After a few setbacks in March and April, we did a reset, and set a goal of June 1st to have Maggie's shell back on. Here we are on June 6th, hitched and ready to head to Rocky Mountain National Park for a week of camping.
It's been approximately 9 months since Maggie joined the family, and it seemed fitting to head to our favorite national park for our inaugural trip. Here we are getting ready to hit the road.
We had a few issues enroute to RMNP: a few temporary and thin rivets had sheared from vibration/movement and the steps kept disengaging and swinging out. I'll have to fabricate some kind of pin-system to keep them in place. But all-in-all, it was a successful trip.
Next steps will include running down some of the leaks, and starting on the electrical wiring (12V and 110 volt). Check out the previous post to see how we lifted the shell and and reconditioned the trailer.
This can be a potentially dangerous undertaking in which physical harm to you can occur, not to mention substantial property damage to your trailer.
The following information is a record of what I did, and should not be construed as an official step-by-step procedure that is sanctioned by Airstream or any other dealer/repair facility.
You need to know your own limitations. Do not undertake this unless you have substantial skill and understanding of physics, and are confident in your own mechanical abilities. I make no guaranty or warranty that what I did will work for you.
This is simply a record of what I did, and only applies to my trailer. Your trailer may have additional steps that may need to be taken in order to successfully accomplish the task of removing the shell.
May was a busy month. Period. Starting on May 5th, I worked six days a week, and an average of 12 hours per day. The goal: shell off, trailer reconditioned, new floor installed, and shell back on by June 1st, in time for our first camping trip of the season on June 5th.
Step 1: Preparation and Rivet Removal
Step 2: Build Interior Support and Exterior Support Jacks to Support Shell
Exterior Support Jacks
Step 3:Jacking the Shell and Removing the Trailer
Jacking the Shell
It's mid-March, and we've gotten back to the restoration process after a lengthy (and somewhat snowy) winter break. Over the past two weekends, we've made a lot of purchases, and have gone back to removing rivets with a goal of having the shell off by next weekend (March 20th).
But we haven't been idle all winter. We continued our research of "how-to", learned more about electrical systems, plumbing, and floor removal. We made the decision to do a complete restoration from the frame up, which means removing the shell and replacing everything.
To bring everyone up to speed, we've gutted the trailer, gone through the items to keep as patterns and recycled all of the old appliances to a local metal recycler. The rest of the stuff (materials that could not be recycled) were carted off to the dump. I chose to pay the metal recycler to haul it off as there was a considerable amount, and it would have taken me 3-4 trips and all day to complete. Worth the $120 to have it gone.
Over the winter months, we made a computerized layout of Maggie, and painstakingly created several different layouts. You have to take your time, and make phone calls to get exact dimensions, as sometimes the descriptions of the items don't include all of the dimensions you need.
Well, I'm marking the first month anniversary of the beginning of the restoration, and I can honestly say that Maggie is in better shape than one month ago. Of course, I'd be lying if I said it was all fun and no frustration...I've lost my religion a couple of times.
At any rate, in the past month, I have successfully done the following repairs:
1. Installed two new Fan-tastic fans with thermostats.
2. Resurrected two Hehr vent lid operators, and successfully riveted them to a new 14"x26" Astro-dome cover that was missing.
3. Installed two 39"x20.5" curved windows.
4. Fabricated and installed a fixed window under one of the 39"x20.5" curved windows.
5. Replaced all window seals...happy to note that it appears all window leaks have been remedied.
6. Shined, lubricated and re-installed window operators on 4 windows (3 more to go).
7. Begun interior tear-out...so far, the kitchen sink and cabinets are out of Maggie and sitting in the garage.
1. Take your time on everything. Do the research. If you don't like what you find, try making it the way you think it should be made (see #4 above).
2. Old parts break easily...remember, this stuff is decades old. How'd you like it if someone was pulling on YOUR parts?
3. Mother's Aluminum & Mag Wheel shine works well, but be prepared for a lot of oxidation (read: black "yuck" all over). Invest in plenty of rags and shining accessories to fit your drill.
4. Don't use a wire-wheel to clean any aluminum that you want to have a nice shine to it. While it works great on things like the window support arms, it does leave scratches on the aluminum window frames. I know what you're thinking..."duh". But, you get tired of polishing by hand, and my curiosity for a faster fix threw my common sense to the wind. Remember #1 above when you feel tempted.
Some images below show the progress.