Originally Posted by mello mike
I had the dreaded rear end separation problem which was repaired using Airstream's official "elephant ear" method (done by Oasis RV in Tucson). While the separation problem was "fixed," the one problem with the floor was not. The worst and apparently the only area which suffered floor rot is directly center in my bathroom. See pic. You can see the patched plywood wedged in the C- channel and in the same pic you can see the gap between the patched plywood and the existing floor. When you step on the floor in this area the floor drops about 3/4 inch. At this point I see three options and wanted to get your opinions on what I should do next:
1. Scab a new piece of plywood in this area of the floor using metal plates underneath the three "floor" sides and the other end wedged in the C-channel.
2. Screw a metal support bracket above and underneath the old floor and the patched in plywood. I was thinking of gluing a small piece of plywood on the old floor to allow this type of repair.
3. Replace the entire floor in the bathroom.
Thanks in advance for your opinions.
The elephant type repair, factory approved or not, is a huge JOKE.
Typically the rear floor channel is also broken, and cannot be repaired unless it's removed and welded.
Then if you put everything back as was, the separation will happen again.
1. The rusted steel at the rear should be replaced.
2. The floor channel must be removed and welded back together.
3. Drop the 2 rear banana wraps so that you can access the outside of the frame just underneath the floor.
4. Add a piece od 2 x 2 angle a couple of inches long by welding it to the outside of the frame, underneath the floor, as rearward as you can, so that when the banana wraps are put back into place, they will hide those brackets.
5. Fabricate a couple of 1/4" or 3/8" steel plates that are quarter moon shaped, and about 6" long. Place those plates inside the floor channel at the frame.
6. Install 1/4" or 3/8 inch high quality bolts, thru the plate, thru the floor channel, thru the floor and thru the brackets that was welded to the outside of the frame. Add addtional bolts as above into the steel angle that you replaced, as well as the frame. Doing so, now provides a huge amount of extra hold down strength, that was never there before.
7. Of course if the rear floor was rotten, it should also be replace, and properly joined to the adjacent forward floor panel.
8. Now reassemble the interior or exterior rear plate and quarter panels, depending on which you removed to get at the floor channel.
9. When reassembling those parts, use plenty of 3/16 pop rivets, for additional strength. If you removed the exterior panels, those rivets will be hidden when you reinstall the rub rail molding.
10. Reinstalling the outside metal using olymic rivets is ok, just so that you used plenty of Vulkem sealer with them.
The above is a proper method to correct the rear end separation permanently.
I would like anyone, including the factory, to compare the above with the elephant ear repair method, and declare those two repairs methods are the same, and will give equal long term results.
Of course once the elephant ears have been cut, the rear quarter panels will always have that "what's this" appearance, unless you replace them.
The keys to the correct repair is repairing the floor channel, and adding the steel plates and brackets. That "CANNOT" be done, with the elephant ear repair, therefore it's a stop gap, not very funny "joke" type repair.
Since I am on vacation in Hawaii, I may have not mentioned a step or two. However, I think most folks would agree, the end results between those 2 types of repairs, cannot really be compared.
After I return, I will put together a drawing and or a photo. and post it.
As they say, a photo or drawing is worth a thousand words.