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Old 05-09-2011, 07:27 PM   #1
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Floor/frame separation fix - section or all at once?

My '64 Globetrotter clearly has the rear end separation - bumper jumping shows bumper moving independently of the shell. BUT doorway edge jumping shows frame/step moving independently of shell there too, although not nearly as dramatically.
I was planning to just fix the rear end by replacing the last 4' or so of subfloor, etc. I have the bath removed and the interior bath area skins removed. The plan was to get the whole rear end whipped into shape and then get ready for camping. Thankfully the frame only has some surface rust in the rear but most of it still shows black paint and isn't bad at all, for at least the last few feet toward the rear that I have seen. All of the water damage I can find is around the rear hatch and that's getting fixed either way.

Could it be that there is just some "minor separation" due to water damage around the doorway that doesn't represent a need for a whole-floor replacement?

Question is... do I go for it and remove all the cabinets and do a shell-on refurb of the bolts, whole floor, etc., now?
OR... do I fix the rear end like I planned and then do the "bath forward" shell-on floor and bolt fixes after a nice useful camping season?
OR... do I do the shell-off full monty?
I just hate to think of missing an entire season of camping by totally disassembling the GT. I only get about 2 days a week to work on it and my most important campground reservation (according to my kids) is July 23.
Decisions, decisions...
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:33 PM   #2
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In my opinion it is important to be able to have a camper to use. We haven't done that since December! I'm nearly done with doing the shell on rear half refurb on Abby our Ambassador. It is possible to piece meal it to completion, but I think a shell off complete resto is the way to go for a quality job. At any rate it is your decision to make and no one else.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:42 PM   #3
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Time to start crawling under the old girl

I am in the middle of an undercarriage restoration on my '68 GT. I was surprised to see the rotten steel bumper supports and rear floor. I recommend you crawl under and check your rear side steel supports for extensive rust. Check under the rear sink to see if you have any floor left. Take some shots and post them for more responses. Check my restoration on Forums under 1968 Globetrotters for pictures of the damage I found. I am on year two. No need to do a shell off for me, just a rear corner repair and steel amongst others. Be glad to help.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:14 AM   #4
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I would be careful of patch jobs, they can be costly. Also depending on the amount of seperation you could do alot more damage to your trailer. My 65 was complelely missing the rear crossmember and most of the rear subfloor. I am almost done with the frame repair and going to get new subfloor tomorrow. Like Top said a little or alot its up to you. Unlike Randy I had to do a shell off. Once you get thru the dirty work its not too bad. Post pics!
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:25 AM   #5
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Ugh. I had to replace my floor too- under the bath had been redone at some point, so I did the first 3 panels. I just had to do the rear one- the vent pipes for the plumbing had come apart- it appears that they were never glued, but are original, and the back floor rotted out. I did a band aid repair to get another year and some more camping before totally redoing the bath (no tub, reconfigure the sink and cabinet for pv battery location) but I cringe when I open the back hatch. So, we've learned that the more right you make your repairs, the happier you'll be-
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:54 AM   #6
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I like the idea of quality work done right the first time as well. I guess the question really is "can a quality job be done piecemeal?"

It seems reasonable to do a quality fix on the rear end under the bath. I was already planning on that.-just hadn't planned on working farther forward than the bath.

I'll try to post some pics. I do have some recent ones on my thread dealing with the beginning of this when I thought it was more about fixing rain leaks and black tank refurb: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f155...ork-76271.html
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:50 AM   #7
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Here are some photos. Turns out I don't have the bath as completely "removed" as I thought but pretty close. The doorway to the Globetrotter has some suspicious looking repair work around the corners and the P/O used "floor leveler" under the vinyl flooring which is cracked into a million pieces as shown here.

The frame under the trailer, everywhere I can see, looks to be in good and solid condition with just some surface rust here and there but POR-15 should handle that I guess.

Leaning toward doing the rear end floor and separation repair, replumb, and get ready to camp. Then at the end of the season or next spring tear out from bath forward and do the rest of the floor, frame POR15, bolt replacement, and whatever comes up. Probably new belly pan too since it's pretty rough.

Ideas? Inspiration? HELP???
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #8
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By the looks of that doorway looks like some pretty significant water damage. When you are ready I would drop the belly pan check the edges of the sub floor pay particular attention to the areas under windows access doors and around the wheel wells. You may not see it but a failed outrigger can give you a lot of headache! Don't be fooled, my frame looked OK at first glance too. I had to completely rebuild the back half and the section under the door. The belly pan material is not a big cost, just a bit of work.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:22 AM   #9
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GT floor lightly mended

Hi There, I'm rebuilding a 68 Globe Trotter in Ann Arbor. The Previous Owner had repaired the floor around the door. All of his "repairwork" had to be removed and re-done.

What I'd be most concerned about is the condition of the steel frame in the door area. Mine was just fine, but I see a lot of potential for deteriorated metal if you feel "soft" in that area.

Advocates of the Shell-off restoration may be biased toward restoration work vs camping time with the kids.

I'd spend this "now" window of time with my family, and save the grueling years of money-pit restoration for your "old age" after the kids leave home. There is very little recoverable value in Airstream restoration. You're not rebuilding a priceless Bugatti. In your lifetime, It will always be worth less than half of what you have invested.

First off, find and repair the leaks that rotted the floor.

This is how "Us Hillbillys" do a one day, $50 dollar, 10-year repair...
(Photo-essay your work, so you'll have a "documentation" of your repairs for the next owner).

Take up 2 1/2 or three feet wide (you need this width to cantilever the plywood over the frame rail) by up to eight feet long of floor along the curb-side. Seems like a big piece of wood, but it's just as easy to replace a large single sheet as a small one. This will also facilitate the removal of thousands of acorns and hickory nuts without dropping the pan. Thoroughly inspect your frame and outriggers. If you don't weld, drill and angle-iron repairs as needed. Rust-proof and paint frame with whichever product fits your budget.

I'm not convinced that Airstream always or ever used Marine grade plywood for floors. I wonder if this is a myth. 5/8 CDX, both sides and edges soaked in a few coats of alkyd enamel will outlive you.

Dig out all the floor rot under the wall and leave the elevator bolts dangling in place. (If the elevator bolts are gone, you'll have to make a different plan than this one). Screw a 6" wide cleat under the center edge of the existing floor.

On the right rear, jack up frame so as to reverse the sag and you'll get some "bow" that 'll give you more room to slide in your repair sheet.

Since you'll only have 3 or 4 elevator bolts to deal with in the wall channel, you might not want to drop the pan and remove interior skins. To "through-bolt" the floor, cut 3/4" x 1/8" slots in the edge of the new floor to capture the elevator bolts... This will create an interference fit of the bolt to wood. Put catalytic adhesive in the slots (JB Weld), and gently tap the sheet under the channel with your sledge hammer, being sure to guide the elevator bolts to align into the slots... The center edge will drop onto your cleat/s. Drill, countersink, and tap flat-head 1/4 or 5/16 bolts through the plywood and into the frame. Pack all your seams with polyester resin and cloth. (A little fiberglass Boat repair kit)

Take the kids to Lake Michigan THIS summer, In a few years they'll stop talking to you, and you can start your shell-off restoration, or continue to camp and enjoy your hillbilly repair.

Wm
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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I took another closer look. The "crossmember" that connects the two "i beams" under the rear hatch is what looks like a 1/4" thick, 2" wide or so piece of steel that serves to bolt the c-channel, floor, etc. to the frame under the rear hatch. That piece was rusted almost completely through. That's where all the water damage is to the floor as well. The frame really looks quite good, even with black paint on a lot of it still. If I'm right, that crossmember and the subfloor were the sacrificial pieces due to rain leaks and replacing them should get me back on the road.

Looks like a welding job to replace that crossmember, plus some POR 15 on everything else I can see, and replace the floor from side to side for the last 3 feet or so of the GT should be a good repair.

What about the subfloor seam? Anybody just put the seam right on top of the first crossmember from the back? Seems like elevator bolts on both sides of the seam could easily go through the steel cross member and it would be really solid...

I also looked closer at the door and the right hand side wall seems loose from the floor and the left side is very solid. It looks like there was a "sideswipe" accident at some point and that must have sheared that bolt or somehow loosened things up.

I am planning to do self-taught rivet bucking to put things back together so a few more interior panels removed and I should be able to fix stuff up and put it all back together again.

Planning to CAMP soon!
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:57 PM   #11
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Progress!

I have a very experienced expert welder coming tomorrow to evaluate and repair the "cross bar" between the main frame beams. This is the .25" x 2" x 58" or so that is under the rear hatch... and is what everything bolts to. It's just about rusted through.

Otherwise, POR 15 should do the trick for the remaining visible frame. Looks like swedging the new 5/8" floor section in will work well with c-channel cooperating already. I decided to "split the difference" on the first main crossbeam - meaning my floor seam will be right in the center of the crossbeam, providing support fore and aft.

Here are a few pictures of today's destruction results!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlobeTrottin View Post
I have a very experienced expert welder coming tomorrow to evaluate and repair the "cross bar" between the main frame beams. This is the .25" x 2" x 58" or so that is under the rear hatch... and is what everything bolts to. It's just about rusted through.

...
Thats really cool... I have the same steel strap under the rear hatch, and it was a lot of rust. I POR 15ed it but hope to replace it (and the tank and rebuild the bath) in short order.
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