Friday, 27 February 2009

The big frame clean-up...

With the belly-wrap removed it was time to clean-up that frame - so we could see how the 55 yr old steel had faired.

The curved end-cap 'C' channels had been removed, leaving just the straight sections.

The rear cross member has suffered the worst & needs replacing.

We may replace some of the tattier sections of C channel but they all got labelled.

The central cross member is the same heavy, pre-formed, C-beam as the longitudinal beams. I know we've learnt not to expect perfection from Airstream but this has a weld - who was on quality control that day in 1953 ? Still, its held up well & the weld looks sound.

It may look like overkill but protective glasses and a face shield make sense with so much rust & hot metal flying around... and my eyes are my career !

The worst rust is on the top side, under the floor, where the moisture had been retained by the insulation but once cleaned off revealed steel in great shape.

Streetside wheel, leaf-springs & axle... no shock, though the round welds where it attached can be seen on the axle & upper cross member.

Curbside - the shock is taking it easy !

Off-set axles - they're prohibitively expensive in the UK, so we'll use a straight shaft and a pad to keep the ride height much the same.

Spiral-headed floor bolts all rusted solid. Grind them flat & then they punch out pretty easily.

Front section wire-brushed clean. Welds all very sound & great quality steel.

The Harrier Jump Jet trainers make an entertaining backdrop.

All cleaned and ready to weld. No nasty surprises, in fact we were pleasantly surprised; the rear cross member needs replacing, the step area needs attention and two outriders need strengthening but otherwise all very sound. We plan to move one cross member, just behind the axle to accommodate a sub-floor water tank and there'll also need to be some re-jigging to take the EU tow hitch. Floor next - marine-ply is ordered - ouch !


  1. It's amazing to me how some of the older ladder frames tolerated the years better than some newer. As for that weld missed by "quality control", my restorer tells me that quality Airstream work in even vintage coaches is an illusion.

  2. So, how are things coming along? Any chance you'll get a chance to use your caravan this Summer?

    Hope all is well with you and yours, just checking up on you.