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Old 03-06-2011, 01:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bauxter View Post
Colin, Thanks, I like the idea. The lifting platform could also be a scaffolding platform for working on the roof of the AS. Do you attach wood bracing in the interior as a support frame, when lifting from above?

Do you know what the shell of a 1973 31 footer weighs without the inner skins and AC? I could remove the AC before pulling the shell off?

Thanks
Mike
I wouldn't worry too much about requiring a scaffold to work on the roof. I've been walking around on Airstream roofs for years without incident, however I try to position my feet on the ribs. The lifting chain block is attached to an eye bolt in a carpeted 2 X 6 that extends enough to catch at least one rib on either end of the board. Before I had the rotisserie, I used to cross brace the whole body , then lift from below. There is no crossbracing necessary now. I don't know what the body weighs on a 31'er but I'm sure it would help if you removed the AC first, plus you could do it with the gantry & not worry about hefting it off the side onto a step ladder or scaffold.
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Colin
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:00 PM   #16
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OK team, I have been practicing my buck riveting skills on scrap aluminum, and am going to try a couple on the shell. When I put the rivet in the hole, should I apply a small amount of Vulcem underneath it?
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:09 PM   #17
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Mike that's exactly what shacksman and I did when replacing panels on my 73 and when putting the shell back on. Vulkem inder the seams, vulkem in the rivet holes, vulkem behind the beltline, etc etc etc.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:09 AM   #18
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Can anyone expand on how the belly pan comes out from under the axle? Do I need to cut it, pull it, drop the axle, etc....thanks
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:33 AM   #19
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Mike the belly pan is wedged between the main frame rails and the axle flange. If you want to reuse it then dropping the axles is the only way to get it out easily. If you are going to replace it then just cut around the axle flange and all the way to the forward edge of the pan and it will come free.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:47 AM   #20
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I was afraid that you were gonna say that!
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:11 AM   #21
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Mike I tried just pulling mine out and ended up with a tangled bent up mess that I had to cut up to get it out. I hope you can learn from my mistake and cut it in the first place. You could possibly cut it leaving enough of the old one in place to patch it back together using another piece under it for a joiner strip.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:04 PM   #22
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sounds like a plan that may work. I plan on getting the higher brackets for the axles, and will have room to seam the pans once the axles are in changed out.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:01 PM   #23
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My 21' piece of aluminum is on the way! If there are any rivet buckers near Columbus, Ohio, you are welcome to join the fun. I will be removing the old panel and re-installing the new one Memorial day weekend. Malt-based adult beverages will be very cold and amply supplied. If anyone is interested, please shoot me a note.
After the panel is on, I will be bracing the body for the big lift-off. (no not the space shuttle)...the 31' shell. I think I will use bottle jacks to lift the body about a foot, brace it, and pull the frame out to work on it......I think..
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:39 AM   #24
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Panel Wrestling and Rivet Bucking Rodeo

The new HF electric metal shear made quick work of the trimming on the 4' X 21' 2024T3 panel. Prepping the trailer took a lot of time in making sure all of the old rivets were out of the holes, and the ribs and stiffeners were ready to accept the new panel.
The riveting will be done this week. I am using solid rivets. Looking back, I am thinking that Olympics would have been much easier to use, as "bucking helpers" are very hard to come by in my neck of the woods.
Once the panel riveting is complete, the next step is to build a platform to remove the AC, then dismantle the platform and use the lumber for the internal support structure, for the shell removal.
Shell liftoff is scheduled for 2nd week of June.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:51 AM   #25
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Mike that looks much better than having that big crease down the side.
Buck (solid) rivets is the way to go. Much stronger and Olympic's are very prone to leaking.
Do you need to remove the A/C for some reason or are you pulling it to make the shell lighter? I lifted mine with the A/C on and had no problems.
When you lift the shell make sure you leave enough room fro the wheel wells to clear the shell during chassis removal. I tried to keep mine close and ended up having to let the air out of the tires to get enough clearance. Also if you're planning on replacing the axles leave even more room as the chassis will rise between 4 to 6 inches with new axles on.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:57 AM   #26
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Chris, I was thinking that by removing the AC, I could reduce the interior support, as the weight will be reduced. I also thought it would give me an opprtunity to open the AC up, to test and clean.
Thanks for the reminder about the height. I am going to go with the higher mounting brackets on the new axles, as well.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:40 AM   #27
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Hey Mike all the servicing and cleaning of the A/C can be done with the unit installed. I haven't taken mine out but from looking at it there are about a milloin screws holding the pan to the shell plus it is buried in a very thick wide swath of vulkem. It seems like more work than necessary for servicing and the extra weight would not pose a problem during lifting in my opinion.
The pros will tell you that we amatuers over brace the shell for removal. It will keep it's shape with minimal bracing which is more for jacking and supporting points than to keep the shell from twisting. I really over did mine and after doing the lift see that they are right.
You might want to think about the center of gravity for the trailer if you lift the axles up too high. It might be more prone to roll overs in high wind or sway conditions. Just take a look at some of those really tall 5ers swaying in the wind as they travel. I know it's extreme but I actually had a 39 ft park model lift up on it's side two wheels in a 60 mph gust of wind and was only travelling at 40 mph at the time. I did manage to snap it back down by hitting the trailer brake controller and jerking the steering wheel. The last 50 miles of the delivery that day was done at 25 mph and I was sweating bullets all the way.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:52 PM   #28
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Chris, Thanks. It doesn't take much to talk me out of doing something that is a lot of work. I am going to post my 2x6 support drawings as soon as I draw them up. In the meantime, I will be Vulkeming, bucking and riveting. Fun Fun Fun!
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