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Old 03-01-2014, 08:01 PM   #1
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1959 22' Caravanner
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Replacement "C" Channel

I'm in the middle of a floor replacement and I have come across some badly deteriorated "C" channel. Maybe I'm calling it the wrong thing, but its the 3-sided thin channel that bolts to the floor along the entire perimeter and holds the walls of the trailer in place.

Does anyone have a source for this channel or can it be fabricated from the same material as the skins?
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:10 PM   #2
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Is this like yours?

Channel Floor Molding 16ft Piece100986 [100986] - $44.95 : Out-of-Doors Mart!, More Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:48 AM   #3
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If it is not like the channel that mixter has the html tag for then if you take a sample or a drawing with the measurements to you local hvac shop they can cut and bend some for you.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:55 AM   #4
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A number of us have made c-channel with one of these.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:25 AM   #5
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i had a local metal shop make mine on my last projects. btw i made the outside 2” tall and the inside 1” tall.. gives you more room to secure the inside wall.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:51 AM   #6
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Had mine modified also makes the drilling and riveting easier.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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Thanks, Fellas. Its a simple 3-sided channel. I was wondering if its the same material as the skins. Seems like it is. I like the idea of having it done, and $60 is not too much to pay for a machine to do DIY, but I'm running out of space for this stuff!

I like the extended legs dimension, so I'm wondering if you couldn't bend your own by creating a press of (3) 2x4's. All placed parallel with a pin through each of them at one end . I'm gonna give it whirl and blog it. BTW: I've been blogging my progress on restoring a 1959 Caravanner.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:13 PM   #8
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ditto on having the channel made at a local HVAC shop. just take a sample piece. I wish I had thought of making the outside leg taller amazing how many of the original rivets just barely hit or even missed completely. One more suggestion is to go a bit thicker than the original .032. I used .040 and the additional stiffness is very nice to work with and very strong.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:47 PM   #9
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If you try it w 2X4s you have to plane one 2x4 down some to get the proper width in the bottom of the channel. If you know someone that does alum siding they can turn out a 100 ft in minutes.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:05 AM   #10
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I made mine out of .063 2024-T3.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:42 PM   #11
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Here's a bundle of channel I had made following the general consensus of the forum. Its 0.040 and the vertical legs are extended an additional 0.50" to catch the errant rivets. I paid $1.70 plf for it and due to a communication slip I ended up with 50 lf of it. I need about 10 ft or so. If anyone can use it, maybe we can work something out. I'm in Tampa, FL.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:54 PM   #12
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Front Plate

One area where the channel needs replacing is the front-most section. When I got in there to cut out the deteriorated channel I encountered this front plate. It appears to be some sort of king pin or wind anchor for the entire skin and belly pan. Each are anchored to the plate with (24) 5/32" rivets.

I know this group knows exactly what this plate is so I look forward to hearing from you. Thing is: Before I detached the plate from the skins, it "floated" forward of a transverse strut channel by about an inch.

Did this plate once connect to the channel? or should I reattach it in its current position (about 1" forward of the strut)???

Clockwise from top left:
1) Plate detached on asphalt showing grind marks at rivet points.
2) Backside of skin with plate removed.
3) Plate still attached "floating" about an 1" forward of the transverse strut.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:33 PM   #13
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Cant see well on my phone, but Im guessing that is the front hold down plate.I believe that plate should be securely welded to the frame. Important piece.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:45 PM   #14
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I'm pretty sure that "plate" used to be an "angle", and was attached to that "transverse strut" (not floating an inch forward), then plywood on top of the missing leg, and then the aluminum c-channel attached to the plywood - nice c-channel by the way . . . someone will want/need it.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:18 PM   #15
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Ok, Thanks again. Based on the above, I think I'll add a horizontal plate and small angle across the main frame members. I'll replace the 4" channel strut and set it up so I'm welding the edge of the horizontal plate to the top surface of the new channel. The small angle will make up for the corroded bend that used to make the angle that MarkR is referring to. That way, I'm not forcing the skin back over the 1" gap to meet the vertical front plate.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:34 PM   #16
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JimCat-

The front plate is one of the key elements of the structure of the trailer. From what I've read, the '59 era trailers had an undersized front plate. Wally Byam and/or his Engineers increased the size and number of rivets after their evaluation during the 1959 CapeTown to Cairo Caravan.

Your plate rotted out like mine did. The 7-panel construction is prone to leaks above and around the forward window, letting plenty of water in to corrode your frame members.

If Wally knew about the plate sizing in 1959, he probably would have made a plate like mine after the rebuild at Colin Hyde’s. Hopefully this picture helps clarify the purpose and size needed. If you look at '60s trailers, you'll see quite a few rivets in the front of the trailer, below the window. This is the redesign of the front plate after Wally discovered the design flaw.

BTW, if you haven't discovered theVap and have time to listen to podcasts, you'll learn quite a bit listening to back episodes.

Given the fact that you're doing a major restoration, I want to be sure that you've seen some of these threads. See major renovations if you haven't. I wish I remembered which one it was -- probably NorCalBambi -- who did a great drawing of the key structural components. It is important to understand before you button up your trailer.

Essentially this: the frame supports the plywood floor. There is a bolt that bonds the frame, the floor and c-channel together. It needs to be properly isolated with a plastic washer so that no galvanic corrosion occurs. Additional screws bond the c-channel to the floor, but are not critical.

The outer walls bond to the c-channel, and on our '59s, the belly pan slips between them. The strength of the trailer is the frame/floor/c-channel/outer skin, forming a monocoque construction. The inner skins stiffen the assembly.

Hope this helps,

John
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:44 PM   #17
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Oh yes the hold down plate is very important rivets into the c channel and the shell and keeps it all together. Will the shell fly off if not attached? Not right away but that freak Yankee wind could come out of nowhere and may do the damage. Best safe not sorry.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:27 PM   #18
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HVAC for C channel fabrication?

I have been contacting metal fabricators and am coming up empty handed for my C-channel repair and/or replacement. Am I reading this correctly...? A heating/cooling company can fabricate these for me? This is my first restoration and appreciate any advice or guidance TREMENDOUSLY, thank you!
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Originally Posted by rumrunner View Post
ditto on having the channel made at a local HVAC shop. just take a sample piece. I wish I had thought of making the outside leg taller amazing how many of the original rivets just barely hit or even missed completely. One more suggestion is to go a bit thicker than the original .032. I used .040 and the additional stiffness is very nice to work with and very strong.
tim
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by vagabound7 View Post
I have been contacting metal fabricators and am coming up empty handed for my C-channel repair and/or replacement. Am I reading this correctly...? A heating/cooling company can fabricate these for me? This is my first restoration and appreciate any advice or guidance TREMENDOUSLY, thank you!

Ditto. I need them as well.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by JCII100 View Post
Ditto. I need them as well.
We made our own C-channels. We bought some 1 1/2” 16ga aluminum tubing. I took a metal jig saw blade and broke about 1/2” off the end. Marked a center line on Both sides of the tube and split it making two 1 1/2” x 3/4” C-channels. I broke the end off the jigsaw blade so it wouldn’t bottom out on the opposite side of the tube and cut one aide at a time. Good luck
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