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Old 08-28-2012, 07:38 AM   #21
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I haven't had an opportunity to measure the finished axle height yet but based on the configuration of the holding tanks, does anyone see potential pitfalls we may run into? The tanks will hang down about 10" from the bottom of the frame. I don't want there to be an issue with anything hitting them from below. They are right behind the axle so I know it would offer some protection (not that I want anything to hit it either). There is another tank we found that may work well but the outlet comes out of the bottom of the tank which seems like it could pose the same exposure of getting hit from below. Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:43 PM   #22
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I know others have put in tanks which hang down a long way as RJ did but I must admit the idea makes me nervous. I actually removed the 2 crossmembers immediately aft of the axle because they were a joke anyway and then placed a single much heavier crossmember in the center which gave me 2 bays 24" wide instead of 3 bays 16" wide.
this allows the use of the VTS gray tanks 16 gallons with almost no drop below the original bellypan location. There are frame pics in my build thread if you are interested. Haven't committed on the black tank yet but I will probably stay above floor with a slightly smaller tank since Jen and I never seem to fill too much in our other units. With the heavier 3/4" plywood floors I dont expect the wider crossmember spacing to be a problem. My proposed plumbing layout should fill the front gray tank first then overflow into the aft tank only if needed minimising weight behind the axles as much as possible.
tim
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:56 PM   #23
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Pop her top?

Thanks for the input Tim. This is my concern as well, how much they hang down. And the VTS tanks are obviously too wide for our current cross-member spacing.

I checked out your build thread! Looking great! You mention in it that once you've pretty much removed the subfloor and inner skins you aren't far away from popping her top. I have been torn between doing it or not. Once you were at our stage was it that much more work? We have her in a barn and I could raise the shell to the trusses and roll the frame right out of the door she's in. Any recommendations? Do it? Stay away from it?

Thanks again,

Justin
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:43 PM   #24
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Hi, another young, energetic person, with a fun project for me to watch. Either your frame is really bent or you have something like an 18mm wide angle lens for a few of the pictures.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:50 PM   #25
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Hopefully we'll have energy to camp when it's done!

Some of the pics are shot with the PhotoSynth app which stitches multiple pictures together. Remarkably, our frame is in great shape. But I see how you could get that impression.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:07 PM   #26
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Once you have removed the floor the only thing holding the shell on is friction. Drill out the rivets, bend up the belly pan which is probably folded over the C channel and coverd with some nast black asphalt stuff, add a little bracing and lift it off. You will be glad you did. I resisted this step for several months and I can attest that it is MUCH easier after the shell is off. You will be able to sandblast off the rest of the nasty asphalt stuff with which the frame is probably painted, do the necessary frame repairs/modifications, paint and then be ready to install the floor and C channel then drop the shell back on.
Actually, I am seriously jealous of your barn!
I do have a nice concrete slab to work on but a roof is something I can only aspire to.
Oh, BTW, make sure you have the bracing and lift apparatus in place before you drill out all the beltline rivets, I almost made a really big mistake here- the shell tried to lift off in a wind gust and I thought it was going to bend in half for a second or two! talk about stress!
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:07 PM   #27
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I'd be really uneasy about tanks hanging down 10".

I've got a 50's trailer too and I put fresh and gray in the frame and the black above the floor. 33 gallon gray hangs down 4" below the frame as do the two 24 gallon fresh tanks.

Keep up the great progress. It's looking really good.

cheers,
steve
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:25 AM   #28
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Thanks Tim and Steve for your input! I think you've helped us make our decision. The shell is coming off. We struggled with it but in the end we know it will be much better if we do.

Tim, I was going to remove the vent and run my cables/chain out of it to the rafters. How heavy was your shell (appox.)? My plan is to lift her straight up, roll the frame out, and bring her right back down on blocks. You are right, we are fortunate to have a big enough work area where we can have the frame next to the shell and still have room to work.

Steve, that's some impressive sized tanks! I'm not sure what size we'll end up with but I'm leaning (ever so slightly) to two 16's for gray and one 16 for black. Are there pictures of your tanks on your thread? I'd like to see them!

Thanks again and time to prepare for lift-off this weekend. I'm already making my list of things to measure/note/draw before we separate the shell.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:25 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemoontwo View Post
Steve, that's some impressive sized tanks! I'm not sure what size we'll end up with but I'm leaning (ever so slightly) to two 16's for gray and one 16 for black. Are there pictures of your tanks on your thread? I'd like to see them!
Yes, the tank stuff is pretty early in my thread. Stock tanks, Icon for the gray and Valterra for the fresh, and they are all ABS. Advantage with ABS is that you can put on the fittings yourself, so you don't need to make the final plans for fittings when you order the tanks. I only had a rough idea of the plumbing when the tanks went into the frame.

-steve
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:20 PM   #30
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I haven't weighed the shell but I doubt it is over 500# even with most of the inner shell still in place. I have adjusted it several times by simply lifting the 2x6 that the corners rest on and blocking it up or down. Even alone it isnt too heavy for me alone to handle a corner at a time.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:30 AM   #31
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The Shell is Coming Off

Well, yesterday we made some great headway on getting the shell removed!

Before we began bracing and drilling we made sure to template the C-channels and floor. We used luan and cardboard to create a rough sketch and then transferred it to a piece of luan. The cardboard would have most likey been sufficient but I wanted to have one solid template to use when it came time to cut the new floor. I was also fortunate to maintain the corners of the subfloor when I removed them. I figure between the two of these we should have a lot easier time when it comes time to install the new floor.

After we completed the templating we began installing bracing throughout the trailer. Once again I'm glad our trailer is small so any task doesn't seem too daunting.

Then the fun began. We rigged up our hoist and pulley system. We purchased a "come-along" and some heavy duty eye bolts. The hoist was anchored to the wall next to the trailer. After a little on-site engineering we had our vent lid removed and a 6' 2x12 board suspended through the opening. We padded the board with towels so we wouldn't mar the original zolatone.

After our hoist was in place we set out drilling the rivets along the floor. My assistant for the day (my dad) lead the way with a center-punch, punching the center of each rivet. I followed him with the drill. He then backed me up and used a putty knife to make sure we had clean separation between the skin and C-channel. All in all, the process wasn't bad at all and moved rather quickly.

Once we thought we had all of the rivets removed we tested the hoist and gave her a couple of clicks. That's when I realized that there were some rivets that we couldn't see but were still intact. It's amazing how a handlful of rivets have such holding power (which is a good thing). We released the pressure on the hoist and started examining where the hidden rivets were. At this point it was after 6pm. As best as I could tell the rivets that I missed are located at the top of the wheel wells and where the flat panels meet the beginning of the end caps. Does anyone else know where I should look?

At this point we were pretty beat so we called it a day. We felt pretty good about our progress. We didn't start until after 10 and it seemed that every time I turned around my assistant was distracted (see last pic). Not that I'm complaining. I can't blame him one bit.

Here are the additional pictures we took yesterday:

Templating the Floor and C Channel

Shell Removal
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #32
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Hidden rivets

I'm in the middle of redoing a 1959 18 ft. California-made trailer. Our trailers are very similar. I did the shell removal, etc. last summer. You'll find the hidden rivets where ever the exterior sheets overlap - near the wheel wells is an example. You're making very good progress and you seem to have things under control. Like you, I thought that I could avoid removing the shell so I removed the floor first.

I'm redoing the windows now and then will start the plumbing, etc. I'll keep an eye out for any trailer specific questions you might have.

The dinette on my trailer was gone - I have everything else. If you ever get bored or just need a break, I'd appreciate the dimensions of the side panels of your dinette - the panel that starts at the shoulder and curves past the seat to the floor. That's this winter's project.

Yes, you're daughter is cute, and, no, I won't get into a discussion of whether my granddaughters are cuter.

Stan
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #33
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Thanks for the reply Stan. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to measure and draw the dinette in Google Sketchup. I've been doing this for each cabinet/fixture. The dinette is high on the list as I'm trying to determine fresh water tank sizes and what flexibility I have in re-configuring the dinette. As soon as I do I'll get you a copy of them.

Thanks for helping with the hidden rivets. How did you remove them? With a putty knife?

Thanks again.

Justin
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #34
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Usually for those hidden rivets you can take a drywall spatula with a metal handle, slide it down between the shell and the C channel from the inside to find the rivet, and then rap it with a mallet to cut it. You'll find several of them and finally the shell will just pop free.

cheers,

steve
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:26 PM   #35
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I had a hidden rivet directly below each vertical rib. Dont really know why since all the ribs ended above the C channel anyway. By the second half of the lift off I was just automatically cutting down with a sharpened putty knife and found one every time.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:50 PM   #36
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Justin,

I appreciate the offer of a dinette drawing.

My freshwater tank was across the front - under the window. It's stainless steel (as yours appears to be) and, judging from the welding marks, has baffles. My plan is to reuse it.

We also appear to have the same wood and finish. I was told that it's rift cut white oak.

I overthought redoing the floor. I failed to measure the width of the floor before I removed the shell (I thought the width would be obvious), and initially thought that the floor couldn't be wider than the outriggers. It was. I also thought that the floor would extend uniformly beyond the outriggers on both sides, and it didn't. I ended up just marking the center of the frame, front and rear, marked a center line on the plywood, and let the plywood be where ever on the frame. It worked fine.

As a heads up, I found it easier to place the shell back on the new floor if you jack up the back of the frame. That creates a slight u shape in the frame and shortens the frame length, making it easier to drop the shell.

Keep up the good work.

Stan
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:15 AM   #37
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Shell is Off!

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since we last posted so I thought I would give a quick update. I'll post more pictures (and possibly some videos of the shell being lifted) later when I can but in the meantime....

We got the shell off. It wasn't as bad as I originally thought. There are a lot of rivets (and hidden ones) though! So now the shell is resting on blocks in the barn and the frame is ready to be shipped off (just across town).

Our next steps are getting a new axle put on by a local trailer shop. We've opted for a new leaf axle with electric brakes. The guys have a great reputation and are extremely helpful.

As I continue removing the belly pan and getting the frame ready, our new wheels and tires are being made. We are having 15x7" smoothie rims made for her (sorry Rob, no 14.5" low-riding for us). They will be powdercoated baby blue with baby moon caps. The same guys manufacturing the wheels are ordering new Coker whitewalls for them. We're getting 3 wheels/tires so we can have a full size spare with us at all times. We're going to incorporate the spare tire holder on the A-frame with the propane tanks and flag holders.

The wheels should be ready by the middle of next week. At that time we'll take everything down to the shop to have the axle ordered. Once the axle is installed our frame mods will take place and then they are shipping it to the powdercoater to have the frame blasted and powdercoated.

One question I do have, and I've read all of the discussions on the forum, is for our small single-axle trailer, does anyone have any input on whether we should get radials or bias-ply? I obviously like the look of the bias-ply tires and they have a rating of about 1,500 lbs each. Our trailer GVW is approximately 2,100 lbs (original) but we are adding tanks.

Thanks for any input. Things are starting to move along now!
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:23 PM   #38
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Happy Sunday everyone!

We're finally getting an opportunity to sit down and write about our progress. As I mentioned in our previous post we got the shell off last week. Here are some pics of the shell hanging in the barn and then, ultimately, set on blocks on the ground.

Our wheels were dropped off at the powdercoater Friday afternoon. They will be ready for pickup on Tuesday.

The tires we ended up ordering were the Coker Classic Bias Ply's with 3 1/4" white walls. They'll also be here on Tuesday. Once we have them and mounted on the wheels the frame is going to get the new axle. The trailer shop recommended that we get a 5,000 lb. axle. We anticipate our trailer weight (with filled fresh water tanks) to weigh between 3,000-3,200 lbs. Does this seem like a reasonable axle size?

The next step is to get our gray holding tanks so we can take them with the trailer to the welder. I have a little research ahead of me but can anyone tell me how they inter-connected two gray tanks? We're planning on installing two of the VTS gray holding tanks, mounted between two cross members. Also, we are going to vent the gray tanks thru the closet up to the vent stack, but the question I have is whether we need to vent both gray tanks or just one.

Any input as we plan our holding tanks is greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #39
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Just found this thread, and have been contemplating lifting the shell off. After reading your progress up to this point, I am leaning more to doing the shell off. I was looking for excuses not to, but wanting to install additional grey, and black tanks between the frame has me scratching my head. I could cut into the floor from the inside, but what I really want to do is paint frame eliminating the rust. Unfortunately, I don't have a barn to do this process. My trailer is stripped to the floor, and the interior is the same as yours except for a few details.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:19 PM   #40
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Well, it seems like it's been an eternity since we've worked on the trailer! With so much going on we tabled the trailer for the winter (we were fortunate to have a shop to store it out of the weather). But now we're back at it, and with a vengeance. Today, with some help of our dad, we made templates for the new subfloor and removed the belly pan. We are now down to bare frame which feels good.



This week we are planning on ordering our holding tanks. After much thought and angst we think we have the winning combination. We are planning on some minor frame modifications, including strengthening, and so while we are at it we're going to relocate a couple of cross-members to accommodate the new tanks. In lieu of installing tandem grey tanks we are going to install one 24 gallon grey and the same tank for the black. We are looking at the Inca H57M. It does extend below the belly pan but we figure it provides the capacity we need/want and will also simplify the outlet connections.

Regarding the vent and inlet for the tanks, what is the "standard" size (diameter) for the pipe? Is it 2" or is 3" required. For the inlet, is it dependent on the source of the water? We don't have a shower so the only source of grey water will be the sink.

When we order the tanks we'll also have them install the fitting for the sensors we plan on ordering. I'm really set on having old school gauges for all of our monitoring system and can't see why these wouldn't work:

WEMA Holding Tank Level Sensor

These sensors have a standard output signal that we'll send to a fuel/water level gauge. To differentiate between fresh/grey/black we want to have custom gauge faces made. We've found a couple of outfits that will do the custom faces, including the backlight color and dial shape.

Our goal is that over the next week and weekend we get the frame prepped to go to the axle shop to have a new axle installed. From there our welder is going to pick it up and do the frame modifications to it. From there, off to the powder coater. If all goes according to plan (which it never does) we should have it back in the barn by the middle of May ready to install the tank and subfloor.

As always, any feedback regarding our plan is appreciated. Sometimes I think we "overthink" everything but we don't want any setbacks that can be foreseen. We always say that it isn't a screw-up until you can't recover. I guess time will tell....
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