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Old 10-12-2018, 08:40 AM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
White Pigeon , Michigan
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 54
Bellypan Material

I am replacing my bellypan. I live close to an RV surplus store, and they have aluminum on a roll that I can get fairly inexpensively. I believe it's a little thicker than the belly pan that was there. Is there any reason not to use it? Is there a reason for needing a specific thickness? Thanks!

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Old 10-12-2018, 10:04 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
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I think the original belly pan material on my '73 was .025 thick, and I am not sure of the alloy. I used .032 6061 T6 as the replacement material. It worked fine, the only word of caution that I would have is that the 6061 T6 is pretty stiff material, and in this thickness, getting the edges of the belly skin to make the curve to meet the shell on the straight sections was kind of a bear. I had an English wheel at the time that I used to get it to curve properly. 5051 is less stiff and usually cheaper--might be a better choice if you can get that.

good luck!

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Old 12-09-2018, 10:39 AM   #3
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1964 22' Safari
1962 28' Ambassador
enosburg , Vermont
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More than .032 thick can be difficult to roll up around the side. Less than .025 can be so flimsy it can sag between cross members or tear. The advantage on the roll is you can get long lengths if needed w/o high shipping cost. If me & price is right I'd roll of a couple feet. If pliable enough to get the 4 inch radius around the outriggers & sturdy enough not to sag good enough. Another consideration. IF the roll width is more than 48 inches thats a big plus. Standard 4 foot wide alum sheets are a problem when you really need about 54 inch wide to do a neat lengthwise belly pan.
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #4
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1976 25' Tradewind
1976 31' Sovereign
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Gilbert , Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2016
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From another thread it’s 5052-H32 .025"
I called a few metal supply places.
First place I called quoted me approx $85 for a 4x5 sheet.
Second place I called was almost 1/2 price! Haven’t bought the material yet but that’s on my to-do list for the week.
As mentioned I can’t do 1 long belly pan sheet so I have to go from side to side (hence the 4x5 sheets)
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:14 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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The belly pan isn't a structural part of the trailer. It keeps road spray, dirt and mice out.

5052 at .025 thick is what I've used and have on hand. I buy mine from Airparts in Kansas City. They sell it as Airstream belly pan material. I buy a 48" wide roll at the length I need to do my project.

I hang my belly pan material crosswise, or east west as it were. The cross members are generally on 24" centers, so the 48" width works pretty good. The main frame rails are about 62" apart. I also overlap the pieces about an inch. I start at the rear of the trailer and work my way forward. I "shingle" the pieces so road spray won't be scooped up by the seams.

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Old 02-23-2019, 08:15 PM   #6
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1967 17' Caravel
Cadillac , Michigan
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The .025 is very flimsy.
I used .032 5052 and it was not hard to work with. There was no problem getting it to form around the outriggers.
I ran 2 lengthwise sheets by myself and one smaller piece at the back under the bath area.
The worst part for me was laying on my back drilling the holes. A real shoulder killer.
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:49 AM   #7
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1964 22' Safari
1962 28' Ambassador
enosburg , Vermont
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Posts: 340
4 X 5 sheets could have a minor problem. The 5 ft length would be great port to starboard, 2 sheets would be long enough to wrap up around the sides over the C-channel & give you a good overlap down the center line. The length front to back may come up short on the cross members. If your crossmembers are on 2 ft centers you could have a problem getting the sheets to overlap a couple inches and rivet the edges into the cross member. If you don't insist your seams join / rivet on cross members it's not an issue. Standard Airstream problem. 4 ft wide material is'nt enough for neat & easy. You need 4 ft 4 inches wide to cover the span. Think, measure & plan. On my last one I used 4 ft wide down both sides leaving a 7 inch space down the ctr line then layed down a 12 inch strip full length. Worked well for me and only shows if you crawl under! Don't forget to run the brake wires before you seal it up & put a little thought into the panel between the frame side plates for future "just in case" access to the waste tanks / plumbing.

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