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Old 06-16-2019, 04:35 PM   #1
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1988 34' Limited
Bainbridge , New York
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 12
Questions about Belly Pans on 1988 Limited

New to Airstreams. We just got a 1988 Limited and are trying to do some repairs.

There are rotted sections of subfloor in the front/back. So far we have removed the rotted piece in the front and removed the bolts from the c channel. My understanding is that we have to take the belly pan off to reattach new bolts once we have the subfloor in.

First question is, do we have to entirely take off the belly pan in the front or can we just undo the edges and squeeze in there?

Secondly, any advice for removing belly pans for this year? Is it just a matter of removing revits? I saw one thread where they said the belly pan was wrapped over the c channel and that sounds like a nightmare. It was an older model though. Just wondering if it’s fairly straightforward or if there are going to be any surprises. I attached a pic of the underside. Looks like someone made a patch in the front maybe?

What are the “banana wraps” that I hear people talking about? Are those the curved pieces in the corners at the bottom? Do they have to come of to take off the belly pan?

If we fully take off the belly pan in the front, would it be reusable, or will it be destroyed?

Lastly, we were considering taking off the belly pan for the whole airstream and removing the fiberglass insulation, since it tends to rust out the frame. Maybe put in foam insulation. Does anyone have an estimate on how long it would take to remove the entire belly pan and replace it?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:11 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by mystereons41 View Post
New to Airstreams. We just got a 1988 Limited and are trying to do some repairs.

There are rotted sections of subfloor in the front/back. So far we have removed the rotted piece in the front and removed the bolts from the c channel. My understanding is that we have to take the belly pan off to reattach new bolts once we have the subfloor in.

First question is, do we have to entirely take off the belly pan in the front or can we just undo the edges and squeeze in there?

Secondly, any advice for removing belly pans for this year? Is it just a matter of removing revits? I saw one thread where they said the belly pan was wrapped over the c channel and that sounds like a nightmare. It was an older model though. Just wondering if it’s fairly straightforward or if there are going to be any surprises. I attached a pic of the underside. Looks like someone made a patch in the front maybe?

What are the “banana wraps” that I hear people talking about? Are those the curved pieces in the corners at the bottom? Do they have to come of to take off the belly pan?

If we fully take off the belly pan in the front, would it be reusable, or will it be destroyed?

Lastly, we were considering taking off the belly pan for the whole airstream and removing the fiberglass insulation, since it tends to rust out the frame. Maybe put in foam insulation. Does anyone have an estimate on how long it would take to remove the entire belly pan and replace it?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
Hello Mystereons41,
We have a 29' 92 Excella, but I'll share what I know about mine and hopefully it is similar enough to be of some help to you. I also suggest that a better section to get help in your case might be here where you'll find others that own units like yours.

So we're completely rebuilding our Excella Classic which in our case means that we've gutted the shell and removed it from the frame / chassis. I am not recommending that you do this, I'm prefacing my remarks with this information, because through our process I've seen how ours is put together. In your case, I believe that you may need to at least remove your front Banana Wraps which as you've correctly guessed are the plastic corners on the front and rear "bottom" of your AS. To access these I believe you'll need to remove the lower trim on your shell in that area. Pop rivets will be hidden behind the plastic molding inside the trim. There will also be some additional screws or pop rivets holding the banana wrap in place which you'll locate as you progress through the removal process. Take lots of pictures before and during to aid in putting it back together. I thought we took a lot and I wish we had taken more. If the bolts you removed were just the threaded bent stem and nut they are the Elevator Bolts, in our case, in addition to the elevator bolts which hold the channel to the frame, there were also screws along the very front of the channel that screw down from the top inside of the channel into the front steel frame cross member below. These are only accessible from inside the top portion of the channel, not below it. Also, they are only accessible when the lower inside skin is removed as are the elevator bolts. As for the elevator bolts they fasten the channel mainly to the outriggers that run down either side of the AS. They bolt upward through the outriggers and then through the channel. The outriggers are covered by the gray side wrap (at least mine is gray). To remove the side wrap you will need to also remove the lower trim and the belly wrap or at least remove the rivets that attach the belly wrap along its edges and probably a bit further in toward the center of the belly wrap. This is not simple as you will also need to disconnect anything attached to the frame beneath the belly wrap such as stabilizers, propane lines, etc. In my case elevator bolts are also used along the back end of my frame bolting upward from within the final "C" shaped cross member and through the channel that the sub floor slips into.
If you are planning to replace the fiberglass insulation then you will need to remove the entire belly pan, but not necessarily the side wrap. If you do remove the belly pan then just plan on replacing it. Also don't be surprised to find a great deal of rust on your framing members. The Banana wrap, side wrap and belly wrap hide a lot of sins. Our Excella spent a number of years in Florida also and the frame was badly rusted which is why we had to tear it down. As you'll see in the pictures I've linked to below we tried to do this with the shell on. In the end we had to remove it and in hindsight I wish we had just done the shell off to begin with, but live and learn.

I probably should have asked you for some pictures before going into such a detailed answer, but hopefully this will be of some use.

Here are links to some of our many pics and videos. Hopefully they'll prove helpful also. Good Luck!
https://photos.app.goo.gl/hX3XZ4wNn89bzgq3A
https://photos.app.goo.gl/tZZg9dTCUSdu3nj98
https://photos.app.goo.gl/NtKbRKi9X2MaBMNf8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/rndJpHN2NUwdV27C9
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:25 PM   #3
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1988 34' Limited
Bainbridge , New York
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Thanks so much for the detailed info! That definitely helps. I was wondering where did you get the replacement elevator bolts? Do you recall what size and material you used?
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:46 PM   #4
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Originally Posted by mystereons41 View Post
Thanks so much for the detailed info! That definitely helps. I was wondering where did you get the replacement elevator bolts? Do you recall what size and material you used?

Hi again,
To replace my old elevator bolts I bought 3" long Stainless Steel tap bolts, 1/4" SS Flat Washers, and 1/4" SS Nylon Lock Nuts from Albany County Fasteners. I conversed with some Streamers and also read some some posts on the elevator bolt issue. Several people had substituted hex head bolts for the elevator bolts. A few people suggested the lock nut idea and I thought it was a good suggestion. So, this is what I am using and hopefully these were good choices.
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