owner
Ferdinand , Indiana
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1950 Silver Steak Clipper Restomod

Hello all,

Iíve decided to start a build thread for my 1950 Clipper restomod project. This forum has been so helpful I want to add my own experience to the mix. I hope this thread helps someone in the future.
Iíve been working on this trailer for about 9 months.
Here it is the day I picked it up.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:50 PM   #2
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The original owner had started working on the trailer about 15 yrs before I found it. They didnít get too far. Some demo inside but the biggest help was stripping all the interior paint. That was great for me. I planned to gut the interior and design, fabricate a completely new layout with a bathroom. Here is the original interior.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:46 PM   #3
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1950

Love it! Looks like you and I are in a similar boat, although I'm a little further ahead in our '49 as we recently got back from our initial trip in albeit a skeleton situation, then again you state you are 9 months in so maybe not. Where is she at this point in time in regards to your renovations? Looks like she has major potential.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGT374 View Post
Hello all,

Iíve decided to start a build thread for my 1950 Clipper restomod project. This forum has been so helpful I want to add my own experience to the mix. I hope this thread helps someone in the future.
Iíve been working on this trailer for about 9 months.
Here it is the day I picked it up.
Hello from Arizona,
I have seen your earlier posts and I'm following your progress. I was wondering about the condition of the metal frame under your Silver Streak. My Sabre is only a 17 footer, but I notices some damage to the frame beneath the rotten wooden flooring covering the frame as you enter the trailer. Like you, I would like to post the progress of our restoration on this site too, but my son and I are waiting out the winter and trying to complete that "retired-honey-do-list," before we begin.
Keep up the great work and posting your progress for all us vintage forum folks.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:27 PM   #5
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Al,
Iím hoping to have an aluminum tent by early summer.

Dccywood,
The original frame is different than yours I believe. Mine is a pipe frame. The aluminum outriggers were in bad shape so I built an entirely new frame using all steel.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:49 PM   #6
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Demo

I started removing the interior down to the ribs. The farther along I got the more nervous I was about getting it back together. I took notes and lots of pictures. As far as getting it back together...well... time will tell.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:23 PM   #7
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We labeled our skin on the inside with a magic marker as we removed. Mark arrows for up/down and fore/aft on each piece. The old rivet holes will line up and help in locating the correct location. One thing I did have to do was trim a bit off the bottom of all lower panels. The original floor on the 55s were 5/8Ē and I went back with 3/4Ē plywood. Not much, but wanted a little flexibility at the bottom. Good luck
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:07 AM   #8
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New Floorplan

This is my redesigned floorplan. I will be adding a wet bath with 2 15 gallon grey tanks below the floor. 8gallon black and 30 gallons of fresh water above floor. I will need to move one window about 10Ē to make this layout work but Iím liking it. I havenít decided if the front will be convertible lounges like original or a full time bed. Convertible lounges will create new challenges for fresh water but doable.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGT374 View Post
This is my redesigned floorplan. I will be adding a wet bath with 2 15 gallon grey tanks below the floor. 8gallon black and 30 gallons of fresh water above floor. I will need to move one window about 10Ē to make this layout work but Iím liking it. I havenít decided if the front will be convertible lounges like original or a full time bed. Convertible lounges will create new challenges for fresh water but doable.


Think itís worth adding additional outrigger to the front and back of frame? Seems like it large area to span without the support. Obviously, it worked for this long but a potential relatively easy improvement if they donít get in the way of anything else.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:32 PM   #10
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Well, I looked at the frame again and given itís design and the center support it a pipe it looks it would be much more difficult.
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:13 AM   #11
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Removing windows

Tabney,
The final frame design does have additional supports front and back. I used angle iron as a full length outrigger wouldnít work with the belly pan design.

Once the interior was gutted I removed all the windows and door or rebuilding.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:01 PM   #12
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Window rebuild

I rebuilt all 3 windows. I drilled out every rivet to disassemble the entire frame. The bolts holding the glass in were rusted and were a bit of a challenge.

I sanded every piece with 150 grit sandpaper then maroon synthetic wool. I decided not to polish the interior frame.

The biggest challenge was reforming the hinge. I cut a 1/4Ē dowel in half, inserted into hinge and reformed. Worked great.

New glass, window seal, split nuts and rivets. They are ready to install.
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:06 PM   #13
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Should I remove a window?

my current design has the new bath where there is an existing window. I was planning to move the window 10Ē and center it up with the bath, put in frosted glass and be done. Iím now thinking maybe I should just remove the window entirely. What do you think?
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:40 PM   #14
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my current design has the new bath where there is an existing window. I was planning to move the window 10Ē and center it up with the bath, put in frosted glass and be done. Iím now thinking maybe I should just remove the window entirely. What do you think?
My thought would be to go with moving the window and putting frosted glass in for privacy. Advantage of the window is that you can easily ventilate the bathroom in nice weather, and the extra daylight is also very nice.

My wet bath has no window, and I have to turn on the light to use it no matter what. It has a small power vent, but the area gets very wet and takes a surprisingly long time to dry, even out here in the California High Desert...I wish I had room for a window!
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:45 PM   #15
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Thank you rmkrum for your thoughts.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:52 PM   #16
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Compound polish

After the windows were done I needed something to do that didnít cost money and I had already purchased the supplies to polish. I used Nuvite 9 and a dewalt polisher. It was worth the time now because it really lets you see all the scratches and pits.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:25 PM   #17
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Up to you of course

Quote:
Originally Posted by SGT374 View Post
This is my redesigned floorplan. I will be adding a wet bath with 2 15 gallon grey tanks below the floor. 8gallon black and 30 gallons of fresh water above floor. I will need to move one window about 10Ē to make this layout work but Iím liking it. I havenít decided if the front will be convertible lounges like original or a full time bed. Convertible lounges will create new challenges for fresh water but doable.
Just wanted to share my experience with adding shallow gray water tanks to a 50's trailer. My goal was to keep everything inside the belly pan but I found the shallow tanks were not ideal in the real world. Even a tiny bit out of level reduced usable tank capacity dramatically and I was unable to get the tanks to empty completely unless I raised the tongue 6-8 inches. Not too convenient while camping. My drain pipe connected to the end (rather than the bottom) of the tank, which was the cause of the problem.
On my next trailer I had a custom tank made that was much deeper and had a bottom that sloped toward the curb side for complete emptying. YMMV.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:26 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input Bambitex. I know itís not ideal but i didnít want anything below the belly pan. I used two tanks from tank-mart, 70H, that is premoulded to slope to the drain. The outlet/inlet is also moulded into the tank so it sounds like itís similar to what you had made. As to if it will actually work...well...time will tell!
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:14 PM   #19
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Lifting the shell

I built the Gantrys from a plan on this site. They worked great and my wife didnít blow a gasket when she saw them next to the house.

I supported the enterior with lumber and rigged up through the roof vent openings.

After putting some tension on the rigging I removed the front and rear bellypan rivets.

These trailers are built different, I think, than Airstream. The shell is not supported by the floor. It has 6 tabs sandwitched between floor outriggers. Those 6 tabs buck rivet to the main ribs and support the shell.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:05 PM   #20
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Frame

Iíve decided to build an entirely new frame. After taking very carefull measurements and lots of pictures I had to demo the old to make room. I live in a subdivision with limited space so I couldnít keep until the new one was done. That would have been great.

After much thought I decided to stay with a leaf spring drop axle. I did considered straight axle and torsion suspension but the arguments seem to be split 50/50.

The only parts that will be kept are the leaf springs and axle cross members. Everything else goes.
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