Project date: January 21, 2006
Outside temperature: 65 degrees F in NJ
(could be a new record high for the day)

1978 Excella 500

Since Spring is in the air here in New Jersey for a least a day I made the two and a half hour drive down to our Airstreams at Jersey Shore Haven to get a couple of projects done.  This way once the real Spring hits, we'll be ready to play and not work.

Project: Fix saggy bottom

Fortunately, the saggy bottom problem did not require the services of a plastic surgeon.  From the wheels back the belly pan had rotted away from the rivets holding it up.  Basically the aluminum pan deteriorated around the rivetes and was sagging down.  It had let go even in the rear bumper compartment where I store my sewer hose.  Come to think of it, I have no clue as to what was holding it up.

Anyway, the first part of the project involved drilling out all of the old rivets from their frame positions.  I only busted two drill bits.  Some of the rot was more than a half inch in diameter so a standard aluminum washer made to marry with a rivet would not hold the pan up.  With advise from one of the numerous Airstream lists I read but rarely contribute to, someone suggested cutting 1 inch squares from an aluminum sheet.  Brilliant!  Knowing I needed to takle this project since the Fall of '05, on a recent visit to Home Depot I picked up a 1 foot square piece of aluminum sheeting --- for SEVEN DOLLARS!

Once the square was cut with my tin snips, I then drilled a hole to accomodate the rivet and sqeezed the rivet gun really hard.  In an hour or so the project was complete.  No more saggy bottom.


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