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Old 12-09-2009, 11:13 AM   #1
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Repairing closet wall and pantry in a '79

The axles wore out on my trailer and I have replaced them, and now I want to repair some interior damage that resulted from the bad axles.

I have a 1979 31' center bath. The partition between the large hall closet and the pantry has popped out of it's channel that connects it to the exterior wall. It's moved towards the interior about 3/8" at the bottom but is more or less in place at the top.

In the adjoining pantry the back edge of the upper shelves have come unattached from the exterior wall. The lower pantry doors as well as the upper sliding doors are still working fine but I think the whole thing has a slight twist in it due to being attached to that closet wall panel.

Just so you know, the exterior of the trailer looks great with no buckling of the skin so I am reasonably sure this damage is a result of worn axles. The damaged interior is directly above a wheel well so that makes sense.

I've tried lightly tapping the bottom edge of the closet walll panel with a hammer, protecting it with a block of wood, but it wouldn't budge. I am also concerned about getting the panel lined up perfectly to insert in the channel at the exterior wall as it has shifted slightly forward, and of course want to know any tricks to getting everything to be nicely reinforced to stay in place over the next few decades.

Do I need to tear the whole thing apart and rebuild it or is there an easier way? It is the off-season for me and the trailer is winterized, so I have plenty of time to work on it, still the quicker the job can be done the better.

Thanks,
Christopher
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:59 AM   #2
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Christopher,
My plywood panels that are in the channel that attaches to the interior skin are attached with very short phillips screws. If yours is the same, could you remove the screws at the top and then try your wood block/hammer method to persuade the vertical panels back into alignment and then rescrew?
If not, how are the panels attached to the channel?
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:11 PM   #3
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Bill,

My panels attach to the channel in a similar way. There are a few screws, some of which the wood has broken around, but mainly there are little spring clips inside the channel that lock the plywood in place once pushed into the groove.

I assume the wood might have been damaged at the points where it contacts the clips so that it might not be gripped properly. Since the damaged screw holes in the wood will require new holes drilled in the channel and wood, you've got me thinking that drilling a handful of holes and using screws might do the trick for securing that wall panel. After that I could see how the panty lines up and go from there.

Thanks,
Christopher
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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It's probably dragging/digging in the rear "heel" of the panel into the carpet. Try getting some wide blade putty knifes under the panel to get it to slide easier when you tap it. If that doesn't work, you could cut the bottom of the panel in place by scoring it multiple passes on both sides with a utility knife and a straight edge. Option 3, disassemble and rebuild in place.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:16 PM   #5
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That panel is a sandwich 3/4" hollow core.

Unscrew or drill out all the rivets, block of wood and a sledge hammer will move it in place.

Refasten in different new holes.

Then what I did was add a L along the floor tying in the wall to the floor with 3/4" screws, 30,000 miles still there
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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Anybody feel like posting photos of what you all are talking about?

I have the closet between the sleeping area and the rea bathrrom whose door is busted up, and I'd love to see if these situations are the same type of problem.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #7
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I'd be glad to take some pics later tonight and post them, if I can figure out how. Just to see how that works I created a personal album and uploaded a test photo. The FAQ says I can attach it to a post using the "BB code" under the photo. Man, I'm lost there as I see no code when I view it full size.

I know I am getting way off topic so maybe someone can send me a private message to point me in the right direction. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Christopher
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blickcd View Post
I'd be glad to take some pics later tonight and post them, if I can figure out how. Just to see how that works I created a personal album and uploaded a test photo. The FAQ says I can attach it to a post using the "BB code" under the photo. Man, I'm lost there as I see no code when I view it full size.

I know I am getting way off topic so maybe someone can send me a private message to point me in the right direction. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Christopher
Post #7 in this thread should help: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ics-44928.html
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:56 PM   #9
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Here are the photos. First you can see the sort of pantry and closet I am dealing with. The dislodged panel is the full height one that is between the closet and pantry. The edge of that panel has a magnetic catch for the accordian door.

Near the lift-up closet floor you can see the gap between the channel that is still screwed to the exterior wall and the edge of the panel where it has pulled out.

About 2/3 of the way up the panel I have inserted a Bic pen just to show the scale of the gap.

The last photo shows the lowest point of that panel where it has dislodged a floor tile and caulk bead around the base. Tile job by previous owner.

Christopher
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:48 PM   #10
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Christopher,
Thanks for the pics, they help a lot.
Looks like this problem had been going on before the tile job-- the tile has moved a little, the wall gap is much bigger.
There are no visible screws in the pictures holding the channel to the plywood. I would tap that panel back into the channel and put some screws through both. Might be good to predrill holes in the channel prior to tapping the panel back in.
Are there screws in other panels in your trailer? Did they screw all the panels in '79 or simply rely on the 'clips?' Curious to know how they attached the panels elsewhere and if this one was just missed by the factory.
I looked at my panels again. Some, but not all, have a strip of the channel on the floor--screws into the panel and into the floor. Might be some good insurance to find a way to attach the panel to the floor to keep it from walking out again.
Let us know how it works out.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:22 AM   #11
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Bill,

For the most part the clips are all that hold the panels into the channels. There are only a few places in the trailer where I have noticed one or two screws also locking in a panel.

While that method has failed in this case, given that the rest of the interior has held together well it seems that the technique was a good idea. That said, since the panel was vibrated and pounded free of the clips, I assume the wood was damaged in the process so I wouldn't trust the clips to grip it in place again.

I'll drill and tap some holes as suggested. Not sure if there is a base channel as I will have to remove some carpet to see. Even if there is, I will probably replace it with an L bracket and maybe a backing plate to get the bottom edge anchored in really well so it won't kick out again. That part won't have to look pretty since it will be hidden in the pantry.

Christopher
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:59 PM   #12
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Just a quick update for those following this thread. I worked on this panel for about an hour tonight. I removed the pull-out cutting board and microwave oven shelf from the pantry so I could get a better look at how the panel was lining up with the channel on that side.

Further investigation showed that it is indeed a laminated panel. Two outer skins of thin luan or something similar, and periodic spacers in between them. Total thickness is maybe 5/8".

The channel it notches into doesn't have clips like I have seen used for non-laminated panels. This panel had been pop riveted to the channel from inside the pantry. The thin wood tore out around those rivets.

I'm not usually one to go for a bigger hammer, but that does seem to be the tool for this job. I used a scrap of 2x4 to protect the panel edge and a short handled mini sledge.

The panel is about halfway back into place. The lower part is just barely engaged in the channel now. There was a lot of wedging putty knifes so the panel edges would slip into the channel, pounding, resetting the putty knives, repeat.

At this point the panel doesn't seem to be moving very freely any more. Over the next few days I may remove the tambour door that covers the microwave space, so I can remove the screws from the pantry shelf that also contains the lower track for the sliding cabinet doors. That might let the panel wiggle just enough to move the remaining 3/8" or so.

I've also thought that since nothing seems to be anchoring the bottom of that panel to the floor that maybe it was toe-nailed or "toe-screwed" at the bottom edge before that plastic trim insert was put in place. The wood of course broke free but the splintered remains are now hanging up on the hidden screw.

One final note, it is really obvious now, looking at where the floor tile is notched, that it popped loose before I owned the trailer. However, the worn axles didn't help it out any during the five years I've owned it.

Thanks all for the advice so far.

Christopher
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Old 12-26-2009, 06:43 PM   #13
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Follow-up

I got everything back in place and anchored. A few items to point out are that the pantry has a side panel of luan that layers against the closet bulkhead. Also the closet door frame was screwed to that bulkhead before the pantry was installed. Therefore, in order to get the bulkhead to move freely to be moved back in place, a number of screws from inside of the pantry had to be removed. To access the door frame screws for removal, holes had to be cut in the side of the pantry to access the heads.

Once the bulkhead was tapped back into place, an angle bracket was loosly screwed to the floor to temporarily keep it from kicking out. Some wood blocking was jammed up against the pantry frame to line it up and clamped to the bulkhead to hold it in place. To further hold everything together for the final anchoring, a few drywall screws were run thru the side of the pantry into the bulkhead.

Everything is anchored with a metal angle lag bolted to the floor inside the pantry. Lag bolts then pass thru the pantry side and bulkhead, and into a piece of scrap wood under the false closet floor. Since the sliding door track braces the top of the bulkhead in, nothing more needs to be done with it.

For reattaching the pantry shelf to the wall where the screws have pulled out, two wide angle brackets were used.

Photos show the extent of the pantry demolition required, the temporary bracing of panels, an access hole for a closet door frame screw, and the anchoring angle. Not necessarily in that order.

Christopher
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:48 PM   #14
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Amazing the amount of work to move a panel half and inch, huh?
Nice job, sir.
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