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Old 10-14-2005, 03:33 PM   #1
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Big $$$$ to Repair my Caravel Frame

Hi,

I just got a quote to have my 1969 Caravel frame repaired.
The frame from the wheel wells back is badly rusted.
I've removed the belly pan and the floor from the damged area to the back of the coach.
The welding / fabrication shop quotes $200 for the steel (C Channel) and $900 for the labour!!!! Basically they are estimating 10 hours to remove the rusty frame from the wheel wells back and then use it to template a new back end...fabricate new and install back in place.

It seems rather steep to me...I was hoping for half that. Doea any body have experience with this type of repair? Is that what it should cost?

I don't want to sound cheap....but I could by my own equipment for that cash and do it myself....if I had the time - of course I don't though .

thanks in advance,

Julison (- $1100 cdn)
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:50 PM   #2
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Having done extensive frame work myself, and therefore having some insight in what's really involved, the price you were quoted seems in line, if not a bargain.
My frame wasn't even severely rusted, all I did was structural reinforcement to accomodate modern septic systems. It is a lot of work to get it right. But this might only be the tip of the iceberg, as they say, if you are going to continue restoring and repairing the trailer.
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:13 PM   #3
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I know it's a lot of work to get the floor off the frame from above, so I'm guessing it's even more to get the frame off the floor from below to repair it. It might be something you want to work on over the winter yourself, and save some of the labor.

I'd also be interested in hearing how they will reattach the floor to the frame, as the original constructions used bolts dropped in from above.
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:15 PM   #4
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Thanks,

I starting to realize that the Caravel has a lot in common with a VW Passat I used to own - Looks great, Fun to use, but a REAL drain on the finances!
Not a big deal if you can aborb the loss - unfortunately I can't (kids, car,...etc).

Julison
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:20 PM   #5
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Hi,

I've already removed the floor from the frame.
I'll also be installing the new one once the frame is repaired.
Attaching the floor to the frame won't too bad as I have access from both the top and the bottom of the floor.
Attaching into the C channel may be more difficult.
I'll likely peel the inside skin up to access the recessed section of the channel and drop the elevator bolt down through a predrilled hole.

Heck, that wasn't even easy to write...imagine how difficult it might be to do
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:11 PM   #6
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I reinforced/fabricated a lot of frame forward of the door on my sovereign last winter. And may have to do the same to the rear (haven't dared to look yet) in the future. If someone had offered to do it for $1100 I probably would have jumped up and down for joy. My buddy and I have countless hours of labor tied up in grinding, sanding, welding, grinding, painting, and installing a new belly pan. Not looking forward to (maybe) having to do it again. Good luck.
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:38 PM   #7
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In this thread I chronicled my experience with replacing my frame. http://www.airforums.com/forum...t=frame+repair
I got a much better deal on the steel and think that if you ask around you may be able to get a more reasonable price.
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Old 10-14-2005, 06:44 PM   #8
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I have to agree with what most folks have posted. It does seem in line or a bargin. Steel is not as cheap as it use to be.

It's also important to understand that you have a coach that is worth saving. The picture I see of it from the outside tells me the coach is clearly worth it and I would bet there are handfuls of folks that would give you a couple of grand for it as is.

You could put that $1100 toward a box trailer and not have to deal with it, but in reality, it too will need repair, most likely sooner than later, and you'll be making payments on it a good portion of the way.

I guess what it all boils down to is that if we want to play we gotta pay. Me, I'd be inclined to take on a second job over the winter months to pay for the repairs, the coach looks that good to me from the outside (if it's the same coach in your avitar).
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Old 10-14-2005, 06:59 PM   #9
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Remember that $1100 CDN is currently equal to $926.63 US, an even better deal!
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by azflycaster
Remember that $1100 CDN is currently equal to $926.63 US, an even better deal!
Great point...though if yer Canadian, it hardly seems like an added perk.


Say, while were on the subject of Canadians....what the heck has happened to the friendly neighbor relationship we use to have with Canada....I thought NAFTA was suppose to make things even better, yet the last few weeks, (though from the biased media) I've heard so many tit for tat things going on between our two governments. Me, I like doing business with the folks in Canada I sell too off eBay and buy from...some of the most friendly folks I know.
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:08 PM   #11
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Julison.

I would suggest that you inquire "just how" will that shop reattach the floor to the new framing material.

You cannot cut away the frame, replace it, and then ignore how the floor will be reattached.

On the other hand, if that shop is going to splice new steel on to the old, then they will most likely burn the plywood floor, in areas that you cannot see. Also, what are they going to do to replace the fiberglass insulation?

Bottom line. Use extreme caution with any shop that is not "very" familiaar with the Airstream construction methods.

Andy
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Old 10-16-2005, 08:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Julison.

I would suggest that you inquire "just how" will that shop reattach the floor to the new framing material.

You cannot cut away the frame, replace it, and then ignore how the floor will be reattached.

On the other hand, if that shop is going to splice new steel on to the old, then they will most likely burn the plywood floor, in areas that you cannot see. Also, what are they going to do to replace the fiberglass insulation?

Bottom line. Use extreme caution with any shop that is not "very" familiaar with the Airstream construction methods.

Andy
Hi ANdy,

I've already removed the belly pan and insulation from below and the flooring from above. The shop should have no reason to burn any flooring..as it is all removed.

I will be the one attaching the new floor to the new frame...so I don't anticipate problems there either.

Perhaps my orignal post was vague....But all the shop is doing is removing the last 4 feet of frame, fabriacting it's replacement and then welding it in place. I will do the frame to shell and floor to frame fastening.

Based on that, is $1100 a reasonable price... I'm not sure.
I think I will take the day off work to "assist" the welder and keep things in check.

Julison
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Old 10-17-2005, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julison
Hi,

I just got a quote to have my 1969 Caravel frame repaired.
The frame from the wheel wells back is badly rusted.
I've removed the belly pan and the floor from the damged area to the back of the coach.
The welding / fabrication shop quotes $200 for the steel (C Channel) and $900 for the labour!!!! Basically they are estimating 10 hours to remove the rusty frame from the wheel wells back and then use it to template a new back end...fabricate new and install back in place.

It seems rather steep to me...I was hoping for half that. Doea any body have experience with this type of repair? Is that what it should cost?

I don't want to sound cheap....but I could by my own equipment for that cash and do it myself....if I had the time - of course I don't though .

thanks in advance,

Julison (- $1100 cdn)
Julison.
I concur with all the others; if you are handy DIY but rember now Red Green solyutions allowed. I have a 1970 Caravel which I have had since the early 80's, purchasing same from the original owner; However it is a Cerritos built unit and these differ somewhat from the Jackson Center built units. If I can be of help with pictures or other details I will be happy comply, but I need some help from others to figure out how to post the photos as they are not on a web site; only in my computer (maybe I use a long reply form?). My frame is OK from the rust score, but it has a bit of sag and I may correct it next year. Be sure to add the reinforcement kit. I have kept up with repairing and upgrading many items like firdge, heater, propane system, interiors, floor damage; recently replacing the fabric on the optional bunk bed and recondition a window a month when the weather allows - only 2 to go. I also just replaced the rock guard with the newer style unit which was an interesting exercise in custom milling aluminium adaptors.
WLJ1943
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Old 10-17-2005, 02:59 PM   #14
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Julison.

The $1100.00 seems highs, but I cannot see the exact problem.

Andy
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