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Old 03-14-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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1957 22' Caravanner
1964 26' Overlander
1954 29' Liner
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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A Work That Is Progress---Rescuing a 1964 Overlander

I found my 64 last summer...abandoned next to a river in central Illinois. The owner had passed away and his daughter inherited it. She and her husband didn't realize her father owned this trailer even though it was kept about a mile from their home. They told me that it must have sat for 5 years unused and they thought he was the second owner.

I have no idea what I was thinking, but I bought the trailer, hooked it up to my Honda Ridgeline and pulled it back to Washington, D.C. Of course the tires on the trailer were over 25 years old and of course two of them blew on the way back...but luck prevailed and I made it home.

Overall the trailer appeared to be in good shape. I knew enough to be dangerous since I also own a 57 Caravanner... But I have never really done much work to the 57 aka Ethel, I left that up to Frank Yensan's very capable hands. I figured I had gotten lucky with the 64, AKA Lucy as I had with Ethel. WRONG.

Lucy needed and is in the process of getting a complete facelift. Frank has been a huge savior in this project of mine by providing guidance, a helping hand and most importantly by teaching me the art and craft of Airstream restoration. So Lucy's exterior has been pretty well sealed up, I've carefully taken all of the windows apart and restored them keeping the original glass in each frame. All the running lights have been replaced and soon I'll install the new tail lights.

I decided after a few months of consideration to take the interior apart so that I could repair plumbing problems and to deal with ALL of the damage done by the MANY mice that had made Lucy their home while she lived by that river in Ill. I never would have believed that those critters would be so industrious and that they would actually make nests in virtually every space between the two skins of the trailer! They did. So, my plan to originally just remove cabinetry, and the airliner bathroom plus the lower skins of the interior were foiled as I found ample evidence the buggers had made happy homes through out the skin. I decided to remove everything and now have.

My training is as an architect with a good amount of my work involved with historic properties...so with the knowledge I have with taking a building apart and putting it back together again I decided to apply the same techniques to Lucy's deconstruction and eventual reconstruction. At this point aside form the progress on the exterior I have managed to save ALL of the interior cabinetry. There were three pieces that had been badly damaged and have been recreated, the rest is all sanded and awaiting warm weather for staining and lacquer. When the skin is reinstalled on the interior it will have a zolatone finish, the floor will be a solid sheet marmoleum, I will update the electrical; adding a few additional 110V outlets, cable, and a wired surround sound system. The original airliner bathroom will be restored and reinstalled, including I hope the swirlomatic toilet the belly is coming off too, probably in the next month, the underside will be cleaned, elevator bolts replaced as needed, POR painted on the frame, and new axles!

I'm trying my best to rescue the trailer modernize it where necessary, i.e. all new plumbing, some LED lighting, but it will feel like it is a strong survivor from that bygone era when complete. If there seems to be an interest in the work I'll do my best to post progress photos and stories as I go along. Just let me know!

My immediate problem is in the interior of the exterior skin. I'm hoping that what I think must be a common problem with this era Airstream has a sensible fix. As the photos show the interior of the end cap has a black, sprayed on joint sealer, at all of the panel joints. These joints appear to be leaking, and have for years on both end caps. The rivets are all tight. The exterior joints really can't be sealed with acryli-r because they are so tight. I need to reseal the joints from the interior. So, my question to the forum is, what do you all recommend as a long term joint sealer for this condition?

I'm looking forward to anyone and everyone's suggestions and as I said if there is interest is following my progress under Frank's watchful eye just let me know!
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:00 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
Hollis , New Hampshire
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I'm in the same boat! Previously I have tried mechanical methods of removing the black stuff, no luck.... Nasty adhesive remover that dissolved my gloves but didn't make a dent on this black stuff.

I really wanted to remove it because I planned on sealing every seam/ rivet etc from the inside with vulkem and I was concerned the Tempro 635 wouldn't stick to the black residue.

Low and behold, this weekend I was stripping one of the compartment hatches with Citrastrip and eyeing the black stuff I swabbed some on. It literally dissolved it . My brush turned black it worked so fast. Admittedly I only tried it on two patches so far but it worked awesome. Citrastrip to the rescue yet again!. I need to buy stock in this stuff!

My plan is remove the black stuff and reseal it with Tempro 635.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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1964 30' Sovereign
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I will be disappointed if you do not keep us up-to-date with pictures and details. I enjoy watching these transformations take place and could really use the motivation to resume work on my own '64.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:32 AM   #4
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Winston-Salem , North Carolina
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I strongly second that, colberjs! I've been fighting the urge to remove the interior skins on this Avion. I am rather afraid what might happen since I'm not completely sure how she's all held together. I have the flooring out, so if I remove the interior skins, she won't collapse on me, will she?

Please, 57BB, do continue to post progress!
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:50 AM   #5
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
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Hi 57..
If you were a rodent, wouldn't you chose an Air Stream to live in . Ask frank, I am sure he can tell you some rodent story's.
Wait until you remove the belly skins. Mine was filled with pine cones .
Kudos for saving your original interior cabinetry, etc.
The "problem with the inside of the exterior skin". That black tar like stuff they used all over the place. I think it must have been used as adhesive (for fiber glass insulation) and seam sealer because it is not just on the seams.

Take a close look at each rivet in each rivet line, and look for any oxidation around the edges of the rivets. Look for signs of water at every seam. Oxidation or signs of water means a leak. Re-buck any or all rivets needed at this point. Then try using a metal or plastic scraper to remove the black tar material at each seam. A freezing spray might help Poop Freeze - YouTube
Then you might try a liquid rubber like this
To seal the seams from the inside. Eastwood and others make painable sealers also. They work good for the wheel wells also. Mine had some issues at the corners. Not any more.

Best wishes on your rescue project. 64 is a good year, however they have there quirks.
Can't wait for more updates and photo's, plenty of photo's.


Dennis
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:39 AM   #6
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1978 29' Ambassador
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1974 27' Overlander
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Has anyone used FlexSeal on the inside seams of their Airstreams? I'm wondering if this would work...seems easy enough to use and it is flexible and guaranteed to seal.

Bob
Indiana, PA

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Old 03-30-2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
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57BB,
Looking closly as possible in the second photo. You have what looks like the back side of a old style "Olympic" rivet line on your end cap. It is a little difficult to see in the photo. However my 64 Safari had the same type of rivets in 2 places. I thought they were Buck Rivets at first. Then I was re-bucking and found out these were not bucked but were actually a type of Olympic style rivet. They leaked like Niagra Falls inside the end cap. I found that one of the end cap panels had been replaced using these. I drilled out the olympics and sealed the panel with TemPro 635 and buck riveted it back in place. No more leaks.

Look very closely at the back of your rivets. It looks like you may have these leaky things on yours also.

You say your rivets are tight. However I see a lot of oxidation along the seams. That indicates it is leaking there. I would clean it up and re-buck that line. Then seal it.

After you get the back sealed up nice. I would use Captain tolley's around all the rivet heads and seams on the outside, it will wick in better than most other products. Then a little Par bond on the larger cracks.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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1957 22' Caravanner
1964 26' Overlander
1954 29' Liner
Washington , Washington, D.C.
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Wow and thank you all for the very astute comments! I have progressed beyond the advice given, for the most part. After careful consideration and observation I realized the black asphaltic material was used to seal the windows to the body frame and the end caps to the main body. A secondary use of the material in a more paintable form was to adhere the electrical wire and provide adhesion for the insulation batts in the end caps. To me removing this material is neither necessary nor wise...for the most part it is still functioning....I also fear that coating this material with any kind of solvent would permanently weaken whatever was left of the material. As well i wouldn't be surprised if it has asbestos as a component in it's mixture. With all this in mind I decided to seal the exterior seam with Acryl-R and seal the interior seam with an auto body seam sealer made by 3M. I had previously sealed most of the seams with AR with good success. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so we'll see...

The information about the Olympic rivets vs real buck rivets is interesting, however I'm not sure how to tell the difference. I'll bring this up with Frank to get his take on the rivets.

Overall this trailer sat for 20+ years and so it wasn't jiggled around on the road. It had no rivet damage and really only leaked at the end caps. Taking the trailer apart has been a good thing as I've been able to clean and eliminate all the mouse junk. At this point the shell is very clean and ready for the next step of insulation...so long as all of the leaks are fixed

In three weeks she'll be going into Frank's indoor facility for the belly pan removal, cleaning, frame painting, replacing three sheets of plywood, new wiring harness, new grey water tank, and replacing the axles. If that all goes well we'll move onto the interior but I don't want to jump the gun on that yet LOL.

One project I recently completed was cleaning/repairing and restoring the jealousies....I think they turned out pretty nice I'll have to post photos tomorrow since I somehow managed to misplace the ones I took
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:23 PM   #9
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1957 22' Caravanner
1964 26' Overlander
1954 29' Liner
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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Here are some photos of the before and after of the jalousie window project as well as a photo of Lucy in her present state.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #10
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1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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I will be checking into these old school Olympic rivets mentioned first thing in the morning. I am stuck home today with a sick kid...
I have not noticed this. I doubt they were used however. The trailer has not had any replacement panels done so the inability to buck was never there. Are you referring to the dark reddish area in the photo of long roof seam? That is dried mouse offerings. The end cap photo is of bucked factory rivets.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:12 AM   #11
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Hi Frank,
I hope I am mistaken it is a little difficult to see, but in photo #2 it shows the back side of 3 rivets. Check these out very carefully. The backs look to perfectly squared off 90 degrees and no bulging at the sides to be bucked rivets.



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Old 04-02-2013, 10:32 AM   #12
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looks like a bucked rivet to me, but I will check tomorrow for sure.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:43 AM   #13
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Oakley , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
Has anyone used FlexSeal on the inside seams of their Airstreams? I'm wondering if this would work...seems easy enough to use and it is flexible and guaranteed to seal.

Bob
Indiana, PA

TAC PA-5
WBCCI 4871
No, but good idea. You know, you can use that stuff on your undercarriage and turn your car into a boat. Honestly...I saw it on the commercial. Hahaha
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:11 AM   #14
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1962 26' Overlander
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Here are some more photos of Michael's trailer. It had a little rear end rot. Repairing it lead him to the slippery slope of a full on, full monty he is now doing... (sorry if I gave away a secret)
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He has been doing an incredible job I might add. Everything he takes on results in very professional results. He even shot his first rivets the other day when we put on a new awning rail. I did the bucking while he got the experience.
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