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Old 08-16-2013, 04:49 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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Separation Anxiety

Hi all,
Well i'm about to lift the shell and am getting a little anxiety/worried. I've removed everything from the interior, bely pan tanks, skins,etc. I've drilled out half the rivets around the hold down band, the last half will be just before the lift, as well as the rivets in the hold down plate. Still need to grind off all the hold down bolts, since they were mounted with the flat head on the underside and bolt stem and nuts sticking and blocked by the channel, i'll grind them from below. One of the big things i'm worried about are the wheel wells, i'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with those. Any advice apreciated, and feedback if i'm missing anything.
Thanks
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:30 PM   #2
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
mapleton , Utah
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Are you doing the 23 footer or the 31 footer? the lift off is actually much easier than you think--Its the touch down thats nerve racking! leave the wheel wells with the floor and frame, just separate them from the skin and lift high enough to clear them. If you havent already done it read some threads on this and you will feel better. Believe me, somebody else has already made every mistake that you are about to make too. Brace the shell sufficiently and be sure to make a template of the floor curves, Dont skip this step!!
good luck
tim
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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Houston , Texas
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On the bolts that go through the channel, try grabbing them with a pair of vice-grips from above and working them back and forth until they snap off--might save some grinding time.

The big question here is how do you plan to lift the shell? Are you pulling it up from above, or jacking it up from below. This "how" is probably the most important part of the situation. As for the wheel wells, there is a peach colored plastic cover that can be removed before pulling the shell. The black plastic well that is left exposed should be installed underneath the subfloor, and stays in place. It is pop riveted to the shell, so be sure to drill out those rivets also. Just make sure you have the ability to lift/jack/hoist the shell high enough to clear the wheel wells--you need about 14" if I remember correctly. Before you start your lift, run a putty knife all the way around to make sure that every rivet is released. Note, that the U-channels that make the fore and aft semi-circles will stay with the shell, as they are not connected to the subfloor with anything besides bolts and screws. The other channels tha wrap around the subfloor will need to be released from the shell.

Let us know how you intend to do the lift, and we can probably offer some more advice.

good luck!
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Wayland , New York
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Rumrunner and Belegdhel,
Thanks for the feedback/inputs, i was doing the 23 footer and it's done, it didn't go to smoothly but it's done. I think i need to go back and add a little bracing in addition to what's there but it's sitting on blocks stable and looks just like it was sitting on the frame. Worked all day and late into the night on Saturday, then the cribbing slipped and the shell fell. Luckily no major damage, but i did bend a few inches on the lowest back section of both wheel wells that should be fairly repairable, one having about 1.5 inch rip in the aluminum that i'll probably get welded and then buf it out, if i can get the skin bent back in place, no rib's damaged. Sunday went to the hardware store and bought a bunch more cinder block, and then we jacked it slowly, got the frame out amd lowered it as much as we could. I think the biggest hindrance ws that there is no level ground on the property so it made keeping it even much more difficult. For putting the shell back on i am going to hire a crane, which should make it much simpler.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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Houston , Texas
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Glad you survived it--sounds like any damage is repairable, and might well be covered when you put the trim back one. I would definitely recommend lifting from above rather than jacking from below. I built two gantry frames from 4x4s and they served me well. You will really benefit from being able to move the shell in 3 dimensions when it comes time to put it back on.

cheers!
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:47 PM   #6
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
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FYI- the skins on these trailers are not weldable alloys. the skin Will crack next to the weld. you have the choice of patching or replacing damaged panels. With a little imagination the patches can look pretty good.
tim
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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1964 22' Safari
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enosburg , Vermont
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You too? Last Saturday just wasn't the day for shell removal. Mine slipped of the last 6" block on touchdown. Was luckier than you, just lost two fingernails. No extra work they'll grow back on their own. Belegedhel's right, need a gantry.
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:31 PM   #8
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Hollis , New Hampshire
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Just a precautionary note, if your shell is off and sitting on blocks it needs to be tied down to the ground. I'm assuming it's outside? One stray wind can lift that shell and send it tumbling.... In which case you will have a lot of scrap aluminum . Please tell me you have it tied down
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:03 AM   #9
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1974 31' Sovereign
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It's not tied down to the ground but it is tied to 8 cinderblocks holding it down, i've also left all the windows open and the roof vents open so any wind can pass through it for the most part. I tried getting it as low to the ground as possible but on the uneven ground i'm working with it varies from one block(8") in one corner to 2 1/2 blocks in the opposite corner. It's the uneven ground that kept me from going the gantry route. I'm planning on getting a crane to put it back on but have to figure out how to get the AC off the rear vent hole to pass a strap through it.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:05 PM   #10
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1962 19' Globetrotter
Winchester , Ontario
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Sitting duck shell

YIKES! TIE IT DOWN to ground anchors! I have had a car shelter blown a$$ over teakettle even when anchored with (and screwed to) numerous humongous railroad ties and concrete blocks, they just blew away with the shelter. Recently I was working with high stacks of styrofoam and we used many of those long swirly screws used for big dogs and crisscross tie downs, worked a treat. NEVER underestimate the power of the wind.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Wayland , New York
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flygrll,
Just got back to where thr trailer was today, about 15 minutes before a good but brief thinderstorm with lots of wind and rain. I was thinking along the same wavelength and picked up 4 of those dog run anchors fron HD yesterday afternoon and some cargo tie downs. I was strapping it down in each corner, but it wasn't moving a bit diring the worst wind i've seen here in a while. Finished strapping it down while it was pouring, so now i at least feel a bit more comfortable. Great minds...
While i was sheltered inside the trailer looked around for leaks and didn't see any where i didn't expect them. Front wing windows, and where the awning is attached, they did an attrocious job on that, must have had issues before or something, though it's hard to tell what they were thinking.
After last weekend i had to take a few days off and went to visit my brother, to relax and get away from the AS for a few days. I'd been working on it daily since 1st of August and was getting a little burned out. My original goal was to start Aug 1st and be 5 weeks from start to gut, shell, sandblast/fix frame, paint frame, replace floor, ... shell on and everything back on. Possible, full time on it, yes, but it'll definitely burn you out. So i'm going to slow way down. Probably spending 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
I'll get some pics tomorrow, i think the Curb side is easily fixable, street side will be harder and crack will get some backing and epoxy for a temp repair.
Joe
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:53 PM   #12
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St. Paul , Minnesota
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Its a weird wind, part downburst with that straight-line flow, that will lift a shell when a burble of turbulence from a nearby building etc. exploits some imbalance. I sat under mine in a 50mph gust and saw what you did (nothing)... All bets are off if the windows are out or open though..

2 weeks on, 2 weeks off turns into next Spring, turns into stop for Winter again... Minimum of some thing, any thing, done every day - and web shopping & research does NOT count! Not criticism just honesty from personal experience!
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:58 PM   #13
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1974 31' Sovereign
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I'm going to stay as full time on it as weather allows until i can get the shell back on. Need to get plywood for the floor (prob tomorrow) so i can trace it over the old floor before taking the old floor off the frame, then i'll take off the floor and get some metal repairs done, then sand blasted and painted, then ... shell on.
One thing i'd like to do is get rid of the channel that wraps around the floor and go with just u channel so that i can use 3/4 plywood instead of the 1/2 inch on there now. I'm still deciding it that's feasable from an engineering standpoint. Can't decide if the wrap around channel is to help hold the shell down more or protect the edges of the plywood. In either case it doesn't seem to really work well. To help hold the shell down better i was thinking of getting some metal stringers welded from outrigger end to outrigger end and using some more bolts between the outriggers. some of the bolts in the front and back curves simply went into the wood, which probably helped hold the floor up more than the shell down. I have to replace the front hold down plate so holes will have to get redrilled in the new plate anyways. I was going to wrap the edges of the plywood with the aluminum backed stick on rubber roof flashing all the way around in order to help protect the edges of the plywood, which seem to be the weak point in floor rot. I also plan on painting the plywood, primer+ 2 coats of porch/floor paint to help protect the wood.
For where i'm working on the trailer, i don't think i can work on it every day. Lots of reasons why and i don't want to insult anybody on this end of things. If i could stay healthy and sane where i'm working on it i'd gladly work on it daily, but the only option based on space availability was to work on it at a family members house, who i love, but sanitary living conditions are not high on the priority list. My brother just visited and concurred. So i'm thinking 2 weeks here, 2 weeks visiting my bro, whth his family, niece and nephew i adore.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:31 AM   #14
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After seeing the outrigger bolts loose and broken from long term rust and prior accidents, and the plywood edges dry rotted to the point it'd dished down the single-C channel into the rotten wood cavity and being loose up to 1/4", the having the double-C channel transmitting anchor force from the surviving surrounding outriggers without distorting the shell aluminum is a great advantage.

A power planer, router, even a circular saw in capable hands will feather 3/4 down to 9/16" or 1/2". Two coats of primer and two coats of porch paint and its a near forever repair.

Remember our trailers ran the first twenty years without flinching, looking at forty years use and extreme live loads of jamming down the highway for hours and hours and 'damping' all the oscillations without shearing bucked rivets or shell distortion puts the original construction on special design pedestal.

The double-C channel spreads torsion forces over a larger area so the stiffness of the shell is 'holding up' the frame and keeps the plywood from warping, if even from gravity and 10's of years time passing. EDIT: The shell is stiff, the frame is glorified axle mounting plates - the plywood floor modulates torsion and flex forces, when something is off its due to lack of preventative maintenance or insufficient prior repair...
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