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Old 09-18-2014, 08:50 PM   #1
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1968 30' Sovereign
New Richmond , Wisconsin
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Just when we thought we had it figured out...!

We are new at this but determined to go the DIY route whenever possible. We're at the point where we need some advice / comments/ criticism / ideas regarding our bathroom floor.

We are NOT doing a frame-off restoration - but need to replace the floor in our "new" 1968 Airstream Sovereign, 31 foot, rear bath. We have taken out all of the fixtures. We have cut out / pulled up the floor which was only really rotten in the last 6-12 inches around the c-channel ( but have not yet pulled the rotted wood from under the C-channel because of the "interesting" bolts there). We are pulling the entire floor because we also have to access and replace the black water tank which is "conveniently" located under the bathroom floor. Miraculously, the c-channel is in excellent condition! We want to replace the floor back to the first seam by the bathroom door - so we are replacing a 4' deep section by however wide the trailer is. We are dropping the belly pan in that area and will have a local welder replace some of the metal braces as well as ADD some additional bracing under there.

We THOUGHT we had it figured out!! And then today - I finally noticed that part of the exterior skin (banana wrap?) was sort of wrapped around the c-channel. Our plan was to loosen the rear 4-5 feet of the trailer and slide the new plywood floor into place under the C-channel from the exterior of the trailer. Now that we discovered this 'bent over aluminum' in the C-channel (don't know how to describe it better), there is NO Way that I can think of to slide the new whole piece of plywood in from any end and get it to go into that "wrapped-in" area.

I am looking for suggestions with this. My current thought is to have the welder put some additional cross bracing in when he replaces the rotting braces in that rear section. I am thinking that with that additional bracing, I can install the new floor from the interior - sliding it to fit into this bent over metal in the C-channel. But - the only way I can think of doing that - is to install that rear floor in 3 sections; a wide middle section covering the black water tank area, and two side sections on either side of the middle section. I can insure that all 3 sections will be securely fastened to bracing underneath since I will have the welder add those sections.

Is this a logical way of approaching this - or are there other ideas out there as to how to slide this floor in so it sets into that bent over aluminum lip in the C-channel?

Sorry if my terminology is way off but we are really new at this. We're open to all suggestions / ideas/ comments. Thank you!

Chester
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:35 PM   #2
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I'm a bit confused as to how much of the floor is bad or you are pulling up? If its just in the rear by the bath, then that is all I would touch. That is what I did in my '73 Overlander. If you can post some pics that would be a big help. Check out my blog below if you want to see what I went through fixing the rear bath.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:23 PM   #3
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Bob, thank you for the reply. We are replacing the entire sheet of plywood ( 4' x a little over 7' wide) that is the old floor in the bathroom. That is the only piece we are replacing as the floor from that point forward into the trailer is solid. Thank you for the link to your blog as there are some great ideas on there!!

Chester
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:39 PM   #4
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Here's a link to a documented floor repair that should help you out. This is the method that I am using in my AS.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheetah1 View Post
Bob, thank you for the reply. We are replacing the entire sheet of plywood ( 4' x a little over 7' wide) that is the old floor in the bathroom. That is the only piece we are replacing as the floor from that point forward into the trailer is solid. Thank you for the link to your blog as there are some great ideas on there!!

Chester
That makes much more sense and that is what I had to do as well. The parts of the flooring that came out of mine were much too rotted to make a template out of. I removed all the lower sheet metal from the trim strip down to the banana wraps and the belly pan over the black tank. If you do that and drop the tank then you should have fairly easy access to clean up and paint the frame. Most folks pull out the old copper plumbing and replace it with pex as well.

When you replace the floor, you can split it down the middle and slide it in from the inside as that last link shows. I wanted to keep it whole and I managed to slide it in from outside, but it was tough. I made a template out of 1/4" masonite and refined that till I was happy with the fit. Getting the 3/4" plywood in was much tighter, I trimmed a very small bit of the bottom of the skin where it overhung the c-channel and used a large dead blow hammer to get it underneath the skin and in. Then it was just a question of securing it back down to the frame with the self drilling bolts and stainless nuts and bolts on the c-channel. Either way is a bit of a compromise, but as long as you do a good job on that critical c-channel to plywood to frame connection then you fix the rear end separation. And then make sure you tie the new flooring to the frame and if you have a plywood joint, put a plywood gusset on the bottom to tie those pieces together which is what was done originally at the factory.

Rereading the original post, what is critical is how much of the aluminum skin extends down below the top of the plywood floor. On my 73, it was only a small fraction of an inch, maybe a 1/4" at best. Your trailer is older and if it comes down much more than that, I would try and tackle it from the inside instead. The reason for this would be to keep that extra skin intact so it helps to shed any water down below the edge of the plywood.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:12 AM   #6
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You probably also should seal that plywood prior to putting in in place, especially the edges, and underside. There is a gusset between plywood pieces on the underside, and you will encounter that as you take out the old floor. If you can get a new one in, it's a good idea as it helps to stiffen up the floor.

Kay
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
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mikextr, Thank you for the link and the pictures of your Airstream project.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:32 PM   #8
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Kay, thank you for the information. I have already sealed the 5/8" plywood on one side (with 3 coats!) - and am about to start on the flip side with another three coats! I am thinking of beveling the edge of the plywood just a bit to make it a little easier to slide into that channel. Could you please tell me what you mean by the " gusset between the plywood pieces on the underside"? I was thinking of using three pieces of plywood because the black water tank sits under the floor smack dab down the middle. Because the tank is there, the plywood really wouldn't have any support over the area of the tank. So - I figured if I run one piece of plywood down the middle ( about 52" wide so it rests on the two supports on either end, I could then run two smaller pieces on either side ( about 16 " wide) that could have their edges also supported by the metal bracket below the plywood. Since the belly pan will be down, I can have additional brackets welded in place below to make sure all three pieces are solidly supported. Given the additional support below, do you think doing the floor in three pieces would still result in a solid back area?
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:57 AM   #9
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On our trailer, there is a piece of plywood under where 2 pieces of floor plywood meet that is glued and screwed in place. The frame is designed to accommodate this. It is there to reinforce the underside of the seam. We used the cutoffs from our 4x8 plywood pieces for this.

Keeping in mind that your black water tank will be in place, you will need to be careful where extra supports are placed on your frame. There is not any room between the black tank and the plywood to add much to the frame for additional support.

If you can place the seams of the plywood on framing members that meet the underside of the plywood, then I don't think you need a gusset. If the seam is in between framing members, or located where the original gussets are located, then you need a gusset to strengthen the seam.

Others have installed the rear piece of plywood in two pieces, with a seam over one of the front to back main frame. I have never seen it done in 3 pieces, but as long as the seams are bonded together either on a frame or with a gusset, and your small 16" pieces have extra support added underneath, I would think you'll be fine.

Chris
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:10 AM   #10
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I didn't have room for a backing plate so I used a scarf joint.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...tml#post737994
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