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Old 01-28-2011, 09:21 PM   #1
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The frame is ok ~ Patching the floor.

Today was a busy, busy day for us as we worked on our "traylah". Hate to tell you folks up north, but it was almost 70 here. Time to get the soaking wet rotted mess of flooring and pink stuff that I found last week during the snow melt OUT.
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We opened both under the bed storage compartments, both to let in air and sunshine and for light. As we suspected, the rotted spot was much bigger than we could see by just pulling up the carpet between the storage door and the bed frame. But pretty much all in one area - curbside rear storage compartment all the way to back.
This area will never again have attached carpet on it.


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Original plan was just to take off the plywood under the bed, undo the hinges, and get access to the under bed storage. We wanted to just do that and get the carpet out so we could see what we need to do. Nope. That doesn't work. Quickly we found if we wanted to remove all carpet from the back of the trailer, we needed to remove the bed frame and trim.

After the bed frame was off the carpet, it ripped up pretty well for a while and then we got to the part where the water line and electric are - and there was a ground wire along the big scary looking electrical cable. At that point, we began carefully cutting carpet from around the water line because we didn't want to cause a leak. When it came to cutting carpet away from electric line - we decided to go outside and unhook from electric. Damp metal underbelly, boxcutter, electric line, ground wire = things that scare me!

Eventually we got all the carpet out and were pleasantly surprised to find the only real bad rot is the curbside corner. There is a little bit of rot starting on the other side - it looks worse in photo than it really is - but mostly just the one side. I labeled the pieces we took out of the bed frame as best I could. Not looking forward to figuring how to put it back together! One piece - the one alongside the bad area, will have to be replaced, rotten on bottom.

The most time consuming parts were getting the bedframe out. Getting the carpet out is still not completely done. Still need to get the rotten wood out of the c channel in the rotten area. It was very, very satisfying to pull that old soaking wet pink stuff and rotted pieces of floor out and get it dry enough, by the end of the day, to vacuum up the mess. I simply got a bucket and began loading the stuff in it...soaking wet - and it hasn't rained or snowed in almost a week! We obviously have some bad leaks. I have more photos of the suspect areas to get help on - but that's another thread.

I forgot to wear a mask while I pulled out pink stuff, but I had on gloves. Hopefully I won't get some kind of nostril rot or something. Is that dangerous?

Here's more photos of the day's work and the condition of the floor. I was so happy to find it and start attacking it. Mr. B said ignorance is bliss. But, it is not if your floor is rotting out and rusting your frame!

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We are planning to patch. What do ya'll think? We are not going to drop the belly pan or raise the skin. Not this year. Maybe later.
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Tomorrow will be dedicated to leak detection and sealing while the sun and warmth continues to dry out the frame and floor. Many places leaks are just plain to see. Should I post those photos under Leaks so others will see the likely culprits and how a trailer that has not been lovingly cared for looks, or should I just post it under Excella trailers?

I'm so proud to finally be getting some real work done on it! That wet wood was worrying me to death.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #2
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How do you plan on getting at the bolts that are inside the walls that go down through the c channel and floor into the outriggers of the frame. You will have to remove the lower inner skins to get at them and will also have to drop the outside sections of the belly pan to be able to get at the bolts below the floor and tighten them up.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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Great Job!!! I am very envious of your weather. Just got 10" of snow 2 days ago so my welding is on hold.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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Lawchick,
Why not remove the pan and finish cleaning out the wet, stinky insulation underneath? Get rid of those mousey nests, they only attrack snakes.
As Chris mentioned, it's how you get at the floor bolts.
Tim
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:27 PM   #5
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Hmmm, Wasagachris, I was afraid you'd say that - and a bunch of other people. I'm thinkin' on it while it dries up and we try to stop the leaks that created it in the first place! I know we'll have to take the inner wall down. Sure hate to drop banana peel or belly pan piece, though.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:29 PM   #6
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I need to know what kind of riveter we should get - not the most expensive - but the easiest to use! And what kind of rivets. I spent a long time under the trailer today and we're definitely going to have to learn to rivet. I was thinking we need an air compressor and an air driven one? Help me out!
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:30 AM   #7
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Lawchick here is a link to VTS. They sell large flange rivets for the belly pan.
Large Flange Rivets
And a link to Harbor Freight for a rivet gun.
3/16" Air Hydraulic Riveter
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:42 AM   #8
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You have OSB (oriented strand board) in a 1992? I thought that was only a recent sin on Airstream's part.

I hate to be the one to say it, but OSB turns to SHI* once it gets wet. If that one side looks semi-decent, then I double dog dare you to stand on it and jump up and down. (No don't!) It just delaminates like crazy. Fix it right or you'll be fixin' it again next year. I would amputate that stuff right back to the dry, then do a pressure test to test the skin for leaks. Quite a few RV dealers have the equipment, or you could do what another user did, get a big industrial fan and cut a hole in the part of the floor you're going to be replacing anyway, drop the belly pan, and set the fan inside so that it's blowing air into the Airstream. Close all of the vents windows and doors, then turn the fan on and go over the outside of the airstream with soapy water. Wherever air causes bubbles you have a leak, big or small. Mark each leak with a grease pencil or blue painters tape (easy to see). Then when the Airstream is thoroughly dry, reseal seams, rivets, roof vents, antenna, etc. I personally almost worship blue painters tape. I used to be able to lay a neat caulk bead, but have gotten out of practice, ain't as patient and whatever. I can put down two strips of blue painters tape on either side of a seam, lay down a bead of appropriate sealer and let it set up briefly, the yank the tape and the results look like Michaelangelo did the work. Craft and Stealth make a remarkable substitute for talent.

Good luck with your repairs. You'll never regret doing more then the minimum on that floor project.

Paula
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:46 AM   #9
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As usual, Paula has provided you with great advice. Yank that OSB.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:25 AM   #10
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We started out with manual riveters, then bought an air compressor driven one that will take multiple sizes of rivets. GO WITH THE AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!! You will not regret it!

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Old 01-29-2011, 08:28 PM   #11
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I think we're going to take the advice you all are giving us and do the back floor. That OSB - and it ought to have the letters rearranged and I don't mean Some Other Brand! You're sure right about how useless it is after it's been wet. It disintergrates. I pulled most of what is pulled out with my gloved hands. It literally falls apart in our hands.

Thanks for the help with riveter advice. I know this isn't the right forum, but I'm glad to get the links. I'm going to buy a MultiMaster, too, after one day of sawing OSB, or trying to saw OSB....which falls apart rather than saws! The back is needing some nice marine plywood
Have one other small leaky spot, and it's streetside, behind the arm of the sofa, in the curve. That leak is because there's been an impact on the curve that was never properly fixed and the rub rail is sticking out about a sixteenth to an eighth of an inch from the body. And somebody tried to SCREW it back in. It didn't work, of course. Another project for another day. We'll stop the leak and eventually do the front curves, too.
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:04 PM   #12
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Wow! Big job! Messy too! I hope you have good success finding the leaks that caused the damage. I sat on a farmer's milk stool with a poacher's light in a dozen thunderstorms to find all the leaks on my Airscream. I had one damage area but about 11 different leaks feeding to it. I had to defer the floor replacement and leave the inside skin off until I found the last leak (which was an outside skin seam lap joint that looked fine).
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:39 PM   #13
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Know the feeling

Man I feel you pain I know what your going through and seems like the light at the end of the tunnel get further and further away. I just finished up my rear floor rot now starting on the front and man it looks like the front will be a real pain. I used a manual rivet gun on the rear panels and rub railing on the outside, my next trip to a Harbor Freight and I WILL have and air operated one. Keep up the good work. Your bonding with your AS now.
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