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Old 05-25-2010, 06:38 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
rozenburg , netherlands
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Frame rotten

Help, my frame is rotten. It is worse than i expected. I removed te banana wraps and bellypan to inspect the frame.

Today i got a welder over here and he said that it wasn't an easy job, and it could be worse than we can see at this moment.
He said he could replace the whole frame, and that that would be much better.
But how can i remove the sell including the floor? Is that possible?
I don't like the idea , but he convinced me that it would be better.
This is my blog , unfortunately in dutch.
De Mazzel!
Ok time for some pics.




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Old 05-25-2010, 06:52 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Our '74 also had similar issues. I replaced the frame and several outriggers on the left front of ours, and more could be done. I used 5 inch box channel rather than the 5 inch C channel the trailer came with. It was a big job, but I got it done in a couple of weekends. Oh, ours was probably worse, the frame broke in half in the middle of the Mojave desert...
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:04 AM   #3
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not trying to break the rules here Moderators....
I would suggest you look at my blog below in my tag line. The one with my name in it. I am working on a 1973 Safari and the before pictures looked very similar to yours. Almost all the outriggers were rotten beyond repair, a cross member had to be replaced and many bad areas cut out of the frame and replaced with new metal. I love to weld so for me it was a true pleasure to do the repairs needed for my client. Being in the EU I can only imagine what the union welders cost.
The early 70's trailer have a number of design issues that allow water to easily get in.
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:51 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Thanks. Looks like i will have to do a hell of a job But as we say: if you say A you have to say B.
I got some information about the new iron i need for the chassis, and those prices seem to be ok. But removing the shell.
I would like to laeve the floor inside the shell for strength and just remove the frame.
But what have to be disconnected?
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Is the floor not rotted?
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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I agree: hard to imagine that much frame rot without the matching amount of floor rot...

You're just having pre-full monte jitters. Once you accept that the floor and frame need done, you will start planning how you will make the bones of your trailer brand new.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:29 AM   #7
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The floor need some new parts as well, but that is almost done now. My idea is when i have the floor done i can raise the shell including the floor, because of strength, and then i can leave the insidewall on the shell and dont have to reinforce it. But i don't know if that's possible?
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:59 AM   #8
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Today i made an important decision. The frame is gonna be renewed and the shell is lifted. That means a whole lot of work but i decided to do it the wright way. Otherwise i will always have a feeling i didn't did it well.
Today i have taken a look how to..

So to be continued.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:17 AM   #9
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the issue you will have with lifting the plywood with the shell is the way the floor was constructed. Under each seam in the floor is a rip of plywood that is screwed to the frame. This rip bridges the gap and strengthens the seam. I hope that makes sense. Door you have an indoor work place? If so you can easily lift the shell buy dropping a block and tackle though the center hatch and lifting straight up. Minimal cross bracing is required this way. just cut all the rivets around the belt line and lift it straight up.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:11 AM   #10
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Unfortunately i don't have the possibility to work inside.
So leaving the floor in is not that easy as i thought

So the floor has to go too. I am thinking about removing the lower inside panels and then cutting the bolts that hold the shell to the frame. Then reinforce the shell, removing the old floor, making a new floor(loose) and then lift the shell.
So the new floor can be mounted on the new frame and then the shell on again.
Sounds easy
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:19 AM   #11
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You won't be able to lift the shell with the channel still attached. The channel actually wraps around the floor. The front and back channel just sit on the floor, but the sides wraps around the floor. There is also a tall steel plate in the front and a shorter one in the back that connect the shell to the frame. You will most likely find a great deal of corrosion between those plates. The bumper hatch plate was almost totally gone....
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #12
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So what will be the wright order to do?

I am starting tomorrow in emptying the interior so i have things to do for a while.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qc1500 View Post
So what will be the wright order to do?

I am starting tomorrow in emptying the interior so i have things to do for a while.
Take lots of pictures of everything you do, and where everything is. That way you'll know where it all goes when it's time to put it back together.
Airstream built these trailers starting at the rear, and installing everything going to the front. So, start at the front, and work back. Start with the front couch, then the credenza, dining room table, kitchen counter and cabinetry, water pump and furnace, then the divider, fridge, pantry, oven, divider, beds, underbed storage, dividers, closets, water heater surround, toilet, converter, bathtub, bathroom sink. The other little odds and ends should be obvious.
After you get all that out, you will need to drill out the rivets along the base of the walls, lift the walls from the bottom, and remove the screws that attach the floor channel to the floor. After that, you will need to remove the belly pan wraps, the banana wraps, the belly pan and LP lines. Then, go back in and remove the bolts that go from the outriggers to the bows, which go through the floor channel. There will be 4 bolts and nuts, two on each end of the trailer, that will need to be removed, one from each corner. You'll then be pretty much ready to lift the trailer, support the shell, and lower the frame and floor.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:41 PM   #14
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This IS a ton of work, but if you were ever considering doing work on the major plumbing system, such as increasing the black and grey tank sizes, you will never again have as good an opportunity to do so.

Ditto if you want to change the fresh-water plumbing from the original copper to PEX.

If you have not yet changed out the AC to DC converter (Univolt) do it now also. It is nearly impossible to do with the closet and bathroom in place if you have the mid-twin bed layout. It would also be much simpler to repair any rear-bath area wiring for the lighting, which appears to be a frequent complaint in that year and model.

Then too, it will also be the easiest time to make any furniture changes you may have been contemplating, such as putting in a new kitchen setup. Most '74s have no obvious spot to put a microwave, for example. It might be fun to put in something like the following, if you have the time and money.





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