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Old 04-09-2020, 09:04 PM   #321
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Hi Kurt, Kay, All,
Thanks for the messages! I hope you are safe and sound...

The belly pan looks pretty good on this AS (except for the missing section). It spent its entire life in the California climate, and that may be paying dividends now... but weíll see soon enough, as another couple of feet were de-riveted today.


Thanks,
David
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Old 04-10-2020, 11:26 PM   #322
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Round 2...

Hi All,
This is gross... but at least the plywood looks fine so far !


Thanks,
David
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:48 PM   #323
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And you wondered why your Airstream smelled bad. Honey, must be the dog.

Document the number of rodent carcuses that land on you. Or wasps nests. The wet fiberglass insulation smells too.

Still snowy Colorado David
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Old 04-11-2020, 09:14 PM   #324
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The Willies

Hi David,
I do not relish this in the least, so a body count just makes me shudder even more... 😃

Can I get the pan out in one piece by lowering the axles just slightly (like 1/2 inch ó still bolted on)?

I cleaned off my face shield today to get ready for the next phase...


Thanks,
David
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:03 AM   #325
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You would have to take the axles completely off in order to get the belly pan out in one piece (as we did). Otherwise you will have to cut the sheet in order to get it out. And, yes we found mice remains in our belly pan. The snake skin was in the water heater.
Isn't this FUN?!!?

Kay
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Old 04-12-2020, 12:35 PM   #326
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Cut the pan where?

Hi Kay,
Thanks! Did you cut the pan just inside (leaving a few inches to attach the pan back to) where it is pinched?


Thanks,
David
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:54 AM   #327
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No we took it completely off, and then re-riveted it all around and through, when we put the new one in. We used large headed rivets for better holding power.
4 inches of snow here yesterday. I would LOVE to be working on the trailer right now (or anything else outside for that matter)

Kay
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:47 AM   #328
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Hi Kay,
Thanks! I should've been more clear on my question. I meant to ask if you cut the belly around the point where it met the axles, leaving a flange to attach to later.


Thanks!
David
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:38 PM   #329
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Airstream attaches the belly aluminum before they mount the axles. Most folks drop the axles to remove and then reinstall the belly pan. A guy could cut the aluminum along the axle tube leaving enough aluminum as an attachment point for new aluminum.

I wonder if your axles are okay. The normal life is around 30 years. Maybe yours are original and possibly the rubber rods are as "hard as a hockey puck". If so, budget a couple thou and replace them. You will be glad you did. The slippery slope.

Kay: Minnesota has good spring snow. Colorado has even better. Our snow is deeper than your snow, maybe 10" since yesterday. Snowing like crazy as I write this. And 10 degrees. Not good for Airstream work. It's coming your way.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:03 AM   #330
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Gee, thanks, Colorado David! I'll take it as rain if I can. Snow that fell Sunday is mostly melted off grass and sunny areas. By Thursday, it will be gone. No new snow in the forecast (yet). Current prediction is 60 by Saturday again. But it's only Tuesday...
California David: I want to say we had our axles off, still, when we did the belly pan. Not sure if that is true... I will have to ask the master builder (upstairs working. He is a remote employee anyway). I just remember laying on my back in sand under the trailer riveting into the holes he drilled. Fun times. Now that I think about it, it had to be before we put the axles on. There wouldn't have been enough room the lay on my back underneath otherwise!

Kay
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:10 AM   #331
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Fun times, indeed!

Hi Minno, Colorado David, All,
I have been away for a few days tackling other tasks, but this job is still in the mix... I have ben accumulating hefty pieces of scrap wood for cribbing and some additional angle iron to shore up the frame cross member that I trimmed to match the profile of the rear of the shell.

As I see it, my next steps will be to temporarily lower the coach, move the floor jack to between the wheels, jack it back up and this time place cribbing behind the rear wheel to support that beefy section of the frame. I will get the coach level side to side before leveling front to back. In addition, I will add cribbing and or jack stands to the front triangle and I will provide tall supports in the rear of the coach near the bumper so that the frame is straight as I re-attach the subfloor.

The angle iron will be attached along its vertical face to the existing piece. I'll slide a thin piece of steel into the gap that exists between the cross member and the subfloor (the angle iron that is there was welded below the long frame members, creating a gap of around 1/16th to 1/8th").

All of this is in addition to the steel rear hold down (coated in POR-15 to hopefully reduce corrosion) that will be part of the sandwich (as CO David calls it) that will join the rear of the coach shell and floor to the frame. I expect the whole assembly to be a bit more solid than even the original.

It is strange to say this, but I am actually looking forward to getting back under the coach and removing the rest of the belly pan. Maybe it is the Shelter in Place stuff talking, but any progress on this project feels like it represents a small escape from our property, and the promise that someday we will go on a trip with this coach!


Thanks,
David
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:27 PM   #332
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Make absolutely sure your trailer is solidly supported. The jack stands must be on solid ground, with no chance of shifting or slipping off. I use big jack stands just for extra stability. If the trailer were to fall with me under it, well it would make Covid 19 look like a walk in the park.

Sounds like your trailer had some previous frame strengthening, maybe done when the rear end separation was fixed the first time (elephant ear scars visible). Here is a photo of our frame strengthening approach showing the heavy angle iron below the frame rail flange at the axle plate, and second angle iron above the lower frame rail flange, and a third angle iron under the upper frame rail flange all the way back to the waste tank pan.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:13 AM   #333
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Hi David,
Sorry, I thought my attempt at a post from my phone went through the other day. I must've done something wrong...


That is some MAJOR reinforcement!!! I hope it has done the trick for you.

The weather here is becoming unbelievably nice. I am racing through the final steps to get a bedroom remodel done. I read everything I can in the small amount of free time that I have each day to get ready to put our Ambassador "on blocks" in order to move forward with the belly pan removal. Your advice is very valuable, and I will follow it closely.

I also may have invented the world's first "10 foot Pole Rat and Mouse-stained Insulation Cutter and Removal Tool "... (as in "I wouldn't touch that with a 10 for pole") :-) Pictures to follow...


Thanks,
California David
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:39 AM   #334
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10 FOOT pole... I didn't review my post thoroughly enough...

David
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:11 PM   #335
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They are just skeletal remains, or crispy critters if you will. Nothing you can't handle.

We have some spring weather heading our way. How long before I have to start some yard work would you guess from this photo of my back yard? It's been a long winter.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:37 PM   #336
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Hi David,
I am guessing that you wonít be out mowing the lawn this weekend

Below is a pic of my incredible invention that will transform Airstream renovation as we know it. Behold, the 10 foot (rat and mouse grossness) Subfloor Insulation Removal Tool (or SIRT) !! Or at least a closeup of the business end... the blue aluminum pole was used for a swimming pool net, and the putty knife was rusting away in a box. Combine the two, and Voila !

It is amazing what the mind can come up with after staying home for 5 weeks...
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:27 AM   #337
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Great tool. The SIRT can also be used as a dirt dobber removal tool on our porch ceilings (DDRT). Take care and be safe.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:18 AM   #338
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SIRT has already spawned the new DDRT !

Hi Bubba,
Agreed. The new SIRT and its cousin the DDRT (patent pending) will be coming to a late night infomercial near you 😃

Have a great one!

David
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Old 04-25-2020, 08:13 PM   #339
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Stymied...

Hi All,
I had settled on cribbing as a way to keep our Ambassador semi-airborne while I removed the remainder of the belly pan.

What I had not thought of is that the cribbing may get in the way of any rivet removal at the edges, since the cribbing will likely be 6 inches to the inside and outside of the frame (I plan to put it on the reinforced frame behind the rear axle).

I am considering using jack stands as a temporary solution until the belly pan is removed in that section, and then use cribbing for the longer term.

Does that make sense? I am a bit nervous about using jack stands...

Thanks,
David
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:35 PM   #340
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Dave, heavy duty jackstands are fine for temporary use; make shure your cribbing is strong and level. we don't want you to show up in the news in a bad way! be safe. kurt
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