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Old 05-10-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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1973 23' Safari
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Belly Pan Question

Im taking my AS out on my first trip, this Memorial weekend, since getting it road worthy. I have a question concerning the belly pan. The sheet metal around some of the rivets has corroded to the point that the rivets have pulled through. Nothing is hanging, but should I be concerned. The trip is short, only about 40 miles.
I was thinking I could drill a new hole and use some SS self-taping screws as a temp fix, Is there any repairs that I could do short of replacing the belly skin?

Thanks in Advance
Jim Smith
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:37 PM   #2
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Hello Jim. Yes, the holes do corrode. Belly pan rivets have larger heads than normal pop rivets and are available from places like Vintage Trailer Supply, Inland, Out-of-Doors Mart, etc.

You could do an emergency repair quicker than that. Cut 1" squares out of aluminum flashing from your friendly local building center. Pre-drill for the appropriate 1/8" or 3/16" pop rivet. Knock out or drill out the original rivet hole in your frame. Use the 1" square like a washer and use a standard pop rivet for now.
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:49 PM   #3
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I should add... I ruled out my 1" squares on the flashing stock and predrilled each square before cutting them out. Made it pretty easy. You can make a couple dozen at a time -- almost takes no more time than making a handful.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
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Jim, Bob forgot to tell you to use some vulkem to seal each hole and coat each rivet with it before you install them. That way you are protected for water until you do a more permanent repair. Ed
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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The large head pop rivets are 3/16 diameter so they should be replaced with the same diameter. If you do not want to do the 1" squares cut out of sheet stock and then have to drill them you can buy aluminum 3/16 "fender washers" from the local hardware or big box store. They are larger than the head of the large head pop rivets that are in the belly pan. They are about 30 cents apiece at home depot though unless you can find a better deal. They are a lot stiffer (heavier guage) than the flashing aluminum and 10 of them is $3.00. It's a good idea to do this repair because hanging aluminum will catch in the slipstream under the trailer and virtually tear a section out of the belly pan. I know because I had it happen several hundred miles from home in a rain storm. Wasn't much fun laying on my back under the trailer at a rest stop duct taping cardboard over the hole until we could get back home.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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I did mention a few suppliers and we don't want to favor one over the other. But here is a screen capture of one of the belly pan rivets from one of those sites. (Thank you Ahzmyrah; this is stated to be 3/16" diameter and a grip length of 3/8").

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Note the large flange diameter. Not only do the thin belly skins get thinner and more brittle over time, Jim is correctly noting that the hole in the belly skin corrodes wider & faster. (bimetallism?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGED52 View Post
Jim, Bob forgot to tell you to use some vulkem to seal each hole and coat each rivet with it before you install them. That way you are protected for water until you do a more permanent repair. Ed
This won't hurt and indeed is indicated for any rivets replaced above the rubrail. It may not be necessary for belly rivets but at least might keep water away from the steel frame where the reaction is occurring -- don't need to enhance the frame holes corroding. Just don't use silly-cone! The belly skin laps should be unsealed because ventilation is necessary. So the big picture is ya don't have to get overly fanatical to seal anything at all on the belly. The point of sealing belly rivets is comme ci, comme a.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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I have the same issue. So its my understanding this is a quick fix? Do you have to replace the belly pan for the permanent fix? Some of the holes I have are about the size of a quarter and all in a row. To save a little time could they be replaced in a strip an inch wide by the length of the repair?
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:46 AM   #8
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You could replace it with a strip but I think it would be more difficult to do because you would have to exactly place the new rivet holes in the strip in order to get the old rivet holes lined up with them. Replacing the belly pan is subjective, depends on how bad the old one is. I have replaced a bunch of rivets and replaced a section of my belly pan when I got the tear out from the slipstream. The repairs seem to be holding up okay with lots of miles and weather since so I'm going to let sleeping dogs lie.
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