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Old 11-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #101
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Thirty months? That's nuttin'. Tomorrow marks six years since we picked ours up from the seller and we still ain't done.

Keep up the great work, Zep.

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Old 11-02-2010, 09:11 AM   #102
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Nice job Zep. It loks like I"m stuck here in France for a few more days. #2 prop is fixed but we need a VFR day to fly an intercomparison formation flight with the French and the weather is ****.

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Old 11-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #103
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Oops, no damage, but I obviously hadn't chocked my baby well enough! Glad I still had the banana skins off.

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Old 12-14-2010, 07:40 PM   #104
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Under floor insulation

Yesterday and today were near record high temperatures. It was over 55 degrees here at 7,300'. The Safari has been sitting "exposed" and I thought it would remain that way until spring. The warm weather allowed me to get the insulation installed in the forward half of the frame.

I used a combination of 3/4" foil-faced foam, 1" styrofoam, and 2" styrofoam. The 3/4" was used in the interior compartments to achieve a fit over the frame stringers, but since it isn't waterproof, I used the 1" foam in the banana skinned compartments. This should provide R15-R17.

You can see in the left photo that I cut out all the glass insulation. The right photo shows some of the impediments to getting solid foam insulation to lie flat against the underside of the flooring. The braces were particularly troublesome, since they do not come out at 90 degrees.

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None of the compartments was particularly easy. The main center rectangle wasn't too bad, but because it has two stringers (1.25Hx1.5W"), the spaces in between had to be filled in. You could use a 1/2 and a 3/4 sheet of insulation to make the proper thickness, but I had 3/4 on hand, so I built up those spaces to 1/5" thick, then put a 2" sheet (1 piece) under them to fill the whole rectangle. The 3/4 was perfect for the forward section where I had used 3/4" plywood to form a joint in the new floor section. All of the compartments required some kind of relief(s) cut into the edges of the top layer in order to allow for the flanges.

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The pink stuff really is 2" thick, but looks thinner due to a relief in one edge for the brake hydraulic line. I have no idea why the 1" styrofoam is blue and the 2" is pink. I hope this isn't some clue I've missed to an important quality of the two foams.

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You can see the blue foam here in the banana skin area. I allowed 3/16-1/4" gaps between the frame members and the foam so I could get the spray foam in to seal the solid foam sheets to the fram members. If you put it in tight, you think it will work fine, but you'll have air infiltration, no matter how hard you try. So the spray foam is the easy way to make sure it's sealed, and it allows some play in cutting the sheets. The pink stuff was trimmed to fit the banana skin curve before they were installed. There is approximately 1/4" allowed between the insulation and the skins--water runs into the banana skins in the 70s models (the banana skin is over/outside the shell skin), so even though this insulation is exterior grade, I didn't want them to facilitate getting water on the underside of the flooring. You can reduce this leak into the belly by sealing the top edge of the belt trim (only the top edge, or you'll trap water). However, you cannot totally prevent water from entering the belly pan--just take a close look at all the joints in the banana skins and belly skin(s).

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I use the Door and Window foam (blue can)--it remains flexible and is waterproof. Plus, when it expands it doesn't push too hard. Inland Andy and others have expressed concern that this spray foam will disintegrate into powder with the flexing of the frame. I'm crossing my fingers that the flexible version won't.

There are a couple places where the more expansive foam is appropriate--one place where I had sistered in a second outrigger and second the small spaces up front where the "A" frame forms a couple of small triangles.

The sheets are fully glued using liquid nails--the top sheet to the flooring and the bottom sheet to the top sheet. The glue's primary duty is to prevent air leaks between the floor and insulation and between the two layers. Secondarily, it does provide for some adhesion to the floor. The sheets are primarily held in place by 4" screws and large washers (homemade--pieces of aluminum with a hole).

Total time was about 4 hours for the center sections and 5 hours for the banana skin area. This was only for the part of the frame forward of the wheels.

Problem: I counted on a 4" screw to have sufficient "bite" through the 3-1/2 total thickness. However, with the washer and the flush head design of the screw, it only had 3/8" of excess length. In addition, the foil-faced foam had poor dimensional control and was mostly slightly thicker than 3/4". So the 4" screw couldn't quite get a grip into the flooring. I wound up diggin out small recesses for the washers. I decided that it was OK if the screw penetrated the flooring--just go inside and knock off the end of the screw with a small grinder. This '77 Safari was built with 5/8" flooring, so penetration was a real possibility.

Now I've got to get the banana skins re-formed and a new belly pan skin.

Zep
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:01 PM   #105
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That's very great work, Zep. Is the foam still holding?
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:55 AM   #106
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Insulation

Thanks everybody for all the solutions presented to me! Now, I've got to choose! I really like what Zep did. My floor is all new and all flush (no pieces) so I should be ok using 2" plus 1", right? . BTW, why did you decide to do two different layers? Is it because there is room for 3" on the trailer for insulation allowing the belly to lay under and creating a air gap for breathing? Thanks. Laurent
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:09 PM   #107
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Top: the foam is still holding in the Caravel, which was done in a similar fashion about 7 years ago. I haven't had the Safari on the road since I put the foam in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lmassa View Post
..Zep...why did you decide to do two different layers? Is it because there is room for 3" on the trailer for insulation allowing the belly to lay under and creating a air gap for breathing?...
Partly for the air gap, since water can slosh around in the belly pan. But it was mostly because of (1) screw length to hold the foam up the sub-floor and (2) because I didn't think I needed more than 3" of insulation.

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Old 02-28-2011, 09:42 AM   #108
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Insulation

Thanks Zep. I understand now. BTW, where dsid you buy your 2" and 1" foam. I seem to have problems locating the products here in Austin TX....
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:26 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by lmassa View Post
...where dsid you buy your 2" and 1" foam...
Home Depot. That isn't saying much. I've seen various thicknesses come and go--they used to have 1-1/2", but I haven't seen that in some time. Lately they seem to have 1/2", 1", and 2", but the day I bought mine I had to go to another store because the 1" was out of stock.

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Old 02-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #110
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Foam Insulation

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Originally Posted by lmassa View Post
where did you buy your 2" and 1" foam. I seem to have problems locating the products here in Austin TX....
lmassa,
I too had a hard time finding foam insulation here in Texas. It just isn't used down here I guess. When I asked about it at HD and Lowe's all I got was a funny face.
My local lumber yard was able to order the Dow Tuff-R polyiso foam. They get it from their wholesaler in Dallas. I got the 1" 4x8 sheets for around $25 per sheet. There was a minimum order of 22 sheets, so I have more than I'll need. Send me a PM if you are interested.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:19 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top
lmassa,
I too had a hard time finding foam insulation here in Texas. It just isn't used down here I guess. When I asked about it at HD and Lowe's all I got was a funny face.
My local lumber yard was able to order the Dow Tuff-R polyiso foam. They get it from their wholesaler in Dallas. I got the 1" 4x8 sheets for around $25 per sheet. There was a minimum order of 22 sheets, so I have more than I'll need. Send me a PM if you are interested.
I've had a tough time finding any around where I live in California too. HD used to carry it but all they have now is polystyrene. It seems lime it is maybe fazing out of the market? Hmmm?

Top, sure wish I was closer, I'd take a bunch off your hands.

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Old 05-20-2011, 04:10 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
Home Depot. That isn't saying much. I've seen various thicknesses come and go--they used to have 1-1/2", but I haven't seen that in some time. Lately they seem to have 1/2", 1", and 2", but the day I bought mine I had to go to another store because the 1" was out of stock.

Zep
Zep... First, I would like to say that you do incredible work! With that said, I would like to get your opinion on the Pros and Cons...the good things, and bad things that you have found concerning the 1977 Safari Airstream. I'm going to look at one this afternoon in Redding, Ca for $5,500. Your opinion is much valued.... Thank-you for your time!
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:39 PM   #113
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This is my 3,000th post, so I saved it for something significant. I am very happy to be making progress on the Safari. The first part of the year was completely taken up by getting the Sovereign in shape for six weeks in the NW.

TREX, hope my PM helped a bit. Did you buy the Safari?

As to finding solid exterior foam, I had to go to Lowe's to get 1" (blue).

Now, as to my progress. You may recall that I really hate the fresh water tank in the Safari--it is nigh on to impossible to drain (you have to remove the center support plate) and you can't pump all the water out because the intake is only "near" the flat bottom. My modification was to slope the tank and provide intakes/drains at the bottom street-side edge. I also found the attachment of the belly pan to be unacceptable--you have to remove the fresh tank in order to remove the skin!

First, I prepared the tank cavity by adding strips of aluminum along the edges with nutplates (thank you AEROWOOD, once again) so that the belly pan skin can be removed independently of the tank pan. I had considered leaving the floor above the tank uninsulated so that some heat from the cabin could help keep the tank from freezing, but I discarded that idea and installed 1" foam in the spaces between the frame braces (braces are 1-1/4" deep, so this worked great). The foam is held up by exterior grade liquid nails and dry wall screws with homemade washers. Note that the washer corners are turned, in this case, up so that they don't have a chance of nicking the tank (the tank top can balloon up quite a bit when filled).

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Once I decided how I would slope the tank, I realized I needed a vent on the high, curb-side, edge. I had fittings spun on at the Metal Company in Denver, took it home, and tested it. Darn, a crack was leaking on one of the interior corners. I welded it using a heat gun--probably not the best idea, but that interior corner had three surfaces coming together right at the crack, so I heated up a fairly large area and just crammed a hot piece of polyethylene (about 1" square) into the goo. A re-test showed no leaks and I sloshed the water around pretty agressively to see if it would hold. The pan was sanded, painted with POR-15, a 1/2" layer of foam was glued to the bottom, and 1" strips, slightly chamfered to fit the tank, were glued along the edges. The tank now fits snugly and has what I think is effective insulation all around. Note the rectangular hole for the new drains.

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It took me some time to figure out how to achieve the slope. I finally decided on tapered shims between the pan and the frame, which provides 3/4" slope from curb to street. I also put some glass matt insulation in the recesses of the tank, since they sit right on top of the metal reinforcements in the pan (they make the "X" in the photo above). When the tank is in the pan, the drains stick down about 1-1/2".

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To protect the drains I built an armored cover--some 0.032 to provide the shape and 1/8" plate riveted to the sides and front. I figure this can withstand a 65-mph dead cat--or rabbit. The cover is attached with 7 #10 nut plates and aircraft structural screws.

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When the pan is finally installed, I'll lose about 3-1/4" clearance. The cover is about 2' in front of the axle, so I'm not worried about dippy driveways, only about rocks and other things that go under the truck. Note that I use a stabilizer jack to help me raise and hold the pan/tank in position.

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Old 11-19-2011, 03:06 PM   #114
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Heat your fresh water tank

So, I know you're thinking "but the drains themselves will freeze." Maybe, maybe not. First, let's assume you don't put water in the tank unless it's above freezing for at least part of the day. If it's colder than that, you should make do with 1-gal water jugs. Also, let's assume that the interior, even in the spaces behind the cabinets, is always above freezing, so you don't have to worry about the pipes (PEX anyway, I hope) inside.

What does Airstream do? They design a forced air system that pumps warm air into the tank cavity. Transfering heat this way, through the plastic tank and into the water, is pretty inefficient, not to mention all the heat that escapes as the air is blown out the bottom of the trailer.

A better way is to just put hot water into the tank. If you have a sensor attached to the drains, you can automatically open a solenoid valve and allow hot water to feed directly into the tank. The hot water heater is a lot more efficient at warming up water than the forced air heater. Dumping the hot water directly into the tank is the most efficient method of heat transfer. Automating this with a sensor means that you can open the valve when the drains get down to 34 and close the valve when the temp is up a little higher, say 37.

Since the water pump is automatic and is pressure sensitive, when the valve opens, water will flow from the hot water heater directly into the tank, with no modifications needed other than a short run of PEX and the valve. And the pump will be pumping water out of the tank, ensuring that the warm water flows into the drains.

Zep

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Old 11-20-2011, 11:29 AM   #115
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Good idea. The temp sensor will measure the temp in the water tank, right.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:42 PM   #116
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Quote:
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Good idea. The temp sensor will measure the temp in the water tank, right.
Not exactly. I think the most exposed location to freezing is the new drain. The mass of water in the tank should slow any freeze, compared to the drain area. So I'm going to put the sensor right on one the brass 3/4" fittings, then foam the whole area to provide maximum insulation, which won't be much, since there's only 3/8" space between those brass fittings and the wall of the cover.

The hot water will be introduced through the previous vent so it's right above where the drains take the water out. This should allow quick local heating for the drains.

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Old 11-20-2011, 04:51 PM   #117
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Hey Mr Zep... your project looks great! Anyway, no we didn't buy that Safari. Too many dents in the corners, for the asking price.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:28 PM   #118
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Marker Lights

I've always been nervous about the marker lights--the bullet connectors are hidden inside the shell. Ick! Now that I have the interior skin off, I'm going to do something about it. I want to be able to remove the marker light and be able to unplug and plug it right under where it's mounted.

Here's a banana connector (4mm socket), gold plated for corrosion resistance (about $1.30). It protrudes about 1/8" above the skin, so the back of the marker light needs to be relieved to accept it. The light's I'm using are from Superbright LEDs and the circuit board takes 90% of the interior space, as well as being tight to the back. This forces the relief to be in the corner, not exactly where the previous wire hole was in the skin. To make the relief, you need three concentric drill operations, so a position tool is esstential. You have to remove the wire from the feed through hole prior to drilling--it's held by conformal coating, so be careful not to break it or pull it loose from the PC board! I drilled flat bottom holes using forstner bits, first 1/2" for 1/16" depth, then 3/8" for an additional 1/16" depth, then a 1/4" all the way through. (The socket is metric, so it's slight larger than 3/8 for the plastic insert and larger than 1/4 for the metal sleeve, which forces the larger drill sizes.)

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Once I had the lights modified, I made a template for placing the female socket in the proper location relative to the 3" width marker light mounting holes. You can see the gold male 4mm plug here (about $3 for a pack of 3). Once the plug is soldered to the power wire, the 1/4" hole is large enough to feed it back through the housing.

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When the housing is tight to the shell, the back of the plug is only about 1/8" proud of the housing. There is plenty of clearance inside the marker light cover. I modified the template to install nut plates to mount the lights. The existing mounting holes were way oversized to use sheet metal screws.

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There were little conical devices in the oversized holes, little pointy things that were ridged on the outside and threaded on the inside. Looks like they were just pushed into the oversize hole and then a sheet metal screw expanded them. Never seen anything like them--another weird fix from the factory.

These connections will be exposed to the weather, mostly while driving if the road is wet. The big concern is salt spray in the winter, so some vulkem will be used to minimize exposure. The lights come with a thin foam backing. I don't know if this is a good idea--does it keep water away from the back side, or does it get wet and hold the water there for a longer time?

I don't know about these Superbright marker lights--these things are Dog-awful bright. The current draw is 65 ma, and it looks like the 12 LEDs are in four strings of three LEDs, or just over 16 ma per string. There are four 200 ohm resistors and what looks like a single diode for polarity protection, which is much less sophisticated than their G4 side-pin lamp, which have a bridge rectifier and voltage regulator. I may add a series resistor in the marker light circuit to tone them down a little. A quick test in the darkroom with a 250 ohm resistor and one LED marker light brings the brightness down to approximately the same as the old incandescent version, for a total current draw of 18 ma. So far all 10 marker lights, a 1W, 25 ohm series resistor would be a good start.

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Old 12-07-2011, 12:44 PM   #119
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Where you getting the ground, throught the mounting screws?
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:48 PM   #120
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I am facing the same marker light problem. The connections are up in the wall. My lights have a cutout area just inside the outer rim on the back side but there is not much room for wire nuts etc. Everything is going to have to be butt spliced with small gage wire to make the bends. Mine did not come with gaskets.

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