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Old 04-30-2011, 07:58 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Floor Replacement

I will have to replace some of the plywood in the rear of my 1973 31' Airstream. Water leaked in and rotted the wood around the edges. About 12" of plywood around the perimeter is shot. The rest is solid. I'll have to fix the leak, of course, but does anyone have advice about replacing the wood? It seems to be 3/4". I figured I'd cut back to the good wood, treat the new wood with something, and then attach it to the crosspieces.

Advice welcome!
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:18 AM   #2
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Do you have it opened up yet? Maybe add some pictures and then people can give more comments, also take a look at floor repair section of the forums, almost every 25plus year old trailer has had to fix that.
Good luck
Doug
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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Jerry you have a big task ahead of you. The floor is the main structural component joining the shell to the frame. There are bolts through the floor into the frame and they are inside the walls. In order to access them the inner lower walls MUST be removed and the banana wraps and belly pan MUST be dropped to get at the bottom of the bolts. The best repair is to replace the last section of the entire floor for structural strength especially if you are replacing anything more than a small piece of the floor in the rear.
Is your's a rear or center bath model? The rear bath models have a lot of weight right at the back and therefore the repair must be done right to avoid rear end seperation.
Once you get into it I can talk you through it. BTW I have a 73 31ft as well and am doing a shell off restoration
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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I'll be having a hard time imagining the outriggers and the frame is solid with a foot of perimeter damage. I hope it is. Best of luck with the repair.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for your input. It's only the edges of the rear and the rear quarter that are bad. I removed most of the plywood this morning. I see what you mean about the walls having to be gotten out of the way. Will I have to remove the wall completely?I'm hoping that dilling out the pop rivets will gain me the access I need. Then I'm hoping they go back in smoothly.

The metal beneath the floor seems fine. There wasn't much holding the wood to the metal cross pieces - just the occasional screw, and those squiggly flat staples joining adjacent boards.

I suspect the water is getting in from the rear bumper/storage area. This will give me a chance to add more insulation.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryc41 View Post
I will have to replace some of the plywood in the rear of my 1973 31' Airstream. Water leaked in and rotted the wood around the edges. About 12" of plywood around the perimeter is shot. The rest is solid. I'll have to fix the leak, of course, but does anyone have advice about replacing the wood? It seems to be 3/4". I figured I'd cut back to the good wood, treat the new wood with something, and then attach it to the crosspieces.

Advice welcome!
You may be able to get away with that fine if the floor that you are removing does not go under the C channel.
On mine in the front and the rear the shell basically sits inside a U channel which sits on top of the plywood. Once to the sides of the shell the U channel becomes a UC channel where the C is under the U and the plywood slides into the C part.

I'd try removing the rear banana wraps and the fasteners that connect the U channel to the plywood floor (from the inside).
If you are lucky the rear end will drop enough to allow you to pull the last section of the floor out from the rear and slide a new piece in.

I don't know.. but I'd try that approach first. I can only get worse from there.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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Thanks. I'll be busy with it today. It's a lot of work, but it's nice accomplishing something.

By the way, the only terms I understood in your reply were "plywood," floor," and
"banana." Too much tech-talk! But, I get the idea.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:44 AM   #8
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Shell = the body of the trailer
Skins = the aluminium inner panels that make up the inside walls
Banana Wraps = The banana shaped pieces at each " corner" below the shell
Belly Pan = The aluminium sheeting that close in the frame
Side Wraps = the side pieces of the belly that wrap up to meet the shell
C Channel = the channel that the shell, skins, bananas and wraps are riveted to.
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:42 PM   #9
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Jerry, you're gonna want to remove the inside skin wherever you're gonna replace floor wood to get at the channel where the body is bolted and screwed to the wood floor. To get at the bolts where the outriggers bolt to the body through the wood floor, just drop the skirts and banana wraps. It's not as bad a job as it sounds and the repair will be permanent and definitely value added.

Without a doubt, there's quite a bit of information on how to do it all on the forum. Several have posted picture by picture how to do it. Thankfully I didn't have a big floor repair.

Gary
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:34 PM   #10
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I had much the same with my Trade Wind. I put a barrier coat of West System epoxy top, bottom and edge and in about 10 inches in (2 coats) and then put 3 coats of marine urethane spar varnish on the rest. I think sealing the edges is critical to prevent rot if leaks develop in the future. Tip- if you put a slight bevel on the edges of the new floor before you coat it, it will slide back in the channel much easier (and it isn't easy even doing that).
If the old floor was really messed up getting it out, make a pattern for your new wood out of 1/8 luan. It is light and you can handle it easily. Get it fitting just right and then use it as a pattern for the thicker floor.
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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Since no one has mentioned blocking the frame before removing the skin I will ask a couple of questions hope you don't mind.
I am also doing the same repair I will be replacing 4 outriggers in front and two in the rear. How many stands do I need under a 31' before drilling the rivets on the skin out?
Also in the rear bedroom below the access door there are two outriggers that have unused angle iron on them Was this for the hose and electric real mount when used?
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:44 AM   #12
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Wsmith I blocked my frame in 6 points on each side for a total of 12 jack stands. I started out by making sure the trailer was level side to side and front to back then blocked the frame being careful not to flex the frame and create waves in the frame.
Yes the 2 outriggers with the angle iron attached are indeed the mounting points for the piece of plywood that the power cord and water hose reels sit on. For anyone else this was an Excella option only so you won't find this on other models.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:42 AM   #13
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Thanks for the information. I hope to get the parts ordered today. I was surprised to find the OSB was one piece.
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