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Old 07-28-2011, 02:47 PM   #1
New Member
1961 22' Safari
Burlington , Vermont
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 4
Frame repair advice/opinions?

Hey all,

Upon ripping out the floor and dropping the belly pan in my 1961 Safari, I found a frame that needs some repairs. The main frame rails from hitch to bumper are pretty solid, albeit with ample surface rust.

There are, however, some outriggers and crossmembers that have been thinned out by oxidation, particularly around holes that were cut out for plumbing and not-so-carefully placed floor bolts (I found a few whose original drill holes were only half in the frame).

Here are some of the problem areas. The worst is definitely the bottom right side of the rear crossmember--it looks to have been crushed from beneath. See also the thinned-out areas where pipes had been.

My tentative plan was the following:

1) Weld thin steel patches to the under and back sides of crossmembers and outriggers with holes or deterioration (using flux core wire in my MIG welder)

2) Fill in the tops and fronts of those spots with POR-15 strengthening body filler (called Resto-Grip) and epoxy putty--after I paint the whole thing with POR-15 impermeable paint. The Resto-Grip and POR-15 epoxy putty is made to bond especially well with the POR-15 paint, and, in theory, should allow me to make sure everything is patched level.

3) Cut out the back crossmember out and weld a new one into place.

4) Add mid-frame reinforcing beams that will also hold a gray water tank.

Should I add thin steel flat bar reinforcers anywhere else? I'm considering using 3/4 inch marine-grade plywood, which would already add some weight, but also absorb some of the energy that would otherwise be transferred to the frame.

What do other people who have been through this think? My welding skills are still pretty basic, but improving, and I have a limited budget for this. I don't want to cut corners where doing so would be foolhardy, but I also want to continue to move forward with this project and not turn it into a four-year affair!

I'll attach some more photos of the worst areas, etc. Any advice or opinions are welcome.


You can visit my project blog at:
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hartlander8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 08:41 AM   #2
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West , California
Join Date: May 2010
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Before you go any further make sure that you brace that shell! It looks as though it may be twisting already. Do a search on " bracing" "shell off" or "cribbing". You can see some examples of it on my thread as well.
Now on to the welding. Your frame looks to be in better condition than mine. I had to cut the entire back 1/4 of my frame off and splice it together. Impossible, no big fat bitch, defiantly!
When you get the frame cleaned and isolated you might see a bit more frame work than you see now. I had some frame issues just fore and aft of the rear axle. They were caused from the bouncing of the rear of my trailer. So I "boxed" in those sections with slightly smaller channel that fits inside to give some strength to those fulcrum points. I included pics for you to see.
IMHO I would suggest that you brace the shell slide out the frame sand blast it cut off the bad outriggers and buy new ones (they are cheap) fabricate a new cross member and weld that in. I have some metal patching putty from Por 15 that I am going to use this week so I will post the results to my thread. I also like mig over flux prettier welds and no splatter to clean up, but hey thats just my preference. Good luck, post pics we will be eager to see results!
Check out this guys thread I think he has some great info
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marzboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 10:40 AM   #3
New Member
1961 22' Safari
Burlington , Vermont
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 4
thanks for the feedback marzboy. i like the idea of boxing smaller c channel in to reinforce. your trailer is looking good!

my shell is still attached to the frame at the wheel wells and front tongue plate--the back has 3/4 inch spacers. but i guess cribbing would help to keep the shell true. i may have to drill out the rivets at the wheel wells and tongue plate anyway and lift the shell to get a better look at the frame near the axles. i have to get new mounting plates welded onto my frame anyway for the axles that i have on order from Colin Hyde. apparently, in 1961, the axles were bolted to the frame, so unless i want to have to remove the belly pan or floor to do axle work down the road, i need to weld those mounting plates on.

was it easy to fabricate new aluminum u channel with that 36 inch metal brake? i just have a hand seamer, which is better than nothing, but might make for a bigger job of fabricating new aluminum u (mine is pretty shot). maybe i can find some pre-fab.

cheers from vermont.
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