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Old 12-28-2020, 11:13 PM   #1
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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1969 Safari Renovation

Been a lurker on this forum since we purchased our first airstream in February of this year. Such knowledgeable. Used it through the spring and summer boondocking during COVID and now it has come time for a full shell off renovation. Fixing frame because it's sagging and the rear end has been partially replaced with with pressure treated lumber by the PO (yikes!), updating electrical which had multiple shorts due to rodents loving on it, re-insulating, adding solar, and many others.

Started work on the 13th and so far have progressed to getting the shell of this weekend.

What I learned so far that I didn't read in the forums is that even though you buy new chain hoists, service them immediately out the box. We lifted the shell only to have one the lifting and lower mechanism in one of the hoists completed fail at the very top of the lift. After much cursing and a trip to HF (first ones bought at Home Depot) I was able to climb out onto the gantry and replace the hoist. After a very late night last night finally have it braced and sitting on horses.

Here are some pics and videos of the progress so far.

Prior to renovation. Interesting a video I found on YouTube of our trailer prior to purchase.


Time lapse of interior gut and skin removal.





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Old 12-28-2020, 11:17 PM   #2
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Picture of the lift right before we realized the chain hoist failure

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Old 12-29-2020, 12:13 AM   #3
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Looking forward to following your progress.
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Old 12-29-2020, 04:12 AM   #4
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2005 25' Safari
1968 17' Caravel
1967 22' Safari
Leawood , Kansas
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Andrew- you're time lapse will be very helpful in the re-assembly. Something I wish I had realized in my build is how important it is for the interior skins to go back in the correct sequence and skins that sit on top of another sometimes have pop rivets to a deeper structure. I had a doubler in my ceiling and got to install my ceiling skins twice after I filled a few holes with a pop rivet that were needed for the next most superficial skin's attachment. Thanks for posting, and keep us updated. Some of the rectangular skins can sure burn a lot of time if you don't put orientation and location on the back of the skin with a sharpie. Jerry
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Old 12-29-2020, 07:25 AM   #5
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Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby Vilnutz: I'm "subscribing" to your thread because you cuss just like me. I can't imagine having the body suspended and then having a new hoist fail. It would make a preacher cuss.

I'm working on a 1969 Globetrotter 21', one size smaller than your famous Safari 23'. The Globetrotter in 69 was not Airstream's best floor layout in my view. It has a godawful rear corner wet bath with a likewise awful sewer dump arrangement. Airstream got wiser in 72 with a Globetrotter layout similar to the Safari.

My Globetrotter is a "southwest" trailer that doesn't have the moisture damage that you describe with your Safari. My 75 Overlander 27' sure did, and my friends 76 Sovereign 31' had it worse. But both trailers are now repaired and renovated and reliable travel trailers being used. I find this 69, the first year of the new body style, to be very well built with solid hardwood cabinetry inside. No tambour roll up doors, no laminated Masonite cabinets. I enjoy seeing how things were made and how they can be improved.

Make sure your Safari shell is well tied down. One Airstreamer here had his shell blow over and roll down the driveway in a windstorm. That would really make you cuss.

David
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Old 12-29-2020, 12:08 PM   #6
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69 Globetrotter Pictures

I meant to upload some pics of my Globetrotter, but my ISP decided I had enough screen time for today. Cuss, cuss.

Our Globetrotter is a "twin" model with a front dinette. Here are some pics just for fun.

Our 1969 trailers are the only model year with "three corner wing windows" in front. You can spot a 69 Airstream from across the campground.

David
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Old 12-30-2020, 09:42 AM   #7
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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[QUOTE=Vilnutz;2444819]Picture of the lift right before we realized the chain hoist failure.

Realized the photo didn't post.
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Old 12-30-2020, 09:47 AM   #8
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docflyboy View Post
Andrew- you're time lapse will be very helpful in the re-assembly. Something I wish I had realized in my build is how important it is for the interior skins to go back in the correct sequence and skins that sit on top of another sometimes have pop rivets to a deeper structure. I had a doubler in my ceiling and got to install my ceiling skins twice after I filled a few holes with a pop rivet that were needed for the next most superficial skin's attachment. Thanks for posting, and keep us updated. Some of the rectangular skins can sure burn a lot of time if you don't put orientation and location on the back of the skin with a sharpie. Jerry
Thanks for the heads up. I spent alot of time marking the orientation of the skins before storing although in retrospect, I wish I would have marked the rivet holes better in terms of which went to the bottom or top skins.
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Old 12-30-2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby Vilnutz: I'm "subscribing" to your thread because you cuss just like me. I can't imagine having the body suspended and then having a new hoist fail. It would make a preacher cuss.

I'm working on a 1969 Globetrotter 21', one size smaller than your famous Safari 23'. The Globetrotter in 69 was not Airstream's best floor layout in my view. It has a godawful rear corner wet bath with a likewise awful sewer dump arrangement. Airstream got wiser in 72 with a Globetrotter layout similar to the Safari.

My Globetrotter is a "southwest" trailer that doesn't have the moisture damage that you describe with your Safari. My 75 Overlander 27' sure did, and my friends 76 Sovereign 31' had it worse. But both trailers are now repaired and renovated and reliable travel trailers being used. I find this 69, the first year of the new body style, to be very well built with solid hardwood cabinetry inside. No tambour roll up doors, no laminated Masonite cabinets. I enjoy seeing how things were made and how they can be improved.

Make sure your Safari shell is well tied down. One Airstreamer here had his shell blow over and roll down the driveway in a windstorm. That would really make you cuss.

David
Good luck on your project and thanks for posting pics. I was careful to save most of the cabinetry in the trailer and will probably strip and use most of it in the reinstall. Your assessment about the awful the side bath floor plan is ironic as our current plan is to install a side wet bath with a composting toilet. No black tank. The current floor plan just creates too much bathroom space that we felt is wasted space. I thought about keeping the rear bath and just shrinking it a bit, but then the side bed sticks out a little too far.

As you can see from the photo, I'm lucky enough to have a large shop to keep the shell and frame in while I work on them so no concerns over the windstorms. Being in the PacNW, not sure I would take on such a project without a way to stay out of the rain.
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:25 PM   #10
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Some progress...

Havenít posted an update since a mishap running a drill to remove the floor. Decided to use the method of building a jig and using a hole saw to drill around the bolts. All was going smoothly until I got to the section of the floor that had an additional plywood spacer. After my discovery of the spacer I decided to use the partially drilled hole as the guide and did not put the jig back over the hole. Wrong move! Drill caught, twisted my hand and broke my 4th metacarpal. Luckily I donít need surgery. Just six weeks in a hard cast and expected full recovery. Needless to say, it put me back on my timeline to finish my trailer. Iím embarrassed to even put in on here, but if it can save some other poor sap like me that shouldíve known better its worth any chastising.

A couple of friends pitched in and helped me make some progress on the trailer this last weekend. Removed the floor, axle, got most of frame polished and the rotten outriggers removed. Big shout out to PapaPepper, a fellow Airforum member and longtime friend who did the lion share of the work.

Removed floor and began polishing trailer. Below are some pictures and a time-lapse of us flipping the frame.

I am concerned about the condition of the frame. Included are some pictures. Wondering if I should embark on a replacement or just shore up the existing frame. There are several sections of the main C-channel that appear to be bent, as well as several rust-through spots, and one crack. Roughly the last 20Ē of the rear of the trailer was completely rusted out, replaced by pressure-treated lumber by the previous owner.

If I go about replacing the frame, does anyone have any idea where to source 2 pieces of C5 channel that is roughly 20í long? My idea would be to build a carbon copy of the existing frame by using the old one as a template.

My instinct is to replace it given its multiple issues, particularly the bent sections. That said, it will put me even farther behind as I have more experience welding than my gracious friends who might be able to weld some supports, but not an entire frame. Itíll have to wait until I have two good hands.

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Old 01-11-2021, 09:44 PM   #11
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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Good videos. Concerning the frame, I would rebuild as much that you would feel comfortable and safe with. I had a C4 channel frame, so I sourced the material at a nearby metal building supply company. I think I went with a gauge thicker on the cross members.
Concerning your hand, I fractured my wrist doing about the same thing. I would have posted the incident but it was about 40 years ago. Lessons learned. Your project is looking good. Take care and be safe.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:41 AM   #12
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2005 25' Safari
1968 17' Caravel
1967 22' Safari
Leawood , Kansas
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I feel your pain on the Aluminitis induced injury. I think a good way to assess your frame is to get a laser level and then get the jack points front and back level. Then you can measure each outrigger and see which are spring. Mine had a similar situation that was likely from going down the road with worn out axles. I was able to have a shop build me a frame and do my frame off for around 14K. If you do it yourself, you could easily pay for a plasma cutter if you don't have one and then some in the job. You just need to stabilize what you've got before you start cutting stuff loose by tack welding some stringers top and bottom plus some X-bracing to keep it square. Also, you will want to measure your diagonals to see if you are square now. If you are, then your job will be more straight forward. If you invest in a plasma cutter and have an aircompressor, you could cut your own outriggers and lightening holes and make your own out of C4 channel that you'd get at a metal building supply business. The more you tack things true, the easier I think you'll have. Ultimately the factory had a jig to build it in. If you go to that much trouble, you'll be in for a lot of time and money. Don't forget that you can do some of your jig building with wood/plywood on a table saw, and then clamp or bolt it in place. You might get closer to 90 degree angles this way than with magnetic clamps and vice grips, but those will be necessary as well.

Also- watch for weld splatter hitting your aluminum skins of your trailer. A piece of sheetrock is cheep and fire rated, and leans well up against stuff.

IMO, I'd just build a new one right over the top of the old one, after you get it to lay level.

Practice on your MIG welding, as you probably know it goes different top to bottom and bottom to top and on the horizontal. If it looks pretty, you probably did it right. Hope that helps. Jerry
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Old 01-12-2021, 06:25 PM   #13
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Jerry. Thank you for the excellent tips. I own a plasma cutter and compressor. Thatís a fantastic idea on how to make the outriggers.

Vil
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Old 01-12-2021, 06:26 PM   #14
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
Good videos. Concerning the frame, I would rebuild as much that you would feel comfortable and safe with. I had a C4 channel frame, so I sourced the material at a nearby metal building supply company. I think I went with a gauge thicker on the cross members.
Concerning your hand, I fractured my wrist doing about the same thing. I would have posted the incident but it was about 40 years ago. Lessons learned. Your project is looking good. Take care and be safe.

The best I can tell mine looks like itís made of C5 channel. Iíll probably stick with that when all said and done.
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:06 PM   #15
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1966 22' Safari
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Absolutely. Having 5Ē channels gives you a lot more options on tank height dimensions. Take care.
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:23 PM   #16
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I wonder if your trailer's history is the wet pacific northwest? Our 69 Globetrotter 21' frame was still in good shape, no repairs noted. It is a dry Colorado trailer we believe. But my 75 Overlander 27' was in pretty bad shape. It was a southeast trailer. I just did repairs on it and not a total replacement.

I've never thought of vintage Airstream frames as being all that precise.

Outriggers are available at out of doors mart and other Airstream parts sellers. There are several different configurations like left and right, wheel well front and rear, step slot outriggers, and banana wrap outriggers. Same with the cross members, although they can be fabricated pretty easily seems to me. All the oval holes are there to keep the frame light. C channel is readily available. Use the old frame as a pattern. I think you could weld one up with no problems.

Others more knowledgeable than I are welcome to chime in.

David
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:56 PM   #17
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1966 24' Tradewind
Olathe , Kansas
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Frame

Have you seen this build job?
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f11...on-134984.html
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:06 AM   #18
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I had not, thank you. Tons of great information there.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:20 AM   #19
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1969 23' Safari
Troutdale , Oregon
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Decided to remake the whole frame with 5Ēx2Ēx0.120 tube. Same for outriggers and cross members. Trying to wrap my brain around cutting my own outriggers. Anybody got any pics of a diy jig for those?

Vil
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:35 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Vilnutz View Post
Decided to remake the whole frame with 5Ēx2Ēx0.120 tube. Same for outriggers and cross members. Trying to wrap my brain around cutting my own outriggers. Anybody got any pics of a diy jig for those?

Vil
I just made a 1/4Ē plywood pattern from an old outrigger and used that. Keep in mind the outrigger ends tend to punch through the banana wrap over time. I welded a small curved piece of 16ga metal to the end. It also helps make a gentle curve for the skin. I think I showed that on out rebuild thread. Good luck
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