View Poll Results: Guess the tongue weight
under 250 lbs 3 9.68%
250 to 275 lbs 1 3.23%
275 to 300 lbs 5 16.13%
300 to 325 lbs 9 29.03%
325 to 350lbs 2 6.45%
Over 350 lbs 11 35.48%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2010, 08:28 AM   #57
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1973 31' Excella 500
Spring Green , Wisconsin
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Nice work Chris! Thanks for posting all of the pictures. It's fun to track your progress.

I notice you left the webs solid in the cross members. Combined with the boxing of the frame in the area of the axles, how much would you estimate the increased weight of the frame vs. the old one? Did any of the original plumbing or electrical run through the openings in the original cross members?

Good luck with the rain this weekend. And, thanks for all the information.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:27 AM   #58
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The crossmembers are a combination of what the mothership sent and what I had made locally. We boxed the frame around the axles to strengthen it there. We also used a larger guage steel for the main frame rails and slightly wider horizontal edges on the crossmembers for mounting floor sheets and belly pans. I'm not sure exactly but maybe it's only a couple of hundred pounds heavier total if that. The only wiring that runs in the frame is the brake wires which run along the roadside main frame rail and through the crossmembers which have small holes in them for that. All the fresh water plumbing is inside the A/S except for one spot where it crosses from roadside to curbside. It does this in the area for the fresh water tank. I am planning to change this and run it inside around the back under the beds and nighttable because the spot where it originally went under the floor on the road side was right next to the fresh air intake for the fridge and it always froze there on me in the winter.
TYhanks for the good wishes.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:36 AM   #59
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MTSafari I'm not sure if your 70 is the same but check the outer perimeter for rot. The worst will be right where the shell meets the floor. It can be very difficult to find though. The rear will be the area that needs the most inspection. That is where the worst leak can be from the rear bumper area. Other areas to look are below windows, around the door, fridge, water heater, etc.
The floor under the front and rear end caps can be replaced easily with the shell on. The other floor sheets will have to be cut into two pieces from front to back and removed that way. The difference is how the shell is attached to the floor. On the end caps it just sits on top if the floor but on the straight sections the shell's mounting channel actually wraps around the edge of the floor.
For your 23' (19' of shell) there should be 5 4x8 sheets of floor. 2 will be for the end caps and 3 will be for the straight sides.
In order to remove the bolts holding the floor to the frame the lower inner panels will have to be removed. The shell is bolted to the frame inside the walls.
If you go to the section on floor/frame repair and do a google search you will find several threads on doing floor repair with the shell on.
Once you get into it and need help or have questions just ask and i will try to help.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:00 AM   #60
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1970 23' Safari
Columbia Falls , Montana
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Thanks, Chris. Very helpful advice. I think for us, it's a matter of when to bite the bullet. Our trailer's interier was in superb shape when we bought her six years ago, and I get a sinking feeling in my stomach at the thought of having to dismantle all the cabentry, ect. to thoroughly evaluate evidence of floor rot. We're trying to keep her as original as possible.

With that said, though, I also realize that structural integrity is paramount, and at some point, we're going to have to address an inspection of the floor. I think we're just afraid of what we might find!

Good luck with your project. I look forward to checking in often to see your progress.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:02 PM   #61
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1986 25' Sovereign
Calgary , Alberta
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In a word 'WOW'

An awful lot accomplished in a short period....

That frame looks wonderful Chris, and the shiny new floor... (even if just a dry fit), looks amazing.

I finally started to take things out of mine - updated my picasa with shots of the rot in the floor, Looks like I might run out of time this season to do any real work.. I had ordered some sealant from a dealer here in Ottawa but they have not called, gotta fix the leaks before I even contemplate changing flooring....

I'm like MT - afraid of what I will find under those belly skins!!!!

Keep up the good work Chris - we are all living vicariously through you at the moment... (at least I am)
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:34 PM   #62
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The GD weather is holding me up. I can't get more than one day without rain. I have cleaned the frame with Marine Clean. Yesterday and today I applied the Metal Ready to etch the new steel. Rain predicted for the next 4 days. I have 2 shops in town that can paint it for me. 1st said check with him in the morning and I can't reach the other. The frame is nice and dry now but that will change tonight. I can't win for trying. Maybe I can get the paint on before spring.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #63
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Yahoo I heard from 2nd shop and I'm off to get the frame indoors right now. Painting starts in the morning. It should be back on Friday. I still have to wait for dry weather on Sunday to start install of the floor. This Saturday is our early halloween dance (the park is closed by Oct 31st) so no work can be done anyway until after that. As you can see from the picture I need a rest.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:31 PM   #64
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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Folks in Durham, shore do dress funny these days...

Or lookout, he -may- be from Oshawa!
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:20 PM   #65
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Phase 2 Begins

I got the frame back from painting on Friday morning. I managed to install the waste and fresh water tanks installed. I also ran the wiring for the brakes.
I dry fitted the floor one more time to check for alignment with the waste system. Some minor adjustments will need to be made. It turns out that the old frame was so out of square that the factory installed the old floor on an angle to compensate. When I followed the old pattern the floor was hanging 1/2" over the curbside outriggers at the front and by the time it reached the back it was right on.
Today I am finishing the wiring for the brakes and the drain pipeing for the waste system. I am also going to install the steps.
The floor will be then fitted for the last time and fastened down. I will leave out the wheelwell covers(outer or inner if you're in Minnesota MC) until after the floor/frame is back under the shell. It just makes it easier to clear the 4x4's on the sawhorses. I have already rolled the chassis under the shell for the weekend to keep it dry. It went in pretty easy but very slowly in the dark Friday night.

Driftless you asked earlier how much heavier the frame was now. I still don't know the weight but it took just three of us to put it up on sawhorses and to flip it over for painting.

If anyone is wondering why the whole frame is silver. It has two coats of the black POR-15 and two coats of the silver topcoat because I had the paint. I ordered too much silver. I had two quarts and a pint of black and one quart and a pint of silver.
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Old 09-26-2010, 03:44 PM   #66
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That is bar none the best-looking frame I have yet seen.

I think I missed where you talked about what tanks you are putting back into it. I see two matching ones aft of the wheels (fresh water?) and two non-matching fore of the wheels with 3" outlets and guillotine valves.

It's a '73, so one of those tanks towards the front is a gray tank you added, correct? So, which is which and what capacities will you now have?
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:22 PM   #67
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Hi Aage pic 3 is the fresh water tank. It is one tank that is notched to go around the angle iron which supports a floor joint. pic 4 is aft of that tank and shows the axles. pic 5 shows the grey tank in front and the black tank in back. A/S lists the capacities at 45 gallons fresh and has no listings for grey and black.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:20 AM   #68
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1973 31' Excella 500
Spring Green , Wisconsin
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Very nice, Chris. Actually, better than very nice.. Excellent!!

I think I read one of Andy's posts and he mentioned that the skin/body of an AS actually supports the rear section of the frame rather than the frame supporting the rear end of the body. Seeing how light weight the frame is, that makes sense.

So, is there any vertical deflection, front to back, of the side rails while the frame is empty? With the floor on? If there is, I would think the frame should be on blocks and leveled before the floor and shell are reattached. That way the shell would start out with a neutral load, assuming the channel is straight around the bottom.

I'm not trying to second guess you or anything, just trying to get a better understanding of how these riveted unibodies work. (I have a degree in structural engineering even though I spent my lifetime designing sewers and water mains. Just can't help looking at things with engineer eyes which means I sometimes overthink things. Just ask my wife!)

So, keep up the good work and the great posts!
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:41 AM   #69
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1972 31' Sovereign
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WC - looks great! Too bad no inner wheel wells installed yet...

This is a 73 and it came with a gray water tank? Nice - saved you a ton of work that I'm still pondering exactly what to do to add a gray tank to ours. Yours must be a center bath, right? Do you have the dimensions of the gray tank (HxLxD)? Divide the total volume in cubic inches by 231 to get US gals. I'd be interested in the dimensions of the gray tank if you can get them easily.

I agree with Lew when it comes time to re-attach the shell. I had the frame of ours supported on blocks and with the stabilizer jacks, and then jacked up the rear frame about 1/2" to get the whole frame dead level (checked with levels and really taunt string line) before I riveted the rear shell to the c-channel and bolted the rear c-channel to the frame. Once the rear end was all connected together, I removed the jacks and it stayed dead level. Still is. But you might not have any issues with a completely new frame.

One additional question - how will you operate the dump valves? Do you have the remote cable type, or will you run a solid extension rod out through the side of the frame?

Chris
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:36 AM   #70
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Lew & Chris I'm ahead of you guys in my thinking anyway.
Here's mine plan. Let me know if you see any flaws. I intend to back the frame in and position it straight side to side and in the right position front to back. I am going to drop plumb lines at strategic points from the shell to known points on the frame/floor assembly to make sure I have the chassis in exactly the right spot under the shell. The chassis will then get levelled side to side and front to back. I will then block it in four points along both main frame rails to support the frame to the ground. I then intend to make sure the frame is exactly straight front to back with no waves or deflections in it. Then and only then will I start to lower the shell back on to the floor. Sound good?
Lew yes the shell does hold the frame into position. When I released the last of the rear bolts the floor dropped at least 4 inches. When that happened a part of my anatomy receeded by the same amount. Scared the s**t out of me.
Chris Is your'e belly button an inny or an outty? Bet if I asked Kay I would get a different answer. LMAO.
The grey tank measures 26.5x54.5x3.5. Using Minnesota math it holds 21.88 U.S. gallons. Cool formula BTW. The tank sits in a galvanized box just like the black tank but it does not hang below the frame like the black tank.
Strange thing about the 73 excella it doesn't exist in floor plans from A/S. All the manuals and literature from 74 show floor plans and specs etc. I'm assuming this unit was a prototype for the 74 model year. Production date was April 73.
The original layout was for the solid extension rods for the dump valves and I am keeping it. I thought about using the electric dump valves but they have had some problems so I stayed with tried and true technology. Who needs to reinvent the wheel anyway? Yes the trailer is a center(centre CAN) bath.
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