Bottom Belly Skin
Q: What is the construction underneath an Airstream?
A: From the very first in 1936, the frame was covered on the bottom by a smooth aerodynamic aluminum skin belly pan.
Q: How important is the belly pan? Can I remove it?
A: The pan provides a seal against rodents and protects the steel frame from the elements. It is also important in reducing wind resistance. By all means repair it. Drill out the broken 3/16″ rivets and replace them with pop-rivets. Use fender washers or larger pop-rivets if the holes are elongated. Olympic Rivets are not needed here. While you are under there, carefully patch any holes you find with pieces of aluminum sheet. To see our belly skin replacement, check out this section.
Q: What material is the belly skin?
A: The underbelly was non-alclad .024 inch 2024- O aluminum. Very thin soft stuff. What has proven to be a better and less expensive replacement is .024″ 5052-H32 aluminum sheet. It’s one-third the cost, corrosion resistant and is much more more dent resistant.
Q: The ends of the frame are starting to wear through our belly skin, what causes this?
A: See the answer above under “Leaks”.