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Old 06-21-2023, 11:17 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
LaFollette , Tennessee
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Towing Without Interior Skins

Hello. We are new here and looking for a little advice.

We purchased a 1975 31' Sovereign - it's been gutted, subfloor replaced where needed, reattached back end where damage had lifted the shell, all windows re-sealed / repaired and all new wiring/plumbing. It's ready for new insulation, framing, skins, well in my opinion - the fun stuff.

Now to my question and the tricky part - we need to move it 200 miles before we can finish the inside. I've seen a TON of posts about moving it without the skins...and lots of advice on MUST brace before moving it.

Any photos of the bracing or any detailed suggestions on bracing? And any other suggestions outside of bracing?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-21-2023, 12:07 PM   #2
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This question has been controversial in the past with a large group saying that the inner skins are part of the structure of the trailer and the trailer will self destruct going down the road without them. The other half says it's not a problem and the structural benefits of the inner skin is minimal due to it being attached with aluminum pop rivets that have marginal shear strength.

I'm of the second group. I towed my Globetrotter all over the western US using it as an aluminum tent with no problems, even before I reinforced the interior structure.

If you are worried about it then just get a bucket load of 1/8" clecos (which you're going to need anyway) and cleco on the bottom sheets and the sheets just above the windows. Don't worry about the end caps as they contribute nothing to the structure. The clecos are stronger then the pop rivets in shear. I wouldn't even worry about not clecoing every hole as I'm sure some of the original holes a oversized.

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Old 06-21-2023, 12:25 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums!

I'll second the advice above. I too towed many hundreds of miles without inside skins with no ill effect. My only word of caution would be that the shell seems a bit more "mobile" without skins, bulkheads, and interior cabinetry, and as a result your entry door may be more inclined to come unlatched.

Search for "doohicky" and you will see a simple device many of us have made out of a wood scrap to ensure the door stays closed while traveling. I think I have seen "ads" from Silver Moose trailer renovations selling a version of the doohicky as well.

good luck!
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Old 06-27-2023, 07:16 PM   #4
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Hmm... I would not tow without the inner skins. If you need convincing Belegedhel's comment that the shell is "mobile" without them pretty convincing to me: all the flex and movement is going to weaken the metal even if when you stop it's still attached
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Old 06-28-2023, 09:33 AM   #5
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I guess I should qualify my comment about shell mobility. It isn't anything you actually notice to look at it, push on it, or tow with it. My observation is based on the fact that I pulled the trailer at low speed across some bumpy terrain on the shoulder of the road and the door popped open. My only experience towing the trailer up to that point was my "recovery" journey driving on the interstate, so maybe I just got lucky that the door didn't fly open at highway speeds.

I was also using the original KT latch as my only means of latching the door, a latch that is notoriously junk. Also for what it is worth, the "doohicky" (pictured below) is used 99.9% of the time by folks who just absolutely want to avoid the possibility of the backward mounted "suicide" door from opening at highway speeds (even though all skins, cabinetry, etc. are in place).

I've also included the classic photo of a tech doing a pull-up on the first rib of a trailer (sans interior skins) just for fun.
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Old 06-28-2023, 04:13 PM   #6
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I would go with what aerowood suggests - he knows more about aluminum structure than anyone I know as he has worked extensively on airplane sheet metal as well as airstream sheet metal - he has also taught airstream construction and repair - so sounds like towing without inner skins is no problem

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Old 06-28-2023, 04:33 PM   #7
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We second what Ken said!

And the door doohickey is usable even after you get it put back together. Not much does more door damage than a mid travel door fly open episode.
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Old 06-28-2023, 08:17 PM   #8
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I will third that. I towed my trailer many times from my storage area to my house and then back with the skins removed. The driveway has a steep transition from the road to the ramp up and I never had any issues at all. I wouldn't even give it a second thought.
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