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Old 04-30-2004, 10:16 PM   #15
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Don't want to start an argument, but I think using self tapping screws might be a problem because there really isn't enough metal thickness in the frame. At most you could get two threads in that thickness. Which would be fine if it was a dry location and not likely to corrode.
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Old 05-01-2004, 07:47 AM   #16
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Don

No argument here - now that you mention it thats two reasons not to use self tapping screws - the first is the size of the screw itself and second as you mention is the "bite" or lack there of in the cross members.

The 70's trailers use BAL stabilizers and they use self tapping screws in the cross members, very easy to strip if your not careful. On my 75 been there done that, my plan is to have a piece welded just for the stabilizers to get a better bite. In fact on the newer BAL stablizers, they use a hook that hooks around the opening of the cross member rather than self tapping screws into the cross member

I know its been done, in my view, it won't hold up.

As had been said belly removal is not that hard - its work you get to do while laying on your back . Even on the older trailers, I would think you could drop enough to reach the bolts, or if you have to put new metal up the center its not prohibitably expensive to do so.

Ken
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Old 05-01-2004, 12:21 PM   #17
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That is complete bunk about screws and threads!

Look around, almost ALL metal buildings these days utilize this construction.
They use self drilling TEK screws that are:
a. non corrosive
b. hardened steel, (they do drill )
c. come with wide, water preventative washers

If you check and see you will probably find that your gas lines are attached to the frame with self drilling screws.

As for threads, as I said above, they use these to affix steel sheeting to the stringers that run horizontal on the building frame, certainly comparable to or even thinner than the steel in the frame assembly.

Almost all AC duct work utilize this construction on steel that is not even close to the thickness of the trailer frame.

All commercial buildings that utilize steel or tin studs use these screws.

Obviously, this practice is utilized and ACCEPTED by building codes and inspectors.

My 2 dollars worth!

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Old 05-01-2004, 12:31 PM   #18
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Do whatever you want. None of those applications are in an environment that is susceptible to prolonged exposure to moisture and wet plywood. If you can seal the underside, I would be more likely to use them, but if you can access the underside, why not use elevator bolts and screws?
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Old 05-01-2004, 02:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by markdoane
but if you can access the underside, why not use elevator bolts and screws?
By far the elevator bolts would be better, larger head, more threads, locking or nylock nuts. But Whistler asked for a solution that did not involve pulling the belly skin. That doesn't leave much but self tapping or self drilling/self tapping. On the plus side these won't be the only source of attachment, just replacing some that have lost tension over the years, he can replace 2 for 1 if that is what it takes.

John
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Old 05-01-2004, 03:22 PM   #20
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It has been said that every time you tow a trailer its like putting it though a torando. Most buildings don't go through tornados everyday. My intention is not to be argumentative, I think were just suggesting what we know works. My intuitive sense says don't do it, however if you go the self tapping screw route, let me know - I'm always open to learning something new.

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Old 05-01-2004, 03:53 PM   #21
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On the plus side these won't be the only source of attachment, just replacing some that have lost tension over the years, he can replace 2 for 1 if that is what it takes.

John
That sounds like a good idea. For bolts in the center of the floor where the problem was flexing and dry rot, replacing them is self tapping screws would be ok. I'm still a little cautious if the bolts were rusty, that the rust will cause the threads to rust out again pretty quickly.
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Old 05-02-2004, 07:55 AM   #22
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I don't know if this is significant or not, but I was looking through my service manual at the way the fresh water tank is supported. One of the angle-iron pieces is held in with 1x1/4 self-tapping screws. The removal procedure in the manual doesn't mention removing the other 3 angles, so I don't know how they're actually attached (anyone else know? ). But anyway, that z-angle is holding up more than 1/4 of the weight of a full tank, bouncing down the road...well...maybe not. maybe the others are welded in place, and they're supporting all the weight. but anyway, I've looked at mine, and it doesn't look like its about to fall out any time soon
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