Exposing the frame - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2003, 09:51 PM   #1
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Exposing the frame

Hi all :wave

I need to cut out the plywood floor at the front end of my unit to exposed the top of the frame (for the welding shop to do repairs). Having a bit of trouble. I was hoping to just use my jigsaw and hack the pieces out, but the jigsaw doesn't reach into the inside edge far enough.

I thought if I could remove the front seat that this would help to make things easier/more accessible, but it looks to be fiberglassed together to the outer shell near the bottom of the door.

Any suggestions?
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Old 07-07-2003, 10:06 PM   #2
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"Exposing Frame???

Hi Lainey,:wave
I was wondering if it wouldn't be a little easier to back off the frame mounting bolts, and lift the body a few inches by placing blocks under the body and lowering the hitch jack. When I had to have the frame reinforced on mine, I called Bill Shephard at "The Welding Shop" at 116 Monument place, N.E. just east of Barlow trail at Center Ave. He used a heat shield and then we buttoned the body back on the frame. No potential for leaks by doing it this way. It seems to me that cutting the body, especially in the belly is major surgery, and may weaken the structure in key weight bearing areas of the shell. Hope this helps. Cheers
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Old 07-07-2003, 10:13 PM   #3
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Hi Owen, thanks for your reply. Maybe I wasn't very clear, I'm not cutting the any of the body or vertical areas, I was going to cut the flooring from inside the front under seat storage (then fiberglass the patches back in once the welding is complete)

Maybe I need to re-examine my plan of attack for this fix. Basically, I am trying to get the frame exposed so that when I drop it off at the welding shop I am only paying them for the welding time instead of the time spent exposing the frame. Maybe there's a better way?
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:00 PM   #4
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Frame Exposure?"

I understand your motivation, and at today's high shop rates, you are very smart to do what you can to lessen your exposure to the time clock. Anytime we cut into the shell of the unit, we weaken it to a degree. I thought you were located in Calgary, and I thought I would put you in touch with someone with experience on trailer frames. I gather by another thread that I was just on that you are North of Here by a few miles. If I can help in any way polease MSG me anytime. TTFN
Cheers:cheers
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:10 PM   #5
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Thanks Owen, appreciate your help :wave
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:14 PM   #6
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Any other suggestions.......please? :helpme
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:45 PM   #7
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frame??

it might not be all that difficult to remove all the frame mount bolts and block up the body as was suggested.
Then you could get a good look at the whole frame, make sure it is fixed well, and maybe even sandblasted/painted. It'd be good for a lifetime then.
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:51 PM   #8
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Maybe my unit is a bit differently made. There don't really seem to be just frame mount bolts, and if there are, that would just be for the fiberglass body I am presuming?
All flooring in my unit is plywood, which is screwed into the frame is many places. It is this plywood that is in the way of the welding locations.
It would be nice to get at the whole thing to give it a proper paint job, but I don't think that's in the works for this year, however the frame repair is a must - one of the cracks is through more than 50% of the frame.
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Old 07-08-2003, 03:25 PM   #9
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Pictures?

Lainey:
If you could post a sketch or a couple of photos showing what the space looks like, the handypeople would be better able to make suggestions. Having said that...several ideas come to mind:
1. Rotozip saw.
2. Dremel tool with a long wood-cutting burr.
3. Drill a hole as large as you can, then use a keyhole saw, drywall saw, or close-quarter hacksaw to expand the opening.
Trying to get a tool into a confined space is never any fun, but is always an exercise in creative thinking:conf .
Dale
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Old 07-08-2003, 04:35 PM   #10
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I did it to mine

Dear Lainey,

I had to replace the wood floor under my front bench and at the doorway step.

At least this is what I did....
My bench was not fibreglassed in place. I'd be supprised if yours is.
Remove your bench. Mine had screws holding it down.

Drill 4 holes in the plywood at corners that define the piece of plywood you want to remove. Use a jigsaw to cut out the square.

You will not be able to jigsaw across the points where the frame is under the plywood. A wood chisel can cut the wood above the frame at this point.

Remove your square (or other polygon) of plywood and Voila, there is your exposed frame.

Save this piece of plywood because you can fibreglass it back into place very easily. I fibreglassed both top and bottom of my cut seams to keep water out from underneath and to keep things from collecting in the crack from on top.

This worked very well for me. I did it because I had to reposition the fibreglass wall that the door attaches to. It had come loose and door would not close or stay in place. We all have our motivations.
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Old 07-08-2003, 07:25 PM   #11
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I have access to a digital camera and should be able to post pictures on Friday if it's still being a problem.

The dremmel tool might be just the thing. I think I can borrow one.

Tom - it really seems that towards the bottom of the bench the outer fiberglass shell meets the bench and are joined. I've tried to gently pry them apart, but they are quite joined and I am worried that it might end up damaging the outer skin. (paranoid :m ) I am able to drill pilot holes and jigsaw out for 3 sides (even over the frame with a piece of blocking under the saw to raise the blade) but it's that 4th side that's being difficult. The plywood in front of my door needs replacement too, but it should be a lot easier.

Thanks everyone, I don't know why I never thought of a dremmel, I guess I was just trying to use the resources that I own myself.
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Old 07-09-2003, 01:48 PM   #12
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joined at the bench

Dear Lainey,

I'd love to see photographs, they will jog my memory as to what I did in those same zones. Sounds like we both had the same problems. If your bench really is attached instead of nested in a curved-back notch then cutting away the fiberglass of the bench while sparing the fiberglass outter wall may be the solution. The bench does not need to be glassed to the body. The bench mounting is plenty strong without this attachment and you will not have issues if you were to cut away the bench. But photos will help me help you.

You're right about the floor at the door being easier. I found that the screws holding down the plywood floor at this spot had rusted and the screwdriver stripped the heads off. Not a big problem though, I just peeled the plywood away in chunks because I was not planning to reuse that piece of wood again.

I did caulk the top of the metal support structures under the doorway plywood just so water would not collect or remain moist between the metal and wood. Just to prevent future rust and rot.
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Old 07-09-2003, 01:58 PM   #13
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Tom - it sounds like we're both working on the same trailer! My wood in front of the door is exactly the same - all screws rusted and I've stripped a couple too. Good idea about the caulk - I will put of bead of the butly caulk under the floor before screwing down. What type on new screws did you use in the flooring?
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Old 07-09-2003, 06:49 PM   #14
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Same trailer

:wave
Dear Lainey,

Yes, we both have much of the same problems. At least with trailers.

For screws I used sheet metal screws. The ones with a hex head for wrenches and sockets. Able to apply greater force on tightening.

First I cut a new piece of plywood to size. Put it in place and drilled through the ply and through the metal rail supports underneath in one motion. Made sure that the drill bit was smaller than the width of the teeth of the screws I used. Then I took another drill bit and redrilled just the holes in the plywood to be a bit larger than the width of the screw teeth. That way the screw only bit into the metal and was able to cinch the wood down tight. If you don't do this then whatever gap you might have between portions of the plywood and metal will always be retained and you cant cinch the wood down tight.

Also, I didn't just use a bead of caulk, I lathered the metal with caulk. that way no water could soak into the gap at all.

Also forgot to say, I painted the fiberglass epoxey on the underside of all my replaced wood. Kinda lika plastic coating.

gosh, I'm just starting to remember ALL the things I did to the Skimp.
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