The frame is ready!

With the shell off, the next step was to remove the old floor and start on frame repairs.  We knew this trailer had spent some time in the Florida Keys so we were holding our breath and expecting the worse. What a pleasant surprise to see that the only bad area was right at the front door.  The floor was bad there so this was no big surprise. We originally thought the door was leaking and causing the problem but after we took off the inner skins we could see that the door hinge was a bad leak source too.  We ordered two new outriggers and the right hand step outrigger from Out of Doors Mart. We replaced all the belly pan strapping that runs between the outriggers also.  Dan welded some angle iron in the frame section behind the axle to attach the pan that will hold up the new grey tank and in the back section for the new black tank as well.  He also added a piece of angle above the black tank in front of the toilet area. This was a pretty large unsupported area of the floor in a heavy traffic spot so we decided it was worth the extra weight. We did the same across the front to support the weight of the fresh water tank and the new location for the battery.  When the welding was complete, we used a wire wheel on the frame, cleaned it, and used Metal Prep everywhere. After a day in the sun drying we pulled it back under the car port and brushed on the POR-15. We love this stuff! It covers great, levels out, and dries rock hard. Next we brushed  Sterling Silver Topcoat on the bumper, steps, and A-frame. We weren’t exactly thrilled with that though. It dried really fast making it impossible to get a smooth finish. The next day we sanded it all and tried spraying it. The good news was no brush marks but, once again, it dried too fast and has a rough finish. It’s not great but we are calling it “good enough” …for now anyway!

The new 5000 lb. axle and the new waste tanks should be here in a week or so. In the mean time, we can get the new floor cut and ready to install, run the new brake wire, clean, repair, and paint the inner fender wells; and start making an electrical plan. Our initial plan to keep this trailer original has been scrapped. We want to make it better than original! Someone once recited  a Wally Byam quote to me that was something like, “Don’t make changes, only improvements”. That’s our plan…to make the improvements that we feel we need to do to be comfortable, and to make the necessary upgrades to keep our ’66 Safari on the road for another 48 years!

Hope to see you all at the HOTCU Halloween Camp Out at the LBJ Grasslands! We, of course, won’t be camping (BOO), but we will be visiting all weekend. Trick or Treat!

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Much has been done to our Overlander since that first tow home. We stripped the clearcoat and gutted the interior. Once we started taking the bananna wraps and belly pan down we got an all too clear picture of what needed to be done. The floor needed replaced and the frame, well, there was some rust! We didn’t have actual rear-end separation, but almost.  It took us awhile to get comfortable with the idea of removing the shell but knew it had to be done. The Airstream Forums were a wealth of information. I can’t tell you how many hours we have spent, and continue to spend, reading posts on those forums. The posters on those forums gave us the courage to go for it, and we did!

We prepared for a Thanksgiving lift-off since we had some extra time off.  On Tuesday we lifted the shell off. Wednesday we removed the old floor and made sure we had all the steel we needed for frame repairs. We had already ordered several new outriggers from Out of Doors Mart. Thursday…we ate turkey and were thankful! Friday we took the frame over to a friends shop and by 3:00 they had all the new outriggers on and the welding done. It was awesome! Thanks Calvin, Bobby and Lupe! We washed it down with marine clean, did the metal prep thing and on Sunday we painted the POR15 on. We were exhausted but incredibly happy!

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