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Old 10-09-2007, 06:40 PM   #1
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1966 17' Caravel
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Removing channel bolts

I'm in the midst of putting down a new sub-floor in my 66 Caravel. After taking out the first piece of the old plywood I was surprised to find a thin sheet of aluminum directly under the pink insulation / above the metal frame. Is this normal ? Also, what is the fastest or easiest way of removing the bolts securing the old floor in the chanel around the perimeter of the trailer ?
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:49 PM   #2
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I'm confused...

Above the frame, but below the insulation? Doesn't your insulation sit between the frame members? Above the belly pan? Our '56 had the insulation lightly tacked to the bottom of the plywood floor...maybe in those ten years they really changed how it was done - it wouldn't surprise me. We didn't have to take the floor off our '64 - but I've seen a friends '66 and it didn't look too different than ours...they weren't side-by-side though.

Removing the perimeter bolts - at least in ours, was a PITA! We used Kroil to loosen up the rust and most came off. Some had to be broken off...lots of knicked knuckles in the process! I was surprised how few bolts held the whole thing together...



Shari
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:05 PM   #3
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I found a right angle grinder with a cutting wheel the ticket. shield all surfaces that will pit or melt.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:12 PM   #4
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Assuming you're not referring to the belly skin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton66
... After taking out the first piece of the old plywood I was surprised to find a thin sheet of aluminum directly under the pink insulation / above the metal frame. Is this normal? ...
I don't think so.

My understanding is that the wood floor needs to breath. A thin layer aluminum would allow moisture to be trapped. Mildew/odor would result.

Also, I think your Airstream originally came with yellow insulation instead of pink. Same properties between the two, but color is a good age discriminator (today's insulation is pink).

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Old 10-09-2007, 07:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton66
I'm in the midst of putting down a new sub-floor in my 66 Caravel. After taking out the first piece of the old plywood I was surprised to find a thin sheet of aluminum directly under the pink insulation / above the metal frame. Is this normal ? Also, what is the fastest or easiest way of removing the bolts securing the old floor in the chanel around the perimeter of the trailer ?
Is the area in question the fwd portion of the floor and is your spare tire between the frame rails? If it is, then aluminum keeps the insulation off the spare tire.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:13 AM   #6
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On my 1973 a Rotozip tool with the right-angle high-speed cutoff wheel attachment using the thin blade worked very well getting corrosion welded floor-channel bolts out from the back shell - frame stiffener cross plate - the rest were nasty but not welded.

Plunge straight down through center of bolt and nut untill its nearly through nut thickness, then pry or twist nut halves loose from bolt shank and drive bolt down.
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:28 PM   #7
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This is probably not the best way but I cut the flooring as close to the channel as I could using a sawsall (make sure there is nothing underneath when you do this) and then went through the remaining wood to the bolt with the right angle grinder.

If I started smelling hot wood I stopped and allowed it to cool. I didn't want to stress anything more than necessary because the bolts are much stronger than the aluminum.

Also on my AS most of the bolts are bent right at the nuts which I assume was to keep them from coming loose.
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:14 AM   #8
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Drill

I used a high speed cordless drill with a high strength drill bit. Determine the size of the bolt and use 1 or 2 sizes smaller that the bolt. Drill in the center of the head of the bolt, if necessary use a center punch or a smaller bit to start the processes. This will leave you with a this "tube" in the center of the bolt that can be sheered. I used a puddly knife that was intended to sink dry wall nails, a old screwdriver could work. This way you will not mar the finish on the frame or remove any frame material with a grinder, nor will you make the hole where the bolt once lived an oval.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:14 PM   #9
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I already had a small air compressor. I spent a little less than $100 on a set of air tools that has come in handy on my remodel. One of the tools was a right angle cuttoff wheel that I found very usefull for cutting bolts that I could not get off any other way. The air powered wrench was a big help on a few things too.

Check out the following thread for a lot of floor repair info.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11814 (title = Shell Off vs. Shell On Summary) Look especially at my detailed progress report in post number 74. I posed a list of the tools that I used for floor work.

Malcolm
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Old 10-30-2007, 12:11 PM   #10
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I'm in the process of replacing the front floor section in our 76 Argosy. We too have athin sheet of metal above the frame as you describe. I'll let you know about removing the bolts. I'm actually quite suprised that around the perimeter channel ther are only four bolts. all in the front straight section. The rest of the perimeter channel is held to the plywood with woodscrews. You can see the empty unused holes for the bolts. Very strange. What type of plywood are you using? How is your project going?
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:22 PM   #11
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I am also in the process of replacing the last 4 foot section of plywood subflooring in the bathroom of my '68 Overlander. I removed the elevator bolts with a 4" grinder including the bolts on the outside edges. I removed the inside panels which opened up the walls so I could access the new elevator bolts to tighten them down. I am using marine plywood and I've sealed the bottom side and edges with a primer/sealer leaving the top side for the new sheet vinyl floor covering. This may be overkill, but it's not a job I want to do again. My Airstream did not have the metal between the floor and the frame. Instead, it was coated with foam insulation which preserved the plywood quite well. Only in the areas not coated in the foam such as between the holding tank and the floor was rot present.
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