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Old 04-25-2008, 03:16 PM   #1
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Question Rear floor repair '73 Airstream Landyacht

Have sagging rear bath floor. Pulled toilet out and then pulled old carpet and pad out. Found rotten wood. Understand this is common. Floor will sag from any point pasted where my boot is in picture. Seems to be a cross member at this point. Found source of water, it was a broken pipe from main kitchen drain. Notice the cut out section of pipe. Have a couple of questions. First is how to brace the floor plywood from sagging. I thought maybe to brace with blocks ontop the black water tank but I don't know where I should start cutting out the old plywood. The wood is pretty much rotten right up to the toilet collar. Another problem is that after removing the toilet I cannot remove the flange around the tank collar. Seems to be pretty stuck. It spins around 360. Should I just leave it and re-install the toilet?

Does anyone have an idea as to the cost to completely repair this type of thing with a dealer? My guess is that it would take a bank loan to fix. I'm trying to weight the cost vs. selling the trailer. Any help is appreciated.

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Old 04-25-2008, 03:26 PM   #2
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Man, where do I start. It might be easier if you come down to the house tomorrow and I'll show you. We're just down the road from you. We have this same camper and are fully restoring it. There's a long boring thread about it here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f226...nte-15132.html

Seriously, many folks have made this repair. It requires taking a bunch of stuff apart. Use the search function above to see how some have done it.

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Old 04-25-2008, 06:33 PM   #3
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don't brace off the tank

I greatly sympathize with your situation, I had even more damage on our rear bath model. Since ours is a '74, it has a somewhat different layout since it has both a black and grey water tank.

I strongly recommend against bracing anything on the black water tank, especially since the condition of the framing holding it in place is questionable. Even if the framing is solid, the tank is not designed to carry any load at all, much less the point load that a brace would transmit. You would risk puncturing the tank and those babies are very expensive.

On ours, there is a channel in the middle of the floor that provides support for the plywood, and the top bearing flange had totally rusted through. This is one repair that should be made right away.

It is not rocket science to undertake this kind of repair, I was able to do ours myself, but you may want to look at all the information resources available on the Forums. One of the potential disadvantages of having a dealer do these repairs, is that all you get is the minimal repair. If you do the work yourself, you can fix anything that is not broken now, but might cause a problem down the road, so to speak.

On our toilet flange, there are two small recesses opposite each other in the black plastic just inside the orange metal ring. Some sort of spanner wrench set into those recesses will do the trick. The orange metal ring turns independently of the black plastic insert.

Best of luck on the project.

Laird
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:48 PM   #4
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You'll enjoy these pics

Look familiar?

Some disassembly required

A nice pictorial

Been there, done that 2x! Won't be quick, won't be easy, but is necessary if you plan to keep it.

Good luck! There's lots of help available here.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:32 PM   #5
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airstream black hole wrench

Concerning the toilet flange you might check out this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...ank-40649.html

I recently received a lot of help solving this very same problem. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:23 PM   #6
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Hi Jim, thanks for the reply. Today (Monday the 28th) is the first time I have had to check my thread for responses. Would love to visit you and see your 73. My C# is 678-232-9587.

Thanks,
Tom Lackey
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maccamper
I greatly sympathize with your situation, I had even more damage on our rear bath model. Since ours is a '74, it has a somewhat different layout since it has both a black and grey water tank.

I strongly recommend against bracing anything on the black water tank, especially since the condition of the framing holding it in place is questionable. Even if the framing is solid, the tank is not designed to carry any load at all, much less the point load that a brace would transmit. You would risk puncturing the tank and those babies are very expensive.

On ours, there is a channel in the middle of the floor that provides support for the plywood, and the top bearing flange had totally rusted through. This is one repair that should be made right away.

It is not rocket science to undertake this kind of repair, I was able to do ours myself, but you may want to look at all the information resources available on the Forums. One of the potential disadvantages of having a dealer do these repairs, is that all you get is the minimal repair. If you do the work yourself, you can fix anything that is not broken now, but might cause a problem down the road, so to speak.

On our toilet flange, there are two small recesses opposite each other in the black plastic just inside the orange metal ring. Some sort of spanner wrench set into those recesses will do the trick. The orange metal ring turns independently of the black plastic insert.

Best of luck on the project.

Laird
Yea I hear you, looked at it again today after work and decided that bracing ontop of the tank was not a good solution. This may cause me to explore the world of welding.

thanks,
Tom
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:27 PM   #8
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I think you have a nice trailer and fun project. I replaced my floor with nyloboard. Pizza Chop and Jim and Susan know what they are talking about. They have done it and helped me. Plus all the other help I have received from the rest of the airstream folks. To many to mentioned but Pizza Chop and Jim and Susan live with in driving range. I live in Loganville. My thread is about my restoration of a 73 overlander. I started towards the end of october. I should be done but I have had a couple of hold ups. When you replace your back floor check out the Nyloboard manufacturer in Covington Georgia. You live realtively close to Covington. I am very pleased with the board. Never rots, fire proof, and does not give off toxic fumes.

Good luck and feel free to contact me. I will help you any way I can. I decided just to attack the bad parts of the floor. I did not replace the whole floor. I am really happy with how mine is coming along

Brian
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:14 AM   #9
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Are rotten floors the norm?

Yikes! Looking at these photos is scary!

I don't have the tools, space, strength or know-how to do this kind of work. I'd like to buy a vintage AS - can do some things but won't be able to tackle the big jobs like floors. Is a bad floor the norm in an older unit - or just a case of 'been let go'?

Is there a list of tips somewhere to check to see if the floor is bad before buying?

Joy
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #10
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Par for the Course

Quote:
Yikes! Looking at these photos is scary!
Joy,

Unfortunately, this is pretty common in a 30+ year old unit. If it has been carefully maintained and used, it may be another story.

I always say, there are two varieties of old Airstreams....

Those with rear floor rot issues and those whose issues have been repaired.

While there are certainly indicators which you can look for, the only way to properly inspect is to do some disassembly, something most sellers probably won't appreciate.

My recommendation, given your admitted lack of tools and experience, is to look for a restored unit. It will cost more ($9K-$15K) but having done it twice myself, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have been better off in the long run paying up front than to have spent all the time and money in repairs.

They can be messy.
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:16 AM   #11
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Thanks, Ron.
This is exactly the kind of information I need.

Fully restored would definitely be the way to go - but budget restrictions are going to have me looking for the best second choice.

Can I sidestep the floor rot problem by looking for an Argosy (maybe a minuet) instead ...being that I heard they have metal instead of wood flooring?

And when you say 30+, what year of "younger" would you predict is staying on the safe side?

And if the only way to check is a bit of disassemblage ... yep, could be problematic. <ggg>
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:43 AM   #12
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ohhhhh wowwwwww PizzaChop,

I've been out going thru your photos (all kazillion of'em)
I'll be going back again in a minute to study the details.

At 50, I may not be able to do this big stuff myself,
but I do recognize and appreciate fine craftsmanship when I find it.
(I like to play on the small side - am a master lacemaker ..
take tiny threads, tie them into tedious knots to make fabric).

Although, I will have to find another solution to the heavy weight tasks, I'm really looking forward to tackling the middlin' projects.

Thanks so much for sharing your art!
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sariahjoy
Fully restored would definitely be the way to go - but budget restrictions are going to have me looking for the best second choice.
Unless you get REAL LUCKY there is likely no cheaper "best second choice." As Ron said, nearly all trailers will have floor rot or have had floor rot that has been repaired. As Ron also pointed out... in the end a restored trailer will be your best dollar value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sariahjoy
Can I sidestep the floor rot problem by looking for an Argosy (maybe a minuet) instead ...being that I heard they have metal instead of wood flooring?
These "metal floor" trailers are few and far between and additionally had problems with the floor system being weak. It was an experiment that didn't pan out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sariahjoy
And when you say 30+, what year of "younger" would you predict is staying on the safe side?
Wow! kudos to you for having managed to ask all the hot button newbie floor issue questions in one post.

One would think that newer would be better but unfortunately no. I just spent my Saturday with a VERY experience Airstream owner who has restored several vintage units. In the last year, he wanted to buy a "newer" trailer that he could just clean up and use for work travel...leaving his beautiful vintage units at home to stay beautiful. He bought a late 80's top of the line Airstream for more than I think he would like to admit...considering he is now in the process of a totally unplanned floor replacement. The fact of the matter is that the Aluminum shells on these trailer manages to long outlast the floors...even an early 90s trailer is going on 20 years old and would likely cost more than many restored vintage units.

My suggestion would be to watch the classifieds here on the forum. Many folks here put huge amounts of time and effort into restoring their trailers and then at some point ending up needing to sell. These restored units will likely never command the price that would be needed to recoup all the time and money spent restoring them. Very good deals can be found in the price range that Ron quoted.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:55 AM   #14
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Joy,

Steve is right, anything 10 years or older can have floor issues, if moisture has occurred. The problem are windows, seals, and gaskets (not to mention plumbing leaks) which introduce moisture to areas which were not designed for it.

Kind of like the achilles heel of Airstreams.

The reason it's even an issue is that Airstreams, because of their aluminum shell, are one of the few trailers still in heavy use (i.e. not scrapped) after 10-15 years. And the 3rd or 4th owner isn't usually as concerned as protecting his/her investment (which isn't near as much as the the original purchaser), and probably is unaware of the damage which is occurring, or already occurred.

While Airstream restoration is a definite character building experience, I'm pretty sure there are more affordable ways of building character. (At 42, I'm physically beginning to question my budget for "character building" projects. Eight children, two pizza shops, and a new franchising program have just about done me in!)

I've said it before, and believe it is mostly true. No one really gets the Airstream they want for less than $10K. (I've got less than that in my Sovereign, even with all new appliances, axles, rubber, etc., but if you count my labor hours, I've well exceeded that number.)

And while I can make more money (I think), I cannot make more time. And there's nothing worse than getting waist deep into a project and realizing you'll be way over your head before you're through!
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