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1984 Avion Floor Repair
by DeWayne Jackson
Larwill, Indiana 46764
After selling their perfect 1984 34-W and failing to find a new or used Fifth Wheel with the quality or price that they could live with Dee & Donna decided to purchase another Avion.
This time it would be a Model V (rear bath, twin beds, front sofa). After find one they noticed a stain at the bottom of the wood on the dinette and a very small soft spot on the left side of the door in the flooring.
Well, how bad could it be to fix.
So lift up the carpeting and then remove the dinette.
There was a catalytic heater on the back of the dinette.
Could that be the source of the water?
So out came the cat heater, the carpeting and the dinnette.
Cut out carfully the Armstrong Vinyl floor over the spot and then what would be find.
Here are some photos taken while repairing the soft spot on the floor in Dee's 1984 Avion 34-V.
Many of the photos will show what you might encounter when repairing a floor.
Sorry, but we were too involved and forgot to take some of the photos but there are enough to give you an idea of what was involved.
Never ask your photographer to help as they will forgot their job was to photograph rather than fix the Avion. —
Since this would be potentially messy. All the drapes, sheers, cushions were removed from the trailer.
This photo was actually taken midway through the surgery.
The front section of the dinette is sitting on the bare front Sofa Frame. Removign the dinette was easy.
Just remove the cushions and then start removing screws until it comes off the floor and the walls.
Here is the cutting of the top layer of plywood which is just underneath of the dinette.
From the Avion Website we knew we would find a three layer floor.
Underneath the top layer of Armstrong Vinyl there would be a top layer of plywood, then 2" of styrofoam insualtion d then a bottom layer of plywood.
Every 24" there would be a a 2x2 going across the floor. So we only wanted to cut through the top layer of plywood.
This is a cordless panel saw as we only wanted to cut the thickness of the top layer of plywood. AT this point we also determined that the Catalytic Heater would go as well
so we would cut out the top layer of floor and remove the gas line and the 12V and Ground Wiring for the heater so a nice square cut would help.
The first section of flooring was lifted out. Water was under the edge of the wall.
Plywood was not too bad but we still needed to lift the section where the gas line came up.
The plywood showed the most damage at where the exhaust port for the catalytic heater went through the wall.
This was possibly the source for the water damage.
Well, we though we had cut through the top layer! Another cut to get the depth
When cut all the way through you can just pry up the layer of plywood.
Up came the second board and it was not all all bad but showed that water had came in thought the exhaust for the Catalytic heater. But the wood was solid below the right part of the wall.
This is what the last piece of wood looked like. Good thing we cut it out. But loking betwen the insulation and the cross pieces the lower plywood did not show any water damage and was solid.
Trimming off the broken pieces of plywood as flush with the walls as we could reasnably cut.
Vacuum up the loose pieces and clean under the wall to remove the last of the plywood and we should be done.
Now to dig all the wood out from under the wall.
Just under that wall was a new problem. A ½" Bolt that holds the floor assembly to the frame was there and inspite of the rotten wood will not come off the frame.
No way to get out the wood under the wall except for the old fashioned way. Here we missed what should have been several more photos.
As we were cleaned under the wall and the door sill it became clear that at the door sill the wood was also rotted so we repeated the same steps as we had before.
We cut through the top layer of vinyl and plywood and pealed it up to reveal rot under the door sill.
But between the insulation and the 2x2 cross member we could see the bottom layer of plywood was also rotted at the end.
We took a sharp knife and cut through the insulation revealing more rotted wood than we had found up above.
At the door way in the step well the bottom layer of plywood has aluminium for the stop well up against the bottom layer of plywood.
Between the two cross members water had leaked and been held against the plywood by that layer of aluminium and had rotted!
What had felt solid was revealed to not be so solid so we went all the way down through all three layers of flooring to the frame.
Rot in the lower layer where the aluminium of the step well touches the lower level of the floor assembly. Only in one section. The aluminium apparently prevented the wood from drying out.
Only the outisde edge is rotted so we break off what we can to determine where to cut off the lower layer.
We determined that the only section of the bottom layer was between the two cross memebers of the floor where the water had been held against the aluminium on the top of the step well that can in contact with the bottom layer of the plywood floor.
The corssmembers had been exposed to mositure but were still very solid as was the layers of flooring on either side. No we had to remove the lower layer of wood but how much.
We decided to cut away all of that layer that had any signs of coming in contact with water. In the next photo you can see what we had after it was removed.
That is the 2" wide frame! If you are cutting that bottom layer of flooring it may be best to cut it so it is still supported by the frame. Had we cut less off it would still be supported by the main frame of the trailer.
We had just missed the frame when cutting through that bottom layer as you could see here. Well at least we didn't dull the saw and chisel blades by hitting the frame.
As you could see in the first photo you need tools. and they didn't all fit inside. Cutting the plywood and sorting until you could come up with a combination of the exact thickness to match.
Here is a piece of plywood that fits from the outside skin cut to the shape of the missing wood. We lay this piece in place.
Again we missed a important shot. Instead of putting the foam insulation back in place we replaced that one layer with two layers of marine plywood.
We addressed the problem of the bottom layer of plywood not being supported by the frame.
We cut two pieces of marine plywood (from some scraps that we had) and laid them crosswise to the size of the form insulation and the outside frame we had cut away.
When these two pieces were cut and fitted we applied screws through them into the lower layer. They help up the lower layer of floor.
Since the lowest layer was directly on the frame and were now attached with screws
to hold the lower layer tight to the second layer of treated marine plywood we were now structurally tight.
After this layer was installed we had to put another layer (laid diagonally across the second to bring it level with the top of the cross pieces.
We had now replaced the lower layer of plywood and had replaced the foam insulation layer with two cross laid layers of marine plywood to bring
it up to the exactly same thickneww.
Here we are screwing the third layer of plywood to the second layer. We also had installed adhesive between the layers of plywood.
In this photo you can see that we cutback by at least an inch the top layer of plywood so that the seams would not align with the seams below it.
This would privide more strength to the repaired section. Took some fine measureents and lots of sorting as we found that not all plywood is the size marked.
We ended with the exact thickness we were replacing.
Finally it is looking better. This is the third layer of plywood to go down that replased the lower level of plywood and the layer of insulation with woord.
The repair is finished except for the top most layer of plywood and it must fit until the door sill and under the wall up to the exhaust pipe (which we would later remove).
Because we did not want the seams to align we would have to cut the vinyl and the top layer back further.
Here I am cutting the vinyl off that top layer of flooring. Very thin layer that has to be removed down to the bare wood.
A wider and sharper chisel would have been better but remove the top layer and then scrape to remove everything down to the wood but leaving a very straight clean edge.
The left section of the top layer is down and fitted below the door sill.
To get the piece in place we sanded a slight taper to the outside edge it get it under. And it fit.
Not the tough part to cut the second piece to fit the shape of the floor and to slide underneath the door sill and the section of wall.
We have finally got the right shape cut but it won't go under the door sill or the wall so some more intense sanding and persuasion is required.
It's now under the sill and under the wall so the wall is now fully supported. But the inside edge needs some more minor adjustments.
Last Photo that we took. It was dark, we were done for the day.
When we finished we cut the top layer of vinyl 2" further around the edge so the vinyl floor gaps would not align with the wood layers belowl.
The seams between the floor pieces was filled with filler and then sanded smooth.
The a similar color self sticking vinyl tile was applied over the replaced sections.
We could not locate the same pattern in solid vinyl so used a similar color pattern in self sticking vinyl.
After the tiles were in place a while all seams were sealed with silicon to prevent any water from leaking through to the wood. It is now waterproof.
Then we removed the exhaust vent through the wall and replaced the dinette.
After everything was picked up and cleaned, we laid a new carpet for the trailer.
We covered the back of the dinette with a new panel of similar wood to cover the location where the catalytic heater had been mounted.
The leak has stopped, the floor is fixed and the trailer is more solid than when new.
For Questions, Comments email to Donald Gradeless - DrG@execpc.com
Dee has also removed, repaired/cleaned/replaced/reinstalled the air conditioner, furnace, refrigerator, stove, belly pan, etc. He has seen every part of this Avion and appreciates his first one even more than ever.
To view the real trailer and how nice and solid the repair was see Dee & Donna Jackson, Avion 14297, 1390 N. SR-5, Larwill, IN 46764.
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July 5, 2004 - DEG
Latest Update - 5 May 2013 - DEG