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Old 07-23-2019, 01:13 PM   #1
DRE
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1959 18' "Footer"
SAN JOSE , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
1959 traveler

hi,,i just picked up a 1959 airstream traveler.im a Vw bus guy,,so i dont know jack about em..i am currently working on the rear frameing under the back windows,and side walls,mine was lighly hit and was hacked back. does any one have any picks of the framing?
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Old 07-23-2019, 02:05 PM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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You can figure out the framing by the vertical rows of rivets (interior or exterior). You have some horizontal rows spaced at around 5” on the exterior that attaches the floating stringers. Normally the rib location is the same on the street side and curb side. The horizontal rows that have about an inch spacing are exterior skin lap joints or where it attaches at the bottom C channel. There are pictures of typical framing but maybe not Traveler specific. To straighten or replace a rib you have to take off the interior skin in that area to be able to buck the exterior skin back together. If you took some of the interior skin off you could see the framing. Good luck
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Old 07-23-2019, 02:33 PM   #3
DRE
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1959 18' "Footer"
SAN JOSE , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
You can figure out the framing by the vertical rows of rivets (interior or exterior). You have some horizontal rows spaced at around 5” on the exterior that attaches the floating stringers. Normally the rib location is the same on the street side and curb side. The horizontal rows that have about an inch spacing are exterior skin lap joints or where it attaches at the bottom C channel. There are pictures of typical framing but maybe not Traveler specific. To straighten or replace a rib you have to take off the interior skin in that area to be able to buck the exterior skin back together. If you took some of the interior skin off you could see the framing. Good luck
Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:33 AM   #4
DRE
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1959 18' "Footer"
SAN JOSE , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Does anyone have pics of the framing under the back window?mine was all taken apart.
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:51 AM   #5
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I see you have a pile of ribs there. It should not be too hard to match the rivet holes in them to the existing rivet holes in the exterior skin. I am pretty sure you that you should have the following ribs:
  1. A short vertical rib in the rear curbside corner that goes up part way from the floor channel, mimicking the existing rib you see in the rear street side corner. Maybe there were two ribs back to back here as it seems that is what I see on the street side.
  2. I doubt there was a curved rib for the line of horizontal holes around the curbside corner as I have never seen such a rib on a vintage Airstream. I have no idea that line of rivet holes was for.
  3. There should be a vertical rib from the floor channel to the bottom of the back window at the street side end of the existing rib at the top of the storage compartment door.
  4. There should be a short vertical rib from the existing rib at the top of the storage compartment door to the bottom of the window aligned on the two vertical rivet holes.
  5. There should be a horizontal rib between the two vertical ribs I just described aligned with the three horizontal rivet hoes below the license plate light hole.
  6. It seems unlikely, but perhaps there was a horizontal rib doubled up above the storage compartment door as there is a line of horizontal holes right above the existing rib.
Aligning the loose ribs to the outside skin by comparing rivet holes (and rib lengths to available space) is your best option as these trailers were hand built and there is no guarantee that any two were exactly alike, so photos of another trailer may or may not look like yours, and you'd need photos of the same model from the same year, from the same plant to even hope to get close. This is a small puzzle, but not that hard to figure out.

Also double check to see if any of the ribs were doubled up (i.e. back to back), as I also see one like that on the curbside corner. That could account for some of the extra loose ribs. Rivet holes should align if so.

Once you have the above ribs sorted out, let us know if you have any more loose ribs left over and we'll help see where else they might fit.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:44 AM   #6
DRE
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1959 18' "Footer"
SAN JOSE , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
I see you have a pile of ribs there. It should not be too hard to match the rivet holes in them to the existing rivet holes in the exterior skin. I am pretty sure you that you should have the following ribs:
  1. A short vertical rib in the rear curbside corner that goes up part way from the floor channel, mimicking the existing rib you see in the rear street side corner. Maybe there were two ribs back to back here as it seems that is what I see on the street side.
  2. I doubt there was a curved rib for the line of horizontal holes around the curbside corner as I have never seen such a rib on a vintage Airstream. I have no idea that line of rivet holes was for.
  3. There should be a vertical rib from the floor channel to the bottom of the back window at the street side end of the existing rib at the top of the storage compartment door.
  4. There should be a short vertical rib from the existing rib at the top of the storage compartment door to the bottom of the window aligned on the two vertical rivet holes.
  5. There should be a horizontal rib between the two vertical ribs I just described aligned with the three horizontal rivet hoes below the license plate light hole.
  6. It seems unlikely, but perhaps there was a horizontal rib doubled up above the storage compartment door as there is a line of horizontal holes right above the existing rib.
Aligning the loose ribs to the outside skin by comparing rivet holes (and rib lengths to available space) is your best option as these trailers were hand built and there is no guarantee that any two were exactly alike, so photos of another trailer may or may not look like yours, and you'd need photos of the same model from the same year, from the same plant to even hope to get close. This is a small puzzle, but not that hard to figure out.

Also double check to see if any of the ribs were doubled up (i.e. back to back), as I also see one like that on the curbside corner. That could account for some of the extra loose ribs. Rivet holes should align if so.

Once you have the above ribs sorted out, let us know if you have any more loose ribs left over and we'll help see where else they might fit.
thanks,what rivets should i use?
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:40 AM   #7
DRE
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1959 18' "Footer"
SAN JOSE , California
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Is this floor heater original?and should I keep it in or take it out?
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:14 PM   #8
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Ideally, you would use bucked solid rivets to attach the ribs to the exterior skin just like original, but if you only have a small amount to do the cost of the tools might not be worth it and you will need a helper to ibstall bucked rivets. Olympic "bulb tight" rivets are an option often used for Airstream repairs when there isn't access to the back of the rivet for bucking. These can be installed with a simple "pop" rivet gun but need to be "shaved" with an expensive tool to look like bucked rivets. For what you are doing in a limited area, normal pop rivets might be strong enough, but would never look correct and might be prone to allow water leaks.

Inner skins attach to the ribs with pop rivets. Doubled ribs can be attached to each other with pop rivets.

I have no personal experience with the in floor heater, but would urge caution regarding reuse. Airstream only used them for a year or two for a reason (approx 1959-60 in smaller trailers only). I am not sure how reliable and safe they might be. Doubt that any repair parts are available. If you will require a heater there are several more modern and safer options you could consider.
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