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Old 07-30-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
Dearborn , Michigan
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Replacement of Cross Member at rear ... Under Bathroom

We recently purchased a 23' 72 Safari which seems to be in pretty good shape. We have had a battle with the drains, which has been made worse by me not understanding the ramifications of not having the grey water tank, the black tank valve closed and the was cover on the sewer line. I assume that this is what caused the rear of the trailer to have become saturated with water.

When I discovered this, I dropped the belly pan up to the axle and removed all the insulation. In the process I determined that about half of the rear support going across the trailer (lower half actually) has rusted away. The utility box in the back has been "sort of" rebuilt to keep it functional. I also noticed that the floor under the shower drain (bathroom floor drain) is essentially missing.

There doesn't appear to be any sag or separation between the frame and the rest of the trailer. The support seems to be fine on the top section but it obviously isn't as strong as it used to be so I know it needs some form of repair.

So is this the support that body has to be bolted to to keep everything together?

If it is replaced, how far does the bathroom have to come out do the repair and to bolt everything back together?

Should it be replaced with a custom stamped /bent steel part or would it be just as good to use channel similar to what the main frame is made out of (it would weigh more though).

Tom Bray
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:29 AM   #2
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1974 25' Tradewind
Greenwood , South Carolina
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Rear cross member rust

Tom,
I'm new to the posts as well, but in all the universe I may be the one person on a parallel, concurrent course. We just purchased a 74 Tradewind 25' and today I cut away the belly pan from about 2 1/2' behind the axle back. The rear crossmember on mine is rusted like yours. No suprise. I bought mine from RichardT, a frequent poster who knows alot more about them than we do. He told me that this rear crossmember is almost always rusted out. It really serves more to tie the two longitudinal frames together than to support weight, since it is under the bathroom. The shell is attached to a channel that sits atop and follows the perimeter of the plywood floor, as I understand it. The plywood floor is attached to this crossmember and to the frames. In posts I have read, the idea is to cut away the bad plywood, or to replace the entire sheet if necessary depending on how much rot there is.
How is the frame looking forward? If the forward crossmembers and frames have just surface rust, your job is confined to the back, and you can probably do it without removing the entire belly or lifting the shell off. If your entire frame is deeply pitted and flaking, you may be looking at a shell off repair, (which, though intimidating, wouldn't be as bad as it sounds. These guys have figured out some clever techniques).
If your wood is rotted in multiple places (check under front windows, sink, around the door) and your frame is iffy, again you may consider a shell off repair. (Apparently you can replace the floor completely without taking off the shell, giving you fairly complete access to the frame for a coating of POR-15, but I might opt to lift the shell, have a welder build me a new frame and put new axles on it, replace the wood with marine ply.)
If your repair is confined to the back, you need to evaluate the wood above this last rotted crossmember. If it isn't in too bad shape, I would replace the crossmember with some steel angle of about the same gauge and bolt it to the frame. Cut out the bad wood under your shower and fit a patch in (see other posts about this). You might not need to dismantle the bathroom, but you probably will to attach the floor to your new crossmember.
As I said, I am in a parallel universe and face the same decisions. My frame forward looks good. I have some rotted wood and I need to replace the aft crossmember. I think I will dismantle the bathroom for a good inspection and ease of access.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:45 AM   #3
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Hi there, congratulations on your new trailer and welcome to the forums!!

If you can, post pictures of the areas you need help with, as pictures get the most response (and we are junkies)!

On my '68, I replaced the rear third of plywood because of the rot at the rear. The compartment door leaked, the area where the shell meets the bumper (& under the trim is where the shell meets the banana wrap), and a leaky water heater all led to a badly rotten floor. I wouldn't have known this unless I removed the entire bathroom.

We put a whole piece of ply in the back by using the "clamshell technique" : I removed one side of banana wrap and "slid" the plywood in between while weight was applied to the bumper area. We also employed a sledge hammer and foul language... eventually it went in! We also had new angle iron bars made that hold up the black tank (as well as a new galvanized box to hold the tank).

The last pic is of a jig we made to get the curve for the new plywood. The old ply came out in pieces and the curves were compost, so of no use for a pattern.

Here's some pics for your amusement (or not) :
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:05 AM   #4
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A quick question

Could you define "Banana wrap" for me? Which part is it exactly? Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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On my '73 rear bath there is a 8-inch round cut-out underneath the shower-bath drain that allows the trap to have clearance, be accesible for repairs, and to also allow seepage to drop through into a plastic 'frisbee' shaped evaporation pan tacked underneath flooring & accessible through gap beside BW tank... As found when I tore it apart the rear floor section was not fastened to the rear cross-spar whatsoever, To replace the spar is a good idea, black iron sheet metal channel of the same gauge with a few lightening holes to run BW tank heat duct through should not be expensive to have made, Mapquest with "sheet metal" as search term for my zip code gave many hits nearby that I never would have guessed were there!

I was battling dry-rotted floors and BW tank chemical smell so the entire sheet was replaced - I have the BW tank galvanized shroud being fabricated now, etc. Removing the entire bathroom and interior liners isn't that big of a deal, its getting everything upgraded, fixed, painted and reinstalled that is the challenge. Good luck to you!
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:36 AM   #6
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Hi Tom,

I see that you are a new member and that you live in Michigan. You weren't by chance towing your new beauty north on I-75 last weekend were you? I saw a blue Dakota pulling what I believe to be about a 23' early 70's AS with a temp tag in the back window. Was this you? How are things in Reed City these days? I spent 5 years in Big Rapids a while back.
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plossl
Could you define "Banana wrap" for me? Which part is it exactly? Thanks.
The Banana wrap is the curved aluminum that rolls down below the belt line and attaches to the outer edges of the belly pan.
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:34 PM   #8
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Yep, exactly. Here's a pic of mine before I put it back on (it's hanging there).
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:25 AM   #9
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First, no we weren't on 75 last weekend, we were on US131 though. Truck is a Silver Gray GMC (my wife picked the color to sort of match the Airstream).

I have to drop the belly pan again, probably this weekend, to be able to take pictures. I am relieved that this may not be as big of a restoration as I had imagined. I still have to find the source of the water, I want to inspect the rest of the frame, and I need to run a couple of coax cables for the amateur radio equipment.

Tom
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bray
First, no we weren't on 75 last weekend, we were on US131 though. Truck is a Silver Gray GMC (my wife picked the color to sort of match the Airstream).

I have to drop the belly pan again, probably this weekend, to be able to take pictures. I am relieved that this may not be as big of a restoration as I had imagined. I still have to find the source of the water, I want to inspect the rest of the frame, and I need to run a couple of coax cables for the amateur radio equipment.

Tom
Tom.

You can replace the original cross members with a "C" channel or box tubing.

Either one is stronger than the original.

The increase in weight can be ignored.

Andy
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Old 08-03-2007, 08:34 PM   #11
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parallel project

I seem to share the same parallel universe with plossl, we bought a '74 Ambassador several months ago and I have been working to repair all the corrosion and deteriorated metal in the rear ever since.

I just finished putting POR15 on the inside of frame from the rear bumper to the point where the holding tanks attach. On ours, the hinges had rusted completely away. The holding tanks are out and the new frames just got back from the fabricators. If you would like to see what it looks like under the floor without the tanks, I can post some pictures for you.

We have both grey and black water tanks side by side, so it won't be quite same as the '72 and '73 models with just the black tank (correct, guys?).

I too have learned a lot from reading the various threads before I started tearing stuff out, and they were very helpful. Thanks to all who generously share their knowledge and experience. I am not sure I would have tackled such an extensive project otherwise.

Best of luck with your project, hang in there.
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Old 08-04-2007, 09:33 AM   #12
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Macamper-
Another parallel universe! How many of us are there out there, do you suppose, currently tearing into the rear of our 70's era Airstreams? Yes, I would appreciate looking at any pictures you can post -- worth a thousand words and all that. My plan has changed to a degree: I'm no longer going to keep the blackwater tank. I don't want to haul sewage or deal with the smells. We'd rather use park facilities and porta-pottie overnight, emptying in the morning. The greywater tank will be resupported and kept in place, emptying as we leave our campsite. Now that I'm truly tearing down the bathroom, I'm beginning to wonder about rearranging the whole back of the Trade Wind; moving beds and bulkheads, etc. In the front, I've removed the couch and we're going to use LaFuma foldable recliners -- lighter and more comfortable. What do you think? Plossl
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Old 08-04-2007, 11:19 AM   #13
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Maccamper & plossl - I'm there too. How about starting a new thread just for greywater only mods? Very tempting to reserve single BW tank on mine for grey water while still keeping changes reversible; Biggest obstacle is above-floor galley drains and vent stack pipes for really clean lines in the new interior space...
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:43 PM   #14
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Rear Frame Member Rebuilt from C-channel

Here are a few pics what I did on my '73 Sovereign center bath. It was easier in that there wasn't all of the rear bath stuff to remove. There are some more pics in my photos.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:18 PM   #15
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1972 23' Safari
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Some Pictures under the bathroom floor

Attached are 3 pictures showing the condition under the bathroom floor.

I just got the belly pan down but I haven't been able to remove it from under the axle area ... I thought I found all the rivets, it seems loose but it won't budge. Any idea on how to convince it to slide out, short of removing the axles?

Tom
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:05 PM   #16
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pictures

Wabiteer and Plossl;

I haven't forgotten about the pictures, but it will be next week before I get a chance to get them all together. I will probably put them in the personal photo gallery since there is a size limit on the ones that go into posts.

Wabiteer, I think your idea about keeping the changes reversible is a good one. I have wondered why the black water tank is so much bigger than the grey, maybe campsites and policies about grey water have changed since the 70's??

I think we will keep both tanks for awhile, although we have used the park facilities as Plossl has done to minimize the hassle. I just like to keep the options open in case we do go to a place where we have to be more self-sufficient.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:45 PM   #17
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I wish my '72 had a grey tank. To have one retrofitted will cost me between $3,000-4,000. In the meantime, I use my 22 gallon Blue Tote.

If you have both tanks, keep them. Having either one removed will diminish it's resale value and reduce the options you have for camping and travel.
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike
I wish my '72 had a grey tank. To have one retrofitted will cost me between $3,000-4,000. In the meantime, I use my 22 gallon Blue Tote.

If you have both tanks, keep them. Having either one removed will diminish it's resale value and reduce the options you have for camping and travel.
A good Airstream shop can put a gray tank in a 72 for $1000 to $1500 dollars.

Andy
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Old 08-09-2007, 05:25 AM   #19
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Belly Pan

Tom,

Just roll it up and push it under the rear axle. You should be able to get it far enough out of your way. That's what I did. (I thought I had a picture but I guess not.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:00 AM   #20
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It's an epidemic!

I'm guessing that there are a lot of us out there with back floor issues. I'll be tackling ours in a couple of weeks. I'm not looking forward to what I'll probably find under there. I see where a water pipe came disconnected from the shut-off valve for the toilet. I think it's the culprit. The entire back three feet of wood is missing!! It was rotten enough for the PO to remove it I guess. Wish he would have replaced it. The rest of the floor is solid (seemingly) though. Thanks everyone for the posts here. Your veteran knowledge is indispensable. I'll add more once Ive torn into this project.
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