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Old 12-14-2005, 08:34 PM   #15
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I don't think those are original at all...............

Ken J.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:27 PM   #16
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Interestingly enough I think that the screws that Jim showed were pretty much like what I was finding. I don't remember finding any elevator bolts holding the plywood down. The only place that I found bolts that had a nut on the bottom end (and the characteristic bend) were around the sides of the curved areas both in front and in back. I was unable to unscrew most all of the screws so I had to cut them out as mentioned. Jim - are your screws hard steel? Maybe there was a factory run where this type of screw was used instead of the elevator bolts. I thought they were non-stock because I was expecting elevator bolts. Most of my plywood floor seemed to me to be the original but I was not sure about that.

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Old 12-15-2005, 07:03 AM   #17
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Ken, They're originals. Well, put it this way, I am absolutely certain the floor (plywood) that I removed was factory installed. It still had makers marks all over it. For example, the second piece of plywood, from the front, was marked "27T", the model number for my trailer that year. Other less importent markings were scattered around.

I've got this trailer completely apart and am finally begining to put things back together. In the process of taking things apart I found a bunch weird things. There was an empty tube of Vulkem shoved in between the wheel well and the outer wall. Rivets that hold nothing together. The center rear running light was no where close to level. I suppose the anomoly of the screws is just another odd piece of the puzzle.

You know the joke about "the Friday car"? Maybe that's the case with my trailer. Last one built before spring break or something.
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:58 AM   #18
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wow - I know they were trying lots of different things, so I guess that would explain the screws - so I'm curious, how effective were they? In your pictures they appear to have a fairly small head. As far as the vulkem tube - that does not surprise me at all - I was amazed how much stuff - spare rivets etc was left over from construction - I think the 70's trailers are very well made, they just did not clean up stuff very well when they were built.

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Old 12-15-2005, 10:16 AM   #19
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t-nuts

bshrman- not to discourage you too much on your idea of using t-nuts, but you will lose an important part of the "sandwich" if you do not go through all the parts with the bolt: the upper channel, the plywood, and the frame members below. Some of the perimeter bolts have no frame below, but some do, and access to the bottom of them can only be had by taking off the curved pieces of exterior skin, if not the belly pan itself. If I have misunderstood your intentions, sorry for the bother. Just want to see you do it right- good luck, tim
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:44 AM   #20
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Bolts / Screws

FWIW, Airstream used the same screws in my Non - Airstream 73 Argosy.

Don
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Old 12-15-2005, 06:13 PM   #21
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Bolt it

I agree with Tim. You really want to bolt through the floor and c channel, especially mid-cabin. Remember that the floor does and needs to flex. Too much or not enough hardware in this area may be a bad thing. Andy at Inland could probably comment here. Around the perimeter; through the floor, u-channel (aluminum) and the c-channel (steel) I added some galvanized 1 1/4" deck screws in between the spacing of the perimeter bolts to reinforce the bond. I chose to gussett or splice the floor back to the old, avoiding the creation of a joint on the c-channel. The splice is as strong or stronger than the floor and the bolts at the c-channels do what they are intended to do.
The technique of drilling off the bolt heads mentioned above worked most of the time I did it. The first one was perfect, created a washer separate from the bolt shaft. The next few were not quite as artistic, but I won the battle. You can also Dremel them off with a cutting wheel. Pretty much anyway you get them off is the right way! You can even use the enforcer, depicted below!
Have fun,
Ed
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:42 PM   #22
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FWIW, the STEEL C-channel, that runs the entire length of the camper, front to rear, has no fasteners that run thru the floor (or anything else) and subsequently thru the steel c-channel. All of the self tapping screws that I described above go thru the plywood and into either the outriggers or the lateral frame members between the steel c-channel. It really appears that Airstream designed the floor system so that there would be no holes drilled into the steel c-channel (possibly to avoid weakening the steel c-channel?).

As to the outer perimeter c-channel (the one that is attached to the the aluminum upper shell). In my camper, 1/4 inch bolts, that look a lot like the elevator bolts desribed above, were inserted from underneath the steel outriggers, thru the outriggers,thru the aluminum c-channel,thru the 3/4 inch wood floors. Everywhere there is an outrigger,one of these bolts exists. The bolts are about 3 inches long and bent over to one side on the top side to keep the nuts from working loose from vibration.

As to the number of screws in the aluminum c-channel....I think it was Stephrbts who posted that when she replaced a portion of her floor....she added many extra short (1 inch?) sheet metal screws from the top of the c-channel into the new plywood floor to hold the aluminum shell to the floor. I have several areas where this channel is bent and distorted due to years of floor rot, etc. I'm concerned that when I put these screws and the bolts in that it will pull things out of true (possibly they are not true now?)

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:06 PM   #23
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good call

Its funny how the english language dosn't always do what you think it's doing.
Interesting observation Jim, about no hardware in the c-channel. I haven't uncovered enough of mine to have observed that. But the lateral cross bracing was what I was referring to at mid-cabin, as their cross section is also like a "c". As the trailer frame is referred to as a ladder frame, I guess we could call the structural c-channel the ladder rail and the cross members; cross members!
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:07 PM   #24
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Since the plywood being removed is usually firewood anyway, I use a 3/4" holesaw without the center bit and drill down around the head of the screw to the metal frame. You have to be firm with the drill to prevent wandering at first, but it works. Use the skill saw set to the thickness of the plywood as previously mentioned. Then lift the plywood pieces out and cut the remaining bolts with bolt cutters, sawzall, or whatever. I've found all the types of fasteners shown and mentioned above in trailers from the '60s, and they all are hard to get out! Darol
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Old 12-22-2005, 06:07 PM   #25
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OK, I have the pieces of floor removed. Now ready to move on to cutting new pieces and securing them in place. I wanted to comment on a few different techniques I used to get the bolts out. First, to get the bolts out of the sides I simply used a circular saw to cut away the wood, then pulled the wood out and used a hacksaw on the bolts. These were very rusty and it only took about 20 reps of the saw to get them each off. For the bolts that hold the floor to the c-channel, I first tried drilling them which worked with some success but took a little while -- then after the head was off, I used the punch and hammer technique to push the rest of the bolt through. On the second one, I noticed that about half-way through drilling the head off, it started to turn clockwise. Hmmmm. I finished drilling and moved to the third. For this one, I took a punch and put it in the middle of the screw head and hit it about 5 times. That loosened the screw enough to simply screw it out with a little effort. Darn--- wish I thought of that first. Bottom line --- the bolts are out and I'm ready to move on. Thanks for all the helpful advise!
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Old 12-22-2005, 07:27 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
This is the type self tapping screw that was used to attach the plywood floor to the cross members in my trailer. I don't know why Airstream used two radically different methods between my trailer and Malconium's. They are the same year trailer, his is 4 feet longer, however, maybe that's why...load, weight etc.
Jim
Jim,
Those are the same screws used in my 1975 Sovereign. I used a similar fastener when I replaced my plywood at the front.

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Old 12-22-2005, 07:55 PM   #27
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Aaron, do you recall where you bought these? I've looked at the big box places and nothing comes close. Any ideas?

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Old 12-22-2005, 08:37 PM   #28
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Aaron, do you recall where you bought these? I've looked at the big box places and nothing comes close. Any ideas?

Jim
Jim,
Tidewater Fasteners in Norfolk/VaBch, VA. You will need to find a fastener specfic supplier. In Mobile, AL it is Threaded Fasteners. I will be home late Saturday. Send me a PM reminder and I will check and see which specific fastener it is I bought. They actually have little wings on them to bore a hole in the plywood to keep it from binding when it hits the metal.

Aaron
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