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Old 12-15-2005, 05:13 PM   #21
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1964 24' Tradewind
Big Bear Lake , California
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Bolt it

I agree with Tim. You really want to bolt through the floor and c channel, especially mid-cabin. Remember that the floor does and needs to flex. Too much or not enough hardware in this area may be a bad thing. Andy at Inland could probably comment here. Around the perimeter; through the floor, u-channel (aluminum) and the c-channel (steel) I added some galvanized 1 1/4" deck screws in between the spacing of the perimeter bolts to reinforce the bond. I chose to gussett or splice the floor back to the old, avoiding the creation of a joint on the c-channel. The splice is as strong or stronger than the floor and the bolts at the c-channels do what they are intended to do.
The technique of drilling off the bolt heads mentioned above worked most of the time I did it. The first one was perfect, created a washer separate from the bolt shaft. The next few were not quite as artistic, but I won the battle. You can also Dremel them off with a cutting wheel. Pretty much anyway you get them off is the right way! You can even use the enforcer, depicted below!
Have fun,
Ed
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Old 12-15-2005, 06:42 PM   #22
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FWIW, the STEEL C-channel, that runs the entire length of the camper, front to rear, has no fasteners that run thru the floor (or anything else) and subsequently thru the steel c-channel. All of the self tapping screws that I described above go thru the plywood and into either the outriggers or the lateral frame members between the steel c-channel. It really appears that Airstream designed the floor system so that there would be no holes drilled into the steel c-channel (possibly to avoid weakening the steel c-channel?).

As to the outer perimeter c-channel (the one that is attached to the the aluminum upper shell). In my camper, 1/4 inch bolts, that look a lot like the elevator bolts desribed above, were inserted from underneath the steel outriggers, thru the outriggers,thru the aluminum c-channel,thru the 3/4 inch wood floors. Everywhere there is an outrigger,one of these bolts exists. The bolts are about 3 inches long and bent over to one side on the top side to keep the nuts from working loose from vibration.

As to the number of screws in the aluminum c-channel....I think it was Stephrbts who posted that when she replaced a portion of her floor....she added many extra short (1 inch?) sheet metal screws from the top of the c-channel into the new plywood floor to hold the aluminum shell to the floor. I have several areas where this channel is bent and distorted due to years of floor rot, etc. I'm concerned that when I put these screws and the bolts in that it will pull things out of true (possibly they are not true now?)

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:06 PM   #23
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good call

Its funny how the english language dosn't always do what you think it's doing.
Interesting observation Jim, about no hardware in the c-channel. I haven't uncovered enough of mine to have observed that. But the lateral cross bracing was what I was referring to at mid-cabin, as their cross section is also like a "c". As the trailer frame is referred to as a ladder frame, I guess we could call the structural c-channel the ladder rail and the cross members; cross members!
E.
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:07 PM   #24
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Since the plywood being removed is usually firewood anyway, I use a 3/4" holesaw without the center bit and drill down around the head of the screw to the metal frame. You have to be firm with the drill to prevent wandering at first, but it works. Use the skill saw set to the thickness of the plywood as previously mentioned. Then lift the plywood pieces out and cut the remaining bolts with bolt cutters, sawzall, or whatever. I've found all the types of fasteners shown and mentioned above in trailers from the '60s, and they all are hard to get out! Darol
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Old 12-22-2005, 05:07 PM   #25
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OK, I have the pieces of floor removed. Now ready to move on to cutting new pieces and securing them in place. I wanted to comment on a few different techniques I used to get the bolts out. First, to get the bolts out of the sides I simply used a circular saw to cut away the wood, then pulled the wood out and used a hacksaw on the bolts. These were very rusty and it only took about 20 reps of the saw to get them each off. For the bolts that hold the floor to the c-channel, I first tried drilling them which worked with some success but took a little while -- then after the head was off, I used the punch and hammer technique to push the rest of the bolt through. On the second one, I noticed that about half-way through drilling the head off, it started to turn clockwise. Hmmmm. I finished drilling and moved to the third. For this one, I took a punch and put it in the middle of the screw head and hit it about 5 times. That loosened the screw enough to simply screw it out with a little effort. Darn--- wish I thought of that first. Bottom line --- the bolts are out and I'm ready to move on. Thanks for all the helpful advise!
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Old 12-22-2005, 06:27 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
This is the type self tapping screw that was used to attach the plywood floor to the cross members in my trailer. I don't know why Airstream used two radically different methods between my trailer and Malconium's. They are the same year trailer, his is 4 feet longer, however, maybe that's why...load, weight etc.
Jim
Jim,
Those are the same screws used in my 1975 Sovereign. I used a similar fastener when I replaced my plywood at the front.

Aaron
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Old 12-22-2005, 06:55 PM   #27
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Aaron, do you recall where you bought these? I've looked at the big box places and nothing comes close. Any ideas?

Jim
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Old 12-22-2005, 07:37 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Aaron, do you recall where you bought these? I've looked at the big box places and nothing comes close. Any ideas?

Jim
Jim,
Tidewater Fasteners in Norfolk/VaBch, VA. You will need to find a fastener specfic supplier. In Mobile, AL it is Threaded Fasteners. I will be home late Saturday. Send me a PM reminder and I will check and see which specific fastener it is I bought. They actually have little wings on them to bore a hole in the plywood to keep it from binding when it hits the metal.

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Old 12-30-2005, 05:45 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Aaron, do you recall where you bought these? I've looked at the big box places and nothing comes close. Any ideas?

Jim
Jim,

I found screws at Home Depot that worked fine. There are two sizes. The short ones only work for 3/4" material in direct contact with the metal frame. Any additional spacing (such as over the wheel well area, etc.) needs the longer ones. They are self drilling and taping. I did find that it helped to predrill the hole if the metal I was attaching to was thicker than it is on the typical cross-member. This was particulary true for the angle iron cross member over my fresh water holding tank. Take a look at the photo for product name and appearance.

Malcolm
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Old 12-30-2005, 07:06 PM   #30
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Those are definatley the same screws that were used in my Sovereign. I cut/ripped the floor out around the screws that wouldn't come out and then used the angle grinder to cut off the "hold outs". Tha angle grinder worked great, and milled them off flush. I also added a cross member when we were "rehabbing" my frame. One of the stamped steel cross members was so rusted at the bottom that it was useless so we made a new cross member out of 1 inch box stock to run along side it. The new floor is screwed to it. I also turned the C channel into a boxed frame all the way back to the kitchen area (this happened to be all the farther we had the floor/belly pan removed) since the bottom portion was a little rusty from pooling water in the bellypan for who knows how many years. We just took some good heavy angle and butted it along the good side and welded it so it fit over the old steel. We then took a piece of flat steel and welded it to the new steel and the top of the old beam to make a box channel. Then I ground down all the welds, and primed and painted the whole works.
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Old 01-01-2006, 07:57 PM   #31
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Go Figure

Y'all aren't gonna believe this, but....Susan and I were driving around our small but rapidly expanding town the other day trying to find the new Sherwin-Williams paint store. We happened upon a Fastenal store that I didn't know we had here. Guess what he had in stock? The new ones are on the left, the old ones on the right. Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures. But they are exact duplicates except for the fact that the more modern are more rust resistant. Go figure.

Jim
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:30 PM   #32
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Here's a bit better picture. Well,the picture didn't make it,lets try again.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:32 PM   #33
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Again........Well, there's a problem,all of a sudden I can't get pictures to upload. I'll try again latter.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:09 AM   #34
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bsherman,
Just curious if you were able to put new plywood in without removing the bellypan? How did you bolt it?
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:27 AM   #35
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bsherman,
Just curious if you were able to put new plywood in without removing the bellypan? How did you bolt it?
In the part of my unit where I did not take out the belly pan I used bolts in the places that I could reach by sticking my arm under the floor from the edge. Everywhere else I used the self-drilling/self-taping screws. They do seem to hold quite well and I put them closer together than I did with the bolts.

Malcolm
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Old 02-16-2006, 09:03 PM   #36
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I have the rear 1/4 of plywood out of my 68 tradewind and am playing with the bolts now. The tank that held my b/w tank was half rusted out through the bottom and I will be replacing it and the supports that hold it. The belly pan seems to be corroding where it is screwed to the supports. Is this electrolosis or is it from the water that was pooling in there?

After all is back together I can bolt where I can reach and screw the rest?! Sounds good. Does anyone ever really keep the water (rain) out of the rear access door? I was thinking about fabricating a galv. box back there to hold the battery/ water gadgets etc. and if rain came in it wouldn't sit on the plywood floor. Mine was sooooooo rotted out it was compost and growing vines!
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