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Old 05-01-2015, 07:46 AM   #15
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Plastic will sag and eventually age and crack. I suppose some sort of rigid fiberglass board could be used but that adds cost and weight.

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Old 05-01-2015, 08:04 AM   #16
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Keep an eye out for broken rivets and replace as they fail.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:18 AM   #17
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The basic under engineered problem is that Airstream decided to attach the aluminum under skin directly to the steel frame without providing an electrical isolation. The resultant galvanic couple causes the aluminum to sacrifice itself to protect the steel frame when exposed to water or salt water from the road. There is no 100% solution to this problem, but you can extend the life of the trailer by using a thicker aluminum patch over the area that has corroded and replacing the aluminum rivets with stainless steel self taping bolts. I did it to my 1963 with good success.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:10 AM   #18
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Try something like this with a pilot hole for the thicker steel of the frame. A big Zinc plated fender washer would be good as well.

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Old 05-01-2015, 09:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Try something like this with a pilot hole for the thicker steel of the frame. A big Zinc plated fender washer would be good as well.

McMaster-Carr

Perry
That's exactly what I've used on the belly of our Avion. Works well.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:00 PM   #20
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That's exactly what I've used on the belly of our Avion. Works well.

Did you put thread lock on them?
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:24 PM   #21
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Did you put thread lock on them?
No, but that's a good idea. I'll keep that in mind for the next time I crawl under the trailer.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:45 PM   #22
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I had the same problem. The insulation above the belly pan has just enough weight to aggravate the problem. I re-installed the belly pan using large outside diameter washers and pop rivets. I also supported the center of the sheet by installing an "L" shaped aluminum extrusion from frame rail to frame rail.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:59 PM   #23
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Best thing you can do is pull out all the stinky pink stuff. Most frame rot is caused by that stuff staying wet and laying against the frame. Also the wood can dry better without that stuff in there. Unless you live in Maine or Canada, you won't miss it.

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Old 05-08-2015, 01:35 PM   #24
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I had the same problem on my '89 Excella. I made small plates instead of using washers. I bought some thin aluminum strap from HD. It was 1" or 1.5" wide. I just used a hacksaw and cut the strap into squares. Drill the appropriate size rivet hole in the center of each piece and rivet in place.

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Old 05-08-2015, 01:44 PM   #25
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Someone asked previously in the thread if there was some other material than aluminum that could be used underbelly, and last weekend I was helping my brother with his SOB fifth wheel trailer, and noticed it used black plastic sign material.

Not recommending this mind you, just reporting another material that is used for the purpose.
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:45 PM   #26
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I used zinc plated fender washers with a fiberglass washer sandwiched between the skin and the zinc washer. Used 3/16" rivets.


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Old 05-08-2015, 06:55 PM   #27
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Glad I saw this, i'll be putting my new belly pan back on soon. I bought a bunch of 3/16" large flange rivets from VTS. I just looked in the McMAster-Carr washer section and found some zinc plated steel blind river washers for 3/16" rivets. Think i'll get some of those, 250 of them for $9.40. Seems like a inexpensive safe bet. They have round ones and square ones, probably just stick with the round ones, even though the square ones would have a little more surface area. Then i'll shoot them with a little cold galvanizing paint.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:34 PM   #28
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Oh I'm using 5052-H32 .032" thick. I do remember finding quite a few rivets that were like the pictures when I took off the old aluminum.
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