I'm often pretty grubby when I'm done with a day's work on the Airstream, but my reflection in my shaving mirror was so black that that I took a selfie in the shower. I'll post that at the end.
I was so dirty because I removed the aluminum belly pan and wire brushed the rust off the whole frame. I was going to leave the bellypan attached to the banana wrap (real terms, I'm not making this up), but I realized that I needed to removed it.
The bellypan is the section of aluminum down the middle of the airstream. The banana wraps are the sections that curve in surprisingly complicated ways from the sides to the middle. There are two seams that run front-to-back where the layers of aluminum overlap.
I don't want to mess with the banana wraps on this end. They will need to be patched, but I've read that actually replacing them is miserable. The rear ones unfortunately do need to be replaced, so we'll see.
Here's a pic of the same angle with the belly pan removed, you can see it still rolled up underneath in this photo. The banana wraps are attached at the sides, but not along the frame anymore:
In order to remove the belly pan, I had to remove about 50 pop rivets from the seams. I found it was easiest if I ground them off from the inside. I tried hard not to damage the aluminum, but a few places got scored. There are a bunch of holes I'll need to seal anyway. (Incidentally, this is why I could never build an airplane like my friend Mike. I'm all about "good enough".)
So after the bellypan was out, I was able to get to the underside of the frame with my grinder and wire wheel. I took most of the rust off the frame. There were a few places I couldn't reach with the wheel, but, again, "good enough".
I used Corroseal again on this side and was amazed again at the stuff. It converts rust into not-rust and becomes a rather hard coating. It feels like magic. It is an acid-based product that soaks in and chemically changes the rust.
I took a series of photos of the same part of the frame. I had thought it was going to be the most-rusted part. (I was wrong, there is another part that actually did rust completely through. There's a hole about the size of a dime. But I didn't get pictures and it is in an unimportant place.)
Corroseal is very easy to apply, the trick is making sure you really soak the metal with lots of product, but avoid drips. It meant I kept reapplying more product as the previous coat soaked in.
So, after a very long day of work, my arms are shot and my back is angry with me. But, I'm satisfied. Its one of those days that I feel like I might actually do this.
Yeah, I'm not posting that selfie. I can't believe you came looking for it. Here's proof I was that grimy though:
I'm not an Airstream Jedi, yet. Airstream Jedi would have sounded presumptuous, like I know what I'm doing. That couldn't be further from the truth. Padawan is a title I can hope to live up to.
Knots Per Hour
My friend Mike is building an airplane. Check it out.