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Old 04-15-2013, 05:59 PM   #1
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1992 29' Excella
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I Need To Repair or Rebuild My Roll Back Sofa

I know the following would be hard to visualize so I've included pictures.

The PO did not like the standard across the front sofa bed. So, she moved it to the Port side.
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In doing so all that was left for a frame were two 1/2" plywood sides, a hardwood face and the pull out drawer along the bottom. There are also a couple of 1"x1-1/2" soft wood pieces stapled and possibly glued flush along the outside of the top edge of the plywood sides.

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Also, and it appears this is part of the original platform for the sofa bed mattress, there are three lengths of rectangular aluminum tubing. One about 1"x1-1/2" runs the length of sofa just behind the front face and flush with the top edge. The other two pieces are more like 1"x2"X30". They rest on top of the plywood sides making them also flush with the top of the face frame.

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The plywood sides are only about 1 & 1/2 foot long on each side. The sofa/bed connects to the 2"x1" aluminum tubes at the back end with "U" brackets. The back end of the side aluminum tubes are held "square" (I use that term loosely) by a length of aluminum angle bar the length of the sofa.

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It appears that originally the angle bar was screwed down to something, which I assume made the whole set up far more substantial.

The problem now, well, the main problem, is that the aluminum side pieces are the only thing holding the heavy sofa bed onto the frame. Unfortunately the PO chose to only screw them into the edges of the 1/2" plywood with 4 screws on either side that only went in about 1". The first time we rolled the back over to use it as a bed the whole damn pulled loose and fell forward dumping my wife on the floor. After our initial shock we had a good laugh.

Unfortunately this was the second incident with this piece of furniture. On way home after buying the AS, the drawer came out and the ball bearings from gliders went everywhere. I replaced the gliders when we got home. We've strapped the drawer closed when towing since. The bed incident happened last October when we took a trip to Arkansas. Happily, we had our twin beds to sleep so no big deal.

We had to put the AS right into storage when we got home, our neighborhood and city have laws prohibiting parking RVs in front of one's home. We've just brought it home today. This is my first opportunity to fix it and we leave for a four month trip the in two weeks. So, I'm looking for some advice on securing the sofa. For now that's really all I have time to do.

When we get back this fall I'd like to do some interior remodeling and I'll be able to rebuild it completely.

Pete
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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Is the angle across the back of the sofa close enough to the wall that you could rivet it to the wall itself? Or, you could attach a piece of wood (2x4, 1x2, whatever the right size would be) to the wall and then screw the angle to the wood. Doing that would take most of the torque off the aluminum frame and the screws that hold it to the plywood frame.

I’m guessing that the screws that mounted the frame to the plywood were probably original. They would have held ok if the angle piece had remained securely fastened to the floor or wall or something to prevent it from lifting up while you had the back rotated out to form the bed. A bit of wood glue and some wood toothpicks will repair the crew holes. Then, if you were to install new screws that were Ĺ” longer than the original ones, you should be fine for the summer. Provided of course you anchor that angle rail to something securely.

Don’t discount the soft wood that’s glued to the plywood. It’s probably basswood, and is used quite a bit in RV’s for framing because it’s lightweight. If you wanted to, you could drill additional holes in the aluminum frame and install screws into the basswood as well as the plywood. You could even add another piece of 1x2 basswood or pine on the inside of the plywood to help prevent the plywood from splitting. Glue and screw it to the plywood and basswood already there, and then reinstall the aluminum frame on top of it.

Chris
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

I like your suggestions. Securing the angle aluminum to the wall makes a lot of sense. Beefing up the sides can't hurt either, but securing the angle bar will provide the most strength and make the most difference. I'll probably anchor some wood to the wall and attach the aluminum to that.

How will I know where I can anchor something to the wall? How do I know where ribs are? Are the ribs aluminum? Do they all run vertically? How deep should I penetrate them with screws. Now where did I put my x-ray glasses?
Pete
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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Hi Pete,

Look for vertical lines of rivets in the inner skin. This will tell you where the ribs are. Yes, the ribs are aluminum and they run vertically. The ribs and wall cavity are about 2" thick, so don't use anything that would penetrate all the way through. A screw that penetrates into the wall about 1/2" would be good. I've used pocket screws to attach 1x2's to the wall with good success. You could also use rivets, but screws would be easier to remove when you want to remodel later this year. Pocket screws have a large head (built in washer basically) and a self drilling sharp point that will self drill into the aluminum skin and rib, although you do have to give it a fair amount of pressure to get it to penetrate the skin. After starting the hole, I backed the screw out and coated the threads with red lock-tite to help ensure the screw wouldn't back out on it's own while traveling.

Good luck!
Chris
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Hi Pete,

Look for vertical lines of rivets in the inner skin. This will tell you where the ribs are. Yes, the ribs are aluminum and they run vertically. The ribs and wall cavity are about 2" thick, so don't use anything that would penetrate all the way through. A screw that penetrates into the wall about 1/2" would be good. I've used pocket screws to attach 1x2's to the wall with good success. You could also use rivets, but screws would be easier to remove when you want to remodel later this year. Pocket screws have a large head (built in washer basically) and a self drilling sharp point that will self drill into the aluminum skin and rib, although you do have to give it a fair amount of pressure to get it to penetrate the skin. After starting the hole, I backed the screw out and coated the threads with red lock-tite to help ensure the screw wouldn't back out on it's own while traveling.

Good luck!
Chris
Thanks Chris, I should be able to get this project finished today.

Pete
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
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I screwed some 3/4"x2"x6" and 1/2"x2"x6" wood strips to the bulkhead where the ribs were located and I'll screw the back of the aluminum frame to them tomorrow. I'll also cut four to six support legs from a standard pine 2x2 which I'll use to support the back and sides of the frame. I'll screw the frame down into them and anchor them to floor with some "L" brackets.

My finished floor is cork. The subfloor is OSB. Is that usually 3/4"?
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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Subfloor might be 11/16", but 3/4" is close enough for what you're doing. I'd use some 1" screws.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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Thanks Chris.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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Just be careful ,some Airstream trailers such as mine have wiring behind the couch in the aluminum framing.
Example 12volt fuse box wiring etc. Once again use caution!!!
Don't use too long of screws or other fasteners!!!
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #10
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Fixed, thanks for the advice.
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