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Old 10-17-2013, 04:13 PM   #21
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1977 31' Excella 500
Zavalla , Texas
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Doh! I've already pulled the panel. Here are two pics hat might give perspective. The close up is from about the same angle as the previous photo I posted showing some framing pulled away from the skin. That was a rectangular box that must have previously been there either for the old converter system or the hydraulic brake booster. Then, the pulled out shot is the full front panel to hopefully help you see where the other two were taken.


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I was able to get the panel out by drilling out the two hidden rivets in the corners from inside. Wasn't easy. They were about an inch inside of the furthest out rivets along the top.

I certainly am interested in any opinions on the damage cause. I don't like thinking about the possibility of frame bending. I will try to do some measurements to see if I can find anything that seems off/inconsistent from side to side that might hint at something going wrong.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:24 PM   #22
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Does that have the vertical steel plate in between the old battery boxes? I'm guessing that the battery box cutouts is what caused the problems in the first place. Cutting two big holes at the bottom of a big shearweb (front skin) is a receipt for failure in my book. The front of the trailer to starts moving around because the vertical steel plate is only attached to the skin in between the cutouts and there is no addition structure to carry the load around the cutouts.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:21 AM   #23
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Photos in progress ... clecos holding old panel to back of new to use as a template.

The new panel is 95% complete but I don't have a photo of that tonight. Just need to put the trim and inside panel back together. Well, there is going to be some rewiring and other stuff that will be a chore in putting the inside skin back.

Also adding corner segment protectors.

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Old 10-24-2013, 06:55 AM   #24
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I don't see any angles on the inside edges of the battery boxes like my trailer. Look at the photo below that I posted earlier and you will see what I am talking about. There really needs to be something other than the sheet metal that ties the hold down plate to the structure. As Aerowood stated above that having the battery boxes without some extra support around the hole is a really bad idea. The fact that your original panel had a third hole that almost connected the two holes for the battery boxes was a disaster waiting to happen. Holes in the structure are not so bad if the hole is surrounded by a frame that is riveted to the skin. This is the same reason I don't like the way most people (Aerowood excluded) install fantastic fans on the roof by cutting the old vent frame out and attaching a flimsy plastic frame to the sheet metal.

Perry

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Old 10-24-2013, 10:16 AM   #25
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Very helpful photo - thanks for posting. I actually ended up creating some vertical Z braces that went in about where you have some L channel. It came out really nicely. Will post a photo later today.

The only thing is... The gauge isn't as thick as the other ribs. I tried to find that channel at a metal supply but they didn't have it so I just fabbed it up on a sheet metal brake.

I'm going to study your photo to get some ideas on putting the inner panel and wiring back together. Mine is a mess right now.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:54 AM   #26
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You can order metal from mcmaster.com. they have will what you need. Buck rivet if possible.

Perry
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #27
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Already got the metal and installed Tuesday and Wednesday. Picked up the metal at Aircraft Spruce.

Here are some pics. We left a message on the inside of the panel for someone to find in the future.

As you can see, there is a lot of cleanup of the inside to do now.


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Old 10-24-2013, 12:04 PM   #28
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And the outside...



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Old 10-24-2013, 08:01 PM   #29
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It looks good.

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Old 10-25-2013, 10:52 AM   #30
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Well done, are you planning on replacing the the inner skin as well? Install the inner skin with quite a few extra rivets into the existing and added on structure and you will have created a very effective torque box and you should never again have problems with the front.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:55 AM   #31
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I will likely fill in the bottom of he existing so I don't have to worry about matching the vinyl covering at the top. I would like to buck rivet a patch on he bottom but I don't know if I can get the panel out without a lot if work as a result of all the wiring. I do have to redo a bunch of that anyway so it might work out. But yes, extra rivets sound like a good idea.
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