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Old 09-25-2010, 12:12 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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jacking up shell

If one is planning on replacing the rear 1 ft of floor how do you go about lifting the back of the shell to access the channel. I have read various posts but nothing specific to actually raising the shell.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:30 PM   #2
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Are you talking about the c-channel? That’s inside the wall, in between the inner skins and the outer skins. The only way to access it is to remove part of the inner skins. How much you’ll need to remove depends on how much of the c-channel you need to access to replace the plywood. If all you really are replacing is the rear 1 foot of plywood, I doubt you’ll be able to get the new plywood installed in one piece without unbolting a whole lot of the c-channel from the floor around the sides so you can get a bit of give between the shell and the frame. If possible, make the seams on top of framing members for strength. If that’s not possible, then use a plywood spline underneath the seam, gluing and screwing the spline to the underside of both the new and old pieces of plywood. The spline should be 3 or 4 inches wide if you can fit that in. Gorilla glue is what I used to glue all the splines when we redid the plywood in our airstream.

Chris
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:09 PM   #3
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You can cut the floor and slide it out and slide the new one in. You will have to still take some of the inner wall off to access the bolts that hold the shell to the frame. I did cut around two bolts on one patch and just slide it in. But I do not recommend doing that. I wouldn't do it again. I had just started and didn't know any better.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:56 PM   #4
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Perhaps some pictures will help. I am in the middle of total gut and rehab and this is what the rear section looks like without interior skins. The long pieces of blue tape are where the 1/4" bolts are and the short tabs are where 1/2" self tapping screws should be. Haven't gotten to those yet. The black edge on the plywood floor is POR-15. Lot's more pics if you need some. In a previous floor replacement I was able to get the screws and bolts out by just removing lower interior rivets and dropping the rear portion of belly pan. It's tough to get your hands under the interior skin but it's possible. Jeff
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:43 AM   #5
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Jbib and Purman,

How did you find it possible to install a piece that goes the full width of the trailer into the c channel without removing all of the back bolts and screws and flexing the shell?
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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Robertel You will have to remove all the bolts and screws to install the new piece of floor. The C channel that the outer skins and inner walls are riveted to sits on the floor. The channel is then bolted and screwed through the floor into the frame outriggers and rear crossmember. There is a rear holddown plate made of steel that is L shaped. The horizontal section sits between the bottom of the floor sheet and the top of the rear frame crossmember and the vertical section goes between the outer skin and the rear C channel. It is riveted to the rear outer skin panel.
Remove all the bolts and screws far enough forward so that you can raise the shell up far enough to remove the rear floor section and replace it.
As Minno said it would be best if you replaced the floor sheet far enough forward to reach the next crossmember for strength in the joint. Search his thread. He has done a shell on floor replacement and I am doing a shell off replacement.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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I dont think you lift the shell. The recommended method is to drop the frame. Jack up the front of the trailer, chain the rear bumper to something sturdy, and drop the front. There is enough flex to open about a two inch gap between the shell and the floor.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:11 AM   #8
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Actually the frame bending above works, you have to chase the bolts loose up to the wheel wells to get appreciable movement - plus there may be flooring screws - bolts that need loosening since long runs of plywood will not give as they are still pinned to spars and frame AND into the C-channel...

I blocked from the ground to the rear utility hatch frame and gently lifted with bottle jacks, had all sorts of tension but very little movement - the iron will flex downwards long before the shell lifts upwards. With that fraction of an inch of lift I was able to hammer the last sheet into place, scabbed a piece of 2x4 to the floor and used a sledgehammer as a mallet to walk the sheet around - then pin it down with screws before you step off it. THEN go outside and tap the shell 'into place' gently if friction has shifted it side to side. It won't lift but it sure will drift left to right, even some rearwards!

And that's not a bad idea to loosen-remove so many outrigger-floor & C-channel bolts, I added oversize aluminum washers to clamp the C-channel down since trailers as old as ours have plywood crushed down and aged and rarely have any firm clamping action left anyway - or have corroded badly, been bent or broken or have substitute bolts from prior repairs....
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:01 PM   #9
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Robertel, In my '73 the floor rot was within the frame rails and extended about two feet in from the rear frame. I made a clean square cut removing the rot and leaving as much good wood as possible inboard of the rails so that I could later glue and screw a good splice later. The rotted section pulls right out then you have to remove all bolts and screws left behind. If you cut your replacement piece to exact side to side length and ablout 2 inches narrow front to back, you can lay it in flat and lever it into the channel. Scabbed together with polyurethane construction adhesive, 3/4 inch plywood and a fair # of screws made it at least as stiff as when new. I'll post a pic when I can find one.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:58 PM   #10
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Once I got everything loosened up on my '69 International there was just enough room to slide the new piece of plywood into place but to get it into the final place I had to use a hammer and a piece of wood to just fine tune it into place. You need to loosen up the cleat on the plywood that holds the two pieces of plywood together before you can put the new plywood in place. You will see when you get all the insulation torn off the bottom you can see the cleat.

Scott Jensen
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