Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Belly pan the hard way

I bet some of you are wondering what has been going on with LuLu. A great deal of work is the answer. She has been converted from the original Thetford valve to a more modern Valtura system. Not only will this make future valve work easier, it will allow for easier hose hook up and dumping of the black tank.

The main thing that has been going on is the forming of a new belly pan. Now usually, a new belly is installed by copying the original and slipping it up between the skin and "C" channel. Then the whole thing is riveted together. The inner skin is usually off and there is lots of room to slide the new belly pan in. Well, I do not have the luxury of removing the inner skin nor do I have an original to copy. The original is still firmly in place between the skin and channel. I am using a technique that I first saw done by Colin Hyde while he was still at GSM. It involves slipping the new one between the original belly pan and outer skin. Folks I am going to be honest, this is extreemly challanging. Aluminum is totally unforgiving and you have to fit, trim, fit, trim countless times.

The new belly is then riveted to the original one. My clecos are getting a serious workout.

However, being able to use a rivet gun to join the two skins together sure is a lot of fun. I think a rivet gun is like bacon. Just as everything tastes good with bacon, everything is more fun when you are buck riveting it together.

And there you have it....

As many of you know I work outside next to the shop. When it rains or snows I cannot work on Lulu so I am forced to work on inside projects. Fortunately I have client #0001's entire interior sitting in my shop, just for this situation. In my next post I will bring you up to speed on that project. Here are a couple of teasers so you can see the "before" pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Frank.

    I trust you're using a wee leprechaun who's crawled up under the skin to buck those rivets ! I don't see how else you're doing it.

    The end result looks great; with or without leprechaun assistance.

    Rivets, bacon - Mmmmm... I can hardly tell them apart !