Its been a little over 3 months since we purchased our Sweet Caroline and she has spent almost half that time at the welders getting back into shape. She’s an old girl and it takes time. She’s going to be a new woman… almost. 😉
We visited her frame just after Christmas – the welder wanted some of his hard earned monies. Who could blame him!? So, we paid the man and told him what else we wanted done. Then headed to Arizona to patiently wait.
If you’ve kept up with the posts on Caroline, I had mentioned a crack we found in the frame on the driver side. It was also starting to happen on the passenger side. That was a major concern of ours moving forward. Questions like ‘Can we repair it?’ ‘Do we need a new frame?’
Turns out, we could repair it and then reinforce it so it won’t happen again.
Research has taught me that this happens because it wasn’t reinforced right from the factory. They put the tanks behind the axels with very little support. This was also the year that Airstream put in a gray tank. It was always just a black tank. Over the past 46 years, the weight from the tanks (and the rear bathroom) was just too much for the frame to handle and so it starts to sag and then eventually cracks. Enter in Caroline’s saggy bottom.
We were VERY happy with the work James the welder has done. He’s going to box in the entire frame next (that’s what Airstream does now with their frames) and finish putting in the extra support for our new tanks. We are not going with the original tanks that came with it. We are getting custom tanks built so we can have more fresh & waste capacity. We are beefing up the frame quite a bit (and the axels) so we won’t have any problems like this in the future.
We plan on going off-grid a lot with her which is why we want the bigger tanks.
Once he’s finished beefing her up, he will be painting her. Now, here’s the kicker with the paint work. It takes 2 weeks for each coat to cure. We are doing 2 coats…
Four more longggg weeks of more waiting… It’s literally watching paint dry.