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Old 12-06-2017, 09:48 PM   #1
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1974 27' Overlander
Mathiston , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 5
'74 rear bath reno

I am slowly and carefully restoring my '74 Overlander, which I purchased in an excellent original condition, which I am striving to maintain. There wasn't much to this restoration thus far, mostly cosmetic. The rear bath is next. The biggest issue is that the elevation at the rear appears to have dropped at least an inch with respect to the level of the rest of the floors. I am beginning to suspect that the frame in that area is damaged or deteriorating. The seams in the original extruded piece including the countertop, sink and tub, are slowly getting wider. The issue has been there since I bought the AS, but has slowly gotten worse over the last 4 years.

I hope someone recognizes this problem. I suspect the first advice will be to open up the access door at the back and look - which I have - but not sure what I am looking for if it is the frame. Be gentle on me - this is my first AS restoration. I restore homes and buildings - but this is a whole other animal.

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:21 AM   #2
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1977 31' Sovereign
Vintage Kin Owner
Sunset Valley , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 219
Sounds like you have rear end sag/separation.
There are countless threads here on diagnosis and remedy. It is fairly common in '70's era AS's with rear baths.

Google: rear end separation Airforums

That should get you started.

Best of luck,
Ian
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:57 AM   #3
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1974 27' Overlander
Mathiston , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iansk View Post
Sounds like you have rear end sag/separation.
There are countless threads here on diagnosis and remedy. It is fairly common in '70's era AS's with rear baths.

Google: rear end separation Airforums

That should get you started.

Best of luck,
Ian
Thanks, Ian. Will take your suggestion and run with it

Cie
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:38 AM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
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There are several ways to diagnose rear end separation. A simple one is to step up on the back bumper and gently bounce up and down while watching the frame rails where the bumper meets the rear of the shell. If everything is solid, you whould see no separation/movement of the frame without the shell moving with it. If you see a gap opening up, then you have rear end separation.

If you look in the rear hatch, you would hope to see nice solid plywood, with a few holes cut in it for plumbing to go through. IF there is no plywood visible, then it has all rotted away. This is very likely in a trailer as old as yours that hasn't had extensive repairs done already. If you see frame rails and cross members, you can look at the condition of them. They will likely be significantly rusted away.

Anyway, correction will require you to remove the entire bathroom interior, remove the lower-most interior skins, remove as much of the rear-most plywood as is rotted away, repair the frame, and then replace the rotted subfloor. It is major surgery, but not rocket science. Many of us have done this job. Search for terms like "rear end sag," "rear end separation," "shell on floor repair," and you should find many threads.

good luck!
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Old 12-08-2017, 01:54 PM   #5
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1974 27' Overlander
Mathiston , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 5
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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
There are several ways to diagnose rear end separation. A simple one is to step up on the back bumper and gently bounce up and down while watching the frame rails where the bumper meets the rear of the shell. If everything is solid, you whould see no separation/movement of the frame without the shell moving with it. If you see a gap opening up, then you have rear end separation.

If you look in the rear hatch, you would hope to see nice solid plywood, with a few holes cut in it for plumbing to go through. IF there is no plywood visible, then it has all rotted away. This is very likely in a trailer as old as yours that hasn't had extensive repairs done already. If you see frame rails and cross members, you can look at the condition of them. They will likely be significantly rusted away.

Anyway, correction will require you to remove the entire bathroom interior, remove the lower-most interior skins, remove as much of the rear-most plywood as is rotted away, repair the frame, and then replace the rotted subfloor. It is major surgery, but not rocket science. Many of us have done this job. Search for terms like "rear end sag," "rear end separation," "shell on floor repair," and you should find many threads.

good luck!
Excellently explained. Seems this is going to be (hopefully) the most extensive repair I will have. I know, LOL, right?

Thanks for your response!

Cie
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:58 PM   #6
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello from Colorado ciemcm: I have a 75 Overlander that I purchased in Louisiana last fall. I knew it had rear end separation when I bought it because failed the bumper bounce test and it failed the ice pick poking along the floor in the rear compartment. And the bathroom floor tilted downward like you mentioned yours does. I liked the trailer and bought it anyway.

I am currently in the throws of rear end separation repair. I have the bath furniture removed. I have the water heater removed. I have the rear belly pan removed. I have the rear cross member removed. I have the old holding tanks removed. And I have a plan to make my trailer a bit stronger. It will take a lot longer to put the trailer back together again. There is quite a bit of welding needed.

As Belegedhel mentioned; many, many 70s Airstreams have had this repair done. Many, many more need it. The frame will fail if the repair isn't done.

There are several reasons for the problem. Mainly, the rear body to frame joint leaks rain water and rots the floor and rear cross member. Also extra weight in the back of the trailer exacerbates the problem, like water heaters and batteries. Last, the frame rust protection and strength was inadequate for the loads carried. Remember, Airstreams are built lightweight like an old aluminum aircraft.

There are two bolts, one on each side, from the body through the subfloor, through the frame rail and rear cross member. These two bolts are critical in holding the trailer together. Mine were rusted junk. The frame rails begin to sag when they are not attached to the body structure, especially bouncing down a rough highway. Sometimes the frame rails will buckle or crack due to the lack of support from the body. Lucky for me I have not found any frame rail cracks. Yet.

Here are a couple of photos of my project. They may help you grasp the magnitude of the project. I am happy to share what knowledge I have, but there are others here that are much more experienced than me.

David
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:29 AM   #7
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1970 25' Caravanner
Incline Village , Nevada
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Going to follow you along as I am going through a renovation of my own. Good luck. Post pics along the way.
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