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759NRNG HalfDork
8/11/17 8:38 p.m.

MazD, what have you chosen for sub flooring?

mazdeuce MegaDork
8/11/17 9:01 p.m.

In reply to hhaase:

I did not. It's on my list for next week. It is lighter than it was. Sort of an superlegarra land yacht.

As for flooring, I need to see what exactly it is I'm taking out first. I'm thinking something marine grade.

759NRNG HalfDork
8/11/17 9:05 p.m.

Java230 had an excellent point ....treated flooring (marine be careful) has copper in it and will play hell with the alumeeum framework...

Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
8/11/17 9:27 p.m.

You could always use a hardwood plywood, aoaked in epoxy on the edges and then coated in spar varnish.

Also, id have to wonder if painting the marine grade ply with a thick paint like garage floor coating would prevent the action of copper vs aluminium.

mazdeuce MegaDork
8/11/17 10:43 p.m.

I need to check, but I seem to remember that marine ply mostly just refers to the glues and to a lesser extent the quality of the woods, pressure treated wood has the copper preservatives. If nothing else, a normal high quality subfloor coated in epoxy should suffice.

oldopelguy UltraDork
8/11/17 10:56 p.m.

There are lots of aluminum boats with plywood transoms, so there is a recipe of some sort that does work.

Edit: My father had a van body from a budget or Penske moving truck he used as a shed. The entire body was made out of just over half inch thick 5-layer plywood. The plywood was 4 conventional wood layers and the outer layer on one side was fiberglass. I remember the chunk he had leftover after he put a window in, and it was pretty cool stuff.

NOHOME UltimaDork
8/12/17 5:30 a.m.


Thinking of this for the rear deck on the Molvo

hhaase HalfDork
8/12/17 6:19 a.m.

The heater near the door was a factory option, not a retrofit. Pretty common in air streams of similar vintage.


Enyar Dork
8/12/17 8:29 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I need to check, but I seem to remember that marine ply mostly just refers to the glues and to a lesser extent the quality of the woods, pressure treated wood has the copper preservatives. If nothing else, a normal high quality subfloor coated in epoxy should suffice.

This is correct. It has less voids and will take epoxy/polyester better than pressure treated too.

Vigo UltimaDork
8/12/17 9:21 a.m.

Cool project! I have a new garage going up and an RV pad/lean-to off the side soon to follow, so i've been looking into more stuff like this lately in anticipation of finally starting work on my Clark Cortez. I also took my first little RV trip in a borrowed one i did a bunch of work on. Definitely a motivator. I'm guessing this thread will be another motivator.. so thanks in advance!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/12/17 9:56 a.m.

Neat project - because you don't have enough projects, eh?

The MINI gathering was called "MINIs on the Mack" and happens every couple of years. They had over 1300 cars this year. They are trying to break some record for MINIs on a bridge set in the UK. A couple of my MINI friends from Philly were there.

Enyar Dork
8/14/17 11:40 a.m.

Another side note, my local Lowes now sells marine ply.

hhaase HalfDork
8/14/17 7:11 p.m.

I had originally been looking at stuff called nyloboard, which was since renamed nylosheet. Basically plywood made from nylon carpet. The sample worked very much like wood and the thermal expansion rates looked good too. But not available where I live(d)

mazdeuce MegaDork
8/30/17 4:17 p.m.

The trailer made it through it's first tropical storm and the largest flood event in US history! We were lucky and only saw 25ish inches of rain, so no proper flooding. It did reveal that there are some leaks up high and that it would probably be good to pull all of the interior paneling out for a proper reseal.

hhaase HalfDork
8/30/17 7:54 p.m.

I didn't want to ask, knowing what's been going on down there, figured you'd let me know when the time came.

The leaks are PROBABLY coming from the missing vent pipes.

java230 SuperDork
8/30/17 7:59 p.m.

Is there a gluvit or similar on the seams?

One thing that much rain is good for, finding leaks!

mazdeuce MegaDork
8/30/17 8:07 p.m.

In reply to hhaase:

I sealed over the vent pipes with big pieces of vinyl before the rain. It's leaking around the larger skylight hole in the roof, but also further back and high, either around the other vents or the drip edge that runs the length of the trailer on the door side. A bit around the door too, but we knew there needs to be a little reshaping with that. When I take the lower walls off the extent of leaks should be more apparent.

For those that don't know, these trailers are actually sealed from the inside of the seams with some terrifying goo that remains flexible and watertight for a very long time. It's good stuff, whatever it is.

LSxDreamer New Reader
9/4/17 8:53 p.m.

I saw at least two Airstreams over the weekend and thought of this thread! Enjoying reading along all your active threads deuce..

ClemSparks PowerDork
9/4/17 10:43 p.m.

Terrifying goo. The best kind of goo!

java230 SuperDork
9/5/17 10:47 a.m.

Just reading back through, be careful with treated ply. The copper in it reacts and will eat the aluminum over time.


Any of the plys that end with X, CDX, ACX etc use "exterior" glue, they will hold up to moisture a bit better.


One thing I wish I had done on my RV was coat all the edges of the ply with a thinned epoxy. Too late now for me, but I think it would be worth the trouble. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/6/17 2:23 p.m.

My only real airstream experienced was in the fall of '99. Deer camp burned down. Bit of a tragedy really though noone was hurt. The solution was to park an airstream of unknown vintage next to the burned out husk and carry on with the task of shooting things and turning them into cheap food to take back to college. Because of this, my brain equates the iconic shape of the Airstream as a sort of warm-ish place to rest on an otherwise terrible day. This is the only reasonable explination I have to choosing today of all days to start back on this project. 42 and raining. Airstream weather. 

Started with stealing Mrs. Deuce's heater. Even with the foot square hole in the side it's able to warm the trailer up. 

The plan to was to take everything else off of the walls. I did that, and then since I had the drill anyway, I started on the rivets. 

I'm trying to label stuff. Starting at the door and going clockwise are windows 1-5. Each panel gets labeled as it comes off with the idea that it might go back on in a similar sequence. 

Insulation has sagged through the years. I'll be replacing all of it. 

As is typical of construction of this period, and maybe all construction everywhere, the walls are full of scraps that nobody wanted to dispose of properly. 

Here you get an idea of how the trailer goes together. You have a frame covered with plywood, then the skeleton is bolted to the top, bolts from the bottom, extra wood screws every now and again as well. Then the whole thing is skinned inside and out. 

This is how far I got today. Not bad considering all of the time I spent looking for the camera charger and fighting with window trim trying not to bend it. 

The big issue is that this is the other end. I need to spend some time tomorrow de-tool cribbing all of the cabover stuff, arranging the interior pieces I want to keep, and stacking the rest in the "probably trash" pile. 

I want to get the floor out and figure out what to do with replacement and holding tanks. Lots of coffee and thinking incoming. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
12/7/17 5:36 a.m.

Does it have a smell?  It looks like it has a smell.  

I'm interested in how solidly built it is- at least from here, it looks WAY better put together than most travel trailer/RV type things I've seen.  Is that the impression you're getting while you're deconstructing it?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/7/17 6:29 a.m.

I don't think it's screwed together any better than anything else from the era. The woodwork is flimsy and disturbingly easy to knock apart. The same leak points are there and they cause the rot I'm dealing with. What IS different is that they start at a completely different place. A regular box shaped trailer with wooden studs and a metal outer skin is like a small version of a pole barn. It's cheap and very efficient to build and works, but it has stiffness issues in some planes of motion and that leads to things loosening over time and THAT leads to leaks which are the death of almost any trailer. 

The double aluminum skin on the airstream is structurally closer to an airplane wing than a house. The shape and the materials make it absurdly stiff for it's job. Basically, I think an Airstream is optimized to move through the air at 65mph, and to do that it gives up some livibility when it's stationary. Regular trailers are fantastic when standing still, but the act of moving is very hard on them. 

I suspect that looking at the construction between commercial busses and motorhomes would yield a similar comparison. 

And now I want to buy a bus. Where's Wally?

bluej UltraDork
12/7/17 6:56 a.m.

Wouldn't it be cool if you could just bolt a removable airstream style rear cabin/camper structure on top of the back end of Ferdy? Just throwing that thought out there. devil

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/7/17 7:14 a.m.

Well, I can't do it with this one, but I don't think it would quite work to just pop the top off this floor and drop it on a floor on the back of the truck. The floor of the trailer is at about 20 inches and it would be at about 36 inches on the Ferdinand. If you think an airstream looks big now, lift it up another foot and a half. At that point the aesthetics get weird. I'm still working through some ideas, but I want to keep the sleek flowing body lines that International penned back in the day. 

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