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Old 12-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
Carlsbad , California
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1968 Tradewind Shell Removal?

OK, I've read through several posts regarding the removal of the shell in order to replace a rotten sub-floor. What I am trying to figure out is a simple step-by-step on the process.

I've removed all of the interior skins, insulation and aluminum wire and will start the next step once I get a little clarity on the process.

Here is my basic understanding, so please jump in and correct me before I do something stupid:

1. remove belt trim
2. drill out rivets holding body to u-channel
3. remove screws/rivets holding the wrapped body panels to belly pan
4. using a gantry lift the shell off of the frame by chain hoisting through vent openings fore and aft
5. pull chassis out from under shell

Seems like it is a straight forward operation. My questions are:

1. do the u-channels stay on the sub-floor, or do you leave them attached to the skin? (will dictate whether to drill rivets, or split nuts)
2. several posts mention that bracing is not required when lifting from the top, is that really true?
3. this seems so straight forward, what am I missing?

I will be replacing the entire sub-floor and the majority (if not all) of the u-channel. The u-channel is pretty shot in most areas due to corrosion/rusty bolts. Also the entire back end has pulled away from the -u-channel that area is the worst for corrosion/rot.

I will put up some pictures and start a post, but want to make sure it doesn't become a "how not to" forum.

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:19 PM   #2
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I am no expert but I did a shell off yesterday. I may be the HOW NOT TO poster woman of the forum as I have never done anything like this in my life.
This forum is my bible.

One thing I ran into yesterday into during my shell off process was a welded front plate.
My worker and I could not get the shell off and there was no elegant solution until he mangled it off. It is an easy panel and new weld to make.
.
Be sure and get someone to guide you through that.

-The C-channel stays on. Franks says so. So does Aerowood

-Confirm your floor condition and see if you need to template the floor before you lift off I bought cheap five $7 sheets of particle board from Home Depot to make my templates

-Don't use crazy amounts of bracing. You don't need to brace. I used two boards that were screwed together to the end of each end cap rib and wrapped my chains through my two vents from the hoists. Frank's Trailer works guided me to use two x fours. he says no to crazy bracing. Colin was helpful on this subject as well.

-I didn't use Pressure treated wood to build my gantry's because I am indoors and they are one time use only. We used fully threaded bolts and I was fortunate to have a car lift that helped me and my worker raise each of them once built.

Here is one set of my photos on the lift from yesterday. Don't cringe too much. Good luck. Dena

[URL="https://plus.google.com/photos/110427931293697204229/albums/6099130001717153809"]
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:37 PM   #3
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1968 24' Tradewind
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Great pics and video, thanks for sharing.

What was the issue with the front welded plate? I haven't starting drilling out rivets yet and want to prepare myself for major pit-falls before I start. Also want to get all of my materials together before I do the lift. My plan is to have shell off, floor and holding tanks replaced, frame painted and back together in less than 10 days. I'll take a few days off of work to do it. I figure start on a Friday and finish by following Sunday.

Thanks again,
Steve
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:08 PM   #4
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1968 Tradewind Shell Removal?

Happy new year!

The solution is you have to rivet out the three rows of rivets. My worker was not patient and not thorough. He won't be back for the next phase. My fault though for not keeping a closer eye. 100%

The front panel is meant to keep down the whole front shell. This is not so in the back. It's just another panel to remake for me. Good thing I have 40ft of aluminum in two boxes here in my living room.

Hope the pictures helped. The rivet removal tool liked to wander off the head. I ordered this from vintage trailer supply in a kit. I found that grinding down a thin chisel and carefully hitting at the middle of the rivet cap I created a rhythm to removal of the cap and expose the rest of it. Then I used a small punch to knock it through. The punch was effective for drilling out Rivets as well. Punching the middle to keep the 1/8 bit in a guide was a skill I had to develop. I also went to the back side once I removed all the interior panels and I knocked off the back of rivets inside the c -channel with a chisel.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:29 PM   #5
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1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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thumbelina, Now you are helping others. Great feeling, isn't it. You've got the shell off merit badge, and shilgemann will soon too.

Lift off carefully. People talk about hidden rivets and other restrictions to the lift. Find the bind and take care of it.

And thumbelina will be the first to say to make templates of your curved corners before you lift off. Then you can cut an accurate new subfloor and have less difficulty putting the thing back together.

May all the problems you find when exposing the frame be on the minor side. Some folks just end up building a new frame.

David
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:11 PM   #6
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I'll add a note or two. When you get your shell off, use a board or large piece of cardboard to draw a pic of the floor then take careful measurements of total length,width measure from wheel wells to door ,door opening stuff like that and always lots of pictures. Really every square foot of floor should have a picture. Note where all your outside access door openings are. Take detailed pics of the floor at the door where it meets the floor and outside where the belly rolls up to meet the door and wheel wells.
I took a lot of pictures but not enough digital film is free and reusable so use it .
My floor was almost not there so to make a pattern I raised up the shell off the ground and set it down on a huge piece of cardboard and traced out the curved front and rear of the floor.(I don't know yet if its going to work) I'm still in the belly pan install mode.
I left my C channel on the floor but also replaced it I think if it's reusable leave it on the shell. Good luck!
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:41 PM   #7
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1968 24' Tradewind
Carlsbad , California
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Thanks JC.

I will pick up some 1/8 masonite/hard board sheets from from the local big box home improvement store nearby. A 4x8 sheet runs about $8. I figure two of those should provide enough material for the front and back templates (unless they're identical in which case just one).

I have replaced the axles last weekend with new gear from Inland. I will get them aligned after the shell is back on. I was going to wait to do the axle swap when I lifted the shell but I got impatient. On a plus side it gave me about 5 inches more clearance, since the old (most likely original) axle torsion arms were sitting level with the frame.

Fortunately I live about an hour South of Inland RV and was able to drive up and throw them in my truck. A bonus was that Aircraft Spruce is one block away, so I was able to pick up some 2024 to make a few patches to the exterior.

I should have the shell off next week and back on the following week. I have a friend that has an extra bay in his shop that I can do the lift in. I'll take some photos and possibly start a new thread to document my progress.

Steve
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:26 PM   #8
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Steve when I replaced my belly pan I learned I should have had the axle off while I installed that aluminum sheet . It's a timing thing. Lessons....I could have taken it off and on and off again. Too focused on the minutea
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:42 AM   #9
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1968 24' Tradewind
Carlsbad , California
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Thumbalina,

I will probably drop the axles off when I do the belly pan. I just decided to knock them out while I had the time. I had already picked up the axles and wanted to get them out of the back of my truck quickly. THE swap only took a few hours. I think I can get them off now in about 15 minutes when I do the belly pan.

I plan on flipping the frame to get the pan back on after insulating the floor and running some plumbing, vents etc... Trying to not overthink it too much.

Thanks
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:22 PM   #10
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1968 24' Tradewind
Carlsbad , California
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We have lift off.

So, lifting the body isn't as daunting a task as I had thought. A pair of chain hoists, some 2x6 and cargo straps and off it came.

I put a little tension on the hoists and then went around drilling out all of the rivets at the belt line. I then took a putty knife and ran it between the outer skin and floor channel to make sure there was nothing hanging it up and then started to lift the top. It came up with zero drama.

The floor channel (and floor) at the rear was shot. I wish I had been able to see all of the damage prior to buying but I wasn't as knowledgeable as I am now. There's no better education than taking something apart to see how it was constructed and what to look for on the next project. I guarantee I will have a much sharper eye when buying the next one.

As you can see the 1968 has the sprayed in foam insulation under the floors. Also, when I detached the side wraps (that go to the belly pan), a ton of desert sand/dust/dirt/rocks poured out. Doing a full frame off is the only way to restore this one. If not for the rotten floor, I would have never pulled the body and would have been unaware of all of the crap below the deck (to include an old animal nest of some sort).

I'll be tracing my templates for the ends pieces today and then disassembling the floor and belly pan. I hope to have it cleaned and repainted by next weekend (I'm out of town this weekend). I still need to order black/gray tanks but have been holding off until I see how much space I have to work with.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:26 PM   #11
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1968 24' Tradewind
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Some pics of the floor channel and rear decking rot.

I am going to get a quote from a local fabricator to bend some channel for me, if it's not cost prohibitive I'll go that route rather than the cut/bend method.
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:56 PM   #12
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Boy oh boy, do those pics bring back memories. If I had it to do over, I'd do a shell off. Please keep them coming. PM me if you have any specific 68 TW questions.

Been working on my 68 all afternoon trying to find a leak that has vexed us since we got the trailer. I pressurized the trailer with a couple of high output fans and did find a lot of air leaks around the door and windows but not the leak from the top that is the souce of most of the moisture. Total frustration.
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Old 03-24-2015, 05:53 PM   #13
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1968 24' Tradewind
Carlsbad , California
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Bruce,

I went out last month during a few heavy rain storms to look for leaks and found several (about 5) of the rivets that hold the awning rail in place leaking. It looked like a few were not properly bucked and the rest had worked loose and the backs had sheared off. I think the poorly bucked rivets caused the area to be less stable and allowed the awning to pull a few more out.

The other area that was leaking pretty good was around the vent stacks. I purchased new seals for those and will reinforce the areas where the holes are prior to putting a new stack cover. It looks like the holes were cut with a hatchet, they must not have had access to a hole saw the day they put mine together.

I'll post more pics as I go.
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:51 AM   #14
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1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi Shilgemann, you have been hard at it! Congratulations on the shell removal. You like BIG projects. Some folks really like the 1968 model year. It is the last one before the new body style and kinda, sorta the last of the Wally Byam era of Airstream design.

Your subfloor is in pretty darn good shape compared to mine judging from your pictures. Maybe your trailer has spent most of it's time in the dry southwest. It will be interesting to see if you can find a sheetmetal shop that can bend a C channel for you. I'm not sure what the tool would look like to do that. I've seen tube benders, but not square shape benders.

Keep us posted as you progress in your project.

David
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