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Old 11-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
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310 Kwikee double step installation

Spent some time this morning ripping out the old vacuum operated single step and replaced it with a new Kwikee double step. All told I think I spent about 2-1/2 hours ripping out the old steps and mounting the new steps. I had to use a torch to burn off 3 of the 4 bolts because Airstream in their infinite wisdom used countersunk screws to hold the old steps in place. I guess in the long run it didn't really matter what they used because all of the wood was so rotted in there I had to tear out the old wood in the entryway landing. I was surprised just how bad the plywood was. Totally delaminated.

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The platform that holds the step motor is smaller than the original step platform and the bolt hole pattern is different. I ended up having to drill two new holes at the very edge of the entryway framework closest to the door and was able to reuse the two holes that were towards the back of the entryway.

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Another problem with the platform being narrower is it doesn't reach all the way under the door frame like the original steps did. Now I have to fabricate a metal plate that fills the entry way and reaches to the door frame so I can fasten the door frame correctly and provide additional support. I figure I've got another couple of hours of work to get the mechanical installation finished. I'll hold off on the electrical work until it gets colder. I need to work outside while we have nice weather!

Brad
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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You will like it!


I put 3 stainless taper head bolts through the aluminum door threshold. That really stiffened things up,.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:28 AM   #3
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You will like it!


I put 3 stainless taper head bolts through the aluminum door threshold. That really stiffened things up,.
Dakota, looking at the attached pictures of the Kwikee steps I installed on our 310 you can see gaps between the step frame and the door frame. I wonder if your Classic 36 is set up differently in how the doors and steps were installed?

I mounted the steps as far outboard as I could without modifying the original entryway frame work. I don't want the steps sticking out past the bottom of the door frame and right now they are borderline. I really think the step frame should be moved inboard about an 1-1/4" which means the gap will increase to about 1-3/4" between the door frame.

Right now I plan on having a filler strip fabricated that bolts to the front of the step frame work and the bottom of the door frame to fill the gap and provide support between the step frame and the bottom of the door.

Brad

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:17 PM   #4
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From these last pictures it looks like the floor of your step well is the top of the Kwikee step. My step well has a steel plate floor and the steps are bolted and hang below that. Installing a 12 or 14 ga. plate either above or below the side angle iron pieces would fill the step well floor and give you something to attach the door frame to. Just thinking.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Dan,

That's interesting. The Argosy didn't have a metal floor and neither did the 86 345 that I dismantled, see pictures below. On the 74 Argosy and the 86 345 the entry way opening is just a U shaped frame work that is open in the middle. The step assembly was large enough to reach from the back (inboard) side of the U to under the door frame. The door frame was then screwed to the top of the step frame. The original 2-step assembly from the 345 was the same size on top as was the Argosy 1-step assembly. The top frame of the new Kwikee 2-step assembly was actually about 2" narrower than the original steps, hence the gap that you see in the pictures.

I started the Argosy conversion first and found the same problem with the gap between the door frame and the step assembly. So I had a .125" metal plate made up like you are suggesting to cover the entryway opening. The other reason I had a metal plate fabricated was because the width of the U is larger than on the 345. Without the plate I have nothing to hang the steps on

I haven't physically mounted the steps to the Argosy as yet, mainly because I wasn't sure just how to located them. That's why I switched to the 310 hoping I could find a common point between the old single step and the new 2-step Kwikee. Once I started on the 310 and removed the steps I found the same U shaped arrangement.

I'm not sure whether I need to move the 310 steps farther under the coach (creating a larger gap) or leave as is and have a metal plate fabricated like I did on the Argosy.

Decisions, decisions!

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Brad
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
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Well now that you mention it I never removed the step so maybe the metal "floor" was the top of the step.

When I did my floor I removed the ABS step well and the plywood shims and spacers and arrived at the steel well. From there I built the well back in hardwood. I did build it so it can be removed to access the bolts that hold the step. In this pic you can see the three bolts or screws that attach the door frame.

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I did take out the original carpet so I assume this was unmolested. Again I didn't go any further so maybe this was the top of the step. At any rate I believe just fitting a sheet of 12 ga. would solve the problem. Trying to remember I think the plate was below the angles on the sides and rear and fit nicely to the bottom of the door frame. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Well now that you mention it I never removed the step so maybe the metal "floor" was the top of the step.

When I did my floor I removed the ABS step well and the plywood shims and spacers and arrived at the steel well. From there I built the well back in hardwood. I did build it so it can be removed to access the bolts that hold the step. In this pic you can see the three bolts or screws that attach the door frame.

Attachment 172663
Nice looking entry way! I like it

I was actually considering something similar just wasn't sure what it would look like. Now I do. Do you like the wood floor instead of carpeting? That is something else I've been considering doing, switching to wood.

Quote:
I did take out the original carpet so I assume this was unmolested. Again I didn't go any further so maybe this was the top of the step. At any rate I believe just fitting a sheet of 12 ga. would solve the problem. Trying to remember I think the plate was below the angles on the sides and rear and fit nicely to the bottom of the door frame. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it.
Do you remember if there was wood between the door frame and the metal floor (top of step assembly)? Both the 310 and the Argosy had about a 3/8" to 1/2" thick piece of plywood that extended under the door frame.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
Nice looking entry way! I like it

Do you remember if there was wood between the door frame and the metal floor (top of step assembly)? Both the 310 and the Argosy had about a 3/8" to 1/2" thick piece of plywood that extended under the door frame.

Thanks!

Brad
Brad I took the carpet out a couple of years ago because it smelled pretty bad and was pretty shabby. I put in cork because I like the look and feel. Unfortunately with a Great Dane running around, the cork didn't make it.

We happened to stop by a Lumber Liquidators, a discount flooring outfit, and they had a chart that showed the hardness and dimensional stability versus moisture of the different woods. We wound up with Brazilian Teak because it is 30% harder than oak and also very high on the stability chart. I thought these were both good traits for use in the moho. Our sail boat has a teak interior and teak deck and trim outside so we enjoy teak and are familiar with it. The best thing was the following weekend they were having their annual close out sale. I scored 8 boxes for about $1.80 a square foot including tax.

Anyway I did the entire coach including the cockpit area. It was a challenge doing the dog house and around the steering column but I just kept at it. We did a few short trips during the installation and the dash A/C blower motor gave out. I started another thread on that but with the bottom of the dash torn out I can't finish the passenger foot well of the floor. When I get it finished I'll post some pictures. I did post a few pictures here http://www.airforums.com/forums/f341...59243-877.html at post 12270 if you want an advance peek.

Back to your question I don't recall there being any wood under the door frame. There was plywood spacers on the sides, back and bottom of the foot well but I'm pretty sure there was nothing but steel when I started going back in with the teak. I did put wood spacers back in to make the finished teak come out to where it was supposed to be. The teak is 3/4" and step well floor fits flush to the lip of the door frame. I did have to shim it up to match. I believe the vertical lip of the frame was at least an inch, maybe more. The joint between the bottom of the frame and the plate it was fastened to was rigid so I didn't do anything other than fit the teak to it. If there was a spacer it had to be metal because I'm pretty sure all the wood was removed but remember I am old and I have slept since then.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:23 PM   #9
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Brad I went out today and took another look at my step. I didn't crawl underneath but held the camera under to try to get a couple of pics. It appears there is a channel shaped flashing under the door frame.

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You can see it's not against the outer flange but rather back under the main part of the door frame.

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Again I don't know if the is part of the step itself exactly or just part of how the step-well is constructed. This is how it looks from the back.

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Again not the best pics but I don't believe there are any spacers or wood shims in the joint. The stud holding the return spring looks like it's welded to a steel flat bar. The other pic you can see one of the screws that goes through the base of the door frame.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:28 PM   #10
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Brad I took the carpet out a couple of years ago because it smelled pretty bad and was pretty shabby. I put in cork because I like the look and feel. Unfortunately with a Great Dane running around, the cork didn't make it.

We happened to stop by a Lumber Liquidators, a discount flooring outfit, and they had a chart that showed the hardness and dimensional stability versus moisture of the different woods. We wound up with Brazilian Teak because it is 30% harder than oak and also very high on the stability chart. I thought these were both good traits for use in the moho. Our sail boat has a teak interior and teak deck and trim outside so we enjoy teak and are familiar with it. The best thing was the following weekend they were having their annual close out sale. I scored 8 boxes for about $1.80 a square foot including tax.
We found a good buy one similar flooring at a liquidators outfit and bought a bunch for the 310 but have never gotten around to installing it. I don't remember what we paid but the price was very reasonable. Still don't know if I will ever install it on the 310.

Quote:
Anyway I did the entire coach including the cockpit area. It was a challenge doing the dog house and around the steering column but I just kept at it. We did a few short trips during the installation and the dash A/C blower motor gave out. I started another thread on that but with the bottom of the dash torn out I can't finish the passenger foot well of the floor. When I get it finished I'll post some pictures. I did post a few pictures here http://www.airforums.com/forums/f341...59243-877.html at post 12270 if you want an advance peek.
The cockpit area would be WAY more work than I would want to do

I checked out the thread you mentioned and couldn't find anything on your repairs.

Quote:
Back to your question I don't recall there being any wood under the door frame. There was plywood spacers on the sides, back and bottom of the foot well but I'm pretty sure there was nothing but steel when I started going back in with the teak. I did put wood spacers back in to make the finished teak come out to where it was supposed to be. The teak is 3/4" and step well floor fits flush to the lip of the door frame. I did have to shim it up to match. I believe the vertical lip of the frame was at least an inch, maybe more. The joint between the bottom of the frame and the plate it was fastened to was rigid so I didn't do anything other than fit the teak to it. If there was a spacer it had to be metal because I'm pretty sure all the wood was removed but remember I am old and I have slept since then.
The installation of your vacuum step looks somewhat different than on our 310 but I can't put my finger on what the differences are. On our 310 there was definitely a 3/8" gap between the top of the step frame and the bottom of the door frame. On the Argosy that gap is between 1/2" and 5/8". The Argosy entryway is definitely fabricated completely different than our 84 310 and the 86 345 which are identical in that area.

The bottom line is on the 310 I'm going to have to fabricate a filler plate to make up the height and the depth of the new step location. Also my wife wants me to move the step assembly inboard about 1-1/4" more to bring the steps under the motorhome more when closed. I'll be doing that this weekend if things go according to plan.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:53 PM   #11
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It is kind of interesting trying to figure out what Airstream was thinking when they built these coaches. I guess some things we will never know.

I'm not sure why you couldn't find the post in the other thread but here it is.


"Another reason is I have been working on the Hagarstream. I have been installing a Brazilian teak hardwood floor and it's taking a lot longer than I ever dreamed it would. Here are a few pics.









The step well, drivers foot well, and doghouse cover were particularly fun as they have to be removable to access the stuff underneath. Also working with all the angles was challenging to say the least. The teak is very hard and does not flex or give at all. It is all glued and screwed down. I had to pre-drill all the holes for the screws. I have all the wood down but I still have to mill the base molding and refinish all the edges. While I had everything tore up I also had to take enough of the dash apart to get to the evaporator motor which gave up on the last trip, another fun job. Next I get to play with that rats nest of wiring hanging under the dash."



I really didn't want to get into the cockpit area but the carpet just looked like crap so I had to do something. By the way you might recognize the swivel chairs, they came out of your 34.5. I wound up not using the bases or the cabinet but did use the chairs. Now I'm looking for some kind of side panels for next to the driver and passenger chairs. That is the last bit of carpet in the coach.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:57 PM   #12
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That is a beautiful floor!!

I'm not so sure I have the patience to do all of that angle cutting in the cockpit area. Maybe if I didn't have anything else to do for a year I might try it

I moved the Kwikee steps back under the coach another 3/4" and it does look better with the steps tucked a little farther under the side. I'm going to use the same dimensions when I mount the Argosy steps.

I also got the Kwikee steps wired this morning and I'm not sure if they are working correctly. I used the existing switch that was in the door frame for the vacuum steps and that seems to work fine. When you open the door the steps extend, when you close the door they retract. Also when you open the door and the steps extend if I turn on the manual switch the steps stay open when the door closes which is what I would expect. What doesn't happen is the steps don't retract if the door is closed and you start the ignition. I thought if the door was closed and the ignition was on the steps were supposed to retract. I need to do a little more research to see if this is correct.

The only mechanical things left are to fill the gap between the door frame and the step frame and to replace all the wood. Hopefully all of this will be done over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Brad
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:20 PM   #13
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I thought if the door was closed and the ignition was on the steps were supposed to retract.

As I recall my steps stay open when the switch by the door is in the "off" position and retract when the ignition is turned on. When the switch is in the "on" position they open and close with the door.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:09 AM   #14
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I thought if the door was closed and the ignition was on the steps were supposed to retract.
That's what I thought too.

Quote:
As I recall my steps stay open when the switch by the door is in the "off" position and retract when the ignition is turned on. When the switch is in the "on" position they open and close with the door.
The only thing I can think of is either I didn't make a good connection with what I thought was an ignition wire or else the fuse blew. I know I checked with wire and when I first started the installation and it had no power on it until I turned on the ignition.

Sometime next weekend I'll have the time to look into the issue more. It's just a little frustrating to get so close to being done and then have a problem like this.

Brad
a
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