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Old 07-19-2012, 03:47 PM   #155
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Lowering the frame away from the aluminum shell gives me the vertical space to install frame extensions for the front corners in a similar fashion to what Iíve done in the rear and spread the C channel portion of the lower extrusion to better accept plywood. Iíve already worked on some of the mashed together C channel in this photo.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:39 PM   #156
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1981 31' Excella II
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Steve I have never seen one with two leveling jacks on the inside. What is that big box in the center with the boat rollers and some sort of rail system?

Perry
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #157
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"What is that big box in the center with the boat rollers and some sort of rail system?"

Those are for the propane bottles which lay down instead of stand up. This configuration is found only on the Limited.

Great work with these posts, Steve! I hope the heat lets up for you soon, so working won't be so dangerous.

Philip
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:27 PM   #158
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Phillip, you are right sir! The propane bottles are horizontal and are stored in the center front area, half in and half out. The batteries are under the forward dinette seat also, instead of up front as is true on the Excella.

Perry, here are some pictures of the trailer when I went to look at it before purchase (bottle cover missing) and with the newly replaced bottle cover and Hensley hitch.




Ten years of outside storage has really done a number on the exterior finish of the trailer. When I finish with all of this present work, I am going to consider paying additional rent to get covered storage. I suspect that the trailer was in covered storage from the time it was new in 1991 until I bought it in 2002.

In 2013 or 2014, I plan to do exterior cosmetic refurbishment. But I really want to do some serious camping before I do any more major work.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:10 AM   #159
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That is really cool. I am not sure why they went to that much trouble. The arrangment that AS has been using for years seems to work fine. You going to get rid of the two jack system up front? Where are the batteries kept? Are there jacks in the rear as well?

Leaving trailers in the sun really ages them. Probably 90% of aging inside and outside is sun related. Constant heat cycles, UV on the caulk and plastic components. The heat makes the inside of the trailer rot. The plastic turns yellow and outgasses. Curtins fall apart etc. etc. Then there is the constant water exposure issue.

Perry
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:10 PM   #160
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Perry,
I plan to leave the configuration of the propane bottles and the batteries right where they are now. I do plan to rework the front cover for the propane bottles because of the Hensley Hitch. I'm really looking forward to doing some projects that are more fun on the trailer and using it for camping and traveling.

I've been blessed by two things on this project...really more than two, but I won't diverge that much now. One is that my wife, Carolyn, is being supportive and the other is that my good friend Ralph is willingly helping me and we're having fun doing the rework and learning new things. Another great blessing is AirForums. I've learned so much from others here and you folks encourage me too!!! I'm a lucky man!
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:02 PM   #161
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I am glad you can keep a good additude Steve. I have a hard time doing that in the face of Airversity sometimes.

Keep up the good work

Perry
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:55 PM   #162
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Perry, you're not the only one who gets bummed out! I started on this project in November (I think). By January, I was so down, I didn't really want to work on it much at all because I was so overwhelmed. I'm 63 years old. One thing that helps me is that when things are really crappy, I try to think about the good, bad and ugly about life and I realize that I've had some of all of it and that will continue.

Hang in there. You've made a lot of progress on your trailer!
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:33 PM   #163
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Here's what I'm doing for a front frame brace to reduce the liklihood of front end separation.

Cardboard pattern seen from below (will be made from 3/16" mild steel plate).


Brace/Shelf/Frame Extension seen from above inside (to be wellded to top of outrigger, forward frame extension and A frame).


Brace will also work for opposite side.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #164
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Steve it looks like there is extra structure there already to accomodate the jacks. I saw no signs of front end problems in my 81 when I replaced the battery boxes. I think as with the back end, that leaks lead to separation. You going to plate that corner like you did in the back?

Perry
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:19 AM   #165
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I really like those plates. Are you going to add an aluminum doubler inside similar to what you did in the rear?
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:29 AM   #166
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Perry and Vernon,
The approach for the front will be very similar to the rear. Once the plates are welded in (scheduled for next Saturday morning), we'll drill out the few rivets in the vicinity of the front end cap of the shell at the bottom. Then we'll slip in an internal doubbler (.040" about 8" tall and as wide as it needs to be to go from the front A frame opening and around the corner to about the outrigger). Then we'll rivet it all together using a lot more rivets. I'll be showing that part too once we've got this done.

In the next week, I'm going to be prepping the frame for welding and POR-15. Then we'll do the three step process of the POR-15 and start making patterns for the plywood floor.

As an aside, I found an appliance store that sells Sub-Zero brand refrigerators. These still come in cardboard boxes that are thick (about 3/8") slabs of great pattern material. I've learned tha many appliances have a wood palet/cardboard base, molded foam corner protectors and are shrink wrapped...so it was harder to get some good cardboard than I thought it would be. I've also found that pizza carry out boxes work well for patterns, along with brown craft paper.

Perry,
I agree that leaks contribute to front and rear separation (not the only culprit though). As I see it, leaks cause rot which takes the meat/wood out of the structural sandwich of C Channel and floor attaching the shell to the frame. If the meat is gone from the connecting structural link, the shell and frame are free to move and tear away from each other. Also, the amount of attachment between the shell and frame is too concentrated at a few points. Then there's the half arse job of construction that's done at the factory. Sorry, mini rant!!!
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #167
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Yeah they have bad days and good days at the factor. I think the rear end of mine was made on a Friday afternoon. The main cross beam that anchors the rear end was an inch too far forward and many of the bolts missed the C-channel. This is why I had to put the load distrubution plates in that were made from 1x1 steel angle. In hind sight I should have just moved the beam. I was in a hurry at the time but I think it is going to be fine. It is certainly better than it was coming off the factory floor. I am just about finished with all my structural stuff. I am working on the interior now. It is always 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.

Perry
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:25 PM   #168
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Great work, Steve, and I love the photography!
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