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Old 11-06-2007, 09:59 PM   #1
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u-channel down against the outrigger?

Hi Guys,

I'm one month deep into a shell - on floor replacement on my '65 Caravel. Thanks to all the info on this board, I'm almost fearless. I've removed the furnishings and last 4 feet of floor in the rear under the bathroom along with the belly skin in this area. I've cut my replacement floor using the old floor as a template. I had some broken welds repaired this weekend on the frame and then primed and painted the frame.

So now to my question: On the curb side just behind the fender well I noticed the rotted floor was compressed to about a quarter inch thick at the most under the u-channel. Actually it looks like the u-channel is about touching the frame outriggers. There's no way I can slip my new plywood floor segment under there. I've pried a bit and tried some 3/8 shims but this isn't going anywhere. A close inspection of the 10 inches of floor u- channel doesn't reveal any odd rivet holes like someone changed the geometry here, although some butcher put an oversize heater vent in and cut the vertical channel to do it.

Since I can't pry the u-channel up off the outriggers much, I'm considering removing the channel piece and reinstalling it with the reqiured space for the floor segment.

Anyone else out there care to comment or redirect me? Also I could bore you at length with descriptions of all the wierd repairs the PO has made.
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:21 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
Some of us live to be bored with restoration nightmares! Post away.

Is there a way to detach the shell from the frame around the area when the channel is crushed, then jack the shell up slightly to "open up" the channel? Does that make sense?

Jim
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:12 AM   #3
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That's a pretty tough question.

First, check the gap between the u channel and the frame outriggers further forward, in front of the wheel well. If it is compressed there also, then the whole curb side should be jacked. Jacking the shell in two locations (forward of the wheel, and behind) might let you reset the shell with enough clearance to slide in the new floor.

If you jack it at just one point, behind the wheel, you will end up with a hard point and a ripple in the exterior shell. Looks awful.

If the gap between the u channel and frame is ok in front of the wheel, then I would check to see if the outrigger is level. Run a level or a string side to side and see if the outrigger sticking up. Wouldn't be an uncommon factory defect.

Make sure everything is in the rear is loose and not binding. Have the frame evenly supported on jackstands so there is no twist in the frame, and be extra certain that the frame isn't damaged or bent where the axle is attached.

If those things aren't the problem, then I would follow your instincts and re attach the u channel. Don't economize on rivets. I assume the rivet line will be covered by the aluminum trim strip, make sure all the old rivet holes are filled with vulkem or sikaflex.

Put on a fresh coat of wax, balance the running gear, tell off the boss and hit the road!
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:25 AM   #4
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Good advice. I wasn’t thinking about only partially detaching the shell when I wrote that. I had my entire shell detached when I did mine. As always, your thinking one step ahead!

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:06 AM   #5
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Cosmos,

I am in the process of doing exactly what you are. I took a cue from member PizzaChop and rigged up a way to pull the frame down in the back to create a gap. What I did was fasten a strap to my driveway and use a nylon web tie-down assembly to pull the frame down. It works like a charm!
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:30 AM   #6
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u-channel

Great tips, Thanks! I never like to charge into changing something original just because its easy to do. All your suggestions are things I haven't checked or tried yet and I'm not even up on jackstands. So I'll report back with the results. I hadn't thought about pulling the frame down, its a worthy consideration.


Check out the picture of the P.O's handiwork for sealing up the plumbing vents. (The interior portion of the vent pipe has been cut off and removed). Its just one of many ugly things I have to clear up.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmos
Check out the picture of the P.O's handiwork for sealing up the plumbing vents. .
Maybe he had an unusual sense of humor? It looks like the attack of the killer fungus.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:25 AM   #8
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u-channel down against the outrigger

I looked over the situation using Marks recommendations and found the floor thickness in front of the fender was nearly the full 5/8 thick plywood. So I'm back to considering moving the floor u-cannel up about 3/8 inch to fit on the new floor thickness. This, instead of prying things up and buckling the outer skin.

There's been some meddling in this area by someone in the past, probably when a new heater vent was installed and the gas water heater (and shroud) was removed. There is only one rivet coming through holding this 8 inches or so of U-channel to the outer skin. The installer for this new heater vent hacked through the vertical u-channel and put this oversize square vent assembly in, also hacking through a portion of the fiberglass fender cover.

I'm going with electric heat in the future so I'm removing the heater vent plenum and I'll close off the vent inside the wall leaving the grille in place on the outside. So when I move the vent I'll replace a missing section of vertical channel and give some better support to the area.

I'll eventually return the look of the outside in this area to something more vintage looking but for now I need to work on the floor.

Thanks a bunch. I'll post when I have some progress to report.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:52 AM   #9
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u-channel down against the outrigger?

OK, one more funny story related to this. I'm working at the RV storage lot, a lonely place at the end of a dead-end road. (My yard is one big hillside so working at home isnt an option.) Anyway, Its evening and very dark outside. But I have my Coleman lantern going and it's cheery bright in the trailer.
I'm working away at removing old rusted bolts and rivets and even have my respirator on because of all the dust. In the background over the roar of the lantern I can hear the faint drone of a large truck or something. I'm not paying attention to it because I'm busy working. Soon I can hear the rustling of footsteps through the big hole in the floor.

I glanced up through the back window to see a face looking back at me! I startled my visitor as I almost jumped out of my skin! I opened the door and stepped out, and my visitor aoplogized for scaring me as he walks out of the dark.

Turns out he was parking his motor home, wondered why the gate was unlocked and saw the light from my lantern. Nice guy, just checking on things.

We chatted a while and then both packed up to leave. He went home to dinner and I went home to change my shorts.

More later, but don't ytell my wife or she'll put a damper on my night job.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:30 PM   #10
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The caravel floor project continues

I put the new floor segments in the rear 4 feet of the Caravel over Thanksgiving. It feels good and solid back there now. I'm glad to do something constrictive rather than destructive for a change. A hard look at the remaining old floor reveals that the curb side is sagging a bit bercause of rot and a poorly planned patch near the doorway by the P.O. I can push up on the doorway and see the fender lift with the floor. So that's the source of my u-channel against the outrigger problem. I think I'll proceed by replacing the floor section between the fenders to give the shell a bit more support before finishing up with the front segments.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:47 PM   #11
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more floor progress

I pulled the center section of floor out today exposing the inner fenders, insulation, pigtail wiring, and lots of rodent crap. The plywood was rotten under the u-channels but fine everywhere else...too bad. One of the wheel wells will need reworking or replacing, as it was rusted at the mounting flange and thoroughly bashed by what was probably axle failure sometime in the past. While the fender well is out I can consider making a less ugly repair to the split in the outer skin where the wheel exited. Maybe someday I'll replace that outer skin.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:03 PM   #12
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Cosmos,

Thanks for keeping us updated on your project. I expect that in the not to distant future I will be looking at a similar project for my 67 Caravel. In that regard your pictures of the stripped down interior of your Caravel are an invaluable visual aid. I have already saved a couple of your pictures for future reference. I am hoping that you would post a few more interior shots or perhaps place a few in your photo gallery. Good luck on you project.
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:24 PM   #13
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Hi DFK,

Thanks for the kind words. I'll post some more pictures as I go along. You should look through C Johnson's Caravel pictures, they're great. If there's one thing I've learned so far its that nothing seems to come apart like I expected it to.

A tip that has worked for me on floor bolt removal: use a corded electric drill and drill the flat heads off the bolts from the plywood side with a 5/16 drill bit. Center the bit by centerpinch or piloting it through a 5/16 hole in a piece of scrap wood held in place by your knees. The bit won't skate that way and the head is quickly cut and sheared free. You knock the remaining part through with a drift. For the c-channel bolts with the square nuts pointing up, drill two opposite corners of the nut with a 1/8 bit close to the bolt. Then step up to a 3/16 bit and the nut splits off the bolt. You knock the bolt through. Works like a charm.

I've got a HUGE amount of work left to do.
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Old 12-27-2007, 04:47 PM   #14
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U-Channel Down Against The Outrigger

I managed to slip another section of floor into the Caravel last weekend. I thought the section between the wheels would be easy but I managed to complicate things by taking out one of the fender wells. I riveted on some sheet metal patches over a layer of Vulkem to reinforce rust holes but reinstalling the exterior rivets and trim was tough. I can see now that the rotted floor had allowed the side of the shell to sag on the curb side. In fact, I had to raise the wall by jacking a post between the ground and the top of the door frame just to slip the floor half in place. Everything feels much more rigid now even when I bounce on the floor.
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