The front plate is one of the key elements of the structure of the trailer. From what I've read, the '59 era trailers had an undersized front plate. Wally Byam and/or his Engineers increased the size and number of rivets after their evaluation during the 1959
CapeTown to Cairo Caravan.
Your plate rotted out like mine did. The 7-panel construction is prone to leaks above and around the forward window, letting plenty of water in to corrode your frame members.
If Wally knew about the plate sizing in 1959
, he probably would have made a plate like mine after the rebuild at Colin Hyde’s. Hopefully this picture helps clarify the purpose and size needed. If you look at '60s trailers, you'll see quite a few rivets in the front of the trailer, below the window. This is the redesign of the front plate after Wally discovered the design flaw.
BTW, if you haven't discovered theVap
and have time to listen to podcasts, you'll learn quite a bit listening to back episodes.
Given the fact that you're doing a major restoration, I want to be sure that you've seen some of these threads. See major renovations
if you haven't. I wish I remembered which one it was -- probably NorCalBambi -- who did a great drawing of the key structural components. It is important to understand before you button up your trailer.
Essentially this: the frame supports the plywood floor. There is a bolt that bonds the frame, the floor and c-channel together. It needs to be properly isolated with a plastic washer so that no galvanic corrosion occurs. Additional screws bond the c-channel to the floor, but are not critical.
The outer walls bond to the c-channel, and on our '59s, the belly pan slips between them. The strength of the trailer is the frame/floor/c-channel/outer skin, forming a monocoque construction. The inner skins stiffen the assembly.
Hope this helps,