The rear frame had so very little rust that a wire brush attachment to my drill was all that I needed to remove the rust from the frame. There were a few places, mostly on the underside of the beams and outriggers, that had rusted a bit more deeply. Still, the worst of my frame (so far) has been nothing like the stories on the airforums. The top-left photo above was the worst outrigger of the rear end. No holes and still very solid metal, but it was uniformly rusty and slightly pitted.
I know all the literature (or nearly all of it) says to use POR-15 to encapsulate the rust. POR-15 is the automotive standard for restoration buffs. I've got nothing against that product, but I wasn't willing to pay the premium - in dollars or in skin. POR-15 is expensive in both, or so everyone says.
I used a product that is virtually unmentioned in the airstream world - Corroseal. It is an acid-based rust converter (similar to Ospho) that seals itself into a latex metal primer. It chemically changes the rust into not-rust. I don't think that's the technical term, but you get the idea.
The first picture above is bare metal, the second is moments after application, and the third is after curing for a few hours. Sure this product isn't hard-as-nails like POR-15. In theory the paint/primer could come off and rust could come back someday. But it took 52 years to get to this point; I'm pretty sure this buys me another 50, maybe more. Ben can restore it again when I'm 86.
My next step is ordering black and grey holding tanks. The grey, if not the black too, will need to be mounted under the floor. Then I'll replace the floor and move to the front. I hope the rust isn't too bad up there!
Here are a few more photos from today:
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.