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Old 04-26-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
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Kiwi 23b Side Floor/Wall Support

Kiwi 23b Side Floor/Wall Support

We recently purchased a 2001 Jayco Kiwi 23b. When I looked at the trailer there was evidence of a roof leak in the front right corner. I saw the wall covering damage. I found the leak in the roof. There was also a bit of discoloration on the floor vinyl. I figured I could repair the wall and roof damage. In my inexperience I didn't recognize how bad the water damage might be. They saw me coming, I bought the trailer. I'm certain similar stories have been told here many times. Anyway, I now own the camper and we will make it work for us. It looks decent cosmetically. No apparent rough use.

When I started working on the trailer it didn't take long for me to find that the roof repair and wall damage was a minor issure. The water had gotten down to the floor and followed along the outside wall. I removed the vinyl in the storage compartments to find things wet. The top layer of flooring seems OK. The lower layer shows the belly cloth wavey and when I slit the cloth I found the lower layers delaminating. At this time complete or even partial floor replacement is not an option.

The step bolts showed that they have been pulled up snug. The step was basically solid, but the carriage bolt heads had pulled down into the flooring. At this time the structure of the wall and alignment of the door looks to be fine. I want to keep it that way so I decided to install a sheet metal channel support for the outer floor area and wall support.

Personal Information: I've done most all my floor repair to date without needing to go to a hardware store. I once considered myself a cute cuddly little packrat and I was OK with that. Then those darned reality TV shows came on and revealed me to be the ugly hoarder that I really am.

Back to topic.

I had stowed a 5" galvanized sheet metal channel in my garage. It is maybe 16 gauge, at least 18 gauge metal so it is fairly strong. I drilled for the step position and set the step for dry fit. I wanted to be certain that the step went back in the same basic postion. After the channel was hanging in place I used 1 5/8" Unistrut channels in the storage compartments to support the lower galvanized channel. The Unistrut is very strong. I positioned it above the frame rail for additional support.

Some Unistrut Info is here:

After I had the lower channel dry fit I disassembled, applied polyurethane sealant to the channel and bolted it up into place. The support has taken any bounce out of the step. I feel much better now that I won't have trouble with sagging as (hopefully) my floors dry over time.

A local sheetmetal shop can easily bend up a similar channel as I used. Another alternative would be to use 1 x 6 or 1 x 8 pressure treated lumber. I believe that would be strong enough with no problem and what I would do if the sheetmetal channel were pricey. A cleat board could be added to the pressure treated if you feel more strength is needed (I don't). In my opinion a 2 x something would be overkill as it adds considerable weight with little structural gain.

Anyway, I thought that maybe someone else might find my methods helpful to support a trailer floor which is in similar condition as mine. FWIW. vic

Some additional info about my wet floors can be found in the thread.

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Old 04-26-2013, 10:32 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing.
I am sure someone else will also find this helpful.

Safe travels,

Cape Coral, Florida
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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Looks good.

I remember my dad lifting the rear of their old Nomad (TT) to replace the floor in the backend. Dad thought the water came in from the water heater compartment.

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Old 04-27-2013, 09:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments.

I should add that if I had a tin knocker fabricate a galvanized sheetmetal channel for a repair I would have it made wide enough that the door step bracket would fit between the flanges and have clearance to swing down. My salvage/recycle 5" wide channel needed to be notched a bit for the step bracket to fit between the flanges and for the bracket to allow the step to swing down. 6 1/2" wide would likely be enough, but it would depend upon the step design. There is plenty of room for even a wider channel.

A pressure treated 1 x 6 or 1 x 8 really should do the job though. One thing to consider would be to slot the board a bit (maybe 1/2 the thickness) for the step brackets to recess into the board. Otherwise the step rise will be 3/4" higher and the ground clearance will be reduced by the same amount. 1/2 that amount shouldn't be noticeable. The step bracket thru bolts will tie in the board in that area so relieving the board will not affect the effectiveness of the support.

My salvage channel is 91" long. It doesn't make the entire distance from front corner to wheel well, but it supports where I needed. 96" long would be a common stock size for a sheetmetal fab shop. Ask if they can make it from a drop so you don't need to buy a full 4' x 8' sheet. vic
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #5
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These comments and pictures are added to help answer questions by Branmat.

2001 kiwi 23b is a leaker

The front section underside corner of my 23b appears to go flush to side wall trim. There is a crease in the belly cloth which makes it appear to not be flush in my pictures, but it is.

After poking around a bit in the area between my added channel and the outside wall edge trim it seems that there may be the slightest bit of underside laminate distortion. Mine is still solid though.

I was working with a piece of channel which I had on hand. The OEM location of the step brackets set the position of my channel. That left about a 2 inch gap between my added channel and the outside wall trim. Were I to be buying some stock to install I would use a maybe 8" channel or 1x8 pressure treated board. That should allow the proper step bracket support and allow the added support to go all the way out the edge which should give better support. Verify the actual measurements for your installation.

The above said, it appears that my added channel is providing proper support even installed where it is.

As to jacking an already slightly sagged wall...
I too would worry about point loading with any jacking method. What I would likely try would be to dry fit the new support using two or three separate jacks at the same time to bring the wall more evenly back up to "normal" position. I would then fit/drill the cantilever supports into place.

After complete installation of the support channel, the wall may still settle back a bit when the jacks are removed. Still it will likely end up a better position for the installed support than without any jacking.

Some pictures that I took today. vic

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