Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heavy Lifting

I've got all of the floor pulled out of the front of the trailer and the frame exposed. Now the fun can begin. I have discovered that the front half of the trailer is a little bit more complex than the back half was, and is in pretty poor shape to boot. There is a lot of thin steel on the frame, the front cross member with it's support plate has deteriorated to the point of being scary, and the step out riggers are just about gone. Replacing all of this won't be too complicated, but making sure everything is fixed properly is critical. Unlike in the rear of the trailer, there is no "fudge factor". If I want the door to close and the steps to work, I'm going to have to be very precise.

With the entire front half of the trailer gutted and the back end still complete, the tongue does not have enough weight on it to allow the trailer to be cranked down to level where I need it to be. The trailer would balance on it's axles with the tongue jack off the ground. 250 pounds of barbell weight took care of the floating tongue.

Thin, thin steel. Strange that the plywood just above this section was solid and showed no signs of rot. It will be a process of welding additional steel underneath this crossmember to make it solid once again.

Both step outriggers look like this. I'll be replacing them with new ones, and also buying a new step for the trailer. The step that's on there has rust holes through the tread and the studs that ride in the track are just about worn away. I just hope I can find a step that looks right on a 1961 Airstream and not one that looks like a take off of a new SOB trailer.

That front cross piece? Yeah, it's bad. I'll be cutting it out and fabricating a new piece to go in there. The support plate is welded to the cross piece. The trick is going to be getting everything back in the exact same location after I take it all apart. That's okay, I enjoy a challenge.