Thursday, 11 February 2010

Inside Out...

I know its been a while but we had Christmas followed by heaps of snow and freezing weather. But at last things are progressing again...

Unfortunately, after the positive step of buck riveting the shell back onto the chassis, it was back to a wee bit of destruction; the inner sheets needed to come out.
So more rivet drilling and more mess.

Most of it was in good condition but there had clearly been some water pooling around the head of the door.
There is this misheld idea that aluminium will never corrode - wrong. It may do it a little slower than other metals but where you've got alloys in contact with other metals and/or water it will pit, bubble and ultimately crumble.

So this is one sheet that will need a new section let into it.

Leaving a few clecos in one side it was soon hanging by the few central rivets.
Fairly simple to roll it up - I'm sure it came in through the door but for now it can stay put.
The state of the insulation varied ! Some panels were fine while others had become homes to a variety of critters.
Not a lot of insulating power here !
... and even a 240V wire sandwiched between the skin and the frame. Amazingly the insulation had held up.
Insualtion out & just the stern end-cap to come out.

As at the bow the base of the 13 panel cap was drawn in tight to the window frame with self-tapping screws.

Of course I didn't doubt it would...

... but it was nice to see it did fit through the door.
Down to her outer skin and skeletal frame...

The tar-like paint was adhesive to stick the insulation to the skin and seal the seams.
It also revealed just how many self-tapping steel screws Airstream had used.
These held in the drip-cap over the door and had probably been the source of the advanced corrosion to the inner panels around the door head.
These were obvious but when you looked closely they'd used them all over the place...
... all the window drip-caps had them in the corners.
With every other rivet in the cap bucked, I can only think they screwed the two ends to hold the cap in place while they bucked the ones in between.
As we've got access to the inside of the outer skin, all the screws are coming out & bucked rivets put in their place.
Even on the roof the various vents had been screwed down, though this makes more sense as they were probably added after the inner skin was in place.
... Vulkem, still sticky and flexible after 55yrs.

 Pete Ricthie had been busy while I'd been away & had removed the leaf-springs and old axle. 

They'll be sent off for re-binding and rejuvenating and the new axle is ready for their return.

Removing the aluminium eye-level cupboards revealed...

The best patch of original Zolatone yet...

As it'd been hidden from light and wear'n'tear it gives us a great sample to match to the new Zolatone.
Someone had added a square section awning track on top of the original rope channel.

They'd also liberally stuck it and filled it with every mastic and filler known to man; a bugger to clean off...
... but worth it. Giving her back the fine line of her discrete track.

It was also time to order up some polish. So polishing supremo, Kelvin buffed a test section...

He found that Nuvite's Nushine II @ F7 was quite abrasive enough to clear most of the corrosion.

...and even someone in a dodgy hat managed to buff a passable shine.

One failure... trying to strip the inner end caps. Too cold - even for my hands.

Generally the skin seems to be in good nick; although you can never tell until you start polishing.

But its nice to see her start to shine.


  1. Excellent progess and photography as always! The original Zolotone was great. Looking forward to seeing your next steps!

  2. Great work, and great pictures, as always.

    But this time I wanted to comment on your great colloquialisms as well. "Dodgy hat"-- I love it! Your version of English always sounds more fun than our version of English. I envy you that. :)


  3. ... as they say, Marcus - 'Divided by a common language...'

    Or as my daughter would say, 'Well dodgy..' !

  4. Chris, Might I suggest the Jestco Polishing products to you? The results are very good in far less time. Kevin may have the supplies on hand to do the nuvite, but the Jestco system is excellent in my opinion and will not leave those a swirls that require a lot to remove.
    I too love the photographs. I wish my pocket sized Cannon had a wide angle feature on it.

  5. Thanks for the Jestco recommendation, Frank. I'll look into it - tho' not sure if they have a supplier here in Blighty.

    Yes, I'm sorry, my 17mm (in old 35mm film parlance) lens does make the old Flying Cloud look like you could park your tow vehicle in it and still have room to swing a cat (in a Stetson, of course).

    Compact cameras always bang on about their 20x or 100x zoom but never how wide their lenses go. For some you can get a screw on, wide-angle attachment and some Canon ones have the equivalent of a 28mm - but its still not a 17mm. So my advice to all when buying a new one; ask which has the widest lens.

    Glad you all like the photos - I probably take too many but its nice to have a good record and hopefully its helpful to other Alooominum virgins.

  6. Great work on the restoration. I like your blow-by-blow commentary. We get going so quickly on some of our restorations, we don't often remember to take so many pictures! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. I know that polished spot is just a glimpse of things to come. Things look to be progressing wonderfully. I'm fascinated by the Zolatone patch. It is practically the reverse image of Elvis's original Zolatone, yours on light field with gray-green flecks and mine on the gray-greenish field with cream flecks. You should have no problem matching with that sample.

    Funny, I never knew the bare naked ribs and skin of an Airstream could be such a lovely abstract image of artistry. Your photos ROCK!