Now It Starts... Rebuild of Audrey
This will be my "official" :D thread on my rebuild of the 1956 Caravanner.
I have had a few posts but now since the AS is home I feel as I should keep everything in one area.
Few facts...I bought the AS from the airstreamguy back in September. Asked him to put on led side lights, make sure axle and tires where good, and anything else that needed to be done before I come back in Dec. and tow it 1500 miles home.
That mission was accomplished with out a problem.
Now that Audrey is home my plans are to do a restoration...as needed. Meaning the shell will not come off, but most likely everything else will be addressed as the tear down begins.
1. Gut the inside ...nothing is worth saving...imho. (stove will be sold)
2. Remove the floor and see how the frame looks and then start making the list on the white board.
Any suggestions are always appreciated. I have read or scanned a lot of the rebuild threads, and already all I can say is "wow" and thanks. After this long post I will try to keep up with pictures and questions. However since this has been done many time b4 I will try not to bore anyone. :brows:
Some pictures...I just can not believe how people torture these old AS.
Home and tucked away. How not to wire. Drawer fix...haha
Is this bath set up original??
Nice canvas to start working and that garage space is awesome. No space issues there. Keep us updated. Not sure how you are going to inspect the frame without taking the shell off. Maybe you could cut out sections and splice back in but the way these things are built if you want to work the frame you have to pull the shell off.
I plan to remove many original interior pieces (dinette, couch, wardrobes, bathroom) on my 1984 excella. Message me if you want any of that for your stream!
Making a little progress...need to get all the interior panels off and then get down to the floor.
The panels would not be so hard to remove if there wasn't 100 coats of paint on the rivets...haha
The floor looks like original...than a redo of 1/2 inch ply and then another redo with 3/8 inch ply and then some fake sticky wood strips ugh.
While removing most of the floor and cabinets the trailer must of decompressed the springs by at least a inch. I had to go out and crank up the jack stabilizers a couple of times...:lol:
Is this a stock piece or is it an add on...it was supporting a plastic tank that had no bottom (go figure).
Change of plans!
How does that go again? The best laid plans of mice and men...:p
I quote this from another member;
I think every shell-off started off as a superficial change of upholstery fabrics and flooring. Like they say--a vintage Airstream is like an onion--the more layers you peel off, the more you cry....
My original intent was to strip out the inside to the bare bones...leave the shell on and start from there. The short story is that after pulling the floor out...or should I say letting the floor fall out, the shell was sitting only on the outriggers.
So all I had holding it to the frame was the little L brackets . The front plate was rusted through so there was no connection there.
Also the A frame was in sad shape and welded up by the PO (and not very good).
So as they say "the full monty is here" :brows:
In reality I think this is a good thing since it will give me a chance to address everything and do it right.
Below are a few pictures that show where I am at now. In the next few days the shell will be separated from the frame.
Shell off and progress
Since pulling the shell off the frame has gone to the welder...the frame was in good shape, with the exception of the rear cross beam.Replaced 6 out riggers.
The A frame up front showed a jackknife sometime in its past. That got cut out and replaced.
As soon as the welder is done, then the trailer goes to the "trailer shop" and gets a new axle (torsion) .
In the meantime I have been removing windows and doors to re-hab and re seal them...this is a big PIA.
Windows are incredibly time consuming. So. Much. Work. It's rewarding to re-install them and make them work again. My window frames were put together with tubular rivets, but I didn't want to buy the tool for $120, so I used buck rivets which worked just fine. It's not 'correct' but my trailer is a renovation, not a restoration, so I'm ok with deviations like this.
I still don't know why your door has two lock sets
The difference a year makes??? All my windows are bucked in, and you are right about the lockset.
I like your reasoning...renovation not restoration! My feelings all the way. :)
Islandtrader, thanks for creating this thread. I have looked at many shell-off threads, and it seems that your shell and shell removal are the most similar to what I expect mine to be. Can you please tell me what exactly you had to unfasten to free the shell? I see that your c channel appears to be left in place and that is what I plan to do. Did you just have to remove all the elevator bolts and the rivets to the belly pan?
I am going to have to do a shell-on floor replacement. Do you think that if I just remove all the elevator bolts that I would be able to lift the shell a 1/2" or 1" even with the banana peels and belly pan still attached?
Did you run into any elevator bolts that weren't actually through your outriggers? It seems that Airstream missed several of the outriggers on mine! I will post some pics if anyone wants to see.
Can you please tell me what exactly you had to unfasten to free the shell?
The original floor was so bad that literally all I did was cut it out and pull it away from the c channel. Then I cut the belly pan off near end of the frame. Leaving it attached to the shell (I plan on installing a new pan) so this was really a hack job just to get the old stuff off.
You can not leave the c channel on if you want to save your belly pan. I am making all new c channels since mine were pretty well shot.
My airstream had L brackets that were attached to outriggers with the elevator bolts. I was missing one outrigger also. The final outcome was I felt it would be easier faster and better to just pull the shell and start from the beginning .
A lot of this stuff is hard to imagine until you just jump in.
If you need any questions answered in detail, just PM me your phone number and a good time to talk and I will be more than happy to go into more detail.
Frame is back.
My frame was a little ruff when I finally took the shell off. The front A had seen a jackknife sometime in its life. The rear cross member was rusted out, and a few of the outriggers were also shot. One from a blow out (which I think caused the jackknife ) and one was just plain old forgotten at airstream during production.
When I got the frame back, it then went over to the trailer place and got a new torsion axle rated at #5500. It was almost as cheap as buying new electrical brakes for the old leaf spring axel. When I got it home again I wire brushed and ground off all the major rust...then 2 coats of Por 15. The front A then was coated with some Eastwood silver epoxy encapsulator paint. Now I need to get the wood floor cut and then epoxy that as well.
The heat has returned to SW FLA. So I went to my favorite store(HD) today and bought a new fan and replace one of my drills that wore out.
This weekend I am going to try a trial fit of the shell to the sub floor.
The reason for this was that I did not have a pattern for the floor, so I used a handy tool from Eastwood to copy the curve on the corners. If this works then I will remove the shell and then start on the interior planning of where I want the toilet and etc. Then while waiting for the tanks I can start finding the leaks and address those issues before putting the floor back in.
Oh what fun we are having...
The new brushless drill is a torque monster and the impact makes setting things real easy.
Following closely behind you
Hi Island Trader,
Yes, thank you for all of the details you are sharing. This is our first trailer and our first renovation. It is possible we are in over our heads. :lol:
Though ours says it is a Flying Cloud, it looks exactly like yours. We have just pulled up the floor. It has rust that looks very much like yours. Our plan was to do renovation with the shell on. That is looking less likely.
I have a couple of questions I hope you can answer. The first is was the door frame in good shape, or did you replace it? A previous owner of our trailer (we have to name her,) bent the inside rim back and it is a mess. I will attach a picture. The second is about the windows. Do you know which handles are appropriate. All of the handles on our side windows are gone, the front has part of a handle and the back has no handle left.
I look forward to following in your footsteps.
I really don't think your trailer is a flying cloud. That being said let me try and answer some of your questions..
My door frame was in good shape. I would hammer and dolly, patch and repair your door frame. It may take some work but from the one picture it looks like it can be saved.
I took out all my window and rebuilt them. The window regulators were all replaced. You can get handles and parts for VTS..
This is the link for some window parts.
I will check out your thread again and try to answer any other things you post.
Let me know if there is anything else and I will try to shed some light.:brows:
Trial Fit Part 2
Sunday was the day...I hooked the frame up to the golf cart, had my wife working the chain hoist and put the shell on the frame. It really went on easy. The hard part was trying to figure out how it sat originally. Good thing I had some pictures. . We are changing it from the original layout , but not greatly. Side note: When ordering the next torsion axle I had chose the taller option that raises the height by 3 inches or so. I can see it now, and it does give you more clearance underneath. Thats a good thing.
Next step is to mark the c channels door placement and then I will remove the shell again and start on the plumbing and tanks. When that is done then on to the belly pans. I would like to get that done before we take off for our summer break in August.
The bottom of the wood is epoxy coated.
I doubt if the cart would pull a loaded trailer
Happy Hour :D
While waiting to get my flight back home I had time to sketch a preliminary drawing of how I (we envision) the layout. I know this is rough and there will be many oops or how can I do that...
This was our short list...
In order to get this all in the space allotted I will have to make the beds stacked. One going left to right and the other front to back. I thought of bunks, but not enough height to do it right. The stacking should work since I can raise one just high enough to let the other slide underneath and actually create more hiding space.
Any comments would be welcomed if you see a major design flaw that I have not addressed.
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