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Old 10-07-2009, 01:06 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
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'78 31 foot shell off restoration first time

Well I am about ready to lift shell off. My plan is to brace shell with 2x6 with wise with 2 6x6 length wise under those which is what the shell will rest on untill i am ready to put back on. I am going to lift shell with 6 screw type bottle jacks. I will leave floor and c chanel attached to frame and drill rivets that attach shell to the chanel. My hope is to remove c chanel and first cut new plywood using the old as a pattern before removing wood from frame. Then strip frame and sand blast. Hopefuuly I can get frame restored and repaired over winter and be ready to reinstall shell in the spring.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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You may finds these threads useful.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f183...ign-47097.html


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...fun-56566.html


Good luck,

Kevin
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
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And One More...

Chris and Kay (aka Minno) are well into their restoration of a 31' as well, but they are not doing a frame-off, but you may want to review their thread as it has some good information.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f185...urb-50967.html


I don't know that the screw jacks are required to lift the shell, but you definately need to make sure the shell is well braced before you pull it loose from the frame. Once it is removed, it should be anchored to prevent it from being blown around/over during stormy/windy weather.

Kevin
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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Anyone have any good ideas for bracing the shell over winter when I get it off?
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:31 PM   #5
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Anyone have any idea how much a Sovereign shell weighs? We opted to do a shell on restoration because we didn’t think we had a means of lifting the shell off, or storing it while we worked on the frame. I still think we made the right decision for us, but there are certainly some things that would be easier to deal with with the shell off.

Anyway, back to your question: I would try and lower it most of the way to the ground. Not sure how you’re going to position the 2x6’s and 6x6’s under them, but if you can get the 6x6’s down close to ground level and rest them on cement blocks or something similar, and then anchor the wood frame to the ground you should be ok I would think. For anchors, I was thinking of those “screw-into-the-ground” playground anchors. Or, even some hefty wooden stakes (2x4's with a couple of feet pounded into the ground). Just something to ensure the winter winds won’t blow the empty shell onto its side.

Good luck, and please post pictures of raising the shell and your bracing!

Chris
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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What size plywood should be used to replace? I have the c chanel so I think that factory size is what I need?
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:28 PM   #7
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Should be 3/4 inch. You’ll need 7 sheets of plywood for your 31’ AS, and each one will need to be cut to fit side to side in the trailer. Plus the front and rear piece cut to the curve. My front piece was only 3’ front to back. Your trailer is still a narrow body, so it should match the width of mine - 91 ½ inches for each sheet. But measure! The left over piece can be used as the shim that goes under each seam. You’ll find that once you take the plywood off, every cross piece between the main frames where a seam is located is dropped ¾ of an inch to accommodate the shim that goes under the seam. I used gorilla glue and 1 ¼” screws to attach the shim to the two pieces of plywood. And then the elevator bolts attach everything to the frame.

If you read through the forums, you’ll find quite a debate as to what type of plywood to use. Some people use exterior grade and some use marine grade. Some prime and paint the plywood, some don’t. Some epoxy the edges, some don’t. I think what it comes down to is doing what you feel will be best and provide the longevity you want.

For what it's worth, I used 3/4" BCX plywood, and primed the entire bottom with a good oil-based primer. I also primed all the edges, and did two coats on the curved edges on the front and back pieces.

Chris
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Well its going good. Started to brace the shell.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:56 PM   #9
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Zacfrd,

Looking good! I've considered removing my c-channel from the outer skin once my shell is off. I feel that it will be a little easier getting the shell back on that way. You've probably already seen my pictures from the link above, but have a looksee. I looks that you've built your shell bracing the same way that I did. You'll be well ahead of me with in no time. I had to stop work on mine, as I'm over in Guam right now. I'll keep an eye out here, so please post lots of pictures and let us know of your progress.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by zacfrd View Post
What size plywood should be used to replace? I have the c chanel so I think that factory size is what I need?
I decided to go with 3/4" AC plywood at $44.00 a sheet, a few voids but very solid stuff, the next best stuff to marine plywood.

Then sealed with http://www.cabotstain.com/products/product/Clear-Solutions.html for the floor, they only recommend 1 coat, did both sides. This product is in compliance with Federal V.O.C. (Volatile Organic Compounds)

toastie

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Old 10-18-2009, 09:56 AM   #11
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Anyone have any good ideas for bracing the shell over winter when I get it off?
Make sure that you tie it down.........
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:54 PM   #12
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^ OUCH! Looks like it made a great sail Seeing those pictures toastie, would scare me into not only bolting it to a foundation of some sort but also throwing over straps every foot and securing them!
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:13 PM   #13
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Zacfrd,

I lifted my 31'er last month and it has been sitting on the ground sense then. I threw some 50 lb bags of sand over the bracing to hold it down. Between all the lumber that is bolted to it and the 400 to 500 lbs of sand bags it has not moved an inch. I have mine sitting about a foot off the ground, in my opinion the lower the better.

As far as your plywood goes I think you are only going to get 5/8" back in to the C-Channel. I was thinking about trying to shave or route 3/4" down on the edges to get the C-Channel in. But now I am thinking that is going to cause a lot of problems with getting the lower wall panels back on. If anyone knows a good way to use 3/4" plywood with the C-Channel please let us know.

Brad
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:59 PM   #14
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We used 3/4 inch plywood that fit into the C-channel of our 1972 without problems, and we didn't need to shave or bevel the edges at all. You should put back in the same thickness you take out, so I would measure what you take out, and go from there.

Kay
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