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Old 10-19-2013, 11:05 AM   #1
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Battery door frame issue

Can anyone tell me how the battery door frames are attached to the skin/ribs? Last night I think I had my WD set too tight for my 1500 Express van and I got some flexing of the skin at the inner edge of the door frame. No apparent rib damage, just outer skin pulled away from the frame and split the sealer. There is now a small gap along that edge. Popped blind rivets? Can they be accessed from the gap in the inner skin cutout between the battery box and the inner skin?
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #2
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Rich, I think you have to remove the bottom wrap molding to get access to those rivets.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:47 AM   #3
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Even the ones on the vertical edges of the door????? I can't visualize that....or are there any on the vertical edges (sides)?
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:11 PM   #4
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Maybe I'm not understanding what rivets you are talking about. The rivets that hold the bottom of the front skin to the frame are under the lower wrap molding.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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Most compartments in the oldies have the compartment access doors bucked to the outer skin to access it you will need to remove that inner skin section or it would be cheaper and easier to remove the old rivets and use Olympic rivets to replace the sheared rivets. Caution the shaver for those rivets is expensive.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Frames NOT doors are riveted
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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So is there a flange, hidden from the outside but riveted from the inside? The cutouts in the inner skin are about 3/4" larger than the mouth of the batt box, so I wonder if the rivets may be accessible after removing the visible insulation. Does anyone know of a thread showing pic of a naked battery door from the inside? I can't find one. I'd like to know where I'm going before I get home and have to remove the couch and possibly the electrical center....and the amp and subwoofer.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:09 PM   #8
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Steve, I am assuming there are hidden blind rivets which attach the cast aluminum door frames to the outer skin. There is no visible attachment from the outside of the trailer , so I assume a blind rivet to a hidden flange cast into the frame. It just isn't easy to see anything with the couch, insulation, and all the electrics in the way.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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Cliff, how applied and where are the rivets? There are no visible attachment methods to be seen from the exterior.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:18 PM   #10
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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Ok, first time from an Ipad....hope it works
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:52 PM   #12
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OK, that's a different area than I thought you were talking about....I thought you were talking about the bottom of that panel.

Are you sure there are even rivets there?
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:54 PM   #13
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no, Steve, I'm not sure...but something has to hold that frame in place. I can't believe the sealer was the only adhesive method retaining the skin to the frame. I'm a bit baffled.
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
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I really don't know either, but I do know that front flat panel is supposed to be heavier, thicker gage aluminum that most all of the rest of the body of the trailer.

I think I would call Airstream and ask them how it is attached and how you get access to those fasteners.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:22 PM   #15
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Your access has a cover (like a picture frame) so for your own protection I would consult with Airstream.
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Old 10-21-2013, 04:17 PM   #16
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So I got some good information from Randy and Dan at AS Mothership. They were very helpful.

The battery door frames are solid cast and the outer skin is attached to the frame with small 1/4" screws from the inside..there are holes drilled into the cast frame.

The root cause is the flexing of the A frame which actually lifts the batteries and their boxes, particularly when a lot of WD is applied.

So the fix is to trim back the inner skin and fix the screws, which have either snapped the heads off, or have backed out. Then one should increase the blocking height under the battery boxes by 1/8" to 1/4" and strap the rear of the boxed to the floor with plumbers strapping. This will keep the boxes from moving around and putting stress on the outer frame/skin interface.

Tomorrow's project.
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Old 01-13-2016, 11:12 AM   #17
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I just got a PM from a member here, which made me realize I never closed this thread out.
Upon removing the sofa and trimming back the inner skin, just a bit, on the perimeter of the battery box, I could see the screws (or lack thereof) attaching the outer skin to the Battery door cast frame. There weren't many screws, and a couple had the heads snapped off. I drilled several holes through the inner skin and the flange of the frame and fastened with stainless self tapping screws. I added 3 - 4 screws on both sides and the top of the frame. The bottom is inaccessible, and probably unnecessary.

I removed the old sealer around the perimeter on the outside and reapplied Parbond.

After awhile, I still saw some minor small gaps develop while WD is applied. I would recommend (and I will do, one of these days) re-applying Parbond, and allowing to cure, WITH WD APPLIED. This will fill the small void and just hold the skin in that "stressed" position when WD is not applied.
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