We may not have done it originally but unfortunately, we’re gonna have to this time around.
Friday after work we took advantage of the nice, RAIN FREE weather and went down to the shop to start ripping up plywood on the frame. Because of the elevator bolts underneath the plywood, Casey had to use a hole saw to drill out around each of the bolts. This allowed us to separate the plywood from the bolts so we could pry up the plywood.
There’s that pesky elevator bolt! Those things are a real mystery to me..
Once we’d drilled out around all the elevator bolts, Casey had to start cutting through all the rusted out bolts that were holding the c-channel down to the frame.
We make sure to label all the pieces that we plan on re-using or that we are going to use as a template. SS for street side, CS for curb side. These are the rounded parts of the c-channel that we are going to re-use. We’re going to remake all the straight pieces, but since the hard part has been done for us with the curved pieces, we’re going to keep them. Work smarter, not harder. ;) Time to pry off the plywood!
Yikes.. it’s looking about as bad as we hoped it wouldn’t. Maybe even a bit worse. :(
After getting half the plywood off, we called it a night. All of our batteries for the drill had died and we couldn’t charge them fast enough to keep up a good working pace. We returned early the next morning to finish the job. Pulled up all the ply wood and removed the wheel wells.
Surprisingly, the parts of the frame underneath the wheel wells were in the best condition. My theory is that the windows in the front and rear of the Airstream were all broken out, so those areas were more susceptible to nature getting inside than the middle of the body. But what do I know. What we DO know is that it looks good in that area, but not good enough to salvage the frame.
It looks like this most everywhere else! :( Once we’d gotten all of the plywood off and all of the insulation removed, Casey took a putty knife and a hammer and knocked out all of the rivets on the bottom of the belly pan. Originally we planned on using the gantrys to flip the frame and doing this differently, but since there is no saving the frame we just went to town on the rivets. We’re going to replace almost all of the belly pan aluminum; the only part we are going to keep is the banana wraps – the front rounded corner pieces. Again, we are trying to work smarter, not harder.
To make removing the belly pan easier, Casey cut it in half so we could pull each end out separately.
This is the front of the belly pan with the banana wraps we are going to re-use. And a bunch of old, stinky, still scratchy insulation. My face was on fire after I picked it all off the frame!
Here’s the frame in all her glory. If that’s what you want to call it. It’s a stinkle it has to be re-done, but silver lining: Casey gets to work on his welding skills. That’s a good thing, right?