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Old 06-03-2004, 04:40 PM   #1
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Shell Off vs Shell On Summary

All,

I am the proud new owner of a 63 Safari, and have just joined this forum, and am amazed at how much knowledge there is out there. I have been going through all of the floor replacement forums and need to get a summary and a reality check from you.

My PO had completly stripped out everything, including the floor (just tore it out - some places under the U channel have wood, others are floating). So, very quickly I was able to tear out thier Psuedo Floor and get a look at the frame and the task of replacing the floor. The frame needs work - some welding at the old bathroom area, definately sand blasting and paint. I also need a new axle.

So with the existing conditions of frame repair, new axle, can I do a Shell ON floor replacement? I have a sloping drive way, and to take the shell off would require getting/renting a shop space.

Are these the correct steps for these potential methods?

Shell On:
1 - leave belly pan on, clean frame, weld were needed (possibly add stringers necesary to stagger floor joints - no 4 corner joints), POR-15 treatment
2 - remove inside wall sheeting to gain access to floor bolts, wiring etc.
3 - install new foor, piecing it together with staggered joints in the middle, bolt as needed around perimeter - can I get at the bolts in the middle without dropping the belly pan?
4 - Once floor is complete, take to shop to have new axle installed. Do they need to have the pan off to install the new axle?

Shell Off: rent shop space
1 - Remove Rub guard, and perimiter rivets
2 - Drop belly pan
3 - Remove inside wall sheeting
4 - Install cribbing and stringers to the exposed wall studs
5 - Raise shell, remove frame, tie down shell
6 - Repair frame, sandblast and paint.
7 - Install new axle
8 - Install new floor and insulation
9 - Reattach shell to new floor
10 - Reattach bellypan and outside skin.

I know this is very simplified, but with my logistics and other requirements, I am not sure if I have the processes in the right order, or whether or not I can do a Shell ON floor replacement.

Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.

Kevin
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Old 06-03-2004, 06:46 PM   #2
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Shell on/shell off

Kevin,

You have the basics well in hand. I understand your sloped driveway problem.
The problem with a shell on floor replacement is not the floor bolts in the center of the floor. The problem is the bolts at the perimeter. The belly pan should be in two pieces, split down the centerine. The difficulty is reaching all the way from the center, where the pan is split, to the bolts on the perimeter.
If your trailer is assembled the same as my '59, the bellypan is under the body sheeting, and both are riveted to the U-channel at the floor.

On option is to cut out the center of the belly pan along the main frame rails, fold down the remaining bellyskin enough that you can reach up and put nuts on the floor bolts. The other option is to use self-tapping screws and work from the top.

With your situation, unless cost is not a constraint, I would forgo the shell off idea.

You do not need to remove the belly skin to replace the axle.

Good luck with your project. Everyone will be looking forward to a progress report. Welcome to the Airstreamforum.
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Old 06-03-2004, 07:16 PM   #3
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Hey, Kevin, welcome!

Come on, you KNOW you want to take your shell off .

It sure would be mice to have gotten away with a shell-on deal.
If you CAN go that route, try it.
Like Don said, you may have to open the bellypan along the frame rails so you can reach in around the edge.

But if the PO took the floor out, all the way to the walls, then he did much of the hard work for you, in my opinion.
Good for you ...

I'm doing the shell-off idea (believe me, it wasn't my original plan)...my shell is now off, sitting atop a few sawhorses. My frame, well, I took it to the welder today for the welding and sandblasting.
And I've been shopping around for satisfactory plywood. I've got the POR-15 ready. I need to buy some epoxy (tomorrow). This is when the cost is shooting up...

Welcome!
If I can add here...that if you DO go the shell-off route, and you can rent a shop...and you've got some time on your hands...you should be able to get away with a shop rental for a month or less.

I can't wait to see if I can actually get my shell back on!

Chuck
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:15 PM   #4
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Wow, you guys have some great ideas, and thanks for the quick replies. Chuck - no worries on getting my first airstream with this much work required, this is the learning experience I needed (according to my wife). From what I have seen on my first one, I think I would find a way to look at the frame no matter what, that rust and leaking is an evil thing, I am amazed at how much damage it did, and had this Safari had everything still in it I would be oblivious....

First - good to know that I can replace the axle without dropping the belly pan, which means I can get the floor done first.

Second - I went out and checked - my pan is made up of 3 strips - 2 along either side about two feet wide that curl up, and 1 down the middle about 4 feet wide. Thanks for that info Don. So now, I could remove the center strip of the belly pan - have enough access to reach bolts on the side and middle, and also do any frame repairs from the bottom.

With that said, I will drop the middle section of pan, begin repairs to the frame. Chuck where did you find a sandblaster and welder? and how expensive is it to sandblast the frame? So repair the frame, weld in stringers to allow me to offset the new joints, insulation, decking, and bolts.

Any ideas on how jack up enough to slide in the new sheets?

Kevin
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:30 PM   #5
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jacking up.

Kevin,

Jacking up is easy. Use a 1x4 or 2x4 across the width, about 4 inches above the floor. Put a couple of screws thru the ribs and into the 2x4. Jack it up with a bottle jack, or just lever it up with a crowbar. Place cribbing where needed.
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:03 PM   #6
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Well, word of mouth or the Yellow Pages.....

Alot of it is labor.

Just brought the trailer there today....
Estimated:
1300 lbs Silica beads for blasting - $6/100 lb
$50/hr or so for labor.
I'm expecting about $500 total -
for sandblasting the whole thing, Cutting off a few things (like the old friction sway mount), Adding a strip for bolting down the center (my trailer doesn't have one at all), replacing the first and last crossmember entirely, repairing the doorstep (common break), repairing two crossmembers I nicked with the Sawzall , reinforcing the aft end of the framerails, repairing the coupler, blasting a few other pieces of rusty steel, taking out the few elevator bolts that I cut off but couldn't punch out.....
....and when I go to pick the trailer up, I'm going to ask the guy if I can slap my coat of POR-15 on in his shop.
He also said he has some extra POR-15 around that I can have.

Don's a good one to ask regarding floor repairs...his advice has helped me a ton!
-Chuck
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:46 AM   #7
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Kevin,
Re: sandblasting.
If you're willing to work at it, you can get a lot of the existing paint off with a wire wheel and paint thinner. The original frame paint is a very poor grade chassis paint that comes off pretty easily.
I only used 50# of grit to sandblast mine, in the corners where it was hard to get at with the wire wheel. Bought a sanblast gun at Northern for about $30. You need a big compressor if you DIY.
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Old 06-04-2004, 07:11 AM   #8
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How slopped?

The slop actually aided me in my removal. I removed the body becide my drive in the yard. I have a tall truck and adjusted the hitch so the coach was level . The back bumper was about to touch the lawn. I built a suport frame inside like Don showed. Pounded some 2x4's into the ground to suport the body. Lifted it off and screwed it to the suport stakes.

The slope alowed the frame more clearence in the front and I pulled it right out.


The Picture is deceiving but to put it into prespective on how sloped my yard its. The hitch on the front of that truck is about 34 inches. That truck is over 7ft tall. The back bumper was dragging the lawn.
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Old 06-04-2004, 07:22 AM   #9
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If you want to do the work yourself on the frame you can do it under the trailer body.I made a new frame under mine, it made a good shelter.Check your yellow pages for sandblasting.Here in Vancouver there are several outfits that sanblast machinery and are reasonably priced.There is one outfit that rents a shelter ,set up with a heavy blaster,by the hour.
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Old 06-04-2004, 07:41 AM   #10
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Another option that you may want to consider is having your frame galvanized. The cost is very reasonable. When I built my Series111 Land Rover the frame, firewall or bulkhead, radiator grill and wheel rims were hot dipped galvanized. These are the only body parts that are made from steel. It cost me about $250.00 and it will pretty much last forever. You'll find places that galvianize in the yellow pages. By the way these were brand new parts that came with a primer coat and I didn't have to remove it first. The place that did the work pre-dipped them in a solution that stripped the paint and treated the steel before the galvanizing process.

Jack
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Old 06-04-2004, 08:30 AM   #11
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Kevin

Can you post any pictures of your project?
Leonard
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Old 06-04-2004, 09:47 AM   #12
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Land Rover photo's

Don't know if these are going to upload correctly, but I'll give it a try.
Jack
Couldn't upload to this post because the file was to large, but it should be in my photos section
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Old 06-04-2004, 10:38 AM   #13
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take alook in my photo gallery. you can see some of the Rover parts that I had galvanized
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:41 PM   #14
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Body on floor replacement.

mbatm01,

I suggest you check out my post of yesterday about replacing the floor without having to remove the body, belly wrap or bananna wrap. It could be just the technique you are looking for. The name of the post is:

Body and banana wrap on floor replacement technique.

Given the above technique you should be able to replace your floor without removing any of the bottom skins if you want to. Of course you may wish to remove some of them to be able to do a better job of working on your frame. If the steps or reasons for them are not clear in my posting please let me know and I can clarify.

By the way my driveway has a definite slope. It drops 9" per 8'. I have the back end of my 1973 31' trailer sitting about 36" above ground.

Malcolm
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Old 06-06-2004, 10:08 PM   #15
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Update on the summary

Lots of great ideas floating around, I like Malcolm's and Leonard's approaches and may go with some sort of hybrid approach.

Here is the link to my pics of the project to date:

http://www.airstreamphotos.com/photo...00&ppuser=5260
Malcolm - great idea, there is a lot of corrosion where the bath was and the frame needs a lot of work, so I will take out the center piece of belly pan. This has been harder than anticipated, the drill keeps gliding of the steel post of the rivet and going into the softer aluminum. I am currently using a grinder to get the rivet heads off since I have to replace a lot of the pan anyway. Ground part of my palm off in the process.

Leonard - is your lifting method for a clamshell type replacement, or have you removed all of the perimeter rivets and are completely lifting the shell? I can see some of the belly pan in some of your pictures.

59toaster - your incline looks very similar to mine, your cribbing looks right on, I am going to try for the shell on approach, leaving the option to go whole hog-shell off if needed.

There is no floor to use as a template, any ideas on creating one other than cardboard and a scribe????

Kevin
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Old 06-07-2004, 01:02 AM   #16
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Lightbulb Rivits and templates...

I spent some time taking off parts of my belly pan, removing some inner panels and etc. I did discover one helpful trick in getting off some of the harder rivits that you might want to try. What I discoverd was that you can chop them off. Probably the best tool for this would be a sharp wood chisel perhaps 1/2" wide. The only wood chisel that I had around in that size was a very nice wood working one that I did not want to risk (nice wood handle rather than a solid plastic one for example). So I used a razor blade utility knife instead. I put the blade as close to the skin as I could get it by flexing it a little I then hit the end of the handle just behind the blade with a hammer. A lot of the rivits I treated that way snapped off with one wack. A few that had more of the steel shank sticking out needed to be cut from more than one side but I still was able to get them off. I suspect that a little tapping of the hammer on the shaft (maybe with a nail set?) might have made it move into the rivit more but I did not try that. This trick worked especially well for the smaller interior rivits but also worked OK on some nasty ones on the belly pan. I think I am going to buy a chisel just for this purpose since I still have more rivits to remove.

I have a couple of thoughts relative to making floor panels without any old ones for a template. What I wanted to be able to do was to set a full sheet of plywood on the floor (or bare frame in your case) and transfer marks directly to it from the trailer. This in fact is one of the main reasons that I was thinking about running my floor panels length wise rather than cross-wise as in the original. If you run sheets cross-wise you can not set a full sheet of plywood in place to mark - you have to at least cut it to length first. Instead I wanted to be able to use a trick that I learned about for marking floor tiles to fit. The idea is somewhat like scribing (if you are using the term in the way I am thinking you are) but you transfer marks directly to your plywood instead of to cardboard. Basically you want to place the sheet to be marked a specific known amount away from the countour to be marked but perpendicular to the contour. Let me try to give a specific example. To mark a lengthwise panel that will fit along the side and into the curve of the corner place the panel along one side and slide it up toward the corner. The end of the panel might now be say 30" from the end wall. What you now need to do is to measure 30" from the body end (in many places around the curve) perpendicular to the panel end and plot these points on the sheet of plywood. Connect the dots and cut to the line. I thought maybe a triangular carpenters speed square and a yardstick might be useful for this techinque. By the way the sheet of plywood does not need to be under the body side if you do not want to while you are marking it. Just offset it out from the final placement edge of the frame a known amount (say for example 2"). Then use a marking stick that is two inches wide. Measure to the body with one side of the stick and mark to the plywood with the other side. I apologize if this explanation isn't making sense. If you are not comfortable marking directly to the plywood you could still use the technique with cardboard that is square on the end. It would be easier to draw a picture. Let me know if what I was trying to describe is not clear enough the way I told it and I will draw up something.

One thing to take note of too is that you may not need the clamshell approach to insert the end panel if you put all the panels length wise. You might want to stagger the joints between the panels on one side relative to the joints on the panels on the other side so there are no places where 4 panel corners meet.

I hope these tricks helps some and I would like to hear about any you figure out along the way since it seems like we are both approaching some of the same tasks.

Thanks,

Malcolm
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Old 06-07-2004, 05:30 AM   #17
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Malcolm,

The best tool I have found for cutting the rivets as you describe is a steel tang flat bladed paint scraper. It has a semi sharp edge, and is wide enough that you don't have to "aim well" to hit the rivet. It is thinner than a chisel, but thicker than a putty knife. It also has an extended corner for getting to rivets that are close to other things you don't want to cut. Another benefit is that it runs about 7 bucks. Much cheaper than a chisel.
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Old 06-07-2004, 06:40 AM   #18
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Use a drill for pop rivets, same bit size as the shank (usually 1/8" on these). You don't have to drill out the rivet, just take off the head, which means only the thickness of the metal of the rivet, it only takes a few turns of the bit. Then you can use a pin punch or nail set to push out the body if it doesn't fall out

Brown wrapping paper is also good to make patterns. Slide it under the curves of the body, tape it in position and mark it. I would make any of these you need before pulling the body of the frame, or disturbing the location any more than possible. It is real easy to move the side 1/4" when it is loose.

If you run the floor plywood the length of the trailer you will put the seam down the center of the traffic area. Make sure you use some really good voidless plywood, block it, screw it and glue it very well under the seam or you are going to get flex in that area.

John
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Old 06-07-2004, 09:05 AM   #19
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Kevin

Sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday, I was out of town tracking down some rims, my trailer presently has two original hadco split rims and two replacement 16 inch rims, axles don't carry weight evenly with this configuration. As to your question about the exterior rivets, no I didn't remove any of them. the only rivets I removed was underneath holding the belly pan and banana wrap up. I cut the belly pan off at the first full crossmember because it was trash anyway, when I replace it all I have to do is rivet it to the piece I left on. When I get home after work tonight (oops didn't mean to let that slip, I don't serf the forum from work) I'll take some picture's of the template I made and how it was done. My floor was in about the same shape as yours, looks like we had the same previous owner. Click on the link to see what I started with, this picture was taken after we unloaded about 8000 lbs + "stuff" out of it.
http://www.airstreamphotos.com/photo...cat/500/page/1
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Old 06-07-2004, 09:11 AM   #20
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The best method I've seen for running plywood the length of the trailer is to weld a stringer in the center of the trailer from front to back and bolt the plywood to that.

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