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Old 12-21-2009, 03:05 PM   #21
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Even your screw type sissors jack in your car can help.. just cut a 4x4 to length, and use the jack to lift the shell... a cheap bottlejack from Harbor freight could work too.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #22
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You could actually do this without a jack by cutting your 4x4 a little long, and wedging it between the frame and the 2x4 spanning the ribs in the ceiling. It doesn't take much to lift it up.

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Old 12-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #23
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Hey Beyond,

I’ve been away from the forums for the past couple of weeks. I know, hard to believe that other stuff could actually get in the way of AS stuff… but I was building some Christmas presents for two of my sisters, and now I’m working hot and heavy on a white oak crib for grandchild No. 5 (who’s due to arrive the beginning of February).

I see you’ve gotten answers to many of your questions, some of which led to other questions, so let me try and answer what I can to help fill in the missing pieces.

One thing to point out first – before we started taking drilling any rivets or removing any bolts that held the shell to the c-channel and the floor to the frame, we jacked up Little Girl and made sure the frame was dead level front to back and side to side. Dead level forward of the axels at any rate. Once we took out the rear sections of plywood, we could then verify we did not have any frame sag. A level frame is really important for putting everything back together.

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The floor is now mostly out. It seams that I have the same problem as Minno now. The outer skin is being changed in shape without the wood and the bolts, so the holes do not line up anymore, but we will not be replacing the floor for a few weeks. As long as the belly pan is still on should we worry about the outer, and C-Channel, sagging enough that replacing the floor is a bigger challenge?
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We were not planning on taking off the belly pan, but two things have made me reevaluate this. One is that the corner skin (?) around the outside is either holey or dented in many places. Second is the ease of replacing the floor.
Can anyone throw out ideas on what would keep the outer skin up when the belly pan is off? I could see this in Little Girl Refurb, but couldn't figure out how it was being supported above the frame. Portable stabilizer jacks with wood?
As mentioned by others, you should support the c-channel with 1x wood, or you can cut strips out of the old plywood and use that. One drawback to cutting strips out of the old plywood is then you lose them to use as a template for cutting the new floor. Might not be a concern though - just thought I'd mention it. We clamped the 1x4 pieces of wood we used to support the c-channel on top of the outriggers, and that worked very well. One of the key things is to try and keep the c-channel on the outriggers. If it does drop off (and it will somewhere most likely), we used a small bottle jack to jack it back up. We slipped a piece of sheet metal on top of the outrigger and under the c-channel and used it as a guide to help get the c-channel back on top of the outrigger a few times. Also, we used a piece of the 1x4 under the c-channel so the jack was pushing on the wood to spread the force a bit more evenly (instead of just putting the jack directly under the c-channel). I was afraid of deforming the c-channel by just using the bottle jack.

We took the center belly skin off, and all 4 corner banana wraps. The center belly skin will be replaced, and the corner banana wraps will be straightened out hopefully. One of my winter AS projects after I finish the crib and one other furniture project this winter.

We did leave the 18” wide side wraps on. Drilling out the thousands of rivets that hold it onto the shell and side c-channels just seemed like way tooooooooo much work that I didn’t think we needed to do. Now my quandary though is that some of this wrap needs to be replaced or repaired. Not sure how I’m going to resolve this yet, but it’s under the trailer, so if I just patch it, it’s won’t show too much.


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Also, Minno in #30 you mentioned you took out the C-Channel. Recommended for ease of replacing the floor?


The only piece of c-channel we took out was the curved pieces that goes around the rear of the trailer. On Little Girl, the front and read c-channels have a different profile than the side c-channel (she's a '72). The front and rear ones do not have the bottom part that wraps around the edge of the plywood. The rear c-channel was quite deformed due to the rear-end separation, and it was broken in half, so I removed it to straighten it out and repair it, and to straighten out the shell, more than any other reason. Not having it place did help with installing the rear section of new plywood.


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All of the utilities are out now, and it seems that a prior owner badly strapped copper piping to the under belly, and bore unsealed holes into the belly and floor. We'll be replacing the copper, and am wondering if it is recommended to run the LP line through the floor, above the belly pan, or on the outside. Same question for the plumbing.


Everything I’ve read so far seems to indicate that it’s a requirement to have the LP lines exposed under the trailer. That way, in case they ever leak, you can (1) find the leak and repair it, and (2) not have the leak fill up the belly pan with propane. Use copper on all LP lines. Rigid copper pipe (type L) is ok for the trunk line, which is what I plan on using, and then flexible copper for the branch lines as they enter the underside of the belly skin. Type L has thicker walls than type M. Both are fairly easy to work with and solder.

Regarding the rest of the plumbing, it can pretty much wherever you want it to. Most of the plumbing typically runs on top of the floor. One good reason for doing this is if you ever plan on winter camping. A couple of other thoughts:

The toilet needs to sit directly over the black tank and drain straight down into it.

If you install gray tank, it need to be below the lowest level of all drains and traps. Something to consider for the shower or bathtub – they will need to be raised off the floor so you can have a trap under them and still keep the trap above the gray tank.

The waste drains to dump the tanks will need to be lower than the bottom of the tanks, at least slightly. A 1/8” drop every foot is a good rule to follow. So, if the new black tank is lower than the belly pan, the dump outlet will need to be at least that low as well. Lower if say the tank is by the axels, and the drain is at the bumper. Lower pipes, especially at the rear of the trailer, can more easily get caught on road hazards and driveway ramps, so be carful how low you go and where you place things. A great location for the dump outlet is right in front of the axel if you can manage that. Second best place in my opinion is directly behind the axel. But, being directly behind the axel, they get coated with road crud off the tires quite easily (experience speaking here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
This of course creates the challenge of the black box. I am expecting to purchase on that is around 6" deep, and cut a hole in the belly pan to allow for the extra depth that will not be allowed by the frame. With this I recognize the challenge of sealing around the tank. Any thoughts?


Get a shorter tank? Seriously, perhaps you can expand on your sheet metal working skills and build a belly pan box that will wrap underneath the new black tank. That would resolve many of the sealing problems you’ll have if you just leave the plastic tank stick out from under the belly skin. Remember what Shari mentioned though – you do not want to totally seal up the belly skin. It needs to be able to drain any water that might get into it while traveling or in a heavy rain.

Hope this all helps. Feel free to PM me with additional questions if you want, or ask them here. Lot’s of people with lots of knowledge and ideas are here to help!

Chris
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #24
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A fewthings to add:
I left the bolts that attach the C-channel to the ends of the outriggers intact until I was ready to put the new flooring in. I wire-brushed and painted the frame with them in place and then, just before I put the first piece of new floor in I cut these off in the area where the first sheet would go, and a couple of outriggers beyond, so I could flex the walls out without the shell falling off the outriggers. It worked like a charm.
In '64 they used formed curved C-channels at all four corners of the shell. These will retain their shape even when the floor is out, so if you can't retain the old flooring you can use the outside radius of these to recreate your floor pattern. Be sure to measure the distance between the walls at the floor level so you can maintain this distance when it goes back together or you may create waves or bumps in the outer skins.
If you can possibly leave the C-channels attached to the shell I would recommend it. I was able to get my flooring in without removing any at all, and the last piece was actually the easiest to get in place, go figure.
Look at Incaplastics.com for their H517 35 gallon waste holding tank. I have a space in my frame just behind the axle that this is made for. It will fit with about 1/8" to spare in both directions and the outlet will be just behind the streetside wheel. It hangs down below the bellypan, but with it's location near the axle it should be well protected from road hazards. That is for my grey water. The original black tank is sufficient for my needs, and doesn't hang down at all. I would never put in one that hangs below the bumper or frame at the rear of the trailer. When that thing hits the edge of a driveway, with a full tank behind it, you will have more problems than I would wish on my worst enemy(well, maybe).
The lowest point in my waste lines was the shower P-trap, which was 3" below the floor at its lowest point. This is the original installation, and It works as intended with this much drop. The grey tank will fill up until the tank is full, and then back up into the shower. If I was to raise the tub at all I would have to sit down to shower, and it would only serve to give me about 1 cup of additional grey water capacity, due to the additional few inches of drain pipe above the floor. I had to ponder this a long time to figure out how it works.
I've heard of black tank installations in which the tank projected up through the floor a couple of inches, rather than hanging down below the frame. I don't subscribe to either of these applications. If it's above the floor entirely it's preferable to having it project through the floor, where you would then have a huge section of flooring removed to allow that tank to fit. Hanging below the frame is a disaster waiting to happen, as mentioned above.

Best to you this holiday season,
Rich the Viking
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:15 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VIKING View Post
The lowest point in my waste lines was the shower P-trap, which was 3" below the floor at its lowest point. This is the original installation, and It works as intended with this much drop. The grey tank will fill up until the tank is full, and then back up into the shower.
Hey Viking,

This is really interesting. I've been under the assumption that I needed to build a base for our shower to raise it enough to keep the p-trap above the floor, or at least keep it above the top of the gray water tank. How is the drain routed from the shower p-trap to the gray water tank? Is it below the floor as well? If yes, does it enter the side of the tank?

Chris
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Old 12-27-2009, 03:20 PM   #26
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Hi Minno,
The P-trap drops into the floor and comes right back up out of it, then the drain pipe runs directly on top of the floor and goes around the front of the tub, to the back of the black tank where it enters a Y just behind the waste valve. There was no grey tank in '64, so when I add one I will route the drain to the area under the galley sink where it will drop into the new grey tank. This line will carry the water from both sinks and the shower into the grey tank, and the drain line going to the old black tank will get a valve put into it, so I can direct grey water into the black tank when I want to utilize all of my tank capacity.
The tub was raised up on 2 x 4s in my safari and has a 1/2" plywood base attached to the underside of the tub, but the P-trap was still 3" into the floor even with that. I'll attach a pic of it. You asked this at the right time. Not too often do you see these in this orientation. The edge of the surround, just below the P trap in pic #2 would sit on the floor, and the P trap would be completely below the floor. I hope this helps.
Rich the Viking
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Old 12-27-2009, 03:50 PM   #27
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Viking - yes, the pics helped a lot!

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:43 PM   #28
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With all the help from everyone, I have made great strides (I think) since my last post. Today it rained pretty hard and with the inner skin off, and the insulation cleaned up, I was able to see the leaks that may pose a problem in the future. The usual suspects: windows, vents, and a few loose rivets. Seemed like the top row of rivets on the ceiling were letting in moisture but not real drops.
The floor is out, and the belly pan is down. I've got a pretty good gap of 'air' in the back just to the left of the back door. Noticed that between the frame, and the C-Channel, I have a about 1/4 inch bigger gap than the floor needed. Not sure what this means. I'll let the pics speak for themselves.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:04 PM   #29
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I have a about 1/4 inch bigger gap than the floor needed. Not sure what this means. I'll let the pics speak for themselves.
Attachment 93240Attachment 93239
From what I see it is nothing to worry about. Should fix itself when you install the new floor.

Go have a good New Year and worry about this latter...
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:50 AM   #30
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Hey Beyond,

Lee is right. Once you install the new plywood, if you still have a gap, use a bottle jack under the rear end of the frame to raise it to make contact and eliminate the gap. Then, when you bolt the floor to the frame, and rivet the shell to the c-channel (if you need to re-rivet it back together), the shell will hold up the rear frame. What you’re seeing is the typical rear end separation. There are several threads on how to reinforce the frame to shell connection to help ensure this doesn’t happen again. Do a search on rear end separation.

When we did Little Girl’s rear end, we discovered that a previous repair had failed, so we replaced an angled piece of steel with angle aluminum (1/8” thick – fun to bend to the correct angle! ), and reinforced the rear c-channel connection a bit. Take a look at post #42 in our thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f185/little-girl-refurb-50967-3.html.

Chris
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:45 PM   #31
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A big part of the rear-end seperation is due to a lack of connection from the frame to the flooring around the back. This leaves only a couple of 1/4" bolts that actually connect the C-channel to the frame and floor. the rest of the connection is due to wood screws going through the C-channel into the plywood only.
I added an angle iron piece to my frame on each side that follows the curve of the shell around the back corners. It's welded to the last full-length outrigger at its front, and to the frame rail at the back, as well as one intermediate short outrigger. Now my bolts all go through the C-channel, wood flooring, and this angle piece at the rear end, which is now part of the frame. The lack of a piece like this, along with the issues of water infiltration at the rear bumper are a major cause of rear-end seperation.
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:20 PM   #32
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A big part of the rear-end seperation is due to a lack of connection from the frame to the flooring around the back. This leaves only a couple of 1/4" bolts that actually connect the C-channel to the frame and floor. the rest of the connection is due to wood screws going through the C-channel into the plywood only.
I added an angle iron piece to my frame on each side that follows the curve of the shell around the back corners. It's welded to the last full-length outrigger at its front, and to the frame rail at the back, as well as one intermediate short outrigger. Now my bolts all go through the C-channel, wood flooring, and this angle piece at the rear end, which is now part of the frame. The lack of a piece like this, along with the issues of water infiltration at the rear bumper are a major cause of rear-end seperation.
Rich the Viking
Rich.

You only solved 1/2 of the rear end separation problem.

The chassis/floor as an assembly, also wants to pull away from the shell.
Since the strength in an Airstream is in the shell, additional fasteners must be installed between the floor channel and the shell.

We suggest using 3/16 inch pop rivets and lots of the, such as every 2 to 3 inches, bith from the inside as well as the outside.

With that done, now the shell can supprt the chassis/floor assembly, with ease. Without that, the chassis/floor can still pull away from the shell.

The shell supports the frame, in monocoque type construction.

Andy
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:53 PM   #33
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Thanks Andy, I have not gotten to that step yet on mine. I have seen what you describe though. When I remove the rear rub rail trim I will add a bunch of rivets before I seal it up again. I suspect the shorter Airstreams don't have as much trouble with seperation, is that your experience? I hear mostly from people with 25'+ rigs having this issue. It suprised me to find my little old 22' Safari had this.

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Old 01-01-2010, 05:39 PM   #34
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Thanks Andy. It suprised me to find my little old 22' Safari had this.

Rich the Viking
Not at all Rich.

I have seen, but not often, rear end separation, on 17 foot Caravels.

It all depends on how much abuse the trailer has been subjected to.

Strange as it may seen, the greatest source of abuse to an Airstream that caused rear end separation, is "lack oif proper running gear balance".

Yes, I know some owners claim traveling with full holding tanks. I have to disagree, because the separation also happens, when owners "very carefully", emptied the tank/tanks before getting back on the road.

When you see a rear end separation issue on an Airstream, without exception, if you very very carefully, examine the trailer, you will find evidence of vibration. Things such as worn out entrance door hinges, gooves in the striker bolt and/or pocket, missing rivets, inside and out especially in the underbelly, fatigue cracks in the shell and/or the frame, a polished surface where the window gaskets rest on the window frames, outriggers punching holes in the underbelly wrap, loose wiring connections, cupped tires, worn out axle/axles, and the list goes on and on.

Not always, but generally speaking, the longer the trailer, the sooner the rear end separation will occur, when the running gear is not properly balanced.

Any vibration, that is caused by the running gear, will multiply as it travels to the rear of the coach. Moment arm is the name of the issue.

As an example, move the small end of a crow bar, even 1/8 of an inch, and then observe how much the other end moves. You will see it moves much more, since the movement multiplies.

Same for vibration that starts at the wheels and then travels to the rear end of the trailer.

No one would ever dream of driving a tow vehicle, even without a trailer in tow, with unbalanced running gear. BUT amazingly, the vast majority of those same owners, never consider the trailer tires.

Unfortunately, finding a shop that can do the proper running gear balancing, is far and few between. Recent technology, has come up with balancing devices, that simply mount on the hub and drum, or rotors, along with the tire and wheel. Now, when the trailer is moving 25 to 30 MPH, the running gear, "within reason" is balanced. It is still wise, however, to properly balance the tire and wheels, which minimizes the job that the balancers are ask to do.

That type of balancer, has a huge positive effect on eliminating the return of rear end separation, or eliminating it from happeneing in the first place.

Of course, rebuilding the rear end, has it's challenges too, but if done properly, you can say "BYE BYE" to rear end separation, forever.

I would also point out, that the in field, "elephant ear" fix for rear end separation, is a short term fix, at best, but a fast negative fix on your pocket book.

Keep us Forum members, posted on the rebuild progress.

Andy
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:58 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
With all the help from everyone, I have made great strides (I think) since my last post. Today it rained pretty hard and with the inner skin off, and the insulation cleaned up, I was able to see the leaks that may pose a problem in the future. The usual suspects: windows, vents, and a few loose rivets. Seemed like the top row of rivets on the ceiling were letting in moisture but not real drops.
The floor is out, and the belly pan is down. I've got a pretty good gap of 'air' in the back just to the left of the back door. Noticed that between the frame, and the C-Channel, I have a about 1/4 inch bigger gap than the floor needed. Not sure what this means. I'll let the pics speak for themselves.
Attachment 93240Attachment 93239
Your phot shows a good example of rear end separation.

Leveling the frame, with the shell, before any fastening takes place, is the proper method of realinging, prior to repair.

Andy
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