Another public update for my rebuild record.
I buttoned up the belly today using 3/16"x3/4" head rivets and some 1"x1/8" aluminum strips that I riveted over the belly skin as reinforcement. I hope that will prevent wear through of the belly skin / rivet heads. Combined with balanced new tires and balance beads to compensate for the unbalanced brake drums the high frequency vibration may be reduced in the cantilevered back portion of the trailer as it goes down the highway.
I sealed the trunk leak and epoxied the wood rot as earlier reported but noted another leak that will necessitate stripping the belt line trim and caulking that hidden seam with Sikaflex. If only AS has extended the shell just a bit below the wood floor. The leak is minor and it really has little to do with the belt line trim really. The leak is from the top of the trunk with water going to the outboard edge of the trunk along the belt line then to the unsealed seam of the fixed portion of the trunk lid then along the top of the frame and into the belly. Probably minor but a leak just the same and one responsible for rust of the frame where it meets the floor and the seams where the drag skids are welded in place.
Have you ever watched the rain run off your AS? We had a good rain here today. I stood in the barn door and watched it fall onto the run off the AS. There are seams all over the place that just catch water on the AS. The window sills are horizontally exposed along with the upper side walls and catch water, the belt line catches all the runoff from the awnings, the trunk catches rain as mentioned, the panorama window corner seams are directly under the rear awning corner drip line where a small flood comes off the roof. Those are just a few of the catchments. The belly can't help but have water in it. I suppose other RVs are similar but probably not so much since they don't have the sloping sidewalls and the walls are often one piece extending below the floor line. Almost all of the AS shell relies on caulk in multiple places to keep water out and lots holidays develop in the caulk. Just a little change here and there to the structure would make so much difference. Just straight sidewalls to the break of a rounded roof line transition so the windows could be vertical would work wonders. I suppose that would take away some of the aesthetics though for someone.
A caution to those who may not know. Leveling jacks. They are affixed to the frame with NC bolts and the female threads they screw into are cut into the thin frame cross member at the inboard fastener position. The threads are probably stripped out in a few of the positions after some time and at least one end of the jack, most likely the inboard one, will not be firmly fixed in place. The thin frame members do not provide much, if any development length for the threads to grab. I'll be finding an appropriately sized sheet metal bolt with some bigger threads to fasten the jack on with. I will have to bore out the hole in the jack though to accommodate the larger threads.
As for the "legendary quality", NO. I fixed many rivets in the belly and banana wrap that didn't even go into the frame. Just rivets that went into the skin. I've also found blind / pop rivets where the stem is not even pulled off indicating they never properly grabbed and pulled tight. I still have some of those to fix. Much of the AS structure is not built for durability. It is the aluminum that is the durable component. Wally was a better salesman than designer IMHO.
Next fix is the banged up water tank, the quarter round, cushions and chair, tires and check brakes then we will be ready to hit the road for a bit. Winter along the I-40ish corridor and regions south of there is a quiet time with pretty good fishing.