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Old 08-02-2021, 09:23 AM   #1
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 60
Lifting rear shell about an inch?

Hi all,

My bathroom floor had the typical rot at the rear end. I have the bath taken out and the lower interior skins removed.

Question: there was pretty much nothing supporting c-channel/skin back there and the c-channel/skin is sitting on the frame (where it should have been sitting on the plywood). I'm looking for how to lift the back end up about an inch so I can get some wood under the c-channel.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:15 AM   #2
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 138
The frame behind the axel is pretty flexible. If you remove any supporting jacks/stabilizers in the back you might be able to push down on the frame and get the clearance that you need.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:55 AM   #3
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1973 23' Safari
1970 27' Overlander
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 197
I did this with my 73 Safari - not too difficult. I place a piece of plywood resting on my frame near the rear, put my floor jack on this, put a 4x4 across the airstream under some of the horizontal ribs, and gently jacked up a little. I learned this from this site.
Very doable.
Greg
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Old 08-02-2021, 11:29 AM   #4
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 60
Thanks for the replies!

Couple of things to elaborate:
1) I need it up a little so I can make some frame repairs back there, so I'm not sure flexing the rear frame is a good idea. Hmm.

2) I only have the bathroom lower inside skins out...not all of them, so I can't get to those horizontal ribs. That's a neat way to do it, though. I'm surprised it didn't rip the rivets out on those little horizontal ribs. Must be stronger than they look.

I'm thinking about making a "T" brace for the ceiling, but cut to the shape of the ceiling, to go left-to-right across a rib and spread the force across.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:09 PM   #5
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2001 16' Bambi
Green Island , NY
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I would only trust the mothership.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:43 PM   #6
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Posts: 138
It think your idea of a "T" brace could work but only if the shell was unbolted from the outriggers in the back half of the trailer. The first rib you can brace against is where the end cap attaches to the body, so you would be putting a lifting force against the body as well as the end cap.

I wonder if you could lift the back by putting a beam through the window? Make the beam long enough to reach the existing floor and still stick out through the window. (Removing the window of course) Brace the inside end of the beam against the trailer floor and then jack up the outside end of the beam.
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Old 08-03-2021, 08:20 PM   #7
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DremStremer View Post
It think your idea of a "T" brace could work but only if the shell was unbolted from the outriggers in the back half of the trailer. The first rib you can brace against is where the end cap attaches to the body, so you would be putting a lifting force against the body as well as the end cap.

I wonder if you could lift the back by putting a beam through the window? Make the beam long enough to reach the existing floor and still stick out through the window. (Removing the window of course) Brace the inside end of the beam against the trailer floor and then jack up the outside end of the beam.
None of the outriggers are attached from the front bathroom wall/door backwards, so I think it could work. I only need an inch, I think. Physics works in favor of the window idea, I think, but there's no going back if the window frame gets damaged, so I'm not sure about that one.

Thanks for the helpful input!
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:10 AM   #8
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1973 23' Safari
Arroyo Grande , California
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 45
Greetings
We had the same problem with our 73 Safari and needed to replace the rearmost four foot section. But even with rear shell to frame connectors removed, we just couldn’t get enough frame flex to slide in a new floor panel. Ours is a tandem axle model. I’ve heard the some Safaris are single axles and may flex more. We ended up installing the rear section in two pieces with a joint placed under the slower pan. Also tucked a gray tank under the floor at the same time.
Good Luck, Steve
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:52 PM   #9
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1970 29' Ambassador
1978 31' Sovereign
Beautiful Santa Rosa , California
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Hi Lo,
I did what Dremstremer recommended -- a post resting on the subfloor inside (far enough forward as to not interfere with the plywood as it is slid in), a "beam" (I used a 4x6 that was about 8 feet long) that rested on the post inside, went through the rear window and rested on a post outside and jacked up the outside post. I did fasten plywood gussets at the connecting points to make it easier to hold the wood together before jacking it up.

It took nearly no effort to get the space I needed to slide the whole piece of plywood in.


Good Luck!
David
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:17 PM   #10
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi Lo,
I did what Dremstremer recommended -- a post resting on the subfloor inside (far enough forward as to not interfere with the plywood as it is slid in), a "beam" (I used a 4x6 that was about 8 feet long) that rested on the post inside, went through the rear window and rested on a post outside and jacked up the outside post. I did fasten plywood gussets at the connecting points to make it easier to hold the wood together before jacking it up.

It took nearly no effort to get the space I needed to slide the whole piece of plywood in.


Good Luck!
David
Good to know! How did you keep from damaging the window frame?
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:22 PM   #11
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenD View Post
Greetings
We had the same problem with our 73 Safari and needed to replace the rearmost four foot section. But even with rear shell to frame connectors removed, we just couldn’t get enough frame flex to slide in a new floor panel. Ours is a tandem axle model. I’ve heard the some Safaris are single axles and may flex more. We ended up installing the rear section in two pieces with a joint placed under the slower pan. Also tucked a gray tank under the floor at the same time.
Good Luck, Steve
Thanks! I have a tandem axle. Good to hear from a fellow '73 Safari owner.
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:33 AM   #12
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1970 29' Ambassador
1978 31' Sovereign
Beautiful Santa Rosa , California
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Hi Lo,
I put a slightly wider piece of plywood for the widow frame to rest upon, and I removed the rear window (it just tilts up and then out). I don't recall if it was actually necessary to remove the window, and getting it back in was the biggest hassle of the whole business...

The whole process of setting up the wooden posts and jacking it took just a few minutes. I used a long "beam" in order to allow me room from the back to slide the panel in, but again, that wasn't really necessary -- there was plenty of room to slide the panel in from the side.

The other aspect that was remarkable was how much the shell could move. If you have enough of the original plywood to at least get a rough pattern, that helps. Mine was so bad that much of the pattern was a guess. I ended up trimming here and there as the coach went back together (using the holes in the U channel and frame as reference points) and remembering that the edge of the plywood is covered by aluminum.


David
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:53 AM   #13
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Get a BIG rugged weather balloon, make sure there are no open flames or sources of sparks, place the balloon inside the rear of the Airstream, generate hydrogen gas and inflate the balloon until the rear end separates and lifts an inch. Slide in the new plywood/Coosa board and...
Hydrogen DOES have twice the lift of helium even if KABOOM is a possibility...
It does sound like starting a vast project with a half-vast idea, doesn't it?
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:36 PM   #14
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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It worked pretty well! I need to do some more cross bracing to feel safer but it did lift the rear up about an inch.

Thanks for the suggestion(s).
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Old 08-05-2021, 11:28 PM   #15
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Hi Lo,
Glad it worked! Seeing your photo reminded me that I used a step ladder inside the coach and then I placed the beam on one of the upper steps…

Of course, the ladder was further forward than where the sheet needed to go


Good Job!
David
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Old 08-09-2021, 07:32 AM   #16
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi Lo,
Glad it worked! Seeing your photo reminded me that I used a step ladder inside the coach and then I placed the beam on one of the upper steps…

Of course, the ladder was further forward than where the sheet needed to go


Good Job!
David
How did you make it stable inside with the stepladder?

I think having the board inside higher off the ground would put less inward pressure on the window frame, so I am into that idea...but I don't see how you did it.
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Old 08-09-2021, 08:54 AM   #17
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1970 29' Ambassador
1978 31' Sovereign
Beautiful Santa Rosa , California
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Hi Lo,
I had just typed up a long answer when I somehow erased the whole thing... :-)

The shorter answer is to simply set up the step ladder so that the steps are facing the rear of the coach. The feet of the step ladder will be resting on the plywood that is further forward than the piece that is being replaced.

The steps allow you to choose a starting height for the beam. They also provide a fairly broad and stable resting spot for same.

The rest is shaped a bit like a capital L, with the short section of the L being the post coming up from the floor jack, which will itself be about 4 feet behind the Airstream, to allow you room as you slide the new piece in.

The beam I used was a 4 by 6 that was 10 feet long. I made sure to put a narrow piece of plywood between the beam and top of the window frame, in order to spread the weight.

It worked beautifully !


Good Luck,
David
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Old 08-09-2021, 09:34 AM   #18
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi Lo,
I had just typed up a long answer when I somehow erased the whole thing... :-)

The shorter answer is to simply set up the step ladder so that the steps are facing the rear of the coach. The feet of the step ladder will be resting on the plywood that is further forward than the piece that is being replaced.

The steps allow you to choose a starting height for the beam. They also provide a fairly broad and stable resting spot for same.

The rest is shaped a bit like a capital L, with the short section of the L being the post coming up from the floor jack, which will itself be about 4 feet behind the Airstream, to allow you room as you slide the new piece in.

The beam I used was a 4 by 6 that was 10 feet long. I made sure to put a narrow piece of plywood between the beam and top of the window frame, in order to spread the weight.

It worked beautifully !


Good Luck,
David
Thanks, but I'm still trying to picture how you keep the stepladder from toppling over or the wood from sliding off the step.
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Old 08-11-2021, 03:22 PM   #19
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1969 25' Tradewind
Greenwich , New York
Join Date: May 2012
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push the frame down

When I did my rear floor I put weight on the bumper and it opened the gap I needed. I found this out because I stepped on the bumper and saw the gap open. I slid the plywood in marked it took it out cut to size and put it back in.on my Trade Wind the floor is 4 x 8 foot sections. worked great. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2021, 09:06 PM   #20
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1973 23' Safari
Germantown , Tennessee
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Originally Posted by 65will View Post
When I did my rear floor I put weight on the bumper and it opened the gap I needed. I found this out because I stepped on the bumper and saw the gap open. I slid the plywood in marked it took it out cut to size and put it back in.on my Trade Wind the floor is 4 x 8 foot sections. worked great. Good luck!
Thanks for the idea...how exactly did you put weight on the bumper? How much weight?
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