Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sam, Did I say thank you yet?

Monty came over yesterday and we bucked the street side belly pan into place. The ground around Anna is like pudding. I had to put down plywood to keep from wallowing in it.

The second time was a charm, for this time we were able to install it without dents and tears. I actually went in like it was made for it. The only bucking left to do is the rear section between the frame rails. When I went to tuck the belly pan in, I realized I had forgotten to paint the outside of the rear cross member. The weather has been less than cooperative in allowing me to paint it until today. I will tuck the last of the pan up into the rear tomorrow after the Eastwood has cured. Monty does not seem to mind coming over because it gives him an excuse to come eat a meal at our house.

Sam Baldwin, I want to say thanks. Thank you for the parts from your former water heater that allowed me to create this door for my new Atwood. I was able to install it today and it looks very sweet to me. I would say this is a major improvement over way a previous owner had done it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Monty is the MAN....

Monty came over and lent me a hand yesterday. He arrived not only eager to get the belly pan in place, but carrying an excellent lunch of pit beef sandwiches and boardwalk fries. We ate and went at it.

I had made two belly skins out of 5052 aluminium. Our first attempt at the street side did not go so well, so after a week of mulling it over we wanted to get the curb side right.

Instead of using force we coersed the sheet into place. We used clecoes to hold it in place as we worked it from the wheel well, back to the rear.

Once all the clecos were in place, I began replacing them with solid rivets. We just took the clecos out one at a time and worked from back to front.

The solid rivets have a gold coating on them that will come off easily.

I found a variety of sizes is important. Most often I was going through two layers of metal and the #4 was perfect for that. Most of the shell attachment required a #5 for I was going through the shell, the belly pan, and the "c" channel. There were a few occations that a #6 was used such as through all the layers and then the stud and into the steel angle that connects the frame, floor, belly pan, "c" channel and shell.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Everyone needs a friend like Monty

If you do not have a friend like Monty, well, I feel sorry for you. Monty is the kind of guy that not only helps you when you ask, but gets excited to be helping you. He has a real positive attitude about everything and is really a pleasure to know.

Last Saturday Monty came over and we made a stab at installing the new belly pans. The first thing we did was rivet on the plate to cover where the old water heater was.

We then went on to struggle with the belly pan on the street side. We had no clue as to how it went and spent three hours fighting a sheet of aluminium that was smarter than us.

It ended up creased, torn and dented. I knew I had been beat and called it a day.
And another day.
And another day.
And then some more days, until today.

I ordered a new sheet of 5052 from Airparts inc. and began slowly working the curb side belly pan up and in. Instead of fighting it, I just rubbed and caressed it until it curved and bent and slid gently into place. It is now ready for drilling, clecos, and then rivets. No creases this time, just a smooth compound curve. Monty offered to come tomorrow and go back at it. Hopefully we get the shell all back on, it took a bit of learning how, but now it is coming together.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This one's for Sam Baldwin ...

Sam is the man, the man that hooked me up with some parts I needed. He also hooked me up with some parts I wanted. "This one's for Sam Baldwin" will be appearing a few time on this blog. Sam had saved all his extra parts when he did his renovation and I got so lucky. One of the things that bothered me on Anna was the Atwood water heater. It is totally unable to blend in to the profile of an Airstream.

As you can see, a sore thumb...

I got these two heat diffusers from Sam. I used these to make my new Atwood blend in.

I used two ribbed panels to cover the front, using the break to fold over the edges.

I then drilled and clecoed for rivets...

And ended up with this.

Next I got the plate ready for the exterior patch. This was fabricated out of .040 thickness 2024 T3.

The final thing I did was to make this wooden frame to fasten the water heater to. I used Spanish Cedar, which is more resistant to rot than treated lumber. It is what I use for all my exterior woodwork. I am confident that it will hold up for a long time.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This one's for Rob Baker...

The push is on to get the shell attached fully so that I can put the inner skins on so I can finish this trailer. In order to do that I need new belly pans, or two quarters of a belly pan. I purchased some 5052 or is it 5053, something like that... These are 4' x12' sheets of 50 50 something from Air Parts inc.

Here is one of the originals, looking at the inside. The part of the pan that is to the left is the rear. The brown streaking is where water and rotting wood have been flowing, unchecked for a long time. I am sure that it probably had some mouse urine in it too...

... and snake poop, big black snake poop. I could not capture it on film too well, but there are many different sizes of skins on the belly pans. This black snake lived in this trailer for a while, shedding many times as it ate all the mice. I know how much you love snakes Rob, so I am dedicating this post to you.

There is lots of corrosion to the belly pan, huge access hatches screwed on, and some creative patch jobs.

Here is a classic, a Coleman fuel can, painted silver after it rusted up.

I bent everything flat again and clamped it to a new sheet.

Next I traced everything out, and yep cut it out using electric shears and hand shears.

Not to bad for an beginner, eh?... Virtually an exact copy of the original. Hello, anyone want to come buck some rivets?