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Old 05-31-2012, 09:08 PM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Floor repair help

I have a couple soft spots in my floor. Can I just cut these out and put down new plywood. What kind of support is under the floor, i.e. cross beams, etc?
The carpet was already pulled thru out and I was going to install Pergo but need to fix these spots first. I know they were caused by previous leaks from the ceiling vents that I have fixed.
I just did not want to start cutting and find out I have to remove shell or something like that. This airstream is in really decent shape otherwise and I do not want to have to gut it and replace entire floor unless that is absolutely necessary.
Thanks for any advice and really glad I found this forum,
Rick
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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Will you tow this, or park it?
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Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:16 PM   #3
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Depends on where the soft parts are and how large they are. The floor is part of the support structure on an Airstream, some parts of it are more critical than others.

Pictures would be a big help.

Your profile shows that you have a 1973 Ambassador, that is one of the longer trailers and they are subject to rear end leaks and separation issues, those need a better repair than just cutting out a bit of plywood.

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Old 05-31-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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I will tow it. We use it to go camping 2-3 times a year.
The first soft spot is right in the middle as you walk in the door. The other one is in the hall by the bathroom door. I have the center bath and not the rear bath. Both are in the middle of the camper under the roof vents. Both are about 10" x 10".
Not sure how to get you a pic. You really cannot see it. You just feel it when you step on it.
To the best of my limited knowledge, I do not have seperation issues. The camper seems pretty solid. I had to pull up the carpet because the PO had really trashed it and because of the roof leaks I fixed. I put down cheap pull and stick flooring and now wanted to put something nicer down.
I am reading so many post right now and learning so much. Just hate to see people having to gut their campers. Not sure I would be smart enough to do something that involved. And really dont want to have to remove belly either.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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Go as far as you need, do as good as you can. You'll never be sad that you did a good job.
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:03 PM   #6
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Go as far as you need, do as good as you can. You'll never be sad that you did a good job.
What u say sounds good but still does not tell me best way to try going.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:06 PM   #7
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Laminate is pretty stiff. Try throwing a couple of pieces down on top of the soft spots and walk on them. Some people just leave it, rather than cutting up the floor.

You could cut the sections out and scab in new sections. But you will have to find some way of attaching the old plywood with the new. The question will then be, is the scanned in section stronger than the soft floor..
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
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What u say sounds good but still does not tell me best way to try going.
Maybe no need to tear it up now if it's together but spongy. Maybe just lay an underlayment on it and put a new floor covering on it. If the goal is safe and usable, that'd probably get you there.

There are people who's hobby is working on trailers and there are people who's hobby is using trailers. If you follow a person who's hobby is working on trailers, guess what you'll be doing.


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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1278182564
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:23 AM   #9
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Is it OSB or is it plywood? In my opinion the less you can tear out in a fairly sound trailer the better off you are. I have heard reports of people using the epoxy wood rot fix for small places in plywood. I was faced with a similar problem in OSB and I choose just to cut out the area (my OSB was completely gone and growing plants) and to insert a patch. I glued and screwed cleats around the edges underneath and then glued and screwed the patch down. Worked fine.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Have a look at the attached picture, which is the frame of my '73 globetrotter for an idea of how the frame is structured under the floor boards. In general, you have cross beams that run approximately 24" on center. There will always be a crossbeam underneath a seam where two pieces of plywood come together. In a 48" wide sheet of plywood, there will also be a beam running across the center. You should be able to see where the cross beams are because there will be a row of screws visible, which attach the plywood to the beam.

So, to fix your 10" x 10" rotten spots, you could draw a nice square that you intend to replace, drill a hole at each corner, and then use a jig saw, oscillating tool, etc. to cut our your square. You would then want to reach under the floor and screw 4" wide pieces of plywood to the underside of the stable floor next to your square hole. This should provide support on the four sides of your square for your new piece of floor to set down into. Use a polyurethane glue and lots of short screws to hold the patch to the supporting pieces of wood. If you want to get extra fancy, you could hit the sides of your square hole with a router with a 45 degree angled bit, and then match the edges of your patch with a "mating" 45 degree angle (probably overkill, and it will require a lof of precision for the fit).

Here are the words of caution:
1) Beware or where your cross members are, as you don't want to accidentally cut through them while cutting your hole.
2) Be prepared for the worst when you see into your floor cavity. If you do have a frame member immediately under your soft spot, it could be really rusted away.
3) Know where your freshwater, and waste water tanks (if any) are. If you drill down into one, you will have turned a Saturday afternoon project into an expensive and time consuming repair.

good luck!
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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check this thread out. can't get the link to work. the thread is under interior restoration forum, floor finishes.
name is :
Got Rot! Now What?
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:17 PM   #12
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If you have a plywood floor, and soft spots, you may be able to use Rot Dr. Google it. I used it in the rear of my '81 Excella II. It works good if the plywood is soft, but still there. If it has rotted thru, probably best to patch the floor as described in above post.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:43 PM   #13
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1) Beware or where your cross members are, as you don't want to accidentally cut through them while cutting your hole.
How thick is the current flooring? I can always set my saw to only cut so deep.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:10 PM   #14
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The floor in my '73 was 3/4" plywood. Again, be super careful of your tanks. You may have a little bit of breathing space because they tended to sandwich the pink fiberglass insulation underneath the floor, so if you were using something like an oscillating tool, you could probably tell you were breaking through before you do much damage. Another thing to consider is that if you are right over a tank, you may not have much room to insert the small pieces of support/scabbing plywood under the floor. If this is a problem, it may make sense to increase the size of your patch to support it with the nearest cross member. The cross members are made of fairly thin metal (<1/8" as I recall), so you could probably cut one with a circular saw and not even notice much of a kick.
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