This week we’re going to discuss the next step in getting ready to take our shell off of our Airstream!
When removing the aluminum shell, one of the biggest concerns is that the shell will become deformed or warped, which not only impacts structural integrity but also may affect the ability to get the shell reattached to the frame.
In an effort to keep any kind of deformation from happening, we spent the better part of a few days installing interior supports to prevent that flexion and warping that might occur during liftoff.
A note: on later model airstreams the shell can be set directly on the ground, so they don’t need much for interior support after liftoff. On our model, the wall panels actually wrap around to the belly pan, so the shell has to remain suspended throughout the shell-off phase.
We used 2×6 boards to span the length of the shell to create a base for the rest of the supports to be built on. We then used 2x4s for the cross-bracing and to tie the individual sections into a single structure. Finally, we laminated a couple 2x8s for the main lift beam. The structure is probably overkill but we’d much rather over engineer and not need it than to have shell be damaged.
Check out the process through our photos and video below!