1957 22' Caravanner
, Australian Capital Territory
Join Date: Jan 2020
1957 Caravanner - AUS Project
Hi from Australia,
I recently purchased a 1957 Caravanner that was imported to Australia by the previous owner in 2016. Itís in okay condition but has some frame/rust issues and over here we canít be too fussy.
My plan is to restore the frame, new subfloor, and make a custom interior. Iíve spent many hours on YouTube and this site but still have some questions.
Iíve almost finished gutting it and about to start on the removal of internal skins, insulation and wiring. Given the floor is rotted out in several places and most edges are soft or simply gone, should I support the shell during internal skin removal? Or does that make no difference, and just wait until the ribs are exposed then secure support beams to them?
Phil, I think youíll find that the shell can support itself. On our 55 we removed the interior skin, supported the lower shell with spreaders then lifted the shell off. The inner skin is part of the structural integrity of the shell, but the ribs/stringers and the outer riveted skin plays an even bigger role. Just donít crawl around on top with the interior skins off or let snow build up on top (point load weight). All trim removed, or anything else, label and save. Careful with the door and jambs so as not to distort. Good luck and others will chime in.
Phil, I donít know if youíre planning a shell off renovation or shell on. Assuming a shell off, you would attach 2x boards horizontally at the lower edge of the ribs from curbside to streetside. The shell is really flexible if detached from the C-channel at the floor perimeter and the Ďspreadersí hold the bottom of the shell true to the original shape. If you are doing a shell on reno and replacing the flooring in sections, I donít see a need for spreaders. Temporary support to the shell is not needed when the interior skins are removed.
Stay safe from the fires.
Welcome Phil_AU. What an exciting project! I can't give you any advice on rebuilding but, look forward to following your progress. I hope you will keep us posted. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge on this forum. You will get some great help. Best of luck.
Since the older models (mines titled as a 58, but has a 57 layout) just sandwich the sub-floor between the frame and the U channel the shell rivets to, I'd recommend a shell off. Much easier and faster to do frame repairs and start the rebuild IMO.
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