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Old 04-05-2006, 08:40 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
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79 31' International partial floor replacement

Ok, I want to do this with as little hassle as possible. The trailer I bought has obviously had some leaks for some time. There is a dry rotted hole right through the floor underneath the lh side gaucho pad that goes right up to the side of the trailer. How to fix this? I'd prefer to shop vac out the rotted wood/insulation under this shore up the belly pan and work from above. But I've started reading posts here and it looks like if I must go to the edge (wall, which I must do) the floor actually is bolted in along there. Also will I be able to unscrew the large screws that are bolted to the frame that bridge the gap between the pieces of plywood? I'm looking to replace the full front or maybe half of the front piece of plywood.
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:03 PM   #2
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I guess what I'm really worried about here is how to support the new piece that I would be putting in that is rotten. Is there any way to determine where the floor supports are ahead of time (so I don't hit them with a saw blade) and also could by body already be collapsing since presumably I have at least one section of wall where there is no wood? From what I've been reading the floor actually supports the walls. I'll try and take a picture tonight.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:28 PM   #3
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I have not done the front section, only the rear.
Your front floor section you are looking to replace is about 3' wide, there are no crossmembers or longitudinal tubing in that section of frame. What I have learned is, that you are better of taking off the underbelly in that area, it is more work in the begining but should make your job easier in the long run. I also went ahead and removed the lower interior skins for better access to the floor channel.
Good luck and keep the faith, it is not that bad ones you get started
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:48 AM   #4
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Actually it's not in the very front but under the left gaucho are and there is a crossmember there. I can feel it with my hand. I cant feel a floor channel there.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:12 AM   #5
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Look under balrgn and go to his site he has some pictures where he had to do this it may be some help it was for us. We ended up having to get a carpenter to finish ours. But we are not much do it yourself folks when it comes to carpenter work.


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Old 04-06-2006, 08:38 AM   #6
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I can't find the Balrgn link to the pictures. Anybody have it handy?
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:29 AM   #7
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Look him up under the member list above. He has a link under his member profile to a couple of different sites of his.

You can see how I did it here, it's a long thread, but you can look down thru there for the information you need:
http://www.airforums.com/forum...nte-15132.html

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Old 04-06-2006, 10:10 PM   #8
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Here's what I'm up against

Here is where the floor is rotted out in the left hand front of my 31' International. I got the Gaucho out tonight. Looks like I could make some clean cuts with Sawzall and put a patch in. The C channel ends about where the floor really starts to get rotten. Could slip one end of the new wood into the C channel, use the support beam and then undo the belly a bit in the left front to screw the wood back into aluminum there (there is no C channel on the curve).





To me it seems like somehow water is getting into the C channel and had been running down it to this point for some time. The next big task, find the dam leak. It's a pretty good one where-ever it's coming from. I caulked the top of the blue trim that is rivited to the bottom surround of the trailer tonight. Somehow I don't think it will be that easy but it's a start. Was up on the roof for a while. Saw a couple of missing rivets that where a long way from the side that is leaking and put tape on the temporarily. The caulk around the refer vent doesn't seem to be the greatest, but honestly to really get in there I'd have to bust the rivets loose on the top surround which I'm kindof scared to do.

The weather sealing on the top is kindof a mixture of nice flexible gray stuff and some hard grainy feeling black stuff. I'll post some pictures of that tomorrow.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:29 PM   #9
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BTW I think the whole C channel is seeing leakage because I also see just a bit of dampness on the side of the wood under the twin bed on the same side of the coach.

ALSO, A QUESTION. WHERE EXACTLY IS THE GAS LINE THAT RUNS UNDER THIS SIDE OF THE COACH. ID HATE TO CUT IT.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
BTW I think the whole C channel is seeing leakage because I also see just a bit of dampness on the side of the wood under the twin bed on the same side of the coach.

ALSO, A QUESTION. WHERE EXACTLY IS THE GAS LINE THAT RUNS UNDER THIS SIDE OF THE COACH. ID HATE TO CUT IT.
The gas line should run under the trailer, exposed, and then up to each appliance.

Bill
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:43 PM   #11
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Actually on mine it follows the trailer tonge and enters under the belly on that side. And another question. It seems like I might have to take the leveling jack off in that corner to drop the belly. Is that hard to do? I'm afraid there's going to be rusted bolts that will want to snap.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:05 AM   #12
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I'd say you're right on track here, so far.

It is my understanding that the gas lines are required to be run on the outside of the trailer, by code. It seems a mystery why it would be in the belly pan. Maybe somebody on the forum with the same model trailer can comment on this.

I think you are finding the types of areas where leaks commonly occur, as well. In my trailer I had a leak around the running lights that ran down the wall and rotted the radius area just like this, but on the other side of the camper by the door. If this is the only area that has rot/damage, I would try to "piece in" a section of plywood, rather than replace that whole sheet of ply. You'll have to be the judge based upon what you find underneath the floor (i.e. frame rail and other floor support locations).

You are going to need to remove the "inner skin" or wall panel directly above the rot in order to properly fasten the new floor piece back in. Once you remove the panel, it will be clear how to fasten things back together. You will need to drill out the rivets holding that panel on. There are lots of threads on how to do this sort of rivet/inner skin removal and reinstallation. It's not terribly difficut, but is a bit time consuming.

Maybe somebody will have an idea how to do this without removing the wall panel. There are many very clever people here on the forum.

You are probably going to need to remove al least part of the belly pan in that area to do it correctly. Again, not difficult, by takes a little time. The good news (no, really) is that you will be able to take a look at the frame in that area and make sure the leak hasn't damaged the steel (i.e. rusted). That leak has been there a while, but the steel probably won't be too bad.
You'll also be able to reseal things in that area to prevent future leaks.

Again, somebody with more experience than I will surely offer a few more tips on this. Keep us posted.

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Old 04-07-2006, 08:53 AM   #13
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I was thinking that I could save myself the trouble to taking off inner skins by taking the underbelly off in that corner and using sheet metal screws going upward to tap into the aluminum plate that the wood is hanging from. Should give it enough support as no-one will be standing there. I would then splice it into adjacent wood from underneath.
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Old 04-07-2006, 11:08 AM   #14
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Any comments from the peanut gallery on screwing the patched piece of floor up from the bottom into the aluminum plate?
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