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Old 02-28-2011, 10:19 AM   #1
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No bananas for me?

The weather's starting to warm up, and I'm trying to take the belly pan off of the '62 Tradewind that we bought last November.

Despite all the talk about banana wraps, I don't seem to have anything like this on my trailer: The belly pan consists of sheets of aluminum running crosswise across the underside of the trailer. The sheets curve upward around the edge of the trailer and are riveted directly to the side wall panels. At the front and back of the trailer this joint is covered by a riveted trim strip; on the sides, it's bare.

Has this been modified at some point, or did my trailer never have a separate banana wrap?

So my plan is to keep drilling out the rivets at the bottom edge of the side panels, and then to pull the belly plates out from behind them. When I eventually go to replace the pan, I'll slide the belly sheets behind the wall panels and reverse the process.

Does this sound right?
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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tlsmit1 It does sound like your belly pan has been replaced by a PO. The banana wrap is the curved section at each corner of the trailer. It looks like this. The belly would have originally been a one piece center section from frame rail to frame rail running lengthwise under the trailer. There would have been side sections also running lengthwise from the frame rails and wrapping up to meet the shell. For lack of a better term I call them side wraps. I have more pictures of my new belly and side wraps and if you like I can post them here for you. Or you can cehck them out here.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ins-67532.html
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
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Early 60's and older models didn't have separate banana wraps. They had the one piece belly pan/wrap you describe. I think Airstream probably realized the need to occasionally get into the belly and changed the design to make it easier. You have a couple of options to expose the frame or drop the belly on these older trailers:

1) remove the belly on sections
2) take the whole thing apart - i.e. shell off restoration
3) cut the belly a foot or so under the trailer then replace the flat parts of the belly with new bigger sheets.

Shari
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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How hard is it to remove the whole thing? Or--I guess--how hard is it to reinstall a new pan if I remove things at the existing rivet line?

Frankly, cutting out the bottom part sounds easier. I've already drilled out a few feet of rivets along the existing line, and it's a moderately painful process...
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:08 PM   #5
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The problem we ran into with our '56 is, we would have had to remove the entire shell to access the hidden rivets that are in place that need to be removed in order to drop the whole belly pan. We didn't have room to do that. The belly was attached to the frame first, then the shell was riveted over the edge of the belly. So there are rivets you can't get to unless you remove the shell or at least all of the lower exterior or interior panels.

What are you trying to do? Inspect the frame? Replace the floor? We had the entire floor out of our trailer, so we were able to straighten the kinks in the belly & wraps from the top side...check out some of the posts in the early part of our "It's a Girl!!!" thread to get an idea of what we did.

Depending on your goal...your situation may have a different solution.

Shari
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:32 PM   #6
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My '63 California built Overlander has a pair of big sheets from the front to the rear and small sections, about a foot wide, on each side. It would be possible to drill out a bunch of rivets and drop the two big middle pieces. Then I could have curled down the outer edges and accessed the entire floor from below...

It was easier to pull the shell...
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:43 PM   #7
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Well, my main reasons for dropping the pan are to rework the plumbing fairly completely and to make sure the frame isn't about to disintegrate into a pile of rust flakes. Also, the existing pan is torn and has had a crude "trapdoor" put into the rear part of it.

I am trying to avoid gutting the interior if possible: The original cabinetry is unmolested, and I like it. There doesn't seem to be any softness in the plywood flooring, although I will be able to assess some parts better from underneath. But I would like to install a grey water tank if I can, and I want to replumb the whole thing with a plastic fresh water tank, a demand pump, and pex.

I don't have prior experience working with aluminum, so making this as easy as possible would definitely be an advantage. It is sounding like I can probably do this by cutting out the existing pan and leaving the rivets intact. Yes...?
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
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I would say, the best option for you then would be to cut the flat portion just inside the curve (option #3) and then replace it with new belly sheets. It sounds like that then would resemble what HiHo has on his '63.

We used large flange rivets from VTS for attaching the belly to the frame. They hold the pan better that the little pop rivets, are less expensive than Olympics and have a bigger head to keep the hole from enlarging & pulling through.

Shari
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:13 PM   #9
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Thank you very much for the helpful advice!

Here's a somewhat-related question: If I cut out the belly in this way, will it be possible for me to fish wires or tubing vertically through the trailer's interior walls? We'd like to put a roof air conditioner in, so I imagine I will have to get a condensation line down through the walls from the roof. Or will the floor/channel block me from getting into the wall space?

Thanks again...
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlsmit1 View Post
Thank you very much for the helpful advice!

Here's a somewhat-related question: If I cut out the belly in this way, will it be possible for me to fish wires or tubing vertically through the trailer's interior walls? We'd like to put a roof air conditioner in, so I imagine I will have to get a condensation line down through the walls from the roof. Or will the floor/channel block me from getting into the wall space?

Thanks again...
Fishing wiring thru the walls, is a real NO-NO.

First of all, the wire will encounter many sharp edges.

Secondly, finding the exact location of other holes, in my opinion,is impossible.

There are other ways to run hidden wiring for an AC.

Andy
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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Not the wiring; that's there. I'd prefer to have the A/C's condensate drain through a tube rather than run down the outside of the trailer.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlsmit1 View Post
If I cut out the belly in this way, will it be possible for me to fish wires or tubing vertically through the trailer's interior walls? We'd like to put a roof air conditioner in, so I imagine I will have to get a condensation line down through the walls from the roof. Or will the floor/channel block me from getting into the wall space?
The floor channel sits on top of the plywood floor, so no you can't really fish anything up there easily. You most likely would also run into cross bracing that may or may not have an holes in it to pass through.

More & more folks are installing A/C units under cabinets rather tan on the roof in vintage trailers...you may want to look into this option.

Shari
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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Not the wiring; that's there. I'd prefer to have the A/C's condensate drain through a tube rather than run down the outside of the trailer.
You can feed the drain tube thru the ceiling, from the AC, into a rooflocker, where it's out of sight.

Then, at a slant, you can run the tubing into a closet, and then down thru the floor.

Much easier to do, and can be done in probably an hour. Plus, absolutely no risk of disturbing anything within the walls.

Also, if at all possible, run the tubing thru a closet on the roadside of the Airstream.

Andy
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:05 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice.

I'm considering the idea of an under-cabinet model. More attractive, but I figure more complicated as an install. I'll probably go whimpering for help in that forum, too...
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