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Old 06-16-2004, 04:42 PM   #61
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Waste water tank...

I took a closer look at the manual page I was thinking of. It is page 2 where it shows the chassis of the tandem axle 23ft to 31ft. Item #32 is shown to be a waste tank in about the same location as where my grey water tank was installed. I mis-remembered this thinking that it was showing an optional grey water tank location. Instead it is evidently showing the black water tank location for some of the models. I wish the service manual was more specific to my model sometimes.

Sorry about the confusion on my part...

By the way I noted on that same page and on page 6 that the water tank would not be removable from above without cutting out the frame cross-member that goes down the middle of the tank. I am going to have to get a look at that member to see what kind of shape it is in. The floor is a tad springy in about that area.

Malcolm
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Old 06-17-2004, 08:49 AM   #62
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oh, yeah...forgot about that cross member there. I wouldn't think that would be a typical problem area, though...where would the water come from? and if the tank or its fittings leaked, gravity working as it does, would keep water away from that part of the frame. Andy has a replacement tank pictured on his website, in the parts section, and you can see how its custom molded to fit around this x-member.
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:18 PM   #63
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Shell off update

I have successfully taken off the shell. It was tricky on the sloped driveway, but I took my time, and it went well. I am really glad I did go the shell off route, the criteria for taking the shell off were as follows:

1 - The belly pan was completely corroded and needed to be replaced.
2 - The frame was seriously rusted and needed a lot of work - regarding the frame, wire wheeling it in prep for paint and the new floor has revealed lots of little issues like split welds, some very bad pitting etc, and for this reason I am glad the shell is off so I can fix it right.
3 - Most of the floor channel needs to be replaced since the bolts tore through it after the PO ripped the original floor

Lessons learned:

Amazing how much load is on the walls - luckily, I am not an engineer, but the skin/wall/floor/frame combo completes the monocoque structure - with one of those being bad (in my case the frame and floor) there is a lot of weakness.

I spent a lot of time cribbing for lifting, safety and to retain shape - money and time well spent, especially with the sloped driveway.

Two guys can lift the back end of a 22' safari shell, I wouldn't do it as a hobby, but we needed to do it in a pinch and it wasn't bad.

If my belly pan had been salvageable, I would have done Leonards shell on technique. Since my floor was gone I cut the pan off (next item), jacked the shell up 1" and slid in underlayment, then dropped the shell backdown and traced the floorchannel. I did this after the cribbing was in place to maintain as much shape as possible.

I started to drill out the base perimiter rivets to begin the process of removing the bellypan and floor channel to get the shell off. I found that the bellypan had been wrapped/folded over the floor channel, so I would not have been able to slide the pan out by itself, but would have had to take the floor channel out with it. Not a big deal since I am doing a shell off, but originally I thought I could just slide the bellypan down once I had removed the rivets. So, to save time, I cut the bellypan right below the floor channel and got on with the lifting of the shell. Now I will go back and drill out the rivets and remove the floor channel and remaining lip of bellypan.

I am not looking forward to putting the shell back on - when I was installing the cribbing, I pulled in the walls to make them straight - remember the floor was gone, and the bolts had wobbled in the floor channel and the walls had moved out, so I wanted to get it back as close to in line as possible. Using Leonards strap and clamp technique (worked great) I got the walls in line and screwed in the cribbing. I still see that the outside shell line is not straight, I am hoping that with the new floor and channel on that they will help in this matter.

Wire wheeling the frame sucks. I am looking to get some sandblasting done, otherwise I will spend the summer on the frame only.

Thats about it for now. Check out my pictures for updates on the progress.

PS. One of the biggest lessons learned was how much great info and great people there are on this forum. Thanks for the help and encouragement. Also, Big thanks to Andy at Inland, lots of great advice and help on the axle.

Kevin
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:43 PM   #64
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Check with www.harborfreight.com for portable sandblaster, I picked mine up on sale for $29.95, bought the sand at Home Depot. Great work. Nice Pictures.
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Old 07-01-2004, 12:00 AM   #65
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This is the one I bought. It is a throw away, but it gets the job done.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=30979
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Old 07-01-2004, 03:14 AM   #66
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Leonard,
Did you use regular sand? How well did it work?
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Old 07-01-2004, 08:29 AM   #67
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Yes it was regular bagged sand from Home Depot, when I get home tonight I'll post the brand name, can't remember it right now. It went a little slow on the heavy stuff but it worked great. Just make sure you have a compressor big enough to handle it.
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Old 07-01-2004, 08:56 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upallnight
Yes it was regular bagged sand from Home Depot, when I get home tonight I'll post the brand name, can't remember it right now. It went a little slow on the heavy stuff but it worked great. Just make sure you have a compressor big enough to handle it.
I've used Quikrete Commercial grade fine sand (1961-52) from home depot. It was very dry, free-flowing, worked great. Not the cheapest, but I spread a tarp under the frame and was able to screen and reuse 90%.
I also tried "Black Diamond" from Northern Tool. Also works great.
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Old 07-01-2004, 09:07 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upallnight
Yes it was regular bagged sand from Home Depot, when I get home tonight I'll post the brand name, can't remember it right now. It went a little slow on the heavy stuff but it worked great. Just make sure you have a compressor big enough to handle it.
How big of a compressor? What size, capacity did you use? Did this sandblaster really work that well? If so I'm getting one tomorrow!

John
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Old 07-01-2004, 09:14 AM   #70
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I will have to go home and get the specs. on the compressor. And it did work great as opposed to paying to have someone do it locally. The compressor I used was a small garage type compressor, just big enough to handle the pressure cleaner.
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Old 07-01-2004, 09:20 AM   #71
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it says "2hp/3.3cfm@90psi". I just looked it up, and my compressor will do that!! (says 4cfm@90psi). I may just have to get one of these...
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:24 AM   #72
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UUUMMM! More tools and an A/S. Can life get any better.
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:41 AM   #73
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I'm in. I have a 100 year old farm and something always could use sandblasting! You're right, life is good!

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Old 07-07-2004, 12:31 AM   #74
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Time to post a progress report...

I managed to spend 3 whole days over the fourth of July long weekend working on removing the floor in my 1973 31' Sovereign. It is time to post some photos and share some observations. (For the photos please go to my member gallery and look at Remove_floor_01 to 09).

First of all let me describe my situation and objectives...

I finally decided to do a full floor replace because there was just too much rot around the edges. I had already striped out pretty much everything in the interior including the inner skins. The wiring is about the only thing that is still pretty much intact. I ended up buying 7 sheets of treated plywood from a local supplier that had them treated for me using a non-toxic treatment. With the treatment used, the plywood (CDX plugged and touch sanded) is certified acceptable for wood foundation use. The wood looks like it has been soaked in tea with a brownish color. Cost about $69 per sheet. I do not intend to treat it with anything else.

I did not want to do a full body off and in fact did not want to remove all of the belly pan either. The part from the galley forward is still fully in place and I have not dropped the fresh water tank - it looks OK as is by the way. So about half the floor had to be worked on entirely from above. Another reason for not wanting to do a full body off was the simple fact that my unit has the u-channel/c-channel type of extrusions at the bottom of the walls on the sides. It is not possible to lift the body off the floor.

While I did not want to lift the body entirely off of the frame I still needed to provide some means to keep the body from spreading and falling off of the frame and or compressing the c-channel too much so that I could not insert the new floor plywood. I thought I might want to be able to raise the body a bit in selected areas to help facilitate putting the plywood in as well. I also needed a way to allow some flex of the bottom at the floor level as I put the plywood in. Of course any approach could not get in the way of removing the plywood nor in the way of doing any necessary repair work on the frame. The challenge then was to create some form of framework that would accomplish the above with a reasonable amount of material and work.

The Steps of the process:

1.) Build the full framework of 2x4 cross members and vertical supports attached to each other with 1/4" plywood gussets and decking screws. I picked locations along the body sides that had frame members that went all the way up (rather than just under windows for example). In my case there were 5 support points that I picked. These points were up to maybe 6' apart from each other. Actually I had already started taking out the floor from the back going forward when I decided on the support technique so I had to retrofit some of it. The vertical supports were all cut to 13" long. This was a good height to give me room to work underneath. It also put the vertical supports at an elevation where there was nothing in the way of attaching them with screws to the side bows at any of the locations that I had picked for them. The idea is to place all the supports with the floor in place and the vertical supports sitting on it. This establishes the correct starting height for the supports. After the floor is out I put a small 3/4" plywood block under each support to maintain the correct height. The plywood gussets and screws allowed me to remove any given vertical support in the area where I was removing the plywood. I put the vertical support back on along with the 3/4" spacers as soon as I was through working in that area. I measured what the correct spread of the body should be at the point where I mounted the cross wise 2x4 supports and cut them all to the same length. Actually the one at the back curve was 1/2" shorter because the curve was just starting there. I attached one end of the horizontal member with two screws through the side bow, pulled the other side in as necessary with my luggage strap and attached it with screws. I had to buy 7 2x4x8' pieces and I had some scrap 1/4" plywood for the gussets. I used 1-5/8" pan head wood screws which I had left over from another project to secure the horizontal members to the bows. I had some 1-1/4" decking screws that I used to connect the plywood gussets. I also had a bit of scrap 3/4" plywood that I cut up into shims. I could have used some of the old floor plywood for this as well only I didn't.

2.) Attach lengthwise supports along the sides of the body and on top of the cross member supports. I bought one sheet of 5/8" plywood that I cut into 6" wide strips 8' long for this. I figured a 5/8" plywood beam 6" tall would do enough to support the intermediate side members and I intend to use the 5/8" plywood for the support shims under the new plywood floor as I install it. Note: There are 5/8" plywood shims at each of the joints between the sheet of plywood in the original floor assembly. Each of the metal cross-members in these locations is made 5/8" shorter to accommodate this. I laid the plywood strips across the 2x4 framer members and secured them to the side bows with self-drilling drywall screws. I used two screws at each bow that the plywood crossed. I a couple of cases the plywood ends overlap each other in which case I attached them to each other with decking screws instead of attaching both of them to the bow with the drywall screws. There was one place in the galley area where I had to put the plywood strip lower to clear something (I think it was the either the external electrical outlet box or maybe the fresh water inlet assembly).

3.) Mark up the body of the sheets of plywood with lines to cut out the centers of the plywood following a great suggestion I read somewhere in these forums. I set my circular saw to cut just shy of 3/4" deep and was careful to check for any metal before I cut. This way I was able to bet the bulk of the plywood out leaving narrow strips on top of the frame members and around the edges. Interestingly I have already used some of the big pieces that I cut out as a sort of scaffold plank across the exposed frame members. They also work as a nice table for tools when laid length-wise across the 2x4 horizontal supports.

4.) Remove the rest of the plywood. This involved, for the most part, having to cut all the old fastenings. They were either too rusty or too tight to get them out by unscrewing them. I found that many of the floor panels were held in place in the middle areas with stainless steel self-drilling screws that were really tough. I had to switch to an abrasive saw blade on my reciprocating tiger saw to be able to cut them at any reasonable speed. They were really hard on a conventional metal cutting blade. I can tell you that it is much easier to remove wood around the edges where it is rotted than it is to remove good wood with rusty fasteners. I used a combination of a hand-held hack saw blade (actually mounted in a blade holder), my reciprocating saw, an air-powered cut-off tool and once in a while a screw driver to get things loose. While I was in this stage I was very careful to make sure that all fasteners were removed everywhere to minimize surprises later.

5.) Clean up. It is amazing just how much dirt and saw dust there was to clean up along the way. I had already removed all the fiberglass insulation in the walls and under the part of the floor where I had removed the belly pan. I had to clean out the belly pan area in the front from above. I did find one well dried rodent and a small cache of seeds in the front. I was just as happy to find that from the top rather than from the bottom by the way. A good shop vacuum is a great thing to have for this kind of work! Also using a dust mask is well worth the annoyance. I got so dirty each of the 3 days that I worked on the AS that my clothes had to be washed before I could wear them another day.

Tools Used:

large crow bar (about 2' long)
small crow bar (about 6" long)
putty knife shaped paint scraper (one of the most useful tools overall so far)
circular saw
table saw (mostly to cut the plywood strips, shims and gussets)
reciprocating saw - especially with an abrasive blade
saber saw
cordless screw driver/drill
air-powered cut off saw (with portable air compressor)
vacuum cleaner
manual screw driver
leather gloves
dust masks
sweat bands
hack saw blade holder and blade
black sharpie marker pen
wall paper brush (helps with dislodging dirt or insulation fuzz)
hammer
rubber hammer
1/4" wood chisel (especially useful for getting out stubborn pieces of plywood around the edges

Next steps:

Now I have to finish deciding what to fix, clean and or paint under the floor before I put the plywood back on. I did find that one cross-member was definitely broken at both ends. I think you can see that in the photos I am including with this posting. I have already completely replaced the back cross member in an earlier session. I bought one of the sand blasters mentioned in this thread and thought that my air compressor should be enough for it. A quick trial run did not work at all. I have a compressor that puts out something like 4.5 CFM at 90 PSI. I don't know if that is not enough or if the sand blasting unit is defective. I do not necessarily feel that I have to clean up and re-paint everything under the floor. Much of it is surprisingly good shape for being 31 years old. So we shall see. I really want to get past this point and start putting things back together. I have to completely rebuild the interior almost from scratch since a lot of stuff was gone when I got the unit.

I will post more progress when I achieve some. Also please do not hesitate to ask for clarification regarding any of the process I have documented here.

Malcolm
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Old 07-07-2004, 10:12 AM   #75
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Malcolm

Congradulations on your progress. I'm about a week or so behind you. I'm going to be removing my floor as soon as I get the trailer back from the welders.

You support my theory on mice - on my 59 I only found one - on this 58 I've found one. I think what happens is one mouse makes it his home, dies and all the other mice see him and say - "man gotta get out of this place - look what happened to him" - kinda has me thinking of putting him back in there.

Do have one question - if you take out the plywood between the frame and edges, how are you going to make your pattern for the new plywood?

Ken
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:59 PM   #76
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Making a pattern...

You raise a good question that I wrestled with a bit. Here is what I ended up doing for the different aspects of the paterns.

1.) The body was definitely bowed out on the curb side as much as 1-1/2" in some places because of the floor rot along that edge. So the question was what the width of the floor should be. I carefully measured across the width of the frame from the tips of the outriggers and added 1/2". From examing areas that looked like they were in their original places it seemed like the body was held out beyound the outriggers by about 1/4" on each side. So that is what I will set the main width of the floor to be.

2.) For the curves on the back of the trailer I found that the curbside one was a bit distorted by the body bowing out on that side. The other side seemed to be more or less in the correct locations relative to the frame. Removing the first sheet of plywood floor in that area did not seem to cause any body movement even though I had not yet put in my braces. I took a large enough piece of poster board and trimmed it with scissors enough to fit under the edge of the body in that area. I then traced the inner edge of the body on the poster board using a marking pen and cut out along the line. I marked the pattern piece at the center back of the trailer and down the centerline of the trailer (I put a chalk line down the center). I determined that the plywood needs to be 1-1/2" larger than my pattern when I mark it for cutting. I just need to remember to add the 1-1/2" before I cut it out. Actually I think I might transfer the enlarged pattern to another piece of cardboard or thin plywood first so I can check its fit. Since my plywood will run length-wise I will set my pattern along the center line edge and go from there. I will force both sides of the trailer to match the same pattern.

3.) For the front curve I intend to follow the same approach as for the back. Since I did put in the bracing before I got to the removal of the front plywood I am pretty sure that the front area has not moved any. The street side location of the body seems to be pretty much in the original location so I will use that side as my template as I did for the back. By the way I checked my back template with the front and they definitely are not the same.

4.) For documenting all the various holes in the floor I decided to work off of the chalk line that I snapped down the center of the floor. I figured that the center of the floor was probably still in the original location. I also intend to install my plywood in a lengthwise pattern so measurements from the centerline will translate into measurements from the center edge of my plywood sheets. I used my marking pen to write the incrememtal dimensions on the plywood joints starting from the back of the trailer and measured the lengthwise dimensions from the nearest plywood edge (adding the amount to that edge to each dimension). The back sheet seemed to be a full 48" piece while the front sheet might not be. I sketched up a drawing showing the holes. I then measured and wrote down the distances from the back of the trailer and from the center line. I measured to the center of round holes and recored the hole size. For rectangular openings I measured to all the sides of the openings. I went back and cross checked all of my dimensions on another day too by the way just to make sure I got them right.

I hope this helps,

Malcolm
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:14 PM   #77
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Sounds like a great plan. FWIW, I've been reading a boat building book and they say that a butt joint with an 8" piece glued and screwed is just as strong as the plywood - they actually recommend a 1/15 ratio, but 8" is ok - so my thinking is to not have any seams end up on a frame member and butt join all panels. This will effectively make the floor one piece. They also recommend screws every 2"

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Old 07-07-2004, 01:51 PM   #78
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No seams on frame members...

Actually this is essentially what happens with the way the floor is originally installed. The cross-members at the plywood joints in my unit are 5/8" lower than the top of the rest of the frame (every other cross member). So for this part of the plywood joints you do have a 5/8" plywood gusset installed. It does not continue out to the outriggers but does cover about 5' of the floor width this way. The original gussets are perhaps 5" or 6" wide. My plan is to have my sideways plyood joints fall on these shorter cross members and use 6" wide 5/8" plywood gussets there. I intend to glue and screwed the plywood floor to the gussets. I am also going to use the 5/8" x 6" gussets along the length wise center plywood seam - again with glue and screws. As I noted in my earlier post I bought 5/8" plywood for the lengthwise supports that I will also use for the gussets getting double usage out of them. Alas this plywood is not treated but should still be OK I think.

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Old 07-07-2004, 02:10 PM   #79
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Hmmm, guess they got that figured out sometime after 1958
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Old 07-07-2004, 05:34 PM   #80
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Just thought I'd put my two cents in about sandblasting.Don't use sand.The dust from sandblasting can cause silicosis kind of like asbestosis.wear a good mask and use glass beads.They are also sharper and cut faster than sand and are not that much more expensive.Also don't use the glass shot more than twice as it becomes dull and you are also injecting the rust back into the surface of the metal.
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