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Old 02-07-2019, 06:19 PM   #1
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under belly enclosed

Is the under belly easy to remove and reinstall? I would love to remove mine,,,inspect everything,,,and reinstall. 2018 Catalina 243.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:21 PM   #2
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a bunch of work but yes. When they put it on in the factory the frame is upside down to help. If you are not having issues what is to inspect?
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:44 PM   #3
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I just like to know how things are under there. Planning on doing some boondocking and don't want my tanks falling out on the highway. Looking thru my floor heat ducts, I saw some very shoddy workmenship. Just want a blueprint in my mind of whats in my Rig. God knows Forest River can't give you that info. This is my last purchase. Want to know whats there. I am very mechanically inclined. I fixed most of the warranty crap myself because I know they can't.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:37 AM   #4
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Which Coachmen did you buy? On mine one of the first things I did was replace the fresh water tank braces with substantially larger metal C channel.

This shows the size difference of the old brace and the new one.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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After a couple years I have had a few of the screws holding the underbelly come loose and when I try to screw them back in they don't seem to be biting into much. So I am debating doing the same thing and taking it down, inspecting everything while there and putting it back. Just not sure if it's more trouble than it's worth and exactly the best way to reattach the underbelly. Don't think the screws the manufacturer uses are the right ones. Mine's not a Coachmen put I suspect there won't be much difference.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:06 AM   #6
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i took mine off - squirrel had eaten a hole into the FW tank! It was more of an inconvenience job than difficult nor hard. manufacturer uses whatever is on hand when installing it. you will end up with a much better job (and some screws would not move so i ground them off). have fun!
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:13 AM   #7
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I had to take mine off so Lippert could repair some frame cracking. The corrugated plastic underbelly is not hard to get off, but being one large piece it's hard to work with. The main problem I ran into is the "nails" they used to install the center sections of ours. Apparently instead of screws 80% of our fasteners were shot from some sort of nail gun and never meant to be removed. Some we could torque out with vice grips but others would not budge. I ended up just cutting the underbelly into manageable pieces and intend on replacing it with 4x8' sheets purchased locally that are cut to fit. The width is an odd size of 67 1/8" on ours. Then I took a "cats paw" nail puller and pulled them out later. There is basically no way to reuse them. They look like they have hex heads but are nails and not screws. I used a larger size screw for the existing holes and I'm going to add some cut 1x2 pressure treated wood to act as bracing where the edges of the new panels meet. it's lighter than steel and easier to work with (and the Lippert Tech recommended it). The other problem was the gas and dump lines that penetrated the underbelly. I had to slit around them to get the sections out. I'm looking for the black Coroplast sheets now, but may just go with white as they are a stock item at my local Home Depot. I don't think color will matter on the bottom of the trailer anyhow.

Once you take the underbelly off, the wiring and everything else is just sort of thrown in there in no order and not secured. It looks like a mess. Pick up some wire loom material and tie wraps and clean it up while you are in there. I'm doing ours that way. Also take photographs and measurements. If it's 3 years before you need to fix something under there I want a photograph and notes on where a water line or electrical line is instead of relying on my memory.


Also X2 on replacing the stock fresh water braces with C channel. I'm going to do that with mine as well. I don't travel with a full fresh tank, but I do keep some water for flushing and washing of hands in case we need to make a "stop" while enroute. Even 10 gallons is going to be 80 pounds or so sloshing around in the tank and that can put a lot of force on that stock brace. I'm also changing out the smaller self tapping screws to more substantial bolts with a backer plate and nylock nuts.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:17 PM   #8
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Catalina 243 RBS Legacy
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:26 PM   #9
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Thank You all. Like I thought,,,a labor intensive job, and stuff just thrown around in there. Would be a nice selling point to a future customer to have proof under there that everything is secure. Thanks again.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:11 PM   #10
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I love the idea of a company giving the buyer of a unit photos of the interior of the underbelly along with a dimensional diagram and full schematic (along with a "average person" drawn view of what electrical/12v/water/drain lines are where under the trailer and hidden under the belly material). I would not think it costs that much more to put wires in plastic wire loom material, use pipe insulation material on water lines, etc... The photos are a simple couple of shots from overhead and the diagrams are a "do it once" for each model sort of thing. It's little things like that which would show a quality product.

I know it's all about get it done quickly and at as low a cost as possible for profit margins which can be razor thin, but how hard would this be? If a manufacturer wanted to stand out in the quality product area this would be a great idea (and unfortunately most companies do not participate or read forums such as this, but it is still a great idea).

I've been having some nerve flare ups and that and the weather I have not been under mine to document and clean up my underbelly yet. But when I do I will document the crap out of it for both myself and to share later. I intend on taking good measurements as well. Mainly for future reference as eventually I will probably need to be back under there to modify or repair something. As to the last post about underbelly removal being "a labor intensive job", I don't think it is so much labor intensive than it is the size of the factory panel. It's super light, just big. The hardest part for most of us would be do you have the proper jack stands and pump jacks to get the trailer up so you could crawl (or use a mechanics creeper!!!) around under there. Then do you have the power tools to make the job easier? It can be done with manual hand tools, but power tools are so much better. I think 1 person "could" do it if using panels of coroplast instead of single sheet on the re-install, but 2 people would be much less frustrating basically due to the size of the panels.

One thing I found out in talking with FR and Lippert about my frame repairs (which Lippert graciously covered 100% except for removal and reinstall of underbelly - thank you again), is there is a series of models that are built on the same frame. The length and interior may vary, but the basic Lippert frame is the same. So my dimensional notes may be helpful to others. My frame 2015 Freedom Express 246RKS is a "Forest River #220 Coachmen" on the frame stick which is street side near the front of the frame/tongue area. Strangely enough its a 220 coachmen TT2013 frame and my trailer is a 2015, so the design apparently does not change from year to year either (unless there is a major revision?) That made me wonder if that is why I had some frame cracking issues like in the 2013 and 2014 models? No one ever said that was the case, but Lippert did step up and do the right thing for us. But that is getting off topic and I covered in another thread elsewhere.

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