The Belly is Buttoned Up!

The original belly pan aluminum was a nasty, smelly, mess with lots of corrosion and some pretty big mouse holes in it. Replacing it was never a question.  We purchased the belly pan aluminum (.025 5052 H32) and the thicker exterior aluminum (.032 2024T3 Alclad) used for the side wraps and patches at Airparts.  We have ordered aluminum from them several times and have found them to be quick to ship and very reasonable in their shipping charges.

The process is pretty simple. Cut it to fit and rivet it up. If your under 50…easy peasy lemon squeezy! Over 50…get out the Motrin. As brutal as it is to lay under there for several days in a row, we still thought…when we are 80 we are going to WISH we could do this again! So, we just tried to be in the moment and enjoy it! It looks so good when it’s done, you forget all the bad stuff anyway!  We have only one suggestion. When you get ready to wrap those side wraps back under the trailer, especially the long streetside section, it helps to have some leverage. Dan screwed some 2X4s’ together as shown in the picture. I held it up while he drilled the holes and put the clecos in.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! (Sorry, too much Walking Dead!)

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New Belly Pan!

The old belly pan aluminum (along with the old wiring) has been taken to the scrap yard for recycling and the new one is up! We used the old pieces for a pattern, for the most part. The space behind the axle with no aluminum is where the grey tank and pan will go and the black tank and pan will be at the rear.  After popping a million rivets by hand on the Overlander we splurged on a cheap air rivet gun from Harbor Freight. BEST TOOL EVER! We had aluminum left over so went ahead and replaced the side wrap pieces as well. She’s looking good!

 

What a year!

In a few days, it will be one year since we started the process of bringing a neglected 1976 Airstream back to life.  It’s been more work than we ever imagined, cost way more than we thought it would, and has been the most challenging and exciting project we have ever done.  We are really happy with the way it turned out but there’s  two things we should have done differently. The first thing is the flooring. The VCT tile we used looks great and we don’t have any complaints, but Marmoleum would have been awesome!  The second is the axles. I have no idea why we didn’t replace them when the shell was off. Sure would have been easier! We plan to order them in the next couple of weeks though. Live and learn!

Our first official camp-out is planned for Halloween weekend with The Heart of Texas Camping Unit at Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro and we can’t wait!  Happy Camping!

Pretty Belly!

With the shell back on our attention went to the belly. We contemplated the various insulation choices and decided to go back with “the pink stuff” except ours was white!  We stapled it up with stainless steel staples then covered it with bird netting and nailed it up with plastic cap head roofing nails.  Hopefully that will keep it from falling down over time.

Our old belly pan aluminum had several big rips in it and  lots of corrosion. We just couldn’t see trying to save it. Too many mouse holes. We ordered the aluminum from Air Parts Inc. and were very pleased with their service.  The installation wasn’t hard, just uncomfortable. Laying on cold concrete drilling holes and squeezing a rivet gun over and over again was hard on old hands, but….WOW…what a pretty belly!