THEN,,,,on the way home from a recent campout we had not emptied the tank when we got on the highway. All the jarring of the weighted tanks caused one side of the belly pan to come loose and it hung down a few inches. Compared to some stories about similar problems, evidently mine was no big deal.
But it was time for repair.
I managed to get the rivets off the belly pan and roll it back to reveal the very rusted box. Fortunately the frame, plywood flooring above and the black tank and fittings all look good. Minimal rust and no cracks anywhere.
The steel box was supposedly screwed on, and I was ready to remove a bunch of screws. No way. It was bolted thru the floor above, with very rusted bolts. A few were already hanging loose, but the reminde took me quite a few hours to get off. The last two really were stuck and would not break free.
After trying every tool in the shed, I pulled out my trusty VISE GRIPS. These bad boys have served me very well, so well I think they are my number 1 tool. Next to the ratcheting screwdriver.
I locked the pliers onto the rusted bolt, it barely fit into the space between the box and frame. I was able to muscle it back and forth and the bolts both broke off.
Then with a little effort the box was free.
Now onto a metal fab shop to get a new box made. Then paint the cleaned up frame and put it all back together. Thanks to Frank Yensan and some of the other Airforums guys for inspiration and ideas. I almost gave up on this, which would not have been good.
The infamous BOX...or what is left of it after 50 years.
Plywood is clean and dry underneath. Glad to see that.