& We Have LIFT-OFF! Hoist Me Up Scotty!

GUYS. I have a feeling this is going to be heavy on the pictures. Today has been the most stressful, nerve-wrecking, yet successful day of restoration so far!

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On Friday night we drove to Harbor Freight to buy the chain hoists and tow straps (above) we needed to lift the body off the frame. Saturday we were busy with other things, but this morning we were able to go down to the shop with plans to finish out our gantrys and maybe put the support braces inside the body for stabilization (for when we lift it). But one thing led to another and by the time we left the shop, the body had been hoisted, the frame had been removed, and we were full on high-fivin and victory dancing in the drive way – super proud of ourselves – and also super shocked that we’d actually done it!

The first thing we did this morning was finish our gantrys.. which involved both Casey & I climbing up sketchy ladders and lifting the 10ft long 4x4s across and over the Airstream and securing it into both side pieces of the gantrys. Now, I have no upper body strength. And I’m also not good on a ladder.. which means A + B should not equal successful placement of the beam. Above my Airstream. But I freakin’ nailed it! Casey and I were able to get both beams on both sets of gantrys with no harm done to either us or to Stella, save a few splinters. We also added a few cross braces to further stabilize our beams across the top in an attempt to prevent the beams from bowing under the weight of the chain-hoisted body.

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After an hour and a half of finishing up our gantrys, we moved on to the interior of our Airstream. While it’s possible to lift the body off without the support beams we added, there’s further peace of mind knowing that they are there. So we went ahead and screwed those in – 3 spaced through the interior.

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Once they were secured to the Airstream, we worked our way up and put our chain hoists on the gantry beams. We made sure to center the chain hoists on the beams as well as move the gantrys so the chain hoists were centered in our vent holes in the ceiling.

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Hindsight, Casey said we should’ve wrapped the tow straps one more time on the gantry beams. Once we had the chain hoists hung, we took our 16ft 2×6 and laid it long ways in the Airstream so it would line up with both vent holes, then wrapped a tow strap around each end 3 times and hooked it to each chain hoist (the pictures below show the beam only wrapped 2 times, then we changed our minds and went ahead and wrapped again).

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Since we had the chain hoists hung, the beam run through the inside of the Airstream, and the support braces in, we thought, “well why don’t we just prep the Airstream for lift-off and make sure we didn’t miss any hidden rivets..” and so that’s what we did. ;) We found a few hidden rivets, as well as took our putty knife around the whole Airstream to make sure the top would separate from the bottom and we weren’t missing anything. It also helped to loosen the glue a bit as well; there is a LOT of glue!

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And then, since we had gone that far, we thought maybe we should just *test* run the chain hoists to see if it would lift off the frame just a liiittle bit.. and well, it did.

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And then, it lifted just a little bit more.. ;)

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AND BEFORE WE KNEW IT WE WERE AIRBORNE AND THERE WAS NO TURNING BACK!

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And well, we couldn’t just lift the body off.. if we went through all that trouble, we should probably just go ahead and remove the frame, right?! So we did that, too. :)

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OMG! THINGS ARE HAPPENING!

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There is the body! OFF THE FRAME. STELLA IS IN TWO PIECES!

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Another view looking the opposite way! The last thing we did was set the body down on 4 jacks so it wasn’t swinging in the air. They’re a wee bit visible in the picture above. Also, it should be noted that we are forever indebted to our dear friends CJ & Gloria for helping us to guide Casey in driving the frame out from underneath the body. There’s no way just Casey and I could’ve done it alone; we needed all 3 sets of eyes! Thanks guys!!!

After 3 hours at the shop we had more than successfully completed what we’d set out to do, and we wrapped up just in time to celebrate Easter with the family. The day was stressful. And nerve-wrecking. But oh so satisfying. We didn’t spend much time dissecting our frame, but we will probably go over sometime this week to check it out. I was getting rather hangry and it was getting to that awkward time of day where it’s to close to dinner to eat a meal, but you’re to hungry just to have a snack. I’m still anxious about Stella’s body just sitting there unattended; I don’t want anything to happen to her! But I know she’ll be okay and that this is a necessary step in making her our dream ‘stream. :)

4 thoughts on “& We Have LIFT-OFF! Hoist Me Up Scotty!

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