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OTRA15 08-12-2018 04:07 AM

Thanks for the details!


dbj216 08-13-2018 05:05 AM

I think your water proofing treatment is more than adequate. Heck, the raw OSB sheeting (poor choice of materials) has lasted 33 years in our Limited, and the old plywood in my 75 Overlander is still okay, except for the rear foot or so.

We vintage Airstreamers go hog wild on water proofing the subfloor. I think checking for leaks with the moisture meter, and fixing said leaks when found, is more effective.


steinVT 08-14-2018 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by dbj216 (Post 2142106)
We vintage Airstreamers go hog wild on water proofing the subfloor. I think checking for leaks with the moisture meter, and fixing said leaks when found, is more effective.


I agree on fixing leaks, but compared with the effort of replacing the floor, making it water resistant is really very little time or money.

In my case, while working on it I have it upside down and covered with a leaky tarp. Been very happy with the polyurethane a couple of times.

steinVT 08-19-2018 05:35 AM

Other little projects pre-belly pan
6 Attachment(s)
It seemed like the little projects would never end when getting ready for the belly pan.

I was very concerned about trying to keep the mice out as that is what triggered this whole thing. I didn't like the way the belly pan was fitted around the main frame rails both front and back with no support. I welded on little wings to the frame rails so there was something for the belly pan to be supported by and riveted to. Some one suggested this, but I can't remember who, anyway thanks.
Attachment 320281

There also was a gap around the outriggers in the wheel wells and also the steps. Using ABS plastic sheet and butyl putty tape , I filled the gaps and gave the belly pan a nice surface to rest against.
Attachment 320287

When I finished the waste plumbing, I realized I had another potential rodent pathway, around the piping and a small gap on the outrigger. To fill both of these I used a piece of 1/4" Plexiglas to fill those gaps. If mice get in around the sewer pipe, they should at least be locked in that compartment.
Attachment 320283

Being a front bath front kitchen model has presented some challenges when designing the waste plumbing. I won't punch a whole through the main frame rails and also didn't want plastic pipe hanging below the pan. My final design uses a above floor black tank, under the toilet and two above floor grey tanks. One under the kitchen counter in the corner and one under the forward dinette seat. To get the water from the shower to the tank I ended up piping in a sump with pump designed for doing the same thing in a boat.
Attachment 320284

This is the support that was welded in to hold the sump.
Attachment 320286

To solve the problem of how to open the black tank valve, I decided on an Auto Drain, electric valve. Don't need to worry about handles. Seems to work well. Again another suggestion from the forums, again thanks.

All plumbed together and waiting for the belly pan.
Attachment 320285

dbj216 08-19-2018 07:38 PM

Hey, that's the first time I've seen the "auto drain" electric valve. Is it a ball valve, gate valve, blade valve or how does it work, and will it work with debris in the lines? It certainly is a great idea. And the marine sump pump solves the shower drain problem.

I like the "no varmints allowed" mentality in building the bottom of your Safari. I wish Airstream had the same diligents. Mice are a problem with Airstreams. Same with houses I guess.

Your building a Super Safari.


steinVT 08-21-2018 04:00 AM

Auto Drain
The Auto Drain valve is a rather pricey add-on to the standard Valtera 3" valve. It replaces the handle with a servo drive gear rack and pinion. Comes with a switch and a valve open light and a really short (3') set of wires. It almost, but not quite, fits between the 4" frame rails. Requires about a 3/4" bump out in the belly pan.

steinVT 08-21-2018 04:53 AM

Belly Pan
6 Attachment(s)
With the waste plumbing and insulation complete it was time to tackle the belly pan, something I did with some apprehension. Turned out to not be as bad as I thought and even cheaper, something that seldom happens. I found a local metal shop that stocks 4'x8' 5052 0.025" aluminium at $46 each. I bought the two they had on hand but for some reason they couldn't find any more so I bought an additional 3 sheets of 0.032" instead. How much difference could 0.007" make? Turns out, quite a bit. Much stiffer which made it a PIA to make the bends to transition to the wall and in the corners, but should make it less prone to dents in the future.

I wanted overlapping seams so that when travelling, water would tend to roll off instead of getting scoped up. This is difficult to do with 48" wide sheets since the frame is set up with 48" spacing of cross members. Since I had two inch wide cross members to attach to, I decided to butt the sheets together and then add a 2" Z channel to act as a water deflector. Something like this.
Attachment 320446
The front panel only needed to be 35" so I had the shop cut one panel into 4 pieces. A 35" for the front, (2) 2" pieces for Z channel and one 9" piece to be added to the rear panel that needed to be 56" to include the rear wall. I then used a bead roller to make the 2" pieces into a shallow Z shape.
Attachment 320443
I used construction paper to make full size templates of all of the panels. My original belly pan was a bit of a mess so only used it to template the edges of the wheel wells.
Attachment 320444
To join the two rear panels I just matched the joints used on the old belly pan with a buck rivet ever two inches. The original pan must have had 4 of these joints. Since I had never bucked a rivet I thought this would be good practice as well. Turns out its pretty easy it you have the tools. The spacing tool is pretty cool and well worth the $37. It allow you to easily lay out your rivet spacing with minimal measuring.
Attachment 320445
All rivet holes into the steel also were primed with the zinc chomate to slow galvanic corrosion.
Attachment 320447
The final results. Notice the "power bulge" over the Auto-Drain valve.
Attachment 320448

I just have to say, you guys that have replaced your belly pans laying on your back, you are better men than me. It was one hell of an effort with the frame laying upside down 18" off the ground. Hat's off to you.

OTRA15 08-21-2018 06:06 AM


Originally Posted by steinVT (Post 2145616)
. . .
. . . How much difference could 0.007" make?
. . .

Relative to .025, about 28% thicker, which is a lot in a material you want to bend to that small of a radius IMO. Comparable +/- to trying to bend 1/2" ply instead of 3/8" ply.

Great update, thanks for the details!


dbj216 08-21-2018 06:26 PM

Great looking belly pan. When you complete your yet unnamed Safari and you are showing it at a rally, you will have to insist folks get on there hands and knees to look at it.

Yep, installing a belly pan laying on your back is a PITA as you might imagine. I have done three, and have another one to do this winter. I did buy an upside down drill press to take some of the "repetitive motion" strain off my shoulder. There are a lot of holes to drill when installing a belly pan. My belly pan installs are not as fancy as yours, but they do the job of keeping splash water and road dirt out of the bottom of the trailer.


steinVT 08-29-2018 05:23 AM

Back Together Again
2 Attachment(s)
The shell came off of the old frame on May 17th. It finally went back on to the new frame August 29th. I guess 3 months isn't to bad to build a frame from scratch. When it was all said and done, the only original parts from the floor down, including all the running gear, were the rear bumper and the fender wells. Oh and I recycled a bit of the old belly pan to reline the spare tire carrier. Don't think I will worry about driving over rail road tracks with this rig.
Attachment 321089

The reattachment was not without incident. I had measured the shell circumference prior to pulling it apart and then measured the C-channel around the frame just before reassembly. With only about 1/4" clearance, the shell would not drop far enough. In hind sight I probably should have had more like an 1" clearance. I ended up removing the C-channel from the front corners and shaving about 1/2" off the floor. I also noticed the front steel shell attachment plate was holding the shell out some, so it needed some adjustment. After all of that, it still didn't fit low enough in the front.

The front vertical ribs for the wall were bottomed in the C-channel meaning it couldn't go any lower. The only thing I can think of is the old frame had a slight buckle in the front and maybe after 20 years of being bent, the front end cap had taken a set that couldn't match the new straight frame. 1/4" off the bottom of each of the front ribs and all was solved.

I bought the buck riveting kit from Vintage Trailer Supply and couldn't be happier with it. I never have used bucked rivets and am impressed by how easy, fast and effective it is in joining two pieces of sheet metal. Not only that but it looks cool.:cool:

Attachment 321090

steinVT 08-29-2018 06:01 AM

Next Big Milestone
4 Attachment(s)
You would think when the shell is back together, than the fun would start. I suppose it has to do with your definition of fun. I am looking forward to installing all of the refinished furniture, but I have a few things to do before that.

My next big milestone will be painting the interior with zolatone, which I hope to do in a couple of weeks. But before that, a lot has to be done including insulation, wiring and any shell perforation type installations.

Here is a flow chart of the tasks leading up to the interior painting. I find planning it out helps so I don't forget to order something. Also it feels good to cross out completed items. Small bites.....
Attachment 321093

Some items already accomplished:

Install 30 amp plug. I always polish around the installations hopefully to make the final polish that much easier.
Attachment 321094

New water intake.
Attachment 321095

Polish and seal the furnace chimney.
Attachment 321096

dbj216 08-29-2018 07:08 PM

Yea! Clap, clap, clap! The marriage of body to frame is complete. Your "Full Monte" vintage Airstream merit badge is in the mail. There are more people who have climbed Mt Everest than have done a full monte body removal and frame rebuild.

Great job on making adjustments so the body sat square on the new frame and subfloor. No two Airstreams are dimensionally alike. Hand built you know.

Very wise to polish the material where you mount new fixtures. It will make your polish job better, but maybe not easier.


steinVT 09-02-2018 05:41 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Thanks David, it does feel good. I may now see a little pin prick of light at the end of the tunnel.

Work continues. The PRODEX is installed so the wiring can begin. I have now finalized the electrical design.
Attachment 321339
I rebuilt the rear access door replacing the lock, handle and nameplate. All bought at Vintage Trailer supply. I've had some big boxes from them recently.
Attachment 321340
All of the exterior lights have been rebuilt/replaced with LED's. Now installed it's starting to look like a trailer again.
Attachment 321341
The trailer came with an antenna which was pretty ratty. Finally found a replacement at JC Whitney of all places. Haven't bought anything from them forever. $16 and free shipping, can't beat that.
Attachment 321342

Bubba L 09-02-2018 05:54 AM

Mark, one thing to think about when insulating the end cap areas. I had about 1-7/16” of insulation at the end cap areas. That was too much in some spots. My end cap cavities varied from 1-1/2” to 3/4”. I ended up removing some of the Foamular and replacing with rock wool to fill voids. You’ve turned the corner on your 56. I especially like the original chimney cap. Keep up the good progress, Bubba

dbj216 09-02-2018 05:29 PM

Very nice stienVT: Your Safari is going to be worth a ton of money when you get it finished. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


steinVT 09-03-2018 06:59 PM

Finished up 90% of the rough wiring today, both 12v and 120v. I ran out of the 14AWG triplex marine cable or I would have finished. I'll get some pictures tomorrow.

I can now start putting up the rock wool and was wondering if you guys found a good way to split it? It seems to not want to split cleanly.

Also I was using the 3M spay adhesive to put up the PRODEX and was not impressed. Seems like it will work even worse on the rock wool. What technique do you guys use? Spray both sides? Put in on really thick?

Thanks in advance.

Bubba L 09-03-2018 07:12 PM

Mark, don’t know why the 3M is not working. I used it throughout the inside on the initial layer against the outer skin. I lightly sprayed the aluminum, then the back of the Prodex. I let it sit for a few seconds and stuck it. As far as the rock wool, no idea. Good luck, Bubba

steinVT 09-04-2018 08:05 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Well, that was the trick. Spray both sides. Also works pretty well for putting up the rock wool onto the PRODEX.

The best way I found to split the rock wool is to use a large serrated knife cutting from both sides then cut the middle as you lift. Only took me a full bag of insulation to figure it out. I am working with the trailer in full sun. As the wool went up, I could almost feel the temperature dropping in the trailer.

A couple of pictures from yesterday. I finished up the 12v towing lights first. All lights were replaced with LED's and all connections used marine crimps with shrink wrap with adhesive cuffs.
Attachment 321525
The joints seem very strong. Wires were supported with AL tape and went thru rubber grommets when ever they passed through a rib.
Attachment 321526
The original trailer had three 115 circuits and no 12v circuits (except for the trailer running lights). It now has five 115v and seven 12v, so you can see I had to add a bunch of wire to add.
Attachment 321527

steinVT 09-04-2018 08:26 PM

Seam Sealer
4 Attachment(s)
This is a little out of order, but I wanted to get it into the record.

Before any insulation was up, I went through and resealed the joints and rivets from the inside of the trailer. Like most vintage trailers, this one had the black seam sealer on the end caps and roof. At first look it seemed OK, although with closer inspection, you could see it was dry and cracked.
Attachment 321528
I found the brass brush attachment to my 4 1/2 grinder made quick work of anything I wanted to remove from the inside. This is the tool to use. It also removes skin quite nicely too.
Attachment 321529
It's dirty work, but it comes out looking good.
Attachment 321531
To seal it I used Eastwood Brush-able Seam Sealer. If you can image painting with Tempro 635 that is what it's like. Plan on throwing away the brushes as there is no cleaning them. Can't imagine how any water can work it's way in.
Attachment 321530

Bubba L 09-04-2018 08:44 PM

Mark, kinda watch the wire brush wheel for the side grinder. I was using one a few months ago doing the same thing. One of the tiny 1” wires came off the wheel and stuck in my forearm. When I tried to pull it out, it disappeared into my arm. We went to the ER because I figured that was a bad thing. The Doc said if it doesn’t bother me, let it lay since my body would encapsulate it. Just one of the restoration hazards. Stay safe, Bubba

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