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Old 03-20-2011, 03:05 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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removing center section of belly under axles

I would appreciate any assistance about removing the center section of belly pan that goes under the axles. I have a 1975 center bath model.

Also, when jacking up the trailer can the front be supported solely by the jack post or should there be a jack stand under the tongue?

Thanks for any assistance

Robert
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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Robert it will be a b***ch of a job. The axles actually sandwhich the belly between them and the main frame rails. If you are palnning to replace the belly just cut it around the axle flanges. then it is just a matter of drilling out all the rivets holding it to the frame rails and crossmembers. When I did mine I knew I was replacing the belly pan so I just chisled off the rivet heads which went much faster than drilling them out. If you want to save the belly then the axles must be lowered away from the frame to allow clearance for the belly to slide out and all the rivets must be drilled out.
If you are jacking up the trailer only put the jack under the axle plates welded on to the side of the main frame rails. i wouldn't jack up the trailer or remove the axles until all the belly rivets are out. Then properly support the trailer with stands before going underneath it.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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thanks for the reply.

Do you mean cut across from one side of the axle to the other, behind and in front of the axle, leaving the section under the axle in place?

Where should the jack stands be placed after jacking up the trailer?
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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Robert no just cut around the axle flanges about 2 inches in from the side edge of the belly pan and long enough front to back to clear both axle flanges. what I did was to drill a hole in the belly and used tin snips to cut the belly pan. The drill hole is so that the snips can get in. Are you planning to remove all the belly pan, even the section forward of the fresh water tank? If so once it and the center section is out you can safely place the jack stands on the main frame ralls. When I put my shell back on the frame I had a total of 12 stands, 6 on each side. That kept the frame completely straight and level.
What you can do is pull the trailer up onto blocks on one axle, leaving the other axle hanging. Make sure the trailer won't roll and then you can pull one axle off first. Then jack it up farther and place the stands again making sure it won't move and remove the other axle.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:06 PM   #5
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At first I wanted to replace the entire section under the axle but I don't want to unhook, drop the axles. So I am thinking of using the cut out method.

However, if anyone else has had luck pulling that belly section without resorting to cutting out around the flange or dropping the axles I would like to know your method.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #6
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Robert you can unbolt the axles and just drop them down a couple of inches to clear the belly. They do fit quite tight between the axle plates. I had mynew axles on before I put the new belly on so that's what I did. You do have to support the trailer on stands as the axles need to have room to come down. You will need to drop the axles down to get the new belly in. If you put the new belly in and cut it around the axle flange the belly will be open and have nothing to attach to.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:19 AM   #7
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wasagachris,

The thing I wonder about is that nowhere in the threads about replacing the belly is there mention of dropping the axles to remove the center section, except for yours.

I wonder if there is a way someone(s) found to do it without dropping the axles. Any input greatly appreciated!
Robert
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:15 AM   #8
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Robert I guess nobody has posted regarding this issue. The belly is tightly wedged between the axle flange and the frame rails. You only need to move them down a fraction to get the belly loose. Like I said i cut out my old one as I was replacing it. When I installed the new one I just unbolted the axles and moved them down an inch, slid in the belly and put the axles back up and bolted them back in. I just can't see how else to get it free. Maybe some others will chime in here and reveal another way but I personally don't think it is possible.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:15 AM   #9
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Got to agree with WC. I didn't want to save and cut what I could with snips. The spots where snips didn't work well (next to axles and on top of cross-members), I used a sharpened putty knife and a hammer.

To reinstall you could put a strip under the axle mounting that you rivet to frame and let it serve as a rivet surface for a smaller piece that goes between the axles. Takes one on each side. Then make the belly pan in smaller pieces

Jim
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #10
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I may also have to remove this section on a 1979 31' center bath and while I think I've understood everything so far I'd jsut like some clarification.

It seems that if you leave the axles in place you can notch the skin by the axle flanges and get it out this way. Having replaced my axles a few years ago, I'd rather not fool with them again.

The question is, can I put this piece back in place afterwards? I know that if you notched the skin right at the axle flange, there would be no good way to seal that up. Would it be possible to cut the notch about 1" away from the flanges, then when reinstalling the skin, cover that joint with a sheet metal splice?

Since there is the water tank enclosure forward of that section, and the holding tank enclosure to the rear, can those be left in place or do those enclosures sandwich the skin against the frame crossmember, meaning you have to remove all the flange bolts on one side to pull out the skin? I've been under the trailer many times but haven't looked at that detail.

Christopher
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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blickd If you start at the rear of the axle flanges leaving a couple of inches of the pan in place for an edge to rivet to, cut in from the edge of the center pan until again you're a couple of inches inside of the axle flange and then cut the pan forward past both axles all the way to the front edge of the center section of the pan. Once the pan is removed you will end up with a piece under both axle flanges and all the way to the front edge.
When you are ready to reinstall the pan rivet a strip to the inside of the pan that remains. this will give you a joiner strip to rivet the pan to and not have a gap. The problem will be drilling in the holes for the rivets as the remaining pan and the strip will want to bend away from the drill as you put pressure on to it. It can be done but is very tricky.
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