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Wabbiteer 09-28-2011 09:35 AM

Hey y'all watch this... (shell game)
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Or, "Shell-off after the Love is gone..."

Yesterday was a rain day so I organized some of my project pictures to make up yet another shell-off thread.

Honestly only a little extra spiritual energy exists to report posts on this the end of destruction of my 73 27' Overlander and I need to stay focused. Fine. For all my education and maturity I am leading this post with poop-chat but with a warning - cheery poster-logic witticisms, sayings and cuteness will be loathed and ignored :)

Seems as if long ago the entire plywood floor got soaked with septic stuff & formaldehyde; long term overflow, maybe a intentional flooding as vandalism or innocent city-water connected leak that geysered the BW tank while the residents were absent, or trailer caught in a flash flood reversing the plumbing...

Whatever it is someone should have gone to jail or been forced to live in it until they shell-off'd themselves.

Painting the floor helped only a little bit, even painting both sides it is even in the fiberglass clamped between the frame-floor as well as all the hidden areas under the channels & frame blah blah so the floor is condemned 100%.

Removing liners erased a spacious rodent campus - rear end cap was the worst seconded by the entire galley side with the front lower sections third. Huge aroma makers

The shells' fiberglass insulation was wetted w/ a machine oil to reduce moisture holding & dust & squeak. This was one of the strong undertones to the aroma I detested - like a stalled electric motor overheating. I kept wondering if testing the batts for PCBs wouldve condemned every early 70s Airstream on the planet remember Vietnam's Agent Orange problems came from carrier oils that were just from the lowest bidder and we know how cheap er, Ill shuddup now.

The liners are all out with both sides stiffly scrubbed with a deck-brush & spic'n span plus comet chlorine no-scratch cleanser scouring yet sniffing the stacked pile theres still a bad smell on one or more sheets. Kind of reinforces the rain flood idea, stanky lower liner syndrome.

  1. Dregs of insulation glued to shell from spray-on contact cement after the batts have been torn out. Way depressing if one is hoping for a truly clean interior shell.
  2. One of the long term occupied mouse condos. Better than the Norway Rat burrows under the floor. Don't flinch at removing wraps or liners if things look mousey.
  3. Insulation dregs brushed off with a circular brush chucked up in a power drill. Extremely messy - body suit/respirator/face mask time. Of course the brush is no longer available anywhere, I'll include a picture of it later just to share my aggravation.
  4. Front ceiling vent showing signs of repair-replacement. Looks like I know where the new vent fan is going, though I'd hoped to put it in the middle location.

Wabbiteer 09-28-2011 09:45 AM

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Shell is free and resting on sleepers. I built pylons to hold cross-rails, so now shell is elevated.

And, of course, 60MPH wind gusts forecast yesterday for next county north had be scrambling to anchor elevated shell - ended up candy cane striping heavy rope through the frame and over top the shell as ballast. Glad I didn't pull the frame out first chance I got.

TIP - modern lumber fresh from the stores has been sprayed willy-nilly with silicone lubricant to lower wear and tear on the mills' machinery, and reduce energy costs handling it. That translates to any stick-built frame having very low friction where load bearing pieces have contact if not dovetailed with braces or pinned by screws and bolts. With just a 7" maximum tilt when lifting the front/rear over sixteen feet resulted in the shell drifting nearly eight inches down-slope as the various lifts and blocking occurred. At least the 3" side-to-side skew erased when the binding side groaned free. Make nylon wrap-frapped rope stays or notch the fulcrum point to keep shell from moving!


  1. $100 worth of stick lumber and $25 worth of screws and bolts. Lift height adjustable in 7-inch increments to match the bottle jacks' lift, able to lower shell to seventeen-inch height if weather is coming or winter arrives early.
  2. Detail of rear cross-brace & shell sleeper. Have plenty of 6x6" blocks for cribbing if you want to try doing it this way. Having the outside pylons higher than the cross-rail beams keeps shell from toppling if/when the bottle jacks tip over. Don't ask.
  3. Shell interior waiting for a couple of coats of insulating paint (to be covered later)
  4. Detail of variable height lift pylons.

Wabbiteer 09-28-2011 09:49 AM

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Next step was boosting the shell front for the wheel wells to clear the shell support rails & pull the frame/floor out from underneath. The bottle jacks I have give an eight-inch range of motion so I lift shell in seven and one quarter inch steps & slide the cross rails into the supports with notches to match. Also provided in these pylons is ability to lower shell to seventeen inches height to guard against wind damage.

  1. These all pretty much speak for themselves!

marzboy 09-28-2011 09:56 AM

Great pics!! Keep it comming!!

Wabbiteer 09-28-2011 10:03 AM

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Cut out six outriggers and have four welded back in. Heavied up the metal, hope no one catches one anywhere as it will tear the frame out before the outrigger gives.

80 foot of floor to frame interface that I am trying to keep squeak-free, considering using strips of 1/8" dense silicon aviation gasket, say 3" wide, and use anything I can (staples, spray adhesive) to keep it in place long enough to clamp the plywood down on top of it. Maybe 3M double-sided weather-stripping tape, leave the paper on the wood side. Still up in the air on that one.

Today (thread is now current) I am welding and prepping frame for paint - remember I'd already POR-15'd the entire frame except the areas hidden by the floor. I'd not felt such relief in a long time as I had when I'd cleaned the last of the malignant fiberglass from between the iron and plywood. I apologize to the assembly line crews for all the fond thoughts directed at you during the last few years.

Okay - I am out to work, will repost when I get time!!

  1. Evidence some nasty chemical reactions were at work - the #12 hardened steel screw has dissolved while nested in the double layer of plywood where a backer plate was.
  2. Three of six of the new outriggers installed
  3. More general nastiness and proof painting the floor won't disperse odors - the step aluminum sheet held a pool of water that reeked of the odd smell I dislike sooo much.
  4. Complete waste of 90 a square foot installation of Prodex Insulation w/ airspace, sealed with oil-based kilz, Vulkem caulk glued & monel rust-proof staples fastened floor on the way to the landfill. Proof-of-Concept successful, moisture and vermin free.

Wabbiteer 09-28-2011 07:41 PM


80 foot of floor to frame interfacing that I am trying to keep squeak-free
Any ideas?

And that title looks funky, it abbreviates it to just "Hey y'all watch this" so I think I'm requesting it to be changed to "Shell-off after the Love is gone..."

Chlyman 09-28-2011 07:55 PM

Did I get this right? You did a bunch of work, put in the Prodex, then decided to replace the floor? That encourages me to just do the floor on mine now, even if it seems alright. Better safe that sorry!
Thanks for posting this info!

Wabbiteer 09-29-2011 05:17 PM

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Did I get this right? You did a bunch of work, put in the Prodex, then decided to replace the floor?
Yup. I almost became that Joe Somewhen who covers up trouble for someone else to deal with (hiss!)... The floor insulation happened while the interior was in place except the bathroom, I'd expected to find one smell spot that would get the trailer back sweet-smelling. BZZZT, wrong. If you want the trailer to feel new and like its truly yours just do it.

I cut another three outriggers loose to adjust them, they'd stitch welded the vertical axle mounting plate and it flexed out inbetween the stitches where the shell bracket outriggers weight was borne; the brackets never tied into the top main ladder frame so they pulled the axle plate out. The outside edges were 3/8" or 7/16" below the frame rail height.

My guess is the old ALCAN highway about 1975 and 300 miles of washboard roads. I'll stitch across the opening with an add-in piece also.

I will add another outrigger on rear streetside to match curbside, and am thinking about some angle iron added to reduce floor flex but will probably skip that.

Gotta love the Miller 145 DX gasoline welder I glommed onto off Craigslist... We rinsed the tank and lines out and it started 3rd pull, the three-year dead battery will even electric start it. I was welding with too little amperage, I cranked it up and am laying nice beads now.


  1. Just look at the rotten bolts and screws! The trailers will thank you for going the whole refurbishment route! This is a magnet broom I made up to sweep paint-stripper wire wheel bristles up with (I got needled working on the ground) when I painted the frame a couple of years back.

Wabbiteer 10-01-2011 03:11 PM

The last few days work makes nine outriggers R/R'd, for seven new metal and two repositioned. The repositioning with the old metal was an education how little it takes to blast holes in 40-year-old rusted metal, even 1/16" 6011 fresh rod merrily melt the steel if attempting more than just stitch tacking with long cool off periods! It would be a different story with a MIG or even flux-core wire welder.

I'm also seeing how poorly POR-15 bonds with any trace of the old frame paint left on - true, there is only a little rust happening but its like shrink wrap that will peel with saltine cracker sized flakes with a little worrying on it. I had previously wire-wheel and abrasive biscuit cleaned most of the frame and some spots kept a waxy sheen even with solvent wiping. The smartest person would have an appointment with a shop to have it stripped and painted but I am out of time, double coat of POR and keep marching :)

Also many of the coarse blisters of rust that I could not reach to scrape entirely loose had trapped water from the POR-15 locking it in that deepened the rust pits a bunch - undercutting too, but only on sizable rust blisters. Since I painted the frame before with the floor 'on' there were more than a few of those problem areas.

Also am seeing DeRusto flat-black aerosol was very ineffective - many of the inboard spars I only quick coated since they appeared 'nearly' new now have orange rust spots blooming all over them so they are on the paint list.

So... Now angle-grinder w/ twisted bristle brush cleaning as much metal as I can in this three hours until dark I have today, tomorrow the POR-15 makes its appearance.

No good pictures lately either, sorry, and my break is over so back to work :)

Wabbiteer 10-04-2011 08:33 PM

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80 foot of floor to frame interfacing that I am trying to keep squeak-free
Wow - no feedback, zero. Strange. I would hate to glue down new flooring with Vulkem, any alternate ideas?

I had a Sherwin-Williams automotive products salesman look in on me today, he got interested listening to my questions, and he gave me an hour of his time and more than a few tips, and tried to sell me nothing. Looked over my set-up and just said go-go-go! I've asked him to research what to paint the shell innards with to seal up odors and help with insulation, the sprayed glue for the fiberglass is going to get covered up for sure!

I'm about to join the elite club of whomever has shell-offed a DIY frame rehabilition: R/R bad frame elements, stripped an AS frame by hand w/ angle grinder and wire wheels, 3M biscuits and flap sander... Bead blast inside corner welds, solvent wiped everything to clear off the dregs of the asphalt based frame paint, degreased it with scouring pad and zinc treat the metal to finish then with two coats of POR-15... and it hurts. Ouch. I am ready to spray POR-15 but only need to finish the zinc-etch step. yeah!

I have a good report on the POR-15 metal prep items - the marine-clean is similar to products I used working for a Subway System, diluted 5 or 8 to 1 it still kicks but. The Prep and Ready product simply works, leaves the bright iron looking like 600-grit wet-dry paper..

The thing done here at this house that made the interior tear-out possible was building a tarp-tent shelter to stage interior pieces and tools etc out of... $800~ shelter... including the 9 tons of fill dirt needed to raise and level the site, the sleeper rails pinned to into the earth, eight buried deadman anchors, an inch of packed peat moss below the flooring and indoor/outdoor carpet to make it easy to stay inside it...


  1. Its been up almost a year - the tarp stuff seems to be handling MN sunshine okay so far. It only has to last till mid-summer next, to stage the parts trailer interior pieces in before they get used in project trailer.
  2. $35 of chipboard flooring, $17 clearance carpet, some recycled fence sections for knee-walls and flooring, a couple of CFL lamps and its ready for...
  3. Junk!
  4. Donor trailer on left - 1972 w/ bent frame and roll-over damage, and a little foreshadowing of the incentive I have to get this buttoned up soon... (winter happens)

Wabbiteer 10-04-2011 08:42 PM

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And a photo of the frame this morning, before degreasing started. You can see four-year-old POR-15 on the axle mounting plates and the rear frame section where I'd already pulled a floor sheet out. Very happy with POR-15, put on bare metal w/ two or three coats it takes a grinding wheel to grind it away and even then it just does not give up easy.

What PO-15 is left on the frame now stays on the frame now, its been sanded in prep for the new coats. The UV exposure of our weaker MN sun only turned a thin surface layer into soot, I'll top coat the hitch A-frame, axle mounting plates and bumper supports with something or another - thinking maybe bedliner paint.

Also pictured is one of Andy's new axles, now over three years old with ZERO highway miles.

EDIT - yanno I'd already POR-15'd the frame w/ floor on, but mostly it was a quick bandage over the old paint - and it merrily flaked and peeled off under the wire brush. The black left on in random places it where it managed to get a grip, I'd tried some solvent wiping (brake cleaner) and that really almost worked well as a quick fix w/o doing the POR-15 system, frame rails I'd wiped down had well-bonded paint.

Wabbiteer 10-06-2011 02:01 PM

HVLP POR-15 spraying!
Taking mid-day break ~ that's first quart of POR-15 applied, got all except two center spars painted 1st coat w/ one quart. Now I have to wait an hour or more for this coat to harden before over-coating.

I used a $25 w/ coupon 20oz gravity feed HVLP gun and its working great, I bet the little bit of paint I was short is exactly what I used to practice and adjust the gun with...

Next quart will be harder since there is no color difference - these quarts are the aluminum flake silver color and painting over black and bare metal was easy!

I keep daydreaming about having a frame jig to flip frame or hold it vertical and how it sure would be nice about now. Between laying down to paint lower sides and high-stepping between frame partitions this could be hazardous to one's health. The organic vapor cartridges in the respirator makes fumes a non-issue.

The $14 in-line desiccant has turned evenly half 'red' from blue, its a discard when its all red. Having air lines running on cold ground 100-foot to the local tank and sprayer line seems to get a lot of condensation, more so than if the lines were hanging in the air. Just a thought.

Anyhow - time to go ponder stirring the POR, thinning it and then decanting into three portions to quick load the sprayer...

Pictures when I finish

Wabbiteer 10-06-2011 06:15 PM

~ Woot ~ 26 minutes after sunset, second quart sprayed, all thats left is to clean the gun ~ Woot ~

Dew Point: 37.9 F (3.3 C) Relative Humidity: 20%
^^ the paint isn't kicking, not enough moisture!!
Temp: 82.0 F (27.8 C) Wind: 17 MPH gusting to 24 MPH
^^ bugs, leaves, small mammals plastered into first coat..

Jim & Susan 10-06-2011 07:48 PM

As long as yer first coat dried completely, the second should be fine, humidity notwithstanding. I think I saw on the Weather Channel that Twin Mosquitoes was actually warmer today than Atlanta. You'll be ok. I painted mine on in cool, dry weather. No problems noted to date.

Keep it up, and hurry up before the snow gets there. :lol:


Wabbiteer 10-07-2011 09:31 AM

HVLP POR-15 spray results
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Jim was spot on there. A note for future readers - a difference between 'dries' and 'hardens'. POR-15 is about 30% Naptha that keeps the pre-mixed hardener from getting exposed to the moisture in the air, when that evaporates and the paint settles into a nice smooth film then it starts locking together. Adding more paint on top before it its started hardening (completely dry) and keyed-in will raise bubbles and orange peel, sags and runs.

These two quarts were bought in 2007 - so that is four years storage in the root cellar at 57F/13C and it hardened just fine. The spec sheet says 6 months to 2 years at 77F/25C.

It had completely settled out to a clear serum that took forever to mix the aluminum metal flakes back in with a cute little quart-sized power drill 'turbine' mixer and I used an automotive cone-style filter strainer (free at auto paint shops) just in case but the gun (14 size nozzle) worked excellent. I thinned it about 8% on the first coat for penetration and to stretch coverage a little, and 5% on the second coat. Probably one of the funner things I've done this summer.

I was doing alright, vapor exposure wise, until I cleaned the gun - then I got a solid slug of it plus ruined two pairs of gloves and had thinner soaked hands for 15 minutes... and woke up this morning with a cheap Rum hangover.

No/low spray drift noted yet but I have not looked very hard at the neighbors window glass, it may be speckled slightly, they knew I would be painting and told me not to worry, just be careful...


That is aluminum foil in the photos used for masking - and I still had to chase it around the yards since the wind got up a bunch of times...

Wabbiteer 10-17-2011 09:16 AM

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Its warmed above 50F so time to get outside!

Ah yes, the minutiae never stops and the seasons march on. We loose the 70's and 80's temperatures just in time for the floor work. No worries, right? I dive into the specs on the paint & primer I'd planned on using at first up its... 50F and 50% RH its 75 days cure time on the primer. Oh Joy.

I've found the new floor material - sign board plywood, the stuff tested at least three years in 24/7 outdoor exposure in South Florida for outdoor advertising if its primed and painted. I like it.

In plywoods there is HDO, MDO and SDO, graded into soft, medium and hard density overlay types. The SDO is yellow pine outer layers, the MDO has Fir and the HDO is just a shiny glazed finish away from formica on a really stout outer layer resin build-up. For warranty one HDO maker reccomends concrete form sealant paint for the board edges but that is for years of being exposed 24/7 as outdoor advertising. Thats a good tip for any plywood, concrete form paint.

So looking for a pure acrylic commercial grade primer I found STIX SXA-110 acrylic-urethane primer sealer made by a Benjamin Moore subsidiary. Full cure in 7 Days at 35F and the toughest film the trade shops around here could offer.

The 'reason' I need to prime this flooring is it has a kraft paper veneer on a waterproof phenol build-up resin outer layer. The kraft paper smooth surface is for outdoor advertising - I bought the stuff for the resin sheathed exterior layer that glues the paper on so the paper is just to better lock paint on.

The thing about this is when it got damp in a rain shower it came up smelling faintly of Urea or even a little campier than that... so a water-based primer has to key 100% into that paper to seal it up. I plan on doing two coats of exterior porch paint over the primer, even if I have to heat the tarp shack for a couple of days for it to harden.

The board came as 49" x 99" so I am taking advantage of the extra and making lap joints of at least 1-inch to keep the 12x24 floor screws from all nesting at the edges of the floor sheets. Cutting away as many factory edges to expose fresh wood as possible, so its two 3/8" original edges meeting at the lap joint, the rest is unweathered new cuts..

$42/sheet true-3/4" 7-ply Fir/Hemlock waterproof exterior plywood.

Stix Waterborne Bonding Primer SXA-110.

  1. Scraps used to calibrate the router - This wood is 99.9% void-free. The piece on far right, the lower edge shows some of the red phenol resin on the paper, the lumber yard gave me $10 off this sheet as the edge was flawed so that became the front sheet w/ damaged area cut away. Not shown is I racked the lumber up w/ spacers between the sheets to let it adjust to outdoor humidity (under tarps) as specs suggest 3-days but its been 10 so far w/ a couple of rains. The man'f date is 15 months past and indoor storage through two MN winters has it match stick dry, I'd rather it shrank after install rather than expand. Maximum movement spec'd at .200 inches over the 4-foot width...
  2. Showing the 1-1/16 inch lap joint. The 1/2-inch backing board (not shown) is also MDO, planning on Tightbond waterproof glue-up with a thin bead of 3M 5200 on every plywood to metal surface to hush any squeaks and pops from walking around in the trailer, which was the best and only good thing about the factory crushing fiberglass between the frame and floor.

Darkspeed 10-17-2011 12:11 PM

Cool stuff!

Wabbiteer 10-23-2011 08:14 AM

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Six sheets cut and fitted with a brain bruising exercise to align the rear floor panel to the shell after holding floor joints to best center over outriggers. It's just a matter of a 1/2" there and 3/4" here, one plywood lap joint held at 3/4" while another is 1-1/2", etc. but it left us really scratching our head to circumference the edges to match the shell.

Whats that you say, just use the old floor as template? The rear sheet had rotted beyond reconstruction to duplicate and the temporary floor sheet got held 3/4" short curbside (oops) so the rearmost curve bolts and main frame rail through-bolt missed the plywood. Cardboard template only showed us the inner-channel outline traced on the temp sheet was still valid, so strictly held that line 1-5/8" and cut with confidence. And oh yeah, the sheet widths have grown to 49-3/32" from humidity. Fun.

There may be real trouble landing the shell from interference with the back hold-down plate as I added 1/4" rearward length, I may have to miter an angle on it for the plate to return to its original mounting pad - I'll leave that sheet loose! The outer shell skin under the rear utility hatch is requiring replacement - if that goes back as provided it will be .040 or .050 and extend to the bottom of the frame rails to best shed water.... or something like that.

Anyhow - this STIX primer paint is pretty good stuff EXCEPT when subject to standing water, maybe not the brightest move on my part but it will have two coats of outdoor floor paint on it, first coat is today. We had rain showers overnight and left the wood just as you see it, this morning everything had shed water and showed no damage. I guess I don't mind the water, it will help the next coat of primer penetrate by opening up any 'missed' pores and helping the primer not dry too fast.

There will have to be some shiming or gasketing laid over a few of the spars where they miss alignment with the ladder frame rails by 1/8" - that fiberglass crush method sure covers a host of evils but does make for the quietest floor in the industry. The worst is up front at the solid cross member that has the spare-tire mount lugs built in, the next is the angle iron brace above the water tank...


  1. By the last sheet we'd gotten pretty good guestimating and investing decisions on this stuff - someone who'd ever done sub-floors might've got this knocked down in a full day but might've overlooked some nuances requiring worrying and fretting. Probably a half-bushel of sawdust everywhere now, on the cats, in the vehicles, out front on the sidewalk...
  2. Fifteen minutes after sunset and the base-coat of paint is on. Near dark and too many cups of coffee makes for the blurry photo... And note the shell lift pylons doubling as floor sheet painting easels

marzboy 10-25-2011 09:09 AM

Anyway you slice it it is a big PITA!! I had the same problem with the rear section on my trailer. The wood was pratically non existant. I had to go back in and shave a 1/2 in off the length.
Lookin good keep it up!

palmtreegirl 10-26-2011 07:30 AM

I fear that I am facing this, I know it.....thanks for sharing this - I'll keep watching!

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