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Old 06-16-2014, 03:17 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lake Elsinore , California
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Lifting shell confirmation

I have scrolled through dozens of pages here but do not see a simple step by step, so thought I would just ask. Simple questions I think..

I have my shell completely striped inside, all panels and fiberglass caps removed. I have the belly pan removed and dropped.

I have all of the lower trim and lower edge of skin drilled out.

I am about ready to lift shell so I can fix the chassis/frame and replace the plywood deck.

I want to make sure I am doing it correctly. I plan to run a 2x4 joist as a brace across from side to side of EACH rib. I plan to drill and put 2 screws through the aluminum rib and into the 2x4 with the 2x4 up off of the floor at least a few inches and set to level left to right and level with each other. I then plan to run 2 long joist under those cross joist, one on each side close to the fender wells, screwed to bottom and use the 7 cross joist. I plan to use that to list the body/shell build my supports to allow chassis removal for repairs.

Also to confirm my thinking, I lift the ribs out of the lower track and leave that on the plywood because of the C-channel over the plywood?
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:31 PM   #2
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So there is always more than one way to skin a cat, and always more than one opinion about lifting shells.

When I did my lift, I built a couple of gantry frames, ran a hoist down through the front and rear vent holes, and pulled against a 4x4 I had running down the center of the ceiling. Yes, I had to buy some lumber and spend a few hours making the gantry frames, but you will do the same with all the framing of the interior of your trailer. If you lift the shell from above, rather than jacking it up from below, none of this cribbing and framing is required. Plus, after the shell has been set on the ground, you can use your gantry frames to hoist your frame up into the air, flip it, do the work on the bottom side, paint it, install your axles, etc.. Then once the shell is back on the frame, you can add a few boards, and your Gantries become scaffolding that you use to do your roof work.

As to the C-channels, if they don't have to come off the shell, then leave them attached. If they wrap under the plywood floor, then they will have to be removed from the shell prior to the lift.

good luck!
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:18 PM   #3
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Go Gantry. I injected many problems doing pylons and cross-beams, least of which being thunderously awkward landing the shell. The money spent on chain hoists, with 20% off coupons from Harbor freight, would be proper planning to be able to manipulate the frame later.

It's the double-c channel that forces leaving the channel on the deck - skin rivets drilled out and the shell will lift past it.

Study the entry door plywoods notch and assembly carefully, take notes to duplicate the layout.

Some have discovered the cross-firring to be unneeded. I used them as the lifting point for bottle jacks and would not repeat using so many of them, the ribs are really stiff and won't relax way out of alignment. When landing the shell back there are two bolts welded to the hitch 'A' frame that capture the front in a static location so everything else back from there is semi-negotiable, which is both good and bad. You'llll Seeee

Again, do the gantry...
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:47 PM   #4
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We did not do the lift so can't help you with that part but: ditto with Wabbiteer on the plywood notch at the entry door. It'll goof you up big time putting the new floor in and landing the shell back on if it's not there.

Kay
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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Have a look at the following thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-115765.html

Post 9 and 11 show some good pics of what can be done with the gantry frames. There is also a diagram for building the frames in a pdf at the end.
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
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Hi,

My cross beam system was super easy to construct and to move the shell up and down. I used a floor jack and a Hi lift jackfor everything.

We just dropped it back down on Sunday.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f104...-111301-4.html

Todd
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:25 AM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for the links folks. Very helpful.
A gantry is not a likely option for me though since I am in a tight space where it is parked...a patio cover almost on top of it. Cribbing and blocking will have to do, although I really like the ability to set it back flat on the ground for other work while fixing trailer.

I will try to post some pics of what I come up with...but I am a computer idiot and always struggle with pics. I usually have to post links to a flikr account.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:25 PM   #8
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Wait wait - the ability to lift the frame to work on it AND the flooring, insulation, bellypan, wraps, plumbing, wiring, axles... is worth any/all hassle. I'm talking triple or quaddruple man-hours expended via going the caveman, err.. pylon/cribbing route

Have you removed the belly pan? Do you have a handle on what iron is lacey or missing?
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
Wait wait - the ability to lift the frame to work on it AND the flooring, insulation, bellypan, wraps, plumbing, wiring, axles... is worth any/all hassle. I'm talking triple or quaddruple man-hours expended via going the caveman, err.. pylon/cribbing route

Have you removed the belly pan? Do you have a handle on what iron is lacey or missing?
Amen!
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:33 PM   #10
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Then it looks like you are going to use the jack and cinder block support method a little more labor but easy and can be done with one person! For your shell I would recommend 2 4x6 12feet long and a good 1 ton jack!
Cliff
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:59 PM   #11
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i used the cinder block method multiple times and it worked great for me.. couple hints:
one you are done installing the cross braced, run one long brace front to make to ensure the correct distance and the center of your end caps.
you can look at my thread for the 48 liner resurrection as well as an older one for the 58 overland resurrection. bunch of pics there.

good luck
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:45 PM   #12
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Belly pan is off.
After stripping interior panels out I drilled all of the rivets around the pan/shell seam and the used a cold chisel and hammer from the inside to knock off the "hidden" or buried rivets and any left over burrs after drilling. I then drilled every rivet under the floor on the belly pan, there are a few spot that even though the belly pan is aluminum seems to have rusted/oxidized/electrolysis or corroded through around the whole rivet.

After that I dropped all of the curved corner pieces. The center piece that goes between the axles and the frame is still there.

Now I have cut 7 joists that run across left to right and are screwed to every full rib with 2 #10 pan head screws 1.5" long through pre-drilled holes I made in the ribs. I set each joist level left to right and front to back except the 2 above the wheel wells.

I then ran a 1x4 ledger above the 2x4 joists as a brace and screwed those with 2 wafer head 1.25" tec screws into the face of each rib.

The front to back cross length joist is a good idea. Thanks

I am now in the process of lifting each joist a little at a time and blocking under them so I can slide 4 10' long 4x4 beams under the 2x4 joist from front to back. I set the 2x4 joist so that those 4x4's will be just below the aluminum skin line that hangs slightly below the bottom of the ribs. Once the shell is lifted but still being supported by the chassis on those 4x4 beams I will slide 2 4x4 beams cross wise under those and set them on pilings that I will frame up to support those and then the chassis can roll straight out so I can get it to my buddies welding shop.

I do not know the extent of all of the rust but it is solid enough that it towed ok from Austin Tx to So Cal but swiss cheese enough that I would never use it as is without some serious repairs or replacement.

I agree Wabb, a hoist and gantry system would work the easiest, but just no way. I live is a typical tract house in So Cal on 5000 sq ft lot. I am VERY fortunate to even have the space to slip this rig in beside my house let alone work on it. I have 14' from my house to my fence at the widest point and in that space is an A/C condenser for the house, a large air compressor hard piped to my garage and the edge of a 2nd story patio. Gantry is not going to work.

I have to rework the belly pan and replace parts of it from damage and rot so I am planning on it being removable in sections rather than the huge single front to back panel. Not sure, exactly, but it will get reworked.

I am already lifting the shell up a bit today, but working alone until Saturday and with 2 major neck surgeries in the past 3 years I am taking it slow.

I stink at posting pics but I will try the weekend.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:36 PM   #13
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Apologies Mr. MacDad, sometimes we just can't have everything. Now you got me picturing having to scuttle the frame back under the shell before the streetlights go on every night

Look into spoofing a two piece large rotisserie out of 4"x4"'s that would couple in at hitch & temporary crossbeam at the back? I don't have an linked example to show but it's been done here before. I literally almost took my head off getting clumsy 'just one time' high-stepping over frame / spars while a little distracted...

That belly sheet corrosion pattern? Yes, entire sheets have been lost on the highway from that ring corrosion. Airborne salts, fertilizers, acid rain... have had 16,000 days, 32,000 dew cycles to kick around anything that gets in its way on your unit. Questions or comments on Archaeometallurgy are very welcome around these parts...

Sharp chisels work wonders on pop-rivets but be wary if you come across some with steel mandrels, use a tiny center punch or finish nail to set the steel in past the clamped metal - otherwise it will keyhole everything, even tear out chunks of thinning stamped steel frame bits. Same goes for drilling, if you find one/some that the drill will not center, wanders, or grab and breaks drill bits...

Looking forward to photos.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:04 PM   #14
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Add to the 4x4 two 10 inch long 2x4 spacers because the shell will flex a little and the heart can only take so much excitement! Cut them if you do not need them it is better to have and not need then to bang your head after a six pack or two of frustration suds.
Cliff
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