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Old 10-02-2017, 01:14 AM   #1
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1969 31' Sovereign
Quinby , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 3
Rear channel installation

Drove up to Out of Doors mart the other day and purchased a new rear floor channel for my 69 31' sovereign. When I bought it several months ago I initially repaired the rear end separation according to the airstream service announcement. It held up well on several trips. The reason I've purchased a new one is that the existing c channel is beggining to crack in another spot and is also somewhat rusty. When I did the fix, I not only replaced existing hardware with new hardware as specified in the service industry , but also added 2 gussets and a lot of additional bolts running along the channel to hold it to the floor, mostly 1/4", save the 7/16" bolts used with some steel plate for washers at two points, all grade 8. Additionally I added extra rivets and replaced a lot of the old rivets with 3/16". Now that I have a new channel, is there a standard practice for attaching it? Any particular spacing or quantity for the bolts and rivets? I'm guessing the extra bolts and rivets won't hurt as long as I don't overdo it. Also, my old channel does not have the part that sandwiches the floor, but my new replacement does. Is there any major difference in indtallation method I should be aware of? If it doesn't fit around the new floor that the PO put in ( I will check this tommorrow) can I cut a groove in the middle of the plywood for the bottom of this piece to go? Any help is greatly appreciated. Just want to get any info I can before attempting the replacement.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:45 AM   #2
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1969 31' Sovereign
Quinby , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 3
First of all I meant 'service announcement' not industry. It was late when I posted! Also, I should clarify, I asked about potentially cutting a groove in the floor because just eyeing the new wood that the PO put in, it appears thicker than the part of the new C channel that is meant to sandwich it. I will check to see if this is the case when I get home tonight and update.
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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1969 31' Sovereign
Quinby , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 3
Another correction, I used 3/8" bolts, not 7/16", at the two specified locations to attach the frame & floor to the channel. Perhaps I need to take my time when typing future posts. Anyway, the gist of it is I followed Airstream Service Bulletin 146 for fixing shell to chassis separation, with the addition of new gussets at the 3/8" bolt locations, additional 1/4" hardware along the duration of the channel (maybe 8-12 in total), and 3/16" rivets to replace many of the original, smaller ones. I'd like to know if I should use this same method when installing my brand new channel. I'm going to attempt this in the next day or two. If I don't get any opinions, I feel pretty confident that this arrangement is only to the trailer's benefit. Just interested to see if a spec has been established for the best hardware configuration. Thanks again and I'll stop updating this thing now!
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:57 PM   #4
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1971 27' Overlander
Jackson , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2012
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I'm not sure which year models used the type of C (or U) channel you bought, but posts I've seen using this replacement rabbeted out the underside edge of the floor to fit the wrap-around part of the new channel, as many floors, like mine, are 3/4" thick. The other potential problems are the fit of the curvatures of the floor and channel, and whether the channel will have sufficient play to snug up against the wall for riveting.

I had a metal shop bend up some 0.40 to match the old channel, then notched it to make the curve. I placed the bolts to match the original, which I believe was 1 or 2 between the ones attaching to the outriggers. I also used the gussets at the two bolt-to-frame spots. My trailer's rear had a previous amateurish attempt at fix for the separation, and the rivet line looked like target practice. I matched the rivet spacing used on the unrepaired parts elsewhere. I used stainless hardware to lessen the corrosion issues.

I hope this helps some - I hate to see a legitimate question go without some response. Someone else may be able to give you a more detailed bolt count, etc.

Alan
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