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Old 09-03-2002, 09:03 AM   #1
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Floor cancer

We are going to post photos soon but just when I had the interior all prettied up the rains came and so did the leaks.

So, when the rain came last week, (and through the long weekend), we cancelled our trip to the lake in the AS.

When I bought the AS I noticed that there was some rot around the threshold of the door. So when the rain poured all weekend I checked to see if there was a leak where the rot was.

Indeed there was a leak and some. so I decided that since I have a set of steps coming this week and I sure could stand to replace the rotted floor, what the hay!

Out came the sawzall and some gumption. I removed the gaucho and cut out the cancer. This lead to soak and wet insulation below the floor.
On to the leaks.........

I am currently removing all of the old caulk and Vulkem around every thing on the door side of the AS. There was a bevy of sealants and man somebody was determined to stop the leaks.

Although I doubt that the water can defy gravity, (someone caulked all of the lap seams), I am going to recaulk all of the windows.

I intend to caulk the rivets from the inside.

I can see where a lot of the rivets have been caulked. ( not very attractive), so I will caulk from the inside. Does this sound do-able?

Someone has removed the inside panel befor as indicated by the replaced rivets with screws. Since I have the gaucho out it should not be hard to remove interior panel.

The sun is finally showing itself today. maybe I can get some caulking done.

I think that the floor being removed is going to provide for ease of installing new steps. It appears that the original steps were actually a part of the original frame. I am hoping that the steps will fit in to palce with out the use of a cutting torch.

When it rains it pours..........
Smily
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Old 09-03-2002, 10:27 AM   #2
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Although I doubt that water can defy gravity...

Capillary action is what plants use to draw water from the ground to their leaves, you can get the same between two sheets of metal. Don't rule this area out.


I intend to caulk the rivets from the inside

If the rivets look like they may be leaking and need caulking, I would replace them. One of the reasons a rivet works so well is when installed it expands to fill the hole. This not only securely fastens the panels together, but prevents leaks. If they are leaking, they are not holding as intended.

John
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Old 09-03-2002, 10:34 AM   #3
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Advice noted but.....

Thanks for the advice.

I have considered new rivets but how does one replace the rivets without holes?

Does this require a special tool other than a standard rivet tool?

I have heard that the original rivets have to be installed from both side of the skin???

I am certain that I can probably find info on rivets somewhere on this forum.

I will aslo caulk the lap seams but I will try to be a little neater than the PO.

Smily
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Old 09-03-2002, 10:51 AM   #4
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If the rivets are tight the seams will be tight enough that they don't have to be caulked, just don't discount this as a source of leaks.

Olympic rivets is a link to riveting tools and suppliers.
Bucked rivets do have to be installed from both sides, but the Olympic are really a glorified pop rivet installed from one side. The hang up with them is they have to be finished so they look like a bucked rivet, and the finishing tool is expensive.

When you remove the old rivet you will have a hole for the new one. I think the Olympics are slightly larger so you will have a pilot hole really.

If you have to do a lot of rivets, a pneumatic riveter is better. They set harder and are much faster to use.

John

Also try Rivets Plus, another source for Olympic rivets and finishing tool, plus a bunch of other fasteners.
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Old 10-05-2003, 09:53 PM   #5
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Smile

Floor cancer must be contagious.

We just dug in for our first weekend of work on our "new" '66 Safari - dragging out everything that was obviously noxious. We knew there was a soft spot by the door but our olfactory's led us to it after we had cleaned out every other cause for the stink. Whew!

So we cut most of it out and are somewhat terrified by the implications of our action (after reading many posts on this site about how to remove the entire shell and build back together using nothing but sticks and a rivet gun - Macguyver style). The new hole runs about two feet into the A/S from the door and three feet to the right, but the rot extends about a foot underneath the galley (left) side where the air heater is (haven't got to that yet).

Any ideas on root cause? We were suspicous of the gap in the shell where the steps fit in, b/c everything up there is corroded but then again "water can't defy gravity" (splash?) Any pointers (or links) about graceful ways to remove the galley to get at the rest of the rot? Did you wind up patching or replacing the entire floor? Any recommends on fixes?

We thought we'd start off slow - buff a tail-light or something - but so much for that idea. Here we go!

Thanks! Tonia
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:52 AM   #6
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Simply patching the floor is what most of us have done but you must fix the water leaks in the meantime. I have patched several square feet of the flooring in my Overlander and it wasn't too bad, much easier than pulling the shell. Sounds like you will need to pull the galley to do a proper fix though and don't forget to inspect the floor framing, it may have some significant rust damage. Just approach the job using common carpentry repair techniques with a bit of steel fab thrown in and you will be O.K.!!

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Old 10-06-2003, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chas
Simply patching the floor is what most of us have done but you must fix the water leaks in the meantime. I have patched several square feet of the flooring in my Overlander and it wasn't too bad, much easier than pulling the shell. Sounds like you will need to pull the galley to do a proper fix though and don't forget to inspect the floor framing, it may have some significant rust damage. Just approach the job using common carpentry repair techniques with a bit of steel fab thrown in and you will be O.K.!!

Chas
I'm one of the folks pulling the shell.

Understand this is only needed if you have extensive rot. In my case the whole floor was shot. The Curb side of the coach had maybe 50% of the floor suporting it. All four corners were rotted out. I also had several poor floor repairs to contend with. I had a rusted out crossmember to replace as well. It was by far the best course in our case to go back to square one.

If it is localized floor problem then this is far more work then is required. You can replace quite a bit of floor without having to go to such extents. If you cut the bad floor out by cutting down the center you can work a new section of floor in uder the wall as long as the peice on either side is in good shape. THe walls on either side will be pelnty to suport the body while you do the repair.

I personaly feel that it is best to replace as large a section as possible with a single seam in the middle of the coach. The whay these campers are assembled the floor is an intergral part in it's structure as is the body work. The frame by it's self is not very strong. I weigh 200lb and I could flex the bare frame an easy 5 inches at the bumper end. Just getting a solid floor on the frame reduced this amount a great deal. The bodywork will for the most part eliminate this.

Same goes for the outrigers. They work with the floor to create their strength. This is especialy true at the step for the door. If you only patched to the frame rail then the decking will not be able to transfer the load to the center of the coach. the outrigers will fatigue over time and fail. I know this is true because this is how our coach was repaired and I had to reweld one of the outriggers.

At the center where you make the width wise seam if possible add a 4 inch 1/8 inch stringer in place of the 1 inch stringer that exists. Use elevator bolts about every 6-8 inches alternating a 1/4 inch to either side of the seam. This will tie the two halfs of the deck together and to the frame and will amke a sound repair. You can split the seam of the belly pan easily to gain access to the underside to tighten the bolts.

Alterantive #2 if welding in a new string is not possible is to locate the existing 1 inch stinger. Cut 3-4 iches to one side of it. Cut a 6-8 inch strip of 5/8's wood to the good side with 1.75 inch long 1/4 inch wood scews with a beveled head you can counter sink. The wood strip will do the same job as the metal stringer.
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Old 10-12-2003, 07:38 PM   #8
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Originally posted by 59toaster


At the center where you make the width wise seam if possible add a 4 inch 1/8 inch stringer in place of the 1 inch stringer that exists. Use elevator bolts about every 6-8 inches alternating a 1/4 inch to either side of the seam. This will tie the two halfs of the deck together and to the frame and will amke a sound repair. You can split the seam of the belly pan easily to gain access to the underside to tighten the bolts.

Alterantive #2 if welding in a new string is not possible is to locate the existing 1 inch stinger. Cut 3-4 iches to one side of it. Cut a 6-8 inch strip of 5/8's wood to the good side with 1.75 inch long 1/4 inch wood scews with a beveled head you can counter sink. The wood strip will do the same job as the metal stringer.
They say "There's no such thing as a stupid question." but we suspect that's probably false, so I hope you'll forgive us for asking the stupid question. We understand your point about the role of the floor relative to the structural integrity of the A/S as a whole and we want to put in the right fix. So we took out the heater and the galley and cut out the wood from the door to the wheel well (incindentally - big puncture in the wheel well ).

Now our stupid question: "What's a stringer?" Our engineer brother-in-law opined that it was the steel lateral cross-beam, but we weren't sure. In which case, if we have exposed more than one cross-beam by cutting 6-8' from the door to the wheel well, should we undertake the 4-1/8 reinforcement for all lateral cross-beams that are exposed or just one?

And since the intent is to "tie the two halfs of the deck together" should we reinforce all the way from the port-side to the starboard-side, or just from the starboard-side to the center line? And if the outer rail near the door is corroded (quarter-size holes in the steel), do we need to weld something in to reinforce (brother-in-law said so)?

And while we're at it, what's an "elevator bolt" -- we "googled" it and the results seem similar to the bolts that currently hold the old floor to the frame, i.e. with the fat round head counter-sunk through the floor-board? Is that right?

Thanks for all your help!

Brian + Tonia
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Old 10-12-2003, 08:27 PM   #9
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Originally posted by AntoniaGaldos


They say "There's no such thing as a stupid question." but we suspect that's probably false, so I hope you'll forgive us for asking the stupid question. We understand your point about the role of the floor relative to the structural integrity of the A/S as a whole and we want to put in the right fix. So we took out the heater and the galley and cut out the wood from the door to the wheel well (incindentally - big puncture in the wheel well ).

Now our stupid question: "What's a stringer?" Our engineer brother-in-law opined that it was the steel lateral cross-beam, but we weren't sure. In which case, if we have exposed more than one cross-beam by cutting 6-8' from the door to the wheel well, should we undertake the 4-1/8 reinforcement for all lateral cross-beams that are exposed or just one?

And since the intent is to "tie the two halfs of the deck together" should we reinforce all the way from the port-side to the starboard-side, or just from the starboard-side to the center line? And if the outer rail near the door is corroded (quarter-size holes in the steel), do we need to weld something in to reinforce (brother-in-law said so)?

And while we're at it, what's an "elevator bolt" -- we "googled" it and the results seem similar to the bolts that currently hold the old floor to the frame, i.e. with the fat round head counter-sunk through the floor-board? Is that right?

Thanks for all your help!

Brian + Tonia
The goal is to make it solid from one side to the other but if you make a goot patch like I descried above where the two sections of ply are joined in such a way that they can transfer the load then no need to replace the sheet from one side to the other. In fact it's near impossible to do so without removing the shell. The problem is you can make a good tie together over the frame if it's box.

I included a picture below of the frame of our 59 stripped down to the frame so you can get an idea of whats under the floor. I also labled the parts in question. In the many years the Airstream has been built since the single pole/spline designe of the 30's-40's they all seem to be simular construction as ours. The crossmembers and outrigers are 24 inches on center. Some years the crossmembers will have cutouts for weight reduction and routing of plumbing. I understand some years the main rails are also C-Channel as well. I think your vintage the main rails will be box and for the most part identical to my picture.

The stringers on our runits a 1x1 inch L bracket. Not very sturdy to use to tie the two peices of ply together. If you replaced or added a second stringer of 1/8 inch thick by 4 inch wide steel plate that would tie the two sheets of ply together. Idealy that would be welded to the crossmembers but it doesn't have to be. The stringer could also be made out of wood. I would use a 6 inch wide 5/8 ply (same material as the deck is made from.)

Hope that clears things up once you see the frame construction.
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Old 10-12-2003, 08:36 PM   #10
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Elevator bolt: yep you have that correct. Larger fastener suply houses should have them in stock. I'm using 1/4 x 2 with Nylock nuts. Nylocks have a nylon peice that keeps them from loosening up. If you have already cut out a few of the original elevator bolts you probably noticed Airstream just bent the bolt over to lock prevent the nut from loosening.
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Old 10-12-2003, 10:29 PM   #11
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We wish you could appreciate the luminescence from all the light bulbs going off at this end. I think we "get it". And it definitely makes sense from the point of view of structual integrity. Thanks for the picture - it really cleared things up. So now we just have to figure out the implementation. No problem! Thanks 59Toaster!

We'll let you know how it goes!

Tonia + Brian
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Old 10-13-2003, 09:36 AM   #12
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No problem.

I should not make posts after being on the road for 8 hours. Boy to the typos get bad LOL.
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Old 10-13-2003, 09:38 AM   #13
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I just started working on my floor too. Yesterday I removed the gaucho frame and fresh water tank from the front and ripped up all of the plywood under it back to the first seam. Now I'm going to browse through the forums and see about slipping new plywood under the walls. Mine appears to have been screwed up from below to the area between the wall panels and doesn't seem to rest ON anything. I'm hoping this doesn't mean I'll have to remove the belly panels as they use the big finished rivots.

It feels good to get all that rotten wood and insulations out though. As well as a huge old hornets nest form-fitted to the inside of the panels. Probably was good insulation though.
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Old 10-13-2003, 11:35 AM   #14
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I just started working on my floor too. Yesterday I removed the gaucho frame and fresh water tank from the front and ripped up all of the plywood under it back to the first seam. Now I'm going to browse through the forums and see about slipping new plywood under the walls. Mine appears to have been screwed up from below to the area between the wall panels and doesn't seem to rest ON anything. I'm hoping this doesn't mean I'll have to remove the belly panels as they use the big finished rivots.

It feels good to get all that rotten wood and insulations out though. As well as a huge old hornets nest form-fitted to the inside of the panels. Probably was good insulation though.
Ives:

Haha did you see the Bee's nest we pulled out of ours?

You can get the first and last peice in without a huge hassle but it's still a lot of work. In the front you need to remove the tanks and anything off the top of the tounge. There is a peice of the trim that wraps from the first rib on one side all the way around to the first rib on the otherside. Take that off. Drill out all the rivets including a 20 or so just above the tounge on the front wall.
Remove the interior front wall. There are some rivets that hold the belly pan to the U-Track. You can cut them free from the interrior and then drop the front section of belly pan. Your going to have to work a flat peice of metal in around that plate to pop it off the rivets to free the pan. With all the rivets loose and the heads cut off the lag bolts that hold the U-Track to the deck. Once everythel along the edge is free you will have some movement available to wiggle things around and get the steel plate out.


Now here is the trick. You need to tie the rear of the trailer down to something. Peice of steel that you can park a car on eitherside and somestrong straps to the frame rail at the bumper would do the trick. Lower the tounge and the shell will lift off the frame just enough to work the plywood deck in. Once it's in and you have the metal plate back in place you can bolt the U-Track back down while the belly pan is hanging. Slide the belly pan back up into place then you can rivet everything back together. You want the Olympic Rivets sold by Airstreamdreams.com or InlandRV.com They install with a regular pop rivet gun.

Drop me a PM if you need any tips. I also bought way too many Elevator bolts If you need some I probably have enough to do your repair a few times over. I'll have to look I think they are around 40cents each plus the nuts. I found them in stock at Threads of the South off 41 north of Marietta.
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