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Old 12-14-2005, 12:33 PM   #1
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Getting bolts out of the floor

I'm replacing the two front pieces of plywood in my '78 31' Airstream. Everything is going fine but I can't budge the bolts holding the plywood to the trailer frame (inside the airstream, not under the c-channel). Any hints before I start cutting? I want to avoid cutting so I can use the same holes for new bolts.

Second thing -- has anyone ever put another cross member between the front of the trailer and the first cross beam to reduce some of the sag that seems to occur in that area due to lack of support? I was also thinking of adding a piece of 1" thick something underneath the subfloor sitting directly on the frame which seems to sit about 1" lower than the cross members that support the subfloor. Thoughts?
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Old 12-14-2005, 12:43 PM   #2
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I just got done re-doing the rear floor on mine and I used a 1/2" drill bit to bore off the head of the elevator bolt. The head looked like a washer after being drilled and left the bolt shaft, which was then punched through with a punch and dropped the bolt shaft out onto the ground. Hope this technique helps.
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Old 12-14-2005, 12:48 PM   #3
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Isn't the bolt screwed into the frame making it difficult to punch even with the head off?
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:04 PM   #4
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Herm, If you're talking about the bolts that run laterally across the floor, mine were actually very large self tapping screws and I simply unsrewed them (simply, yea right!). If you're talking about the ones around the perimeter that go thru the aluminum C-channel, then thru the floor, then into the steel frame, that's another matter.

After I got the floor out, I removed the wood around these bolts by carfully drilling, poking, pulling,etc the old pieces of wood, then used a bolt cutter to remove these bolts. These were a type of 1/4 " elevator bolt, flat on the head end, which attached from underneath, up thru the floor, then bent to keep them from coming out.

If I've only muddied the waters, let me know.

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Old 12-14-2005, 01:06 PM   #5
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Not to my knowledge. There's a nut (mine were square) securing the elevator bolt below the floor and usually the threaded shaft is bent below the nut so it won't walk off. aka, the "airstream bend."
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:07 PM   #6
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'78 31' Sovereign

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsherman
...I can't budge the bolts holding the plywood to the trailer frame (inside the airstream, not under the c-channel). Any hints before I start cutting? ...
Second thing -- has anyone ever put another cross member between the front of the trailer and the first cross beam to reduce some of the sag ...


bsherman:

I assume you have the belly pan off? I also had the bent bolts (in the "C" channel) wardinbb is referring to. I don't think I would attempt a partial floor replacement without dropping the BP in the area of the repair

I did almost the same job you described - sort of - front and back -

I added a support UNDER the rear floor, as I thought the 1/2" plywood had a bit too much "give" back there.

You can see some pics here:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ign-14737.html

Many others have done a similar repair - you might utilize the search function here in the forums for more specific questions.

PM or e-mail if you have any questions about what I did or how I made the repairs to the '78 Sovereign. I STILL have the belly pan rolled back!
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:09 PM   #7
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I am talking about the ones that run laterally. They appear to be self tapping which is why I think drilling the head off may not solve the problem because I still won't be able to punch them through -- but then again, maybe I will. I just wondered if there was a better tool other than a screw driver to try and turn these bolts.
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:18 PM   #8
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87MH -- thanks for the link. I actually checked that one out before I got started on the thing --- THANKS! Very useful. I wish I knew how to weld so I could mirror your battery idea.

Actually, no, I'm not working from the bottom despite all the advise on the forum. No problems so far. My solution to secure the wood to the c-channel will be to use t-nuts. I'll cut the new pieces to fit, put them in, mark the hole and remove. Then install the t-nuts to the new plywood, reinsert the pieces and secure the bolts to the c-channel.

I'll post pictures when I have them. I'm considering using three pieces vertically vs. the two horizontal pieces I'm removing.
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:21 PM   #9
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Herm, I used my variable speed drill with an oversized phillips bit. There were several that refused to back out. I cut them off with the Dremel after I pulled the floor up. It's a long thread, but there's some information in my main thread here: http://www.airforums.com/forum...e-15132-6.html
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:53 PM   #10
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If you are referring to the carriage bolts - most of us have just sawsalled them off..... if you have self tapping screws - those are not original...

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Old 12-14-2005, 01:54 PM   #11
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Detail shot

Here's a PIC of what my sub-floor looks like with the bent elevator bolts through the c-channel. If your floor system matches, the technique above should work.
Ed
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Old 12-14-2005, 02:16 PM   #12
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Thanks all. My situation does match the picture. I'll assume they are NOT self tapping because they are almost definitely original. That shoud allow me to cut/drill and punch them through as the previous person suggested.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:05 PM   #13
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When I removed my old floor I used my circular saw to cut out large pieces of the old floor between the rows of bolts and the outer body. I set the blade depth to just slightly less than the thickness of the plywood so that I would not be cutting into any metal. After I had removed the pieces I was left with strips of wood 2 or 3 inches wide over the frame cross members and along the edges of the body. Since I ran the saw along the sides of the body the strips that were over the cross members were not attached to the strips that were under the edge of the body. In the origianl installation there was a layer of fiberglass insulation that was installed over the frame cross members and down into the belly area. The part over the cross members was very tightly compressed between the plywood and the metal of the frame. This did, however, result in there being a small gap between the plywood and metal making it fairly easy to fit in the blade of my reciprocating saw. I used a small pry bar at one end of the wood strip to lift it as much as I could, cut off the first bolt between the plywood and frame, moved my prybar and cut the next bolt and so on. The only real problem I had with this approach was that some of the bolts had been replaced at some time in the past with self-taping screws that I think might have been stainless steel. Whatever they were they were too hard for the standard metal cutting blade on my saw. I had to resort to an abrasive cutoff blade instead to cut these out.

One problem with the approach that I took should be apparent. I ended up with a lot of small pieces of plywood that could not be used as a pattern for the new floor. In my approach, however, that was not necessary. I had already made a cardboard template of the curved ends. I also drew up a sketch with dimensions on it for all the holes and notches cut in the floor. Once you get past the first 3' or so from the ends the floor is a consistent width (at least on my 1973) so once I knew what that was I could easily cut the pieces of floor material to the correct size.

There is a lot more detail about some of my floor replacement techniques in the various threads on this forum. Feel free to search them up or ask any other questions. Someone in these forums should know the answer if not me.

Malcolm
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:12 PM   #14
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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.

I'm certain that these are the original screws. They are used on all the cross members laterally from front to rear. The only bolts are in the perimeter area that hold the shell to the frame. Weird stuff. Maybe somebody will need this is the future.

I used a simular method as Malcolm to remove the old plywood floor. The main difference is that I used a jig saw, rather than a circ. saw.


Wardinbb, does the head of the screws in your trailer look like these? I'm interested in other type fasteners when I put my floor back in. I need something that will lay flat against the wood.

Jim
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