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Old 04-30-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
195Pilot's Avatar
1975 31' Sovereign
Pierre , South Dakota
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 133
How much bracing for a shell off?

I bought a 1975 31 footer rear bath 2 weeks ago. I knew it was a fixer upper. I found the rear 12 to 18 inches of plywood was history, also someone left the front window open for 6 years so I have some floor rot in front approx. 12" x 12". The street side rear frame from bumper inboard 4 feet needs replacement.
Inspection of the frame shows someone installed the frame supports at the axles.There is a lot of severe rust behind the bolt mounted frame doubler. Most of the out riggers need to be replaced, with some frame horizontal members need the bottoms repaired.
So I have decided to take the shell off. I read one thread were some one pulls the shell off with 2 a frames and 2 chain hoist, with a 2x6 on the roof.
If I remember, he used no braces inside the shell. Is this right ?
i have the shell gutted and starting to drill out the rivets, so Im not to far from the starting of the lift. Also the belly pan is off and the pink monster has been trashed, thank god.
Any and all advise will be appreciated
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:27 PM   #2
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Eric H's Avatar
1974 23' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
1947 25' Spartan , Manor
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 457
Images: 9
Cribbing up the shell on either end worked best for us (on a 23'). Just use long 4x4s and cinder blocks to get far enough outside the frame along with a jack so you can drive it out from under the shell. We used ratchet straps to hold the shell in place along with a section or two of the floor, but I would use 2x4s next time. I imagine a chain hoist would be great, but would take some tweaking to get it right. I have seen pictures of what you are talking about with the board in the middle of the ceiling to lift it off. The shell will certainly handle it I think. If you are planning on trashing your AC do that as soon as you can, might as well get rid of as much weight as possible.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1985 34' Sovereign
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1971 31' Sovereign
Zillah , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 29
You are about to have lots of fun. I just replaced the shell on an '85 34 footer. I saw some pics of others that braced the interior and since our project is the first for me...I did not want to take chances. I braced with 2x4 back to front, side to side, and cross braced in several places.

As far as how to lift. You to should have three points to lift from like we did. Lifting through the vents. We made two plywood lifting plates with tall metal loops (like u-bolts but much bigger). The lifting plate for the front was about 2' wide and 7' long. It was just large enough to cover both vents and stay within the main channel down the middle. Watch out not to pinch your wires.

I was surprised how rigid the shell was once we lifted it. Even when I had to undo the front to back 2x4s to try to push over the front corners, it did not want to give much.

Once you have it separated, do not forget to sand bag the wood cross members to keep the wind from getting it. That is one of the reasons we left the windows out as well.
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