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Old 02-23-2005, 07:29 PM   #1
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Floor Replacement - Frame Weld

We're replacing the floor and doing frame repairs on our '67 TW.

Here's what we decided: the frame looks like it's in OK condition, just needs welding around the door area and in some areas that are pretty pitted up underneath. I correctly assumed he didn't want to crawl underneath.

I don't want to remove the whole floor so I'm thinking: doing it in sections of about four feet at a time. I'm taking off the lower inner panels towards the front, removing part of the floor, Bob the Welder takes a look and fixes what's needed. Replace floor area. Move to the next floor section, remove, Bob takes a look, replace floor. Etc. etc.

We may brace up the inside first too. Can I bend lower inner panels upwards or do I have to remove them? Any thoughts, suggestions, or warnings?

What's the best way to remove floor, sawzall or skilsaw?

thanks,
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:06 PM   #2
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I removed the floor using a circular saw set to just a tiny bit less than the floor thickness, then used a prybar to get under and rip it up. I also used a jigsaw where I couldn't control the circular saw easily. I could get closer to the walls with it. I also found a lot of uses for a chisel, sturdy paint scraper, and a claw hammer.

I found I didn't need to brace the body because I didn't remove enough of the floor for it to deform. The remaining floor held it in place. I found I would have had an easier time replacing the sections whole if I had removed more floor. As it was I had to cut them to get them back in.

Your plan sounds fine as long as Bob the Weleder doesn't charge you by the trip. I live out of town so half the cost of my welding was his travel time to get here.
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:37 PM   #3
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I suspect that doing it a little bit at a time may very well end up taking you longer but it probably can be done the way you suggest. The side panels are relatively stiff but you may be able to flex them out of the way enough if you take out the rivets most of the way up to the top edge. If you do that though it would not be that much harder to just take them all the way out. Taking the panels out and putting them back in is not really all that hard compared to removing and replacing the floor itself. On my 31' AS there are only about 3 pieces total along the lower row on the sides that I had to take out. The really long pieces can be rolled up and taped or tied for storage if you don't have room for them flat. There really are not all that many rivets involved. Also depending on what year your AS is you might find that there are 5/8" plywood splices under the edges of the sheets of plywood at the joints between sheets. You can not fully remove these until both sheets of plywood that sit on them are removed.

The bracing technique that I used is really pretty easy to implement and does not take very much material. Again it is easier to install the bracing than to remove the flooring. I guess my oppinion is that you would be better off doing each of the steps all at once rather than trying to do it piece meal. You will find that there is a lot less setup and take down of your tools and welding equiptment too.

About saws:

I found that I needed a combination of different tools to get the floor pieces out. There is more detail in some of the postings that I mention below but let me summarize here:

1.) A circular saw is a good choice for cutting the majority of the plywood out. I set the saw blade depth to just under the thickness of the plywood. I then marked and cut out the center sections of each plywood sheet along the edges of the cross members and as near to the sides of the body as I could conveniently get. The objective here is to end up with narrow strips of wood on top of the frame cross-members and around the edges of the body. Once you cut the pieces you can pry them out with a slim crow bar. If the belly pan is off you can hit them from underneath with a hammer to break loose the tiny bit of plywood that your circular saw did not cut. With the saw blade set to the correct depth you will not cut into the frame and you just need to avoid the screw and bolts where the plywood is attached to the cross memebers.

2.) A sazall (or reciprocating saw) is very helpfull for cutting through the bolts that hold the plywood strips to the cross-members. I used a pry bar to help lift the plywood off of the frame a bit so the saw would not bind so much on the wood when you cut the bolts. Cut them between the wood and the top of the frame. In my case there were replacement screws on some of the floor that must have been stainless steel. They were very hard to saw with a normal metal cutting blade. I used an abrasive blade instead and had better results. I did not use my recip saw very much around the edges for fear of cutting into the outer body panels.

3.) Some type of cutoff wheel to help cut the screws and bolts around the bottom of the body. I have an air powered one but a roto-zip or a dremel tool can work. You will use a lot of blades with the dremel since they are a bit small for the task.

4.) Hand hack saw - the type with a handle that the blade sticks out from. I found there were a few places where I found it easier to just carefully saw a bolt or screw by hand. The saw I bought had a terrible blade to start with by the way. Once I replaced it with a good one the work was a lot easier.

I am sure that you have seen at least some of the following threads but I mention them again for others too:

http://www.airforums.com/foru...20&page=1&pp=20 An alternative to plywood

http://www.airforums.com/foru...ead.php?t=13732 Some discussion about shell on techniques.

"Shell Off vs Shell On" several notes especially my post #74

"HELP!!! On a tight schedule, need to replace..." my post #26

The best thing to do is to take your time and think through each of the steps. If you run into any specific snags I would be happy to try to help as much as I can. For what its worth I do have the dubious distinction of being one of the few people (if not the only one) who has replaced their floor twice in the same remodeling session.

Malcolm
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Old 02-23-2005, 10:47 PM   #4
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Thanks both. I think I"ll remove more floor than originally thought. I just don't want to remove the whole dang shell, I wish I had the means but I don't.

I forgot to mention that Bob The Welder is this retired guy who charges ridiculously low prices. He taught welding in the military and then worked on race cars and does beautiful work. 87 years old. He lives very close and is known all over town as a very skilled welder, among other things. I discussed my fears of taking the shell off and compromising the shell structure and he knew exactly what I was talking about.

I was asked by a mutual friend to be sure to pay him well because he undercharges, as in, a $100 job for only $10. I'm not too worried about the cost, and my frame is in pretty good shape. Just some pitted areas around the step and one or two other places.

I'll just have to get in there and start removing lower panels!! Time to decide what to do for replacements, if we decide to do new interior skins!! I sure like the aluminum idea, at least for part of it.

How hard is it to shape the inner end panels around the front window? Would I have to cut it like the outside of the trailer? Hope this makes sense.
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Old 08-17-2005, 09:23 PM   #5
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will welding harm converter or wiring?

hi- a related question: I had planned on having some reinforcements welded on to the back of my frame tomorrow, along with a couple angles to hold the black tank pan, but got to thinking that all that elctricity flowing through the frame might damage something in the electrical system?? What do I need to disconnect to avoid this, or should a frame be welded only when isolated from the rest of the coach? thanks- tim
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:28 PM   #6
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I think that the current involved in arc welding would flow just in the local area where the welding is being done. Its going to follow the path of least resistance which would be the shortest possible path through the frame to the clamp-on connector for welder.

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Old 10-31-2005, 06:17 PM   #7
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Has anybody got expierence in replacing a main out rigger from the bottom
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:57 PM   #8
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Is not a difficult thing to do - I had one replaced when I first got my trailer - a good welder should be able to do it without damage to the floor

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Old 01-04-2006, 08:04 PM   #9
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I just started taking my floor off in sections, and used a router. I set bit depth to be almost BUT not quite as deep as wood depth. I then cut out the area to be replaced, take a wood chisel to pop throught remaining wood, and list it off.

This method ensures you don't hit seams, wires, frame, etc. Worked great!
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Old 01-04-2006, 08:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilMateo
I just started taking my floor off in sections, and used a router. I set bit depth to be almost BUT not quite as deep as wood depth. I then cut out the area to be replaced, take a wood chisel to pop throught remaining wood, and list it off.

This method ensures you don't hit seams, wires, frame, etc. Worked great!
It also works great to use a circular saw with the blade depth set to just slightly less than the thickness of the floor.

Malcolm
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