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Old 11-22-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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1963 Overlander Complete Renovation

Hey everyone. I'm fairly new to the forum. My fiancÚ and I are in construction and travel a lot for work, so I decided to buy an Airstream so we can bring "home" with me when we are on the road instead of staying in hotels. After doing a little reading about the different models I found a deal in OKC. I bought a 63 Overlander for almost nothing that I thought was in decent to rough shape and partially gutted. My plan is to completely gut and remodel the trailer to suit my needs for travel and work. After getting it home my fiancÚ Diane affectionately named it "The Armadillo". We will be staying in the Armadillo for a few weeks at a time throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. Very rarely will we be using the trailer in the Winter, but is a possibility. Work takes us from Texas to Florida to Minnesota and anywhere in between. So I would like to make sure the Armadillo will be able to handle the heat and cold both. In our travels we have run across temps ranging from 110 F down to 15 F. I will post pics of our progress as we start the renovations. I would like this thread to serve as documentation of the process. I'm always open to learning from other's experience, expertise, mishaps, and triumphs. Feel free to comment and share along the way. Here's some pics of the Armadillo as is when I purchased it.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:25 PM   #2
Yellamo
 
1965 26' Overlander
Windsor , California
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Say good for you guys! I will be following your progress... since I to am a new Airstream owner, I think a "66 Overlander" (no papers). It appears to need alot. I'm hesitate to open the belly pan. Good luck Bryan O.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
Mt. Holly , North Carolina
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Welcome to the Forums, Keep us updated on your progress. These old diamonds in the ruff are truly a labor of love!
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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I have had that same model for 27 years, I still do not have an air conditioner on the top. I carry a blueboy instead of spending the money on a grey tank. It has been a good unit and has traveled widely.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
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Nice! Looking forward to following your progress.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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1984 31' Sovereign
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charleton , Illinois
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I suspect from your post that you may be a "Pipeliner"? (or similar trade) I use my Stream for my pipeline home. Beats the h#%@ of motels!
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Old 11-23-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Jerry, actually we are storm chasers. After an area gets hit by a major hail storm we go in and help those people get new roofs. Especially trying to work with the people that were denied coverage by their insurance and help them get their insurance to cover their roof.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:01 PM   #8
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Ok so the winter weather is bad here, but we can still make some progress. None of the systems work on the Armadillo, but I fully expected that when I bought it. It's going to need new electrical, fresh water, grey water, and black water systems. The current layout with the twin bunks isn't going to cut it for us either. I've been toying around with a few layouts in my head so feel free to chime in with your opinions and experiences. We want a full sized bed. We don't need a queen. We are thinking of putting the bedroom at the rear of the trailer. With either the bed all the way back and perpendicular to the trailer. Basically covering the entire rear of the trailer. Or turning it parallel to the trailer and moving to the curb side of the trailer so that there is access on the street side. Either way I assume I'll have to make a custom mattress that matches the curvature of the rear of the trailer. Thoughts? At this point I've taken everything out of the bathroom. The sink, shower/tub, cabinet, toilet, and black water tank are all out. After removing two layers of carpet and a layer of linoleum tiles it looks like the rear foot of the floor is lost to rot. I have read that the bumper basically funnels water into the back of the trailer on these and causes it to rot out. Looks like mine is no exception. So I'm going to be replacing any rotten flooring I find along the way. I went down to the 84 Lumber and ordered a few sheets of marine grade AC plywood to replace damaged sections. Here's some pics of the current progress.
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:42 PM   #9
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
I have had that same model for 27 years, I still do not have an air conditioner on the top. I carry a blueboy instead of spending the money on a grey tank. It has been a good unit and has traveled widely.
Hey Dwight. Mine doesn't have an AC or a grey water tank either. I will definitely be putting in an AC though. It hit 110 this summer at work and I want to be able to come home and get some sleep in a cool place. Excuse my ignorance but what is a blueboy?
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:33 PM   #10
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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We did take a small air conditioner, that we popped in the back window, for the International at Gillette, WY a couple years ago. It took the temperature down 20F in the trailer. A Blueboy is a portable holding tank which you hook up to the gray water discharge port or black water port if necessary. It allows you to collect waste and wheel it to a dump station. It is used where they will not allow you to put grey water on the ground or you are staying someplace long enough that you need to dump you black tank, but do not want to de-park and drag the trailer to the dump station. They come in sizes from 15 gallons to 40 gallons.
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:04 AM   #11
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Newport , North Carolina
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Hey and welcome I have spent time slamming plywood myself but now just maintain the communications systems for atc. Looks like your armadillo has a lack of love but has found a good home. Insulation is the key to your plans and many on this site can help. Enjoy and keep us posted.
Cliff
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
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1962 26' Overlander
Jackson , Wyoming
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Well, you are in great company with this model/vintage trailer - there are several of us doing complete restorations of 58-63 Overlanders The very best group of moderators and many-rivet members watch over us and guide us....

Maybe you already found the vintageairstream.com link that has great pictures of original floor plans - one was a double bed layout instead of the twins. airstream.com has spec sheets for all the models under their service section.

Have fun!
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by Cardinal283 View Post
Ok so the winter weather is bad here...
Congratulations on your Overlander. You picked a very good vintage and size. As KCN says, there are a number of very good restoration threads on the forum. Here is a link to the 58-63 Overlander section. (You may want to ask one of the moderators to move your thread to that part of the forum -- you may get better replies to your questions.) Here is a link to the major renovations, regardless of age or size.

You're right to spot the problem with water quickly rotting the rear plywood. When Colin Hyde did ours, he treated the floor with Cold Penetrating Epoxy, then flashed it. See post 196 in this thread for a picture of how he did the flashing.

We looked at a rear queen and decided against it for a number of reasons. We plan to use a movable center support between the existing twin beds to make it into "superbed" as utee94 on this forum calls it. Placement of windows and wheel wells as well as the loss of the perfectly sound tub/shower convinced us to stay with the original design. The wheel wells prevented us from being able to use a queen that we could walk around. Neither of us wanted to be trapped against the rear wall.

You'll find a lot of great information here as well as great answers to your questions -- just don't look for sympathy about Texas winter weather from those of us from New England!
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Old 11-24-2013, 01:47 PM   #14
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Wow!! Thanks for all the warm welcomes and helpful direction. I will talk to the moderator and see if I can get this thread moved to the Overlander section.

Does anyone know if there is going to be an issue moving the bed to the rear and the bath to center as far as weight distribution goes? Here's a pic of one of the layouts I'm thinking about. All the pieces are to scale. This layout has a wet bath. Thoughts?
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