Author Topic: 436  (Read 13621 times)

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rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2016, 06:06:50 PM »
So.. while I'm still waiting for the fiberglass corner to be fixed from the bodyshop, I decided to add more excitement by adding a full size rear hatch. I have no photos of the disassembly of the rear. Removing the window was pretty straightforward.. pull the molding and the window basically fell out  :o The engine access hatch was drilled out and removed, so the rear was left with a small aluminum section between the hatch opening and window opening. Since the window opening was about as large as the span between the two inside support vertical ribs, I simply drilled the rivets and removed the aluminum surrounding the window opening  and down to the hatch. Reinforcement has to be added anyway to the header above what will now be a full size hatch, so having access to the overlapping panels off the roof is good to have.

This is not quite a step by step to installing a flat window into our curved butts. I wanted an opening window for the bedroom and the available curved variaties that I was finding did not open. So.. how to approach putting a flat panel into a curved panel? Take a look....

Initially, I hadn't taken photos of forming the door itself.. oops. Fairly straightforward though.. Start with L angle aluminum, in this case .032, longer than the door opening. Put into a shrinker / stretcher and form two curves to match the opening top to bottom. You'll have to do this 4 times, as you want to eventually rivet two pieces together to form a C channel vertically. It actually doesn't take very long to do.. riveting them together was more time consuming. And double check measurements as you go. I didn't and one side is slightly wider than the other... oh well. So.. now you have 2 curved ribs that will form the door edges. You'll need a top and bottom section, also a C channel. You could go with an L channel, but I think a C channel has a little more strength. I have a bender in the shop so that wasn't an issue for me, but other owners might want to sub that to a fab shop to do. So.. now you have sides, a top and bottom. Trim the sides to set just inside the opening, with the back of the C to the outside. Trim the top and bottom pieces to fit between the two uprights. Here's the tricky part.. fastening. I'm sure there are a myriad of ways to do it, but this is what I did. While the pieces were in place (taped to hold where necessary), I cut pieces of L to fit inside each corner and epoxied them in place. When the door is sheeted from the outside, that will add the strength in the corners where it's needed. So..
Now you have a frame. Skin it. I used some leftover .050 from the shop (which is why it's red), but .040 will do. Use an oversize piece that you can trim down. I drilled every 2 inches around the perimeter and used Olympic rivets to hold everything together. Solid rivets were too tough to drive inside the frame. By the way, the legs on my channel are only about an inch wide. So.. now you have the beginnings of a door. Scribe a line around the outside at least an inch or more from the frame edge. My top edge is a little shy and I have a small gap at the top corners that I have to address. If the skin were about a half inch wider I wouldn't have the worry. So.. now you have a trimmed door skin. Test fit it. Good? Good!

The window.. I personally wanted an opening window at the rear for flow-through ventilation when we're on the move. Unfortunately I was unable to find a curved window that opened like I wanted, so I settled...which, of course, opens up an entire can of worms... The windows come with an interior trim piece.. use that as your template for placement and cutting the opening.

Square peg, meet round hole:



Hmmm....



That's sticking up a good .75" above the surface. That's not good, but I knew it would happen. I wanted the bottom of the window as flush as possible for drainage (get into that in a moment). So.. with the window taped in place, start making templates, in this case out of flexible polyethylene:



Take the template off, and start trimming up some .032 to match. Here, of course, is the next issue... it, too, will need to be a C channel - one side to rest on the door skin so it can be riveted and the other for the window to rest upon. Fiddly work, but it wasn't too bad:



I relied heavily on some 3M autobody adhesive. Since the aluminum was too thin (for me) to weld, I opted to glue it together. The stuff I use is made to glue automotive panels to inner frames, so I think I'm ok with this... sand both surfaces before gluing!
Fabricated "riser" in place, glued with 3M's 8115 panel bonding adhesive. Meant for literally gluing van and other automobile body panels in place, it's a good fit here. Olympic rivets will still go every few inches on the inside edge underneath, just because.



Set the window in place, riveted every 3" with Olympics and glued/sealed with 3M 5200.



End game, almost. Window installed after a bed of 3M 5200 was added to the perimeter of the frame. 5200 is gnarley stuff and seals and glues almost anything when prepped correctly. I used it extensively when I was boating years ago, so I respect it's properties. But even with that, I felt better throwing some rivets through the frame and into the sheet metal every few inches.

Move to the inside...after everything cures and sets, of course. And double check fitment along the way to the opening in the UV...


Almost there... inside. .080 skin for the inside. Why? Well, the hinges I'll be using are C hinges - think trunk lid hinges. So there will be a lot of localized stress at those attachment points (maybe less, once prop rods/pneumatics) are installed. Still, don't want any issues with things shaking loose. Latch still to be fitted. Holes... well.. really, to help shoot the spray foam insulation into place, but it looks neat as a weight saving (ounces) device!



Oops.. jumped ahead too soon.. Have to talk about drainage. Since the window is well off vertical, the factory drains won't work. In fact, water will collect on the sill and possibly drip into the coach without some additional drainage help...


Inside shot before the skin goes on. No reinforcement as I couldn't quite figure how to do anything that would cross both curved axes (plural of axis... had to look that up). It seems solid enough with the interior panel on. Very little twist, though I can if I push hard enough. For the details: Under the window you see a silver piece of metal. That is a U shape, with the bottom of the U facing upwards. It is not connected to the window. The window has two 3/8" holes drilled into the frame equidistant in from the sides. The U channel also has two holes - and those tubes going laterally slide into those holes and are flush with the inside bottom of the channel. The tubes are well sealed and glued (3M again) and exit out the outside skin (see previous photo). The channel is sealed on four sides (well, will be) to allow any possible water entry from the window to drip through the window channel and land into the trough. Tubes then carry the water to the outside.



I realized that I had to create some sort of dam on either end of the channel under the window frame, else the water would find it way down the inside of the door frame. Does it work? You bet - preliminary testing showed no water intrusion and the drains work perfectly.




Close-up of the drain. Instead of allowing the water to drain at the bottom of the door, I opted to have it go outside. After all, there is nothing to keep water from entering the bedroom if water gets onto that sill - this eliminates that issue.



Almost there.. outside. Latch still to be fitted. Yes, the skin will be sanded and painted when the rest of the coach gets done, but for now it's red! Oh.. I made the door for the thickness of the latch - 1.75". The inside frame of the UV is 2", so you will need to move the latch plate on the coach for the latch to work, if you decide to retain the OE latching mechanism.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:39:51 PM by rickmilne »

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2016, 06:13:22 PM »
Well.. no real progress, other than to find what doesn't work. In an effort to somewhat streamline the rear, I was trying to eliminate the piano hinge at the hatch. Those hinges always screamed 'cheap' to me, so I opted to try an internal structure. The hinge on the left is from an early 70's Opel trunk lid; the one on the right early 2000's Ford Mustang. The Mustang hinge actually has two hinge points that, in theory, would have pushed the hatch out and up. But alas, neither worked. It seems the actual pivot point for the hatch is, indeed, at the top, and internal hinges won't work. With both sets there was no moving the hatch at all.. where it wanted to pivot was much higher than the actual hinge points. So, reluctantly, I'll be going back to an external piano hinge...

Opel hinge


Mustang

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2016, 06:16:53 PM »
Or.. happen upon some really cool hinges on eBay...  ;D
Supposedly from Mastercraft Boats, the seller had three. So I bought two...

And yes, they are flat. The body is not. So again, a shim had to be made to marry the hinge to the body. Thick pvc, sanded to fit.. but does the trick. And paintable...



And.. they work!



Next step on this side of the coach is removing the piece of metal below the hatch as it's all dented up from the PO. It's ok.. I have to move the latch for the door anyway!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 11:49:00 AM by rickmilne »

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2016, 05:08:54 PM »
So.. one of our group had an incident with his lower A-arm cracking when he was replacing the bushings. I have a spare, so I thought I'd offer that up if he needed it, and also would give me the chance to figure out how to remove the old bushings and install new ones.. and if he didn't need it, I'd have a spare ready to go.

So.. of course I didn't think to take photos, but it was fairly straightforward way to remove the old cracked bushings without resorting to presses and a lot of hammering. Thusly:

You will need:

needlenose pliers
propane torch (or MAPP)
small hammer
die grinder (or other rotary tool that can hold a carbide burr bit. A drill would work, just slower)
rotary carbide bit, rough,  either round or oval shape
utility knife
flat screwdriver

1) Begin by scoring the old cracked rubber around the outside of the bushing where the toothed inner tube come through. You want to remove all that rubber from around that tube so the tube is as exposed as you can get it.
2) Once the rubber is removed, take the torch and shoot a flame down the center of the tube. Hold the flame there until the rubber starts to bubble and 'move' from the heat.
3) Take the hammer and tap the end of the metal tube. It should move easily. Remove the tube with the pliers.
3) Let the rubber cool down for a while, else the next step gets messy(er). With the rotary burr, carefully and slowly grind a path back and forth, front to back, through the rubber and to the metal outer case. If you're lucky, the rubber will let loose of the case and come out. If it doesn't, it's ok.. just pay close attention. Throw as much light into the work area as you can.
4) As the burr gets to the metal case, continue to carefully and slowly eat away at the case, going back and forth. You want to grind through the case but not into the aluminum arm. You do not need to cut the metal lip on the outside of the bushing case. Watch carefully... as the bushing case gets thinner and you cut through, you will see a color change from the steel to the aluminum. Stop grinding at those areas. Once you see a silver line of aluminum, flip the arm 180? and repeat a second time, cutting a new path across from the one you just cut.
5) As the second path is complete, you should be able to take the hammer and screwdriver and tap the bushing case out from one side with ease, with little to no damage on the arm itself.

Putting in the new bushings is another post... will get to that when it happens..!

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2016, 03:30:33 PM »
Hmm... been a while. Haven't dealt with the front suspension lately, been working tearing out the interior for the complete remodel and fix-it. As I've been pulling the interior panels out, I'm finding a lot of corrosion, mostly on the roof panels.


 One section, in fact, was completely gone.. which explained the glued-on patch on the roof. No rivets, just glued with 3M's 5200 adhesive.


 So.. eventually that will have to be fixed correctly. But, for the most part, the interior is almost completely gutted save for the bathroom sections. I'm trying to remove the door frame in one piece if possible, just for the ease of placing it back in. The fiberglass pan itself... will need some love once I get that loose. All the slot-head screws holding it in place are, of course, corroded to the point where they have no head left, so I'll have to grind them loose, pop the pan out and do some fiberglass repairs. One more thing on the list. Sort of glad I'm doing this though - I get to replace the incredibly heavy and old water heater and furnace with new, lightweight appliances. The walls will get fixed and reinforced as necessary (several ribs were randomly cut for some reason), new wiring put in, etc etc... And, the fuel tank, already out, and water tank (next to be out) can be replaced with new smaller units. The rocker panels will need to be fixed.. mostly of my doing trying to remove stripped and rusted slot screws.... again.....
The plan there is to put structural I-beam across the coach - one piece behind the wheel wells, right next to the box channel, one in the middle(ish) and one back by the engine, just because. New tanks can then be supported by the beams, though the blackwater tank will remain... it's the only one without a hole in it!

The side project while all this is going on is a new drivetrain based on what Ottowa Tony was researching, just a slightly different take. C5 Corvette (1997-2004) transmission and differential, with the differential flipped 180. Engine will be GM's 3800 series supercharged v6, lightly modded for lighter weight (aluminum heads) and a tad more power. Preliminary testing of the transmission/differential are extremely promising... I won't know for sure until I get to the point in the coach when it's actually installed. And I still have to pull the old Corvair engine and transaxle out...

« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 10:32:26 PM by rickmilne »

seavandal

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Re: 436
« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2017, 12:51:28 AM »
WOW! It's been a long time since I looked at #436. I bought #436 from the original owners (The Donaldsons) who lived in San Diego. They traveled all over the US in "Moby Dick". They were truly Ultravanners! I worked on it quite a bit and got it running and spruced up. I really tried to keep it original. All parts were working when I was finished with it. I finally took it out on a trip and was scared to drive it since the steering was extremely loose. When trucks went by, I was blown a half lane over! Too scary for me. I decided to sell it to the Duvalls in Oklahoma. They came out and drove it back! I guess my work was good.
I was shocked to see it in damaged condition a while back but didn't really look into what had happened to it since. I decided to see what had happened to her and was pleasantly surprised to see all of the work that you have been doing on her! That is some serious dedication to restoration! What you are doing is something that I have no business getting into. Vintage travel trailers are what I now am into restoring. Much easier when the mechanics boil down to an axle and bearings! Congratulations on a great project. Can't wait to see the end result. Here are a couple of pictures of #436. The lady in front of the Ultra is Mrs. Donaldson (Wife of original owner) the day I towed it away. The rest show the condition of the Ultra when I got it. Cheers! Chris Hart, Glendale CA


rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2017, 03:53:46 PM »
 ;D Thanks Chris! Very cool to see some older photos of the coach as it once existed! Not quite sure we'll keep the name "Moby Dick" though :-) Thanks for checking in here and adding a little backstory!

Rick

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #52 on: October 09, 2017, 10:28:12 PM »
Yikes... updating the photo links and photos are huge  ;D. I'll have to amend those eventually. Anyway, looked at the coach over the weekend. Futzed with the radiator openings a little bit trying to straighten out damaged metal and figuring my next step. I have to order some longer buck rivets for a couple areas. I found on this coach no less than 5 layers of metal all coming together right at the front bracket that holds the front suspension. Some metal overlapped rivets that were already there... so I'm guessing there were other incidents of having to replace metal somewhere along the way. Almost all those rivets have been drilled out and the area cleaned up and with the replacement and additional metal going back in I'm going to tie everything together in one shot.

Tomorrow I'm picking up the newly rebuilt transmission and torque convertor..... more to add to the pile!

carlofsumner

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Re: 436
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2017, 12:10:21 AM »
Keep up the work Rick, you'll be there before you know it.

CDJ

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2017, 06:32:21 PM »
 ;) Winter is coming... I'm (sort of) hoping that professional work slows a little so I can actually get some garage time. Picked up the trans and convertor today, so they are with the engine at the mechanic's shop. We'll bolt everything together to make sure it's 100% before I even attempt to install it. I still have to remove the existing drivetrain anyway.

Working on a different power brake system as well. Digging heavily into the hydroboost setups - they take up far less space than the traditional vacuum can setups. Since I will have a power steering setup using hydraulics, it's almost a no-brainer since the hydraulic pump will be located in or near the footwells, and running hoses is easy. I'm also investigating having the brake system stand separate from the steering, using another identical power steering pump. I'm leaning more in that direction - I don't like having critical systems relying on each other despite the fact that is exactly what I have running in my Chevy pickup!

rickmilne

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Re: 436
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2018, 09:08:34 AM »
I've been leaping from project to project here, not focusing on any one particular aspect of the coach. Which partially explains why nothing really gets done.. But, since pulling the Corvair driveline out and cleaning up the associated shmutz associated with the oils and road debris in the engine "box", I was better able to look at the mounting for the trailing arms in this particular coach. Somewhere along the line someone had shot undercoat on everything - including pivot points, bolts, brake lines.. you name it. I chiseled off what I could (and brake cleaner works really well for softening undercoat) to see what all needed done. I know the pivot bushings will need replaced for sure.. the passenger side arm is tilted as the bushing has completely failed.
  So, as my brain comprehended on what I needed to do to remove the arms and replace what needed replaced, I figured why not try to find a way to "upgrade" the arms in terms of adjustability and longer life / stronger bearings on the wheel side. Somewhere, might have been on Facebook, someone posted a photo of one of their bearing hubs being shimmed out to get it "level" or wherever it needed to be. That, of course, is completely unacceptable.. and it occurred to me that the current arm setup leaves no adjustment.. especially if the OEM threaded rods are rusted solid as mine are. So my secondary goal is to utilize the Corvair's original mounting plate on the arm:
Which means, of course, cutting back the OE aluminum angle on the coach's structure and adding a plate behind the wheel well (easily accessible on either side). Camber will be addressed by the traditional Corvair method of the strut rod from the factory location to the engine/transmission. With my particular conversion this will be relatively easy as a reinforcing cradle is being installed between the transaxle and engine. On a factory Ultra with the Corvair drivetrain, the attachment plates for the transmission would have to be sourced and installed.. but then, a new set of trailing arms would also have to be sourced as the strut mounts would have been cut off.
  Why go through this trouble? Simple.. I feel that using factory parts in factory places simplifies everything and makes a more uniform and adjustable coach. Yes, I could have made a set of arms like a few other members have done, but those still sacrifice adjustability for strength. Box in a set of Corvair arms, weld all the seams, and you have an arm that is just as strong.
  Back to one of the first points.. bearings and hubs. One of my goals is not to have to perform a bunch of "pre-flight" maintenance every time I want to take the coach out. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of consensus on packing rear bearings - in reading some folks pack 'em before every long trip, some folks pack 'em every 10K or so miles. I'm not doing that. With modern bearings and hubs, there is absolutely no reason to have to go through that ever again. So.. in researching hubs (basing everything on my current 3/4 ton truck front hubs) I back searched (since truck hubs are either 6 or 8 lug depending on weight) for the heaviest Gm vehicle using a 5 lug hub. And Cadillac came to the top every time. So.. since this was all purely experimental at this point, I ordered a cheap Chinese set of hubs from eBay for a Caddy XLR, rated at 3900 pounds. Which, weirdly also fits late model Corvettes.. Since I was also converting to disc brake on the rear, using a Speedway kit meant for mid year vehicles (I'd have to get the numbers off the box.. I think I bought the mid to late '80's Corvette kit), several more adapters would have to be made - a thick spacer to hold the hub itself, and one for the caliper.
  So.. with some scanning, measuring and a few mistrials, I milled some test pieces using some solid urethane foam (green) and some aluminum composite material (white):   The interesting thing here is that locating the new hub within the confines of the rectangular box of the old hub is easy - the hub will actually self-center within that area. Set the hub, move the mounting ears to locations where there is the most "meat" of the arm - which turns out to be near two existing holes and one directly underneath - mark those locations and drill. I'll probably fill the other OE four holes when the seams get welded together just to strengthen the area. Anyway, if everything lines up - and it took a couple attempts - you'll wind up with this:  
The caliper hanging off the back of the arm isn't ideal.. that's quite a bit of sprung weight there, but it's the only place to clear the spring perch. The shock mount might be an issue - until they're installed I won't know for sure.

  But.. the system works in theory. My next step is to get the test pieces cut in steel and installed on the arms (after they get blasted clean and painted). My hope is that someone might find this useful for their own coach and I can provide either the files or have the pieces cut for them - once I get pricing!