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Old 01-15-2019, 08:29 PM   #15
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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The extent of disassembly kinda, sorta depends on your assessment of the repairs needed. I removed the old axles from my trailer, then removed the belly pan and stinky insulation from the fresh water tank all the way back to the bumper. I also removed the waste water holding tanks. Now I can inspect the frame and subfloor from underneath the trailer. Make sure you inspect the axle plates also for cracks or buckling.

The rear most 6" of plywood subfloor was rotted away from rain water. The rear frame cross member was rust. Both the black tank and tiny grey tank were broken. The street side frame rail has some rust holes. My trailer had classic rear end separation where the subfloor rots under the c channel and along with the bolts holding the body to the frame.

Because of this moisture damage, I had to remove the bath fixtures for access to make the necessary repairs. That has been done and my repaired frame is ready for another 40 years of traveling around.

Here are some photos of my mess. Generally speaking, the trailer part stack up at the rear is 1) frame rails, 2) rear cross member, 3) rear body hold down plate, 4) plywood subfloor, 5) aluminum C channel.

Also here is a photo from my service manual showing some detail in the body attachment features including the "c channel".

David
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:15 PM   #16
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I will be following along as I planned to be doing something similar to our airstream next year. I hope to pick up some good ideas as well.
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:52 PM   #17
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1978 31' Sovereign
New Smyrna Beach , Florida
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Bath Removal

When I first looked at the rear bath, I thought it was going to be difficult to get out. It started out that way until it occurred to me that the whole assembly could be pulled away from the read wall enough to get behind it to gain access to all the rivets that held the three pieces of the lower bath assembly together.

I started out trying to separate the three pieces in place until I realized that there were rivets I couldn't get access to. Once it occurred to me that I could pull the whole assembly away from the wall, it was an easy removal. Once all the plumbing was taken off, it came away from the wall easily.

I provided pics below of the removal in stages.

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Old 01-16-2019, 01:37 PM   #18
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Process for Lifting off the shell

Thanks Ian for the info on the C channel.

I am nearing the stage where everything has been removed from the trailer, except for the floor and inner skins. Once I am at that point (2-3 days) I will move the trailer to another location where the body will be lifted off the frame, about 10 miles away.

My first question is, once the inner skins are removed, can the trailer be towed without installing bracing? I raise the question, because I would prefer to remove the skins here at my home, before taking it to the location where the shell will be lifted.

Ian - if I read your reply correctly, the U channel runs along the bottom of caps at both ends, the curved section. The C channel runs along the bottom of the main body.

Because of the corrosion I am seeing everywhere else, I am assuming that the bolts that are used to connect the shell to the frame are all rusted and will need to be cut out.

If this is the case, then the following is the order I will follow:

1. remove the inner skins
2. Remove Wheel well covers
3. Take up the floor inside the sections in front and back bounded by the U channel. Leave the plywood bound by the C channel
4. Cut the bolts holding the U channel to the frame.
5. Remove any obstructions in the way of removing the belly pan, ie. jacks and gas lines
6. Remove the belly pan. Question: There is a box covering the fresh water holding tank. Does that come off with the belly pan? Does it need to be taken off first? Can this box be removed without having to lower the holding tank?
7. Remove the screws holding the awning frame to lower body
8. Remove the trim covering the rivets holding the banana panels.
9. Remove the banana panels.
10. Drill out the rivets holding the C channel to the shell.

Is this correct?

If correct than I'm ready to lift off.

Three choices:

1. Build a super structure inside the shell to lift the shell off with jacks.
2. Build gantries and lift it from the top.
3. Hire a crane to lift from the top.

The area I have available to lift the shell is gently sloping and is not level. The slope runs down from back to front, with a two foot drop in 30 feet.
Might this sloping create some challenges for gantries???? for jacking???
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:09 PM   #19
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fresh water tank cover and belly pan removal

In my most recent post, I posed a question with regard to a cover over the fresh water holding tank and its relationship with the removal of the belly pan.

Here is a pic. Questions follow.
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Does this tank cover have to come off first before the belly pan can be removed?

Is the tank cover attached to the belly pan and will it come off with the pan?

When you remove the tank cover (I see bolts holding it in place) will the tank come with it?
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcronin4 View Post
Thanks Ian for the info on the C channel.

I am nearing the stage where everything has been removed from the trailer, except for the floor and inner skins. Once I am at that point (2-3 days) I will move the trailer to another location where the body will be lifted off the frame, about 10 miles away.

My first question is, once the inner skins are removed, can the trailer be towed without installing bracing? I raise the question, because I would prefer to remove the skins here at my home, before taking it to the location where the shell will be lifted.

Ian - if I read your reply correctly, the U channel runs along the bottom of caps at both ends, the curved section. The C channel runs along the bottom of the main body.

Because of the corrosion I am seeing everywhere else, I am assuming that the bolts that are used to connect the shell to the frame are all rusted and will need to be cut out.

If this is the case, then the following is the order I will follow:

1. remove the inner skins
2. Remove Wheel well covers
3. Take up the floor inside the sections in front and back bounded by the U channel. Leave the plywood bound by the C channel
4. Cut the bolts holding the U channel to the frame.
5. Remove any obstructions in the way of removing the belly pan, ie. jacks and gas lines
6. Remove the belly pan. Question: There is a box covering the fresh water holding tank. Does that come off with the belly pan? Does it need to be taken off first? Can this box be removed without having to lower the holding tank?
7. Remove the screws holding the awning frame to lower body
8. Remove the trim covering the rivets holding the banana panels.
9. Remove the banana panels.
10. Drill out the rivets holding the C channel to the shell.

Is this correct?

If correct than I'm ready to lift off.

Three choices:

1. Build a super structure inside the shell to lift the shell off with jacks.
2. Build gantries and lift it from the top.
3. Hire a crane to lift from the top.

The area I have available to lift the shell is gently sloping and is not level. The slope runs down from back to front, with a two foot drop in 30 feet.
Might this sloping create some challenges for gantries???? for jacking???
Yes, U channel is under the fore and aft of the trailer and C channel runs the length of each side. you'll need to remove all the bolts and screws in the U that attach it to the floor and all the rivets that attach the C to the shell. The wheel wells were a pain as removing the wheel well trim was pretty difficult. It is in 2 pieces, the first came off fairly easily but the second piece that sandwiches the outer shell and the wheel well covers (ideally) was hard. I ended up getting what rivets out I could then used a stout putty knife and a hammer to encourage them off.
The other thing is to free up all the white sealant from the C and the shell. I did this by going down each side from the outside with the same putty knife in between the shell and the C. This also ensures there are no forgotten rivets.
Leave your subfloor alone for now.

For removal, I'd do gantries even with the slight slope. You'll use them for your frame work as well. 2' drop over 30' isn't that bad, but I'd have to see it to make a judgement call. That brings me to the belly pan question... only take off what you need to detach the shell from the body:
- lower belt line trim
- belly and banana wraps
- gas lines
- front and rear hold down plates (rear is probably toast, I was able to get to my bolts with a sawzall)
- rivets from the C
- bolts and screws from the U (I used large vice grips and bent the bolts back and forth, they snapped eagerly. The screws were hard to find, where I couldn't get them out via screw gun, I used a chisel and hammer and made them get out.
- shore power cord.

As for towing without bracing, I couldn't tell you, but I've read about many folks doing it. The strength is really in the shell, the inner skin add very little integrity.
I'd do it, but again, use your judgement.

I probably missed or forgot something.
Have fun with the inner skin removal, wear protection... it'll be gnarly.

Ian
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:46 AM   #21
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More questions about underbelly and gantries

Thanks Ian for taking the time and energy to write such a long and detailed response. And to you David, for sharing your experiences. You both have been an enormous help and I am grateful.
Ian – I was intrigued with your strategy to remove only those parts of the underbelly that interfere with the removal of the shell. I suffer with vertigo, so keeping the time laying on my back under the trailer to a minimum is a high priority. The remaining underbelly parts will still have to come off. I am assuming if you use gantries, once the shell has been separated from the frame, the gantries could be used to lift the frame to provide better access to the underbelly metal and the tank covers. Is this correct? Or wishful thinking?
Other questions from your most recent reply:
1. You mention “hold down” plates in the front and rear. Are they located in the U channel or under the subfloor?
2. From your description, and my growing understanding of how this trailer is put together, I should be able to lift the shell with the entire floor intact using the strategy you suggested.
3. I’m certain that plans for gantries abound. Can you point me to one that is stout enough for a 31 foot trailer? I thought I read something the other day that a 4X4 crossbeam used on some designs sags too much, and that someone was recommending using 2X6 or 2X8 for crossbeams.
4. From everything I’ve seen on the forum so far, using gantries, a single beam spanning the interior ceiling from the front and to the rear vent openings is used in conjunction with two chain hoists to do the lifting. Using this method, it appears that the shell can be lifted off WITHOUT having to build any internal supporting infrastructure. Is this correct?
David, I believe you repaired your frame without taking the shell off. Is that correct? Or has my failing memory found its way into this thread?
Today, I am working to remove all the things that will interfere with the removal of the inner skins, window-frames, vent covers, AC metal, etc.
Bill
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:36 PM   #22
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I would recommend putting some cross bracing at the bottom of the ribs (just above the subfloor). It will help maintain the shells shape and give you a way to tie the shell down to the ground/supports. I used 1X6's, clamped to each side of the rib with a small scape pieces inside the rib channel to prevent crushing. Drill holes for a couple bolts. I only did it at the front and rear, but my shell is only 23' long. I would suggest bracing in the center for yours.

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I found some used pallet racks for sale as an alternative to building the gantries. They were 12' wide and 12' high. The 12' height gives you more clearance to roll the frame out without tilting to clear the tires/wheel house. In my case I had a use for them afterwards and the cost was less than buying wood for the gantries.

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Placing the horizontal pallet rails on the lowest setting gave me an 'anchor' to strap the shell to. Left it in place, along with the hoists. Set another pair of rails on the highest setting for a base to place the hoists on.

I don't know if you can lift from just two spots; front and back. I would defer to someone whose lifted your size or larger. I created a box beam from 2X4's for the lift. The shell isn't that heavy. For your extra length making the beam from 2X6's may give you more rigidity for the increased length.

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I pulled the door off before lifting. A few threads have mentioned the door weight made the shell tilt to the sidde, once free of the frame.

Also, expect that the lift will go semi smooth. There always seems to be a few hidden rivets that hide during disassembly. It doesn't hurt to have a few friends around to assist in case of issues, wind gusts, etc..
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:55 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcronin4 View Post
Thanks Ian for taking the time and energy to write such a long and detailed response. And to you David, for sharing your experiences. You both have been an enormous help and I am grateful.
Ian – I was intrigued with your strategy to remove only those parts of the underbelly that interfere with the removal of the shell. I suffer with vertigo, so keeping the time laying on my back under the trailer to a minimum is a high priority. The remaining underbelly parts will still have to come off. I am assuming if you use gantries, once the shell has been separated from the frame, the gantries could be used to lift the frame to provide better access to the underbelly metal and the tank covers. Is this correct? Or wishful thinking?

CORRECT. YOU CAN USE THE GANTRIES AS A ROTISSERIE FOR THE FRAME AND REMOVE THE BELLY PAN AND TANKS AS WELL AS PAINTING ETC...


Other questions from your most recent reply:
1. You mention “hold down” plates in the front and rear. Are they located in the U channel or under the subfloor?

ON THE FRONT ITS BEHIND THE FRONT SKIN BETWEEN THE BATTERY BOXES. ITS A SHEET OF 1/16 STEEL PLATE THAT GOES DOWN TO THE FRAME TO HOLD THE SHELL DOWN. JUST LOOK FOR THE CRAP LOAD OF RIVETS BEHIND THE LP BOTTLES BELLOW THE FRONT WINDOW. THE BACK ONE IS MUCH SMALLER AND IS MOST IF NOT ALL THE REASON REAR END SEPARATION HAPPENS. ITS MORE OF AN ANGLE IRON SHAPE AND MOST LIKELY TOAST. FOUR BOLTS HOLD IT TO THE FRAME AND SOME HARD TO GET TO RIVETS TO THE BODY.JUST GET THE BOLTS FOR NOW.

2. From your description, and my growing understanding of how this trailer is put together, I should be able to lift the shell with the entire floor intact using the strategy you suggested.

YES, FLOOR STAYS ON TRAILER. YOU WILL WANT IT FOR THE TEMPLATE.

3. I’m certain that plans for gantries abound. Can you point me to one that is stout enough for a 31 foot trailer? I thought I read something the other day that a 4X4 crossbeam used on some designs sags too much, and that someone was recommending using 2X6 or 2X8 for crossbeams.

I USED 2@2x8 14’ SISTERED TOGETHER FOR THE CROSSBEAMS. THE SHELL IS LIGHTER THAN YOU THINK, BUT ITS GOOD TO OVER BUILD FOR THE FRAME WORK. I COULDNT SPECIFICALLY POINT YOU TO A THREAD BUT GOOGLE “GANTRIES AIRFORUMS” AND YOU FIND PLENTY OF EXAMPLES.


4. From everything I’ve seen on the forum so far, using gantries, a single beam spanning the interior ceiling from the front and to the rear vent openings is used in conjunction with two chain hoists to do the lifting. Using this method, it appears that the shell can be lifted off WITHOUT having to build any internal supporting infrastructure. Is this correct?

LIFT FROM THE FRONT AND REAR VENTS WITH CHAIN HOISTS ATTACHED TO 2x6’s. THEY DONT HAVE TO SPAN THE WHOLE LENGTH, JUST A FEW RIBS EACH.

David, I believe you repaired your frame without taking the shell off. Is that correct? Or has my failing memory found its way into this thread?
Today, I am working to remove all the things that will interfere with the removal of the inner skins, window-frames, vent covers, AC metal, etc.
Bill

Answers above,
Ian
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:57 PM   #24
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...s-35399-5.html

Here is pretty much everything you need to know spread out over a bunch of threads. Start with the size specific ones but do read them all, lots of great ideas and some major disappointments too...
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:03 PM   #25
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Hi from Colorado: Yes, I completed my frame repairs with the shell on the trailer. The belly pan was down in the rear up to the fresh water tank. My rear subfloor was rotted, and the rear cross member was rusted toast. My holding tanks were broken and the holding pans rusted toast.

Rear end separation is confirmed with the "bounce test" you may have read about. Here is the test. Stand on the rear bumper over either the left or right frame rail. Watch the seam between the rear body and the frame rail. Now bounce up and down like you are on a diving board. If the seam between the body and frame rail opens up while bouncing, the rear of the body is no longer attached to the frame. Do this for both frame rails. Here is a photo showing my trailer with about a 3/8" gap opening up.

I would tow my Airstream gutted and without interior skins. The interior skins don't add a lot of strength to the body, but they do add some. I would tow it over good roads and at lower speeds, e.g. 55 mph.

The steel pan holds up the fresh water tank. Remove the pan and the tank will want to drop. It might hang there on the vent pipe joint or other plumbing.

Working on your creeper under the trailer is difficult for sure. Since you are doing a shell off repair, you will be able to flip the frame over with your gantries which will help a lot. Remove the axles first to reduce weight.

David
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:28 AM   #26
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Would love to pics along the way. I'm working on a similar '75 Globetrotter. My solution to the vent pipe was a sawmill. We are changing the layout to suit us and our camping requirements.
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:47 PM   #27
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A look at the rear end damage

Here are some pics of the condition of the frame and bath floor. It will give you and idea why I am so pessimistic about the condition of the frame.

Here is the inside taken of the back wall and floor.
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Here is a pic of the back from the outside.
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Ian suggested standing on the bumper in the back to test for frame separation, the bumper fell off. Can't day for sure if I have frame separation or not. the rest of the floor in the bath area seems to be attached to the walls as it should be.

You more pic and a question
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How do you remove these types of switches without destroying them? Wait and take them off as the skin is removed?

Thanks to Harold and Rebecca for their suggestion for bracing and the cool gantry they put together.

To SAC1gga, I will include as many pics as it makes sense to upload. if you interested in something specific, let me know and if I have a pic of it I'll share it.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:13 PM   #28
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Dissappointments

Ian - you mentioned in your response links to major rebuilds. But you also mentioned "disappointments." What are the ones that stand out in your memory?

Any that would bear on my project? What are the gotchas I need to avoid?

Bill
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