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With a good welder 1/8" wall tubing would be good. Being that I am a "farmer putty" welder I use 3/16" and up. Both will support the weight and neither will let you put the unit upside down without deformation.
Other options,after assembly, would be to drill a hole or two in the tubing, fill with foam and spray paint the exterior.
Good luck, Tim
I was taught to respect my elders but it is getting harder to find them!
I'm not sure about the window there is a steel plate that goes all the way around the window and attaches I think to the vertical steel supports. This is solid all the way around the bottom and sides of the window but completely rusted away at the top. At the top the fiberglass is riveted through this and the rust and the fiberglass or what the window is sealed against.there's also a metal sheet attached to the top of the tubing and either is attached to that steel pinched around the window seal or is part of it and folded into the window seal. Is that window sealed safely without being connected to that tubing does it get any support from that tubing? The seam in the center has a tab that extends and screws into that plywood which was below the sheet-metal and screwed in above it as well my thought was to use a small piece of metal welded to the center of the tube extending to support that bracket although that may just do more damage than good if that flexes and doesn't have the extra support of the sheet metal.
So a professional welder stopped by and took a look. He said he didn't want to touch it because there was so much in the area that was flammable. He said no matter how much caution he used he could still gets sparks going into seams and carpet and whatnot. Even when I advised i'm totally re-carpeting the front, replacing the floor, potentially reapplying vinyl to the whole dash he wasn't interested. He said if it were his he's just get an aluminum tube, stack it on top drill holes and bolt it on after spraying rust inhibitor and painting.
He didn't look all that closely and after he left I thought maybe that would be possible then after poking lightly at the passenger size of the rusted upper tubing is just poked through ... There's just nothing there to bold onto at all. If I were to bold anything i think I'd have to have corners welded onto the ends of a tub and bolt that into the sides into the vertical steel supports.
But all that aside I'm still concerned about the window. Looking more closely I can definitely see the way its built. There's the horizontal tube with sheet metal welded to the under site. (rather thin) and that is cut to line up with the curved steel sheet the the window is mounted in. That sheet is solid and connected to the side supports. the aluminum is wrapped around that and the fiberglass top is dropped in behind the aluminum and in front of the steel then the window is sealed around that. The at the top though has rusted to nothing leaving just the fiberglass and possibly aluminum on the outside. The sheet welded to the tubing is also in various places welded top that top edge of steel sandwiched between the fiberglass and the inner window seal.
So to truly return this to original i'd have to have the window taken out and that whole steel sheet presumably cut and shaved and welted back onto those two vertical supports and weld all the rest of the stuff back in and have the window put back in ... which I can't imagine is even worth me doing. I wouldn't even want to guess on that cost or even finding someone to do it.
So I have no idea if I could save just cut out that horizontal tubing and the horizontal sheet, cutting it away from the window (it would just brush/fall away), clean up that window edge, find someone to weld that horizontal bar and safely call it structurally sound ... (without messing with all the window stuff. I'd just clean that upper area, not put the storage section back in and not put the overhead bed back in. I'd just clean it up and cover that area with some sort of vinyl cover I could make leaving it accessible.
Anyone want to buy a barth with brand new tires, new front springs, control arm, exhaust manifold and all kinds of other new stuff? :-)
I feel for you. While I did have unsuspected issues with my Barth that required loads more refurbishment work than I had planned for, it was nothing as difficult as what you face.
Off-hand, I would advise you to get a second (welders) opinion and perhaps even clear flammable material away from the work area before the welder takes an appraisal. Maybe another solution is to be patient, shake the bushes, and see if a donor vehicle from similar vintage turns up that has a good front roof section that you could use. It's a bit of a long shot, but not entirely out of the question. I have a friend who restores old Porsches and he does this kind of 'clip' welding from donor cars when that is the best solution. Be patient & creative... hopefully a reasonable way to fix it will be found. Best luck.
1989 22' Regal
Find another welder. I had a customer who converted luxury cars into convertibles. Some of the welds he made were quite novel, and the original paint on $100K cars was undamaged.
'94 28' Breakaway: MilSpec AMG 6.5L TD 230HP
Nelson and Chester, not-spoiled Golden Retrievers
Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not.
In either case the idea is quite staggering. - Arthur C. Clarke
It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I've been searching thirty years to find her and thank her - W. C. Fields
If the welder was concerned about splatter he was talking about MIG or open stick welding and not TIG. There is no splatter with TIG but there is heat as I mentioned previously. Don't get too concerned about the tear down. Welding new frame components is not difficult nor is fabricating replacement tubing or channels. I would expect it would take maybe one day to remove the front cap, windshields and peel away the aluminum to get the steel framing exposed. To be sure you can strip out the cabinets, remove the dash covers and peel back the carpets. Then it is just fabricating a new assembly and TIG welding it in. This is not any different than an aluminum car or airplane. Inquire at an RV Paint shop or bus body shop. It is work but it can be done.
1993 32' Regency Wide Body, 4 speed Allison Trans, Front Entry door, Diamond Plate aluminum roof &
1981 Euro 22' w Chevy 350 engine and TH 400 tranny
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