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Old 12-11-2018, 03:33 PM   #1
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Looking for advice on installing gray belly wrap.

Happy Holidays,

I've purchased, cut into sections and dry fitted new .025 silver aluminum for the bottom flat panels of the belly pan. Since mine is a 1992 Excella. The side panels of my belly wrap are Gray. I've purchased the gray aluminum from Airstream, but I haven't cut it yet. I have some questions regarding cutting and installing it. I have a couple of compartments in my gray wrap on the street side. One for the electric cord and another one next to it contains an external water spigot and tank flush connection and a small storage bin for dump equipment. Is there anyone who can offer some advise on gray wrap installation for this area? I should probably mention that I do have the old gray wrap sections to use as patterns.

I'd like to get advise on best way to cut it and shape it. Is it thin enough to simply rivet at the bottom and curve it up to the shell after cutting. I'm sure anyone with sheet metal and or bodywork experience would be helpful.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:10 PM   #2
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Hi: I used a piece of the largest PVC pipe I could find. I think it was 6" in diameter. I used the plastic pipe as a 'mandrel" to gently form a radius on the side wraps. I then attached them to the side of the trailer first, and pushed them around to the belly pan seam. I used my floor jack and a 2x4 to hold the belly wrap kinda tight to the bottom of the trailer while I was popping rivets.

Hope this helps some. Your templates will be very helpful.

David
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Hi: I used a piece of the largest PVC pipe I could find. I think it was 6" in diameter. I used the plastic pipe as a 'mandrel" to gently form a radius on the side wraps...

David

Hi David,


I appreciate your input. That seems like something I could do as well. I do have a couple of questions.

  1. Did you tape one side of the aluminum to the pipe and roll the pipe across the width?
  2. What did you find worked well for cutting your aluminum?
I've done a shell off so I'm planning to attach everything to the bottom and flip the frame and set the shell in place and tack it up on the sides. Easy, haha .
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:03 PM   #4
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Me again: Tape would be a good idea. I just rolled it with my hands and gloves. My goal was to get a radius formed in the aluminum so it wouldn't buckle when I bent is around the outriggers.

I purchased a "cheap" powered shear to cut my aluminum sheeting. I paid about $50 for it and it still works good. See photo.

Assembling the bottom of the frame "sunny side up" is the way Airstream did it in their factory when I went on their tour. The tanks, some plumbing, some wiring, insulation, belly material, axles and shocks were assembled, and then the frame flipped over. Some folks use the gantries they made to lift the body off the frame to flip the frame over, rotisserie style.

I've not done a body off project. The frame work and reassembly I've done has been on my back under the trailer. Hard work.

David
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:19 PM   #5
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I posted my very limited experience with belly wrap here>
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f476...ri-105774.html
Hope you can find something useful in it.

ps:
I did not have to pre-bend the curve. I found the metal flexed around the ends of the outriggers easily using hand pressure.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Me again: Tape would be a good idea. I just rolled it with my hands and gloves. My goal was to get a radius formed in the aluminum so it wouldn't buckle when I bent is around the outriggers.

I purchased a "cheap" powered shear to cut my aluminum sheeting. I paid about $50 for it and it still works good. See photo.

Assembling the bottom of the frame "sunny side up" is the way Airstream did it in their factory when I went on their tour. The tanks, some plumbing, some wiring, insulation, belly material, axles and shocks were assembled, and then the frame flipped over. Some folks use the gantries they made to lift the body off the frame to flip the frame over, rotisserie style.

I've not done a body off project. The frame work and reassembly I've done has been on my back under the trailer. Hard work.

David

David,

Thanks for getting back to me. Someone else has also recommended a $50 electric shear. I believe theirs came form Harbor Freight. Thanks for the picture as well. How much metal did you loose per cut? That looks like quite a ribbon.

Here is a picture Gallery of our gantries and the flip.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/irSkWU6iEHiTcA4w7
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
I posted my very limited experience with belly wrap here>
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f476...ri-105774.html
Hope you can find something useful in it.

ps:
I did not have to pre-bend the curve. I found the metal flexed around the ends of the outriggers easily using hand pressure.

Alan,
Thanks I read this your belly wrap thread and your floor repair thread. Very helpful. Thanks for posting them and thanks for sharing your thread with me.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:45 PM   #8
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The ribbon is about 1/4" wide. The tool kinda stops and starts as you're making a cut. It takes a bit of practice to get a straight cut. But I find it way better than hand metal snips.

David
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
The ribbon is about 1/4" wide. The tool kinda stops and starts as you're making a cut. It takes a bit of practice to get a straight cut. But I find it way better than hand metal snips.

David

David, Once again, thank you. Yes I've worked with something similar in the past, but it was a drill attachment. Worked the same I think. I don't remember it cutting out a strip. I only used it a few times and it's been 15 years ago at least and at this point I can't remember what I had for breakfast let alone how that went.
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