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Old 06-10-2014, 09:10 PM   #1
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Level of difficulty to fabricate a bellypan?

I'm thinking about buying a mid 60s era AS. It's been gutted, had some basic work done to the frame, but lots left to do.

Among the remaining issues just to "seal her up" is to fabricate and install a belly pan (Banana wrap is supposedly on site). The old pan was discarded some time ago. I don't have any metal brakes, but have a full woodworking shop and was planning on using my 80 Gal compressor to power some hand held shears where needed.

How difficult of a task would it be for a novice with aluminum sheeting to fabricate and install a belly pan? I'm open to trying new things, have torn down and rebuilt power tools in the past, but I'm not sure of the level of tolerances needed for the belly pan, nor issues around making the 90 degree curve around the side, particularly around the corners.

Insights into level of difficulty and unique tooling needed would be much appreciated. at this point I'm thinking of waiting on another trailer, but this one has the frame and floor word done, which is a plus.

thanks for the help.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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If you have the banana wraps, just riviting flat aluminum to the underside of the frame is not hard. Just make sure you have it square with everything before the first rivet is set.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:52 PM   #3
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When we did my belly pan, I brought out all kinds of tools, the guy who was leading the effort used a pencil and a pair of hand shears along with a tape measure to cut the components from the sheet stock.

In working on my trailer for the past two years, I find that simple lets you go slower and make fewer mistakes
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:55 AM   #4
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Belly pans are flat sheets. The challenge is finding the flat stock in a large enough size.

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Old 06-11-2014, 03:11 PM   #5
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The large panels that cover most of the bottom are fairly easy. Just get the measurements right. You will end up drilling new holes because you will never be able to get the existing holes in the frame to line up in your new sheet.

The front of the trailer by the spare tire has some funky cutouts, but you should be able to figure them out. On my trailer, there were some pieces with bends to go over the frame and form an indentation for the tire to sit. I fabricated one piece for that since my original was too far gone. A break would have been helpful.

When I did the rear lower wraps last year, I used the old pieces as templates for the new sheet. Hopefully you have those as a guide.




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Old 06-11-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
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Apparently not all years had a single sheet.
My 90s Classic has segments crimped and rolled flat front to back
Makes peeking inside way easier!
I can't fathom the cost of a single sheet of aluminum 34' long by 8' wide!
My PanAm is very similar.
Might consider segments!
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:29 PM   #7
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Mine was put together with a seam down the middle from front to rear and another seam mid cabin side to side. The rear pieces that Aquinob talked about are the hardest, I am lucky to have a neighbor who does pointless dent repair and is quite expert at massaging metal into shape.

I used 5/8" head 3/8" diameter rivets for all the belly pan
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:46 PM   #8
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Locally I can get 4' by 10' sheets of .032 which works well. My original pan was made in sections, IIRC the width of the bottom most panel is about 60", so one sheet would make about two sections. You could also split it down the middle too, depending on what size your new material comes in. Bottom line, it doesnt have to be pretty, it just needs to seal things up. And extra holes here and there are fine, they allow any water that does get in to drain out.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:10 PM   #9
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Thanks all.

As seems to be my lot, this is a learning experience.

The seller of the unit I was going to look at has gone radio silent and did not send more photos. This information will be helpful as I continue my search as the bellypan undoubtedly will need some work on most old trailers - just not the one I was hoping to go see without one.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:22 PM   #10
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You don't need .032 for belly pan. Airpartsinc.com sells The material, its not 2024 t3 its like 5052 IIRC and .025. Cheaper. And sold by the foot. So it won't be more expensive to have a long sheet vs shorter sheets.
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:40 PM   #11
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Has anyone tried to seperate the pan where it is crimped together and if so back together? I dont want to remove the whole pan as Im trying to replace the rear sheet of plywood flooring only.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:52 PM   #12
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Asking to Confirm the aluminum.
I can use lesser expensive 5052 IIRC and .025?
Is there something else you can suggest I order for the BP?

Calculating the call to order from Airparts if they are open tomorrow.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:11 PM   #13
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I would step up the thickness to .032. The .025 will be like working with boiled spaghetti.

I would also look for aluminum locally as you live in the land of Boeing. You might be able to find some non-certified surplus sheeting for a good price. Also look for 3003 aluminum
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:34 PM   #14
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5052 will give you better corrosion resistance especially if your trailer will ever be exposed to salt spray.
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