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Old 10-13-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
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Belly Pan Rivet Spacing

What is the factory spacing on the belly pan for joining sheets on the long axis
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Old 08-26-2016, 05:32 PM   #2
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I see this is a very old post but was also wondering what spacing I should use between rivets on the belly pan?
The aluminum sheets arrive Tuesday. :-)
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Old 08-26-2016, 05:46 PM   #3
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When lying on groung drilling them out it seemed like there was one rivet every inch.

Mine were spaced about 12" apart.
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Old 08-26-2016, 07:13 PM   #4
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Hi Dingo Girl.

I spaced mine at 9" as it looked about right. I used large flange rivets. The material I purchased came in a 48" wide roll. The average distance from belly wrap to belly wrap was in the 70" range. So I layed the material left to right, and made overlapping seams every 48". I used about 4" spacing on the seams. There is a lot of "cut and fit" while installing the belly pan. The majority of the cross members are on 24" centers, but certainly not all of them.

I used a 2x4 and some blocks to help hold the floppy sheet of aluminum in place while I drilled and riveted.

Here is one trick I used that you may find helpful. I used a "cow magnet" to find the frame rails and cross members. It was effective for finding that 1/2" wide cross member center. However, fellow Airstreamers wondered where I might have found a magnetic cow, or do magnetic cows always point north, etc, etc.

I've done three belly pan installs, and I'm not looking forward to the fourth.

David
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Boondy View Post
When lying on groung drilling them out it seemed like there was one rivet every inch.

Mine were spaced about 12" apart.
Al your funny.

Thank you for all the tips.
I like the cow magnet idea.
I've got the large flange rivets and a half dozen stub drills. It won't be long I'll have an aluminum tent, with lights.
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:39 PM   #6
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I used a 2x4 running across under the trailer pushed up by car jacks on each end to hold the aluminum sheets up tight, made things easier.
Sharp drill bits, fully charged drill on high speed really made a huge difference. My install went surprisingly easy and I didn't think it was horrible.
I put rivets about every 12". Overlapping about 2" at the seams.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:55 PM   #7
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The aluminum is here. Like a giant noodle.
Any tips on not scratching the heck out of it while trying to gingerly get it under the trailer?
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:22 PM   #8
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My aluminum was the standard 5052 material .025 thick. The 30' roll came with a plastic laminated on one side which offered some protection. I installed mine left to right which made the sheets a bit easier for one person to handle.

I slid a sheet under the trailer but centered and on top of my 2x4 "lift and hold". Then I lifted the sheet so it had about an inch clearance. Then back under the trailer to position it. I sometimes used some spring clamps on the leading edge clamped to a cross member if one was handy, or I clamped the leading edge to the frame rail channel.

I marked the center line of the trailer and the center of my sheets. After I was satisfied I had the dumb thing centered and square, I drilled my first hole and banged it with a rivet. I wore out my cheap creeper installing the belly pan. My electric shear worked good and saved a lot of hand shearing.

I was not very concerned about scratching as only a very picky person will lay on his back to see if my new belly pan is scratched.

I bet you have invented a better process. Maybe I stimulated your thinking.

David
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:58 PM   #9
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My aluminum was purchased locally at Alro. 2 sheets @ 48 x 144.and one @ 48 x 96. No plastic coating.
I've got electric shears. Plenty of drills and I hope more than enough rivets.
I thought I'd wear my cheap creeper out bolting the floor down. It's still rolling. We'll see how it holds up on this step.
My sheets will go in front to back, then side to side for the last one. The bath is in the back so this one will be easily removed.
The 2 x 4 method seems like the best way for me. Thanks for all the information on this subject. ☺

It's hard to imagine trying to do this kind of a project 30 years ago with no Airforums or no Internet.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingo Girl View Post
My aluminum was purchased locally at Alro. 2 sheets @ 48 x 144.and one @ 48 x 96. No plastic coating.
I've got electric shears. Plenty of drills and I hope more than enough rivets.
I thought I'd wear my cheap creeper out bolting the floor down. It's still rolling. We'll see how it holds up on this step.
My sheets will go in front to back, then side to side for the last one. The bath is in the back so this one will be easily removed.
The 2 x 4 method seems like the best way for me. Thanks for all the information on this subject. ☺

It's hard to imagine trying to do this kind of a project 30 years ago with no Airforums or no Internet.
I recommend going back to front so that the overlap of the panels has the back edge of the forward panel covering the forward edge of the rear panel. That way the seam opening us directed rearward and road spray won't get directed into the open seam. If that makes sense.
Don't worry about scratching it a little, it'll be invisible anyway.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:40 AM   #11
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That makes perfect sense Silver.
Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:02 PM   #12
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Belly pans are somewhat like drywall. There wasn't a sheet I put up that didn't need special measuring and trimming. There was the bumper storage area, then the sewer connection, then the axle area, then the propane lines going into the fridge, water heater, furnace, stove, etc. Then the step box, then the fresh water drain, and of course the four corners having banana wraps and compound curve areas in the rear. Drywall always seems to have a window, door, outlet, or something to cut out also.

I bought 100 rivets and ran out.

David
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:32 PM   #13
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Dang! I hope nobody crawls under my trailer and measures the distance between belly rivets! I've seen my share of factory belly pans, and I am pretty sure none were a measured distance apart. I'll be odd, and say mine are 9" ...
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:56 PM   #14
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There is a standard dimension in everyone's project plan. It is called "looks about right". I learned about it here on Air Forums from Aerowood.

It is the perfect dimension for belly pan rivet spacing.

David
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