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Old 06-21-2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Denton , Texas
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Question Where to begin?

We bought a 1972 Overlander last night. She seem to be in ok condition but there is no way to really know until we get in there and start working. But where do we begin? She has a few good dents but only one that I am worried about. I would like to replace the breaks and I have a feeling the bathroom floor might need to be reinforced (rear bath). The previous owner converted the tub into a very odd shower that will need some work. Some of the tambor needs to be replaced and it needs a lot of interior cosmetic work. We have about a year before we to take her out for an extended journey. Do we start with the structural stuff and move inside? Do we rip out the interior so we can better access the structural stuff? Do we just throw a dart and start renovations where it sticks? Please help!!!!
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger
Do we start with the structural stuff and move inside? Do we rip out the interior so we can better access the structural stuff? Do we just throw a dart and start renovations where it sticks? Please help!!!!
Hi Jolly Roger, and welcome to the forums! When we tackled the work on our Airstreams, we found it beneficial to complete the structural work first (it'd be a major bummer to complete the interior work, only to have to rip it out in order to address a structural issue!) We did find it easier to remove everything from the interior in order to easily access everything. (Hint - take lots and lots of pictures before you remove anything, and as you remove too - believe me, you won't remember exactly how everything goes back in when you're reassembling several months later!) Allowing a year to do your work is a good start - that's about what it took us in both of our projects. You'll find some here to accomplished their renovations in less time, and some take more. There is a wealth of information here for you - get acquainted with the search button at the top of the screen. Oh yeah, and post some pictures when you get a chance!
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger
We bought a 1972 Overlander last night. She seem to be in ok condition but there is no way to really know until we get in there and start working. But where do we begin? She has a few good dents but only one that I am worried about. I would like to replace the breaks and I have a feeling the bathroom floor might need to be reinforced (rear bath). The previous owner converted the tub into a very odd shower that will need some work. Some of the tambor needs to be replaced and it needs a lot of interior cosmetic work. We have about a year before we to take her out for an extended journey. Do we start with the structural stuff and move inside? Do we rip out the interior so we can better access the structural stuff? Do we just throw a dart and start renovations where it sticks? Please help!!!!
You can also start by checking everything out, and attaching prices to those things that need attention.

Don't forget to check the axles out as well.

When you done with your list, you may wish to proceed, as your budget may dictate, or you may wish to sell is, as is.

Good luck with your project. It "will" keep you busy.

Andy
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:54 AM   #4
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1964 26' Overlander
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Where to begin?

Greetings Jolly Roger!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Overlander ownership!

I would echo Mel's advice -- basically, start at the bottom and work up. Among the things that I would suggest:
  1. Inspection and Assessment
    1. Axle condition -- the Dura-Torque axles have a tendency to either wear out or take a set due to inactivity that can prove disasterous to a coach. To assess the condition of your axles, check: Dura Torque Axle
    2. If the axles check-out, the easiest method of servicing your brakes would be to purchase "fully-loaded" backing plates that essentially include new brake shoes as well as all related hardware. A search here on the Forums will return several discussions about these backing plates. I would also suggest having the drums resurfaced and matched to your new shoes -- I had this done on my Overlander and the difference was tremendous.
    3. Again, if the axles check-out, the shocks are also usually candidates for replacement on most Vintage coaches.
    4. Check the banana-wraps for evidence of punctures -- a puncture often indicates a problem with one of the steel outriggers -- pay particular attention to areas near heavy appliances such as the refrigerator, water heater and water tank. Outriggers are generally easily replaced.
    5. Examine the frame for evidence of excessive rust -- an unscientific method is to use a rubber mallet to tap along frame rails while listening for rust particles vibrating on the belly skin -- about the only way to be certain is drop a portion of the belly skn for inspection.
    6. LP Gas System -- this is an area where I would suggest professional help in testing the lines as well as the regulator for proper performance -- both of my coaches required new rubber hoses and regulators when this inspection was performed.
    7. LP Gas Tanks -- it is still not uncommon to find Vintage coaches with tanks that have not been brought up to the OPD standard. If your tanks happen to be Worthing Aluminum, they are well worth the expense of new OPD valves and certification -- if they are older steel tanks, it may be more effective to replace with new tanks.
    8. Water system -- check for the following:
      1. Fresh water tank will need to be checked for leaks or other damage.
      2. Water pump will need to be inspected and checked for operation -- if it is an original PAR pum, rebuild kits are available, and IMHO are well worth the expense and effort -- my PAR pumps have been far less troublesome than the newer pumps.
      3. Water heater -- its burner performance should be part of the professional LP inspection, but it will also be necessay to verify that it is free of leaks -- pin-hole leaks are probably among the most troubling of the mystery leaks that result in visible moisture where the source seems to be invisible.
      4. Water lines -- inspect for evidence of freeze damage as well as leaks.
      5. Faucets and fixtures -- Airstream typically utilized high quality household type faucets, and rebuild kits can often be sourced from your local plumbing supply.
    9. Electrical can be divided into 12-volt-DC and 120-volt-AC.
      1. The Univolt is the coare of the 12-volt side, and it is a component that often requires replacement. This device converts incoming 120-volt-AC into 12-volt-DC for use in the coach's DC system.
        1. For most reliable performance, a battery needs to be in the Univolt system to help stabilize the current provided to the coach.
        2. Many will replace an operable Univolt simply because they have a nasty habit of boiling the electrolyte in a battery drastically shortening its life.
      2. The coach's shore power cord needs to be inspected for condition as well as the circuit breaker box for the 120-volt-AC power supply.
    10. Major appliance inspection:
      1. Air conditioner -- if the unit still has its original Armstrong Bay Breeze air conditioner, it may be worth repairing if it isn't currently operational -- these units have the reputation of being much better built than what is currently available -- I just wish that I could have found a tech willing to repair my original Bay Breeze on the Overlander as it was so much better at its job than the new replacement.
      2. Refrigerator -- the Dometic RV refrigerators can be expected to last for several decades with proper care and the necessary attention to leveling the coach when parked to insure that the refrigerator is operating as near level as possible. In the era of your coach, the refrigerator should have the ability to operate on LP Gas as well as 120-volt-AC. The LP Gas side of the equation should be part of the professional LP inspection, but the electrical inspecion often needs to be performed separately.
      3. Range/oven tends to be a very personal decision -- many will opt for new while others will try to restore the original.
    11. Windows, doors -- weatherstripping usually needs to be replaced to insure leak-free windows.
    12. The plumbing vents that penetrate the roof often need to have their gaskets and weatherproofing seals replaced.
    13. Holding tank and valves -- the blackwater tank is usually quite durable, but may be subject to damage from freezing. Often, the dump valve will need to either be rebuilt or replaced -- be aware that Airstream typically utilized Thetford valves rather than the more common Valterra valves.
    14. Rear end separation -- while often more common on longer coaches, it is not uncommon to find it on an Overlander -- mine suffered from it as a result of a rear bumper mounted spare tire carrier added by a previous owner. A search of the form for this topic will provide several threads where identification and repair of the problem are discussed.
    15. Frame sag or droop, again is a problem associated with the larger coaches, but still may be found on an Overlander. There are a number of indicators, and a search for this topic on the Forum will return a number of threads discussing identification and repair of this problem.
    16. Floor -- the floor typically has some damage on most vintage coaches. If you are lucky, the biggest problem will be soft spots that can be repaired with synthetic consolidants. Patching or replacing floor panels can be quite an undertaking. The places most prone to problems are near the entry door as well as exterior access hatches, in the vicinity of the rear bath, in the vicinity of the fresh water tank and/or water heater, and in some coaches in the vicinity of the refrigerator. An ice pick or sharp awl can be useful in probing the edges of the floor nearest the outside wall for evidence of damage -- the areas nearest windows can be among the more suspect areas.
    17. Beyond the mechanical systems, most of the decisions are aesthetic in nature, dealing with cabinetry refurbishment/replacement, and soft-goods replacement.
Good luck with your inspection! With an inspection completed, you can more precisely budget your available time and funds for your refurbishment.

Kevin
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:11 AM   #5
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Dometic Refrigerator Model 351

Kevin, Your article was very complete. Thanks. We are now having probelms with our refrigerator. It works on electric, but NOT on propane.

We did blow out with an air compressor and set at 4....after reading suggestions on the forums. Do you have a suggestion we can try to fix ourselves? Thanks Aria
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:09 AM   #6
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Post pictures!

There are people here who can tell at a glance if there are areas of concern.

Side view showing axles and close ups of the rear where the shell meets the frame and a bunch of other so we can feed our Airstream addiction.

Seen one Airstream....and you wanna see the rest.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:31 AM   #7
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Welcome

Hi Roger and Welcome to the forums. We love our 72. We have done a lot of work on ours and if there is anything we can do to help, just ask. It took us about 9 months to get everything fixed and replaced. Once we went on our first camping trip, it was worth every hour it took to get to that point. Good luck and hope you can post some pictures soon !
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aria
Kevin, Your article was very complete. Thanks. We are now having probelms with our refrigerator. It works on electric, but NOT on propane.

We did blow out with an air compressor and set at 4....after reading suggestions on the forums. Do you have a suggestion we can try to fix ourselves? Thanks Aria
You cannot "blow out" the lpg system or burner with air and expect it to work.

You must first clean the reefer flue.

Then remove the complete burner.

Remove the oriface from the burner.

You will find a considerable amount of rust flakes.

Clean, repeat, clean the oriface with an ultrasonic cleaner "ONLY." DO NOT USE A PIN OR NEEDLE.

Set the LPG presurre to 12 to 12.5 inches of water column pressure.

Reinstall the oriface into the burner and reinstall the burner in it's proper place below the reefer chimney.

Make sure, super sure, that the reefer freezer compartment lower shelf is "level." That is the leveling point, not the trailer.

Light the burner and turn the thermostat "all" the way up.

You should also check to make super sure that you don't have an LPG leak.

After about an hour, you should feel the freezer shelf starting to cool. After 24 hours, check the reefer "and" freezer compartment temperatures.

If they are ok, then reduce the setting of the thermostat to suit your particular needs.

If the reefer works on electric, it will work on LPG, provided you do "all" of the above, properly.

Andy
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