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Old 12-08-2004, 05:53 PM   #71
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Stephanie,

It should be possible for you to have it all done and back together in time for spring camping. It does of course depend on what has to be done to the frame and how much time you have to put in on it. My progress is pretty slow right now partly because of extra Christmas season tasks and partly because I am too busy with other stuff much of the time normally. I do have 4 of the 7 Polyboard sheets installed now and the next sheet is cut and ready to go in. If I can get some time this weekend I think I can get the rest of the sheets all in place. I will have to spend a little more time to finish bolting and screwing down everything. That will be a great feeling to have the floor all back in again though. Let me know if you want to come down and take another look at the details.

Malcolm
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Old 12-08-2004, 06:13 PM   #72
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The hard part will be dealing with the bathroom pieces without breaking them. I don't even see how it all comes apart.
The front is supported by the plate welded to the front crossmember and riveted to the exterior shell. This holds up the front of the Bat Cave just fine with the floor out. I have the front and back floor and all but the edges of the rest out and the shell is like levitating. Held up by the plate in the front and some mid section ribs on pieces of the floor. I'ld do the front first. Good time to replace the wire harness when you have the floor off as it's under the front curbside.
Are you going to add a grey tank or larger black tank?
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:32 PM   #73
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I don't want to make the project anymore complex than it already will be, but I would very much like to add a grey tank while I have it all apart. However, using the blue tank has never been that big a hassle, so it is not a necessity. I will be upgrading the Univolt, rebuilding the Hydroflame, and maybe doing something about the non-working fridge (a new fridge is starting to sound pretty good). Oh, and fixing the toilet to black tank connection - ewww.

I finally found a seam in the floor under the vinyl, so I will continue to scrape up the vinyl along the seam. I figure there's no point in killing myself off scraping up vinyl on wood that is going to get cut out anyway. The vinyl is coming off very slowly, in small pieces, and it's extremely tedious work on my hands and knees - gets old fast!
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:49 AM   #74
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Here is a picture of today's progress. About an hour on my hands and knees revealed the entire first seam, and I marked the bolts and metal squiggly things as I found them.

Does anyone know if there will be bolts in the center of the floor panel as well, and approximately how far between them?

The area outlined in red is the big rotted area under the battery compartment. The area outlined in Blue is where I have found patches done by a previous owner.

My husband thinks I am in over my head. He's really going to freak when I pull the bottom wall panels off. I think he thinks that this did not need to be so involved a project just to patch the hole by the battery compartment. But he should know that I will never be happy knowing I only did what I HAD to do, not what I think I SHOULD do.
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Old 12-09-2004, 02:06 AM   #75
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Stephanie,

There will be fasteners of some type in the middle of the panels. On mine it seemed like a PO must have replaced a lot of the floor since I did not find elevator bolts for the most part. Instead I mostly found self taping screws. From what I can tell all of the fasteners were origianlly into the cross-members and not into the length-wise frame members. Also I found that I could not actually unfasten most all of the fasteners. I had to cut them off instead. If your floor is still held down by elevator bolts I think you will find that the factory bent them on the underside to keep the nuts from working loose. While that does work it also makes it virtually impossible to unbolt them. The main point here is that you might very well be wasting your time trying to uncover all the fasteners by removing the floor covering.

I removed most all of my old floor using a technique I read about here on the forums. What I did was to use my circular saw with the blade depth carefully set at just a hair less than the plywood thickness. I used it to cut out big rectangles of the plywood between the cross members and as close as I could get to the body around the outside. Since there were no fasteners into the length-wise members the pieces I cut could be popped out with a little pursuasion from a crow bar and hammer. I tried to cut about 1 " from the center line of each cross-member so that the piece of plywood left bolted to the cross-member was roughly 2" to 3" wide. I generally could cut within an inch or so of the bottom of the body. I also cut the plywood across the ends of the strips that were over the cross-members at their ends near the body. I then worked at cutting the fasteners that held the strips of wood to the cross-members. I was able to use a reciprocating saw for most of that process. I found it helped a lot to pry the wood up a little with a crow bar. I also discovered that there was a layer of compressed fiberglass between the wood and the frame that made a little gap that the saw blade could fit into. I used some of the plywood rectangles turned side-ways as platforms to kneel on after I cut them out. By the way if you don't allready have some it is well worth getting a good pair of knee pads. I found some at Home Depot that are a fairly soft rubber that actually grip the surface I am kneeling on fairly well. They worked well when I was on the roof putting in my Fantastic vents.

I suggest that you remove the bottom strip of wall before you cut out the floor. It is much easier to do while you have something to stand on. I also suggest that you consider putting in the bracing like I used at least before you start removing the plywood that is around the edges below the body. I would do it sooner than that if the plywood is rotted a lot around the edges so that the body is held in place while you work.

There is a bunch of detail about the above steps in the following thread - espcially #74.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=11814

Make sure you take a lot of photos as to where things are before you take them out. I also made a diagram of where all the holes and notches were in the floor before I started cutting it all up. I made templates for the curved ends using cardboard while the body was still held more or less in its original location.

Malcolm
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:50 PM   #76
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Ok, so today I'm working on taking off the bellypan, when the rains started up again. So I'm inside waiting it out. Here's my plan:

Finish removing the kitchen cabinet - the Hydroflame still refuses to budge, I think I'm going to have to hacksaw through the exhaust duct to get it out.

I checked out the interior lower wall panels and discovered there are only five of them (the joys of a small trailer). I'm going to clean them and then remove them and put them in a safe place.

Then diagram where the holes for the wiring in the floor go, so I can put them in the right place in the new floor. Also make a template of the front end curves while everything is still stable.

Then brace the body with 2x4s. Is there a problem with the door being opened and closed while all this is going on? Should I plan to brace the body in front of and behind the door in order to keep it lined up and working during the floor replacement?

Also, I am wondering about how I will get the new pieces of wood in. I can see if I take out the first two sections, then the front section can be rotated into place, but how do I get the second section in? Will it need to be in two pieces, so I can put in the left side and then the right side, with a seam down the middle?

There's still frame repair to worry about, but I'm thinking ahead, wondering how this is all going to work.
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:12 PM   #77
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Steph, you rock! Congrats on diving in there and doing the job right. We're rooting for you!
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:17 PM   #78
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Greetings Stephanie!



I haven't tried this method in an Airstream, but I did use this technique to remove sheet vinyl from my kitchen floor after the flood of 1993. I used a heat gun set on low heat with an extra-wide concentrator nozzle (about 3.5") to heat the vinyl ahead of a 6" heavy-duty paint scraper. It was still tedious work, but the heat would soften the mastic enough to release most of the tile and its backing. This is one of those methods that requires breathing protrection and good ventilation as the fumes can be noxious.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin

Kevin,
Now my brain kicks in (maybe from the fumes ) When I used to work in hospital maintenance we would replace damaged floor tiles using a torch and heavy scraper to remove the damaged tiles. Heat does do the trick. I would not reccomend the torch in the AS because of the wood floor. BTW the self stick tiles in my unit came right up with just a scraper; the glued down sheet goods required a scraper and heat gun and then only came up in small pieces.

Stef,
Good luck and I am watching to see where it all ends up. I have my front floor out and the new pieces cut, then I get to see where else to go from there. Probably by the door then on to the bathroom. I want to get this thing back on the road by February so I can live in it I did not find any fasteners in the main frame rails just the cross members. Mine so far have all been self drilling tapping fasteners. No Elevator bolts yet. The outriger bolts were installed from underneath. I had to cut all of my self tappers off, could not get a single one of them to back out even using visegrips and a torch.

Aaron
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Old 12-10-2004, 05:56 PM   #79
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Thanks, Rich, hopefully your Caravel isn't next BTW, I got great inspiration just when I needed it from you. I was inside after an exhausting couple hours dissasembling the trailer and scraping up vinyl, thinking "my god, what have I done?", when I picked up the Airstream Life mag and re-read the article about your Argosy. The part about 'gumption blocks' did the trick. I decided I was not going to let it get me down, and just keep plugging along until it's done. Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:02 PM   #80
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Stephanie,

You might be interested to know that there are only 5 lower wall panels on my 31' AS too. They are just very long. I did find that I could roll them up by the way.

Take a closer look at the photos and procedure that I outlined for the bracing and you will see that I used some 6" wide strips of 5/8" plywood as lengthwise strips sitting on top of the 2x4 cross braces. I did have a 2x4 near the front of the trailer and one just behind the door. Put the one across the door with the door closed. It will help maintain the alignement of the opening. The strip of plywood stabalized things OK but did get in the way of climbing in and out a bit. in your case you may be able to get away just fine with only two 2x4 cross braces. I would suggest putting them at the body bows that are just where the curved ends start to straigten out. I would also suggest a strip of 1x6 legthwise on each side. This would also allow you to span more than 8' if the 2x4's are further appart than that. Use self taping screws to attach the 1x_ at each body bow. Also make sure that the top of your 2x4's are just high enough to clear your wheel wells so that the 1x_ will also clear.

If you use the Polyboard I think you will be able to lift up the middle of the sheet enough to get the ends to tuck under the sides of the body. You can then set the middle down and it should slide into place. The Polyboard is heavy enough that this would best be accomplished by two people though. In my post about the Polyboard installation I noted that I decided to use 1/2 sheets so I could handle them by myself more easily. I put a spline down the joint which I attached with glue and screws. That approach seems to work fine too. If it turns out that you have 8' or less of the middle sheets you could also put them both in length wise with a seam down the middle.

Malcolm
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:21 PM   #81
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Well, today I had other household chores to tackle, but did manage to fit in hacksawing through the Hydroflame heater's exhaust to remove it from the kitchen cabinet finally. I then finished unscrewing the kitchen cabinet from the walls and floor and got it moved into the garage. I see the curbside wheelwell has suffered damage from a blowout (I assume) on the front side of it. Someone patched it with sheet metal and fiberglass on top.

Anyway, with all that exposed, now the trailer is completely empty all the way back to the bathroom, my garage is full, and my husband is worried this will either cost a lot of money, or tie up the trailer all summer. Or both.

We'll see what I get done tomorrow.
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:14 PM   #82
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Here I encouraged you to look and see...may not be too far behind you in the full monte. Keep up the good work.
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Old 12-12-2004, 03:51 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Anyway, with all that exposed, now the trailer is completely empty all the way back to the bathroom, my garage is full, and my husband is worried this will either cost a lot of money, or tie up the trailer all summer. Or both.
Stef,

I felt the same way when I discovered the rot under my wet bath in the 71 Tradewind. If you stick with it you will have it done in no time.
I can attest to the fact that after the rapairs are all done, the trailer feels soooo much more like it's yours! It's sort of like removing the previous owner''s last little remnants of ownership. Plus, it's healthier for you and hubby to be in. My wife and could really tell the difference in how the trailer smells after the repairs.
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Old 12-12-2004, 04:24 PM   #84
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I'd be happy to get rid of that old trailer smell!

I had a very good day today. I tore up the old vinyl under the bathroom closets and got a good look at the floor, and it looks very good back there. I'm not going to mess with the bathroom. That means the teardown is done, I'm ready for the next step.

I also had a visit with Darol, a local Airstream restorer. He came to have a look at my project and share pictures of ones he's done. His work is spectacular, especially the cabinetry. He thought the work I had to do didn't look too bad, and he gave me some tips on getting it done.

He also said that he had fixed other 68s with bad floors, and he blames the spray on foam insulation underneith. Apparently it seals the bottom so well that water gets on the floor and can't dry out through the bottom, so it just stays wet and rots away. He said my sheet of vinyl on top doesn't help either. The floor needs to be able to breathe.

Well, my goal for the rest of today is to finish cleaning the interior walls (Darol said Soft Scrub with Bleach was the thing to use) and then get them out of there.
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