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Old 01-24-2013, 10:40 AM   #1
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1976 27' Overlander
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2012
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HELP! Can I fix sagging Outriggers with shell on? Or just pull the shell?

Looking for your expertise and experience. I've come to a fork in the road on my frame & floor repair. Up until now, I've seen no real advantage for my situation to pull the shell, because all of the areas that need fixing on the frame are easily accessible with the floor out. However, pulling the last piece of flooring just in front of the axles might be changing my mind.

I have some outriggers that appear to be sagging- mostly fore and aft of the wheel wells, but some slight sag in others. I'm not quite sure the best way to fix (or if I even need to for that matter).

Check the pics attached for instance. This is the street side, just in front of the wheel well. This particular "wheel well outrigger", seems to be 90 degrees, but the 1 or 2 in front of it must have sagged because the C channel doesn't line up with the wheel well channel for the flooring. Pulling the flooring out was a pain because it was pinched in there.

Soooo... getting the sagging outriggers back to 90 seems difficult because there is quite a bit of weight on them from the shell. Do I jack up the shell near each outrigger, cut and reweld at 90? Seems like jacking up the shell will tweak, torque, bend and NOT be good... and could even weaken the rivets where I'm moving this too much.

Now that street side in front of the axle has a 90 degree wheel well outrigger, that is not lining up with the rest of them. BUT ALL of the others "wheel well outrigger fore and aft appear to be sagging right along with the rest of the outriggers along the side, so I could technically just reinstall the flooring with a sag and everything should go right back the way it was- with new flooring.

Are yall following this ?

So it appears my options are to:
1. Jack up the shell above each outrigger and straighten it/ re weld to 90. OR
2. Lift the shell, bring the entire frame to straight, level and 90.
3. Sag them all to match

I'm to this point, so #2 isn't SO bad, BUT it is definitely adding another step. If I dont have to lift it, then I'd rather not. I want to do this right, but I dont want to do things that arent neccessary just for the sake of doing it.

Another thought going through my mind is how difficult it will be to get the new flooring back in. I definitely did not realize how much weight was on those outriggers over the C channel. I was originally thinking that most of the weight was being carried on the man frame rails front and rear, where the sides were simply "lateral stabilization". But getting that last piece out made me realize that I can't just pull/ push/ wiggle that wood into place. Might make life easier in the long run if I'm gently lowering a shell onto C channels instead.

All input comments, suggestions encouraged and welcomed- Thanks!
Micky
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
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St. Paul , Minnesota
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The worst sagging outriggers on my '73 were:

Where the outriggers had been replaced long after they were damaged and the floor sagged inbetween without being jacked up level, very similar to the one where the outrigger was replaced and never welded...

AND:

Sagging (at the wheel well solid outriggers) where the shell weight/flex had pulled out the mild iron axle mounting plate at an area with lightening holes punched --- the holes had weakened the plate from having zero welds to tie outrigger to the main frame rail and/or tie the mounting plate to the frame beam. Three of the four were affected.

Look and see if the axle plate is pulled away from the main frame rails - on mine the rust build up from exposure amplified the bulge and made it impossible to quickly repair, I ended up beveling/mitering the outriggers perfectly square and level and then doing a complete bead weld across the top outrigger flange to the main frame rail.

Photo shows the distorted iron, the replacement outrigger was notched to accept the interference and maintain level. That 3/16"+ pull out at top equated to a 3/4"+ droop at the end..

EDIT: sorry for the blurry photo, near zero outside and windy...
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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OH, duh... Sorry, you asked...

A bottle jack will give lift enough, a 4x4 block column connecting up from hard surface, but needs to have the force spread across a larger area or the edge will curl.

Also remember there was a 1/8" or more layer of compressed fiberglass between the outrigger/frame/spars across the whole assembly. Getting that extra Nth is where the structure picks up the force and starts to tilt the trailer. A compromise and leave some tilt to it when that happens is called discretion.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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1976 27' Overlander
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Ha. Ok- so you're saying I should have no problem just gently lifting the shell high enough to fix the outriggers back to 90 degrees?

Im reading more and more about lifting the shell.... I'm SOOO tempted, but a little scared...

I'm still trying to find a definite opinion on the C channel issue when lifting. i.e. do you drill out the buck rivets in the exterior skin and leave the C channel? OR do I leave the C channel attached to the skin and lift?

LOTS of sealant in that seam and all over the rivets etc.. Lots of rivet holes that probably wont line back up... looks like drilling out could provide an opportunity to create a leak point, somewhere that is currently nice and tight...

What do you think of that? Maybe I'll start another thread and see what kind of opinions I can drum up on that!
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