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1950 Liner "Weeble" - Adding the belly pan and preping for shell-off

Posted 03-25-2018 at 09:03 PM by Bowmans

We took the winter off for the most part. We started back up in February with the belly pan on the to do list. We cut strips and bent using metal angle clamped to a saw horse and a rubber mallet for the "C" channel. Not the prettiest but since they will not be seen, they will work.

"C" channel cut and bent:


Then it was time to mount them to the floor. We used SS bolts and nylock nuts or in some places, left over elevator bolts and cut the bolts off shorter. We put a coat of vulkem under the channel just as a precautionary seal. Not sure it needed it but it couldn't hurt. We drilled out and pulled through the umbilical wires as well as the front ground, rear ground, break-away switch and brake wires. We will have a DC running gear junction box under the couch in the front where the batteries are.

"C" channel in place:


We started the belly pan sheets with the flat panel in the back. This had to be cut around the waste plumbing box and the rear leveling jack holes had to be drilled out. We used an old cooler, 5 gallon buckets, scrap 2x4's and scrap 2" foam insulation to hold the sheet against the frame in order to drill and rivet. We put the frame on ramps to give us more room to work underneath. But even with the added space, this was a test of our endurance and nimbleness. We (actually going to say I here) spent three long weekends laying on my back in metal filings craning my neck and using my knees, feet and hips to hold the sheet just right while drilling. I think I gained 3 inches around my neck in muscle.

First sheet of the belly pan in place:


The sheet that went above the axle worked out eventually and turned out fine but was the biggest pain in the @#&. We decided to go back and do the rear sheet at this point. It was going to be tucked under the full sheet se we dropped the sides. It went in really well. First we cut out for the tube in the back and clamped the sheet to the "C" channel on each side of the tube. Then trimmed the curve out, notched and starting from the tube, went around each side toward the front, working it in to a curve.

Rear belly pan sheet in place:


Next we put the two straight sheets in front of the axle in. We cut the smaller sheet short so it didn't go up the step. Once the shell is on and door in place, we will put a scond sheet from the center under the camper up to the step. At this point, we are not sure where exactly the door frame will fall on the step. The step is wide than the door on purpose as we plan to line the sides and this gives us about an inch of play for where the door lands. Measuring the old frame and shell for the door was impossible due to it being caved in with the rotted floor across from the door.

Below are a few more images of the belly pan. The pictures didn't turn out that great. Once the frame is under the shell and outside, we will have better images.

Looking on drivers side from front to back:


Looking from passenger side front to drivers side tire:


This past weekend, we framed in the shell for lift-off.

Framing up the sheel for lift-off:


Today we tested out buck riveting skills on a scrap piece of aluminum. We may have a little too much air pressure to the riveter but that may also be because we are not riveting in to a frame piece, just two flat pieces. The bucked side is at the right specs and the wife and I worked great as a bucking team!

Some test rivets:


We also drilled out the door hinge reinforcing aluminum inside the shell, cleaned those, flipped and put back in using our new riveting skill. The old hinges were rusting so we also scotch brighted and polished the spots on the outside shell where they were mounted. The plan is to swap the shell from the old to new frame and fit and seal the door next weekend as long as the weather cooperates. Wish us luck.
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