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Old 11-09-2011, 04:04 PM   #1
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Broken Floor Bolt Question

My 02 Safari 25 has a broken floor bolt. I found this when I removed the carpet in the living room area. This is one of the counter sunk bolts, going through the plywood subfloor, out in the middle of the floor in the living room area. The location seems to be consistent with the main frame member running from the front to back of the trailer. I assume there was a nut on the other end and that I would need to remove the belly pan to replace this nut and bolt.

Does anyone know if this single bolt has enough structural importance that I need to go through the trouble of removing the belly pan to replace the nut and bolt? All of the other similar floor bolts that I can see are in good condition.
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
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I doubt one broken floor bolt will affect anything much. But, if it were my trailer, I'd install one of these Trailer Floor Repair Screws
right next to the hole left by the broken bolt just to be sure. My 2 cents.

Chris
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:38 PM   #3
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I vote for adding a couple of the screws, just as a belt and suspenders. I would be more interested in why the bolt broke in the first place.

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Old 11-09-2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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Good information. I recently purchased the AS and it is my first AS. I would also like to know what could have broken this bolt (or screw). The only obvious damage on the AS is that the PO drug one of the skid plates hard enough to collapse the skid plate. The skid plate is on the street side and so is the broken bolt. The body appears to be straight and true otherwise. Perhaps dragging the skid plate caused the frame to flex enough to break the bolt. The head is broken off with none of the shaft to see.

The self tapping screws look like just the thing. The floor squeaks because of the broken bolt. A few extra screws should quiet down the squeaking floor.

Thanks for the information. The care and feeding of an Airstream is a pretty steep learning curve after owning nothing but other brands of fiberglass box TT's for many years. So much of what I know about travel trailers does not apply an Airstream.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Actually the screws through the floor into the frame are self-tapping screws. Avaliable at Lowes as tecxs or something close to that. I would guess that the screw was probably broken upon installation and has just been riding along ever since. You can put new ones in by drilling the right size hole and countersiking and drive the new one. I actually like to use a tap because it is easier for me and there is less chance of breaking the screw. The only problem with Lowes is the screws come in pretty sizable packs.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Fasteners - some percentage of bolts can tend to the brittle side on mass production scale of production. Since they mix output from several lines there can be two or five in 100 that held flaws in the drawing/stamping/hardening process. If it is just one then my bet is it snapped when it was installed.

I got stuck with a box of screws such as that that had one-in-six heads snap off when I changed out the rear floor sheet on my '73... it was plywood to plywood, in the backer board! That time I had to grind off the nub and just keep going...
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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Bill has it right. They are self tapping screws. They have a pretty fine thread and tend to strip when driving them in. It would defeat the purpose of a self tapping screw but I found that pre-drilling and using a countersink reduced the tendency to strip out the threads. I got mine from vintage trailer supply. Very good service and you don't have to order large quantities. You might want to order some of the interior rivets while you're at it. Sooner or later you'll need some of them too.

Good luck with your floor.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:21 PM   #8
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FWIW the screws from VTS are a specialty screw for fastening plywood to steel framing. The little wings cut a slightly over sized hole in the plywood to keep the screw from binding when it starts to drill into the steel. The wings snap off when you start into the steel.

No harm in drilling a pilot hole if you want. We use them in production and don't bother with the time to drill pilot holes, we maybe snap one in 300 or so once the guys get dialed in on them.

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Old 11-10-2011, 06:43 AM   #9
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I believe they are called elevator bolts and I drilled and tapped the hole before putting in the screw. The threads on the stock bolts are 1/4-20 and the ones I put back were 1/4-20. Good luck on getting them to self thread. They are not easy to get in even with prethreading them.

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Old 11-10-2011, 07:06 AM   #10
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Self-drilling screws need RPM's - good screw guns will be screaming at least 4000 RPM and up to 6000 RPM speeds. A power screwdriver may give 600 or 1200RPM, a good corded drill may offer 1800 or 2000 RPM.

A key to using them is the clutch function, screw is stationary until you press hard to engage the clutch - and correct adjustment of the depth function that disconnects the drive once its reached your selected preset depth.
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:19 AM   #11
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I really appreciate everyone jumping in and offering me so much help and information. I'll let you know how it goes when I get the screws.

Bud
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