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Old 04-06-2009, 10:38 AM   #113
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Thank you for the kind words...

Another trick that some have used is to cut the belly off about a foot from the edges - then use that existing skin to rivet new belly skin to - I know it not the way it was originally done, but much easier to do - after all its just a trailer.......

Oh my gosh did just write that.....

Ken J.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:45 AM   #114
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Thank you for the kind words...

Another trick that some have used is to cut the belly off about a foot from the edges - then use that existing skin to rivet new belly skin to - I know it not the way it was originally done, but much easier to do - after all its just a trailer.......

Oh my gosh did just write that.....

Ken J.
This is actually how I started off, and I think it's a MUCH easier method. But I went to pull the rub-rail trim off, and then saw how corroded the curved&tabbed bellypan sheet was, right where it meets the plywood subfloor (which had all rotted away of course), so I ended up pulling it all down anyway. BUT, when I reinstalled, I created those banana wraps that came into the main frame rails, and later on, I will install the rest of the bellypan.

So my lesson learned here is, pull the rub-rail trim first to inspect the bellypan edges. If those look good, then don't bother pulling down the whole bellypan, just cut the center of the bellypan out (with enough room to access all of the bolts/outriggers you will need for floor replacement and possible frame repair), and then tack in a new center bellypan piece when you're done.

-Marcus
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:53 AM   #115
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Now thats a great idea

that would save a ton of work, I guess I could still cut a seam to the four corners, bend the remnant of the belly pan back, and get the frame out from under it and patch the seams when I put it back together. My front may be good enough to do that, I doubt the rear will be good enough. I have pure holes in the rear floor forward of the black tank and also under the tub drain. david
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #116
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If you're dead-set on doing a shell-off, then it might or might not be worth the effort. But if you're thinking about a shell-on, then I don't think it's really much extra effort to leave the "banana wraps" in place. The key is to pull the rub-rail trim piece so you can determine the entire condition of the bellypan. If it's as badly corroded as mine was, then you'll probably want to pull it off and create a new one.

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Old 04-06-2009, 11:12 AM   #117
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banana wrap

When they put the belly pan on at the factory did they make relief cuts to make the turns??? If so my guess the thing will come apart in pieces if it is corroded much at all. david
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:18 AM   #118
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When they put the belly pan on at the factory did they make relief cuts to make the turns??? If so my guess the thing will come apart in pieces if it is corroded much at all. david
Yes, you can see those slots/tabs that result from the relief cuts, in the picture I posted above. And yes, consequently, it came out in pieces. But I had severe floor rot and frame rot in the rear end that resulted from years of unchecked leaks.

In the front, there's only a little bit of floor rot, and the frame looks pretty good too, so it's possible I will be able to save that part of the bellypan. I'll find out in about 9 months, but first I need to finish my back-half renovation, and enjoy the trailer over the summer!

The picture above is from my blog, there are lots more if you follow the link in my signature below. I'm not a restoration specialist of any kind, I'm actually an electrical engineer/high tech nerd, who is just muddling my way through. But, the work is a lot of fun, and very far removed from my daily desk job.

Good luck!
-Marcus
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:01 PM   #119
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Thanks

Its very helpful to have all this hands on experience when guys like me have never fooled with an airstream before. Great information here. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:57 PM   #120
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What do you guys think about adding one layer of fiberglass cloth wrapped over the edge of the plywood, wetted out with the West System epoxy?

RUTAN FIBERGLASS CLOTHS from Aircraft Spruce

This is a bi directionally oriented cloth and it would make it around the edge of 3/4" ply if you just barely rounded its edge.

Seems like this is always the most vulnerable area we've got and that would really seal it. I'm actually thinking I'll run cloth further in from the edge in those areas that always seem to cause the trouble like the rear end, under the bathroom, and by the door.

cheers,
steve
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:54 PM   #121
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Just a question navy"EOD", do you have any pictures of your hands? You still have all your fingers after being from that line of work.

Kip
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:48 PM   #122
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Steve

Maybe others will chime in - as I understand fiberglass, its use is for lateral strength, but in this case I'm not sure it would be of any added benefit - I used penetrating epoxy as you want that stuff to seep in the wood - especially in the edges..

Ken J.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:30 PM   #123
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Eod

Quote:
Just a question navy"EOD", do you have any pictures of your hands? You still have all your fingers after being from that line of work.
Left the Navy in 1970 after two tours in Vietnam. Left with all my fingers by the grace of God. Got some stories. I think the fiberglass would add some more moisture barrier and some strength but it would be a pain to get it to wrap around that edge and stay flat. I am amazed that the floor in mine is still there at all with all the neglect it has had. No rear window for 10 years plus. david Kip here is a pic of most of my fingers.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:44 PM   #124
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Slow Progressq

Had a few hours after work today. Got the front banana molding off. First screw came right out thought, what a surprise this will be a breeze. None of the others would come out, had to hit them with a 1/4 inch chisel from the side, sometimes they would come out a bit or the head would bend a bit and I could loosen them. Other times the chisel would have to take the head off to get them loose. Took all the lower rivets out from the area of the banama molding but the front belly pan wouldnt budge. Then got inside and took the lower inner paneling off fromt the front door all the way around the front till I got to the same place on the street side. Took the insulation out and got my first view of the C-channel. Those elevator bolts are going to be a joy. My belly pan is in pretty good shape around the edges but I am going to take it loose anyway so I can get this shell off. I have to haul the frame to get it sandblasted and the frame repair and just as soon not be hauling this shell with it. There are a lot of rivets in an airstream.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:19 PM   #125
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So now you can "see" (well, not really though...) the "hidden rivets" are between the c-channel and the skin. You can slide a metal (not plastic handle) putty knife between the channel and the belly skin from the inside, and chop those rivets off. THEN, the belly pan should be able to move down.

Wow, you can really see how that front window leaked...
Marc
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:22 AM   #126
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Tools

Buddy of mine who I have helped in the past and is an A&P mechanic came by today. He offered me his sheet metal tools to use till I am finished with Eugene, even if its two years. Said he didnt do sheet metal anymore. He does engine work. Another buddy in the used tool trade got me a set of nippers. Now that was a pair of blessings. Looking for some aluminum now from the scrap yards. Eugene has never been used to any new stuff anyway.
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