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Old 01-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #1
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How do I remove the belly pan?

So I am working on my first shell-off renovation of...well...anything. This one happens to be a 1962 Tradewind. It has been gutted and the interior skins taken out, and now it is time to remove the belly pan. DUN DUN DUN. This is where I got stuck. How do I get the darn thing off? All of the rivets have been drilled out around the sides and the trim removed. Is the belly pan skin sandwiched between the outer skin and the j-channel? Must I remove the shell to get the belly pan off? It is coming off anyway, but I would prefer to get the belly pan out of the way first.
Any info would be most appreciated!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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There are rivets all around the perimeter of the trailer that need to be removed before the belly pan will come off. You will have to remove the trim that is around the front & rear bottom of the trailer & there should be rivets beneath it that need to be removed. There are also rivets underneath the trailer that are on the frame that need to be removed before the pan will come off. If you're doing a shell-off restoration, you will need to remove all the rivets around the perimeter to get the shell off, so you won't be doing any damage or more work if you just remove all of them as you go. Good Luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:48 PM   #3
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Would this be an accurate diagram of how the belly pan is attached?
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:26 AM   #4
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Very accurate diagram.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:35 AM   #5
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We just removed the belly pan from our 66 Caravelle. I believe the diagram is missing a piece. I think the belly pan actually is bent over the J bar of the frame, thus, you can't just pull it out straight down without removing the skin and possibly the subfloor.

We removed all the rivets and still could not remove it. So I went online to the vintage airstream site where the guy is now restoring a 56 trailer. He has a good picture there and explains how he removed the belly from his Caravelle.

So, since you are taking yours all the way down, you may as well take the body off first, then you should be able to get to the belly pans.

Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by aluminitus View Post
Would this be an accurate diagram of how the belly pan is attached?
Problem is, there are rivets from the J channel to the bellypan that are hidden by the exterior skin. Makes removing the belly pan very difficult with the body in the way. Can be done but very time consuming locating all the hidden rivets.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #7
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Here is a link to some details on my '63 project, look up a couple of posts to see how my belly pan is wrapped over the "C" channel


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...tml#post951324
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:32 PM   #8
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All the perimeter rivets (and a few hidden ones) will have to come off to lift the shell. I believe your trailer like mine have skin that wraps under the trailer and is attached by large pop rivets. The pan should be in two long pieces. You should be able to drop the belly pan by drilling out those rivets. The front wraps and rear quarter panels will still be attached to the J channel when you lift the shell. You can remove them before but it may be a bit harder and isn't necessary if you are doing a shell off.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Hidden rivets

I just finished a shell removal and replacement on my 1959 18' No Name. On my trailer, with the interior walls off, you should be able to see the bellypan sheets that are wrapped up and around the C channel - my channels look more like a C than a J. The hidden rivets weren't too hard to find. My memory is that they were where the exterior sheets overlapped -maybe 6 in all because I have a smaller trailer. I slid a stiff blade putty knife between the rib and the skin until it encountered the hidden rivet and then hit the putty blade handle hard with a hammer - so I worked from the inside of the trailer. One or 2 strikes tended to sever the rivets. Like much of your project, it will be a pain by not insurmountable.

I removed the shell entirely before I removed any of the belly pan because even the banana wraps (the corner panels) were wrapped over the C channels.

Good luck.

Stan
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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Thanks so much, all! So the verdict is in...remove the shell, then pull the belly pan off. Gulp.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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Thanks so much, all! So the verdict is in...remove the shell, then pull the belly pan off. Gulp.
You can do it. I did it by myself with a few jack stands and two floor jacks. Take special note of where the ribs attach to the outriggers. Measure and take pictures of everything.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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Depending on your plan and needs, you could actually cut the bellypan just outside the main frame rails and effectively leave banana wraps still attached to the trailer. That's how I started off.

But then I realized how corroded the bellypan pieces were that were still attached to the J-channel, and removed them all anyway.

FWIW, my bellypan was NOT wrapped up and over the J-channel. Mine is an Ohio-built 63, that might or might not make a difference.

One other thing, the sharp putty knife works wonders on the hidden rivets, but make sure you're using the kind with a metal bottom of the handle.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:08 PM   #13
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Thanks so much, all! So the verdict is in...remove the shell, then pull the belly pan off. Gulp.
So have you gotten the pan dropped?
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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Not only that.. but it looks like it's a frame off! I just saw her pics in the gallery... shells shined up, and hoisted up in a LARGE garage! (Jealous!)

Need more pics and the story!
On edit.. saw that she started an AS blog on the forums...
Marc
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