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Old 04-07-2019, 06:09 PM   #393
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1986 34' Limited
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Insulation Done

I think I have completed the insulation I planned under the trailer. The black and grey tanks are well insulated. I have fiberglass stuffed in the areas around the tanks. And I laid some foam board under the tanks similar to what Airstream does.

I now move on to hanging the belly pan aluminum. Such fun!

David
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:48 PM   #394
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1986 34' Limited
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Tools of the Belly Trade

I believe installing a belly pan is worthy of an Airstream merit badge. It is a tough job under the trailer.

This is my 4th one. You would think I would learn! So often a vintage renovation involves axles, frame, tanks, plumbing and other stuff needed. The belly pan us usually in bad shape, so down it comes.

I've acquired some tools that makes the job a bit easier. I have a drill holder that slides my drill upward so I don't have to push the drill with my shoulder. It works good. I also bolted a piece of plywood on my floor jack that allows me to hold and position the belly skin. My "cow magnet" does a great job of locating hidden cross members. And the air riveter takes a load of the hands, although it would improve my handshake grip.

One of 4 panels in place today. Slow but sure I will get it done.

David
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:27 PM   #395
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David

It is obvious that you have installed lots of belly pans; you have all the right tools for the job.

Nice insulation work. That blue is real pretty. To bad you have to cover it up. I felt a real sense of satisfaction after I insulated my belly pan. My insulation job was much better than the factory.

Dan
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:33 AM   #396
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1978 31' Sovereign
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David - I agree that itís a shame to cover up all that nice looking underneath work.

Iím intrigued by the upside down drill press. Where did you get it?

I am also curious about how you covered your holding tanks and how you ran the piping through the rear most cross member.

Iím very envious of your shop and workspace. My ďshop floorĒ is either grass or gravel.

Also how did you install the insulation so that it stayed in place until it was covered?
Good work my friend.

Bill
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:08 PM   #397
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Good Morning Bill: The little "drill press" is a StrongArm5 that someone recommended to me after I developed a good case of tendonitis in my shoulder from pushing the drill making rivet holes in the frame rails and cross members. I purchased it factory direct on the internet.

I did the 86 Limited on gravel, so I know what it is like. I did have a scrap piece of carpeting I laid on which certainly helped...some.

The 2" R Max foam insulation is held to the subfloor with 2 1/2" screws with big fender washers around them. It only took two or three screws per frame bay to hold the foam up securely. The R factor is 13 for the 2" foam. I also taped the seams and along the cross members. I doubt if the trailer's walls and ceiling are that good with 1 1/2" fiberglass.

The blue foam is only 1" thick and again held in place with tape, and soon a belly pan. The R factor is about 7 for this stuff. Better than the original white styrofoam anyway.

My rear cross member is different than yours. There were significant frame changes after 1975 so it appears. I have no floor supports either. So I made a stout rear cross member out of rectangular steel tubing welded to the frame rails to hold up the subfloor and then the rear body plate. I also welded a angle iron at the bottom of the frame rails to protect the drain plumbing and provide an attachment point for the belly aluminum.

The black tank drain port just sticks between the two. I did "box" it in to hold heat in the tank bay.

I bet your frame fabricator can accommodate the black tank drain port.

David
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:23 PM   #398
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My underfloor insulation job is only half of what you did to your Trade Wind. The insulation is needed since we dump heat down there to keep the tanks from freezing. I think the walls and ceiling are more important for good insulation since they are made of aluminum and only 1 1/2" thick. Some folks have developed innovative ways to better insulate the trailer than the factory did.

My Overlander is now a southwest trailer. It won't be out in very hot or very cold temps. I didn't figure I needed much subfloor insulation.

I do wonder what I should do about the rear bumper waste water drain manifold. There is no heat back there, and I plan on letting rain water run through back there to the ground. It wouldn't take very cold temps (just below freezing) for my dump valves and drain pipes to freeze up. Maybe I would have to wrap the pipes and valves with heat tape or something.

David
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:33 PM   #399
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Introducing Billy Belly

Some Airstreamers name their trailers. For something different, I've decided to name by new belly pan Billy Belly.

Billy Belly is mostly done. The belly aluminum is riveted in place from the fresh tank pan to the rear cross member. It took me about 30 hours to do this job. I don't know how many rivet holes I drilled. I don't want to know. Pardon the photos, Billy Belly doesn't photograph well.

Billy Belly's only job is to keep some dust out, keep some mousies out, drain most of the rainwater out and keep the insulation in. It is not a high paying job.

Some points of interest:

The StrongArm5 upside down drill press was worth the cost.No shoulder pain.
Correct twist drills made for steel are required. One drill lasted the whole job
The floor jack and plywood support worked good
A cow magnet is good for finding hidden cross members
The air riveter was a blessing
I didn't drill any accidental holes in my new waste water tanks Vey possible

I can only hope I didn't forget anything under Billy Belly; like tightening the shower trap connections, like breaking a brake wire, etc. I'll find out.

Next up: Axle install. Great exercise for a weakened back

David
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:03 PM   #400
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Billy Belly looks outstanding because you are such an experienced belly pan installer and have such a fine shop. Most vintage Airstream renovators only get to do one- outside. You are so lucky.

Dan
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:24 PM   #401
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I did our 86 Limited 34' outside. The Trade Wind in a rented building, the Globetrotter and this Overlander in my shop. I am blessed and thankful everyday. I had to blow snow off the driveway this morning before going into the shop.

Did I earn the belly pan merit badge anyways?

David
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Old 04-14-2019, 07:40 AM   #402
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David that looks great.

Your insulation install looked great too. I did the same thing with rigid foam board. Noticed there was some water left in my tank through the winter that never froze. That R value is impressive. Wish I had thought of taping all the seams like you did. A hypothetical in regards to that. How does water escape if it happens to seep through the floor or down the skin?
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:42 AM   #403
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Yes, you DO earn the merit badge, and some other badge as well for keeping us posted and entertained along the way. I can only imagine your feeling of pride and accomplishment at looking down the length of the trailer at the neat blue insulation. Like one post said, almost a shame to cover it up. And then to be finished with that less than fun job. Congrats
CC
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:07 AM   #404
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75 Overlander Improvements Journal

There is are real easy way to drill the axle plates for a new axle. Itís called a Blair cutter or Roto-Broch . If you need to barrow one just PM me. I live in Arvada.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:11 PM   #405
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Thanks Jeremy and Camper. The photos don't do it justice, it looks much worse in person. But it will suffice. As we often say, who gets on their backs to look at your belly pan?

And thanks for the tooling tip Aerowood. I was going to try a "step drill"; but I found they work much better in plywood than 3/16" steel. I was thinking about my hole saw. This Blair roto-broach looks a whole like an end mill - hole saw combination. And thanks for the offer to check a 5/8" roto-broach out of your shop. But I would likely break it or drop it down the toilet. So I ordered one. We'll give it a go.

David
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:26 PM   #406
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I've Got Gas

I hung the propane lines under my new belly pan. I had to fabricate a new line to the hot water heater and the new fridge. I pressurized it with the propane bottle and regulator, and checked for leaks. Something smelled bad. I thought it was just me. Luckily propane has a fowl odorizer as a warning and I had to tighten a couple of connections.

Then, then I tried the new water heater and poof, it lit right up. Yea, clap, clap, clap. I turned the fridge on AC power, verified cooling, then unplugged the shore power cord, and watched the new fridge switch auto-magically to gas. And better yet, lit up and began cooling. More cheering and clapping.

Nothing better than having new expensive stuff work on the first try.

David
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