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Old 07-05-2007, 10:27 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Zip Dee upper bracket fix

The long Zip Dee on my Sovereign has seen better days. While removing the vista view windows I noticed that both the forward and aft upper brackets were loose. Since the rib and shell area under the brackets were accessible due to the other mods I was doing, I decided to strengthen the mounting area with doublers and a suitable shim on the exterior to match the new vista view window patches. Don't be confused by the photos--they are a combination of the forward and rear brackets, so they may appear reversed if you make them all one installation!

The original bracket mount and damage underneath:

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You can see how the skin is pulled away from the rib, here. Two of the new rivets in the vista view patch need to be drilled out to allow the new doublers to lie flat on the inside skin:

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Here's the total set of parts. The bracket, the shim under the bracket on the outside, two shims/doublers to equal the thickness of the rib flange, and then the inside doubler with three nut plates. The #10 aircraft screws that fit the existing holes in the bracket have a yield strength exceeding 1,000 lbs (thank you, Kip), so you could pick up the entire Sovereign on this pair of reinstalled brackets. The inside mounting plate and shims were fit to the existing holes by screwing the bracket in, which held everything in place, then match drilling the rivet holes.

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One advantage of the nut plates is that I can remove the brackets and temporarily seal the holes using short screws--the outside shim would protect the skin from the screw heads. The outside shim and inside doublers were installed using Trempro 635 (same as the old Vulkem).

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This has been slowing me down for a couple of weeks--very glad to be on the move again!

This same repair can be done fairly easily even if you aren't modifying your vista view windows. It's only requires drilling out about 7-8 pop rivets to peel the skin back far enough to gain access to the inside of the shell (in skins without a vista view) and a few more if you have to release the vista view inside slide cover.

Zep
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:34 AM   #2
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Great job! I had trouble with the upper hanger on the rear side of my patio awning. I used JB Weld then drilled new holes. It didn't seem to work as the JB Weld split. I tried again but this time put JB Weld in the holes and on the base of the mount. It has held up fine over the last year. I like your idea better but I think I had a cabinet in the way I would have to remove.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:39 AM   #3
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ZEP ~ When I installed the ZipDee on my 75 TW I had a problem with the Vista View and the upper bracket. I could have used the shim that you had under yours. Too bad that ZipDee does not provide that shim as an option. When I contacted ZipDee the tech suggested that I shim the upper bracket with gasket material. I would have needed many many layers of the material to fill the void.

I decided to remove some material from the upper bracket to allow the rest of the bracket to sit flat on the trailer skin. If I was to remove the windows I could always replace the bracket.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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Richard,

Took me just a second to realize that wasn't just a piece of bent sheet metal in the right photo. Nice work hogging that bracket out.

One comment about shims--it's obvious that the installer on my Sovereign realized the importance to getting a tight-to-the-shell fit, because the round head rivets that would have been under the bracket are shaved off (not drilled out--shaved off). I'm not sure that you gain much by shaving the head off a driven rivet, maybe a little sheer strength. I think the rivets or screws through the bracket are the real strength in that spot.

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Old 07-05-2007, 11:06 AM   #5
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I also took a little off the rivets to get a better fit. In the first picture the bracket is just sitting against the shell. A Dremel tool is a good investment.
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