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Old 05-28-2009, 08:42 AM   #1
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Bend , Oregon
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Frame ON floor restoration?

Greetings all. My wife and I have our first AS--a '65 GT that needs work...Duh!

I need to replace the section of subflooring under my toilet/bath enclosure in the back. Can I do this without pulling out/off the inner skins? I've read hundreds of posts here on this Forum regarding the floors, but not one that's easily applicable to my situation. Yes, I can cut out the damaged wood, but getting the new replacement into position has me bewildered.

Can anyone help, or point me in the right direction? Many thanks.

RJ
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:50 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

The floor goes between the c-channel and the frame. One way or another, if you are replacing a large portion of the floor (more than just a small patch) you will need to access this c-channel - which is most easily done by removing an interior skin. In order to replace the floor properly, you will have to remove the lower interior skin to access the bottom c-channel track to attach the shell to the frame through the new floor. I guess an another alternative would be to remove the exterior panel...but that seems a bit drastic and could compromise the exterior with regards to leaks.

Shari
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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RJ, Can you post photos of this area? It will give the community a better idea on how to advise you.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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Floor re-do, inner skin no-do...

Thanks for the replies. Here are a couple pics: the wide shot shows the backend that probably looks familiar to lots of folks. I've drawn a line around the section of subfloor I wish to replace. (Arrows indicate where the majority of rot now exists.)

The second shot is a bit closer, with a focus on the connection between the subfloor and the c-channel, which is where, of course, most of the rot exists.

The inner panels that cover this section of the floor are, again of course, behind each preceding panel, in front and on top.

Are there any "tricks" for removing the single section of subfloor without removing ALL or MOST of the inner panels? Help!
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File Type: pdf Backend2.pdf (45.1 KB, 439 views)
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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the lower panels should only take a couple minutes to remove. If they do indeed go behind the panel above by more than an inch or so, and you encounter blind rivets (rivets covered by the next panel) you can easily break these with a puddy knife and mallet by going between the skin and up the bow or rib that the rivet passes through. On the 63 and 66 the lower panels only were overlapped by about 1.5 inches and didn't encounter any blind rivets. If space is an issue, or ability to remove the entire lower panel (say it runs the entire length of the trailer) you can always remove the rivets and roll up and secure the metal out of the way of the panel replacement area.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:32 PM   #6
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Pulling the other panels doesn`t take that long,now when you get to the screws holding down the floor,that is a different matter.I first tried grinding them off,smoke from burning wood almost choked me to death.Then I got a hole saw a little bigger than the bolt head ,removed the pilot,then you need to caress it at the right angle to get it to start.Then drill till you hit the frame,plywood comes up easily then.
Looks like now would be a good time to add the gray tank. Dave
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:13 PM   #7
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Floor

I'm going through the same thing with my 68 Trade Wind. You must remove the inner panels in the rear in order to properly bolt the new floor through the
c-channel. The strength of the monocoque construction of Airstreams is dependent on all components being tied together. The only way to tie it together is by having access to the c-channel. The only way is through the inside, or the outside, and the inside is by far the easy way to do it. Take the time to do it right and it will be good to go for another 40 years. Of course in the case of a bathroom area, you must remove everything, sink ,tub trim to have access to the interior panels. It takes a while and lots of drilling rivets and screws. Just take your time and don't force anything. There is always "one more screw" that you missed so don't get frustrated and force things cause bath plastic parts are very hard to replace if you break them.

Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJohans View Post
Thanks for the replies. Here are a couple pics: the wide shot shows the backend that probably looks familiar to lots of folks. I've drawn a line around the section of subfloor I wish to replace. (Arrows indicate where the majority of rot now exists.)

The second shot is a bit closer, with a focus on the connection between the subfloor and the c-channel, which is where, of course, most of the rot exists.

The inner panels that cover this section of the floor are, again of course, behind each preceding panel, in front and on top.

Are there any "tricks" for removing the single section of subfloor without removing ALL or MOST of the inner panels? Help!
Sounds like you know what needs to be done, and you're just a little bit afraid of doing it. You need some encouragement. So here it is:

You CAN do it

It's not that bad

The past few responses have given you some insight into the the tricks and methods you'll need, so now you just have to get in there and do it. I have no doubt that you can, and will.

Good luck!
-Marcus

Oh, I'll give you one more tip-- buy the big contractor pack of ten 1/8" drill bits. I can't tell you how many I broke when drilling out, and reinstalling, the panels. Sometimes you're in a tight space, and if you don't have just the right angle, SNAP goes the drill bit. When you get down to having only 2 or 3 left, it's time to buy another 10-pack on your next trip to the hardware store.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJohans View Post
Here are a couple pics...
Well, from the looks of your photos, the hard part is already done. With the bathroom out, taking off the lower interior panel will be a piece of cake!

As others have mentioned - just have a good supply of 1/8" drill bits - the panel will be out in less than a hour. After you replace the wood, the panel will go back in place in even less time. It's installed with 1/8" pop rivets...super easy to install.

Good luck and post pics along the way ~

Shari
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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1965 20' Globetrotter
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Thanks, all!

Okay, I'm going for it. Thanks for the tips and words of encouragement. I'll keep you posted.

RJ
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:24 AM   #11
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Yes, please keep us updated with your progress with photos and commentary, and continue to ask any questions you have.

I have been intimidated by several things during my renovation so far, and the support of the Forums is what got me through.

-Marcus
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #12
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Not suggesting you do this method, but here's how I replaced one sheet..

I split the rear-most bathroom section floor panel down the trailers center line and easily cammed it into place with a little persuasion. Final adjustments done by screwing a 2x4 to one of the panels, standing on the 2x4 and tapping it with a sledge hammer to get radiused corners even under the channels, etc.. A doubling plate was added to strengthen the plywood center seam.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:32 PM   #13
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step-by-step

Okay, carefully sectioning the bad subfloor. Where rotten, it obviously pulls out easily from c-channel. Where not, still being held tight by bolts through c-channel...

Therefore:

1 Access to bolts ONLY from underneath.
2 Removal of belly pan sections required to access bolts
3 Belly pan held tight via rivets driven first through outer skin, then belly pan.
4 These external rivets hidden behind "belt-like" body molding (don't know whatcha ya'll call it.)

So check me on this:
I must first remove belt-molding from all around backend by drilling out the first level of rivets.

Then I must drill out all external skin rivets that now hold belly pan between external skin and c-channel.

Presumably, removing these rivets should allow me to drop the belly pan, revealing the rusting bolts that hold the floor inside the c-channel.

Does this seem correct?
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #14
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Correct so far. The bucked rivets also hold onto the c-channel. There also might be hidden rivets that hold the belly pan in place during Assembly. The ones in my 67 had steel shanks and where a pain in the a** to get out. If you have them there is only a few and a stiff putty knife and a sharp blow should break them loose. Keep it up and good luck.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #15
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Sounds like you're well on way to getting that floor taken care of ... Welcome to the world of the '65 Globetrotter! I have the same model trailer, as well as a ton of photos taken during its restoration. Let me know if you'd like to take a look, and I can send you a link. Good luck!
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:58 AM   #16
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Rear floor R/R

I had the identical situation with my 1972-27' Overlander. I removed and replaced the rear plywood panel without removing the interior skins. You will need to remove everything that is on top of that floor panel which, in my case, was everything in the bathroom. I also removed the panels and door between bathroom and bedroom. When they built this trailer, they started in the bath and installed the interior from back to front so removing some panels was difficult because of things forward in the way of attachments. I removed the bottom three panels of interior skin. Not much trouble just be sure to drill the 1/8 blind rivets out with the proper number drill. You will also want to have a supply of clecos (aircraft devices to allign holes) to reinstall. After unbolting the floor panel from the frame, I was able to carefully slip it out between the frame and the shell. This was also an opportunity for me to check for the dreaded 'rear end separation'. While open, I coated all metal surfaces with the POR-15 system with excellent results. I made a copy of the original floor section from pressure treated plywood and slipped it in from the inside. It's a lot more scarey to think about the job than it is to do it. Take your time and don't get discouraged.

BH
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJohans View Post
Okay, carefully sectioning the bad subfloor. Where rotten, it obviously pulls out easily from c-channel. Where not, still being held tight by bolts through c-channel...

Therefore:

1 Access to bolts ONLY from underneath.
2 Removal of belly pan sections required to access bolts
3 Belly pan held tight via rivets driven first through outer skin, then belly pan.
4 These external rivets hidden behind "belt-like" body molding (don't know whatcha ya'll call it.)

So check me on this:
I must first remove belt-molding from all around backend by drilling out the first level of rivets.

Then I must drill out all external skin rivets that now hold belly pan between external skin and c-channel.

Presumably, removing these rivets should allow me to drop the belly pan, revealing the rusting bolts that hold the floor inside the c-channel.

Does this seem correct?
Some folks call that the belt or belt molding or beltline trim or rub-rail. Some of those rivets probably go all the way through the belt trim, exterior skin, bellypan, and channel, while there are likely other rivets underneath the belt trim that go through those layers.

A few key points here:

1) When you remove those rivets around the perimeter that hold the external shell, bellypan, and c-channel together, the frame will drop if you don't have it supported from below. Due to the monocoque design of the Airstream, the shell does as much work holding up the frame, as the frame does holding up the shell. So be sure to level the trailer first, and then block it tightly as you remove those rivets, to prevent the frame from dropping.

2) Your trailer was assembled with the floor attached to the frame first, then it was flipped over on a rotisserie so the bellypan could be attached to the c-channel. After that, it was flipped back over, and the exterior shell was riveted on. What this means to YOU is that there are some "blind" rivets holding the bellypan to the channel, that you can not see from the outside and therefore can not drill out from the outside. You CAN see their tails through the channel, from the inside with the lower panels removed. I found the best way to get those out is to use putty knife (the kind with the metal handle not plastic) and hammer the end of it, shearing off those rivets.

Hope that helps, and good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:52 AM   #18
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And please note for the record here, pressure treated lumber chemistry is bad long term for aluminum. I spent a little extra ($80) for a sheet of marine grade plywood and have not regretted it. I also coated it the plywood with 4 coats of vinyl ester fiberglass resin with first coats thinned with xylene for best penetration... That sheet will last another 35 years w/o fail for sure

Please make sure you fabricate a cardboard template to truly catch the entire interface curve of the trailer end, I worked hard to salvage the rotten flooring to use and my old flooring as template led to more air gaps and partial overlap then I expected.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:59 PM   #19
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Lightbulb You may not have to drop the belly skin...unless you already have by now.

We set our circular saw blade depth just deep enough to go through the wood but not hit the frame and cut out 90% of the floor. That left a 2-3" band along the outside - up against the c-channel where the saw couldn't get close. This was easier to deal with removing than an entire sheet...and you could get underneath to those pesky bolts and break away the remaining wood.

The biggest difference is, in a 50's trailer, if you take out all the rivets to drop the belly, you also have to remove all the rivets that attach the shell - they are one & the same. We didn't want to detach the entire shell - we didn't have room to store it.

Shari
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:46 AM   #20
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Thanks to all replies

In reply to phoenix491:
Yes, please! Your photos would no doubt be a great help. Please provide the link. Thanks.

In reply to bhpowell:
You say in your second sentence that you "removed and replaced the rear plywood panel without removing the interior skins." Then later you say "I removed the bottom three panels of interior skin." This confused me. Also, you say "After unbolting the floor panel from the frame..." Herein lies the problem for me: I can't "unbolt" the floor panel. There's no access to the bolt heads, no room for a recip saw...

In reply to Marcus/utee94:
Wouldn't the fasteners that hold the other 75% of the trailer together keep the frame from dropping? How do I block the frame and still have the ability to drop the belly pan? Can I keep the tailend of the frame lifted by supporting the bumper?
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