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Old 12-09-2013, 08:43 PM   #41
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This looks like the closest spec you may find.
That helps. Thanks! I'm going to try to keep my tongue weight close the number you found.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:59 PM   #42
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Cool he likes mice and just wants to make them comfortable! I am not good with the self tapping screws, just not enough metal for me!
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #43
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Cool he likes mice and just wants to make them comfortable! I am not good with the self tapping screws, just not enough metal for me! Cliff
He's making a mice palace! I'll bet they will love that even more than fiberglass!
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:28 PM   #44
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I found this pic online while I was looking at insulation options. While I don't think that I'll be considering wool insulation as an option like the guy in the pic I noticed that he doesn't have the belly pan off. Once he get the floor sections back in place how would he go about securing the floor to the frame without access to the backside where the nut and washer go? The only thing I could think of was using self tapping screws. Does anyone know anything about that approach? It doesn't seem like that would be as secure of a way to fasten the floor to the frame.
It's not a secure approach. Sadly, this is another well meaning restorer that doesn't understand the structural aspects of an Airstream. We see these types of jobs everyday. It's always harder to fix someone else's failed approach, than to start with a "field find". Not only will it not work, everything he has done will have to be redone, to make it right.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:34 PM   #45
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It's not a secure approach. ...
Colin
The way I've explained this to some folks...
You are bolting the shell to the floor
The floor is only going to be bolted to the frame
The common item is the floor, what is bad on the trailer right now ? The floor.
When the floor goes bad again, there is nothing holding the shell to the frame, it's gonna fall apart from the lack of a few bolts.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:42 PM   #46
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The way I've explained this to some folks...
You are bolting the shell to the floor
The floor is only going to be bolted to the frame
The common item is the floor, what is bad on the trailer right now ? The floor.
When the floor goes bad again, there is nothing holding the shell to the frame, it's gonna fall apart from the lack of a few bolts.
The shell is actually bolted to the chassis through the floor at the end of each outrigger, & across the front crossmember & the rear crossmember. The shell is an integral part of an Airstream's structure. If the connection between the shell/floor/chassis is compromised, the structure is compromised. Airstream chassis's will sag under their own weight without the shell to hold it up, so the connection between these components is critical.
The photo appears to have the floor being replaced without removing the bellypan, & on this era of trailer, it is not possible to install the bolts necessary to hold the shell to the chassis. If self tapping screws are used, there will only be about two threads that are effectively holding each fastener to the chassis, as the outriggers are only .090" thick. Keep in mind that the outriggers are built on 24" centers. This is the reason why bolts & nuts have been used by Airstream for the perimeter fasteners for the past 70+ years.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:26 PM   #47
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Thanks Colin and Vernon. This was my thinking exactly regarding the self tapping screws. It's just not nearly enough strength compared to a nut and a bolt. Having a very solid connection between the frame/floor and floor/shell is integral to the overall structural integrity of the airstream. I was just curious if there was some other method that I was unaware of other than using self taping screws when not removing the belly pan, but you guys have answered that as well with a resounding "no". Thanks guys for sharing your knowledge.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:57 PM   #48
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Today I finished removing all of the interior. And most of the lower inner skins. It was fun to see all the little mouse tunnels running through the fiberglass insulation in he walls and particularly in the wheel well covers. I bet those were some itchy mice. Luckily I haven't run across any mouse remains yet, but there's a long way to go still.

The most interesting thing was the floor or lack there off depending on how you look at it. It's strange to me what some PO's think are acceptable repairs.... "Giant hole in the floor where it's rotted away due to water leaking in? No problem! We'll just slap a sheet of particle board down on top of the old floor to cover that up. No need to address the leak itself" A PO literally saw that the floor was rotted away completely and the U channel was resting on the frame outrigger and decided to just lay a sheet of particle board over the old floor. I don't think Wally would have approved of this approach. "Oh. Leaking window? Let's stuff it full of insulation and just pop rivet a galvanized sheet of steel over the window on the inside and out. No need to address the leak itself." Also a terrible idea. After pulling one of the sheets of steel off, the insulation was literally soaked with water. The Armadillo hasn't seen rain in close to a month.

There is so much of the floor rotted away around the perimeter that I'm pretty sure there's less than 30% of the floor perimeter that is actually attached to the shell. In not sure what's kept the shell on the frame while driving down the road.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:08 PM   #49
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That is going to be tricky to even make a template for the new floor but I would bet that you have a plan! Keep us posted on the surprises as you find them. Looks like you are enjoying yourself.
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:14 PM   #50
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This past week I was able to get the particle board floor up off of the original floor. I found two more layers of linoleum under that floor. And a lot more rotten places. It is amazing that there was anything actually holding the shell onto the frame. I have the kitchen out. And the lower interior skins off for everything but the very front. I've cut out the rusted out crossmember and will be making a trip to the local steel yard in the upcoming week. The steps that fold up under the door are non functional. The grove in the outriggers that the pins slide in and through when you move the step have rusted out. Unless anyone knows of a source for these, I think I will just replace these outriggers and carry a small step inside the trailer that I can set there when we stop.

It also looks like there was a second fire in the trailer. The flooring under where the fridge sat had some charred places on it. Looks like the Armadillo has quite a past. I would be curious to know the backstory. I have tracked down the original owners of the trailer. They were a couple from Italy in their late 60's that lived in Michigan. They passed away in 1983. It's amazing some of the public records that are available and so easily accessed these days. I'm sure they would have had some stories to tell about their time in the Armadillo.
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #51
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This past week I was able to get the particle board floor up off of the original floor... It is amazing that there was anything actually holding the shell onto the frame...
Remember back in posts #42-#44 those bolts we were talking about? Those are all that was holding the shell to the frame!

You are really making some progress, i'm enjoying your posts.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:05 AM   #52
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Did the hold down plates rust off?i mean the front one is pretty substantial.
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:03 AM   #53
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Did the hold down plates rust off?i mean the front one is pretty substantial. Cliff
I'm not sure what you mean by the hold down plate. I haven't removed anything forward of the entry door. The interior skins are still in place where the gaucho would have gone. So if there's a plate up there I haven't gotten to it yet.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #54
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In the front behind the lower inner skin and attached to the frame there is a hold down plate and if you look from the outside you will see 3 or 4 rows of rivets (buck) which attach to the plate.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:37 PM   #55
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Thanks Cliff. I haven't pulled the interior skin in the front yet, but I will make sure to check that out when I pull those. The floor in that area seems to be in pretty good shape. That's the only area where the floor isn't rotten.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:39 PM   #56
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Not a lot to add but here's the progress I made today.
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:44 PM   #57
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Made a good deal of progress this week. Cut out the two rusted through crossmembers and the outriggers. Took them to Western Sheet Metal here in Irving TX and they made me some just like the originals without the stamped in holes. Got those welded in to place, and they were a perfect fit!! Even though I worked as a millwright for a little, I haven't welded in about 10-15 years, so I was a little worried about my welding skills. After practicing on a few scraps for about 30 min I was pretty comfortable. I even did a few overhead right angle and lap welds and some vertical welds. Just like riding a bike. After spending some time with a grinder, a wire brush, some acetone, and rags the rest of the rear half of the frame is prepped and and coated with rust converter.

I'm still finishing up welding on the front half of the frame. The outriggers with the groves for the step to slide in and out are rusted out and twisted. I'm going to do away with the built in step in favor of having stronger outriggers where you enter and exit the trailer, and using a step that I can pick up and stow inside the trailer when traveling. Hopefully this will prevent the sag in the floor there and the severe flex that I've experienced when I step in and out of the door way (and no it's not due to me liking to eat Mexican food all the time).
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:04 PM   #58
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Great looking progress!

You might consider installing the steps while you are already into it that deep. I'm sure the next owner will appreciate it, even if you never use them.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:29 PM   #59
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You also may want to see what Colin Hyde did to reinforce the floor area in my Airstream. Above the step, he welded in an additional stringer to firm up that area.

See post 114 here, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...-78136-12.html
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:33 PM   #60
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Colin put a more modern step on our Overlander. Do you want pics and details?
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