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Old 12-13-2005, 09:39 AM   #1
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Pre-fit Shell?

I have completed the floor on my 63 Bambi and am ready to work on the belly pan. After reading several posts, I get the idea that the shell doesn't always fit the new floor. Here is my question should I pre-fit the shell to the floor before moving on to the belly pan installation? I don't see how one would install elevator bolts in the C channel If the belly pan was in place. I'm open to all suggestions.
Thanks Don
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:21 AM   #2
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I'm a big fan of pre-fitting everything. How does this sequence sound?

1) Pre-fit the shell on the floor. Trim floor to fit.
2) Mark where the shell formers meet the floor over the frame members.
3) Remove shell and drill holes through floor and frame at those locations.
4) Add C channel around perimeter.
5) Drill hole through c-channel from under the frame (existing holes from step 3)
6) insert bolts from under trailer and weld heads to frame.
7) install belly pan
8) install shell
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Old 12-13-2005, 05:40 PM   #3
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Pre fit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig T
I'm a big fan of pre-fitting everything. How does this sequence sound?

1) Pre-fit the shell on the floor. Trim floor to fit.
2) Mark where the shell formers meet the floor over the frame members.
3) Remove shell and drill holes through floor and frame at those locations.
4) Add C channel around perimeter.
5) Drill hole through c-channel from under the frame (existing holes from step 3)
6) insert bolts from under trailer and weld heads to frame.
7) install belly pan
8) install shell
Your method sounds great. I already have the floor bolted to the frame. I'm going to try it at this stage. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:34 PM   #4
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I looked through your pictures and noticed that the shell formers/ribs connect to the C-channel and not directly to a through bolt that runs through the frame. This is exactly like a trailer that I'm working on. The challenge is in having those bolts coming up through the frame in place prior to installing the shell and having them fixed so your can apply sufficient torque when tightening. Welding was just one option.

I used aircraft nuts with loc-tite on mine. I also took the opportunity to connect a ground wire on two of the bolts. One for the pigtail and one for the battery.

I really like the rear kitchen model with the cool louvered exterior panel.

You have a real gem!
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:56 AM   #5
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Great input, thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig T
I looked through your pictures and noticed that the shell formers/ribs connect to the C-channel and not directly to a through bolt that runs through the frame. This is exactly like a trailer that I'm working on. The challenge is in having those bolts coming up through the frame in place prior to installing the shell and having them fixed so your can apply sufficient torque when tightening. Welding was just one option.

I used aircraft nuts with Lock-tite on mine. I also took the opportunity to connect a ground wire on two of the bolts. One for the pigtail and one for the battery.

I really like the rear kitchen model with the cool louvered exterior panel.

You have a real gem!
Your comment about the formers and the elevator bolts is right on. I also like the idea about using aircraft self locking nuts. In another thread I read that the factory use to just bend over the bolts as a way of locking things together. That would work but it sounds like it would weaken the bolts. My trailer is 45 years old and was still holding together. My desire for pre fitting the shell to the floor before final bolting of the floor was so I could be sure that all bolts and screws were secure before putting the belly pan on. As you have probably seen once the belly pan is wrapped around the C channel there is no way to secure the nuts on the elevator bolts. It seems that extra work early is better that extra work later.

I like your idea of a wooden interior. What are you doing to get the front and back rounded shapes in? Do you have any pictures that you have placed on the forum?

I have read through your other posts. Sounds like you have a great project.

I like to here how your progress continues.

Don
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Bambi
I also like the idea about using aircraft self locking nuts. In another thread I read that the factory use to just bend over the bolts as a way of locking things together. That would work but it sounds like it would weaken the bolts. My trailer is 45 years old and was still holding together. My desire for pre fitting the shell to the floor before final bolting of the floor was so I could be sure that all bolts and screws were secure before putting the belly pan on. As you have probably seen once the belly pan is wrapped around the C channel there is no way to secure the nuts on the elevator bolts. It seems that extra work early is better that extra work later.
Don,
Please remember that once you wrap the belly pan sides and corners, the perimeter of the channel, over which the shell has to fit, is going to be substantially bigger.
I made shims out of old belly pan material to test fit the shell over the c-channel.
If youplan on using self locking nuts ( Nylox) you will need 2 people to fasten them. the elevator bolts tend to slip up and spin from the resistive force of the left locking nuts. Somone needs to be up top to push down hard on the elevator bolt heads, to keep the square key seated in teh wood.
An air ratched comes in awfully handy-just don't overtighten. Most of the elevator bolts are weak steel, and will snap off easily.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
Don,
Please remember that once you wrap the belly pan sides and corners, the perimeter of the channel, over which the shell has to fit, is going to be substantially bigger.
I made shims out of old belly pan material to test fit the shell over the c-channel.
If youplan on using self locking nuts ( Nylox) you will need 2 people to fasten them. the elevator bolts tend to slip up and spin from the resistive force of the left locking nuts. Somone needs to be up top to push down hard on the elevator bolt heads, to keep the square key seated in teh wood.
An air ratched comes in awfully handy-just don't overtighten. Most of the elevator bolts are weak steel, and will snap off easily.
Thanks for the reminder of using scrap aluminum shims to get an idea of the actual size fit of shell to floor. My wife has been a great help on holding the bolts in place so they could be tightened. And yes I did snap a few elevator bolts before I got the idea of their strength. .
Once I have completed the pre fit I plan to lift the shell and reattach the C channel. I am considering putting a thin layer of Val cum between the C channel and the wood of the floor. I had found a lot of water damage between here when I took the trailer apart. I hope this might help in the future. I also thought that the Val cum would squeeze up in the bolt holes and help to prevent the bi-metal contact between the steel of the bolts and the aluminum of the channel.

Haven't done much lately. It's too cold here. The freezing frost is pretty from the kitchen but not the garage.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Bambi
I like your idea of a wooden interior. What are you doing to get the front and back rounded shapes in? Do you have any pictures that you have placed on the forum?

I have read through your other posts. Sounds like you have a great project.

I like to here how your progress continues.

Don
I'm sheeting with aluminum not wood. I don't think a wood skinned interior would hold up well on the road. It is not our airstream that I'm working on but the process is the same. There are many more active people like yourself in this group that give helpfull information and I feel the need to share back when I can.

Uwe makes a great point about spacing for the belly pan material. I replaced the front two floor sections, had the old floor as a template and it was still tight.
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:32 PM   #9
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Making it fit

I assume that you got the trailer shell to fit so here is a question for you. I do not have an old floor to use as a template. It was so rotten it just fell apart where the curves are located in the corners. I made a template of the floor from the inside of the shell prior to removing it so I could have a rough estimate. Should I cut it a bit big, lets say about a 1/2 of an inch, and then trim to fit after placing the shell back on and marking the cuts necessary? Remove a little at a time for that perfect fit taking into account the thickness of the belly pan? Any thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:06 PM   #10
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in 55, did they have the precurved C CHannel for the corners? my 59 did, so i just used the aluminum C CHannel as a guide (as i had NO FLOOR AT ALL!) bought it that way... the wife thought i was nuts.. and she was right!

jp
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:39 PM   #11
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Not a solid curve

My C channel is in small sections, about 2 inches in length, with a gap of 4-6 inches in-between. So when the floor went, that pattern possibility left to. Should I leave an overlap and cut it back?
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:42 PM   #12
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hmmm, man, i dunno. on my 59, the front curved sections were 3 feet deep, and the rear were 4 feet. you might could start there? or maybe try to square up the shell, and draw a pattern? when i replaced my floor, i planned on replacing all the skins as well, so it wasn't as important to me that stuff lined right up.

jp
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:08 PM   #13
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Math time

Well that is true! I could do that and it just might work out the best. Make a square and let the pain of trying to remember how to create the curves using geometry begin. Man I hated math…. Does any one want a part time job working on my trailer? Any way I think that with some nerves of steel and a lot of BEER I could work it out. If any one has another idea I’m all for it. Thank you A-Marry-Can
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:15 PM   #14
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BB 55 Bubble, I was very concerned about the fit of my shell to the floor. So I did a prefit of the shell to the floor before I moved on to the belly pan. I am very glad that I did. My floor pieces were in bad shape so I was not sure about the floor matching. The pre fit meant lowering the shell back on to the floor and checking for fit. This was a lot of considerable work. However I hate to think how much work i would have caused myself, if when I had the belly pan on etc. and found that the shell did not fit. If you look on my thread at post # 92 and other posts around that number, you might find it of some use.
Best of luck with the project as you process. Just a note of interest. My wife had wanted to buy your trailer. But you beat her to it. It's a small world. Here is my thread.
http://www.airforums.com/forum...-17925-26.html
Don
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