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Old 05-11-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 16
'95 Excella body separation

When I bought my Airstream it had a bead of sealant along the belt line of the lower quarter panels. I didn't think much of it at the time, and had no idea what body separation was. 6000 miles later, I lost my roadside banana wrap on the interstate. Once back home, I surveyed the damage and noticed a gap between front lower quarter panels and the belt line. Removing the belt line revealed that the aluminum skin hade torn through it's fasteners was being pushed inside the trailer above the c channel.

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Realizing I had a major repair ahead of me, I researched the problem on Air forums and figured I take a look under the interior skin. What I saw......

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My Excella was made without a front hold down plate. The 2 aluminum beams meant to provide support to the outer skin were each fastened to the C channel with one rivet that failed.

I got a quote on a hold down plate from Inland RV at $160. It's not in stock, and price doesn't include shipping. I'd like to get started on this ASAP , and figure I can have a plate fabricated here, but I don't know what angle to bend the stock to.

I'm also looking for suggestions on repairing the connection of the vertical beams to c channel. I'm thinking of making "feet" out of angle aluminum on each side of the beams and fastening with rivets.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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The hold down plate is between the battery boxes. Pull the pink stuff out and let us see what is there. It should look like this. You can make a hold down plate cheaper than $160.



Perry
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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I sorta half way think that you might have had some front end damage and it was not repaired properly. They may have done a fast and dirty repair like alot of shops do.

Perry
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
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Perry, thanks for the reply. The only evidence I've seen of repairs are extra rivets under the belt line. When I look at the gap between the vertical beams and c channel, it seems obvious that all of the exterior skin damage was a result of body separation. Those first couple of photos are of the outside skin after it was pulled back out where it should be, that's why it's mashed up. Any ideas on that angle?
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:26 PM   #6
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Look and see if that center front panel that should have the hold down plate has buck rivets (solid) or pop rivets (Olympic). If it has pop rivets then the panel has been replaced and they did not put the hold down plate back. If the front hold down plate is like the one at the back it goes under the floor and the floor is between the C-channel and plate. Steve Bryant made some modifications to his trailer to reduce the likelyhood of separation. His trailer is different though since he has the horizontal tank rack up front. That design maybe more prone to problems since there is a hole where the hold down plate usually is.

There should be two 5/16 bolts through the frame, I think on the outside of the battery boxes. These have most likely pully through.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...-85517-18.html

Perry
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:45 PM   #7
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
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I took some shots of those rivets today.

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I also found the bolts you mentioned in your last post. From the underside of the trailer, the appear to be snug, and I'd assume they are doing their job. The plywood floor is discolored, but structurally sound.

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It seems to me that if the aluminum cross member between the 2 vertical beams was actually attached to them it might increase the rigidity of the outside skin's frame. I can't see a reason not to, but the maybe it's that way for a reason. Any advice?



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Still hoping some one will know what angle to have a hold down plate bent to. Thanks for you help, Pat.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
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Yesterday I noticed a good size gap between the plywood floor and these CS and RS plates on the frame.

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Is there any reason to not put a bolt through these to snug things up?
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #9
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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We need to see the rivets that hold that center flat panel onto the curved side sections. If that center panel has been replaced chances are they use pop rivets. I would remove the battery boxes and the curved interior panels to give you access to everything. You can add some more supports under the frame and also put some load distrubution plates in if there is room. Those battery boxes get in the way.

Here is a recent thread where Crispyboy repaired the front of this trailer and go rid of the battery boxes.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...avy-98728.html

Perry
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:44 PM   #10
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1995 28' Excella
West Yellowstone , Montana
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Perry, I finally got around to taking a photo of those rivets. I haven't seen any blind rivets in the ribs or c channel.
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I installed my plate today. I had it fabricated in Bozeman 100 miles away, so things have been moving slowly. Dimensions for my application were 15" tall, 24" wide, 1.5" foot bent to a 104 degree angle. Hopefully this can help the next DIYer.

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Still waiting for a size 21 drill bit to attach the skin to the plate.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:53 AM   #11
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1981 31' Excella II
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Put some extra metal on those two bolt heads that go through the frame. This will distribute the load better on the C-channel. Looks good so far.

Perry
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