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Old 10-11-2016, 06:26 PM   #1
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Structural integrity without interior skins

I've read either side of this argument and wanted to see if someone out there feels particularly strongly one way or the other. I'm sure the interior skins provide some structural integrity but without them would my Argosy fall apart while being towed??
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:13 PM   #2
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I don't think it would fall apart, but you would definitely have more flex in it and more stress on external skin and rivets.

I noticed a big difference in strength with interior skins removed.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:39 PM   #3
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Set a bowling ball on a empty shoe box with a lid on it.
Now do it again with the lid off.

See what happens.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:30 PM   #4
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Why take a chance, don't do it.

We had a fellow up here with a brand new custom made all aluminum frame underneath his beautifully polished 31' trailer, with all new floor, all ready for wiring and the brand new custom interior; then came a very heavy snowfall and the exterior crumpled like a soda can, no panel or rib was spared. His initial cost of the trailer and over $20,000 for frame, new axles, etc, etc was for sale for $7,500 at last post.

Why do you need to tow it somewhere without the interior skins in place?

Cheers
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:52 PM   #5
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The project has outgrown me. I ripped out the entire insides and I'm getting to the point where I'd rather have a professional take it from here. The guy who's doing the work is 20 miles away so that as far as i need to make it. I walked on the roof (240lbs) without incident-think Im going to take a chance. i may use some 2 x 4s on the inside before transit.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sigamabooski View Post
.... i may use some 2 x 4s on the inside before transit.
Do this.

Throw up a couple of x-braces, take it slow, no fast turns! You should be fine.

Good luck on the continued restoration.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:11 PM   #7
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I have towed my Globetrotter literally hundreds of miles without interior skins, and it survived just fine. This is with an air conditioner on the roof bouncing along as well if you want to use the bowling ball analogy.

Would interior skins matter if I place two feet of wet snow on the roof? Maybe, but if the question is about towing it 20 miles in good weather, I would say go for it. When it comes to snow load, I would bet that your plywood bulkheads contributed more strength to the structure than the interior skins. But, For that matter, I just did a 2000 mile round trip with no bulkheads, and again, no implosion. Didn't encounter any heavy snow accumulation in the trip, though.

Will the whole thing be more flexible without the interior? Yes! So make sure your door has a secondary means of securing it, and all your windows and hatches are secured.

Am I passionate about this? No, And I offer no guarantees for your particular trailer. I am also not getting money under the table from scrap dealers who profit every time a trailer is towed without interior skins and implodes instantaneously. I do have one data point (my own) that tells me it will be OK, and have done some simple math to estimate the contribution of the interior skins (it is in one of the at least 4 other threads on this topic), and it is less than 10%!

Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:09 AM   #8
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You can saw off half your A-frame and remove 2 wheels on a dual axle trailer and it will tow just fine!.........till it doesn't.
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:03 AM   #9
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Well, if anyone else is passionate about this discussion, one of the better threads, with lots of respected contributors weighing in, is linked below.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...-141728-2.html

I may sound cavalier about this topic, but I do firmly believe you have to understand how the frame, floor, and shell interact to make sound decisions about what you can get away with. Personally, I would recommend anyone buying a vintage trailer that has been parked for the last 20 years drop the belly pan and thoroughly inspect the frame before towing it home. Impractical? Of course. Could it save your bacon? Absolutely.

That recommendation is also from personal experience. I towed my new purchase 600 miles to get it home, and as I began work on it, it quickly turned into a shell-off, the last 4 feet of frame had to be rebuilt, and practically every outrigger had to be repaired, as well as some strengthening to the A-frame. I often joke that I used up every ounce of good luck I had in reserve getting the trailer home without incident.

When I tow it today, interior skins or not, I know that it has more structural integrity than it did the day I bought it.

good luck!
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:57 PM   #10
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Mine was gutted when I bought it. The interior skins and all the parts we put inside the camper and towed it 5 hours to the house! No issues. You shouldn't have any issues.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:24 PM   #11
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Will the whole thing be more flexible without the interior? Yes!!
First, this isn't my first rodeo.

Bel, you have provided the answer to the argument yourself in your previous reply (quoted above).

I never said that the trailer would explode or crash and kill women and children. What will happen is that you are risking the integrity of the structure. Do you dispute this?

You start bouncing around a shell and flex it at 60mph for a couple of hours and you are going to introduce new, unique stresses to the joints. This could be as simple as loosening a suspect rivet to as dramatic as opening a previously well-sealed joint in an endcap.

For a short, low speed drive, the chance of damage is probably minimal. For a cross state jaunt, somewhat higher.

Basically, why risk it? Airstreams leak good enough without help!

That's my opinion. I suspect we will disagree. It's all good.......
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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I would not advocate removing the interior skins and operating that way long term.

In the context of this thread, and the OP's need, the choice is to move the trailer 20 miles without the skins, or to reinstall the skins for the sake of a 20 mile drive. I am merely trying to reassure the OP that moving the trailer the limited distance he is talking about is within the safe limits of practical experience.
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