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Old 09-18-2013, 07:42 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1970 25' Caravanner
Dassel , Minnesota
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 13
outrigger repair ?

I am about to purchace a 1978 soveriegn that during inspection I found the out riggers fore and aft of the wheels to be rusted through, and many of the belly pan rivets are worn through the skin.
The unit is in otherwise nice shape and has been cared for reasonably well.
Outside of the peeling inside the windows and hard weather striping it seems fairly tight. The subfloor from inspection inside with a awl is ok (where I could get at it) @ rear bath, door and front under the window in closets ect.

My question is at $5200. are the rusted out riggers a deal breaker or can I repair/replace them without tearing the whole thing apart? With these rusted is it likely the rest are in the same shape?
I am not afraid of dirty and hard work, but also don't want a $10,000. can of worms.
Your thoughts and opinions please.

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Old 09-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,901
You are looking at potentially fair amount of work. If your rivets are working their way through the belly skin, then you could just add rivets and call it good, but to fix it correctly, you should drop the belly pan and replace it with new sheet aluminum. This is not rocket science on a 70's era trailer, but you will have to remove the lower belt line, then the banana wraps, and then the pan. Once that is done, it is just a matter of using the old corroded sheets as a pattern, cutting some new ones, and riveting them back on.

Chances are, though, that once you drop the pan and take a look at the outriggers and cross members, you will have a bigger job to do. If you are lucky, it will be only the wheel well outriggers that need to be repaired, and you could just twin the rusted through outriggers and seal them up. If you are unlucky, then every flange that makes contact with the bellypan will be rusting away, and the rear cross member at least will be disintegrating, and the floor will be rotting all around the perimeter. If this trailer has the original axles, then you might as well plan to replace them while you have the bellypan off. To completely replace an outrigger, you need to get access to the top side of the bolt that runs through the outrigger, the floor, and the C-channel of the shell. That requires removing the lower most inside skins (which requires a lot of disassembly of the interior.

You should stand on the back bumper and bounce up and down, watching for relative movement between the shell and the frame. 70's trailers are notorious for rear-end separation, and it would surprise me if your outriggers are rusted through, but there is no other rot or serious rust to your frame. If you find that this trailer has rear end separation, and you aren't prepared to do a shell-off restoration, then I would say that you should keep looking.

good luck!

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Old 09-18-2013, 07:21 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
1964 22' Safari
1962 28' Ambassador
enosburg , Vermont
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 293
Yep to all the above. + Axles $700.@ outriggers $30.@, Xmembers $80.@ Times how many is the question. Going to be a lot of time/labor just to be certain how much it needs. For $52 you may want to insist on drilling out the belly pan rivet seam to get a peak up inside before you go that high. Could very well be a 10K investment. However if you really want a '78 sovereign why not, life is short.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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1964 17' Bambi II
Vintage Kin Owner
Schererville , Indiana
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,561
Images: 19
I had some bad outriggers & replaced the belly pan on an '86 Sovereign. It wasn't an expensive fix, but a time-consuming one. This is the thread of how it went:

1964 Bambi II
1988 Avion 32S
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