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Old 05-21-2018, 10:31 AM   #1
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Plywood subfloor removal

Hey guys, learning A LOT from the forum and diving into the AS

have a q bc ive seen ppl just rip out sections only

Id like to remove all of it and reinstall new ones in a 67' 28ft ambasador. dont have the tools to lift the AS off the frame so wondering, whats the best way? Remove belly aluminum then?
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:24 AM   #2
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I have not done a whole floor. I have done small parts of the floor in 2 trailers. The edge of the floor fits into a C channel around the airstream. There are bolts that come up from the bottom and go through the C channel, and have nuts on them behind the wall at the top. These are often called elevator bolts. These bolts are basically what holds the Aluminum skin to the frame. To access these bolts you need to take off both the belly pan and the bottom half of the Al skin inside the trailer. On an old trailer there is a serious chance that these bolts can rust, break, and the frame separate from the skin. So a complete flooring job consists of removing all these parts and re-installing with new bolts and flooring. And of course to take the skin off you have to take out all the cabinets, etc. I do not think you really need or even will want to lift the shell from the frame.

Partial flooring replacement or patches are often done by taking out the bad section and putting the replacement in sections so that it may be inserted back into the C channel. Elephant ear notches are cut around the existing bolts in the channel. This method leaves the original bolts in place with whatever strength they have left. Since the holes are right at the edge of the flooring it makes no difference in strength if the bolts go through holes or notches. All the flooring does at the edges is support the C channel. It does make a difference if the original bolts are badly rusted which often happens because of the steel bolt though an Al section with water present.

My 2 trailers are late 80 models that have been mostly dry with a couple of severe wet spots. I did the elephant ear approach for the patches I did. The bolts that I could access seemed sound and most of the channel and flooring is in good shape.

I guess you are going to have to inspect several of the C channel bolts and decide what to do. I would also think on a 67 new bolts would be comforting. The old bolts can look good at the bottom and top but most of the cross section can be missing where they go through the wood and Al. Shells have come off the frame in transit, so I am told.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
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level the trailer.
Remove the lower inner skin
Remove belly pan. ( you need access to bottom to put the new bolts in

pull up the flooring ( if any ) so that you can see where the bolts are
You will see the ones in the c channel and ones accoss the frame members and out rigging. May be covered with "putty".
You can also find them from underneath.

My suggestion would be to use a height adjusted circular saw to cut a square around each bolt head. Cut it close.
cut our large sections and pry out the sub floor.

Use a grinder with a cut off wheel to cut the top off the bolts you cut around previously.
Use the same grinder to cut the bolts in the c channel. or one of those oscullating tools.
( I did a combination of a lot of things )
as you pull out the old wood from under the c channel. put in a shim.

I only took out half before I put in my front piece and bolted it down.
This way it held the shell to frame while I took out the back.

derust and paint the frame.

Make your new floor pieces full width.
You can make them go in as the side flex.


In the end, it is easier to lift the shell, but if I did it without lifting, you can.

Note: you say you lack the tools. If you have the space, then all it takes is a couple cheap chain hoists and you can make a gantry. or use the rafters if in a barn. the idea scared me, so I did it frame on. But after the experience, I could have handled it.

I made the above sound easy, but it takes a lot of cutting and prying and finding new ways to cut the bolts through the wood.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:44 PM   #4
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How would it really be easier to install the floor if the shell was lifted? Easier to work on the frame, yes. But it seems to me the shell has to be sitting on the frame to do the floor.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:15 PM   #5
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I have seen several google images / blogs where ppl do the elephant ear as you guys call it. i might use a once of those drill bits that cut holes out for door knobs around the center holes and then cut along the edge. front section to back and see if that works. is it safe to say install floor width wide but in 2 sections left and right so it slides in better? thoughts? OR will i be able to install a full width piece?

also, insulation. IF i am able to do the floor and i pull the belly down either full or sections, how or when do i install the floor insulation? just curious
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:21 PM   #6
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Unless you're planning on camping in the winter where it freezes don't bother putting the insulation back i the belly pan.
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Old 05-21-2018, 05:18 PM   #7
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You can do full width sheets. We used the extra cut off of the full width plywood we used, to act as the gusset under the floor pieces where they join. Biggest problem is making sure the trailer doesn't fall off the outriggers while you're adding flooring. We started in the back, took all the flooring out, then put new in from back to center, then front to center. Chris made a modified come-along to hold sides of trailer in place until we got everything bolted down again. We put all in over a weekend. Rear of the trailer was completely rotted out, so we made templates for the plywood there, out of 1/8'' luan.
It's in our "Little Girl Refurb" thread in the "70's trailer section, if you want to see pics.

Kay
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
How would it really be easier to install the floor if the shell was lifted? Easier to work on the frame, yes. But it seems to me the shell has to be sitting on the frame to do the floor.
The floor goes under the c vhannel, so not having to shove the pieces in catty cornered and flexing out the sides, to me sounds easier. So actually you do not want the shell sitting on tje frame


Plus, as you said the frame would be easier to work on. I fogure if you go to the trouble of gutting it and taking out the floor, then you will probably want to paint the frame.

But i did mine shell on, and got the floor under the c channel in full width pieces.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:41 AM   #9
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I am down in florida, would be nice to insulate the floor. thoughts?

thank you guys for all the feedback, ill take your recommendations and work from the back to center, and front to center with plywood shimmys to hold it off the frame. i have rust encapsulator / paint so hopefully that will stop any rust. i will also use a brush or a brush wheel to remove any rust before doing so. again many thanks
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by matthewsx View Post
Unless you're planning on camping in the winter where it freezes don't bother putting the insulation back i the belly pan.
I would encourage you to put the insulation in regardless of your personal plans. It will help keep the trailer cool in the summer, and the next owner won't have to worry about it when they decide to camp in colder weather than you did. The insulation is fairly cheap, it doesn't take much time, and it does the job right the first time.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:44 AM   #11
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We did not insulate under the floor. Instead, we put in floating cork floor. It's heavier than insulation, so you have to plan for that. It works well, though, and no concern about critters nesting under your floor.

Kay
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:19 AM   #12
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Ok, So I have been chugging along getting the inside cleaned out, walls removed and insulation removed as well. and man, the previous real owner that used this did NOT maintain it well. leaks that caused wood damage on the floor where i can kick or punch it and it breaks apart. My question how is, since i dont have the shape from removing 1 old piece, how do i cut / measure everything ? do ppl have templates?

Not looking fwd to see-ing the frame
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:40 PM   #13
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We used the curve of the upper wall for the rear template where the floor was destroyed. We slid an 1/8 inch piece of luan in between the frame and upper wall, and traced it, cut it out and fit and tweaked it until it fit. Then we cut the plywood out using that template. Everything else, we used the old floor as a template for the new one. Front and back curves were not the same on our trailer, so we couldn't use the front as a template for the back.

Kay
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