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.


Aluminium Idler said...

Hi Steve
I think we've both got similar door issues, though I haven't started on mine yet. If its any consolation my door is in a worse state and the hinges have 3 sets of holes drilled in the skin, so its more like a pepper-shaker top. Like you, we've got the inner skin off & plan to add a much thicker gauge alloy plate behind the outer skin to take the weight of the door, rather than add more Alclad to the outside. It will mean a few extra short lines of rivets but will take the weight of the door and spread it over the whole panel. It'll also allow us to use the old rivet holes (as the strength will be from the inner plate) and the new hinges (yes, I got a set from VTS too) will hide the pepper pot holes. Maybe you could consider the same.

Good luck, I'll be watching the results closely.


Soldiermedic said...


I have also toyed with the idea of using a thicker piece of aluminum plate on the backside of the exterior shell to shoot the rivets through. My hinges had two rows of holes, but the new hinges have room for a third row, and I will add a third line for extra support and hold.


Sugarfoot said...

Wow, your hinge spots do look serious. My Tradewind hinge rivets corroded until they sheared with the door weight, but the aluminum under wasn't so bad like yours.

I hope you get the perfect solution for the problem.

Brad Norgaard said...

Those look all too familiar as that's how mine looked when the door flew off during a trip on the freeway. I had to make a repair while on the road so I drilled additional holes and used larger rivets. That was over eight years ago and haven't had an issue since.