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Old 02-11-2015, 07:04 PM   #1
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Do I have to take the underbelly off to replace the floor?

We are replacing the floor of a '63 Overlander- completely gutted the whole thing and right now it's just the shell and trailer, and are wanting to do a SHELL ON floor replacement... we have read so many different forums on how to replace the subfloor and have a basic understanding... But do we absolutely have to remove the underbelly in order to put new bolts in through the subfloor and attach to the trailer? And if we do, is there a way to remove parts of it without taking all the rivets out? Any help or advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:10 PM   #2
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I did a shell on with my trailer. It's documented in my thread linked below.

I cut the belly pan off leaving about a two foot perimeter in place which left me room to do the bolts for the new subfloor.

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Old 02-11-2015, 08:30 PM   #3
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Bite the bullet and drop the pan. You need access to the underside of the outriggers and cleaning the pink fiberglass filled with rodent artifacts will be easier. Be sure to wear a mask when the belly drops on your belly. Frame inspection and repair will be easier too. Jeff
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #4
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enosburg , Vermont
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Yes. I did my 1st one w/o removing the belly pan. You can bore out the rivets down the center seam and out to the perimiter. This will let the sections down far enough to do what you need. 1st you must get the trailer up high enough to allow the sections down far enough to give you access to work. Common car ramps are enough height but just, another 6 inches would be nice. The axles will not let the pan down. With them installed you have to work / reach around them or cut the pan for full access then splice on reassembly. An hours fighting with mine and I cut it. Only way you see the splice is if you crawl under. When you have it up to working height SECURELY crib block the tail frame across the back and again at the front A-frame just ahead of the body. Accidents happen people die. Remember when the floor is completley out the body drops to the ground. Body on floor, floor on frame. Sounds odd but if you replace the floor from both ends working to the middle removing a section and replacing it in full original size sheets they will "slide in" and the body stays up securely. The only sheet that may need to be cut along the axis of the rig is the last one. With a sharp pencil and some luck that one will also be full size. Heads up. On my '64 the original plywood sheets were NOT 4 feet wide. They were 49 1/2 inches. 3/4 inch shiplap edges that joined over and bolted through the cross members. Trying to use standard 4 X 8 sheets was going to leave floor seams unsupported. If your '63 has the same design you may have to figure a couple narrower sheets to get all seams on a X-member. Not difficult I you know and plan ahead. Making the shiplap joints is easy with a router, proper bit, 2 x 4 straight edge and a couple C-clamps. + or - 10 min per sheet. If you do use shiplap joints and glue them your floor won't squeek like the other guys!!
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:21 PM   #5
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One more thing. jbib is right. I did only one "body on". All said and done body off is easier.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:26 AM   #6
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I am just finishing up a "Body on". I did mine different than most. I put ALL of my splices/joints off of the framing, adding 30lbs AT THE MOST. I think it makes for a stronger "floor system".
I've been taking pics. In the next week-ish or so, I'll post how I did it and why.
I dropped my belly pan front and back, and all the way to the axles. I changed most of the cross framing (Just because I was in there).
Belly pan is going back up today (Today is my first day being "Full-time" on my 61' AS project).
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Old 02-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #7
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If you dont drop the pan, its really hard to clean rust off and paint and preseve the frame. Making sure the frame is solid and has a good coat of paint on it is one of the major maintenance items that you need to do in restoring an old trailer. I dont see how you can remove the whole floor and do a shell on because technically you have removed the common element between the shell and frame (the floor) so the shell is for all intents off the frame, even if you only raise it up an inch or two or three.

Having a solid frame and floor and a shell that doesnt leak are the things that must be done first, everything else is gravy.
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input! Does anyone have any advice on what thickness of marine plywood to use for the new subfloor? I had originally read that we should use 3/4'' marine plywood, but we just got the first piece of the old floor out and measured it as 5/8.... want to make sure we use the right size so that the interior walls will fit back in!
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Old 02-14-2015, 05:22 PM   #9
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Todays 3/4 inch plywood is not truely 3/4 inch thick. You will find that new 3/4 is pretty darn close to the same thickness as your original 5/8, I've never had fit issues with it. There's a lot of different plywood out there. Do some research to get the one that do'es the job. Off hand I recall 3/4 inch 7 ply exterior grade western fir do'es the job for around 50 bucks a sheet. I could never get the quality I needed from the box stores for this application, the core plys were low quality. Used local lumber suppliers.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvia1963 View Post
Thanks for all the input! Does anyone have any advice on what thickness of marine plywood to use for the new subfloor? I had originally read that we should use 3/4'' marine plywood, but we just got the first piece of the old floor out and measured it as 5/8.... want to make sure we use the right size so that the interior walls will fit back in!
Don't waste your money on marine plywood, your not building a boat, I went with AC exterior 3/4" plywood, AC exterior is the grade given to any plywood which is bonded with 100 percent waterproof adhesive and is intended for permanent outdoor exposure.

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