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Old 03-20-2021, 09:02 PM   #61
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Finally getting some warm weather in Denver after digging out of the 2+ feet of snow. Frame got cleaned up, POR-15 and top coat. Started cutting in subfloor. Hoping to get shell back on by next weekend!
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Old 03-21-2021, 03:03 PM   #62
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Finally getting some warm weather in Denver after digging out of the 2+ feet of snow. Frame got cleaned up, POR-15 and top coat. Started cutting in subfloor. Hoping to get shell back on by next weekend!
I keep balking at cleaning up the 31' excella frame in my yard (it's been snowy and I'm not looking forward to all the detail work and the mess wire brushes or dry media blasting leave in either the driveway or the yard). I'm thinking about checking prices from the Bijou Creek Water Blasting service I keep seeing on Craigslist.

Anybody used water blasting to clean up their frame?
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:03 PM   #63
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I got the $30 sand blasting attachment from amazon for my power washer and it did a pretty damn good job. Granted I did a lot of work with the grinder wheel and media pads before hand. Either way, I was able to accomplish in about two weekends worth of work. Got a random 70 degree week in Denver to apply the POR 15.

I also installed the new 5K Dexter axels along with the lift kit. This combined with some larger than spec tires have it sitting pretty high up. I think it will look a little funky being that high up, but I plan to do nothing but boonedocking so I need the clearance for the dips off the pavement.
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:12 PM   #64
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I got the $30 sand blasting attachment from amazon for my power washer and it did a pretty damn good job.
Interesting. I do have a power washer, so I'll have to check that out.

There are a bunch on Amazon. Do you remember which one you went with? Also, what kind of blasting media did you use?
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:13 AM   #65
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:14 AM   #66
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Play sand. Had to screen it first to get only the small stuff.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:14 PM   #67
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Play sand. Had to screen it first to get only the small stuff.
Cool. Thanks for posting. And yeah, everything says don't use play sand, but I've got lots of (Airstream) screen floating around.
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:17 PM   #68
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Cool. Thanks for posting. And yeah, everything says don't use play sand, but I've got lots of (Airstream) screen floating around.
Play sand without screening will clog it up, but its so cheap. So just buy a few bags and dump over some extra screen laying around to have a nice media to blast with. Worked very well for me. Be prepared to create a nice beach in your driveway.
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Old 03-23-2021, 07:17 AM   #69
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Not ideal working conditions but all of the subfloor is spar varnished. Left the bottom middle parts un treated to allow the wood to breath if it is ever exposed to water.

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Old 03-23-2021, 06:01 PM   #70
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March is a snowy month in Colorado, right? The snow is 8' deep around my shop. I can't see out the windows anymore. I'm so lucky to find this property with a big outbuilding on it. My "man cave".

David
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Old 03-23-2021, 08:50 PM   #71
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March is a snowy month in Colorado, right? The snow is 8' deep around my shop. I can't see out the windows anymore. I'm so lucky to find this property with a big outbuilding on it. My "man cave".



David


You definitely have more snow than we do! March and April we usually get a few big storms, but that last one was top 5 in history. I need a 50x50 shop ha ha. But for now my project progress is based on the weather!
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Old 03-27-2021, 11:11 PM   #72
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Ready to go. Got the shell back on today. Tomorrow starts all the exterior and sealing work.

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Old 03-28-2021, 05:55 AM   #73
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Amazing! You have made so much progress on challenging aspects of a "full monte" rebuild of your Ambassador. Fixing the frame, mounting new axles, securing a new subfloor, and now marrying the structure together. And you started posting about your project just before Christmas. I bet you have a bunch of hours in the project already.

Maybe you positioned the body exactly over the frame so the step box, body mounting plates and other critical features aligned up, and then traced the corners of the subfloor so the body with it's "F" channel surrounded it. I don't know, but I do read here about struggles getting the body to align with the subfloor and frame.

It is a real project milestone to get to an assembled Airstream frame, subfloor and body. You will be awarded a special merit badge for this stage of your renovation.

David
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Old 03-28-2021, 10:11 PM   #74
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Amazing! You have made so much progress on challenging aspects of a "full monte" rebuild of your Ambassador. Fixing the frame, mounting new axles, securing a new subfloor, and now marrying the structure together. And you started posting about your project just before Christmas. I bet you have a bunch of hours in the project already.

Maybe you positioned the body exactly over the frame so the step box, body mounting plates and other critical features aligned up, and then traced the corners of the subfloor so the body with it's "F" channel surrounded it. I don't know, but I do read here about struggles getting the body to align with the subfloor and frame.

It is a real project milestone to get to an assembled Airstream frame, subfloor and body. You will be awarded a special merit badge for this stage of your renovation.

David
David - Thank you for the vote of confidence! It has been a lot of fun so far and enjoying it being a hobby not a rush.

2 full days I was able to get the subfloor ready to go and shell back "on".
  • Pre-Cut the 3/4" subfloor, but leave the front and back square.
  • Sparvarnish 3 coats over top side, edges and about a foot into all sides of the bottom.
  • Prep C/J/F (Never figured out exactly what the right name is. I have decided that C Channel is the type that sits on top of the subflor with no contact with the subfloor except for the bottom. J channel...not sure. F Channel is when you have a C channel with another C on the bottom to wrap the subfloor. Either way, I drilled out and removed all the F channel on the passenger side and back (was in need of repair/replacment). Cleaned up the channels that remained int he trailer as well as the ones I pulled.
  • Laysubfloor back on trailer.
  • Slowly position the trailer back under the shell. A GREAT point of reference is the front steal plate rivet and 7 pin wiring holes.
  • Use the shell/channels on front and rear to template cuts. I tossed my old sublfoor so i did not have a reference.
  • Re-sparvarnish the new cut edges.
  • Lower shell back onto subfloor and rubber hammer attached F channels to driver side.
  • Tack driver side F channels to subfloor with 3/4" stainless screws.
  • Install passenger side F channel.
  • Rivet F channel back onto shell.

The only thing that I am still scratching my head on is the back end. Typically with these year models it is common to have rear end detachment/seperation in the shell. I did not see any issues with this and still dont. If anything it was the opposite. The rear end of the frame needed a little lift from my floor jack (About 1/2" to line up with the shell channels. I was guessing it would be the opposite, but I guess once I get the shell fully attached to the sub floor and then bolt through the channels into the frame it creates the "one big unit" strength.

My 316 stainless hardware and bolts comes tomorrow so this afternoon I started after removing the old roof vents, tv antenna etc. Plans to install Fantastic fans as well as a new skylight. More light the better.
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Old 03-28-2021, 10:35 PM   #75
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Short and sweet time-lapse.

https://video.nest.com/clip/2f98b73f...bb8633c2fb.mp4

YES - She sits TALL....I installed the Dexter lift kit as well as new 5K axels. Plus I went with LT225/75R-16 FIRESTONE TRANSFORCE HT2 E Tires. So it the trailer is probably sitting 4-5" higher than stock. Maybe more. I am a firm believer in camping where others are not. Therefore, I need the clearance to be able to get off graded gravel and pavement. Hence, the lift. Yes this will decrease MPG, decrease some stability, but the upside is worth it to me.

Honestly I think it looks pretty sweet standing tall. Thoughts?
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Old 03-29-2021, 06:11 AM   #76
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Wow, you work fast! The video was great.

I agree here in Colorado a guy needs the ground clearance to get into prime mountain boondocking places. Here is my friends 76 Sovereign 31 out in the mountains. We added about 3" of lift due to the 32 degree starting angle, the high profile Dexter brackets (adds about 3/4" lift) as well as the new axle itself. You will add considerable weight building the interior which will cause a bit of squat on the axles. You may have to adjust your hitch ball height so you are towing it with the desired slight nose down attitude.

It is not unusual to have to jack up the rear of the frame to meet the body sitting on the frame. The frame rails sag by their own weight seems to me. It is said that Airstream designed both the body and frame to "flex" to avoid stress cracks in the body aluminum. Remember the "Flexible Flyer" sleds we had as kids. But I don't have confirmation from Airstream on this. Inland Andy used to say it, and he was an Airstream expert, may he RIP.

David
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Old 03-29-2021, 06:29 AM   #77
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Wow, you work fast! The video was great.



I agree here in Colorado a guy needs the ground clearance to get into prime mountain boondocking places. Here is my friends 76 Sovereign 31 out in the mountains. We added about 3" of lift due to the 32 degree starting angle, the high profile Dexter brackets (adds about 3/4" lift) as well as the new axle itself. You will add considerable weight building the interior which will cause a bit of squat on the axles. You may have to adjust your hitch ball height so you are towing it with the desired slight nose down attitude.



It is not unusual to have to jack up the rear of the frame to meet the body sitting on the frame. The frame rails sag by their own weight seems to me. It is said that Airstream designed both the body and frame to "flex" to avoid stress cracks in the body aluminum. Remember the "Flexible Flyer" sleds we had as kids. But I don't have confirmation from Airstream on this. Inland Andy used to say it, and he was an Airstream expert, may he RIP.



David


Thatís good to hear on the back end.

Also - I spy Pikes Peak! Nice rig and setup. Ground clearance in CO is a must. Better make sure I can fit through Eisenhower tunnel
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:20 PM   #78
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Looking good! All this talk has me champing at the bit to start my "off road" Airstream, but it'll probably be next year before that happens.
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:45 PM   #79
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Looking good! All this talk has me champing at the bit to start my "off road" Airstream, but it'll probably be next year before that happens.
Talk to me about your ideas for the off road airstream.. I am all ears!
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:48 PM   #80
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Good progress tonight. 2/3 of the roof window/vents have been removed. One more to go. I am planning on using the front and rear for Fantastic Fans. The one that is in front of the AC unit is going to be expanded into a 24" x 14" tinted skylight.

Also started riveting the shell back onto the F channel that was removed during shell off. I am loving riveting.

Finally, got the wheel wells riveted back into the trim/mount which will let me set the subfloor with bolts from Albany Fasteners in 316 stainless with insulated washers.
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