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Old 07-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #1
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1969 18' Caravel
Nashville , Tennessee
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Removing walls before repairing rotted floor

I have recently purchased my first AS a 69 Caravel 18'. I bought it in Alaska (the floor has taken some Alaska weather abuse) picked it up in Bellingham and pulled it to Nashville TN. After the weeks journey I'm anxious to get to work but it looks like the floor repair will require some extra help. The closest repair center to me is Knoxville however I may pull it to Jackson Ohio if the repair price will be the same. I am wondering if it is safe to remove the wall panels before towing it to have the floor repaired. It is basically stripped of all but that now. Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks, Paul
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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1988 34' Limited
1960 24' Tradewind
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I would not remove the lower panels of the interior walls. The plywood, an integral part of the structure is gone so all you have is probably some wobbly, rusted out bolts holding the shell to what's left of the frame. The inner skin provides a great deal of support to the shell structure and if removed the walls become much weaker.

It is a good thing that it's a short trailer--think a longer one would have buckled under the pressure of the previous long road trip. If it were sitting in my driveway, I would hestitate to tow it any greater distance than necessary.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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Paul If you want my opinion I wouldn't tow that trailer anywhere in it's current condition. I can already see in the interior picture where the frame is twisting and the shell is dropping. It is at risk of falling completely down and causing severe damage to the shell. The floor is the main structural component connecting the shell to the frame, with out it there is virtually no solid connection between the two.

Now that the floor has been removed you need to brace the shell to stop it from twisting anymore. The frame is in bad shape and needs repair. To do this job properly the shell must be lifted off the frame and supported on sawhorses. then the frame is pulled out from under the shell and repaired. You will need to remove the interior walls and the belly pan to get at the bolts that hold the shell through the floor into the frame.
This kind of job can be done by an average handy person with most basic tools with the exception of a solid rivet gun. I can eloborate further but I think this answers the question you are asking. Read several of the threads on floor replacement or "Full Monte"and you will understand what is involved.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #4
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Oh, and welcome to the forums. Best of luck with your restoration.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:50 PM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
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The frame parts should be strong. The floor adds to the strength of the trailer. I would replace all defective cross members and outriggers in the frame and weld the new ones in place before towing. I would also secure the floor before towing the trailer. The floor on my 1974 AS was 3/4" marine grade plywood. I painted it with several coats of polyurethane prior to setting the floor pieces back into place. I don't think the walls and furniture would be not be an issue.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thanks all. I will be researching the full Monty. Any suggestions on someone who can tackle this in Nashville TN would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:20 PM   #7
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The repairs needed on your trailer will be very expensive if you pay someone to do it and that is assuming that they do it correctly. There a lot of man hours need to do the work. If you have time , fixing the trailer isn't rocket science. Like Wasagachris said, basic tools are all that is needed. What you need to know to do it is available with some searching here on the forums as it has been covered many times by many folks. If you do chose to have it done, make absolutely sure that you understand what has to be done and how it needs to be done so you can monitor the progress and give advise if the repair person has not done an Airstream before. Good luck.
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