Replacing a Floor Section

The big deal was getting the floor panels replaced. This model has only 5/8″ plywood for flooring and unless you change out the whole floor, eg, shell off, you have to stick with it. I found the most robust modern 5-layer plywood, but it turns it’s not nearly as stiff as the original. I’ve still got to install a patch piece between these two panels. I had to jack the shell away from the frame in order to get the panels in–an still had to use a block and mallet. Jacking was easy since this model had all the electricals against the forward shell and had a nifty vent cover that acted as a jack point.

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The panels have three coats of spar varnish for waterproofing.

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A few taps with a sledge and the floor segments are nice and tight laterally (towards curb and street) and ready to be spliced. I really hate this 5/8″ floor–the 3/4″ in my older Airstreams is so much stiffer. Anyway, I digress. The splice is 3/4″ plywood that I’ll shim in underneath using sheet 3/4″ foam insulation. Once the splice was screwed in tight, I filled in the gap with 5/8″ plywood inserts.

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Now that the floor is in, I used the elevator bolts with the tangs so that I could install them solo. I cut a very slight relief in the surface of the plywood using a 1″ hole saw, about 1/16″ deep, to ensure that the heads were flush or slightly recessed.

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Attaching the “C” channel to the frame requires 1/4″ bolts into the ends of the outriggers and slightly larger into the cross frame member up front. I had some grade 8 1/4″ bolts on hand, so I used them all the way around. I’m sure it’s overkill.

Now that I’ve got the shell bolted and riveted to the frame up front, I’ve noticed that there are many missing bolts along the sides. This is just another one of those unhappy discoveries that even though the Safari performs wonderfully on the highway, the assembly quality was less than desired
in hidden areas.