Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All good things come to an end.

Many of you are likely wondering why there hasn't been any posting for awhile. Since I have taken the door off to have it rebuilt, I have not done anything with the trailer. Adding to the complexity of a trailer rebuild over almost 2 years now, Amy's tour is up here in St. Louis, and her next set of orders has been issued. In the middle of July, Amy will be relocating to beautiful Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. Six summers ago, we moved from San Antonio, TX back to Missouri, so at least we have some familiarity with the city and process.

Due to being accepted into the University of Missouri Nursing program, I will be staying here over the next 27 months to finish school instead of going with Amy and Collin. Trust me, this is something that has been tearing at my heart considering I won't be there for them, will miss his first day of school (it's his first year), and all the other stuff that comes with being apart for long periods of time.

Since we will be apart, we sold out 1975 Ambassador to a nice family in Kentucky. We did the exchange two days ago, and he said he had no problems getting it home. We hope his family has as much fun in it as we did. While it wasn't something that we wanted to do, Amy will need a new car to take to TX, and a computer as well since I will keep the computer here for school. Our thoughts now turn to the Flying Cloud. As I stated before, I have not touched it since April, and with full time classes for the next two years I cannot fathom having the time to work on it. I am at the point where I will sell it as a project (for a major loss just considering the parts I have that go with it), or take it to a restoration company. I have sent a few emails about the trailer to some restoration companies and I am waiting to hear back. Locally I was offered $5,000 by guy who really wants a project airstream.

In the mean time, I will have to live vicariously through all of you out there who are living the Airstream dream. It's been an interesting time since we bought our first trailer in November 2006. Thank you all for reading and contributing over the past several years.

See you down the road.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Off with the door, paint on the floor

Today was an absolute beauty of a day. Originally I had not planned on working this weekend. Amy has been in Washington State at Fort Lewis the past 16 days. We spoke maybe 30-45 seconds every other day, and she was scheduled to be home at 0930 after 10 hours of flights overnight. She was able to get an earlier flight, and it have us more time to take care of things.

When I first picked up my flying cloud, I noticed that like many Airstreams, the door had flown open while traveling down the road. This put large dents in the door within a door, the main door, and cracked on of the jambs on the main door.

Both main and inner door dented.

In order to rebuild the door correctly, I need a large break to make a new main jamb. Since I don't have a brake, I enlisted the help of forums member oh2becarefree. They have a 48 Curtis Wright trailers. Mike is a contractor and former metal worker. Most importantly, he has a large metal brake.

While the door is being rebuilt, I have a few new additions. I ordered new stainless steel hinges from Vintage Trailer Supply several months back to replace the rusty steel ones currently on the trailer. I have also decided to completely change the door latch. You can see in the picture above that the door had a simple round knob, and a Yale deadbolt that never worked or had keys. I wanted a latch that was low profile, included a deadbolt, and was chrome. I found a FASTEC latch on ebay that fit everything I was looking for. I now just needed to ensure it would work.

After viewing hundreds of vintage trailer pictures, I came across a 58 flying cloud with the latch I had been looking for. Here are pics from the interior and exterior of the latch I chose on a door within a door.


So back to what I was doing today. Since I need to take the door to Mike this week, I drilled out the rivets holding the hinges on. Once the lower hinge was drilled out, I used clecos to hold it in place while I drilled out the top hinge rivets. What I found under the top hinge was unsettling. With the difference of metals between the hinge and skin of the trailer, I had bad galvanizing corrosion. The corrosion was so bad, that the clecos wouldn't even hold the door hinge to the trailer. I had seen something similar to this on Bill Kerfoot's 54 Liner. I will likely use the same fix that Bill used, and rivet on a long piece of Alclad down the rear edge of the door.

Upper hinge area on skin (Bad)

Lower hinge area on skin (Good)

Door removed (Good)

The other item of business I had for the day was to get a coat of oil based paint on the floor. The flooring is already extremely moisture resistant (currently the lowest moisture absorption in the field for OSB and plywood), but I wanted to ensure that my floor will have more protection that it needs. The paint I used is oil based and made for house siding, decks, and patios. It is waterproof with a 15 year warranty. I brushed around the edges of the C channel, and then used a roller across the rest of the floor.

Before paint

After paint

Good day in all. I may throw another coat of the paint on tomorrow depending on my schedule.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Restoration Days

On Saturday I got a call from the guy I had sold my 63 Tradewind to. He was telling me that his 12v power had gone out abruptly. As I sat on the phone going back and forth, I decided it was best to just drive down and help him out. His wife watched Collin while we spent the next seven hours working.

With a few calls to Melody Ranch from AIRforums, we finally figured out the issue. The old wiring had cracked sleeves, and was shorting itself to the frame. We started in on figuring out his umbilical wiring issue, but day rapidly turned to night.

The next day, Brian came out to assist me on my trailer. Brian is a contractor, and is much better at alot of things when it comes to his approach on Airstreams. We decided to buck rivet both sides down, and attach the trailer to the wheel wells. The previous owner had placed large wheel well flares over the side skin due to a blow out. I like the look of the flares, so I kept them. We applied a liberal amount of sealant between the wheel well and the exterior skin as well, to ensure we didn't get water penetration.

Curbside Riveted

Street side Riveted

It wasn't all rosy. We had to remove the rear corner belly skins that were hastily installed. The relief cuts were far too long, and were showing under the shell. This is a huge problem on the front of the trailer as well, but with everything riveted together up front, I am reluctant to remove everything to redo it. We will also have to cut a large portion of the front belly pan out that is buckling due to improper installation. When this was installed last fall, I was complacent, and in a hurry. That will end up costing me on overall quality of a job, and I am sorry about it.

To end on a positive, I found not one, but two of the Yankee 70 glass lenses that I had broken. One of them even came with the fixture and bezel (Impossible to find). I got both of them for less than $20. Kings to me!

Anyone interested in a rally? We are hosting a rally in Southern Illinois May 13-16th at Whittington Woods Campground. We had two great rally events there last year, and have 14 trailers signed up so far. Hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Awww Crap... (BOLO)


Please be on the lookout for a red or amber Beehive marker lamp like the ones pictured below. While performing diagnostics on my running lights, I slipped on a small patch of ice and dropped one of my glass lenses. I was told these lenses are near impossible to find by Steve at Vintage Trailer Supply. At one point he was considering recasting some of them, but the process was too expensive to consider.

Since there are already holes in the trailer for this light that would not be covered up by teardrop running lights, I really prefer to use these original fixtures.

The reason I was doing this in the first place was because not all my marker lights were coming on when I used a battery charger to test the circuit. It is ran the exact same way as the original with a single leg covering both street side fixtures, the tail lights, and the curbside rear light. The curbside front is a short separate leg. The curbside front has no issues lighting up, but when I power the other circuit, the trouble light on the charger lights up. I have continuity through the lines, but no voltage. I was grounding to the fresh C channel. Perhaps there is not enough amperage passing through the lines from the battery charger, but I am not an electrical genius.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting back to work

It's been a long and cold winter to this point. Instead of freezing my butt off in the uninsulated trailer, I have been spending more time with the family. A month ago, I sold our third trailer, a 63 Tradewind, and the new owner and I have been working on it for camping season.

Yesterday, my new friend Brian, (the Tradewind owner), came over to assist on working on the flying cloud. We pulled all of the new 110v wiring, and most of the 12v system wiring. We still need to run wiring for the porch light, two ceiling lights, and the DSI circuit of the future hot water heater.

We did accomplish some other things though. We installed the water fill and water tank vent in the front of the trailer. These are marine parts which will require a little finagling on my part to integrate into the system, but well worth the look.

We also installed this umbilical outlet on the front of the trailer. I like how our 75 has a removable trailer cable when not in use, and decided to do it on my Flying Cloud. I didn't like the plastic on Vintage Trailer Supply, so I went to etrailer.com's HQ which is a few miles down the road. The cover is galvanized, So in time it will rust, but I hope it's awhile till that happens

More later.