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Old 11-05-2006, 11:03 AM   #1
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Structural support?

The Forum with be the arbitrator in a domestic disagreement...just like Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers.

I want to remove the fake wood panels that separate the galley area from the mid-berth area (and the panel next to the front door )to create a completely open interior. My boyfriend says that the panels might provide some sort of structural support. I say they are more cosmetic to separate the coach into distinct areas. I've already taken out guachos, replacing the front with a nearly queen size bed and the mid gaucho with a dinette. Removing the center dividing panels would really open things up and provide the opportunity to create counter space from the stove back to the closet. To settle this disagreement I said I would submit the question to the experts on the Forum. Can I remove the dividers with no consequence to the structural integrity. If they do provide some sort of support could I just had some sort of decorative spindle from floor to ceiling?
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:08 AM   #2
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You can remove the panels. They add a minimal amount of stiffness, more like reducing flex, than anything else. If you really want to leave something there, you can always use a pair of milled banister poles in place of the panels.
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Overlander. That's what I thougth too. But a second opinion is often necessary in these situations.
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:20 AM   #4
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I think that they could be removed with out any ill effect on the shell. I do not think that the areas exposed (sides of cabinets) will have that wonderful 70's fake wood look to them. Why not leave the walls in place and cut them to create the open look you desire. You would only have to cover the exposed cut area.

We like the privacy that the walls give us. I can get up early to go fishing and close the curtain (door) and let my wife sleep in.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:01 PM   #5
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I thought I saw the ones that NASA uses had no walls, works for them

I removed mine in order to replace them. But they were hanging there by threads, so theyu didn't add any support for the PO.

My vote is rip 'em out if you want.
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:02 PM   #6
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Structural support

Sectioning the floor can weaken the structure.

Airstream uses a semi-monocoque design. Therefore the floor becomes an integral part of that design.

A small floor patch is OK. However, large patches will weaken the structure.

It's common knowledge that an 8 foot wide board, from side to side is very strong. Yet if you place 8 one foot sections side by side, the overall strength is no better than any one foot section.

The shell weight rests on the edge of the floor. If it's only support is from the edge of the floor to the main frame, it is weak. If that support goes from one side to the other, in one piece, the strength is greater.

This comes from Airstream engineering.

Same principle for a roof truss. It must be in one piece, or joined together to simulate one piece.

Andy
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:11 PM   #7
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Andy's response is correct. I'm not sure however that you were thinking of cutting into the floor. All of the cabinets, furniture, etc is somewhat modular, and provides no real structural support. It does, however, add to the load - you may technically be better off without them, though the weight added is negligable.
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:13 PM   #8
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Hummmm, hummmmmm

Andy,

I have assumed full-lotus and cogitated on your post for many minutes now. I seek enlightment:

Floor patches & roof trusses are one thing, but are you "yea" or "nay" on removing partitions?

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Old 11-05-2006, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Andy,

I have assumed full-lotus and cogitated on your post for many minutes now. I seek enlightment:

Floor patches & roof trusses are one thing, but are you "yea" or "nay" on removing partitions?

Tom
Partitions can be removed.

However, depending on the weight on the roof and the size of the bumps you may hit, the shell roof will and does flex downward. Therefore depending on the interior design, it may be practical to use a partition or two.

Keep in mind the late 60 trailers. The galley divider bulkheads were very tight vertically.

Accordingly, many of those bulkheads punched holes in the ceiling.

Since we know the shell does flex, especially at the axle area, I think it is wise to have at least some reasonable vertical support in that area.

That also somewhat changed when Airstream changed the design of the main bows from a "U" shape to the "Z" shape.

The "Z" shaped main bows still allow flexing, but not nearly as much as the old "U" shaped main bows.

That then dictates perhaps somewhat different considerations depending on the year of the trailer.

The "Z" bows were first used in the 1969 models. The "U" shaped bows were used from 1968 and older.

Andy
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:51 PM   #10
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Airstream's book suggests repairing the floor in pieces and gives pic's showing how to make those type repairs.

Where the new meets the old a 4 or 5" piece of plywood is placed under the seam and screwed along both edges.

I would prefer to cut out bad section to a steel frame and screw into that.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:39 PM   #11
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Which book?

"Airstream's book suggests repairing the floor in pieces and gives pic's showing how to make those type repairs" Bob - (Lipets)

Are you referring to an Airstream Service Manual? I'm renovating a 73 Argosy and need technical design/build documentation. I just ordered a Service Manual but if there is something else available I'd like to get it also.

Thanks, Don
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:52 PM   #12
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Like i didn't know you were "Da Man!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
...Keep in mind the late 60 trailers. The galley divider bulkheads were very tight vertically.

Accordingly, many of those bulkheads punched holes in the ceiling. ...
Late sixties trailer fits my Airstream as well as the punched hole in the ceiling.

Andy - You sure know your... stuff

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus
"Airstream's book suggests repairing the floor in pieces and gives pic's showing how to make those type repairs" Bob - (Lipets)

Are you referring to an Airstream Service Manual? I'm renovating a 73 Argosy and need technical design/build documentation. I just ordered a Service Manual but if there is something else available I'd like to get it also.

Thanks, Don
As far as I know there are 3 types of manuals available, the Service Manual, the Owner's manual and a (mythical? I have never seen one) Dealer's manual. The regular service manual and owner's manual are great references if you can get you hands on them.

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Old 11-05-2006, 05:13 PM   #14
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Don, I don't have the book with me right now.

But here is a pic to give you an idea.

Plywood backed up with a butt block of the same thickness (minimum) as the plywood planking, extending 4" or more on each side of the joint. Butt joints can be glued without fasteners only if epoxy adhesives are used. Fastenings, when used, should be spaced about 2" apart and 1" from edges.
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