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steinVT 05-13-2018 05:38 AM

Wiring supplies
 
1 Attachment(s)
While waiting to the weather to change, I have been busy buying parts. I think I should have most everything needed to complete the rewiring.

I bought a Progressive Dynamics Inteli-power converter, 14 gauge duplex wire for the 12 volt house wiring, 16 gauge for the trailer outside lighting and 14 gauge triplex wire for the 115 volt. The 115 volt is marine stranded instead of the solid house style.

I also bought a good selection of heat shrink marine crimped connectors. I always thought solder was the preferred choice and have done that on many motorcycles. Apparently on connections subject to vibration, the crimped is the best. We'll see.

I decided to add automotive style waterproof duplex plug connectors to all of the lights, both inside and out. I never have liked having to cut wires to remove a fixture and they are less than a buck each.
Attachment 310861

steinVT 05-13-2018 05:57 AM

Heavy Lifting
 
4 Attachment(s)
Spring may finally be here in Vermont so it's time to move outside.

Trying to use wood that I already had, I have constructed the gantry's to lift the shell off the frame. The wood came from a deck I deconstructed and from some horse stalls I had removed from my barn. If you look closely you may see some corners have been chewed off.
Attachment 310862
Attachment 310863

I have a 12 foot 2x8" that will do the lifting through the two vents using a pair of chain hoists.

I added a couple of 2x3" cross members at the transition rib between the end caps and middle section. Also bolted a stabilizing board across the door.
Attachment 310865
Attachment 310864

Today I plan to put up the hoists and drill out the 280 (or so) rivets.

Can anyone think of anything I am forgetting?

Mark

dbj216 05-13-2018 05:26 PM

Ah, the Airstream gallows has been constructed. Soon another Airstream hanging in full view of the public.

I think you forgot the 281st rivet. Most folks have to stop the lift as one corner seems still stuck to the frame.

The body of your old Safari looks in quite good condition. It's going to be very nice when done.

Be sure to secure your Safari body (shell) so it is safe if a thunderstorm with wind howls through.

Work safe...

David

goransons 05-13-2018 10:20 PM

Wow you are making quick progress! It's amazing how little wind it takes to send a shell tumbling. Make sure it's really really well tied down, I rebuilt a 60's tradewind that tumbled down a guy's street. It ended up taking almost all new bows and more than half the skins replaced.

Keep up the good work!

As mentioned by others, don't be surprised if there is a hidden rivet somewhere you haven't found yet.

safari62 05-14-2018 09:22 PM

Blind vs buck for rub rail
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by steinVT (Post 2092082)
Thanks Bubba, just wondering how you stabilized the door. I was thinking about a screwing a piece of plywood across the lower foot or so. I was also thinking about a couple of 2x4 cross members going across the trailer to keep the whole thing from racking.

I just got the trim strip off of the front and rear. What a PIA. Rusty straight headed screws. Finally thouight to use the hammer drill with a screw driver bit and that got most of them out. Only had to dremil out about five.

What does everyone use to put the rails back on? SS screws? Why not just buck them on as well?

Mark

I like using 3/16 aluminum rivets placed in center recessed strip and counter sink surface to allow for clearance of rivet head.
Buck rivets will work, but there can be rivet length issues and even with counter sink on rail, rivet gun tip can make contact with rail.
I also chose location of rivets to best press rail against body and to avoid existing body rivets and frame location. Add Vulcan to holes also.
SS screws can strip and loosen or so I’ve found.

Hope this helps.

safari62 05-14-2018 09:28 PM

Blind vs buck for rub rail
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by steinVT (Post 2092082)
Thanks Bubba, just wondering how you stabilized the door. I was thinking about a screwing a piece of plywood across the lower foot or so. I was also thinking about a couple of 2x4 cross members going across the trailer to keep the whole thing from racking.

I just got the trim strip off of the front and rear. What a PIA. Rusty straight headed screws. Finally thouight to use the hammer drill with a screw driver bit and that got most of them out. Only had to dremil out about five.

What does everyone use to put the rails back on? SS screws? Why not just buck them on as well?

Mark

I like using 3/16 aluminum Blind rivets placed in center recessed strip and counter sink surface to allow for clearance of rivet head.
Buck rivets will work, but there can be rivet length issues and even with counter sink on rail, rivet gun tip can make contact with rail.
I also chose location of rivets to best press rail against body and to avoid existing body rivets and frame location.
Hope this helps.

steinVT 05-15-2018 04:02 AM

Rub Rail Rivets
 
Safaria62, I like that idea. Just a few more to drill should it have to come off in the future. One thing I didn't understand, did you use a 45 degree counter sink and then install flush rivets or do a partial counter bore to bury the dome rivets some?

Thanks, Mark

steinVT 05-17-2018 05:27 AM

We Have Lift Off
 
4 Attachment(s)
Beautiful spring day with no wind, perfect to separate shell from frame.

Overall went well. The home built gantry worked well and only a little drama. I spent a lot of time trying to find all of those "hidden" rivets, only to realize that's why they are called hidden. I missed whole families of them. Internal connections between ribs and the C channel and a bunch securing what looks to be a replacement panel on the front curbside corner.
Attachment 311195

Some of the outriggers are a little nasty.
Attachment 311196

I new there was frame buckling up front, what I didn't know is one rail was rusted thru a little further back. Looks like I will have to replace about 8' of rail.
Attachment 311197

About the first 3' of the A-frame has a reinforcement on it made of 2"x4" angle iron. The first buckle happened at the end of this piece.

Does anyone know if it came that way from the factory or was that someone's repair?
Attachment 311198

dbj216 05-17-2018 05:41 PM

We have lift off! You have earned the "full monte" Airstream merit badge. Someday maybe I will too.

The reason you pulled the body off is now very apparent. There is quite a bit of frame repair needed. I wonder how rusted the the frame is and how that may have weakened it. I once had a 64 Alfa Romeo Giulia. The "frame" was so rusty underneath that when I jacked up the front of the car I couldn't open the doors.

So let the frame repairs start... Frame repairs are easier than aluminum body repairs in my view.

David

steinVT 05-18-2018 03:19 AM

Frame Repair versus Replacement
 
Given the extent of rust on the frame I decided I needed some expert advice. Luckily Colin Hyde lives just across Lake Champlain from me. He said if you have to replace the front 8 feet and the back 2 feet, what's left? Maybe 10 feet of questionable tubing and it's probably ready to rust thru as well. So it's off to my steel supplier.

A couple of years ago I almost pulled the trigger to build a Locost 7, basically a home built Lotus 7. That involved constructing a chassis from 1" square tubing. Compared to the Lotus project, the Airstream chassis is pretty simple. Basically a ladder. I've been welding since I was 15 (a long time ago) and I have the tools so why not?

I also did one other thing that may be questionable, I joined Tin Can Tourists with the intent of attending a Rally in September. I have always been one that works best with a deadline. Should be a fun summer.:hammer:

Chatthayer 05-18-2018 05:56 AM

Great work and challenging fun!

dbj216 05-18-2018 07:31 PM

I met a fella out here with a Caterham Super Seven in his garage. I haven't seen it yet, but hope to soon. His grocery getter is a 911.

You can rebuild that frame with your welding and fabrication skills. There are threads in these Forums where participants described how they did it. Actually, Airstream crossmembers and outriggers are readily available. I don't know about the axle mounting plate. You may elect to go with "Flex Torque" rubber rod axles. Not original, but a better and easier system.

Should be a fun summer...

David

safari62 05-21-2018 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steinVT (Post 2101556)
Safaria62, I like that idea. Just a few more to drill should it have to come off in the future. One thing I didn't understand, did you use a 45 degree counter sink and then install flush rivets or do a partial counter bore to bury the dome rivets some?

Thanks, Mark

Hi Mark
I only have a 45 degree countersink but a partial counter (I assume flat) would work. Except for the two uneven surfaces and starting the sink?

I spaced the rivets about a foot apart, some tighter to compress trim to body.

Colin sent me a pattern for the plate to mount the axle to our 57í Custom for the conversion from leaf to torsion axles. I have not looked that closely to the condition of that one for awhile, other then I need to replace the front A-frame.

So looking forward to what happens next!
Gary

steinVT 05-22-2018 04:03 AM

The Steel has Arrived
 
1 Attachment(s)
The steel to build the frame arrived yesterday, all $700 worth. Still waiting on the new axle (Thursday) and coupler (today) before I start some serious cutting.

I ordered:
(2) 24' long 2"x4" by 0.125 thick for the main rails
(9) 7' long 2"x4" by 0.125 C-channels
(1) 10' long 2" wide 0.125 bar
(1) 10' long 4" wide 0.125 bar

The C-channels had to be formed from flat stock so that added some to the cost.

Still trying to decide if I want to copy the frame with the narrow A-frame or to Colin's suggestion make it a more modern 50 degree angle. If I go with the later, I could make a spare tire carrier under the front. I just feel structurally the narrow would put less stress at the transition, but it would be nice to have a place for the spare.

Wanting to dust off my stick welding skills, I did put in a taper and sealed off the ends of the main tubes. These will support the rear bumper. Quite a change from what was barely holding it before. The welder I am using I bought when I was 14, almost 50 years ago. Lincoln really knew how to make welders back then.

Attachment 311681

goransons 05-22-2018 07:18 AM

Great work! It sure will be nice to have a new solid frame under there!

dbj216 05-22-2018 07:02 PM

Stick welding? What's that? I can't remember that last time I saw one being used. Kinda like an engine with a carburetor or two. I have a faint memory of those.

However, "stick" welding was the process I learned to weld with. But I didn't do enough of it to develop a proficiency. It takes practice.

David

steinVT 06-09-2018 05:27 AM

Progress on the Frame
 
3 Attachment(s)
Progress is being made, all of the metal is cut and tack welded together! Final welding will commence today.

To start I first leveled the original frame in all directions using jack stands and shims. This will be not only be the template but also the welding jig. I decided to go with the more modern 50 degree angle for the A-frame so I would have a space to hide the spare tire. I also didn't like the screwing around required to connect a 40 degree frame into a 50 degree coupler. I decided on a slightly different style coupler than the original stamped steel design. The design of this one is primitive, but seams more secure.

I clamped the new frame rails on to the original and then mocked up the A frame on top of that. I then tied the two beams of the A-frame together with a 4 inch plate sealing their ends. If Airstream had sealed the beams in '56, no water would have gotten in (they were wide open) and I probably wouldn't be going through this exercise.
Attachment 313494

Marking and cutting the angles for the transition from the A-frame to main rails was a pain. They are heavy to move over to the chop saw. Luckily it went well, as a bad cut would have been expensive.

To position the ball, I ran a string bisecting the trailer. I was very concerned about this being exact. Then I checked the original and it was offset at least a half an inch so I was less concerned.
Attachment 313495

Once the A-frame was attached to the main rails, I changed into production mode. Just measure, cut and place. I ended up setting up a jig which made it go quickly.
Attachment 313496

steinVT 06-09-2018 05:50 AM

Outrigger Fabrication
 
5 Attachment(s)
I somewhat modified the design of the outriggers. I thought it strange that Airstream would leave the thin edges where they could contact the belly pan. Indeed a couple in my original had poked through. It also made it difficult to seal around the wheel wells and steps.

What I did was just leave the material on the bottom flange when cutting the radius and then bend the tab to match. Cutting was done with a saws-all and was not a lot of fun. The 0.125" steel is some pretty tough stuff. I got so I could produce an outrigger in about 10 minutes.
Attachment 313497Attachment 313498
Attachment 313499

Then for the outriggers that surround the wheel wells and the steps, I added a piece of metal to close them completely. This should make it easy to prevent gaps that could be used for an entrance by rodents.
Attachment 313500

After everything was cut, I then tack welded all the pieces together. Today I will flip it upside down and weld all the joints. Flip back right side up and weld the the topside. And then I will rest.......
Attachment 313501

Bubba L 06-09-2018 06:25 AM

Mark,well thought out. I have no idea why Airstream didnít close the ends of the outriggers. Iíve seen a lot of patches where they creased or poked through the wrap. I made my spare tire rack removable in the event I hit some road kill and have to remove it to straighten pieces. Youíll feel a lot better pulling a chassis that you know is built solid. Good luck, Bubba

dbj216 06-09-2018 07:36 PM

Hi Mark: Gee, that coupler is the same one that is on my flatbed trailer. I like it a lot. It seems more secure than the "sliding shoe" keeper on the usual coupler.

I certainly agree with closing the ends of the A frame channels. I have done so on all three of the Airstreams I've worked on. It is an open house door for mice, and I can imagine water migrates quite a ways down when pulling in a downpour.

You should get in the outrigger business. That is a fancy looking piece. Very well done.

It's going to be a super Safari for sure.

David


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