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Old 11-06-2014, 01:55 PM   #1
Jocie B
 
1969 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Shell on Floor Replacement - '69 Globetrotter

I'm most likely way over my head with my trailer! I purchased my '69 Globetrotter two years ago and have slowly been trying to restore it to a functional state. I have kept all the original components and am in the process of rebuilding interior cabinets, bed frames, etc. (this task is really not an issue and has been enjoyable) the subflooring however has become a monster!

My father and I gutted majority of the trailer in our pursuit to replace the subfloor. It has water damage like most trailers its age (along the side walls - under windows and door frame). We were able to replace the subflooring in the back end of the trailer (about a third of the entire floor).... following all the instruction we received for the forum (thank you so much for the tips guys). However this construction took us 3 months and was not the most pleasant father/daughter bonding we have had!

So I have decided to bite the bullet and send my trailer into a shop to have the entire subflooring replaced (including our three months of sweat, blood, and tears). I know that this will be a very costly experience however I'm looking for some advice on what a reasonable estimate would be. I have attached below an estimate I recently received. This is the second shop I have approached about the job. The first one was really not an enjoyable experience. The dollar amount mentioned was above what I was expecting. My Globetrotter is a gem in my eyes however according to standards has lost significant value due to one exterior puncture wound. Therefore I'm not ready extreme amounts of money back into it.

My original intention was to have the shop do a Shell-on Replacement. I also wanted them to avoid dropping out the belly. My trailer is already missing the belly in the back end so I figured that would allow them to work around without dropping the rest of the belly. If anyone with some experience wouldn't mind looking over this quote and giving me their opinion I would greatly appreciate it. I am getting another quote this Friday but really need some advice as to what is necessary and what is unnecessary.

Also please ignore the cost for removing any interior parts. I did that my self after I received this quote.

thank you so much for you time
jocie
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
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That is a big gulp on the labor. Yikes. I have sourced a person I found that did a Travco, Avions, Airstreams etc for $60 an hour. Your current shop quote rate is so high! $123.89. Are you anxious to just get it done and done right? Or are you willing to write that check plus 25% in case things are revealed that up the labor?

Thank you for posting this. I have a 65 GT I just acquired last month. Dena
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:21 PM   #3
Jocie B
 
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Revised Qoute

Sorry I had to edit my attachment. Thank you to everyone whom was concerned.

Attached to this post is the attachment
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:47 PM   #4
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So what is the state of your trailer right now? You have removed the interior, and the lower interior wall panels? Because at that point, it just seems like replacing the rest of the floor isn't that big a deal. For me the worst part was getting someone in to weld the broken spots on the frame, but once that was professionally taken care of, fitting the new plywood went fairly smoothly. Though I totally understand how it could have been a stressful family project!

Was the aluminum sheet on this quote for fixing the puncture in the outer wall?
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:29 PM   #5
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I lifted the shell on my '73 Globetrotter, replaced the floor, and towed the frame off for repairs a couple years ago. In order to do it myself, I spent around $1500 for parts, tools, and other specialty lifting equipment. Your quote does seem expensive, but most of it is labor, and the quote doesn't break out how many hours they are estimating the job will take. Any professional shop will charge you a lot for the labor--these folks are, after all, "RV Techs!"

I am concerned that they are charging you $280 for a sheet of aluminum. I have bought 4x12' sheets of aluminum that would be adequate for your bellypan locally in Houston for around $60/sheet. Their figure seems way high. Also, the "shavehead bulb-tite" rivets they are listing sound an awful lot like an Olympic style rivet. The fact that they wouldn't be using bucked (solid) rivets to reattach the shell is cause for concern.

Realize also that any frame repairs (which are likely to be needed), will cost extra, and at the end of the day, if you have any interest in installing grey tanks, the opportune time to do this is when you have the trailer torn apart for the floor replacement.

You probably have the skills to do a shell-off yourself--you just have to make it over that hurdle of taking on the challenge. If you want to make the attempt, I can literally tell you exactly how it is done. PM me if interested, I am in the Heights.

good luck!
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:33 AM   #6
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Your quote doesn't surprise. Replacing the sub floor is a major project. Lots of hours needed. And as mentioned, you will get bombarded with "while we're at it" additional costs. It would be a mistake not to fix the frame, fix the leaks and install a gray water tank. You won't likely add 10k in value to your trailer just because it has a new sub floor.

I might suggest that you trade your project trailer for one that has been renewed already. These forums are full of folks who enjoy rebuilding Airstreams and are quite good at it. (I'm not one of them. Although I feel my Trade Wind is worth more than when I started.) And they don't get paid $100 an hour for their labor of love. A nicely renewed 69 GlobeTrotter might be had for under 20K. You could likely sell your project trailer pretty easily (although maybe at a loss since it's been gutted.) Also take note that the vintage small trailers sell for more than the larger ones.

Professionally restored and renovated Airstreams are quite expensive. I saw a mid sixties Trade Wind that Jackson Center did years ago and it was beautiful as you might expect. Asking price was 65K. But enthusiasts who rebuild trailers sometimes sell them for less.

Just a thought....

David
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jocie b View Post
I'm most likely way over my head with my trailer! I purchased my '69 Globetrotter two years ago and have slowly been trying to restore it to a functional state. I have kept all the original components and am in the process of rebuilding interior cabinets, bed frames, etc. (this task is really not an issue and has been enjoyable) the subflooring however has become a monster!

My father and I gutted majority of the trailer in our pursuit to replace the subfloor. It has water damage like most trailers its age (along the side walls - under windows and door frame). We were able to replace the subflooring in the back end of the trailer (about a third of the entire floor).... following all the instruction we received for the forum (thank you so much for the tips guys). However this construction took us 3 months and was not the most pleasant father/daughter bonding we have had!

So I have decided to bite the bullet and send my trailer into a shop to have the entire subflooring replaced (including our three months of sweat, blood, and tears). I know that this will be a very costly experience however I'm looking for some advice on what a reasonable estimate would be. I have attached below an estimate I recently received. This is the second shop I have approached about the job. The first one was really not an enjoyable experience. The dollar amount mentioned was above what I was expecting. My Globetrotter is a gem in my eyes however according to standards has lost significant value due to one exterior puncture wound. Therefore I'm not ready extreme amounts of money back into it.

My original intention was to have the shop do a Shell-on Replacement. I also wanted them to avoid dropping out the belly. My trailer is already missing the belly in the back end so I figured that would allow them to work around without dropping the rest of the belly. If anyone with some experience wouldn't mind looking over this quote and giving me their opinion I would greatly appreciate it. I am getting another quote this Friday but really need some advice as to what is necessary and what is unnecessary.

Also please ignore the cost for removing any interior parts. I did that my self after I received this quote.

thank you so much for you time
jocie
Airstream uses what is called "monocoque" type construction. It means that the shell is load bearing.

A shell on complete floor replacement is IMPOSSIBLE, without causing damage to the "monocoque construction"

The floor is a major part of the monocoque and if you splice it, you weaken the overall strength of the shell, as the floor is an integral part of the shell.

Andy
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:53 AM   #8
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Airstream uses what is called "monocoque" type construction. It means that the shell is load bearing.

A shell on complete floor replacement is IMPOSSIBLE, without causing damage to the "monocoque construction"

The floor is a major part of the monocoque and if you splice it, you weaken the overall strength of the shell, as the floor is an integral part of the shell.

Andy
Andy, you are saying take off the shell, complete the floor and frame work and reinstall the shell. This will not warp the shell when going back on? Thanks, Dena
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:18 PM   #9
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Andy, you are saying take off the shell, complete the floor and frame work and reinstall the shell. This will not warp the shell when going back on? Thanks, Dena
Dena.

I will call you later this morning.

Andy
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:57 PM   #10
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People completely remove the shells, replace the floors, and put the shells back in place all the time. If you read the many threads about doing shell-offs, you will discover that there popular opinions that extensive wooden bracing is required to "maintain the shape of the shell," and a counter opinion that you can simply lift the shell from above without any bracing, and never experience any problem. I understand that if you jack the shell up from below that bracing is needed so that you have something to jack against--I am firmly in the "lift from above and forego the bracing" camp, and my experience indicates that this works fine.

I have seen several threads describing efforts to completely replace the floor without lifting the shell completely off. Almost without exception, it sounds like a lot more work and arguably marginal results compared to just doing a shell-off. Doing the shell-off is admittedly intimidating. There are a lot of rivets to drill out, new skills to learn (buck riveting), and expensive tools to buy (buck riveting kit). Just when you thought all you were doing was replacing some plywood, you learn that your frame is rusted through all over the place, the bellypan is corroded to the point that it might as well be replaced while you are there, and then thee is the whole "do I install grey water tanks while I am here?" At the risk of sounding preachy, I will say that the vast majority of vintage trailer restorations should start with a shell-off.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:19 PM   #11
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Now if Belegedhel would just trade you his great 73 Globetrotter for yours, he would have another project to make him happy. And you would have a great 73 with a sound frame and subfloor, you would be happy. Win - win!

David
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:32 PM   #12
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The lifting the shell vs raising on sawhorses has thrown me a bit. I have access to a 22ft tall, 2 ton jib crane with a 38ft diameter swing at my friends art studio Glassometry in Hood River, OR. We had just discussed the time it would take and moved the schedule to January to do the shell off up here in Seattle. Sooooo now I think I need to rethink. and think again. and again. There may be no over- thinking in this whole process. The more time I take, the more information comes to me. I am not going to make quick decisions on this restore. Thanks all.
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Old 11-09-2014, 10:35 AM   #13
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Now if Belegedhel would just trade you his great 73 Globetrotter for yours, he would have another project to make him happy. And you would have a great 73 with a sound frame and subfloor, you would be happy. Win - win!

David
I admit that I had more fun lifting my shell than I have had contemplating rebuilding my bathroom. If I was going to start a restoration business I think I would offer the service of doing the floor replacement only. Of course, in order to make the barest of livings doing it, I would probably have to charge $10,000, which would get us right back where this thread started.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:18 PM   #14
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The lifting the shell vs raising on sawhorses has thrown me a bit. I have access to a 22ft tall, 2 ton jib crane with a 38ft diameter swing at my friends art studio Glassometry in Hood River, OR. We had just discussed the time it would take and moved the schedule to January to do the shell off up here in Seattle. Sooooo now I think I need to rethink. and think again. and again. There may be no over- thinking in this whole process. The more time I take, the more information comes to me. I am not going to make quick decisions on this restore. Thanks all.
Lifting the shell is easy.

Have a few horses that are about 6 inches or more, higher than floor.

After all the fasteners have been removed, 2 guys can lift the front of the shell while a third person lays a 2 x 6 across the two horses and underneth the shell. Then the 2 guys can lower the shell onto to board.

Do the same thing at the rear, and then follow it up with more horses between the front and rear, depending on the length of the frame.

Be careful about the wheel wells. You may have to remove them before you can pull the frame out from underneath the shell.

Or, use higher horses.

Andy
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