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63air 02-26-2010 11:15 PM

Antenna base removal problem
I'm in the process of installing a new am/fm stereo system in my '63 and have run into the problem of getting the original whip antenna base off ,so that I can attach new coaxial cable to it for use with the new stereo system. It seems that the original antenna was installed to the outside first and then the inside was skinned, leaving no future access to the mounting base nuts. The only way I can see to get to the bolts now, is to measure the location very carefully and then to cut a hole (about 5"X5") in the inside skin to get to the bolts. The hole and susequent patch would be hidden by my front gaucho. Any problem with taking this approach? Also , what's the best tool to use to get a nice cut ?

Zeppelinium 02-26-2010 11:37 PM

Yes, you have to cut a hole in the inside skin. All my Airstreams already have either a hole, or a plate over the hole, installed by the previous owner. All the holes seem to have been cut with a hole saw, about 3" diameter. That's what I would recommend.

You can get a nice cut with a metal blade on a saber saw, but you have to put a suitable block of wood under the saber saw foot, or the blade with hit the shell and ding the heck out of it. No matter what you do, you won't be able to use the piece of metal you cut out of the inner skin.


63air 02-27-2010 08:59 AM

Thanks for confirming my idea, looks like I'll be busy today. I checked out your link to the Pygmy and showed my wife; her words were "oh no". Building one of those is also on my my project list but I think that will get done after I build a Teardrop.

adonh 02-27-2010 09:08 AM

Sheet metal cutter
1 Attachment(s)
Here is a handy little sheet metal cutter. You just drill a small hole and insert the bottom cutting blade and then and as you press on the handles the metal is cut producing a thin role of the cut metal in front. Forum member Lewster mentioned this tool in a post a few years ago and I bought one online. It works great and cuts a real smooth line and you can actually cut curves and circles with it. The problem is I don't remember the name of this tool or where I ordered it. It is in my tool box in the trailer in storage so I can pull it out and look at it. Maybe someone will recognize this. Great tool for the Airstream


Aerowood 02-27-2010 02:58 PM

I just noticed that you are in Moline. I'm working in Peoria right know, I think we are pretty close.


63air 02-27-2010 03:20 PM

You are about 90 miles away from Moline where we live, 70 miles from Lynn Center where we have our shop, or 30 miles from Fairview where our farm is.

63air 02-27-2010 03:54 PM

Found the tool
It is a hand nibbler ,you can get good ones from Klein or Bessey or cheap ones at the Chinese tool store.

adonh 02-27-2010 06:06 PM

Mini Nibbler
Its the Mini Nibbler from Eastwood. Although I could not actually find it on their site. Here is some information about it.
Toolmonger Blog Archive Dealmonger: A Mini-Nibbler For $20

63air 03-01-2010 05:12 PM

I ended up cutting the hole with an air tool ( high speed cutter) and that worked fine but I have to admit it is a bit traumatic making that first cut , (since there are no do overs ). Anyway ,the new coax is in and I'm just waiting for Amazon to bring my new stereo so it can be hooked up to my prized whip antenna.

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