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Old 12-23-2006, 06:35 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1962 22' Safari
austin , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 7
floor replacement, shell on or off


I have just purchased a 62 safari- my first airstream. I need to replace the floor. From my research here I gather that I could replace the whole floor without taking off the shell. Is that accurate?

If so, I think that the front piece of plywood will slide in due to the radii on the leading edge. Should subsequent pieces be cut shy to be able to slide under both side walls? Could I cut them the proper length and flex it enough to fit under the walls? what if I double layer 5/16" ply? Or should I cut each one in half and have seams? I am disinclined th have seams in my floor. How far under the walls of my AS should the floor extend? All the way I suppose.

I look forward to hearing from some of you who have approached this problem alreaady.

Thank you,


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Old 12-23-2006, 09:00 PM   #2
Rivet Master
1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,923
That is not the way they were originally built and it is difficult to get the plywood to just slide under the c channel and above the frame. There are alot of bolts holding the whole thing together thru the c channel to the floor and frame which need to remain intact or be replaced, which means you need to remove all the inside lower skins and skin under the bottom of the trailer. You should use the search function and read about how to do this repair. many others have done the same thing.

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Old 01-02-2007, 08:53 PM   #3
Rivet Master
1973 31' Sovereign
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,245
Images: 22

In your model age group the u-channel at the bottom of the wall sits on top of the plywood which extends pretty much all the way out to the edge of the body. I believe that what you suggest about replacing the floor without removing everything is possible but there are some tricky things about it. You will have to build some sort of framework to make sure the body stays above the frame rather than settling down when you take out some of the plywood. Also, as already mentioned, there are a lot of fasteners holding things down both around the edges and to the middle framework. It is harder to get to parts of the frame for repair and painting.

What I did on my '73 to remove the plywood was to take my circular saw with the blade set to almost as thick as the plywood. I cut along the cross members (look for the screw lines) and as close as I could to the edge of the body. Once you remove the big pieces you are left with narrow strips around the eges and along the frame cross members. I then used a variety of tools to remover or cut the fasteners including hacksaw, sawsall, air powered cutoff wheel, etc. I was able to come up with a simple support system that you should be able to find details of in the threads referenced below.

I did as you suggested about inserting the end sheet of plywood. For the others I installed my sheets lengthwise instead of cross wise. I put a spline of plywood down the middle in between the cross members and used glue/screws along the joint. The techinique works fine.

Check out the following thread for a lot of discussion about floor replacments. There is a lot of detail here in the forums for both body off and body on techniques. My post number 10 has a list of some more threads where I describe the techniques that I used in more detail.

Removing the body shell and installing new floor completely - any one done this?

The fourth listed link and my post #74 has a lot of details as to the type of tools needed and some tips and techniques you might find useful.

Feel free to ask for more details if what I suggested is not clear.

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Old 01-02-2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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1959 26' Overlander
Hill Country , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 92
Hi, Joe,

I have recently done a "shell-on" sub-floor replacement on my 1959 Overlander. I am currently staying in Austin, would be happy to meet with you and discuss the process, show you pics, etc.

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