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Old 08-05-2015, 09:33 AM   #1
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do i need to remove windows to do a shell off?

HI there
We have decided to do a shell off on our 1978. The whole curb side seems to be a caulked mess. Our thought is do it right the first time, and make it safe and secure. My question is do the windows have to be removed to lift the shell? if so why and if not why. I have read many many posts and some have the windows and some do not.
Thank you in advance
gina
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:47 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Short answer is "no."

There are essentially two popular ways to lift the shell off the frame. First is to build a bunch of bracing inside the shell so that you have something to jack against, and then to jack it up and support it while you pull the trailer out. Second (and the one I would recommend), is to build a pair of wooden gantry frames, and hoist the shell up from above. This method uses a beam that runs the length of the ceiling, and the hoists extend down through the ceiling vents to pull against it. I don't see any reason to remove the windows using either of these methods. I used the gantry method for my shell-off, and didn't remove any windows, and everything worked just fine.

Seems like I have seen pictures on the Forums where people remove all the windows and run beams through the trailer from side to side and then hire 4 brutes to lift the shell. Can't say that I recommend this method, as it seems that you would really jeapardize your window frames. Plus, I think this is only ever used on fairly short trailers.

I could imagine that someone with a trailer with very hard to find/replace windows might want to remove them as a precautionary tactic to ensure that no accident results in the loss of an irreplaceable window. I have read various opinions/theories that the shell is so flexible that it changes shape, etc., and if that is true, then I suppose you might remove your windows to ensure they don't get broken due to the body flexing/changing shape. Again, I think these concerns are exaggerated.

good luck!
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:56 AM   #3
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
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I haven't don't this yet.. But from what I've read the shell needs to be supported when removed. And from the pictures I've seen some people use a beam through the front and rear windows and then jacks from the beam to the ceiling so the ceiling is being pushed UP instead of the base of the walls sitting on beams. The idea is that the walls will be less inclined to spread apart under their own weight.

The windows come out super easy, unhook the lift rods, then lift the windows up above 90į and the top hinge unhooks. Very minimal tools would be required to remove the locking clip on the lift rod, the window twist/lock, and the inner screen window frame.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:59 AM   #4
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Thank you!
We will leave windows in. We are using a barn and beams to lift the shell off. so similar way of lifting just not with gantry frames. This whole process can be so overwhelming so I'm trying to tackle one thing at a time. We are lucky to have the barn to use for as long as we like so resealing etc to windows will eventually happen, just trying to stayed focused on removing the shell then fixing frame then.....you get the idea!
I appreciate your help.
gina
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:02 AM   #5
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Phlegm,
thanks for your info on removing the windows. I will be using it when I get there!
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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Gina,
The answer is No, you do not have to remove the windows to remove the shell.
Condensed version! After you completely gut the inside, drill out all rivet on the inside panels that reach the floor and remove and label each panel. Now you can see the C-channel on the edge of the floor. The outside rivet terminate in this channel as well as the bolts that go though the floor and attach the channel & floor to the frame/outriggers(leave the C-channel attached to the outside skin). Be aware of any wires that may go through the floor like tail lights, etc. Cut/remove the bolts in the C-channel, Now the shell is ready to lift. I used the 2-2x4 T's inside with a floor jack under them. After I got clearance I supported the frame with 2 saw horses on each side of the trailer and 2 beams under the shell across each pair of saw horses.
However when the shell is off it is an ideal time to re-seal any window frames that may be leaking. I did remove my front and rear windows and I drilled out the frames as well. I replaced the glass with tempered, resealed the frames (tremPro) and re-bucked the rivets. Bam! New windows!


-Dennis
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:54 AM   #7
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1971 31' Sovereign
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I've been reading a bunch of threads recently, My poor '71 needs complete window rehab. On this window, one of the lock plates is broke off the window frame (it just needs to be riveted back on), the weather strip is shot, the window has a terrible tint job, and the C-gasket -- not pictured-- has shrunk and pulled away from the frame. Not to mention the abundance of silicone that needs to be removed and replaced with Vulkem.

These are the rods, mine was missing the lock clip/washer when I bought it. FWIW, this is the window above the street side twin bed.


This is the galley (kitchen) window, curb side.
You can see the inner frame; make out the screw locations, and see the locking mechanisms at the bottom. I haven't removed this hardware yet, but I will shortly.


I can't believe I don't have a better picture of this, but to remove the window lock mechanisms, you will need to remove the nut inside the window frame that holds it together, it is easy to get to from the outside.


A while back I watched this complete series of videos, this one may be useful.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:40 PM   #8
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Wow thanks for all the info. We have everything ready to lift off the shell other than the last bolts and I'm sure some hidden things! All our skins are off all the insulation is gone(worst job ever) along with wiring and plumbing. Do I give the shell a good cleaning (inside) before or after its separated?

I'm also looking forward to watching the videos 's tonight! The hardest part we worked on on the Windows so far was getting the plastic off the handles!
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:19 PM   #9
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Once I took my shell off, I set it on the ground and then hosed it down with a pressure washer. I actually ended up doing it twice, and once wasn't good enough to get all the rodent stank out.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:26 PM   #10
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1971 31' Sovereign
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I was going to guess rinsing it AFTER it was off the trailer would be better. Less wet wood to deal with, and anything that rinses out won't be on the trailer floor/wood.

Belegedhel, rodent stink adhered to the aluminum? I'd have thought being a non-porous surface that it would have been removed with the insulation.

Did you use any chemical? I bought a bottle of Ammonia for wall cleaning and it says for heavy pet smell to use it directly. For the inner walls I was going to dilute it and use gloves and a rag.

For the shell once the walls were gone, I'd suspect a hand pump sprayer and then pressure washer?
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:44 PM   #11
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I will wait until the shell is off to pressure wash it! Its beyond repulsive what such small little creatures can do. Our airstream was sitting in a field for the last 20 years and you can only imagine!
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:06 PM   #12
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I'm guessing that Airstream used some kind of spray adhesive to stick the fiberglass insulation in place, or maybe the rodent urine formed some kind of adhesive. Either way, after removing the insulation, there was lots of fibers, adhesive, and urine based adhesive left behind. The first time I was in there spraying it down, I mixed a bit of bleach into the solution, but once it all dried out, it was still somewhat funky. I let it dry for the summer, then pressure washed it again and scrubbed it with a brush this time as well just prior to putting the shell back on. As an aside, the stank of the plastic components (ie. the plastic interior end caps), doesn't ever wash out, and I had to fully encapsulate them with paint to make it go away.
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