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Old 09-21-2015, 08:02 PM   #1
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Termites ate everything. Including the floor. I refuse a shell off!

The termites reduced the subfloor to dust. The previous owner hid the damage with a brand new thick laminate floor. I knew I was gutting it anyway but didn't understand that it could do frame drop. I recently came to this conclusion without knowing it was real when I thought: what could be holding this shell when the subfloor is gone? Today while removing the interior panels it occurred to me. I don't have time for a belly pan of shell off. Maybe one day in 10 years when I'm not running a software company I will have time. But right now I just want to travel the roads with my family :-)

So, no need to lecture on the shell off, I get it. How can I lift the shell enough to get new sub flooring under the channel in areas where there's not much room? Get some friends to lift while I pry it under? Also realizing now my floor will be about 6 or 8 separate pieces.

Everyone likes photos!

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Old 09-21-2015, 08:22 PM   #2
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Use wedges at the edges of the wood and replace one sheet at a time by splitting the sheet down the center.

I didn't have time for a shell off either, we went on our first trip 120 days after purchase with this in the middle.

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps1a2f2fc2.jpg


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Old 09-21-2015, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thanks! Glad to know it's possible. I thought I caused this problem pulling the damaged floor out but I can see the termites are responsible. I will be holding an execution with gas and a lighter this weekend
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:59 PM   #4
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Oh, you will need to pull off the interior walls to get the old bolts out and the new bolts in.


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Old 09-21-2015, 09:08 PM   #5
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Pulled the interior panels today :-). Now I have to pressure wash the interior and paint the frame so I can get started on this floor!
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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Thanks! Glad to know it's possible. I thought I caused this problem pulling the damaged floor out but I can see the termites are responsible. I will be holding an execution with gas and a lighter this weekend
This sounds too much like you are going to torch the trailer...
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:32 PM   #7
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This sounds too much like you are going to torch the trailer...
The wood! Haha the floor and cabinets easily have a few thousand termites. It's all laying in the yard.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:59 PM   #8
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Shell off vs "Full Monty"...

Shell off is just that, getting the shell off of the frame. It requires getting the inner skins off in order to be able to access the bolts. All of the stuff inside needs to be taken out in order to fully access the inner skins. Only the lower half of the skins need to be removed (if possible, it depends upon the overlap)
Carefully brace the shell inside so that it does not warp when removed because of the spring forces the bent metals put on it. Otherwise It may cause issues trying to put it back down later. The bolts are cut off with a sharp chisel, putty knife or in the case of a well rotted floor a reciprocating saw. One of those new vibratory saws might work great with a blade rated for cutting metal.

Once the shell is up, pull the frame out from underneath and assess the frames needs. Once those needs are met, put a new floor on using "Elevator bolts" just like the ones you cut off. I recommend several alterations to eliminate the need to replace the floor again. Use Marine grade plywood,
Costs more but worth every penny. No voids, waterproof glue, and better wood to begin with. If you can work with fiberglass, fiberglass the outer foot over the edge to not give water any access to the end grain. This will also force any water that does get in not to be able to hide. One layer of mat is sufficient and can easily be sanded flat when cured.

Carefully align back the body by pre-drilling the holes that are at fixed points and align to previous points on the shell... be careful, the outer parts of the frame can easily flex out of position. If both the frame and shell flex out of their previous positions it can cause issues when things go back together inside.

Reinstall inner shells and then interior components and check to make sure things work as they should as they are reconnected.

The Full Monty takes this to a whole new level since you would replace all of the wiring and plumbing. Add tanks where there pretty much were none.
Update/upgrade systems and appliances, etc. until you run out of time, money or both.

To make it short.. the Full Monty is a Part time project that will take a loooooong time to complete. The Shell Off will take much less time and will likely save your marriage and sanity...

Chuck
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:11 PM   #9
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So you missed the part where I'm not doing a shell off? Haha. I appreciate the steps and advise but it's not happening. I was asking for advise on floor replacement for shell on.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:21 PM   #10
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The wood! Haha the floor and cabinets easily have a few thousand termites. It's all laying in the yard.
Torching the cabinets may be a little extreme if you want to use it relatively quickly... They are the templates to make their replacements.

Termites cannot live in a dry environment... they need high relative humidity.
Try picking the furniture over and putting it inside a place where you can suck out the humidity with a dehumidifier and this will kill them quick. Just make sure it is well sealed to keep them from escaping and setting up a new nest.
They are pretty resistant to many insecticides. A plastic enclosure where you recirculate the air through the dehumidifier would be just the ticket.

Chuck
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:29 PM   #11
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Shell-up...

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So you missed the part where I'm not doing a shell off? Haha. I appreciate the steps and advise but it's not happening. I was asking for advise on floor replacement for shell on.
So you are doing a "Shell up"... where you pry up some of it at a time and slip the plywood underneath. You still need to cut the elevator bolts to about 2' away from where you are prying up to accomplish this... and you need a supply of new bolts to put in as you go along. Tighten them up when you are finished and bend over the end like they were before... this keeps the nuts from being able to vibrate loose.

Chuck
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:38 PM   #12
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I got it. If the pictures loaded you'd see there is nothing to save even if the termites die. I'm in Florida. Everything is wet. That's how they survive.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:39 PM   #13
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So you are doing a "Shell up"... where you pry up some of it at a time and slip the plywood underneath. You still need to cut the elevator bolts to about 2' away from where you are prying up to accomplish this... and you need a supply of new bolts to put in as you go along. Tighten them up when you are finished and bend over the end like they were before... this keeps the nuts from being able to vibrate loose.

Chuck
I'll have to use self tapping as the belly pan is not coming off.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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Sketchy...

The self tappers will only work in certain places and not where there are currently holes as these go all the way through in order to be able to put a nut on them. I wish you luck as the shell is an integral part of the structure just like unibody and if you don't bond it to the frame well enough it will allow too much flexing which in turn will lead to early failure of many parts of the trailer.
Especially if the frame is already compromised by significant rust.
Not taking the belly pan off is a mistake based upon what I know of these trailers. It's about 2 days work to take it off and to put it back on... maybe less if your talented and have the right tools.
Somebody obviously stuck you with a sketchy repair. Hope you are better than that person...

Chuck
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