Friday, November 30, 2007

How many new toys are really needed?

Well, I bought a sheet metal brake yesterday and I had to try it out. I started out by replicating the gear box that is part of the TV antenna. The box was made out of sheet metal and has been sanded and re-painted many times. I thought about getting a sand blaster and then prime and paint... instead I chose to reproduce it. The brake actually does a good job if you mark out the place you want the bend and then offset the clamping bar by that thickness. If you look in the back of this photo, you will see my first attempt. I am learning so many new skills through this process, perhaps the best skill is patience.

I did make a few changes to the design... I used rivets to put it together, and I used aluminum. No more painting...
See before:

And after:

I will still need to drill a hole for the antenna shaft to go through. I am waiting on this because (A) this is not really a necessary project. And (B) I need to figure out what to use to replace the plastic sleeves on the box and shaft. The plastic is toast after 45 years in the sun.
I know I am not supposed to be working on gear boxes, but I had to try out the new tool. The TremPro is on the counter thawing... just you wait till Sundays post, my goal is to finish all ALL the windows by dark time Sunday. NO MORE LEAKS... for now. Rob Baker tells me often "(laugh, laugh)... you know, they all (laugh) leak(laugh, laugh, laugh)..." and the sad thing is he is right. Well my hope is to stop them for a little while, BY DARK TIME SUNDAY.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The yard is done, time to play with my girlfriend...

So How did you spend your Thanksgiving weekend? I finished cleaning up, trimming back, and mulching our entire yard. By doing that I was able to work on Anna for the few hours that were not obligated to family events.
I now have all the old putty picked out of the window frames all the way around. It was very cold and I had to put on many
layers to keep from freezing.

Good thing I blew out all the water lines last week. The putty was actually easier to pick in it's semi frozen state. I have been using these dental tools that I bought at Harbor Freight.

Don't get too attached to these if you plan to use them as I did. This is the fourth set of 6. As you can see the bottom three
are beginning to deform, soon they will be worthless. The drip cap serves an important function in keeping the water out of the window frames and sometimes some strange panel overlaps.

Now, maybe I am paranoid, but that looks like a potentially serious problem.
Anna now sits with her seams picked clean and blue tape as a temporary caulk to keep the rain out. I need a full day to get all the frames injected with vulkum (AKA Trempro) and the drip caps re-installed. Anyone out there want to come by this weekend? I would be glad to feed and wine anyone that wants to stop by and help me... I'll even let you shave some rivets.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Something is coming between me and my girl.....

That something is 15 cubic yards of hardwood mulch. It was dropped off this morning and until it is all gone, no Anna. I had the driver dump it in front of the gate as a symbolic barrier to my desires. Now it sits steaming in the crisp morning air. I promised Beth that I would take care of the yard before I played with my Airstream. Yes, my wife thinks it is all play. If she rebuilt one window she would think differently. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a spouse willing to get in there and get dirty, then again not every spouse loves you as much as mine loves me...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

They all leak...

I began my day on Friday by checking on Anna. It has been raining a lot here lately and I am always worried about leaks. I have been using blue tape as a temporary plug, but it can only hold up so long to the rain, it is only paper you know. So all the windows were dry except for the bathroom window.

The only good thing I can say about this leak, is that it is being directed into a trash can via some rags and is no longer making it to the floor. I really need to get a handle on these leaks quickly so that I can get moving on the bathroom renovations. I have been working my way around, removing drip caps and picking the old putty out of the frames. The bathroom window required that I also remove the Airstream emblem from the back.

Behind the emblem was about a 1/4" of dirt. The dirt was packed in nice and neat just like a factory worker had placed it there. one seed in the top and I would have had a flower garden up there. By removing the drip cap, I was able to clearly see where the water is going into the frame. This picture does not show it real well, but the window frame is bent around some body rivets. This occurs three times across the top of the window frame. At each one of these bends there is a gap between the body and the putty. Water is just running right in these gaps.

To add to the problem, the end cap segments also direct water right to this gap. once I get all the old putty out and inject new vulkum in, that problem will be no more.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Time flies...

Time flies when your waiting to work on your Airstream. My wife knows that in order to get certain things done around the house, she can use Anna as a leverage. We have a lot of perennial beds around our house and fall is one of the times that everything needs to be cut back and weeded out. I was told that the yard had to be put back in shape before I do anything else on Anna. I have been spending my "free" time working on the yard as much as possible. I am torn by this, because I would rather be sealing the leaking windows or ripping out the bathroom. Getting the yard cleaned up has never been so important.
A few things have happened however. I took the broken window sash to a welder local to me. Nothing talks like cash... one of the guys fixed it on his lunch break and it has been re- installed in the frame. I have also began working on the leaks above the windows. It is my theory that water is running behind the drip cap and then into the window frame. I began by picking the old putty from the behind the cap. I was hoping to just pick it out or the drip cap and replace it vulkum, however, the cap was loose after all the putty was removed. I went the next step and drilled off the drip cap completely. I am rather glad that this happened, for I could clearly see the spot where the water was going into the frame. I have begun digging out all the old putty from the top and sides of the frame. When it is all cleaned out, I will inject new vulkum into the seam, and with hope no more leaks. The drip cap will be re- installed with some buthayl tape behind it, so that too should add to no more window leaks.

A word of credit... Sharon of Lady Bug Airforums fame taught me that the gasket that hold the glass in place is very easy to install. No real force is required to install it as I thought. It just glides right into place by running a screen repair tool. The roller just pushes it right into place. One end of the tool has a grooved wheel that catches the top lip of the gasket perfectly. Wish Shron had chimed in earlier, would have saved me a lot of time.

Another thing that had distracted me from Anna was a little fishing with my Brother-in law and some friends. We didn't catch anything but a large buzz fish. You know the saying... a bad day of fishing is almost as good as a bad day of working on your Airstream. Wait that didn't sound right...