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Old 02-09-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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Reconditioning Folding Steps

What I thought would be a simple little project has turned into an entire reconditioning project. I first wanted to remove and replace the non-skid on the steps of our '87 Excella. Simple...right? Not so grasshopper!

Since it is winter here in PA I figured I would simply remove the stairs (two sets as the '87 is a double door) and bring them in where it's warm to work on them. On both sets of steps there was one lousy bolt that was either seized or so rusted that the hex head hole was rounded out. And as Murphy's law would have it the stubborn bolt was always the last bolt I attempted to remove.

I eventually got all the parts disassembled. The non-skid came up quite easily with a heat gun and a sharp putty knife. I then removed the rest of the residual sticky stuff with some Goo-Gone and a razor blade. The new non-skid stickers were ordered from Out Of Doors Mart and went on without an issue. Before I put on the new non-skid stickers I cleaned all the aluminum parts and gave them a few coats of clear coat spray.

Since the old bolts were pretty much useless I also ordered all new nuts, bolts, screws, and washers from Out Of Doors Mart. Some of the parts are on back order and I am waiting for those part to reassemble the steps.

They should look very nice once I get them back together and mounted back on the trailer.

If your bolts look like these, you better have a stout heart before attempting to remove them. You can see from the photos that I drilled holes on either side of the hex head hole and used a home made spanner wrench to remove the bolts. The photo of the single bolt was particularly difficult to get out. I broke 2 or 3 drill bits, the center punch, and one hex head wrench removing it. I ended up using a cold chisel to get the bolt moving.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting where you bought the non-skid pieces, I think I'll go ahead and do the same for our folding steps, hopefully they aren't as difficult to work with, nice to hear how you went about getting the bolts out.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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Matt,
My advice would be to leave the step on the trailer and do it outside, that is weather permitting. I don't think the non-skid stickers are particular to Airstream so you may be able to pick them up at your local RV dealer. I got them at Out Of Door Mart because I also needed some other Airstream specific parts.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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I bought non-skid strips at Lowe's after I slipped and nearly broke my pride on our steps. Wire brushed the steps really well, painted them black and put on the strips. They have been on for nearly a year and so far just as good as the day I put them down.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:39 PM   #5
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1989 Excella Steps

The grooves on my steps on the side where the bolts slide have worn out. How can it be repaired? Must it be welded and ground down to match the original pattern?
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:23 PM   #6
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Hi DEITZ645,

Whenever those parts arrive, I'd be interested in hearing about how well things went back together and how smoothly the steps operate as a result.

Walt
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJ Excella View Post
The grooves on my steps on the side where the bolts slide have worn out. How can it be repaired? Must it be welded and ground down to match the original pattern?
GJ Excella,
One solution is to get a new step tread, but the step treads are very expensive. So I took the hook from a wire coat hanger and hang it on the supports so the wire takes up the voids left from 20+ years of use. The welding and grinding is an option that should work too. Maybe I'll try that over the winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Driver1 View Post
Hi DEITZ645,

Whenever those parts arrive, I'd be interested in hearing about how well things went back together and how smoothly the steps operate as a result.

Walt
Walt,
I sanded all the parts, gave them a first cut polish, and clear coated them with Krylon clear while I was waiting on the parts to arrive. Once the parts arrived the steps went back together without a hitch and open and close like silk. They didn't operate bad before I reconditioned them, I just didn't like the looks of the rusted hardware, oxidized steps, or the cracked and peeling anti-skid stickers. Now they should be good for another 20+ years.
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