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Old 11-30-2007, 08:45 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
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Fast floor replacement

Question.

Which is better as far as full floor replacement. Shell on or shell off.
Second...since I will be doing this outside this winter...within the next couple of weeks, I am trying to figure out the fastest way, as well as the correct way to do this. I would "like" to replace the floor in a day...granted I do the prep work to get the shell ready for lift off...if taking it off turns out to be the case.

Can the floor replacement be done in one day?
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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If all your staring at is a bare frame maybe. Frame off will take several days of preparation at least. same as frame on. Basically all the interior cabinets etc. and then the lower wall sections will need to be removed for access to the bolts in the c-channel. Also the underbelly skin has to come down. This is a big, time consuming project. I started to replace the front floor in our Argosy in October. With only weekends to work on it, it was very difficult. The interior is out, and the old flooring sections removed, but I have put the project on hold for the time being because of the cold weather. Once the floor is replaced, I need to get the belly pan and banana wrap back up to seal it. I don't think i can vulkem the seams when it's below freezing. maybe i'll start a thread on cold weather sealing. Good luck, George.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluminati
Question.
Can the floor replacement be done in one day?
If the state of the trailer is the following:

- empty interior with lower interior skin removed
- belly pan and banana wraps removed
- new floor pieces cut with edges sealed
- elevator bolts on hand

With a crew a two or three you could do a shell on floor replacement in a long weekend. But I suggest that you would want to strip and paint the frame while the floor is off. This will take you more than the weekend and is difficult to accomplish with the temps below 50 degrees. I'm in the process of doing this but have insulated the perimeter of my trailer and will need to heat the interior when I paint.

If you decide paint is not needed and are hoping to accomplish the floor replacement quickly I would remove the bolts and then the floor from the wheel wells back. After the rear floor is replaced and the rear shell is bolted down remove and replace the floor in front of the wheels. The piece between the wheels does not go under the walls and can be replaced anytime in the process. I plan on using biscuit splines to join my floor panel edges together. You may want to consider this as you place your new floor pieces. The original pieces are joined with corrugated fasteners so will want to do some kind of edge joinery.

Considering your planned use I would definitely use 3/4" plywood rather than the 5/8" that is as originally installed.

I can't wait to hear if you can get it done in a weekend. It will take a lot of planning but I think it can be done.

Good Luck!
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:12 PM   #4
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I hope I can replace my floor

I just bought a 1973 Overlander and this being my first trailer I was not aware of soft floors. I just found out my bathroom floor around the toilet is rotted and soft. After reading this forum I found out I will have to replace the floor. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would guess I am about a 7 on fixing things. I just taught myself how to drill out rivets and use a rivet gun. I plan on taking pictures of everything I remove from the bathroom so I will know how to put it back. I am not up for a complete restoration. I like the fact that everything in the trailer is orginal and is in great shape except the bathroom.

I have a couple of questions. Do I have to take down the wall that seperates the bathroom and the bedroom ( I hope not)? Is it possible to just replace the bad areas? Do I have to take down the vinyl wall to fix the floor.

I really was not planning on doing any of this because I thought I bought a good trailer. The guy I bought it from told me the floor was in great shape.

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Old 12-03-2007, 10:31 PM   #5
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SIU Bound,

Welcome to the wonderful world of Airstream restorations!

Here are some pics of a '72 Overlander that started out the same way (rotten floor around the toilet).

It's a job that takes a lot of perserverance because it won't be quick (especially the first time.)

Do I have to take down the wall that seperates the bathroom and the bedroom ( I hope not)? Sorry to break the news, but yes you will, if you desire a complete floor replacement (which is strongly recommended as you'll undoubtedly have frame issues, as well as black tank support issues) Removing the wall is required to remove the tub and water heater cabinet, as well as slip in new floor.

Is it possible to just replace the bad areas? Sure, but you'll still have rusty frame/tank support issues which will eventually cause more $$ damage. Additionally, without a secure rear joint (shell/floor/holdingplate/frame), you'll eventually (if not already ) have issues with rear end separation. (Another subject to read up on, just do a search.)


Do I have to take down the vinyl wall to fix the floor. Not sure which wall you're referring to. You will need to remove the lower section of the inner walls to access the floor channel of the shell.


I really was not planning on doing any of this because I thought I bought a good trailer. Most people who end up in this predicament didn't plan on it either. I wish I'd spent a little more time on the forum before I purchased my first AS back in '04.


The guy I bought it from told me the floor was in great shape. He may have been dishonest or may not have known any better. (I'm still not completely sure what the case was with the guy I bought my Overlander from. Doesn't really matter at this point, I guess.)

Been there, done that (2x). If a pizzamaker can do it, you can too! There's lots of info on this forum that will help you. A friend of mine in Athens (who is 70 years old) just finished his 72 Overlander and he all of it himself (other than the welding, which I helped him with). It can be done!

The finished result is worth it (I think).



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Old 12-04-2007, 04:08 PM   #6
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Wow! Good Job

Pizzachop:

How long did all of that take you?

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Old 12-04-2007, 06:26 PM   #7
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1962 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluminati
Question.

Which is better as far as full floor replacement. Shell on or shell off.
Second...since I will be doing this outside this winter...within the next couple of weeks, I am trying to figure out the fastest way, as well as the correct way to do this. I would "like" to replace the floor in a day...granted I do the prep work to get the shell ready for lift off...if taking it off turns out to be the case.

Can the floor replacement be done in one day?
Seriously.... a day? a weekend? I thought I was ambitious and unrealistic. It will take much longer than you would ever imagine. It will be done when it is finished.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander
Seriously.... a day? a weekend? I thought I was ambitious and unrealistic. It will take much longer than you would ever imagine. It will be done when it is finished.
Along that same line "You will never be finished until you start"
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:42 PM   #9
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SIU Bound,

Theoretically, it could be done in a few weeks, working a few hours a day. In reality, unexpected surprises, life's demands, depression and despondency set in and it takes longer.

I'm still trying to forget much of it.
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaChop
SIU Bound,

Theoretically, it could be done in a few weeks, working a few hours a day. In reality, unexpected surprises, life's demands, depression and despondency set in and it takes longer.

I'm still trying to forget much of it.

I have never replaced a floor, but I would think if it was your only focus and you found someone to help you in an efficent manor it could be done in a weekend. I doubt you could gut it, replace the floor, and put it all back in a weekend. As far as easier... nothing is easy in Airstream restoration except spending money. I would think that it would be easier to lift the shell to replace the entire floor than work around inside a confined space.
I will be following your project closely, for I plan to replace the rear third very soon. I now have less than four months to get it done before the rally season opens up again.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:11 AM   #11
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Not to burst anyone's (or everyone's) bubble here, but while the actual floor replacement may only take 30 min to an hour, all other associated tasks will require much more time. (I say this because my life's trials and travails have been defined by the phrases "That doesn't look too hard" or "I'll be done in an hour".)

By the time all fixtures, partitions , appliances (including black tank) are removed...

Unit is safely put up on 6" blocks to facilitate working underneath (highly recommended)......

All banana wrap and belly pan removed up to axles (use eye protection and watch for falling rodents/droppings/nest.....(this is a lot of rivets)

Old floor is removed, piece by piece (including cutting off/out every single fastener and hold downs)....

Rusty frame is repaired, replaced, restored and painted, including rear hold down plate......

New floor is cut using "pieces" of old floor for template (1/4" luan pattern)...

FLOOR INSTALLATION

All bolts (new) fastening frame to floor, floor channel, rear hold down plate , etc.....

Reinsulate....


Black tank support box is rebuilt and all associated plumbing repaired....

Just reverse all the rest above and you'll get the picture.

For this reason, it seems foolish to me to do all of this without refinishing the bathroom fixtures with two-part epoxy paint.

Bottom line, I know I can come across as somewhat confident and arrogant at times, but this is one area that I have experience twice. (rear bath Overlander, and center bath Sovereign)

The rear bath is going to take more time (I forgot to mention rebuilding the dump valve and replacing pressure regulator/mending all damaged plumbing)

Maybe it's not this way for everyone, but if the floor is rotten, it's from water, and water is going to damage other things as well.

Is it worth doing? Only you can answer that.

Been there, done that, I sell the T-shirts!

(P.S. - I'm sure I've left out a "few" things, but I'm in a hurry)

The forum is a great source of information!
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaChop
(P.S. - I'm sure I've left out a "few" things, but I'm in a hurry)
... a pizza in the oven waits for no one! LOL!

Ron, you are right, the actual floor replacement doesn't (won't) take that long. My floor has been out for a couple of months and I'm just waiting for that perfect "30 minutes" to come along so I can put it back in.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander
As far as easier... nothing is easy in Airstream restoration except spending money.
No truer words have been written.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:35 AM   #14
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The biggest hiccup we've run into is getting people to show up to do the things we can't! We have had a heck of a time finding a mobile welder that will come by and do a couple of things:
  • Add an outrigger (we already have it)
  • Replace the rear cross member (have this too)
  • Reattach step (it's sitting there ready to go)
  • Add strapping for gray/black tank supports (got it, just need to attach it)
All these are ready to go - just need someone to show up and do the actual attaching. We have called no less than 12 supposed mobile welders from both the yellow pages & referal. Nobody returns calls and the one that did (referal) stood us up twice. We are not cheaping out, we are willing to pay to have this done...on their timing - weekend/weekday, either on or off the books, cash or ???. Three weeks and counting...the clock is ticking. There is absolutely nothing else we can do until the welding is done.

You'd think someone would want a little extra spending money! Argh!!!

So, can it be done quickly - over a looong weekend? Maybe. If you hold your tongue just so, find no unexpected repairs you can't do yourself, wear your lucky socks and underwear, have everything you need and a few things you might need lined up just in case AND the stars align perfectly ~ maybe, then just maybe, you could get 'er done! But I wouldn't hold my count on it...you will only be disappointed.

Shari
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