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Old 01-23-2014, 12:44 PM   #1
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'55 FC frame and belly pan

Hello,

Having searched extensively throughout the forums over the last year without success, I still have a question about how best to extend the frame and/or bellypan in order to completely enclose west water tanks that hang 3-4" below the frame as I do a shell off. I plan on reinforcing the frame when I repair it, but I think those tanks sticking out of the bottom just don't look good or have adequate protection or insulation. Ideally, it would be something clean and neat but not difficult to access later if repairs are needed. (One does not want to be the next guy to work on it, and have an impossible task just to get back to it.)

I have looked at some options with the frame extended, some like the 70s trailers with additional L channel and a plywood sheet below, and the new ones with what looks like galvanized steel sheers below the tanks. I am open to any idea, but based on the size of tanks I plan on using, I cannot get around having them hang down 3-4".

Thanks in advance.

Matt
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:17 PM   #2
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Tanks tanking

Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to get new tanks that fit the frame from Vintage Trailer Supply, especially if everything is exposed in a shell-off redo. Then all will be shiny new and fresh and FIT.
That being said, I seem to remember some threads that had tanks that hung a little lower, I will do some searching and try to remember, maybe one or two of the other members will also chime in.
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:27 PM   #3
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I'd say just weld on a 2" to 3" frame extension to the bottom of the existing frame. If you're dropping/replacing the pan and reinforcing the frame anyway shouldn't be too much of a task. I'm of the mind that Losing 2" of clearance is worth clean lines!
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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Matt a couple of thoughts--- Does your 55 have a center support running lengthwise? If not I would highly suggest you incorporate this in your new frame work.
Now then, what I did on Spoon was weld 1"x1" sq tubing around the frame and cross members that allowed me to install VTS in frame tanks without worry of them hanging down. Easy to do. Because of no lengthwise support I had to double the floor. Had I known this I would have done 2"x2" sq tubing instead which would have allowed me to weld in a center support length wise.
It's a easy add on just know where your tanks will go and where the drains and vents are.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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Barry I have been following your thread intently as it progresses. I particularly like the spare tire rack and the plumbing for the tanks and have I corporates some of the ideas in my plan. In regard to the tubing you mention, not sure if I follow you.

I don't have a center support rail. From what of my frame is exposed so far, it looks like yours, and most of the other 54-56 FC that I have seen. I was expecting to use something like 1 x 1 angle iron running along the sides of the cross members to support the tanks so that they lay lengthwise laterally across the trailer. Are you describing a tube going from one cross member to another longitudinal to the trailer to support the bottom of the tank from sagging? Then attaching the center longitudinal seem of the belly skin to that added tube? Do you have a picture by any chance?

Thanks much.

Matt
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:39 PM   #6
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Matt,here is a pic of the frame, look closely and you'll see the 1" sq tubing running around the outside of the frame. I'm not sure about your frame but on my 54 it is only 3" . With the added tubing it strengthened the frame a lot plus allowed me to put the VTS 4" tanks inside and level with the frame.
By doing the 1" tubing that makes the tanks also up against the flooring, and no way to add angle between the cross members. I didn't realize that until adding the tanks. So then knowing that now I would have done the frame work in 2" tubing which would have allowed me to add 1" angle between the cross members. Hope that makes sense...
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:40 PM   #7
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Barry,

Thanks for clarifying. How did it affect the sizing for the belly pans? I was planning on using the original skins as a template.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:54 PM   #8
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Because the belly pieces were oversized as they wrapped around the belly and up the sides of the c channel I had extra which I cut off after they were attached to the new channel

BTW Colin was most helpful with engineering the new frame work along with valuable info for the new axle...he's the best!!
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattB View Post
Hello,

Having searched extensively throughout the forums over the last year without success, I still have a question about how best to extend the frame and/or bellypan in order to completely enclose west water tanks that hang 3-4" below the frame as I do a shell off. I plan on reinforcing the frame when I repair it, but I think those tanks sticking out of the bottom just don't look good or have adequate protection or insulation. Ideally, it would be something clean and neat but not difficult to access later if repairs are needed. (One does not want to be the next guy to work on it, and have an impossible task just to get back to it.)

I have looked at some options with the frame extended, some like the 70s trailers with additional L channel and a plywood sheet below, and the new ones with what looks like galvanized steel sheers below the tanks. I am open to any idea, but based on the size of tanks I plan on using, I cannot get around having them hang down 3-4".

Thanks in advance.

Matt
Hi Matt,
If you check out the "Current Projects" on my website, there is a link to the 55 Flying Cloud blog we've been working on. There are a bunch of photos of how we modified the 3" frame to suit the 4" deep tanks. We actually installed two 15 gallon tanks for grey water & two more 15 gallon tanks for fresh water, plus we installed a spare tire rack, a rear receiver & a torsion axle. The next big job will be a "split" A/C system with the condenser in the bellypan cavity as well.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattB View Post
Hello,

Having searched extensively throughout the forums over the last year without success, I still have a question about how best to extend the frame and/or bellypan in order to completely enclose west water tanks that hang 3-4" below the frame as I do a shell off. I plan on reinforcing the frame when I repair it, but I think those tanks sticking out of the bottom just don't look good or have adequate protection or insulation. Ideally, it would be something clean and neat but not difficult to access later if repairs are needed. (One does not want to be the next guy to work on it, and have an impossible task just to get back to it.)

I have looked at some options with the frame extended, some like the 70s trailers with additional L channel and a plywood sheet below, and the new ones with what looks like galvanized steel sheers below the tanks. I am open to any idea, but based on the size of tanks I plan on using, I cannot get around having them hang down 3-4".

Thanks in advance.

Matt
Matt

Check out my thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ent-38289.html. Be very careful not to fasten tanks to tight to frame.

toastie
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:25 PM   #11
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Toastie, your thread is one of my all time favorites on the forum. I have probably used about 42 of your ideas in my planning. What I was curious about is how you enclosed your tanks. Do you have any pictures? I did not see any in the thread.

Every time I review it I find another 2-3 things to use.

How much did the straight axle raise your trailer? I am curious about the relative clearance for the nine inch deep tanks.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:01 PM   #12
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Lets see... you have a 4" frame, if your tanks touch the floor they will hang down 5" below the frame . Measure down from your current belly pan to the ground and subtract 5" and you'll have your clearance. BTW measure from the bottom of the axle to the ground and you'll see how far your tanks will be below your axle.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:56 AM   #13
On adventure with H&G
 
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Goshawks, of course, thanks. I was surprised there was enough space for nine inch tanks.

I was still be e very curious to see how toastie will enclose his tanks. Thanks all!
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:48 AM   #14
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A bit late but still

Here's some pics of my Overlander below pan tanks, the tanks sit on epoxy treated plywood bases captured in heavy duty L channel with removable end pieces for access. I quite like the idea and they work flawlessly but you can still see the extra material below the trailer which I dislike. Maybe it helps to see it.
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