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Old 02-22-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
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1957 26' Overlander
Victoria , British Columbia
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1957 Overlander Renovation

After 6 months of shopping, reading and researching I finally took the plunge and bought a 1957 Overlander. It needs a complete re-work, new floors, windows redone and all new interior. The good part is the PO did new axles, tires, brakes, and springs and rewires all the running lights so that is all brand new.
So far I have taken out half the interior with and am trying to get a rough plan together for the order of things to be done.

So, I am thinking:
1-Remove all the interior bits
2-Take down the interior skins and remove all the bolts and screws holding the shell down--
--- Can I take down all the interior skins at once, or do these need to stay to provide strength???
3-Remove the floor in pieces
4-Remove the belly skin
--- Do I just cut this away or should drill the rivets out where the shell attaches to the C channel???
5 - repair frame, paint, etc
6 - put tanks into belly and plumbing layout
7 - waterproof the shell
8.-fix windows
7 -replace floor
8 - rewire, insulate,
9- put interior skins back on
10 finish interior

Thoughts? I would rather not do a shell-off floor replacement, but if that is the easiest way to go I would...but is it necessary if the frame is in good shape?

Thanks
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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cool trailer!

I can't speak to all of those questions but I'll add what I have learned so far...

You can take out the interior skins. They are not the strength in the shell. You will probably be cutting many rusted bolts holding the shell down.

I'd drill the rivets holding the belly pan. These trailers come apart easily when you get all the rivets out... if something doesn't want to come apart easily, there is a hidden rivet or screw somewhere.

Get some good drill bits and have fun!
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
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Sparky 57 Iam starting to put mine back togather I wish I had taken more detailed pictures . Dont give up and have fun
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky57 View Post
So far I have taken out half the interior with and am trying to get a rough plan together for the order of things to be done.

So, I am thinking:
1-Remove all the interior bits
2-Take down the interior skins and remove all the bolts and screws holding the shell down--
--- Can I take down all the interior skins at once, or do these need to stay to provide strength???
3-Remove the floor in pieces
4-Remove the belly skin
--- Do I just cut this away or should drill the rivets out where the shell attaches to the C channel???
5 - repair frame, paint, etc
6 - put tanks into belly and plumbing layout
7 - waterproof the shell
8.-fix windows
7 -replace floor
8 - rewire, insulate,
9- put interior skins back on
10 finish interior

Thoughts? I would rather not do a shell-off floor replacement, but if that is the easiest way to go I would...but is it necessary if the frame is in good shape?

Thanks
That sounds like pretty much we did, check out my "It's a Girl!!!" thread to see & read what's involved.

Good luck, looks like a nice trailer for a jumping in point ~

Shari
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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1957 26' Overlander
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Gutted

Got it all gutted today and I think that I am going to take some TSP or lysol (maybe both) and scrub the wall skins before I take them down. Part of me feels like pressure washing it...hmmm. I have one serious load of bits to take to the dump.

Also drilled my first rivets out today- all that anxiety and it was actually simple. Had a look to see how the frame is attached to the shell and belly pan...Looks like my belly pan is wrapped around the C Channel really tight, so how do I get the belly pan off the C Channel? Drill out the rivets then cut?
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:51 PM   #6
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not sure I would take it to the dump just yet..others out there may need parts you have ..throw it on the list here and see who nibbles on what you have...
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Spare parts

Well I think the only thing worth salvaging is the copper and the stove. I'd be happy to give it away to anyone from the forums. Where do I post it? It looks to be original, all white and I'd guess it works....
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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Not sure what you are planning for the interior, but it is a lot easier to replicate the curves with the old cabinets as templates to follow. I found a lot of the old parts were very useful in my restoration.

If you are replacing the floor, pressure washing is not a bad idea. I pressure washed my interior and did several washes with TSP before repainting.

Norm
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:48 PM   #9
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I washed the skins on the lawn after we had removed them. Much easier to scrub with a long handled brush when they're laying flat. Then I stood them on end up against things to dry, rolled them up, used that plastic on a roll to hold them in a roll, and stored them until we had the wiring and insulation done. Make sure you label them when you remove them so you know where they go when you want to put them back up!

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:11 PM   #10
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Parts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollerboy View Post
not sure I would take it to the dump just yet..others out there may need parts you have ..throw it on the list here and see who nibbles on what you have...

I agree! That pile looks like candy to me! I'm desperately looking for some light fixtures, knobs, and some other hardware!
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by nmbosa View Post
Not sure what you are planning for the interior, but it is a lot easier to replicate the curves with the old cabinets as templates to follow. I found a lot of the old parts were very useful in my restoration.

If you are replacing the floor, pressure washing is not a bad idea. I pressure washed my interior and did several washes with TSP before repainting.

Norm
I agree, it saves a lot of time when the old cabinets can be used for templates, I tossed a few things I shouldn't have. Looks like you are off to a great start!
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:08 AM   #12
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Bits and pieces

I will post pictures of the bits I saved- hinges, handles, a couple fixtures, the gas lamp (might keep this) and some lamp shades. I did save the curved room dividers so that I can re-make them.

Next step is to wash the interior down with TSP and soap and water- then take the panels down and store them. Then on to the floor and frame.

The wheel wells are rotted so I'll be making new ones of those too.

Just ordered clecos from VTS, rivets, etc, etc...and found the local Fastenal store has all the numbered drill bits - so I got $40 worth of those. Looks like a fun weekend ahead.

Still planning on a frame on floor replacement at this point.
Still confused about how to get the belly pan off- it is wrapped tight around the C-Channel.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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Hidden rivets

I think hidden rivets might be your problem. Here's my post about it:
1959 Airstream Overlander, "Someday": Lessons Learned

Good luck with that belly pan!
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky57 View Post
Still planning on a frame on floor replacement at this point.
Still confused about how to get the belly pan off- it is wrapped tight around the C-Channel.
So there are a couple of issues here, if you want to do a full floor replacement with the shell on.

First, the way to remove the bellypan, is to drill out all of the rivets all the way around the outside. I'm glad you already got your bits, you're going to use up a bunch of them, it goes much faster with fresh, sharp bits. If it's factory original and no previous owner has messed with it, then your trailer was assembled in this way. 1) Floor is bolted to frame. 2) C-channel is bolted to floor and outriggers. 3) Floor/frame assembly is flipped upside down on a rotisserie, where the bellypan is wrapped up and around the sides of the c-channel. 4) Floor/frame/bellypan assembly is flipped back right side up, and shell is riveted on to the outside of that.

This has a couple of implications for you. One is that there are the "hidden rivets" that Someday59 mentioned. These are there because the bellypan was riveted to the c-channel (and in your case and many others, wrapped around the c-channel) before the outer shell was attached. So the outer shell covers up some of those rivets. These can be removed by using a really sharp putty knife (the kind with the metal end on the handle, all-plastic handle ones won't hold up) and placing the blade between the outer shell and the bellypan, and then pounding it with a hammer to sheer the rivets. Obviously, you'll need to remove the inner skins before this step.

The other implication is that if you remove all of the hidden rivets holding the bellypan to the c-channel, and then remove all of the exterior rivets holding the shell to the c-channel, and if you do this all the way around your trailer, your shell will now be floating, unattached to the frame, floor, or anything else. Only friction will be holding it up, and I don't know that the Force of Friction will be enough to stabilize it.

I only did the back half of mine, so the front half remained stable. I removed the bellypan and detached the shell all the way around the back half. I then removed the elevator bolts and the subfloor on the back 2 sections (8') of plywood, inspected/cleaned/repaired/painted the frame, and put new plywood down. Then reattached all of the c-channel, re-riveted the shell and new bellypan sections, and reinstalled the inner skins.

So if you truly want to do a shell-on, and do the entire floor at the same time, then you might consider how to stabilize the shell in the meantime.

Good luck!
-Marcus
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:32 PM   #15
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So there are a couple of issues here, if you want to do a full floor replacement with the shell on.

First, the way to remove the bellypan, is to drill out all of the rivets all the way around the outside.

<snip>

So if you truly want to do a shell-on, and do the entire floor at the same time, then you might consider how to stabilize the shell in the meantime.
We were challenged with doing the floor replacement of our '56 Safari "shell-on". Yes, it may have been easier to remove the shell, but that wasn't a luxury we had, mostly due to lack of staging space and the 2 year duration of getting the floor and systems work done before everything was reattached. We had no place to store the shell if it had been removed and our work area was all outside, with the floor replacement spanning over the winter months.

FWIW, our belly skin wasn’t folded over the c-channel, but it really wouldn’t make a difference if it was. We left the belly, c-channel & skin all attached and didn’t remove any rivets initially at the perimeter (except around the wheel wells) or as needed for extra flexibility a portion at a time. The shell/belly was, as others have suggested, “free-floating” but it wasn’t a problem at all because as we removed the floor a portion at a time, we used 1x boards (actual size ”) c-clamped between the c-channel & frame as temporary supports. Each outrigger ended up with a board by the time all of the old floor was removed. The c-channel spanned between the outriggers, which are only about 2' apart. Then we would remove the temp boards and replace with the new floor a couple sections at a time to get the new floor (marine plywood) in place. The skins actually flexed enough to facilitate getting the boards into place. Some places we have to loosen the next set of clamps, but it still stayed supported 2/3's at a time.

Another option we considered, but did not do, was to leave the banana wrap portion of the belly pan in place and only cut away the flat bottom part of the belly skin, about a foot inside the curve (towards the centerline of your trailer). This way you don't have to mess with the hidden rivets at the c-channel. You can leave the shell attached to the c-channel and yet allow full access to the underside of the frame - the curve parts of the belly are flexible except at the corners, but there aren’t any outriggers there, so you can temporarily tweak them to get to the 1-foot at the outriggers, if need be. While the old floor is removed, use 3/4" boards laid on the frame and held in place with c-clamps as we did. When done with the floor, put new flat sheets of aluminum for the belly pan overlapping the cut edge by a couple of inches or so. We didn’t do this because our belly pan did not need to be replaced - but if it had, we would have gne this route.

The beauty of either of these approaches is that the c-channel/shell retained the original shape and a whole lot of drilling out & replacing of rivets was eliminated. It also make getting the shell/c-channel/frame all lined up and centered as a unit – no chance of rivets misaligning when it all goes back together. Worked great for us…if you have any questions, either post or PM and I'll answer best I can.

Shari
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
The other implication is that if you remove all of the hidden rivets holding the bellypan to the c-channel, and then remove all of the exterior rivets holding the shell to the c-channel, and if you do this all the way around your trailer, your shell will now be floating, unattached to the frame, floor, or anything else. Only friction will be holding it up, and I don't know that the Force of Friction will be enough to stabilize it.

I only did the back half of mine, so the front half remained stable.

So if you truly want to do a shell-on, and do the entire floor at the same time, then you might consider how to stabilize the shell in the meantime.

Good luck!
-Marcus
What Marcus has basically pointed out is that any full-floor replacement is for all practical purposes a shell-off project. It's just a matter of where the shell is stored during the work. Take a look at Someday59's blog. They hit a point where their shell began to fall off the frame. It can be done, but you just have to be aware of the fact that once the bellypan and floor is removed, the shell is airborne and can come crashing to the ground around your frame.

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Old 02-24-2012, 04:12 PM   #17
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Mine was shell on as well. Mostly like Shari's option #2. I cut the belly pan off leaving about a one foot perimeter all the way around. I kept the shell supported by small pieces of 3/4" ply on the outriggers. My belly pan was replaced after the subfloor was in and holding tanks installed. It was bent over my c channel like many are and there were a bunch of hidden rivets.

I replaced the belly pan by drilling out the exterior rivets one section at a time to maintain the support for the shell. It was about the most frustrating part of the work that I did, especially trying to get a good smooth fit on the corners.

Mine had to be shell on as I just had no place to put the shell. If I ever did it again, I'd go shell off somehow and I'd flip the frame over to do the belly like it was done originally by the factory.

cheers,
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:13 PM   #18
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How about this...

I am spacially challenged too and at this point I don't yet see any reason to take the shell off. I see advantages to that approach for sure, would do it if I had the space...

My belly pan will have to go for sure- it is in peices and the PO tore into to fix plumbing in 3 or 4 spots, and the outriggers have worn holes along the sides so after a thoughtful assessment last nigh I realized there is nothing there to salvage.

I also though of cutting the belly pan off at a foot as you described but I think that won't work because there are holes worn from the outriggers rubbing through...

So, would this work:

1--cut away the belly pan but leave 6" hanging down all around (like a mini-skirt)
2--remove the floor, install tanks and replace the floor in sections as described by you below, then
3--remove the rivets attaching outer shell to c channel
4--stuff a new belly pan in over top of the old belly pan, re-rivet to c channel.
5--go camping

So excited to get going on this!

Oh- one more question: I plan to just take the windows out one at a time, rebuild and refit them as time permits....There is no sequencing concerns, no depenacies--- I can just de-rivet, fix and re-revit, right? Best to polish them up in peices then reassemble and reinstall too I suppose?

Mark
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky57 View Post
So, would this work:

1--cut away the belly pan but leave 6" hanging down all around (like a mini-skirt)
2--remove the floor, install tanks and replace the floor in sections as described by you below, then
3--remove the rivets attaching outer shell to c channel
4--stuff a new belly pan in over top of the old belly pan, re-rivet to c channel.
5--go camping


Mark
Maybe jumping the gun on going camping just a wee bit.

On the belly, that's close to what I did. No need to leave any of the old there as it'll just capture water and contribute to corrosion and it won't fit well inside the exterior skin as one more layer. You can get the old one off, just have to unbend the part over the C channel.

I just did a section at a time, like front curbside corner, and only drilled out the rivets for that part before sliding the new belly pan inside the exterior skin and the C channel. Really wanted to make sure my shell was totally supported. If you do it this way, the belly pan can be put off for quite awhile in your work, and really just has to be done before you put the inside lower skins back on.

One step at a time and one day at a time and it'll get done.

-steve
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky57 View Post
So, would this work:

1--cut away the belly pan but leave 6" hanging down all around (like a mini-skirt)
2--remove the floor, install tanks and replace the floor in sections as described by you below, then
3--remove the rivets attaching outer shell to c channel
4--stuff a new belly pan in over top of the old belly pan, re-rivet to c channel.
5--go camping

So excited to get going on this!

Oh- one more question: I plan to just take the windows out one at a time, rebuild and refit them as time permits....There is no sequencing concerns, no depenacies--- I can just de-rivet, fix and re-revit, right? Best to polish them up in peices then reassemble and reinstall too I suppose?

Mark
Sounds like it would work to me...we did basically that on one small section of belly we did replace. BTW, you can kinda get to most of the blind rivets with a sharpened metal paint scraper and hammer once the interior skins are removed. You can see them from the inside of the c-channel and slip the scraper between the skins then give 'em a whack.

Window-wise, it's much easier to polish them off the trailer...the screens are easier to change out too.

Shari
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