Saturday, July 31, 2010

Never say Never

Music plays a huge role in my life. I have the Ipod going all day long while I work. It is always on shuffle so with 80 gigs of music, you just never know what will pop up. On Monday the first song of the day was this Moody Blues song. For some reason, it set the tone for the entire week...

A lot happened to Rosie this week. Here is a little low down for all those interested.

Panel replacement has continued. Two of them here on the street side front. This area was hit once upon a time and new segments were installed using Olympic type rivets. The rib has a serious twist to it and I just do not like the way it sets the curve of the side. Now a new one is going to be fitted in and bucked properly.

She has gotten real bare bones up front. All that Vulkem put in recently by Rosie's stewart to stop the copious amounts of leaks must be dug out to shoot rivets back in. Rosie leaks very badly in a number of areas. I hung out in her during a major rain storm and watched both tail lights cascading water in. I also watched ten Olympic rivets all leak in a row. Most of the window seals are shot also, so a good amount water comes in there. I wrote "LEAK" in Sharpie with arrows all over the place. Some of these I will correct and some will be done by her owner as the next step. I digress, we were looking at panel replacements...

Upper panel in place. Every hole was drilled and Clecoed, I am just running out and needed to steal them to do other areas.

Lower panel dry fitted into place...

Lots and lots of clecos in place. I used all 300 I currently own and 500 more are on the way...

The new rib will fix that dimple in the side...

This is an area that always makes me curious as to the recommended installation. Just cut a hole and screw through the side. Yeah right...maybe that works for the engineers, but not for me. I take things to ELEVEN MAN! These skins have a great amount of flex to them and a water heater is not all that light.

I first cleaned all the putty, Vulkem, Parbond, and even some silicon off the old opening. I then wanted this to be beefed up so when the water heater hangs there, the opening is actually rigid. Mini ribs seemed to be the solution. I just bent some .040 that has been collecting dust in a corner waiting to find a use.

This should work very well to make a nice firm side and transfer most of the weight down to the floor.

More to come in my next post. We are actually getting real close now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another 10 at 5

The general rule of thumb for a polish job is a "10" from 10 feet away. The folks at 1st Impressions gave Ace a "10" at 5 feet. That is twice the expected shine at less than half the normal price. I talked to Charles this morning and he has three trailer stacked up to be converted to a shiny vintage rig. If you all are contemplating having your trailers polished by 1st Impressions Polishing and Detailing, you had better not wait too long. I think Charles and Toni are going to be knee deep in Airstreams before they know it.

Ace was most impressed for sure. His 1966 Caravel was converted from a drab old trailer to a shiny vintage beauty. I was very impressed also.

The transformation is astounding.

This polish will just get better and better each time it is done. Ace, just like me has already gotten on the calendar for next year in late Winter/ early Spring to get it done again.

Before you ask: 1st Impressions Polishing and Detailing, Hanover Pa, 443-277-0509 ask for Charles and tell him I sent you so he knows who the referral is from.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot as Hades

FTW had a visitor yesterday. Bruce is back with his 64 Sovereign of the Road. The Willows is what he calls her. She is going to be having significant work performed as soon as I finish up Rosie.

Bruce was shocked by the heat wave too.

Today I had to pack the tools in early. Once the thermometer goes past 100 I stop working. Call me what you want, but I just cannot hang in the full sun when it is that hot. Aluminum reflecting the sun light adds to the affect.

Speaking of reflecting... look what 1st Impressions is up to.

This is a close friend who took his trailer to them. He got right in line behind me. His trailer was clear coated and Charles and Toni stripped her down and are bringing her back up to a nice shine. The cost per foot has gone up to strip Charles tells me. The price of the chemicals has risen significantly, so please ask him for the cost and do not rely on me for pricing.

What a transformation...

Smile boys, you should be proud....

I love this one for sure. Kind of hard to get a proper perspective at first. Someone is going to have a huge smile when he picks up this weekend. I know 1st Impressions has two more coming in the very near future. I know you will ask so here ya go...Charles @ 443-277-0509 or Terri @ 717-817-0796. Let em know Frank sent you....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Mundane Is Exciting To Some

I am hitting her hard this week and taking no prisoners. I am showing no mercy either. Well, actually that is a lie, I am showing a great deal of mercy and a tremendous amount of compassion.

However, the most exciting things usually require a good deal of the mundane first. Many projects begin with the drilling of a few rivets. That usually follows a few more, which eventually leads to few hundred more.

Rosie does not have the best skin. She has had a fairly hard life as you have ascertain by reading. Unmentioned people have mistreated her in the past and it is time for me to set that right. A few panel replacements were on the ticket to fix some of this abuse she has endured. There are thousands of rock dents in this curb side lower panel not to mention a serious dent that does not really show up too well in this photo.

There is also this rather nasty dent. Rosie deserves better and she is going to get a serious transformation by drilling a few hundred rivets.

Both the curb side and road side lower segments were drilled off.

One of my neighbors stopped by and was absolutely shocked at the work being done here. He has become a serious wanna bee.

It is quite a site seeing her sitting there with those two big holes in her.

There is nothing left to do, but put a new panel in. This is just a dry fit. More to come...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Touch Down

After too many days of waiting in limbo, I finally got the shell back down into it's original position. I was held up waiting to put enough strong backs and weak minds together at one time so we could just lift it up and put it on. We all got together on a 100 degree, 98% humidity afternoon and put the shell back on. It took less than a minute to do this. Only one of the five guys I hired would stay around and eat some food and drink my beer in order to show my gratitude.

The next step was to lower her down off of the cross beams and into the channel. For this task I went back to working solo. There is a whole rant hidden in that comment. It hinges off of individuals not showing up, not being on time, and generally 100% unreliable. I guess that is why for the past 10 years I have worked alone, without an employee. I need about three right now.
Sorry, back on track now... I jacked the shell up a bit and disconnected the beams and most of the cross bracing. Then slowly lowered her down. There was a great deal of up again and shifting, then lowering, to be followed by more lifting and shifting and more lowering. There was lots of sweat, lots of cursing, a few "taking a walk", and a good deal of blood. The blood was a good thing. Almost everything went right into place when the blood came.

Everything went right into place except this rear corner. There was no way I was getting that down and around the plywood. This corner was all gone on my original piece of plywood. I had to extrapolate(fancy word for fly by the seat of my pants) the curve. So, some more lifting, some trimming, some sanding, some sealing, and a little more blood, it went right into place.

You can't see it so well in the photo, but "ooh, nice straight lines Rosie". In case your wondering why her tires are flat... I pulled the valves to lower her down. Amazing what it takes to lift a shell 4 extra inches.

Everything just slid right back into place. I did however, reinstall all the side channel slightly off the original location so that the holes in the skin would not align with the originals. I wanted as many fresh rivet holes as possible. Less hole slop makes for a better rivet set.

She is coming right back together. Now that I got the shell on, she should go back together rather rapidly. I will post some riveting photos in few days. There are a few panels being replace also, for those that find all that stuff stimulating.
Stay tuned for more excitement.
I will be putting Rosie aside for a few days to go on a consulting job. I hate to do this since I just got rolling again. The offer of a free ticket and being able to use rebate points for the family made a work trip into a family holiday. I will be hopefully helping a friend in New Mexico make the purchase he has been dreaming of for a long time. Tim has found about 12 that he wants me to inspect. His favorite he says is a 1973 Safari he found less than two miles from his house in Madrid. It may be Rosie's long lost sister.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Way out of real time documentation

I apologize, but the first 2/3 of this post is old information. The work was completed a good time ago and I have been remise in posting. I was pre occupied with hosting the First Annual Birthday Bash. The event took me away from the shop for 9 days and even after I returned I spent 4 days trying to catch up to my personal life that I seemed to drop when I went off towing North. Lots took place before I left though, so I will try and bring you up to speed.

There was a great deal of corrosion issues due to dissimilar metals, water, and a slight electric current. Some areas were real bad. In order to not repeat this problem, I decided that every where steel touched aluminum, I would place a barrier between the two metals. The bolts and screws were easy, for I could just use a washer that had a neoprene liner. They work very well in this application. The tricky areas were where steel plates connect the channel, floor, and frame together. For this I used a product out of it's intended application. I used some rubber roofing membrane. The rectangles at the top of the photos were made for under the hold down plates.

The steel ones are furthest away from you in this photo. I used some Por 15 on them, and then the membrane under those. It is now not possible for the steel to touch the aluminum. Across the rear you see some aluminum plates I made because the original elevator bolts had corroded the aluminum so badly.

To create a barrier between the steel angle in the back and the aluminum hatch cover I used more membrane. A bunch of vulkem was also used to impede any water from flowing under the floor as it has since 1973. The membrane really flattens out thin and fills all the gaps when bolted down. I believe this might be an excellent misuse of a product. Time will tell.

So with that, all the channel is in and ready to accept the shell again.

While dangling in mid air it seemed a good time to put on the new set of Henchen Axles. They just bolt right in. 40 minutes it took me to have both axles bolted in and shocks mounted. I am amazed at the ease of installation a few extra dollars gets you. I just gave Inland RV the serial number and they sent out a perfect fitting axle.

She sits rather pretty back on the ground. And at this point, she is ready to have the shell put back on. I took it off all alone. I will get some help to put it back on.

Someone asked what I do with the old axles. I would love to say I save them all, but that is not true. I scrap them is what I do. Someday these axles might be new axles or something someone could use.

This was my first time at this scrap yard. This was actually my first time taking in scrap steel. It takes a lot to make it worth ones while. The rate is a whopping $7.89/ 100 pounds. At this facility they grind it all up. A full sized car is shredded into golf ball sized chunks in about 15 seconds. Amazing thing to see take place.

It starts off looking something like this...

and ends up like this. This is a genuine form of recycling. All new steel has a certain proportion of old metal in it. I would like to believe that someday the axles will become new ones or maybe the frame of a new Airstream. The guy at the scale house said most of it goes to China or India though. Wishful thinking.