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Old 02-23-2011, 08:17 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Clarksburg , Missouri
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New Airstream 1972 Overlander owner

I'm new to the Airstreams and am really excited! I have a 1972 Airstream that is partially gutted and am debating to restore it to original or to do my own thing to it. What are most people doing? Do the original sell more than the modern? Just wanting to get some ideas before I get started.

Dad and I are planning to put a new floor in this weekend.....any advice? I think we are just going to replace the pieces in the floor that are bad and not the entire thing.

I'm also curious about the bathroom and what suggestions are for that. The toilet and shower are there. Replace or clean up??

Thanks so much!!!!
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:30 PM   #2
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welcome

Welcome to the forum! You need to do what is best for you for the restoration/redo. My 73 Tradewind was is really nice shape, so I am keeping it mostly original. I have seen custom jobs to drool over. Good luck, ask questions, and post some pics. MPJ
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:38 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum and congratulations on your new Airstream.
My first Vintage Airstream was a partially gutted rig similar to yours with the bath intact and the remainder cut up or missing.
That wasn’t too hard to do a credible restoration on because the cabinetry was wood with plain doors. Mostly simple woodworking.
The '72 I’m working on now has the complete original interior with laminate furnishings, metal frames and broken tambour doors galore.
Trying to replicate those features will be (and is) a royal PITA.
I’d recommend heading over to the Vintage Airstream Photo Archives Vintage Airstream Photo Archives and checking out both original and updated interiors. Might give you an idea of where to go from here.

Good luck with your project and Happy Streaming,
Tom.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:01 PM   #4
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Thanks! I'm so happy I found this forum.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:32 AM   #5
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How do I get keys for the doors and compartments?

Can I remove the interior walls dividing between the bathroom and sleeping room and between sleeping room and kitchen area? Will the compromise it's structure?

Thanks! Just learning bit by bit.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
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1973 31' Excella 500
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Hi joneslacey and welcome to the forums. Ask questions and post pictures and you'll get lots of help here.

The interior walls are fastened to the shell, cabinets, and/or each other with a combination of screws and pop rivets. They aren't structural so removal is safe, just maybe a little time consuming if you want to save them for templates or possible reinstallation. You'll need a 1/8" drill bit and an electric drill for the removal.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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Bzzzt - use #30 (0.1285") Drill Bits for 1/8" rivets.

A good hardware store will have numeric sized bits - and a better hardware store will offer a choice to get the drills made out of cobalt steel, they can actually drill holes in the High Speed Steel (HSS) bits.

That silly little extra size boost gets the rivets to 'set' as designed; plus other things...
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:35 AM   #8
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Antlers , Oklahoma
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I had to replace all of the outside locks - they are not that expensive and you can purchase the kits from various companies we use here. I do not know if I can put the names here so if you need them, please pm me.

I agree with Wabbiteer - use the #30 bit not the 1/8th. It will make your life easier in the long run.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:23 PM   #9
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1973 31' Excella 500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
Bzzzt - use #30 (0.1285") Drill Bits for 1/8" rivets.

A good hardware store will have numeric sized bits - and a better hardware store will offer a choice to get the drills made out of cobalt steel, they can actually drill holes in the High Speed Steel (HSS) bits.

That silly little extra size boost gets the rivets to 'set' as designed; plus other things...
The OP is removing existing rivets to take out the partitians. Does the #30 do a better job than the 1/8" drill bit for that purpose and is the cobalt steel bit necessary in that application? Not trying to split hairs here, but personally I prefer to use less expensive tools like high speed steel bits during destruction and save the good stuff for finish work or reconstruction.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:01 PM   #10
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I stopped buying HSS bits fifteen of more years ago - Cobalt literally never wear out except crashing the cutting edge into quartz-sanded plaster or concrete.

Breakage from leaving the electric drill with the bit chucked in it is about the only way they can die, from dropping the drill.

HSS bits coated with titanium is a gimmick supposed to lubricate and keep the drill cooler in certain materials like plastics but the thin coatings wear away first use anywhere else.

In this day of disposable one-use items a cobalt-alloy bit is like buying an Airstream - for perhaps twice the price unless you bend it or break it it will still be there in 10, 20 years.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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Thanks Wabbiteer, I'm always trying to learn. Guess when I stop to think about it, I never buy HSS router bits, I have a good set of wood bits, so now it's on to good metal bits. I always say, every good shop is at least one tool short....
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:01 PM   #12
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Agreed. Cobalt drills are my first choice. Whether you’re pushing a ¾” through plate steel without coolant or zipping the heads off pop rivets they’re the only way to go.
However, as to Lew’s point on using a 1/8” bit for demo, I’m with him.
In my experience a 1/8” bit drilled straight down the barrel of an aluminum pop rivet will leave the head on the drill and a thin shell remaining in the interior skin. Just push the leftovers into the wall and you haven’t distorted the original hole.
The problem comes when someone has “fixed” a part with steel pops. Now, if you’re not drilling parallel to the rivet the bit has a tendency to follow the path of least resistance between the pin and the shell of the rivet. Now you’re stuck with an oblong hole in the skin. This might even require a 5/32” replacement rivet. This makes the left half of my brain cringe.
For a novice it might be best to go with an undersized bit until they get some experience under their belt.
As far as taking out interior partitions its no big deal. The most important thing to do is to not throw away any of the channels or other colored, anodized extrusions. They are next to impossible to find. If you don’t need it someone else will.

Just my 2 cents,
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:19 PM   #13
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1972 27' Overlander
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We are completely gutting the inside this weekend and are hopefully takin the walls off. Would it be in our best interest to reuse them or just save them for a pattern. They def have to come off bc they needs majorly cleaned and there a several leaks we need to find. Suggestions welcome! Thanks!!
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:32 PM   #14
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Venice , Florida
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Welcome. We got our 72 overlander a few months ago. We only have to replace the sliding cupboard doors. They will definitely be replaced with hinged doors. Good luck and post some before and after pictures.

Doug
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