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Old 07-14-2004, 05:27 PM   #43
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Found A-C grade, thanks Joe. Found elevator bolts for .12 (keeping that other website for future reference, tho) 1/4" x 2" - does that sound right? Thanks, Leonard.

Have to change config. on computer for new digital camera (has memory stick instead of memory card) which means no pic of our hole yet, but hope you guys will stick around to give your thoughts when I get that done.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:21 PM   #44
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plywood patch (so far)

OK - here is the picture I promised showing water heater removed and hole cut (the rot was much smaller and basically over by the wheel well, but wanted to make sure). We were able to remove that piece of plywood under the inner floor (arrowed in red).
I am most interested in ideas, thoughts, replies as to adding the patch and sealing for strength, integrity and no drafts. Price wants to get patch in tight, then caulk and rescrew in original elevator screws to hold with idea of maybe redoing entire floor at a later date. We are under a time constraint cause in 2 weeks we have a camping date and need to finish this and the bellypan repair at back where we redid valve connections. OK, I'm ready and waiting....
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:59 AM   #45
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My airstream manuel suggests the following:
1. Use 4" wide pieces of flooring the same length of the cut out area, using a heavy bead of glue - fit these strips on the bottom side of the cut out area allowing approx 2" of strip to extend into cut out area - secure with wood screws every 2" along edge - then put replacement section in the cut out area and glue and screw. All cracks can be filled with rock hard wood putty - after everything is dry, sand smooth.

My boat books says you should use a 1/15 ratio for the strips or a minimum of 8" pieces.

Good luck - let us know how it goes.

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Old 07-22-2004, 04:34 PM   #46
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Well, not that you can tell that much, but here is a pic of the patch under the new WH. I am a bit concerned w/only using caulk to secure (w/a few bolts), but that was what we had at time. Price says it won't hold a lot of weight (like where we walk) and will be trying to do whole floor in next year (or so??) Any comments?

The other 2 pics are of the screws/bolts removed from the old floor. They were holding the edge of each piece of plywood to the metal crossmember underneath. We thought these were elevator bolts, but the guys at Fastners, Inc. here in town showed us elevator bolts and those have no screw recesses on top, just completely smooth. We could not figure out how the elevator bolts could be secured thru the wood down into the crossmember other than hammering??? Are these pics showing what you guys have in your AS? Have you been able to find replacements - are they called elevator bolts in other parts of the country? Or what are they? We may just end up trying to clean these as best we can - they are rusty, but not all the way thru. Help, please
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Old 07-22-2004, 09:44 PM   #47
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What you have...

What you have looks like a flat head metal screw with perhaps a wider head than normal. There is a drawing of an elevator bolt earlier in this same thread for comparison. An elevator bolt does not have any screw driver slots because the square shoulder below the head is intended to bite into the wood when tapped into place. The nut is then attached to the other end without need for a screwdriver on the top end. It works the same as the much more common carriage bolt and differs only in that the head is flat on top while the carriage bolt is rounded. Being a bolt the elevator bolt style of connection requires that you be able to access the area below to add the nut. If you can not easily access the area below consider using what is called a self-drilling screw (maybe even if you could use a bolt). It looks similar to what you show except that it has a built-in drill bit on the end that actually drills a hole in the metal cross member and cuts the threads for the screw. I recently bought some at Home Depot and I know that Lowes carries them as well. They should be pretty commonly available and in a size something similar to the screw that you show. The one catch with the self drilling screw is that they tend to work better with a power screw driver than by hand to get the necessary spin for the drill bit.

I hope that helps,

Malcolm
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:07 PM   #48
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Yea, the clerk at Fastners, Inc. said it looked like a flat head screw that they used some time ago on semi's. He said it was a REAL antique since he hadn't seen any for some time. He gave us a self tap screw they use now, but it doesn't have a BIG head like the one shown (which is all that is used thruout our trailer). So, tell me again, what are you guys using? It must be that if you are using the carriage bolts, you have the bellypan off to reach the undeside - which we can't do. I guess we will try cleaning these bolts as best we can to reuse for now. Unless there are other thoughts.
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:52 PM   #49
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TapCon Metal Self Tapping Screws

Go to Home Depot and and ask for Tapcon metal self tapping screws. They are grey in color and have exactly the same type of screw head you show in your picture. They will probably carry them in two lengths in boxes of 50. Joe
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Old 07-24-2004, 11:18 AM   #50
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Thanks SpiderMan!!
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:34 PM   #51
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Hot weekend...

I managed to pick the hottest two days in about 10 years here in Portland, Oregon to work on finishing installing my new plywood floor. Friday was over 100 degrees and Saturday was just under! I already had 2 of the 7 total sheets installed from the previous weekend (the two at the back end). It is true that I did do a few other things besides getting the plywood in though. Most notabaly I lifted up the aluminum cover sheet over the spare tire well at the front of the trailer, scraped the rust off and painted the area. I figured it would be a lot easier doing it from the top rather than from below some other time.

I learned a few things during the process:

1.) It is possible for one person to install the plywood but it is sure nice to have help. I had help for the first two sheets and none for the last 5.

2.) It is possible to install a piece of plywood cross-wise at the end of the trailer without having to use the clam shell approach (lifting the body and slipping the plywood under). One of my sons made a comment when he was helping me with the first two sheets (the back two - installed length wise) that got me to thinking. He said that with the corner rouded off maybe I could get the sheet in the front by turning it into place. Sure enough, he was right. The front piece on my unit is only 36" wide so this might have helped. I was able to start the sheet in a diagonal orientation with one square corner in place at the side. The starting position had only the square corner in the u-channel and under the body. The curved end of the plywood sheet cleared the body by a few inches on the other side. I just pivoted the plywood until it was seated in place under the body all the way around. It did need a modest amount of pursuasion with a block of wood and a hammer but it worked just great. By the way it was pretty important to have this front sheet go cross-wise since the spare tire well up front and its aluminum cover plate does not really allow much space for a plywood splice over the spare tire. It is also the longest span for the 3/4" plywood anywherre in the trailer.

3.) My brain turns to mush at tempuratures above about 85 degrees. I already knew that but it was re-enforced over the weekend. One example was that I had intended to put marks along the body sides exactly where my frame cross-members where to make it easier to align my screws into the floor. I completely forgot to do that as I was putting the plywood down. I just wanted to get the plywood in.

4.) My body support technique documented elsewhere in the the thread titled "Shell Off vs Shell On..." worked just fine for keeping the body in place while I was taking the old floor out and putting the new floor in.

5.) It takes a lot of screws to fasten the floor down. I am using treated decking screws for the plywood floor to plywood spline joints and TapCon screws for the plywood to metal attachments (all from HOme Depot). I still am not done putting all the screws in. I first concentrated on the joints that had wood glue (plywood to plywood) while I was installing the plywood and am following up with adding the rest of the screws now that it is cooler. By the way heres a tip on a good screw gun. My old battery operated Makita was giving me some troubles. I decided to go look for a corded screw gun. I stumbled on a 10% off sale at Home Depot and a Black and Decker gun at the regular price of $39.95. It has plenty of tourque, a padded handle and a neat feature with a snap-off drill chuck and a screw driver bit underneath. I have already used that feature to drill holes in the u-channel, pop off the drill bit and drive in the screws. The investment was well worth the money.

I can tell you that it is really nice to have a floor to walk on again in the trailer. Once I get all the screws into the floor I will be shifting gears to work over parts of the exterior shell that need help. I want to get everything water tight while the weather is nice and before I put the inner skin back on. I have one body panel in particular that has a gash in it that I will have to replace. I am also thinking of relocating my water heater from the back bedroom to under the kitchen sink so I have a 16" hole to think about covering up. I might end up making up a dummy cover for that hole. I think the body panel it is in goes all the way down one side and I do not want to replace the whole thing if I can avoid it.

Malcolm
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Old 07-26-2004, 10:35 PM   #52
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Glad to hear you got it finished.
Also whant to say thanks for posting so much info on this job. I am going to save a lot of this info in my own files in case I am faced with such a repair.
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Old 07-27-2004, 10:30 AM   #53
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Malcolm - Too bad you and your trailer can't make it to the Color. Springs Rally this weekend!! I would get to see all your hard work and you could cool off We have been enjoying Portland type weather (cool, cloudy, 70's) almost all summer...my husband actually thought about a fire in the fireplace a couple days ago He needs to go camping... Anyway, I too will bookmark your ongoing progress for when we attempt major floor repair. Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2004, 12:39 PM   #54
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Not going anywhere for a while

Unfortunately my trailer is not ready to go anywhere yet. I have been working toward trying to have enough of it back together for a 1 week family reunion camping trip in the last week of August but that may or may not happen at the rate I am going. That of course depends a bit on what "ready enough" means. I might end up camping in what amounts to a large silver tent. We shall see.

Malcolm
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:55 AM   #55
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Hi all,

First I thank all the authors who contributed to this thread as the info was great and aided me in doing my floor replacement. I'm adding to this thread to add my experience as no two AS's are quite the same!

I replaced a 2'x5' section at the entry door using the single splice method illustrated. The technique I came up with to secure the frame bolts was to drill 1" holes through the belly pan directly under the bolts, as my pan is a center seam running the entire length of the coach. Access to your refrigerator bolts is done in this same fashion. With a deep neck socket, extension and universal swivel joint on the ratchet, I came up from the bottom and hanked those nuts into place. I used 2" carriage bolts and automotive nuts that have a washer flange around the nut with a serrated underside that acts as a lock washer all on one head. There was also enough room through the holes to get a chisel up there and slam it with a light sledge to get the "Airstream bend" to the bolts. The holes will be either patched with an aluminum bandaide or rubber grommet plugs, providing I can find some!

Once the plywood patch was inserted in place, I had a pretty consistant sawblade width gap around the perimeter. My floor is 5/8" plywood. They don't make 5/8 anymore. Its now 19/32. I was sweating this detail and got some .030 galvanized sheet stock for shims. Of course I forgot about the shim stock when I secured the floor, but it worked out fine without them. As the gap around the patch required filling with putty to smooth out the joint, I v-formed a 1/8 x 1/4 foam strip into the gap just a 1/16 to an 1/8 below the surface to create a shallow bed for the putty fill. I loaded a syrange with some Elmers wood fill and filled it all around and leveled it off with an index finger. I used almost a full box of galvanized deck screws on the splice areas as well as reinforced the perimeter u-channel where it was exposed. I also treated the plywood with some Bondo water thin wood rot treatment to seal the new wood around the perimeter and about 8" of the surface. This stuff penetrates the wood, provides a polyurthene seal and doesn't add any added dimension to the wood.

If anybody is curious about this post, I've pictures if interested, but will be back to do so after this weekend. Again, thanks to all for sharing their experience, I really couldn't have done it so smoothly without all your input.

Cheers,
Ed
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:12 PM   #56
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Congratulations Ed! Sounds like a job well done.

I see that the last post before yours was mine. As it turns out I am still not done with my AS renovation. I did get the floor replaced (two times actually but that is a differnt story). Right now I am definitely stalled relative to more work on the AS since I am in North Carolina doing some contract work. Since I live in Portland, Oregon that has made it pretty hard to get anything done. I am hoping to get back home in a couple of months but then I will have to face the possibility of having to work in worse weather. I really do need a workshop big enough to put the AS in.

Malcolm
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