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Old 09-12-2017, 04:53 AM   #1
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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New to Me '75 Overlander

I just purchased a 75 Overlander. Now I have another project trailer. This one is in pretty good shape for a 75, but has the common issues of floor rot here and there as well as faulty appliances and "control center". It has stiff axles too.

It was previously owned by a WBICC member. How can I find out a little about the ownership history of this trailer. I'm interested in the "where" and "when" it changed hands. I'm not interested in the "who". Is there a "car fax" routine for travel trailer serial numbers?

David
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:23 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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I towed this trailer about 1200 miles to get it home. It was an easy "recovery" as everything works from brakes to marker lights. It towed quite well. I stayed in it for two nights on the way home, why not. At least I'm learning about the trailer and listing its needs.

The interior furniture is quite good considering. Many of these 70s trailers have significant warp and delamination of the materials they used to build the cabinets.

It droops a bit in the rear like may of the 70s trailers. I'll develop a repair plan once I expose the frame from the bottom. This trailer is not the worse one for rear end separation that I've seen.

David
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:14 AM   #3
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Interior Construction Materials

I've been exploring this 75 Overlander I purchased. I'm giving it a thorough cleaning and assessing its needs. I've been impressed with how the interior is constructed. I had read that Airstream went to "plastics" in the 1970s to reduce costs from the wood interiors of the 1960s. What I'm finding is a lot of aluminum framing and what appears to be 1/8" plywood veneer coverings. The walls and cabinet tops, shelves, and floors are not warped hardly at all. The front lounge is framed in aluminum and quite well built. I had to remove a bulkhead wall to gain access to the fridge for repair or replacement. That wall was well enforced and well attached.

Question: Are the 75 Overlanders built with a true plywood veneer? My trailer is a light, almost pine color. See photo below. I've seen photos of trailer that have a darker, almost walnut color. But I don't see any evidence of a plastic covering on the plywood that might delam with age. See photo of a 79 trailer I looked at.

David
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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After "detail cleaning" my 75 Overlander, I have concluded that the cabinet wood is in fact a pretty high quality veneer plywood with a nice "oak" like grain pattern. It appears the plywood is not finished or stained at all, just natural.

The folding table, folding counter extension, fridge door inserts, and the like are a plastic laminate of a similar color and grain pattern.

This old trailer is cleaning up rather nicely.

David
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:37 PM   #5
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1973 27' Overlander
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Welcome to the world of Overlanders and those who revive them. My best advice is take more pics than you think you will need. I'm still kicking myself for not taking enough! Other than that enjoy your journey as others have before you and don't get discouraged. Feel free to ask lots of questions, lots of help here.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:39 PM   #6
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Ps, didn't look at your profile before I replied. Looks like you already know your way around. But still welcome to the Overlanders.
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:59 PM   #7
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
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Thanks for the reply Unka Jack: Taking photos is necessary for sure. I have over 400 of them during my Trade Wind project. Very valuable when you ask what goes where during the rebuild.

I've enjoyed my first month with this vintage Overlander. I know I have lots of work to do, but that's why I bought it. I looked at a 79 Ambassador 28 foot that looked in good condition and had the floor layout I wanted. But I was surprised, no shocked at how warped and delaminated the interior was. Covering coming off the tambor door, wrinkles in the bulkhead walls, severely warped overhead cabinet bottoms (appeared plastic sheeting), and the like. That trailer had a bad case of rear end sag to boot. I expected more from a 79 Airstream.

I expected less from a 75 Overlander. I figured it might be a cardboard interior. But so far I've been pleasantly surprised. The plywood veneer is straight and clean, the tambor doors work. The cabinet door latches work. The plumbing is copper, not as good as PEX, but a whole lot better than my 86 with gray poly butyl plastic tubing (which has now all been replaced). The cabinets are built strong and are tied together well. The bed frames and gaucho frame is built like our 86 Limited, which is pretty good in my view. Even the entry door lockset works well, unlike my 66 Bargman or my 86 whatever. The "Airstream Control Center" (controls what? Turn on the water pump and open the range hood vent fan) plastic facia is badly warped and discolored. I was surprised there is no ceiling vent fan.

I will drop the belly pan in the rear and start inspecting. I have a little rear end separation. I may have to disassemble the rear bath and replace some of the subfloor. Big, big job. But that's what I bought it for. Here is a photo of my rear most frame cross member. Do you think it is salvageable?

David
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:26 PM   #8
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Good luck with the new project, David. I’m not seeing a picture of a cross member.
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:43 AM   #9
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Wait, the pile of rust is “the cross member”? If so, wow.
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Old 10-02-2017, 02:02 PM   #10
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Yep, I think so. There is quite a pile of rusted iron in the rear bumper storage area. What else could it be?

The 69 and later trailers had this "great" rear storage compartment plumbing headquarters. There is really no storage back there. Airstream called it "one stop set up" or something like that. The dump valves, drain manifold, shore power cord, converter along with freshwater inlet are all in this compartment. My 66 was similar. Some previous owner taped Reflectix all over, maybe to cover the fact there may not be much subfloor left. Out of sight, out of mind. I explored the area with my ice pick and did the bumper jump test on the trailer before I bought it. Both failed. I knew what I was getting into.

I will drop the belly pan and explore around before I know how much of the rear cross member is left. I will do the "standard" rear end separation repair on my trailer "while I'm at it". I will likely add frame reinforcements too. I will also replace dump valves and that goofy freshwater inlet that gets filthy dirty when towing. I will also replace the shore power connection to a more modern and handy configuration. I am likely to leave the dump valves and drain piping where it is.

I may very likely have to disassemble the rear bath to complete this work.

Work, work, work.

David
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:27 PM   #11
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David

So glad that you found this nice Overlander and will do just what is needed to upgrade it and give it many more years of life!

I wonder if it being an International model is reflected in the light color and quality of the interior plywood.

Dan
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:56 PM   #12
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1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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The International Trade Wind in 66 had better cabinetry, fancy tail lights, the flag and moldings on the side, and other standard options like the TV antenna.

I don't know the Overlander and what all was done to make it an "International". I think you could order options to make your trailer like an International except for the VIN. I'm glad mine is the lighter color interior. The Ambassador I looked it had a dark interior which I didn't like as well. My trailer has the "flag" emblem on the sides, has fancy tail light assemblies, and maybe these different cabinet fascias. This trailer also has the fancy "command center" (no not the wife) and a gray water tank (10 gallons). It has a spot for a radio and 4 in wall speakers.

The interior is in good shape on this trailer. So is the body. It will be fun to make "improvements" to it.

David
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