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Old 03-03-2004, 09:29 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Danielsville , Georgia
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Talking Rear Bathroom Floor Repair Pictures

I have just posted pictures documenting the floor repair I have been involved in for the past two weeks.

To introduce myself, my name is Ron Kaes, and I'm a serious newbie who has owned an Airstream for a grand total of 5 weeks. This forum has been absolutely indispensable in helping me to acquire the knowledge necessary to carry out this repair.

Hope this helps others.

Bathroom Floor Repairs

If this link doesn't work, just look for pictures under Member's Photos for Pizzachop.

Ron Kaes
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:51 PM   #2
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A nicely documented repair job. Well done.

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Old 03-04-2004, 03:08 AM   #3
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Well done


Looking good! Your photos will really help others contemplating a clamshell style repair.

As I am in the middle of a similar operation on my '67 Overlander, I was struck by the number of differences between our two Airstreams. Nothing bad, just surprised at what changed over a five year period.

Good luck on the interior reassembly; You're almost done!

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Old 03-04-2004, 03:30 AM   #4
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Super presentation!

My '73 Sovereign has the "dreaded" rearend sag and so will quite possibly have the frame separation. I look forward to being able to use such a well documented source as this for the repair. My only question about the repair is in regards to your choice of floor panel. I know that Advantech is an engineered product and its structural integrity and resistance to water damage exceeds that of plywood. But my understanding is that a 1/4" underlayment is recommended before any vinyl floor covering is installed, whereas this isn't required over a select grade of plywood if the seems are filled. Another advantage to using plywood is that it is considerably lighter in weight than engineered panels. Also, unless there are clear advantages to a product, I always prefer to maintain a sameness to the originality of a vintage trailer. So maybe there are some advantages that I'm not aware of?

Anyway, thanks for the very informative post and good luck in getting that bathroom back together. Can we see it when its completed?

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Old 03-04-2004, 03:36 AM   #5
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Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Great Pictures!

Thanks for the documentation! I will be adding mine to the collection in a few weeks. I have front rot as well as the rear end seperation. I like the idea of using the front end loader. I might just have to give that a try, but I think that my unit's construction is a little different being a 1975. I will also be adding to the Vista View repair/replacement series too

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Old 03-04-2004, 07:00 AM   #6
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Advantec vs Plywood


I did consider the possible additional weight using the Advantec but was told by the man at the hardware store that it wasn't that much heavier. (I never did weigh it so I don't really know, I took his word for it.)

I probably wouldn't have even considered it except that I've read here that it is being used on newer Airstreams. Is this true? (I'm not really sure.)

I checked with a few sources on using 1/4" underlayment. (I still have the luan template shown in the pics.) The word I received was that there was concern that Advantec might chip like earlier engineered wood products, but that it has pretty much proved itself over time. (Is this true? I don't know.) I did use PlastiWood to fill in bolt indentations in the exposed area of the bathroom (about 5-6 square feet).

Finally, (to justify why I didn't spend more time researching, etc.), I realized that the bathroom floor issue wasn't a case of poorly manufactured plywood but of constant and prolonged exposure to conditions that it was never meant to endure. 98% of the floor rot came from water from the plumbing. (Probably less than 2% was around the rear C-channel, where water came in in front of the bumper under the rub rail.)

While I cannot testify for the next owner, I can honestly say that this will never happen to me again. (I'm replacing the water heater and toilet, have already replumbed it with the original copper.)

As far as original restoration goes, I've already pulled the wardrobe/closets to make way for triple bunks (I have 6 children). I'll tell you a secret if you promise not to tell anyone else. The Advantec is about 5/64" thinner than the existing plywood. I didn't notice this until I got it in. But that is where the wall is, so no one else will know it except us!

Thanks everybody for your interest and encouragement . Part of my motivation was my eagerness to get some pics up so I can repay all the help and assistance I've received here.

I'm ready to go back to pizzamaking!

My Day/Night time Job
Ron Kaes
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:25 AM   #7
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how about an pizza and Airstream afternoon in Athens....might be a springtime blast! Of course no beer allowed.
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:32 AM   #8
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A really impresive show of love and more importantly endurance. You are a brave man! I just think of all the Band-Aids that I would have gone through....

Sometimes I wish I were living in the stone age. Then I would know I'm the smartest person in the world.
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:13 AM   #9
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Advantech vs plywood


Congratulations on a job well done. Nice to have a whole hockey team AND a chain of pizza shops.
And on top of that, undertaking an Airstream restoration.

I think your choice of Advantech was a good idea. The bending stiffness of 5/8" Advantech is about the same as 3/4" structural plywood.

EI (lbf-in^2/ft) across short dimension
5/8 Struc1 plywood - 80,000
5/8 Advantech - 114,000
3/4 Struc1 plywood - 120,000

EI (lbf-in^2/ft) along length of sheet
5/8 Struc1 plywood - 160,000
5/8 Advantech - 256,000
3/4 Struc1 plywood - 247,000

Great pictures. Did you build the float yourself?
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:20 AM   #10
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Thanks for Your responses


We have the technology!


I wear gloves as much as possible and try to keep my fingers away from sharp edges and rotating sawblades/drill bits, etc.


Your advice to someone else over a month ago kept ringing in my head the deeper and deeper I got into this.

"My advice to vintage Airstream owners, 'Don't Look!'"


Yes, we built the float in the picture. It is just my 16' flatbed trailer with some raised wood decking all around, skirted with some painted sheets. This was our second year to use it. (We'll use it again this year, just change the theme). My wife and my employees made the liberty bell out of paper mache and a beach ball. Brenda (my wife)sewed all the costumes, including the dresses. (She doesn't eat the bread of idleness, that is for sure.)

Brenda is now working on the bathroom fixtures. They were caulked with clear silicone (a lot) which she removed yesterday. We plan to refinish them ourselves (she's shopping for the materials today). We'll document all of that as well.
Ron Kaes
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:58 PM   #11
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Ron look at YOUR pic I have put up with EDITS and tell me if I am correct about the Angle Iron.

If in fact that is what it is. This is one piece that Airstream should have used stainless on. Wouldnt have cost them but about 20 dollars more I'll bet.

How long is it and could you guess at its dimensions.

Does it sit directly on top of frame? and is it spot welded to frame?

Actually I do not see how the tail can sag unless this angle pulls away from the frame. Even if the wood above the angle rots.

The angle must be riveted at least 10 times along the bottom of the trunk door surround, plus must rivet to the false ribs, and then all the bolts thru the channel>plywood>angle. And in two places thru the frame as well.

Am i completely wrong in my minds eye view here?
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Old 03-05-2004, 10:26 AM   #12
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Response to Jaco (revised)



The double arrows (purple) are indeed pointing to the same thing. There is no horizontal C-channel. The slot is formed by the top of the angle support (forgot what your manual called it) and the bottom of the floor channel (in the wall).

I feel pretty dumb for not paying closer attention. I mean, it's not like I couldn't see it all.

My rear wall support angle was rusty also, so I wire wheel brushed it as much as I could (I wasn't going to remove factory rivets to take it out) and slopped rust inhibitor on it.

The floor slides between the rear wall support angle and the floor channel of the rear wall.

The wide strip of aluminum beneath my hand is a 6-8" wide piece that acts sort of like flashing. It straddles the lower C-channel (which spans between the frame rails) and the rear trunk lid is riveted to it (once it is all back together, that is)

You got the Georgia clay 100% correct.

I've attached a new picture with a different view.

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Ron Kaes
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:58 AM   #13
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Many thanks Ron. Not what I wanted to hear but we gotta go with what is..

I have not yet opened the skin on my 74 rb so if it is different than your 72 I'll have to wait to see.
I am posting a chassis diagram from the 78 manual. It is identical to my 74 diagram in the area that I am highlighting altho not in entirety. (I had the 78 on CD and no way to scan my 74, hence I am using that 78 diagram.)

The part in question (#3) is called a rear-hold-down plate in 1974 it was AS part #01060.
in 1978 it was AS part #410172

I assumed it was steel angle because :
1) it would only make sense !
2) I can see that whatever is in that position on mine is heavy (thick) and very rusted.

Item # 2 in the diagram is Aluminum Alclad - 3.5 inch x 61.5 inch.
It goes over(covers) the item #3 above and is the skin between the bottom of trunk door frame and the lid of bumper sewer hose box. This item is very aluminum-corroded below the rub rail on mine exposing the rusted steel "hold-down-plate" .
I have just assumed the unlike metals being in direct contact with each other caused the aluminum corrosion there to be so pronounced.
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Old 03-05-2004, 07:32 PM   #14
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Post thanks

ron - thanks for posting the pics and info. seeing how you approached this is helping me visualize how i will do some of the stuff i need to do with my 57 overlander.


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