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Old 08-10-2011, 09:14 AM   #113
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1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
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Posts: 100
Thanks Kay... good thing I saved the ends of the 4x8 sheets of marine grade plywood... I'll use them as you described, whereever I can. Was laying out the wood on the frame last night and some of the seams look like they will sit right on some of the cross members. :-)
Pete
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:37 PM   #114
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1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
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Rejoined!

Well, sorry for the lack of updates lately... I've been busy with several projects but finally reached a major milestone with my Airstream. This is how it looked for most of the past month. I decided to spend my entire Labor Day weekend working to get things back together so I could move the frame back under the shell.

Sometimes working alone can be a real challenge, but I've always managed to figure out some way to get things done. This is how I held the tanks in place while I attached the pans to the frame. Used this same trick for all 3 tanks. I was able to run a leak check on the gray and black water tanks and everything seemed to remain nice and dry.



Of course I didn't have it all done by the end of the weekend, but over that next week I was able to get the last few things tied together. When it came time to move the frame under the shell, I realized that it would be difficult to do so without a better way to move the rig. So I was distracted for 2 days while I put together a new impliment for my trusty John Deere... found the 3/8th inch angle iron in my pasture... knew I keep things like that for a darn good reason!! I took an old receiver hitch frame from a Dodge pickup and made a 3-point frame to bolt the hitch to... couldn't bare the idea of cutting up a perfectly good receiver hitch just for this one project. The welds aren't the best, but it is only my third effort to make something useful with that new welder.



That little rig made it dead simple to raise and lower the hitch as needed. So with that done, I pushed the frame back where it belonged. I got a nice sun burn from all that time with the welder in hand. That is another lesson learned on this project... my brother warned me about getting a sunburn from the welder...


I spent all day yesterday (Sunday) working to get the shell down and back in place. By 4:40 PM, after a good 6 hours of work, it was in place. A couple of lessons learned:

1. Brace more and make sure all the braces are even with each other (vertically) because I used a 4x4 beam to spread the lift between braces.

2. Lower in small increments. Twice the shell wanted to twist on me and it nearly fell off my temporary supports and that would have been the end of this project and maybe me!!

3. Have another brave soul around to help... I did this all by myself.

4. Make sure the jack you are using to lower the shell has a short handle so you can work in between the braces and any temporary supports holding the shell above the floor.

Now that it is down and resting on the frame and properly in the channels it is time to secure the shell to the frame. My oh-so-special Habor Frieght air rivet gun worked for a total of about 10 rivets before it quit so I'll be doing hand exercises for the next several nights. In hindsight, I wish I'd spent more money on a better tool. No amount of fiddling around with it seems to make any difference to that riveter...

I need to find a few of those 5/16th flange head bolts to fill a few holes on the tank pans that were left open... Fastenal has some but they only sell in bags of 50 or so and want $35 for the bag... I only need about 5 so I'll take my time and find someplace where I can get just what I need. They did have the pan head bolts for securing the flooring and all the rivets I'll ever need.

Oh, another lesson learned: my local AS dealer sold me a new 'floor bow' to replace the one on this rig. That is the channel frame that the shell sits on. The original just sat on top of the flooring and was just a simple 'U' channel. The new one was like the side channels so it slipped over the flooring edge and provided the channel for the frame to sit in at the same time. It was marked for a 'Bambi' and the shape was not 100% the same. The corners had a slightly different rounded shape to them. As I lowered the back part of the shell I was dead certain I had a major problem because it was clearly NOT going to fit. Well, I decided to go work on the front part to get everthing in place and work my way towards the rear. By the time I got back there, the road-side rear fell into place and with a little shoving with my foot, the curb-side rear also fell into place! Wow, was that a relief!! Was thinking of all the work I'd face to replace that bit of frame again, or what short cuts I might take... but turns out it fit perfectly!!

Next task: work on more insulation under the flooring, clean up the barn for winter and start planning the water/gas/electrical system and interior design.

Hope this proves entertaining and perhaps a little helpful to everyone! More to come when I have more time.

Peter
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:20 PM   #115
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1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
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Has it been that long??

Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:46 AM   #116
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1973 27' Overlander
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St. Paul , Minnesota
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I'd love to give a definitive easy answer but all I can do is share what I saw & did...

While I had the shell still floating and was landing it I made sure first that the factory bores aligned on that hold down plate - took some English, that was the first contact point. Once the weight gets landed some gentle prying with long lever under a screwed cross-brace might overcome the friction and allow some lateral movement. Don't forget wooden blocks screwed into bow ribs and some deliberate gentle tapping with a sledge hammer to get 1 millimeter of movement or less per strike will walk the shell around. Spread the strikes around, I found mine bound up the most near the wheel wells.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:28 AM   #117
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1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
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Makes Me Think

I enjoy following you brave souls in your "frame off" restorations. Having done 3 trailers (no shell off) I'm sure some day I will be facing the same thing. I have always wondered...when lifting the shell, is all the wiring still in the walls? What is the process for lifting shell with plumbing/vent stacks? Just a few things I've always wondered...thanks!

Bob
Indiana, PA

TAC PA-5
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:19 PM   #118
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1976 31' Sovereign
Sandpoint , Idaho
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In my case, the method involved a hack saw since I was planning to replace everything anyway and probably not exactly as the factory did it. I still have wiring in the walls but I plan to remove it all and start fresh once I have it enclosed again.

Pete
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:07 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
When I got my shell back on I encountered similar issues. Make sure the shell is level. Also the frame has a tendency to bow in the middle. I used a floor jack and jack stands to line the holes up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:22 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
Believe it or not, after a two year break, I've finally gotten back to my project. When I had to stop, I had the shell on the frame but not riveted to the frame rail.

Now, I need to permanently attach the shell but I noticed that I'm off by about 1/3 of an inch between the old holes in the steel plate on the forward end of the frame and the holes in the shell that covers that securing plate.

I tried today to shift the shell ever to slightly to align the holes but that didn't work at all. So am I making a big mistake to just drill new holes to attach the shell to the frame?

Any thoughts on this issue? Just checking before I make a big mistake...

Thanks,
Pete
When I got my shell back on I encountered similar issues. Make sure the shell is level. Also the frame has a tendency to bow in the middle. I used a floor jack and jack stands to line the holes up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:01 PM   #121
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Columbus , Ohio
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I used the method that Wabbiteer mentioned above. I used leverage to move the shell, in conjunction with a bottle jack to lift the shell slightly, then manipulated the jack to tip in a desired direction, forcing the shell in that direction as the jack drops...a little scary doing this alone, though.
It turned out well, shell is connected, and I wasn't crushed in a horrible shell dropping accident.
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