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Old 11-14-2007, 07:43 PM   #1
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1960 24' Tradewind
pittsburg , Kansas
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where to find someone to replace a portion of my underbelly

I am trying to find someone who will replace a small section of my underbelly with out doing a frame off situation. I have a small area underneath by the plumbing area looks as if someone started to replace the plumbing I am now doing this. I live in southeast Kansas about 90 miles south of Kansas City Mo. If this is not the proper place to ask this question would someone please advise thanks Judy
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
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Hi Judy ~


Can you provide a photo or two of the damaged area? If it isn't too bad, you may be able to use a product called GitRot if it ends out that the plywood is just soft and not missing. Pix would help. Gotta keep those early TradeWind's on the road.

Brad
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:57 PM   #3
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Judy,

Do you mean the belly skin or some part of the frame or, as Brad suggests, the plywood floor? Photos?

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:35 PM   #4
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Floor is fine and the frame. it is a panel of the aluminum. I have coated everything with the rust pres. and cleaned it up now almost ready to have the plumbing redone.Click image for larger version

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:43 PM   #5
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forgot to mention these are the before photos
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #6
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Judy,

Putting on a new belly skin isn't rocket science, but there are two main problems. First, a standard 4' x 8' sheet of aluminum won't reach across the main frame members, so if you use this kind of sheet, you have to patch the skin somehow, either lengthwise with a seam running the length of the trailer, or several seams across. Neither is a big deal.

The second problem is finding the holes in the cross members so you don't have to drill more holes in the flanges. If the existing skin is in such bad shape that you can't transfer the holes from it to the new skin, there is a tool for this, sort of two parallel sticks tied toether at one end and with a pin on one and a hole on the other. Airplane guys know how to use them. If you're having trouble finding someone who is comfortable with aluminum and rivets you might just cruise around the local airport and find pilots/mechanics working on airplanes and chat them up.

There is a special big head rivet that most of us use to put the belly skin on--it helps distribute the stress and the skin lasts longer. You can get them at Vintage Trailer Supply.

There is one way to avoid the seam in the belly skin. Use what's called "roofing roll aluminum", which is a soft alloy but it comes very wide, like 54" and sometimes 80". I came across this stuff at an aluminum surplus place north of Denver, but decided I liked using the regular sheet better.

Zep
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:08 PM   #7
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thanks everyone. I will be going by our small airport after Thanks giving.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:33 PM   #8
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Cool Wish we were closer.....

Hi Judy -

We feel your pain -- been there, done that. The advice about cruising the airport and asking questions was a good one. We happen to have a neighbor who is a pilot and builds his own planes. He has been a wealth of information and a great help with the proper tools. We also found the supplier of "plane" aluminum in KC that has been more than willing to work with us (especially after they found out that we were working on an Airstream).

I haven't been to your fair city since our kids graduated from the college. Our daughter took flying lessons while in school, so I know you have a great little airport. I would guess that your closest aluminum supplier will be in Joplin.

Hope you meet you sometime - my brother lives near Branson, so maybe we can swing by on a trip next year. Feel free to park here if coming our way.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:28 PM   #9
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Hole Finder

I purchased rivet hole finders from Brown Tool Supply. They are a huge help in replacing panels and other parts where you want to align the holes and not make swiss cheese out of your trailer. I tried to put the link in here but that did not work out too well. Try browntool.com and search for hole finder. They have lots of great sheet metal tools.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:39 AM   #10
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Judy,

If it were me, and I wasn't going to do it myself, I'd go to the factory. They'll do it right, they have the right materials, and their rates have always been fair and reasonable for work I've had done.

Pat
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