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Old 03-09-2013, 04:07 PM   #43
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Howdeee Wally! I would like to throw in my 2 cents on the boxed tube... if you cut one side out, leaving a little of the corner creating a big "C". It will give you a great deal more rigidity than a little "c". Does that make sense? All four corners remain. Just my thoughts....
this is my "completely uneducated" thought on that...

could you not leave the tube intact and drill small access holes from the bottom to put the torque wrench in? so you only have, say, a 1" hole in the short end directly under the location of each bolt?

it just seems like keeping the steel tube intact is so much stronger than with one side cut off... But i really have no expertise to back that claim up.
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
Howdeee Wally! I would like to throw in my 2 cents on the boxed tube... if you cut one side out, leaving a little of the corner creating a big "C". It will give you a great deal more rigidity than a little "c". Does that make sense? All four corners remain. Just my thoughts....
I agree with this idea. That is actually what the welder did on my trailer. Never thought about it being stronger than the original cross member, but it would be.

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Originally Posted by NJtoNC View Post
this is my "completely uneducated" thought on that...

could you not leave the tube intact and drill small access holes from the bottom to put the torque wrench in? so you only have, say, a 1" hole in the short end directly under the location of each bolt?

it just seems like keeping the steel tube intact is so much stronger than with one side cut off... But i really have no expertise to back that claim up.
Definitely true that this would make the cross member stronger still, but painting the inside of the tube would be tougher and installation of the floor bolts would be a little tougher. It would make it tougher to drill holes to pass wires or drain pipes thru, if that became necessary. Typically the electric brake wires pass thru the cross members forward of the axle and drain pipes rearward of the axle.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #45
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What about the belly pan??

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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
I agree with this idea. That is actually what the welder did on my trailer. Never thought about it being stronger than the original cross member, but it would be.


Definitely true that this would make the cross member stronger still, but painting the inside of the tube would be tougher and installation of the floor bolts would be a little tougher. It would make it tougher to drill holes to pass wires or drain pipes thru, if that became necessary. Typically the electric brake wires pass thru the cross members forward of the axle and drain pipes rearward of the axle.
I like all the ideas that have been discussed but I can't see why you would drill holes if you can't get there from the top. If all the metal is original the only bolts that you can reach are the ones at the edge of the sheet of plywood. Frame off, belly pan off, would sure be easier. When the floor is screwed on from the top as it will have to be with the belly pan in place, how do you guys get the bolt installed at the outer edge of the outrigger through the C channel?
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #46
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Wally, you do not screw the floor down. You bolt it to the frame with the belly pan off. This is a serious bane of contention for many. Some think it just fine to use self drilling screws. In my opinion, and many, it is not the way to go. You are going to have to drop the belly pan to do it correctly. The plywood is bolted at the edges and across each cross member.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:26 PM   #47
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Wally, you do not screw the floor down. You bolt it to the frame with the belly pan off. This is a serious bane of contention for many. Some think it just fine to use self drilling screws. In my opinion, and many, it is not the way to go. You are going to have to drop the belly pan to do it correctly. The plywood is bolted at the edges and across each cross member.
Frank you have taken all the fun out of this Since ALL the C channel across the front and down the sides is full of holes,rips and tears, I guess I might as well do my first and ONLY frame off Otherwise all the plywood sheets will be cut in half so they will slide under the crappy C channel.
I'm sure Scott will volunteer his time and efforts to lift the shell and reinstall it.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:51 PM   #48
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Wally, you do not screw the floor down. You bolt it to the frame with the belly pan off. This is a serious bane of contention for many. Some think it just fine to use self drilling screws. In my opinion, and many, it is not the way to go. You are going to have to drop the belly pan to do it correctly. The plywood is bolted at the edges and across each cross member.
Frank, I don't usually get into these discussions but who decides what is "correctly". Airstream used the bolts on the earlier trailers and the screws on the later trailers. Their motto is we don't make changes only improvements. So that would say to me that the screws are better.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #49
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Frank you have taken all the fun out of this Since ALL the C channel across the front and down the sides is full of holes,rips and tears, I guess I might as well do my first and ONLY frame off Otherwise all the plywood sheets will be cut in half so they will slide under the crappy C channel.
I'm sure Scott will volunteer his time and efforts to lift the shell and reinstall it.
Wally
A "body off" does require completely unriveting the shell at the floor line around the entire perimeter. If you remake the floor channels, rather than reusing the originals, then body to floor fit may be a little more challenging to maintain. If not maintained, some interior walls might need to be readjusted upon reinstallation. The benefit of a "body off" is easier access to make frame repairs, or even a full frame replacement in extreme cases.

As an alternative, it is possible to replace the floor "body on" in full sheets without doing that if the belly pan is opened up. With the belly open, the walls can be pushed outward enough to drop full wide floor sheets in (maybe bending them a little over a couple of 2x4s). I know, because this is what I did on my '55 Safari. In that case, the trailer was indoors, so I did not have to worry about the wind moving the shell, though.

In this case, I'd recommend cutting the belly pan off a few inches outward of the main rails and removing any belly pan rivets that attach to the outriggers. This would allow access from below for bolts thru the outriggers. You'd have to remove the belly pan almost the entire length and free up the wheel wells to allow the side skins to move enough, but it can be done. Put the curved front and rear floor sheets in before the middle sheets, so that they can be slid forward/rearward into position. To reattach the shell, get some 1"x1/8" inch aluminum stock and screw/bolt down thru that over the crusty floor channel.

I am not saying this is your best choice. That is only something you can decide. I am just offering that there is another option.

In the case of my ATW Airstream, since I am only replacing the rear 8' of floor, I have removed the bellypan rearward of the axles slightly wider than the main rails so that I can bolt the new floor back in. Without freeing up the wheel wells and sides further forward, I cannot push the walls out enough to get a full width floor sheet in even bending it over several 2x4's (I tested it before making a decision). Therefore, I will be splitting those two sheets in half and will use a backer board below with screws and glue to reestablish floor strength after installation.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:45 PM   #50
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Frank, I don't usually get into these discussions but who decides what is "correctly". Airstream used the bolts on the earlier trailers and the screws on the later trailers. Their motto is we don't make changes only improvements. So that would say to me that the screws are better.
Hi Doug,
I guess that depends upon what your definition of "improvement" is. Screws only from the top would likely be easier and faster to install. That also translates to "less expensive", because labor is expensive. That could be an improvement in some eyes.

The engineering question is this: Is a floor that is only attached via screws strong enough? I don't see how screws could be as strong as nuts and bolts unless they use a LOT more of them. The clamping force that can be achieved with screw threads biting into the relatively thin metal of cross members, outriggers, and possible even main rails cannot be as great as what can be achieved using proper nuts and bolts. On the other hand, maybe Airstream decided that the old "bolted" design was over engineered and was stronger than required, so that a reduction in clamping force was acceptable.

Each of use has to make our own choices in this regard. Screws from above is probably OK for repair of small areas. Full sheet replacement might be a different consideration. I did the screw thing on my '55 Safari (but used LOTS of them), but decided to go the bolt route on the '62 Safari.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:34 PM   #51
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bolts for the floor

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Hi Doug,
I guess that depends upon what your definition of "improvement" is. Screws only from the top would likely be easier and faster to install. That also translates to "less expensive", because labor is expensive. That could be an improvement in some eyes.

The engineering question is this: Is a floor that is only attached via screws strong enough? I don't see how screws could be as strong as nuts and bolts unless they use a LOT more of them. The clamping force that can be achieved with screw threads biting into the relatively thin metal of cross members, outriggers, and possible even main rails cannot be as great as what can be achieved using proper nuts and bolts. On the other hand, maybe Airstream decided that the old "bolted" design was over engineered and was stronger than required, so that a reduction in clamping force was acceptable.

Each of use has to make our own choices in this regard. Screws from above is probably OK for repair of small areas. Full sheet replacement might be a different consideration. I did the screw thing on my '55 Safari (but used LOTS of them), but decided to go the bolt route on the '62 Safari.
Joe do you use the bolts that have a big flat head and are 1/4 twenty thread? I used some on the 55 FC and found that they would break if I didn't use the correct torque. Do they make these bolts in a hardened grade?
Back to the floor. Since the front 12' of trailer was only held onto the frame by the front anchor plate I think I can put in full sheets for the first three from the front window. I haven't taken any floor out between the wheel wells or further back at this time. Getting the welding done has been a real challenge.
My next question is how do you get the tub out when the strainer won't budge? I think I may have to cut the floor to get the trap out and then try to get the trap and tub apart.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:00 AM   #52
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Joe do you use the bolts that have a big flat head and are 1/4 twenty thread? I used some on the 55 FC and found that they would break if I didn't use the correct torque. Do they make these bolts in a hardened grade?
Back to the floor. Since the front 12' of trailer was only held onto the frame by the front anchor plate I think I can put in full sheets for the first three from the front window. I haven't taken any floor out between the wheel wells or further back at this time. Getting the welding done has been a real challenge.
My next question is how do you get the tub out when the strainer won't budge? I think I may have to cut the floor to get the trap out and then try to get the trap and tub apart.
Wally
I bought the 1/4-20 big flat elevator bolts from VTS and have not installed my floor yet, so I don't have any experience there yet. I didn't look for hardened versions, so I cannot say if they exist. I bought a Forstner bit so all the bolt heads can be countersunk so that I do not need to use too much torque to compress the wood to get the bolt heads sub flush.

Regarding the tub strainer, I got mine out just using a strainer removal tool that I bought at Home Depot or Lowes, but I didn't have enough hand strength to do so. I had to sit in the tub and use one foot to brace the tool and my other foot on a wrench, but I got it to turn without breaking the internal cross bars. I have been told I was lucky and that typically they need to be broken out and replaced with new.

As a backup, the method I was told to use if I had to break it out was approximately as follows:
  1. Break out the cross bars out of the strainer trying to get it out the conventional way. (If you don't break out the cross bars now, you will have to do it before step 5).
  2. Pry up the lip that seals to the fiberglass tub using a flat screwdriver or putty knife enough to get pliers on it.
  3. Use the pliers to bend it up enough to break the flange off.
  4. Lift the tub up over the now flangeless strainer.
  5. Use a screw driver or other tools to collapse the strainer inside the P-trap, so that it can be removed.
  6. Clean out the threads in the P-trap.
  7. Buy an new "bar sink" strainer that is the same size and use it for reinstallation.
Please note that I have never tried this procedure, so I cannot say how easy it is to actually do.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:07 AM   #53
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Hi Doug,
I guess that depends upon what your definition of "improvement" is. Screws only from the top would likely be easier and faster to install. That also translates to "less expensive", because labor is expensive. That could be an improvement in some eyes.
Joe took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:11 AM   #54
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Wally, Have you considered just buying a welder? You can get a nice rig for about what a welding guy will charge you in labor. Just get some scrap metal and practice. Watch a few you tube videos for lessons and practice a bit. Welding is not hard once you understand the basics.
Also, Fastenall or Mc Master Carr has a wide variety of elevator bolts. If you tighten them till they break you are just over tightening them....
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:30 AM   #55
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Wally, Have you considered just buying a welder? You can get a nice rig for about what a welding guy will charge you in labor. Just get some scrap metal and practice. Watch a few you tube videos for lessons and practice a bit. Welding is not hard once you understand the basics.
Also, Fastenall or Mc Master Carr has a wide variety of elevator bolts. If you tighten them till they break you are just over tightening them....
My dad told me not to break off bolts when I was a 10 year old. I guess I never learned I just figured that the bolts that are sold today are from China and aren't as strong as they should/could be.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:57 PM   #56
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Drooping outriggers

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A "body off" does require completely unriveting the shell at the floor line around the entire perimeter. If you remake the floor channels, rather than reusing the originals, then body to floor fit may be a little more challenging to maintain. If not maintained, some interior walls might need to be readjusted upon reinstallation. The benefit of a "body off" is easier access to make frame repairs, or even a full frame replacement in extreme cases.

As an alternative, it is possible to replace the floor "body on" in full sheets without doing that if the belly pan is opened up. With the belly open, the walls can be pushed outward enough to drop full wide floor sheets in (maybe bending them a little over a couple of 2x4s). I know, because this is what I did on my '55 Safari. In that case, the trailer was indoors, so I did not have to worry about the wind moving the shell, though.

In this case, I'd recommend cutting the belly pan off a few inches outward of the main rails and removing any belly pan rivets that attach to the outriggers. This would allow access from below for bolts thru the outriggers. You'd have to remove the belly pan almost the entire length and free up the wheel wells to allow the side skins to move enough, but it can be done. Put the curved front and rear floor sheets in before the middle sheets, so that they can be slid forward/rearward into position. To reattach the shell, get some 1"x1/8" inch aluminum stock and screw/bolt down thru that over the crusty floor channel.

I am not saying this is your best choice. That is only something you can decide. I am just offering that there is another option.

In the case of my ATW Airstream, since I am only replacing the rear 8' of floor, I have removed the bellypan rearward of the axles slightly wider than the main rails so that I can bolt the new floor back in. Without freeing up the wheel wells and sides further forward, I cannot push the walls out enough to get a full width floor sheet in even bending it over several 2x4's (I tested it before making a decision). Therefore, I will be splitting those two sheets in half and will use a backer board below with screws and glue to reestablish floor strength after installation.

Good luck whatever you decide.
Joe this afternoon I decided to check the outriggers from the wheel wells forward. The two at the wheel wells droop about 3/8th of an inch.The stairs droop a full 3/4" and the rest droop 1//2" to 5/8". I was fretting about the proper height and placement of the front anchor plate when I found all the new problems. Should I cut and raise each outrigger back to level before I mess with the front hold down plate? At what point do you bite the bullet and get a new frame?
Wally
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