Friday, February 27, 2009

Falsely accuse my #@% and &*@#....

I have a blogger friend the insists on falsely accusing me of neglecting Anna. Two nights ago I went to my friends house to star gaze. If you folks do not know Comet Lulian is here for just a few days and then will not return for 1013 year. I went over to Michael's, just as I do for every celestial special event to observe it. We sat out in front of Luna which is parked in his yard. Watching Lulian outside of Luna... perfect ring to it eh? No, that was cheating and neglecting Anna he said. I should have towed Anna over to his house and sat in front her instead he claimed. Well, I want to set the record straight... I am not neglecting Anna. How quickly he forgot about the new axles I put on her last week. I know he did not see any parts of this little project....

The water fill door was bent by my zealous use of a compounder. Just recently my pick up truck cap flipped in a wind storm and broke out Anna's front window. But it also tore off the water fill door. I took it as a sign and began fabricating a new one. Here it is roughed out of .032 2024 T3 Alclad.

A little fine tuning of the fit was required. No big deal.

But before I buck rivet it on, I thought I would polish the surrounding areas as to not catch any tool edges on it again.

A little polishing turns into a couple of hours. Not bad for two hours. I have a new system I have been using to polish. It works very well and I will share the process soon enough.

Hope this sets the record straight....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Anna updated and preview

Okay, there have been a few requests for more details about the axles. I cannot say how well they ride, for I have not gone out on the road yet with her. I am however very happy with the way she sits.

One of my biggest trepidation was that the new axles would lift her higher. I like the low rider look. It feels more classic to me to see an Airstream riding low, than jacked up like some Prowler or Bigfoot. When level, the wheel cut out rides about a half inch below the top of the rims. Now all of the Inland converts will come up to me and tell me how I need new axles, but I will just smile and set them right. I asked Colin to keep it low and he came through with flying colors on that request.

The new running gear looks very nice and clean. All wired in and ready to roll. I feel fairly good about the way the project came out even if it was a lot more work than I had expected. Hope that answers the questions sent my way.

The latest project was to install the name plate.

I sent my original to Vintage Trailer Supply to be copied. If you have a 61-64 Ohio built International Overlander, well now my friend, you can get a new name plate. I will use some Olympic rivets to hold it on. I had to leave it clecoed on, for I was all out of Vulkem. Unfortunately Fastenal was closed by the time I realized that I did not have a tube on hand. Manana, amigo. ¿Por qué hace hoy lo que usted puede postergar hasta mañana?

And now for a preview...

Yes, that is a busted out window. We had a big windstorm and my truck cap was leaning against the shop. Well, it kind of attacked Anna. Actually the wind flipped it into her. No big deal it is just a piece of glass.

I need to fix this one anyhow. That crack is the result of rough Central New York farm roads and running on sagged out axles. I guess a window repair seminar is about to hit this blog with in a few days.

mood music is important

I might, just might, have gotten the cyclo out yesterday. Here a little of what I was listening too as I was polishing...

And then I switched over to...

my man Michael. He comes to Baltimore next weekend.... we will be there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

mood music.

For what it is worth, here is a good axle changing group. Thought you all might enjoy a little taste...

I actually put this on for my buddy Don. I know it will put a serious smile on his face.

How many men does it take to change a pair of axles?

One. It only takes one, but it sure does take him a long time.I pushed on through and managed to get her done yesterday. The day before I completed the front axle. The front one took many one or two hour sessions. Armed with the learning curve of the front axle, I was ready to make the rear one move smoothly. I went out first thing in the morning and jumped right in on dropping the remaining axle. It took about 45 minutes to have the old axle out.

There are a few things beside the axle to consider. There are brake wires to disconnect and gas lines to move out of the way. But the important thing to remove is the shocks. Unfortunately the curb side stud decided to twist off as easy as unscrewing a nut.

So, Out comes the sawzall and off comes what remains of the stud. I cut a machine bolt to the proper length and prep both surfaces to weld a new one on. The next hurdle in about to pop up... the cord on the welder is about three feet long and the place I can plug into is about 12 feet from where I need to weld. Off to the orange box to get the proper plug ends and wire to make a super duty cord. Then back again to get the other proper plug ends. The plug has a horizontal blade on the left and because I was running down all the steps of installing the axles in my head, I did not realize I had picked up a horizontal flat blade on the right. Minor set back on the road to axle installation. After about six hours of elapsed time I had the job completed. All in all it was a giant pain in the ass. I have read about how so many guys sailed right through it. One guy claims he did it in an hour and a half. Not sure how that was possible, but I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

One amasses a large pile of tools by the time the install is done. There is yet another similar pile on the other side of a drill and a pile of bits used to drill the holes. They all got dumped on the work bench to be dealt with today. It was time for a stiff bourbon.

So in reflection why was it such a pain in the ass? I think when you buy something and it arrives with holes pre driller an expectation is set that those holes are going to play a part in the process. When they do not line up with anything it creates disappointment. When I take on an axle swapping in the future I will order the brackets without any holes drilled in them. That way I can put the holes where I need them to be. The bracket also is shaped like an upside down "J" and the small leg limits where the drill bit can reach. Another serious pain is the fact that I am getting older. Crawling in and out from under the trailer, holding yourself at weird angles while drilling or cutting, and contorting ones self to tighten things down are better done by those with more flexibility.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am scratching my head...

I had intended to post about how easy it is to install axles. "Intended" is the operative word there. Words are being chosen very carefully as I describe my utter frustration with it all. Yesterday I went out and bought a transmission lift to make putting them in easier. I work alone on just about everything, so another set of hands, even if they are mechanical, is a welcomed addition. I carry the axle out and put it on the lift and slide it into place. It goes up into the notches in the hanging plate like it was made to fit exactly. I am elated to see this happen. I am talking perfect fit side to side and the bracket is up tight to the frame rails when it is in the notch in the bracket. But then I hear screeching tires on pavement, metal to metal grinding, and the distinctive sound of a car, no a bus. A bus full of children(okay sorry getting too graphic, it was test dummy children in a test crash scenario) tumbling end for end in my head as I looked up at the bolt holes to see this.

Why is there light between the hole? I knew they were not going to be lining up with the existing holes, but not even on the bracket... Common' man you have got to be kidding me here... And then I look to the other side of the axle tube and that bus starts to slide on some rocks... the rocks break free, and the bus begins to tumble over and over down the side of the mountain.

For this is what I see there. Now one thing I can do is read a tape measure. I have made my living reading one for many years now. If... yes "IF" (little word with huge implications) I can center a new hole just right, there will be 1/16" of bracket left between the edge and 1/16" left between the two factory holes. This is of course relying on me not allowing the drill bit to wander at all. I just do not understand why the holes are there in the first place. If the bracket had not been pre drilled, I could just drill new ones into solid meat instead of creating swiss cheese out of it. You may also notice the old hole forward or the bracket. That is there because the bracket was installed backward even though I ordered it forward. Somewhere between the distributor and producer, someone decided to reverse it. I choose to accept it anyway, for it was still firmly on the hanging plate. So far, I not very pleased with my experience. I think next time I might try a different brand. Once the sun comes up in Indiana, I plan on calling the factory where these were made and asking them why it is done like this. I would call the dealer that I bought them from, but he is on a three week vacation. In six weeks, one day I will be camping and cannot wait for someone else to find the proper solution.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Little steps forward

I have been taking my time with this project. Actually I have been searching for some time to get it done. There is always something getting in the way of progress. If it is not one of my children, it is a Hallmark holiday founded on some Saint of lovers. I am actually not in a rush, kind of feeling my way through as I go. Some folks will read all about how a task is accomplished, and feel ready to go. For me,I like to feel my way through, take little steps and make sure I understand fully how to get it done. These axles are no exception.

I used PB Blaster over and over on the bolts holding the axles on. I tried heat and a hammer to try and get the bolts holding the axle loose. None of my efforts got them to budge even slightly. It was time to get creative or Medieval, the present course of action was not working.

So out comes the Sawzall and off come the bolts. With the Milwaukee brand blade called "The Torch" the bolts came off in about forty five seconds each. I should have just gone this route right from the start. I had a floor jack under the axle, but it did not drop. I proceeded to pound on it with my biggest hammer until finally it dropped out.

At this point one axle has been removed. Now if I can make some time, I will put the new one on and next do the back axle. That should go much faster, for I will know exactly what needs to be done. I probably could have gotten the front axle on, but I hit a little snag.

Now that the old running gear is out of the way, I can clearly see that this is not going to be a direct change out. None of the bolt holes line up with any of the holes in the bracket. I will have to drill four new holes per axle. I had better buy a good quality drill bit. Good thing I saved about $800, I feel I can easily afford even one bit per hole.
Unfortunately the axle swap will have to wait a couple days now. I am off first thing sunday morning to help a good friend move and the bring back my other trailer, the 1954 Safari. I am also going to bring back some bathroom wardrobes for a 1961 Ambassador. They need to be worked on and veneered. You can read about that project on my Frank's Trailer Works Blog in a couple of days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bones for my blogger buddy

More bones being thrown in Marcus's direction. His continuous badgering has gotten way under my skin and put a little vinegar in my piss. I can take any challenge head on and this the perfect pressure point release. Time to change out those damn axles.

I dragged Anna up on the concrete parking pad and rolled the rear wheels up on two sets of boards. The front wheels are dangling there an inch or two off the ground.

I removed the front wheels and proceeded to spray PB blaster on all the nuts. I then tried to get something to budge. No results. More BP Blaster followed by more attempts with no results in getting anything to loosen up. Tomorrow I will get out the sawzall and just cut the bolts off.

But the point of all this is to let Marcus know that he has lit a serious bonfire. Sometimes bonfires become forest fires...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

spring fever

A blogger buddy feels I have been neglecting my mistress. He claims I am distracted by other hotties lurking in the shadows. He is wrong. I am still madly hot for my Anna. Today it was almost 50 degrees and I made some time to spend with my girl. I will be doing as many little thing for her as I can now that the weather feels more temperate.

I pulled out the bench top brake and some 2024 aluminum and commenced to cutting and bending.

Some buck riveting and some drilling and next thing I knew I reproduced the sheet metal gear box for the TV antenna. This one does not need constant priming and painting to keep it from rotting away.

I have been gathering bits and parts of antennas for a year now to get one complete.

Here is my 1958, 61,62, 64 Television antenna. The ironic thing is we do not watch TV while camping. I just like the added bling. I guess I need to send in for one of those converter box coupons or this antenna will be obsolete.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

They grow on trees

The Washington DC Unit is having it's tenth annual Cherry Blossom Rally this year. Here is a little sneak preview of a gift I am sneaking into everyones goodie bag. You are looking at six of the reproduction water decals I am now producing. I plan on seeing that everyone who comes gets one. From what I hear, all 50 spaces have been sold out. Should be a killer rally for all those that attend. I have been working on the decals for the caravan that Rob Baker is leading on Wedensday April 1. Here is a link (please copy and paste, for I am too stupid to create a working link)to the caravan with all the details.

And here are some of the finished product waiting to be cut out. I sure hope we get some firm RSVPs soon, so we know how many are coming along.

Friday, February 6, 2009

They're here.....

Well exactly three weeks to the day, my axles arrived via Yellow Freight. They were strapped down nice and tight to the pallet, the hubs were well protected with bubble paper, and a bag containing all the nuts bolts and instructions was bound to all of that. The powder coat is nice a thick and was applied very uniform. I put my tape measure to them and they are exactly what I ordered. I am anxious to install them, but it has been too cold. This morning it was 16 degrees when I got up, that was our high temperature yesterday. Tomorrow the forecast says it will be in the high 50's. Kind of funny living where I do. The weather, like the state itself cannot decide if it is part of the South or the North. I sure am looking forward to spring, it has just been so cold. I have burnt five cords of wood and have only a days worth left. I need to get on the horn and get some delivered as soon as possible. Hopefully in the next few days I will be putting these axles on.