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Old 05-13-2021, 07:57 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Dorr , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 110
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About to lift shell.... which is the better option

Okay I am working toward lifting the shell off my 1977 31' Sovereign and I currently have the trailer under my gantries with the end roof vents removed.

my question comes in on how I should be disconnecting the shell from the frame.

Given that my floor is for the most part intact should I be removing the rivets that hold the shell to the floor channel and lift the shell leaving the floor channel, wood floor, and frame attached to each other?


should I be removing/cutting the elevator bolts and cutting the wood floor out?
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:38 AM   #2
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 870
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I disconnected the shell from the channel, but I was dealing with a smaller trailer. Having the shell off can make further disassembly easier. I wouldn't recommend leaving the floor attached to the shell for lifting. I'm assuming the belly pan is still in place?

Couple suggestions:

Before you lift the shell, make a pattern of the floor inside the channel. The footprint isn't exactly symmetrical, so matching the original can make the reconnect easier. If your floor is really in good shape it may be sufficient as patterns for a new floor.

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My patterns for the straight middle sections where 48" front to back so they would match the width of plywood for the new floor. I moved crossmembers around as I installed 4 tanks under the floor.

Cross brace the shell to maintain the original shape (or close to it). A shell that long could buckle if not supported. Some remove the door also (braced again) as its heavier and may make the shell tilt during liftoff.

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Tie the shell down to the ground somehow to keep it from movement in the wind. My gantries were metal pallet racks 12'X12'X3' so I strapped to them.

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I have a car rotisserie so I didn't need the gantries for the frame.

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Harold & Rebecca

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Old 05-13-2021, 08:39 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,291
You will need to remove all of the elevator bolts and fasteners that hold the C channels to the floor and frame eventually, so you may as well do them all before the lift. The channels in the curved sections of the trailer (the front and rear) sit on the floor and the rivets that attach them to the shell should be left alone. The sections of C-channel that are straight (along the sides) wrap around the wood of the floor. The rivets on these need to be drilled out (or sheared off).

So when you do the lift, the curved pieces of C-channel will remain attached to the shell, and the straight sections will remain attached to the floor.

Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:37 PM   #4
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1966 17' Caravel
1972 21' Globetrotter
SW , Missouri
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 697
I have no advice but I will follow along.
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Old 05-08-2022, 07:09 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Dorr , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 110
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Blog Entries: 7
hopefully I will be complete with frame repairs and painting within the next month or two. After I got the shell off and dug deep into the condition there were some surprises but nothing show stopping. Taking longer than expected but almost done welding and then moving to tank fitting and painting the frame. excited to be moving closer to reassembling rather than always tearing stuff apart

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Old 05-08-2022, 07:20 PM   #6
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,881
Looks like you’re off to a great start. Having the frame accessible gives you the opportunity to do a bang up job. Looking good. Good luck
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