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Old 02-11-2014, 06:40 AM   #1
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Replace or leave well enough alone

I am beginning to restore my first AS, a 1961 Overlander. The interior is stripped out down to the subfloor which considering the age is in pretty good shape. I have what I assume are the typical spots of floor rot under appliances and fixtures and under 1 or 2 windows. But none of it bigger than 2'x2'. The few places where I can see the frame it looks solid with just surface rust. The skin under the trailer looks to be original and mostly intact. So here's my question- while I have it in this stage, do I want to go ahead and tear out the original subfloor and/or bottom skin to get to the frame and paint it with POR15 or do I just fix the floor rot and leave the frame alone?
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:47 AM   #2
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Fix the rot and go camping!!! Jim
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:18 AM   #3
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pictures, full shell off restoration then camping...
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:30 AM   #4
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It's a slippery slope. You may end up with "while we're at it" syndrome! Hmmm, here's the scenario:
Lets do a subfloor redo, oh may as well paint the frame while we're at it. Since we have to take off the lower skins to do the subfloor, lets take them all off and redo the insulation while we're at it. Hmmm, looks like a mouse chewed on the wiring, lets redo the wiring while we're at it. You get the picture!
I've been through this many times with our house. In the end it's all what you want, but it can get expensive and time consuming. On the other hand you end up with a very solid trailer! How much time do you have and what is your timetable for getting on the road? And, how handy are you?
Just want you to go in with your eyes wide open! I might be tempted to just repair the floor......

Kay
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:48 AM   #5
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I guess it depends on whether you do a minor repair and then go camping for a few years and then decide if you want to do more. Or you can spend lots of time a money to do a major repair and not camp for a couple years. Do you want to be a camper or an AS renovator? Jim
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick response. You guys are awesome. Since the trailer is already stripped out, I'm going to make sure the frame is rust proofed. I'm likely to be spending a lot of time and money anyway, so might as well do it right. Even the stuff you can't see. But it looks to me like I shouldn't just go in there and start ripping out the whole subfloor yet without knowing what I'm doing. Doesn't the wood provide support for the shell? So if you guys were starting this job, what's best order of attack? Click image for larger version

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Old 02-11-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Thanks for the quick response. You guys are awesome. Since the trailer is already stripped out, I'm going to make sure the frame is rust proofed. I'm likely to be spending a lot of time and money anyway, so might as well do it right. Even the stuff you can't see. But it looks to me like I shouldn't just go in there and start ripping out the whole subfloor yet without knowing what I'm doing. Doesn't the wood provide support for the shell? So if you guys were starting this job, what's best order of attack? Attachment 205360
The wood is a structural member in the system. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but the wood actually supports the frame more than it supports the shell. What it really does is connect the frame to the shell so the three things become a unit, a "semi-monocoque" system.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:14 PM   #8
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How you replace the subfloor is a religious discussion. :P We did shell on, others do shell off. There are many threads devoted to this. Ours is in our Little Girl Refurb thread. Shell off is probably easier overall, in retrospect for reasons other than just getting a new floor in. You will need to take your lower inner skins off to access the C channel. There are not only bolts in there but also lots of hidden screws if yours is anything like ours. I suggest you do some reading of different methods before you proceed. It definitely helps!

Kay
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:00 PM   #9
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Got it. I'm going to rewire the whole thing anyway. So if I start (gently) removing the lower inner panels and then remove the bottom skin I can begin cussing at all the rusted bolts and stuff holding the wood floor down. Right? Call me stupid, but I'm going for it. I'm going to have to put this thing up on jack stands for a while since I'm going to do axels and all, too. Is there a preferred brand or type of jack stands that everybody uses?
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:06 PM   #10
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????"call me stupid"???? Not a chance. You've got a '61, hard to come by. You're 1st 3 post show your head is right. Do it once and do it right!!! Before you start the tear down spend some time inside pondering where you will want stuff on the rebuild, tanks, wiring, audio, video, vent fans, on & on. Its easier to visualize before the int skins come out. Things like Opps a speaker would have been nice there, a reading light over here, a 12v aux plug there, now the wires must be exposed!!! I used jack stands just once for a body on floor replace, never again she slipped off. Not stable enough for that level of work for me. I suggest cribbing with 4 or 6 bys, rock solid. If you do body on be sure you set it up high enough to work under. 2 feet is barely enough. I've done body on and off. For me body off is easier and quicker. Either way you're gonna learn long strings of cuss words! Its a '61 its worth it................................................ ................
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:15 PM   #11
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Thanks Putback. I was so focused on jacks I didn't even think about cribbing it. Big duh, there. Thanks to all who replied to this thread. Light a candle for me.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:02 AM   #12
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Bongo- I was once in your shoes. I chose the "do it right" method, and glad I did- even though I've owned this thing for 17 months and never actually used it.... Ha.

But, what I found was that when I started tearing into something, the damage went far deeper than what I could only see. Had I patched the situation, I would have left other issues that would have been difficult to fix later.

I started with "just cleaning up the inside", then graduated to, "I'll tear out the interior and build it out new", then "patch this rot before I start rebuilding", "might as well tear this part of the floor out", "as long as I've got this much floor out, I might as well do the other"... and finally, "I've come this far, I might as well pull the shell and start over"....

If you're going to lift the shell, it will definitely postpone your camping, but like it was said in a previous post- you'll have a nice solid trailer.

For lifting the shell, I used the Gantry method and it worked great. No need to brace the interior- just lift through the roof vents. Allows for effortless and precise lifting AND gently placing the shell back on. You can also use the gantries as a rotisserie for working on the frame. Then you can use them as a scaffold to work on top. Here is a recent thread that discusses some lifting ideas:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...on-115765.html
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:50 AM   #13
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We put our trailer up on cement blocks and 4x4 wood cribbing. It stayed that way for 4 years and was very stable that way. We pulled the axles right away. Used the stabilizers we had removed and set upside down at the 4 contact points as further stability insurance. We had to put her up higher by several inches to get the new axles under her so make sure you can get it high enough to start with. Jacking it up further was a little, ummm, nerve wracking to say the least.
We spent a lot of time planning, and used tape and mockups of cardboard to figure out our design/floor plan. When we did the electrical, Chris said to me "now before we close this up, any where you want a plug in? Now's the time to say it." We added one by the dinette for my sewing machine. That kind of planning is important, I think, for your comfort when you are done. I completely agree: do it right the first time!

Kay
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:12 PM   #14
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Thanks Mixter and Kay. The gantries look like the ultimate way to do it, but this is a driveway project for me and I doubt I would have the space for them. So I'm probably going to do something similar to what Kay recommends. What about removing and replacing the floor in sections and refurbishing the frame as I expose it? Basically button one section up and then move to the next one. Wouldn't that keep me from having to lift the shell?
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