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Old 05-28-2009, 09:42 AM   #1
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Frame ON floor restoration?

Greetings all. My wife and I have our first AS--a '65 GT that needs work...Duh!

I need to replace the section of subflooring under my toilet/bath enclosure in the back. Can I do this without pulling out/off the inner skins? I've read hundreds of posts here on this Forum regarding the floors, but not one that's easily applicable to my situation. Yes, I can cut out the damaged wood, but getting the new replacement into position has me bewildered.

Can anyone help, or point me in the right direction? Many thanks.

RJ
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

The floor goes between the c-channel and the frame. One way or another, if you are replacing a large portion of the floor (more than just a small patch) you will need to access this c-channel - which is most easily done by removing an interior skin. In order to replace the floor properly, you will have to remove the lower interior skin to access the bottom c-channel track to attach the shell to the frame through the new floor. I guess an another alternative would be to remove the exterior panel...but that seems a bit drastic and could compromise the exterior with regards to leaks.

Shari
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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RJ, Can you post photos of this area? It will give the community a better idea on how to advise you.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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Floor re-do, inner skin no-do...

Thanks for the replies. Here are a couple pics: the wide shot shows the backend that probably looks familiar to lots of folks. I've drawn a line around the section of subfloor I wish to replace. (Arrows indicate where the majority of rot now exists.)

The second shot is a bit closer, with a focus on the connection between the subfloor and the c-channel, which is where, of course, most of the rot exists.

The inner panels that cover this section of the floor are, again of course, behind each preceding panel, in front and on top.

Are there any "tricks" for removing the single section of subfloor without removing ALL or MOST of the inner panels? Help!
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File Type: pdf Backend2.pdf (45.1 KB, 427 views)
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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the lower panels should only take a couple minutes to remove. If they do indeed go behind the panel above by more than an inch or so, and you encounter blind rivets (rivets covered by the next panel) you can easily break these with a puddy knife and mallet by going between the skin and up the bow or rib that the rivet passes through. On the 63 and 66 the lower panels only were overlapped by about 1.5 inches and didn't encounter any blind rivets. If space is an issue, or ability to remove the entire lower panel (say it runs the entire length of the trailer) you can always remove the rivets and roll up and secure the metal out of the way of the panel replacement area.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:32 PM   #6
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Pulling the other panels doesn`t take that long,now when you get to the screws holding down the floor,that is a different matter.I first tried grinding them off,smoke from burning wood almost choked me to death.Then I got a hole saw a little bigger than the bolt head ,removed the pilot,then you need to caress it at the right angle to get it to start.Then drill till you hit the frame,plywood comes up easily then.
Looks like now would be a good time to add the gray tank. Dave
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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Floor

I'm going through the same thing with my 68 Trade Wind. You must remove the inner panels in the rear in order to properly bolt the new floor through the
c-channel. The strength of the monocoque construction of Airstreams is dependent on all components being tied together. The only way to tie it together is by having access to the c-channel. The only way is through the inside, or the outside, and the inside is by far the easy way to do it. Take the time to do it right and it will be good to go for another 40 years. Of course in the case of a bathroom area, you must remove everything, sink ,tub trim to have access to the interior panels. It takes a while and lots of drilling rivets and screws. Just take your time and don't force anything. There is always "one more screw" that you missed so don't get frustrated and force things cause bath plastic parts are very hard to replace if you break them.

Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RJohans View Post
Thanks for the replies. Here are a couple pics: the wide shot shows the backend that probably looks familiar to lots of folks. I've drawn a line around the section of subfloor I wish to replace. (Arrows indicate where the majority of rot now exists.)

The second shot is a bit closer, with a focus on the connection between the subfloor and the c-channel, which is where, of course, most of the rot exists.

The inner panels that cover this section of the floor are, again of course, behind each preceding panel, in front and on top.

Are there any "tricks" for removing the single section of subfloor without removing ALL or MOST of the inner panels? Help!
Sounds like you know what needs to be done, and you're just a little bit afraid of doing it. You need some encouragement. So here it is:

You CAN do it

It's not that bad

The past few responses have given you some insight into the the tricks and methods you'll need, so now you just have to get in there and do it. I have no doubt that you can, and will.

Good luck!
-Marcus

Oh, I'll give you one more tip-- buy the big contractor pack of ten 1/8" drill bits. I can't tell you how many I broke when drilling out, and reinstalling, the panels. Sometimes you're in a tight space, and if you don't have just the right angle, SNAP goes the drill bit. When you get down to having only 2 or 3 left, it's time to buy another 10-pack on your next trip to the hardware store.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #9
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Here are a couple pics...
Well, from the looks of your photos, the hard part is already done. With the bathroom out, taking off the lower interior panel will be a piece of cake!

As others have mentioned - just have a good supply of 1/8" drill bits - the panel will be out in less than a hour. After you replace the wood, the panel will go back in place in even less time. It's installed with 1/8" pop rivets...super easy to install.

Good luck and post pics along the way ~

Shari
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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Thanks, all!

Okay, I'm going for it. Thanks for the tips and words of encouragement. I'll keep you posted.

RJ
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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Yes, please keep us updated with your progress with photos and commentary, and continue to ask any questions you have.

I have been intimidated by several things during my renovation so far, and the support of the Forums is what got me through.

-Marcus
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:02 PM   #12
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Not suggesting you do this method, but here's how I replaced one sheet..

I split the rear-most bathroom section floor panel down the trailers center line and easily cammed it into place with a little persuasion. Final adjustments done by screwing a 2x4 to one of the panels, standing on the 2x4 and tapping it with a sledge hammer to get radiused corners even under the channels, etc.. A doubling plate was added to strengthen the plywood center seam.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:32 PM   #13
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step-by-step

Okay, carefully sectioning the bad subfloor. Where rotten, it obviously pulls out easily from c-channel. Where not, still being held tight by bolts through c-channel...

Therefore:

1 Access to bolts ONLY from underneath.
2 Removal of belly pan sections required to access bolts
3 Belly pan held tight via rivets driven first through outer skin, then belly pan.
4 These external rivets hidden behind "belt-like" body molding (don't know whatcha ya'll call it.)

So check me on this:
I must first remove belt-molding from all around backend by drilling out the first level of rivets.

Then I must drill out all external skin rivets that now hold belly pan between external skin and c-channel.

Presumably, removing these rivets should allow me to drop the belly pan, revealing the rusting bolts that hold the floor inside the c-channel.

Does this seem correct?
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #14
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Correct so far. The bucked rivets also hold onto the c-channel. There also might be hidden rivets that hold the belly pan in place during Assembly. The ones in my 67 had steel shanks and where a pain in the a** to get out. If you have them there is only a few and a stiff putty knife and a sharp blow should break them loose. Keep it up and good luck.
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