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Old 11-13-2006, 09:12 AM   #1
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1978 31' Excella 500
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replaced skin-homemade C channel

We discovered a replaced portion of the skin on the right front corner. Instead of factory C channel it has been cut to bend and anchored with a lot of rivets.

Does this appear to be sound enough or should this be dismantled and a factory C channel installed?
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
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I would not trust it. Each cut into the aluminum has weakened that area and can travel up past the bend. Also there appears to be a wet spot on the floor has this been corrected?
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:38 AM   #3
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Yes, we are aware that we have a leak on both front corners; we haven't gotten a chance to track these down yet.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:46 AM   #4
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It looks just like the factory original corner on my '59. Structurally I think it's ok if you fix the leak and replace any rot.

I don't know what year the factory switched to 'bent' C-channels.
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaroam
We discovered a replaced portion of the skin on the right front corner. Instead of factory C channel it has been cut to bend and anchored with a lot of rivets.

Does this appear to be sound enough or should this be dismantled and a factory C channel installed?
Hi Mark; I personally think that what you have done is going to be fine. However I would reinforce the corner next to the skin, but not including covering the rivets with Gray Marine Tex. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:41 AM   #6
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Well, if we can keep that the way it is, that will be one less repair.

1,082 more to go,........LOL.

Thanks all.
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaroam
We discovered a replaced portion of the skin on the right front corner. Instead of factory C channel it has been cut to bend and anchored with a lot of rivets.

Does this appear to be sound enough or should this be dismantled and a factory C channel installed?
The original factory floor channels are one piece, with no cuts in them.

Someone has replaced yours with what appears to be on top of the floor only.

The correct floor channel for your trailer, slides over the edge of the plywood, plus having the U channel on top of the floor.

Andy
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:52 PM   #8
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Andy

Thank you bunches for that picture. That shows us perfectly what this should look like. Now does this come as one piece? Or is the u channel on top of the floor a seperate piece from the part that slides over the plywood?
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wannaroam
Andy

Thank you bunches for that picture. That shows us perfectly what this should look like. Now does this come as one piece? Or is the u channel on top of the floor a seperate piece from the part that slides over the plywood?
The bottom part slides over the plywood floor.

That then leaves the two verticals. The one one the left is for the outside metal and the one on the right is for the insde metal.

The floor channels come in one huge "U" shaped piece, but we cut them in half in order to ship them with UPS.

Actually the bottom part should be straight instead of angled as shown in the photo. I just grabbed one so that I could take a photo of it for you.

Andy
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #10
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Ok, I guess that I'm going to have to order this, probably for the front and back both since we are doing some repair to the back as well to replace about a 2" wide section of rotted floor in back.

Andy - I spoke to you before by phone and will call you to do some ordering as soon as we decide what all we need first. The hubby is already suffering from aluminumrepairitis and is taking a couple of days off from the AS to do fall yard work.
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaroam

The hubby is already suffering from aluminumrepairitis and is taking a couple of days off from the AS to do fall yard work.

Yard work = Bummer.

Yard work = a little beer.

Airstream work =

Airstream work = a lotta beer.

Andy
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:40 PM   #12
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Andy,

Can you tell us (approximately) when the factory changed to the extruded C-channel?

Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by markdoane
Andy,

Can you tell us (approximately) when the factory changed to the extruded C-channel?

Thanks!

Best I can find out from drawings or from Airstream, is probably 1982.

We have installed it on older coaches that had rear end separation, but had to adjust the curve, by cutting a few slots in it, but certainly not like the photo from wannaroam.

Andy
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:48 PM   #14
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Andy

Oh, yeah; you got that right!!
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:58 PM   #15
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Our 78 AS has the U channel with the C channel underneath as shown in the picture above.

I have floor rot on the left side of the trailer, from the wall to the frame rail. The floor rot is in the 'front room back to the refrigerator, and from the water heater to the rear wheel well, road side.

The floor appears to be 1/2 inch plywood. It "gives" when walked on, particularly in the front.

I got the trailer gutted except for the rear bath.

How do I get the floor in the C channel?
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Best I can find out from drawings or from Airstream, is probably 1982.

We have installed it on older coaches that had rear end separation, but had to adjust the curve, by cutting a few slots in it, but certainly not like the photo from wannaroam.

Andy
Andy,

Should I co with new C-Channel in my 68 Safari since the shell is off, and I am getting a new floor? What would the price be?

Steve
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by soldiermedic
Andy,

Should I co with new C-Channel in my 68 Safari since the shell is off, and I am getting a new floor? What would the price be?

Steve
New style front and rear floor channels do not match the contour of the shell.

If you wish to still use the new style, you must slit the channel to change the contour.

The floor channels must be cut "in half" so they can be shipped UPS. If not, then they must go motor freight, which costs more then the channel.

Same is true for main bows.

Andy
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlee1120
Our 78 AS has the U channel with the C channel underneath as shown in the picture above.

I have floor rot on the left side of the trailer, from the wall to the frame rail. The floor rot is in the 'front room back to the refrigerator, and from the water heater to the rear wheel well, road side.

The floor appears to be 1/2 inch plywood. It "gives" when walked on, particularly in the front.

I got the trailer gutted except for the rear bath.

How do I get the floor in the C channel?
I think that your plywood floor should be 3/4" thick. My 1973 31' is and I believe the trend continued (Please chime in here Andy if you know different). Originally the plywood sheets were installed with their lengh across from side to side. You have correctly noted that it is not an easy thing to get new sheets back in that way. It is possible to get the two curved end sheets in cross-wise from inside if you start with them on the diagonal and turn them into position. This requires that the next sheet in line from the end not yet be in place yet though. If you want to install the rest of the sheets cross-wise you would have to carefully spread the body apart. I personally did not feel at all comfortable with that approach. Instead I put the new sheets (besides the end ones) in length-wise of the frame. I added a plywood spline under the joint (in between frame cross members) something like 4" to 6" wide which I attached to the lengthwise sheets with glue and screws. While I believe that it is true that plywood is a little stiffer in the long direction than it is in the short direction I don't think that the difference is enough to worry about.

One other thing that you might not have found out yet is that the frame cross-members under the current plywood joints are 5/8" lower than the top of the rest of the frame. Again this is the case in 1973 at least. The reason for this is that there are factory installed plywood splines at these joints to help re-enforce the connections of the plywood sheets to the frame along these cross-members. Something to look for when you get further into your floor work.

If you have not yet found the wealth of information here in the forum regarding floor replacement let me suggest that you start with the following thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...-done-428.html

My post number 10 in that thread also gives some links to other threads about floor replacment. There is a pointer there to a list of tools and some techniques that I followed. Other people had a lot to say about the topic too.

By the way - on my 1973 unit it does have the c-channel/u-channel combination but not on the corners themselves. They are just the u-channel in that vintage trailer.

Malcolm
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:19 PM   #19
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I am going to go with the patch work, down the side repair, with sheeting underneath. I think I read a post with pictures about this technique.

Found the cause of the rotted floor during the rain the past two days, I sat in the trailer and watched it rain. The water rolled down the side of the trialer and entered the beltstrip at bottom of the trailer (the piece with the blue plastic in it) and went into the trailer.

I think the belly pan sides overlap the wall instead of the wall overlapping them.

I think I read here somewhere not to use silicone on airstreams. Any feedback?

These forums are a great help and also the folks at Inland RV are a great help. They are patient when I can and have a lot of knowledge! I will be a repeat customer!

Jim and Regina
78 31' Sovereign
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:02 PM   #20
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I have a 78 30' argosy that I am replacing the floor in totally.It had 15/32 4 ply plywood originally and was only captured at the sides of the trailer, not the front or rear.Front sheet easy to slide in. Used 15/32 exterior 5 ply.Captured sheets I made a frame that sits towards the both edges of the plywood and has a threaded rod mid span between. Drilled on hole center of the sheet with a plate and nut underneath and tighten up and warp the plywood enough to drop in at the edges of the extruded lip and then loosen ti up and work it into the track.Helps to run a roundover bit on edge of the plywood.Have done one sheet at a time only 2 more to go. Frame was flush all the way across. bruce
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