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Old 06-13-2020, 02:02 AM   #1
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 673
1992 Excella Front End Separation Repairs

As previously posted here, I discovered that we had front end separation when I began prepping our shell for removal almost two years ago. Not to retread the same ground as previously mentioned in that thread I discovered front end damage, but didn't know it had a name and put it on the back burner of things that would be done when it became time to reconnect the shell.

That time arrived a couple of weeks ago with the help of masked family and friends. The shell was set, but not riveted in place. Particularly because I want to get the front and rear hold down plates in place first.








It was at that point that I also asked for some forum help. Thanks to several members and links to similar repair threads along with PMs, emails and photo sharing I got lots of really helpful assistance.. Plus I have a fellow local restorer, ArgosyJeff (aka Jeff. :-)), who is an invaluable resource when it comes to metal fabrication. I was also fortunate to get some good advice from Colin Hyde. Colin told me I would only need 1/16" thick steel plate for the hold down plates. Jeff whose done this with his Argosy agreed. It was Jeff who inspired me to add a hold down plate to the rear end as well.

On Thursday June 4th, I ordered and picked up two 10" x 36" x 16ga (approx. 1/16") from a Local Metal Supermarket Store. I like them because they cut the steel to size which saved me the trouble. The cost was $56.08 including tax.
Phyllis and I spent the weekend drilling out rivets on the front center panel and cleaning old vulkem from around the bottom of the shell where it needs to be riveted and where the Banana wraps, side wrap and bottom trim will be attached.


On Monday June 8th, 2020 Phyllis and I made some strong headway on our front end separation repairs. We were lucky and blessed to receive and entire days worth (about 12 hours) of help, guidance and tool assistance from Jeff. Thanks to his confidence, a nice metal break that he made for his Argosy repairs and electric metal shears we were able to make the bends to both two hold down plates, one for the front and a second for the rear and cut out the aluminum pieces we'll need to repair the front end separation damage. Thanks to Jeff's knowledge and mad skills we made templates and cut out aluminum to reinforce the front quarter panels and the the lower half of the front center panel.













At the end of the day, the hold down plates needed to be painted to help prevent or at least reduce galvanic corrosion, and all of the aluminum patches Jeff and I made plus a few others I still need to make all need to be riveted in place, but Phyllis and I are already in get the process of getting that done. Stay tuned.


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Old 06-13-2020, 06:58 AM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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Looks like a first class job. I think the hold down plates in front and rear are important. Donít understand why AS didnít do that in some years. When we renovated the 55 there was an original front hold down Ďangleí. It was very thin and about 2Ē x 2Ēx 12Ē. Not much but the few rivets were in shear so it seems to have held. Sure is cheap insurance in keeping the semi-monocoque functional. Great pictures. Take care.
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:22 AM   #3
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1994 30' Excella
alexandria , Kentucky
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Looks like your doing a great job! Glad you posted progress pictures.
My mind always starts moving when I see the inside of a trailer opened up and think about adding:
- led lights in the ceiling
- electric wires and drain hose in case you ever want a rear air conditioner
- speaker wires - better placement or addition of surround sound system, wires to hook the television into the trailer speakers
- AC electric wire going to the water heater area so you can add an electric heating element to the water heater
- having some circuits to use with an inverter.
- changing the plumbing over to pex
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1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:41 AM   #4
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1992 29' Excella
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Bubba L,
Thanks for the encouragement. As for the discontinuation of the hold-down-plate, per someone very familiar with Airstreams, but who shall remain nameless, Money. Discontinuing the Hold-down-plate saved the company a few bucks. I'm not sure they ever began using them again after stopping in the 80's. Does anyone know?

crispyboy,
I appreciate what you are saying. There are many nice additions in the plans. All of the old wiring will be replaced. I'll be posting a more on this repair in this thread and I may begin a progress thread in the 90-93 Excella Section of the Knowledge Base Model Specific Section. To much good stuff not to share.
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:45 PM   #5
Don McKelvay
 
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1994 34' Limited
London , Ontario
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Congratulations and well done on the progress thus far. Loved the quality of your work and pictures. You are providing confidence to others facing similar projects.
We too had a problem with frame separation at the front of our 1994 34 footer, but our Can-Am dealer fixed the problem - he too had told Airstream about the problems for years with little or no results, it seems Airstream is prepared to save money yet knowing they are causing problems. Wally would not do that - would he?
Looking forward to future updates.
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:49 PM   #6
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1995 30' Excella
1998 34' Cutter Bus (Chevy)
Goodyear , Arizona
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Thanks to all for the feedback on this thread. One never stops learning. I am also familiar with this separation problem. Although I never attempted to correct it but after several late 80s & early 90s A/S I finally learned the cause. I was pulling with a 3500 ( 1 Ton ) tow truck. The lack of flex with the stiff truck suspension traveling over short dips and road rises caused the body at the belt line to crush / separate. This happened on 2 A/Ss with no prior problems. One A/S was a 2000 34' the second was a 31'. Once again, A/S shows poor engineering & workmanship.
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:17 PM   #7
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2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
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When I did my solar/Lithium mod we eliminated the front battery boxes. At that time Airstream Service install 90 degree "Ls" on all the vertical ribs in the front. I was impressed that they thought to do that and was told they do that anytime they have that area opened up. Now for the steel plates vs. corrosion: Why not use aluminum? Aluminum, pound for pound is stronger than steel and no corrosion. Maybe you would need it a little thicker than steel, but where it is used wouldn't show.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:44 AM   #8
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Amazing work. It turned out very nicely.

On a side note: what material is that used on the floor?
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPurcell View Post
Amazing work. It turned out very nicely.

On a side note: what material is that used on the floor?
It's Coosa Board, 3/4" Blue Water 26, to be exact.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:26 AM   #10
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1985 31' Sovereign
Lovettsville , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPurcell View Post
Amazing work. It turned out very nicely.

On a side note: what material is that used on the floor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Re-Pete View Post
It's Coosa Board, 3/4" Blue Water 26, to be exact.
I just stumbled across your thread and was going to ask the same question! Thanks for the info and great pics. Your progress is impressive and helps inspire me to get my project started.
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 Sovereign View Post
I just stumbled across your thread and was going to ask the same question! Thanks for the info and great pics. Your progress is impressive and helps inspire me to get my project started.
Thanks, it takes a village. .

Or lots of great help from the members of this forum.
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