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Old 07-17-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
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1967 17' Caravel
Lufkin , Texas
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Question Floor Replacement: 1967 Caravel

I have gutted the entire trailer and removed all asbestos tile from the base floor. There are a couple of soft/rotted sections, one area is located under the original hot water heater and the other is to the right of the entrance door. I would honestly like to replace the entire floor, my only question is can that be done without lifting up the shell. Is there a way to remove the belly skin, get to a bare trailer, and then replace the floor? Basically, bottom up!
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by TexasAir67 View Post
I have gutted the entire trailer and removed all asbestos tile from the base floor. There are a couple of soft/rotted sections, one area is located under the original hot water heater and the other is to the right of the entrance door. I would honestly like to replace the entire floor, my only question is can that be done without lifting up the shell. Is there a way to remove the belly skin, get to a bare trailer, and then replace the floor? Basically, bottom up!
There is a right way and a wrong way to do most anything.

To properly replace the floor, you need to remove the shell.

To scab in a floor, weakens the monocoque construction.

Andy
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasAir67 View Post
I have gutted the entire trailer and removed all asbestos tile from the base floor. There are a couple of soft/rotted sections, one area is located under the original hot water heater and the other is to the right of the entrance door. I would honestly like to replace the entire floor, my only question is can that be done without lifting up the shell. Is there a way to remove the belly skin, get to a bare trailer, and then replace the floor? Basically, bottom up!
Yes, however you'll be on your back a lot. We've done numerous floor replacements using this method, however now we lift the body off & flip the chassis over with a rotisserie. This method produces a much better job & significantly easier to do in the end. Not everyone has the space or equipment to do it this way though. You'll be able to remove the bellypan & replace the floor, then install tanks, insulation etc, then fab & install a new bellypan from below. Make sure you replace the axle as well at this point as Caravel's of this era have fatigue issues in the spindles & notoriously shear off when you least expect it. The rubber rods in the torsion tube have also "aged out" as well.
Have fun,
Colin
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:56 AM   #4
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1968 20' Globetrotter
1993 32' Excella
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I just got through doing a "shell on" floor replacement. You have to disconnect (drill out the rivets)all of the curved side underwrap pieces. You will also have to remove all of the lower interior panels as well to get to and cut off all of the channel hold down bolts with a cut off wheel.
The shell will actually flex and lift enough to get in full plywood sheets.
You aren't far from actually being able to lift the shell off though, I just didn't have the room or need to do it. All of the above isn't really "hard" but will take a lot of time. Read and study a lot on here before you start or make your decision.
If the other parts of your floor really is in excellent condition, I don't see why you couldn't scab in a few small pieces if you do it right with all of the edges/seams supported(that is the problem). Inspect it again, there is usually more small areas of rot than you think. Also, expect to at least a little bit of frame repair,(welding, fabricating) if you have floor rot.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:24 AM   #5
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Why disconnect curved underwrap?

Luvoldstuff, Thanks for adding your picture of the frame, question, why is it necessary to lift the body if you can bring 4x8 sheets of plywood in through the door opening? I understand removing lower interior panels, am I missing something? I am new to vintage Airstreams, just picked up a 68 Safari last week that has rear floor damage, (that I know of) ....Thanks in advance!
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