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Old 08-25-2010, 12:34 PM   #1
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'76 Sovereign Floor Replacement?

While I fully expected it, it is still just a little discouraging to find what you expected. Looks like I'm committed to replacing some or all of the floor and 'while I'm in there' will probably remove and replace the belly wrap, replace floor insulation, and do what ever preventive maintenance on the frame I can.

This is how it started. I pulled out the rear 'bedroom furniture' to get a good look at things and found this: (Was wondering where they put that circuit breaker box.)


That white power is nothing to call the SWAT team about, it is ant powder and look at the ants...



Think the PO knew something I didn't?

Naturally, who can stop digging at that point. Going a little further...



Do you think I stopped? Hardly...



The rot extends to the other side also...



Did you notice the high tech patching material AKA old aluminum siding? You can't see the soup can lid nailed to the floor to cover a hole that I found. That was a real treat!

I'm assuming that is a water pressure regulator I found. Is this where that circuit break panel is installed by the factory or is this something a PO did. I think I'm the 4th or 5th owner of this coach.

I do intend to bring this baby back to solid servicable life so I can safely take it on the road with my family so I'll document this process and ask whatever dumb questions come to mind as I'm working on this. Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions. I'm sure I'll need the encouragement of knowing someone is watching, along the way.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoyt View Post
While I fully expected it, it is still just a little discouraging to find what you expected. Looks like I'm committed to replacing some or all of the floor and 'while I'm in there' will probably remove and replace the belly wrap, replace floor insulation, and do what ever preventive maintenance on the frame I can.

This is how it started. I pulled out the rear 'bedroom furniture' to get a good look at things and found this: (Was wondering where they put that circuit breaker box.)

That white power is nothing to call the SWAT team about, it is ant powder and look at the ants...

Think the PO knew something I didn't?

Naturally, who can stop digging at that point. Going a little further...

Do you think I stopped? Hardly...

The rot extends to the other side also...

Did you notice the high tech patching material AKA old aluminum siding? You can't see the soup can lid nailed to the floor to cover a hole that I found. That was a real treat!

I'm assuming that is a water pressure regulator I found. Is this where that circuit break panel is installed by the factory or is this something a PO did. I think I'm the 4th or 5th owner of this coach.

I do intend to bring this baby back to solid servicable life so I can safely take it on the road with my family so I'll document this process and ask whatever dumb questions come to mind as I'm working on this. Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions. I'm sure I'll need the encouragement of knowing someone is watching, along the way.

Thanks,
Pete
Look at it this way, Pete: you found the worst of it! Everything else from here will look easy.

Good luck, and keep us informed.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:01 PM   #3
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Hi Pete I feel your pain. My 73 has the shell off and getting a new frame and floor done. You have quite a lot of floor rot there. More than mine. If it stops at the rear floor section that section can be replaced with the shell on. Yes that is the water pressure regulator. It is adjustable by the way. No the breaker panel box is not supposed to be mounted to the floor. It should be mounted on the wall just to the right of the pressure regulator. I suggest you open the belly and inspect the frame first to see how far you have to go. If you read my thread The fun begins under floor and frame repair you can see what and how far I have gone so far. I posted a detailed description the other day on how to remove the shell and how to repair the floor on the shell. If you need help ask me and we will go through this together. Good luck my friend and welcome to owning a 70s as.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:02 PM   #4
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I have a 1976 31' Sovereign middle bath as well. I'll be watching your progress. Thanks for posting the pictures. My rear floor is not in bad shape but I did remove about half of the living area floor due to 11 leaks from the front of the entry door to the front of the first window seam.

I'm passing the rain test now and I'm about to put it back together after a little more seasoning.

Gary
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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My first purchase for my '73 rehab was... some nearly free flooring identical to the top layer of your demolition I dragged in from a garage sale. What was found made it get sold at another yard sale.. Oh, and have you had your tetanus shots lately? Some of the stuff found in mine made rabid bats look soft & fuzzy. Clean as you go, keep the momentum up! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:00 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I'll continue to post descriptions and pictures as this moves forward. My focus at the moment is getting the barn ready to work in over the winter. In another few weeks it will be too cold and rainy outside to work. So everything is moving into the barn. Naturally, the barn lacks power so I have to remedy that situation asap. I suspect I'll need some heat in there this winter! :-)

wasagachris, I just read your entire thread. Wow... you lead and I'll follow... :-)

Are you using air driven tools or electric? Just curious... I suspect I'll need a few tools I don't have yet.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:16 PM   #7
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Pete I am using a couple of electric drills to remove rivets and an electric grinder to grind off bolts, screws etc. All the floor screws were removed by hand as the were rusted in and power tools would tear up phillips screws. P.S. USA up here in the Great White North we use a little invention by a Canadian callled the Robertson screw. They do not strip out easily like Phillips. I am also ordering a air powered buck riveting kit from Vintage Trailer Supply once they are not out of stock. Have you found out how far the floor rot goes. If its anything like mine the most damage will be at the rear and fairly good until under the front C channel. I really hope your frame is O.K. Were both in uncharted waters here. I have never done this before either. Talk about on the job training. You are lucky to have a barn, my workshop is 3 inches to small to get the as inside and close the door besides it is full of the interior right now. My campers need the shop in a month for a dance and then 2 weeks later for a Thanksgiving dinner. I am really under pressure to get the shell back on. Talk with you soon. Chris
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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Hi Chris,

I'll look around for a "Robertson Screw" because I know what you mean about chewing up the heads on those ancient screws.

I'm thinking air driven tools because it will be easier and safer to run an air line to the barn over the snow etc. this Fall.

I've been working on barn prep work so I can work in there so I haven't dug further. But I'm prepared mentally for the worse.

Question: did you remove the roof mounted A/C unit before you took off the shell? That might seem silly to ask... I'm assuming you have/had an A/C unit in the first place.

I'm mentally picturing a wooden gantry in my barn so I can get access to the roof without having to step on it. That thought came to mind last weekend when I was scrubbing the roof and blowing off the accumlated pine needles, before I discovered the floor rot.

Pete
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:52 PM   #9
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pete -

YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!
WE KNOW YOU CAN!
and we will hold you accountable!

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Old 08-26-2010, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
I'm thinking air driven tools because it will be easier and safer to run an air line to the barn over the snow etc. this Fall.
Here in Minnesota I did my frame with pancake discs in a 1/4" shaft die-grinder tool in October and had pretty severe condensation problems - hot compressed air cooled by the airline laying on the cold ground will fill the airline with condensation water (and in cold weather freeze) so a good filter-drier is required even if you purge the sump regularly.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:03 PM   #11
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Hi Pete Yes I have an a/c and I did not remove before lifting the shell off.
To lift the shell I just braced the frame from the ground and used two bottle jacks between the cribbing built to hold the shell square and the floor. I lifted the front 4 inches with the two jacks and then the back until I could slip the 4x4's on top of the sawhorses. I had to add a 2x4 shim under the front and rear C channel because the outer skins overlap below the channel . The 4x4's are them attached to the cribbing with 2x6's and bolted together. The sawhorses are attached to the 4x4's as well.
Wabbiteer good call on the condensation and freezing in the airline.You know what winter is like so I guess that makes you an honarary Canuck. P.S. CANADA is spelled C eh N eh D eh! lol
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:09 PM   #12
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Hello everyone... time for an update. I spent today working on the front end of the coach. Before I get stated... thanks for the advice on the airline. I haven't used air tools under those conditions before. I did buy an air drill and love it. I can get it in places where I couldn't get my electric drill.

Chris, thanks. I suspect it will be a while before I try to lift the shell but I'll come back and review your advice and your thread.

This morning I ripped up the fake flooring in the front of the coach and took it to the dump. Naturally I found a lot of water stains and just a hint of rot along the very front edge of the curb side front corner.



The road side wasn't too bad...



I don't like the look of all the water stains on the floor. It suggests past water leaks. I'm 100% sure I don't have water leaks while it is in the barn.



So, on to the next step. I dropped the curbside front banana wrap. Now I know why they are called banana wrap. Things seem to look well enough. The frame doesn't looked rotted, just rusted a bit.



The road side didn't look any different.




Wouldn't it be interesting if we could tell exactly where those stones came from.

Once I cleaned out the insulation, the cross member looked ok.



Backto the interior.



I think that the next time I see a new pergo floor in something like this, I'll automatically suspect floor problems. :-) That spongy feeling wasn't the pergo padding, it was the floor!

I managed to remove the two damaged levelling jacks on the front and the storage compartment that hangs behind the spare tire. Tomorrow, wife permitting, I'll drop more of the belly pan and probably the back banana wraps. So, hopefully, I'll have more pictures to show tomorrow night.

Anyone see a problem yet with the few images of the frame shown above?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:20 AM   #13
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Hi Pete everything I'm seeing in your pics is atypical to what I found on my A/S. The rear floor rot was the worst coming from the bumper cover. In the front the floor rot will be a lot less and it will be mostly under the C channel across the front and around the curves. FYI post #12 pic #7 that is an outrigger. Outriggers are mounted outside of the main frame rails and crossmembers are in between the rails. The most damage you will find to both crossmember and outriggers will be to the to the lowermost edge wher the belly pan and wraps sit against. On mine the main rails were damaged on the curbside about 1ft either side of the steps and on the roadside right where the fresh water tank is mounted. The rails were also rusted out in the rear from the black tank all the way to the rear bumper. Pull the front belly pan from the fresh water tank all the way forward and the side pans to see how bad your frame is. i hope yours is not as bad as mine.
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:23 PM   #14
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Hi Chris,

Thanks for correcting me on outrigger vs. a cross member. Makes perfect sense. I'd much rather be corrected and have it right. Seriously. :-)

Meanwhile, I've been working today on the curb side belly wrap. I've removed the portion from the front corner back to the battery box. I had to remove the batter box door because it was barely hanging on anyway. The outriggers I've exposed today don't look to bad. I'll have pictures to post this evening.

I'm afraid to go further without one bit of information. I think it is the fresh water tank that is the first tank that I encounter as I work from the front towards the rear of the coach. It seems to have a shell of its own with its own set of larger bolts. It appears that those bolts hold the tank shell and the belly wrap at that point.

Is that correct and can I remove those bolts without causing major problems?

I've ordered but not yet received a service manual from AS, which I would normally expect to tell me the answer to this question.

Meanwhile, I'm going to switch to removing the banana wraps on the rear and see what I find.

Thanks,
Pete
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