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Old 10-02-2014, 06:36 AM   #1
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Towing with inside skins out?

I am into my first renovation of a '61 Safari. I have all my inside skins out. Is it OK to tow or are the inside skins needed to hold it all together when towing?
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:10 AM   #2
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Inner skin provides stiffening. If you have no alternative but to move it with inner skins missing, try using rope cross-bracing fore-and-aft and side-to-side, secured to temporary eyes fastened to the frames and pulled tight, or you can fit temporary plywood cribbing in place of the inner skin.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:30 AM   #3
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I asked the same question when i gutted mine. I was told "The inside skins do add to the structural strength. Therefore without them there is more flexing, while bouncing down the road, which will loosen the rivets of the outer skin and cause leeks".
However I had no choice. I had to vacate (another story). So I moved it 60 miles. I then sprayed all the seams (from the inside) with 'Flex Seal'. Checked the outside and caulked with Vulkem where I thought it might need it.
I have not had any leaks.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
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Just be sure the trailer is empty when you tow it.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:53 PM   #5
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Thanks all! I figured as much, and for now I don't have to move it from in front of my house unless my neighbors start complaining!

After my shell off, I towed in home from the AS service shop with the lower inside skins off...not sure if that is why my seams are leaking now...but more likely it was just time for this old girl.

GeocamperAS - Did you have to clean the inside seams before spraying that Flex Steel stuff?
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:06 PM   #6
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On one part of the can it said can spray on dry or wet surface, and in the directions it said spray on clean dry surface. Anyway I took a dry scrub brush to loosen any fiberglass or glue that wanted to be loosened. Then shop vac'ed with the brush attachment.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:02 AM   #7
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It is true that the interior skins provide some support to the shell. That being said, the interior skins have one pop rivet every 6 inches or so, compared to the bucked rivets that hold the exterior skins together every inch or so. I am convinced that if the interior skins were providing a significant amount of support, you would see the pop rivets sheared all over the place.

This is similar to the debate over whether bracing a shell is required before lifting it during a shell-off. There are plenty of people who swear that bracing is critical, and easily just as many who lift shells without any bracing and have never reported an issue.

But to give you my data point, I lifted my shell from the ceiling without any cribbing, and had no issues at all with the shell changing shape before being put back in place. I also went bouncing happily down the road for hundreds of miles with an AC on the roof and no interior skins in place, and attended two rallies in my aluminum tent. Two professional restorers looked into my messy trailer without interior skins, and neither of them so much as mentioned a word of caution about traveling without interior skins (maybe they went away and had a good laugh at my expense, but it cost me nothing as there were no ill effects).

Below is a pic of an Airstream tech doing a chin-up on an end-cap. Note the absence of interior skins!

Now, I did see a thread where one of our members had been restoring a trailer, there were no interior skins in place, and a good 12"+ of snow had piled up on the roof, and ultimately caused it to collapse. It would be interesting to run a test and determine whether those interior skins anchored in place with pop rivets that number in the dozens would have been a match for mother nature. I'm doubting it.
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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The trailer with tens of thousands of pounds of snow on the roof.....

My hunch is that the patricians and fixtures add more strength to the trailer than the interior skins.

That said, sans tens of thousands of pounds of snow on the roof, I don't think that either the skins or the fixtures being off is much of a threat at all while traveling.

I would pull the trailer anywhere without a second thought.
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