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Old 07-31-2011, 06:20 PM   #29
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Ok, its done. Spent most of the day pulling out everything aft of the galley. Amazing how much bigger it feels now. Bulkheads came out pretty easily, and with that, I was able to get the skins off of one side. Mouse Central in there!!

Found a couple of Reader's Digests from the early 80's under one of the bunks. Also, a receipt for $1000 worth of Traveler's checks from 1975! (big money back then...PO must have been one of them "Airstream Millionaires"

...And lots of mouse poop.



So, now that I've gone this far...should I replace 4' of floor, and go "clean" all the way up to the first original joint? or should I just do the originally planned 2'?
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:08 PM   #30
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.....So, now that I've gone this far...should I replace 4' of floor, and go "clean" all the way up to the first original joint? or should I just do the originally planned 2'?
Yep, without a doubt, replace the whole 4 foot section. You've gone this far, just do it. You won't regret it 10 years from now.

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Old 08-01-2011, 07:41 AM   #31
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I did a partial floor job in the forward section of our '85 Excella. The tool that saved me was what they call the multitool. It's a vibrating tool with an assortment of blades and cutters. Can work in very close quarters and also flush cuts. A company named Freud had the patent and was the sole source for many years but now they all have them. Bosch, craftsman etc. so they have come down in price. Very useful and versitile. Give them a look, Home Depot and Lowes carries them. See if they will fit your needs. Good luck with your ambitious job.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:44 AM   #32
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yup, got a line on one. I'm sure it'll come in handy when the time comes.

got the skins out and more grody insulation, and critter-cache.

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #33
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Yep, without a doubt, replace the whole 4 foot section. You've gone this far, just do it. You won't regret it 10 years from now.

Jim
Well, on closer inspection, it does appear to be actually "necessary". And that oft-uttered phrase, so common on this site..."while I'm at it" strikes again: I think I"ll take out the next sheet, as well. Not so much that it "needs" to be replaced, but because it looks like it would be easy to do. 99% of it is between the wheel wells. only a 2" sliver of it is along the aft edge of the wheel wells and extends out to, and under the u-channel. On the curb side, that narrow sliver is where the really-bad-design care-free awning support arm mounts; a lag bolt goes through the belt line trim, and directly into the plywood, giving huge floor-rot potential. otoh...that fragile-looking strip of plywood amazingly appears to be in pretty good shape; I guess that never leaked much...but the strip next to it is not. It is part of the rear 4' plywood section, and has pretty much disintegrated. So, while it looks like it is possible that one can drive a lag into the edge of the plywood floor without having it leak and rot-out, there's a 50/50 chance that it will. I really don't relish the idea of re-attaching this awning. But pricing out a zip-dee, which would mount to the ribs, and not the floor...WHOOO, dawgies, even a used one (if you can find one) is out-a-site expensive.

any thoughts on a rot-proof method of attaching this awning are appreciated. (I'm thinking maybe drilling an over-sized hole for the lag, filling it w/ epoxy of some sort, and then driving the lag into the epoxy.).



here you can see the joint between the rear sheet of plywood, and the next one up. wheel well is on the left.



same area, zoomed out for scale


peering in through the battery box from outside. You can see the edge of the forward plywood sheet sticks up above the aft sheet; It seems to be due to the fact that the wheel well flange, which is attached to the trailer frame. it has a thickness...probably equal to the size of the plywood edge that protrudes. Looks like they just slapped the plywood down on top of the wheel well, and squoze it together w/ the bolts. I suppose this is only cosmetic, as these areas are completely hidden on the inside of the trailer..no finish-floor, or anything like that. But the top of the battery box, which is screwed down to the plywood floor, had to be shimmed in a lame attempt to make a clean attachment, and I imagine, with the notion of preventing battery gasses from leaking inside the coach...it did neither, and is very amateurish-looking, even to an amateur like me. a 1/4" rabbet along the underside of the forward sheet of plywood would have made it all fit like a glove.



a slightly different angle of the last pic, showing how this narrow strip of plywood came to be rotted. A lag screw goes through that awning arm bracket, into the wood.




I haven't got much done in the last couple of weeks due to weather and other constraints; I did manage to get the wraps off, but it was a huge time-suck to do it. turns out they were put on before the skins, and riveted up high with really blind rivets. very hard to access, front or back.
And now, my own back isn't co-operating, so thats going to blow another weekend. But otherwise, I'm pretty much ready to remove plywood.

So how do you remove the elevator bolts? I'm sure you can't just un-screw the nuts from below, as the factory bent all of the bolts. Can you just cut them w/ a grinder and a cut-off wheel?

another thing I noticed: why did they use elevator bolts in the u-channel, bolted "up" from below? why not a regular-old carriage bolt? economy of scale-type thing, for the factory to just have to stock 1 type of bolt?
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:41 AM   #34
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Hi Chuck,
You can remove the original "weld" bolts easily with a pair of vise grips on the nut. Clamp it on the nut, wiggle it back and forth and it'll snap right off usually. Tap the bolt out with a punch.
The factory used "weld screws" originally. See this thread. I'm sure that they used them anywhere they could for cost savings.
Hope your back will cooperate with you soon. Keep it up!
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:16 PM   #35
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Hi Chuck,
You can remove the original "weld" bolts easily with a pair of vise grips on the nut. Clamp it on the nut, wiggle it back and forth and it'll snap right off usually. Tap the bolt out with a punch.
is that because they're so rusty, or just generally weak?

So...any 1/4-20 SS carriage bolts ok for through the u-channel? did you use a nylon washer to insulate between the SS bolt and aluminum?
I suppose they put the elevator bolts in the channel "up, from below" because it was the only way they'd work. (?)


As long as you're "here"..

I was thinking of using 2 of these tanks, with the outlets facing each other. I've got 3 2-foot wide frame cavities to work with...(the middle has to house the shower drain). So, the forward tank would be the grey tank, facing aft; the rear tank would be the black, facing forward...then I can use elbows and run the drain pipes over to the outer frame rail, just aft of the street-side wheels, using the nearly empty middle cavity.
This way, I could have a tank similar in size to yours...but since my potty has to be mounted toward the curb-side, I could still be flushing into the deep end of this tank.
Also, if the grey tank drain pipe runs along the street-side frame member, I won't be able to keep my BAL stabilizer jack, which needs to be mounted to a cross-member, and there's only one available, and thats the one that forms the black-tank cavity. It may not work, anyway, but a scissor-type jack would.

Now, this would make the dump outlet a little difficult to reach, but it would still be a huge improvement over the original, which is much further away from the outer edge of the trailer, (and more awkward because its a vertical oultet; hard to reach, and hard to see) And I have seen the dump valves located similarly in new airstreams. Lots of other late-model RV's have their dump outlet located in that general area, too, but with the pipes extended all the way out to the outer wall of the unit, putting them in point-blank range of a (seemingly inevitable) tire blow out; I'm still proposing to keep everything inside the frame rails.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:14 PM   #36
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is that because they're so rusty, or just generally weak?

So...any 1/4-20 SS carriage bolts ok for through the u-channel? did you use a nylon washer to insulate between the SS bolt and aluminum?
I suppose they put the elevator bolts in the channel "up, from below" because it was the only way they'd work. (?)
I'd say both rusty and weak. Yes, I used nylon washers under the flat washers in the channel.

Your tank plan looks like a good one to me!
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:45 AM   #37
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I'd say both rusty and weak. Yes, I used nylon washers under the flat washers in the channel.
...and I suppose those steel "plates" at the frame rail connection should be replaced w/ a chunk of aluminum billet, too? as far as that goes...why no elevator bolts through the main frame rail back there? maybe that doesn't add any strength to the floor/frame connection.

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Your tank plan looks like a good one to me!
Its way bigger than it needs to be, it seems. But thats the only stock tank I can find that fits in all the key dimensions, and is shaped this way.
nothing etched in stone, yet. Much depends on what my welder-BIL sez, when he evaluates things.
One thing about the "bumper-dumper" style is that it is very easy to access...but it may be overly complex to modify the area on my trailer, since that was never there in the first place. The original sewer connector went straight down from the bottom of the tank, making the outlet 20" in from the bumper, and flush w/ the belly pan. just the bayonet ring is protrudes. It pretty much requires one to be on their hands and knees to reach under, see, and connect the slinky. I don't really like being on my hands and knees anywhere near the dump station, thankyouverymuch. touching the ground there with my shod foot is bad enough.

Speaking of tanks...how did you make out with your see-level gauges? I saw them mentioned on your thread, but no details...
(congrats on "turning pro", btw.)
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:03 PM   #38
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...and I suppose those steel "plates" at the frame rail connection should be replaced w/ a chunk of aluminum billet, too? as far as that goes...why no elevator bolts through the main frame rail back there? maybe that doesn't add any strength to the floor/frame connection.
Chuck, those plates on mine were pretty rusted, so I had a local shop duplicate them in steel. I cleaned them, drilled them, POR-15 them and stuck 'em in. I replaced the large (5/8"?, can't remember exactly) bolts with stainless. One of the things that I noticed about the main frame rails was that there were no fasteners of any kind in those rails except for those large bolts, front and rear. Don't know why that is. Maybe the steel is too thick? Maybe too many fasteners will weaken the rails? Who knows.

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Old 08-15-2011, 11:39 PM   #39
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Chuck, those plates on mine were pretty rusted, so I had a local shop duplicate them in steel. I cleaned them, drilled them, POR-15 them and stuck 'em in. I replaced the large (5/8"?, can't remember exactly) bolts with stainless. One of the things that I noticed about the main frame rails was that there were no fasteners of any kind in those rails except for those large bolts, front and rear. Don't know why that is. Maybe the steel is too thick? Maybe too many fasteners will weaken the rails? Who knows.

Jim
I was wondering about this as well. I am getting ready to start installing new floor sections, and started marking out the hole spots on the plywood. That's when I realized the old elevator bolts were only in cross-wise lines on the beams.

Could it possibly be due to the expansion/contraction of metal somehow? More severe effect in the longer dimension of the trailer?

Either way, I would really like to install more screws/bolts this time. Just a matter of deciding where.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:08 AM   #40
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...and I suppose those steel "plates" at the frame rail connection should be replaced w/ a chunk of aluminum billet, too? as far as that goes...why no elevator bolts through the main frame rail back there? maybe that doesn't add any strength to the floor/frame connection.


Its way bigger than it needs to be, it seems. But thats the only stock tank I can find that fits in all the key dimensions, and is shaped this way.
nothing etched in stone, yet. Much depends on what my welder-BIL sez, when he evaluates things.
One thing about the "bumper-dumper" style is that it is very easy to access...but it may be overly complex to modify the area on my trailer, since that was never there in the first place. The original sewer connector went straight down from the bottom of the tank, making the outlet 20" in from the bumper, and flush w/ the belly pan. just the bayonet ring is protrudes. It pretty much requires one to be on their hands and knees to reach under, see, and connect the slinky. I don't really like being on my hands and knees anywhere near the dump station, thankyouverymuch. touching the ground there with my shod foot is bad enough.

Speaking of tanks...how did you make out with your see-level gauges? I saw them mentioned on your thread, but no details...
(congrats on "turning pro", btw.)
Thanks Chuck!

I would recommend the use of aluminum plate for the hold down pieces. I used all stainless hardware with nylon washers anywhere there was dis-similar metal contact. I also completely covered all the hardware in the 'C" channel with sealant. You can thin polyurethane sealant to make it a thick paint and brush it on the hardware like you see Aerowood has done on his thread.

The SeaLevel gauges are still in the box in the shop. I just haven't found the time to install them. I'm not too sure if I will.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:05 AM   #41
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The SeaLevel gauges are still in the box in the shop. I just haven't found the time to install them. I'm not too sure if I will.
What? no glass cockpit, like Aerowood? oh, wait...that was a c-130. easy mistake.
Seriously...I was thinking that would be the way to go, as there are 3 probe wires from my black tank that must terminate up front at the control panel. Since the see-level only needs one wire for each tank, that would solve the wire-fishing problem. It looks like their panel height would fit in the existing space, and include all the same functions. (battery/tanks/water pump switch).
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:52 PM   #42
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Well, I've been on hiatus for a couple of months due to a back injury, so not much has happened. Only recently been able to start picking away again, slowly.
The original floor is still in place; I was hoping that I could at least get new floor in place so I can put the the project away for the winter in a weather-tight condition, but thats looking less and less likely as the days grow short.
Anyway, today I was removing the bolts in the u-channel. I was actually able to un-bolt one of the big bolts in the "corner" that is connected to the main frame rails. (That surprised the heck out of me. the other one snapped, as I expected. gotta love the new Makita impact driver, though!) Had to cut the elevator bolts that were in upside-down. that wasn't too hard, but they were rusted solid to the hold-down plate, and took quite a bit of banging with a hammer and a wonder-bar from underneath to get them out.
The other surprise is that even with all of the fasteners out of the U-channel, there is very little movement in the frame. I expected it to be a bit more floppy, but maybe its the relatively short rear overhang on this model. Or maybe I need to remove the rest of the elevator bolts that go through the cross-members further up.
My question for today is: is it going to be possible to get the rear hold-down plate out of there without cutting the U-channel out? From looking at that today, I'm not seeing how that's coming out. Or how a single sheet of plywood is going to be able to slide in from the back. not if there's going to be a hold-down plate there in the future.
going in from the sides...well, on one side is the battery box frame, and that's in the way. On the other (street side), the outer skins hang down lower than the bottom of the U; perhaps that could be trimmed flush, but it would be a delicate procedure.
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