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Old 08-05-2021, 08:41 AM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
Oshawa , ON
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 8
Replacing Subfloor without removing channel

Hello all,

My 1975 31' Sovereign has had a unknown dark history. Most of the outer shell has a second layer of aluminum on the outside which covers the rivets into the channel. I am unable to drill out the rivets from the outside to remove the channel.

Only solution I can think of is to remove pieces of my interior bracing and flex the shell to fit the subfloor into the channel. I do not want to cut the subfloor in half but I am also worried that removing bracing and bending the shell out might distort the shell. I am replacing most of my outriggers so I will lose any reference point for bolt holes.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks

-Grant
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:42 AM   #2
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1976 Argosy 24
1961 28' Ambassador
1968 26' Overlander
Lakewood , Colorado
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Posts: 161
Grant - are you doing the complete floor? Shell off? I have done several floors with the shell on but not mid-seventies. Shells are surprisingly flexible but be careful, the extra panels may make it stiffer than normal. Mark the center on the frame and the new panels to keep it all lined up. In the trailers I've seen, the channel is not totally around the floor but in several key straight areas and perhaps all edges of the wheel wells. If you have the wheel wells out you can put the new panels in place there and then slide them into position using a 2x4 or big pry bar to move them along, hammering will not work. At some point you may have to splice 1 piece to make it all work. If you can get 1 edge of the panel engaged in the channel you only need to move the shell 1" to 1 1/2" to get the other edge in. Post pics and ask more questions... good luck.
Mark D
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:42 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Get yourself a stout putty knife, preferably with a metal "butt" on the end of the handle. Insert between the exterior skin and the channel, and smack it with a hammer, shearing the rivets. This is my preferred means of removing rivets even if I can get at the heads. Once you have separated the channels from the shell, separate the two layers of skin by a 1/4 of an inch or so and push out the sheared rivets. Sometimes a spring powered punch is really helpful in doing this. Now you can drill from the inside to the outside to bring the holes all the way through the outer layer for reinstallation.

good luck!
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:39 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. Lifting the shell and installing a whole new subfloor will result an a solid trailer. Your trailer has the "F" channel that does present some challenges. But the F channel is only in the straight sections of the lower body. Shearing difficult rivets is a valid method that I have used before. I use my small chisel.

I can't imagine why your trailer has been reskinned. My 75 Overlander has had exterior skin replacements in places, not certainly not just a cover job. Maybe removal of the interior skins will show body damage that resulted in a skin "graft" so to speak.

You might want to consider sanding the edges of your new subfloor a bit so they will slid into the F channel more easily. and be easier to slide them into position. Once you get your new outriggers welded on the frame rails, and your subfloor pieces ready to go, you needn't worry about precise outrigger positioning. Just drill up through the hole in the end of the outrigger through the subfloor and the F channel. Place your new bolt in the hole and tighten it down.

David
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Old 08-06-2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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1964 26' Overlander
1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Young View Post
Hello all,

My 1975 31' Sovereign has had a unknown dark history. Most of the outer shell has a second layer of aluminum on the outside which covers the rivets into the channel. I am unable to drill out the rivets from the outside to remove the channel.

Only solution I can think of is to remove pieces of my interior bracing and flex the shell to fit the subfloor into the channel. I do not want to cut the subfloor in half but I am also worried that removing bracing and bending the shell out might distort the shell. I am replacing most of my outriggers so I will lose any reference point for bolt holes.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks

-Grant
Hi Grant,

Another Grant here. I replaced the floor in our '74 Sovereign without removing the shell. I cut the rear piece of plywood to get it into the c-channel, but later realized that I could have done it without cutting. The other pieces went in without cutting, including the front piece. Your experience may be different with the additional layer of aluminum. I too had to replace or repair most of the outriggers. Some had to be completely replaced, but on a lot of them I was able to just cut off the rusty part at the bottom and weld in a new bottom half. I'm just on the other side of Toronto in Milton, so if you get stuck let me know and I'd be happy to come over and give you a hand.

Grant
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