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Old 06-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #29
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I concur! It certainly would be easier to remove the entire shell when doing a floor replacement - however, not everybody has the space to store the shell out of harms way while working on the floor/frame. We would have loved to take it off - but without a barn or very large yard, it just wasn't feasible. It was also a long term replacement - not just done in a couple of weekends due to other "life commitments". So, that being the case, we worked out a way to improvise leaving the shell on with great success. It's not been the easiest way - but it worked - and worked well!

Shari
Yes, this!

I would have loved to be able to pop the shell off, then I could have done the entire floor at once rather than half and half.

And you know, having a rotisserie to mount the de-shelled frame and flip it over and back sure would have made for much easier and quicker frame cleaning, welding, repainting, and bellypan installation as well.

But, we don't all have access to the same resources, whether that's space, equipment, time, or money. Doing it shell-on is the only way for some people, and it can be done, and done well.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:52 PM   #30
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enosburg , Vermont
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I was able to get all the bolts with 4 1/2 " angle grinder from topside. Used a thick [1/4" ?] disc for all elevator bolts on the interior side of the c-chanel, grind down the ctr with the edge of the disc & tap the bolt shaft down with a punch. On the parimiter inside the c-chanel the bolts came up from the bottom. I used a thin [1/8" ?] disc. There was just enough room to slice off the side of the nut knock & it off the bolt with a punch, then drive the bolt down. Had washers under the nuts in the c-chanel so did'nt have to worry about cutting down though the chanel. Had to go slow & carefull cutting inside the chanel. If the disc catches and skips out it would slice the aluminum.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:03 AM   #31
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More subfloor fun!

I'm in the middle of the same project on my 65 Safari- I think I had about the same amount of subfloor to replace. I removed the belly pan and black tank, and the most annoying part of that was the "blind rivets" on the radius. I then made a cut across the floor with a circular saw set to 5/8"- for the last 3" or so on each side, I used a handsaw "upside down" (pushing up toward the edge). This gave me a pretty clean cut with just a couple of splinters at the edge. I then cut down the middle of the bad floor to the end of the trailer. I considered trying to cut around the elevator bolts, but ended up deciding on a less delicate method... a floor jack pushing up from underneath. The bolts just rip through the old wood and then get snipped off with a bolt cutter. I first had to detach the C-channel from the back (just a few rivets), and my floor was bad enough so that the bolts around the edge weren't really doing anything anymore.
The frame right under the bath was a little ugly, but will clean up with POR15 and some new paint.

I'll be doing a different thread at some point about why if you think maybe should replace your axle, then you should do it right away. We did a 30K 2 1/2 year trip in ours with the original axle that "checked out fine". The curb side was bottoming out and we ended up with two cracks in the frame- one at each end of the axle plate! Both are repairable and we replaced our axle along the way, but it would have been nice to avoid the associated fun by knowing enough to replace it before we left.

Are you going to sandwich insulation between the wood and the frame? It seems that mine was there primarily as a habitat for small rodents of the 1970s. I do feel like there should be something there, though.

My elevator bolts get here this week (Vintage Trailer Supply), and then the reconstruction begins!
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:40 AM   #32
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I love vintage Airstreams, but stories of rusted frames give me nightmares. So I hesitate going down the restoration path. Why didn't Airstream galvanize the frames when they were manufactured? I know it adds cost, but who wants to replace a frame ever? Are the frames in the current line still ungalvanized?
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:05 PM   #33
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Not meaning to sound harsh but if the trailer is cared for, stored & maintained reasonably... Its indifferent owners/users that kill trailers. Galvanized steel spars, frame and outriggers will not stop seams and gaskets from leaking or caulked joint from failing. Wet rotting floors and corroded aluminum would still happen, and zinc reacts with aluminum just as bad or worse than iron since it is more easily leached and moved by acid rain's weak electrolyte action.

Indifferent owner example: it's great to have a salt-water view for a winter season, who cares the sea-spray is eating the trailer. Or more common but as bad or worse, the long term toity leak with uric acid and salts wicking through insulation everywhere in the aft section - soon the animal smell makes the trailer get used less, just parked out back for years and a frame restoration sequence is irretrievably initiated.

One thing to look at is Aluminum was once an expensive rarity and iron was dirt cheap, as was labor. The modern threshold of pain in our 'consumer side' discard society was unheard of. I'm proud to restore my 27' yet get nauseus thinking of it being sold and resold until its back in the hands of apes like those that allowed it to get so bad..
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:47 PM   #34
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Most 40 - 50 year old Airstreams have probably been owned by apes at some point. But I want one, but perhaps as my second AS. I'll look for something more recent to get me started.

I do enjoy reading the restoration threads, but I can't see how I'd get the time to do this myself at this point in my life.
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:16 PM   #35
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Hello 65Safari65...

I did not have much trouble with elevator bolts within the "field" of subfloor. My problem was getting to those INSIDE the c-channel. As suggested by "Putback" (the only one who understood my dilemma), I used a grinder to remove the exposed rusted stem and nut of each bolt from above, then drove them down and out with a punch. What a bleepin' hassle. But it's done...
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:38 AM   #36
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Hello 65Safari65...

I did not have much trouble with elevator bolts within the "field" of subfloor. My problem was getting to those INSIDE the c-channel. As suggested by "Putback" (the only one who understood my dilemma), I used a grinder to remove the exposed rusted stem and nut of each bolt from above, then drove them down and out with a punch. What a bleepin' hassle. But it's done...
Most of my bolts inside the channel broke off from above with a pair of vice grips, just as the ones in the "field" broke off from below. There were a couple in very hard to reach spaces where I had to grind them out.

But it was the slotted screws in the curved corner section that were much more difficult for me. Many of them were heavily corroded in place, and wouldn't budge. The subfloor sections in the corners were pretty rotten, so I ended up tearing out the floor, and then I had access to the threaded sections of those screws, and was able to turn them out using vice grips and penetrating oil.

-Marcus
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:43 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c-beast View Post
Hello 65Safari65...

I did not have much trouble with elevator bolts within the "field" of subfloor. My problem was getting to those INSIDE the c-channel. As suggested by "Putback" (the only one who understood my dilemma), I used a grinder to remove the exposed rusted stem and nut of each bolt from above, then drove them down and out with a punch. What a bleepin' hassle. But it's done...
Not so...having "been there, done that" there are many who understand the dilemma. We ground (or broke off) the bolts from the underside once the middle of the floor was removed. The couple of inch band that remained after using the saw along the perimeter gave us enough access to the underside. Whatever - as long as you found something that worked for you...

Shari
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:50 AM   #38
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I went with a RotoZip cutting disc plunged at a steep angle from above when I got to the C-channel bolts, just enough that the nut turns into two pieces & falls away easily, then drive the bolt through...
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:54 AM   #39
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Man I love the RotoZip!! I used mine to cut out the inside plastic pane on the Vista views!! EASY QUICK NICE!!!
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:30 PM   #40
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For the small damaged screws inside the c-chanel I stumbled onto a couple of ways. An old wasted flat screwdriver shaft [no handle]. Touch up the tip on a grinder. Use a sm/med hammer and the "new tool" to drive the head of the screw left & right. Usually this will lift the head enough to get on with good small square jawed visegrips, the the screw will then twist or pull out... Not enough head left or next to a rib. An old narrow puddy knife. It needs to be the type with steel all the way up the handle & good quality steel, if the blade is broken off an inch or two even better, less flex. Sharpen it on the grinder, steep angle, maybe a little V notch to stay on the screw shaft. Slip it between the floor and c-chanel & cut/break the screw w/hammer. Use care, it would be a real bummer to drive the blade through the outside skin.

Off topic, while you guys are deep in the walls are you leaving any messages for the next fool!!!!! I used yellow tire chauk and wrote. "If you've come this far you're as big a fool as I was in 2009, I however used stainless hex head screws & washers. You're welcome. but your still as big a fool as I was"!!! { arrow down to c-chanel} Hey you never know...
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:51 PM   #41
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Shari,

I like the method of cutting around the perimeter to get the bolts out without dropping the belly pans, but I was wondering how you got the bolts back in since you would be laying a full sheet of 4' plywood back in its place...
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:33 PM   #42
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If anyone knows the answer to that they ain't sayin! You break or cut the bolts 'cause the heads are round and recessed and the bolt tails are intentionally bent.. The whole rusted bolt/nut spins when you try to unfasten. Befor or after the new floor is in place the belly pan comes down or you only use about 1/3 the nessisary bolts. To make it more difficult the axle interfears with lowering the belly. You either remove the X, or slit and patch the belly pan. Good news is you may as well pull the X, probably gonna need a new one anyway, and you're never gonna be closer! Odd I never had these issues with a tent and a pack!!
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