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Old 09-27-2015, 07:51 PM   #1
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Interior skin necessary?

In my 79 I've placed the bed at the rear so the head of the bed is against the rear window, thus the interior skin below the window is out of sight. Does this interior skin below the rear window serve any structural function? If not, I'd like to remove it make inspection of water leaks in this area easy. Any problem with doing this?
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Old 09-27-2015, 08:40 PM   #2
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There is no problem removing any interior panel in an Airstream to inspect for leaks, do rewiring, etc... BUT, the interior panels ARE part of the structure of the trailer so make sure to put them back before towing.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:31 PM   #3
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Thanks. I was wondering if leaving that bottom panel off permanently would be an issue, which it sounds like it would.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:36 PM   #4
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can the inside walls be paneling instead of the original skin? I have removed all for new insulation and wiring and the skin is in rough shape what alternatives are there instead of replacing alum skin?


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Old 10-02-2015, 01:13 PM   #5
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In my humble opinion the sheet under the front window will add very little to structure, I think you could leave it off if you desire.

Why not put it in with screws instead of rivets so that inspection can be quick and easy?




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Old 10-02-2015, 01:19 PM   #6
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Structure

All of the interior sheet metal, is part of the "monocoque" construction.

The interior and exterior metal work together, which all adds up to a "load bearing shell".

The front area gets the most beating of any part of the shell. To weaken it in any way, would in time prove to be a disaster.

Andy
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:03 PM   #7
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I'll second j Morgan that piece under the window doesn't add to much support but does add some torsional support so I'd try to keep as much as possible. Can you cut off the bottom couple inches so you can see in there easily.
You don't want to replace the alumimum with wood paneling alone. You can veneer over the aluminum.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:18 PM   #8
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Look "monocoque" construction" on Goggle to understand what Andy is saying.

It is like 'sandwich' construction' - take away one side of the sandwich and you have no strength left.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:47 PM   #9
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If you remove the bottom couple of inches of the panel, then you have removed the connection between the inner skin and the c-channel at the bottom, greatly reducing the torsional (twisting or racking) resistance of that section of the trailer. Think of it this way - take a cardboard box all taped closed to form a cube. That's pretty strong. Now, cut 2 inches off the bottom of one side, and see how much more it will flex missing that connection to the bottom. A better plan would be to cut one or two small inspection holes rather than remove the entire bottom part of the panel. Keep the inspection holes as small as possible - maybe big enough to stick a finger in to see if water has collected inside the wall.

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Old 10-02-2015, 05:06 PM   #10
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I put screws in my front panels below the windows and I don't see a problem with it. The inner skin might provide some support to the shell but it is really not much. Any significant loads on the inner skins would shear off rivets which sometimes happens. I would say the ceiling panels are the most important to structure. It won't hurt to put panels over the inner skins. The weaknesses in the structure are the poor connections between the shell and frame. Airplanes fly all the time with no inner skins.

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Old 10-03-2015, 10:32 PM   #11
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One small panel missing will not cause any structural issues. Your door is a missing panel. A window is a missing panel. Water heater, furnace, etc...
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:47 PM   #12
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So the Airstream expert in So Cal knows nothing according to the arm chair "experts".

WRONG ! Andy knows of which he speaks .

The inner panels are part of the structure of the shell and need to be intact.

BTW the 'holes' in the shell are filled with structural frames that both the inner and outer panels are riveted to.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenritas View Post
So the Airstream expert in So Cal knows nothing according to the arm chair "experts".

WRONG ! Andy knows of which he speaks .

The inner panels are part of the structure of the shell and need to be intact.

BTW the 'holes' in the shell are filled with structural frames that both the inner and outer panels are riveted to.
"Monocoque (/ˈmɒnɵkɒk/ or /ˈmɒnɵkoʊk/) is a structural approach whereby loads are supported through an object's external skin, similar to an egg shell. The technique may also be called structural skin. The word monocoque is a French term for "single shell" or (of boats) "single hull"."

We're not saying that the inner shell provides no support, but some missing is not going to hurt the trailer.
Not saying Andy doesn't have a lot of knowledge either and that his advice often isn't spot on.
As for being a armchair expert, I'm a PE mechanical engineer, I haven't crunched any numbers or put anything into a 3D solid modeling program to run any model simulations, but my understanding of material strength and mechanical design easily tell me that the interior skin is fairly insignificant to the overall strength of the airstream semi-monocoque.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:25 PM   #14
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OK here's is how the inner panels add structural strength .

Both the inner and outer panel are attached to the ribs and the C channel.

The shell is bolted to the Chassis extensions through the C channel between the ribs.

Remove the inner skin and the C channel is only held on one side and thus is free to move on one side . In other words the structure that holds the shell to the chassis is compromised .

Remember when in motion the whole structure is in an earthquake and needs all the structure in tact .
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