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Old 08-02-2016, 08:41 PM   #1
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1957 22' Caravanner
appleton , Wisconsin
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57' Caravanner Shell Off ???'s

Ok, new member long time dreamer. With my new to me project (see signature link) I am going to get started with planning and prep for a shell off. I have a couple questions and hopefully some of you can help me along the way in case I am missing something. I have been reading non stop and think I am on the right track but you never know.

The plan... shell off for frame inspection, repair, and new subfloors. I intend to build a gantry system for the lift off and replacement. I believe, and from what I have read, that the effort upfront to build the system will be appreciated in the long run.

I have hoists and a material list to get building after a quick vacation. Here are my questions.

Should I have the gantry in place with a little tension on the shell before I drill the rivets out? The floor is rotted. A LOT! In the back there is nothing left. I am afraid if I drill the rivets out and then start working to lift it may crumble under its own weight. I would cry. Is that something to worry about?

I am not confident to make a very accurate template of the floors after I lift the shell off due to floor rot. Can I make a template with the skins on so I have a pattern and add 1.5" to the template and then transfer to the new floors?

I only intend to drill the bottom row of skins out to keep some structural integrity along with some shoring with 2x4's. Is this necessary or a good idea or can I go to town and remove all the interior skins?

Ok. Lets start with three questions.

Help please...
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:04 PM   #2
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Should I have the gantry in place with a little tension on the shell before I drill the rivets out? The floor is rotted. A LOT! In the back there is nothing left. I am afraid if I drill the rivets out and then start working to lift it may crumble under its own weight. I would cry. Is that something to worry about?

ANS Not really but taking the slack out of the chains wouldn't hurt. The frame itself will support the shell.

I am not confident to make a very accurate template of the floors after I lift the shell off due to floor rot. Can I make a template with the skins on so I have a pattern and add 1.5" to the template and then transfer to the new floors?

ANS Yes; or just in combination lower the shell with C channel down onto a template material.

I only intend to drill the bottom row of skins out to keep some structural integrity along with some shoring with 2x4's. Is this necessary or a good idea or can I go to town and remove all the interior skins?

ANS It's really not necessary. I've done both now. I think the shoring up just makes things more awkward. It's like lowering a floppy hat down on your head; it's going to fit it's just how you set it down and get the windows aligned and the body lined up that matters more so than how it was "originally".

Some of the more valuable advice that you'll get is to take a lot more pictures than you think is enough, and to measure everything no matter how pointless it seems and write to down or better still type it up.
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
Should I have the gantry in place with a little tension on the shell before I drill the rivets out? The floor is rotted. A LOT! In the back there is nothing left. I am afraid if I drill the rivets out and then start working to lift it may crumble under its own weight. I would cry. Is that something to worry about?

ANS Not really but taking the slack out of the chains wouldn't hurt. The frame itself will support the shell.

I am not confident to make a very accurate template of the floors after I lift the shell off due to floor rot. Can I make a template with the skins on so I have a pattern and add 1.5" to the template and then transfer to the new floors?

ANS Yes; or just in combination lower the shell with C channel down onto a template material.

I only intend to drill the bottom row of skins out to keep some structural integrity along with some shoring with 2x4's. Is this necessary or a good idea or can I go to town and remove all the interior skins?

ANS It's really not necessary. I've done both now. I think the shoring up just makes things more awkward. It's like lowering a floppy hat down on your head; it's going to fit it's just how you set it down and get the windows aligned and the body lined up that matters more so than how it was "originally".

Some of the more valuable advice that you'll get is to take a lot more pictures than you think is enough, and to measure everything no matter how pointless it seems and write to down or better still type it up.

Thanks so much for the info. It does get me thinking a little bit more. Can you explain about what you meant about lining up the windows?

I may have a left out a little from my plan now that I think about it. Right now Sylvi is at my in-laws house 3 hours away. There is space there and since I am not confident to haul it all the way back to my house without a good looksee I am doing the bulk of the work there. Since I live in WI and our winters are long I hope to do much of the work away at home over the winter. So the shell will stay there and I will bring the trailer home to work in the garage over the winter. So, back to my original question with more info that I neglected to share... since I will be leaving the shell in the UP, protected behind a garage for the winter, would it be a good idea to shore it up?
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:13 PM   #4
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In my opinion it's fine. I did something similar. I left the shell in my back yard albeit tied to some stakes I drove into the ground as it gets quite windy here. I had used some lumber, IIRC 2"x 10" that I had lying around run longitudinally under the roof vents to lift the shell and all I did but place saw horses under this with a 2" x 4" bracing to protect against snow load. You may get more snow where you are but it does get a bit nippy up here too. I left the chassis at a friends farm. In the summer I went out to the farm and built a new chassis up. To summarize I'd say it's snow load that may be a concern and not maintaining the shape of the wobbly tin hat but 2" x 4"'s are cheap :-)

By lining the windows up I mean looking from front to back you want the windows to be in the same plane i.e. not twisted as it would look horrible and also indicate that you had positioned the shell twisted too.
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
In my opinion it's fine. I did something similar. I left the shell in my back yard albeit tied to some stakes I drove into the ground as it gets quite windy here. I had used some lumber, IIRC 2"x 10" that I had lying around run longitudinally under the roof vents to lift the shell and all I did but place saw horses under this with a 2" x 4" bracing to protect against snow load. You may get more snow where you are but it does get a bit nippy up here too. I left the chassis at a friends farm. In the summer I went out to the farm and built a new chassis up. To summarize I'd say it's snow load that may be a concern and not maintaining the shape of the wobbly tin hat but 2" x 4"'s are cheap :-)

By lining the windows up I mean looking from front to back you want the windows to be in the same plane i.e. not twisted as it would look horrible and also indicate that you had positioned the shell twisted too.
Got it.

Thank so much for the info.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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Truckasaurus got you just about everything.
Exterior rivets are primarily the ones holding the side belly wraps and banana wraps up, you don't need to remove rivets holding the c channel on. As mentioned there are often a few rivets around the wheel wells, and a few hidden ones holding the mbanana wraps from the inside. Sliding a putty knife around the perimeter behind the shell can help find ones you may miss.
Don't forget any grounding wires that may go through the floor to the frame.
My rear floor was pretty much rotted away as well. When you lower the skin to trace the rear make sure it's not all the way. The skin goes below the c channel and letting it down to far will fold the skins in or out.
You've got a while before worrying about putting the shell back on but getting it aligned isn't too bad. Line up the 2 big bolt holes in front then work the shell going back lining up the old holes between the channel and outriggers. I used some metal rod through the holes as pins to line holes up and pry into place as they came down.
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